10 American States With The Best Food & 10 With The Worst

10 American States With The Best Food & 10 With The Worst

Let's get a bit controversial here - are there some American states that do food amazingly well but some that don't? When you think of the best food in America, there should be some states that immediately come to mind. Some popular picks should include Louisiana, California, and New York. But what about the bad ones? Which states do you think have the worst food in America? After scouring the web for some input, here's the list we managed to put together. Do you agree?

1. Louisiana

To no one's surprise, Louisiana definitely ranks high when it comes to the best food in America. Famous for its Creole and Cajun cuisine, you'll never find any of the food lacking in flavour in this state. Offering food-lovers a unique blend of flavours with dishes like gumbo, jambalaya, and crawfish étouffée, you'll definitely be in food heaven. And with New Orleans being its culinary heart, you'll fall in love with its vibrant food scene, combining the best of French, African, and Spanish influences.

Jessica-Tan-Xuoddzoo3O0-UnsplashPhoto by Jessica Tan on Unsplash

2. New York

New York State, particularly New York City, is highly regarded for its food scene thanks to its melting pot of global cuisines. You can get anything from exquisite fine dining to iconic street foods like bagels and New York-style pizza! Also known for its exceptional wineries and dairy products, New York has such an expansive culinary landscape that you'll be happy to keep exploring.

Luca-Bravo-Tack3Nspye0-UnsplashPhoto by Luca Bravo on Unsplash

3. California

Celebrated for its fresh and innovative cuisine that's heavily influenced by Mexican and Asian flavours, California is praised for its wide variety of popular foods. The state has an abundance of fresh produce, seafood, and a strong emphasis on farm-to-table dining that makes it an exciting place for any food-lover to visit. The best part about California is definitely the amount of options you get when picking what to eat!

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4. Texas

It would be a crime to leave Texas off this list simply because of how amazing the barbecue is. At this point, Texas is basically synonymous with barbecue, particularly their slow-cooked brisket and ribs. Throw in their popular Tex-Mex cuisine that combines traditional Mexican dishes with Texas-style flavours, and you've got an amazing food scene! The state's cattle ranching heritage has a huge influence on its culinary world, making Texas the number one place to be for any meat lover.

Courtney-Rose-Efjvvj3Rab8-UnsplashPhoto by Courtney Rose on Unsplash


5. New Jersey

New Jersey might not be the first place that comes to mind, but you definitely shouldn't underestimate the food scene here! Often called the "diner capital of the world", this state is famous for its Jersey Shore seafood, Italian cuisine, and iconic Taylor ham or pork roll. You'll be surprised to learn just how diverse the culinary scene is here in New Jersey! You'll be offered a wide range of dining experiences you simply won't forget.

Gautam-Krishnan-Zcga9Ggtz C-UnsplashPhoto by Gautam Krishnan on Unsplash

6. Florida

Heavily influenced by its coastal location and diverse population, Florida's cuisine simply can't be excluded from this list. Offering a delightful mix of Caribbean, Latin America, and Southern flavours, there's a bit of something for everyone here. Key dishes you can find include fresh seafood (especially the famous Key West shrimp and stone crabs), Cuban sandwiches, ceviche, and so much more!

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7. Pennsylvania

Renowned for its comfort food like Philly cheesesteaks, soft pretzels, and Dutch cuisine, don't knock off Pennsylvania until you've really tried their food. Pittsburgh and Philadelphia in particular offer diverse culinary scenes that can range anything from traditional to contemporary dining. 

Heidi-Kaden-6Lcen1Qdcow-UnsplashPhoto by Heidi Kaden on Unsplash

8. South Carolina

South Carolina is most famous for its Lowcountry cuisine, which is a unique blend of Gullah and Southern cooking. The food you'll find here is hearty, satisfying, and super filling. Dishes like shrimp and grits, Lowcountry boil, and she-crab soup are staples and absolute must-tries. Not only are they incredibly tasty, they also highlight the state's rich history and coastal influence. 

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9. Illinois

Illinois, particularly Chicago, is famous and beloved for its iconic deep-dish pizza, Chicago-style hot dogs, and Italian beef sandwiches. We're drooling just thinking about them! Aside from these hearty affairs, this state also has a surprisingly innovative fine dining scene, with a strong emphasis on farm-to-table practices food lovers can appreciate.

Joel-Mott-S-Rsm-Aktba-UnsplashPhoto by Joel Mott on Unsplash

10. Oregon

Did Oregon come to your mind at all? Well, we're here to tell you not to sleep on Oregon! Known for its organic and sustainable food practices with a strong farm-to-table mentality, you'll appreciate the state's use of fresh, locally-sourced ingredients - particularly seafood, fruits, and cheeses! They also have an amazing wine and craft beer industry you won't be disappointed by.

Everett-Mcintire-W7 Tcn9Kua4-UnsplashPhoto by everett mcintire on Unsplash


1. Ohio

Unfortunately, we're now about to talk about the 10 states in America with the worst food. Based off of online users' discussions, Ohio was one of the states that made the list. Ohio cuisine, while having some unique dishes like Cincinnati chili, often lacks a distinctive culinary identity. The food here tends to be the more traditional, standard American fare - it simply lacks the diverse influences you'll see in other states.

Oz-Seyrek-Eoay-V9Njbs-UnsplashPhoto by Oz Seyrek on Unsplash

2. Utah

Also lacking in diversity and innovation, Utah has a pretty disappointing culinary scene. There's not much to be excited about! The state is best known for dishes like funeral potatoes and Jell-O salads, which, while it sure is unique, might not appeal to a broader palate. 

Taylor-Brandon-5T2Lz9Byrcu-UnsplashPhoto by Taylor Brandon on Unsplash

3. Arkansas

While Southern cooking is typically beloved throughout America, Arkansas isn't really known for its food at all. In terms of culinary acclaim, it falls far behind the other Southern states who have been prized for their dishes. This might have to do with the state's heavy reliance on deep-fried foods and a lack of much else, both contributing to its lesser reputation in American cuisine.

Joshua-J-Cotten-Mdiifygtoxw-UnsplashPhoto by Joshua J. Cotten on Unsplash

4. Missouri

Missouri's food scene, particularly in its more rural areas, is practically non-existent. Many online have claimed the food is lacking in both variety and creativity. While cities like St. Louis and Kansas City are known for their barbecue, unfortunately, the overall culinary landscape of this state is nothing to celebrate about. Especially when put in comparison to other states.

Brittney-Butler-Uznod1Xul9A-UnsplashPhoto by Brittney Butler on Unsplash

5. South Dakota

Overshadowed by its Midwest counterparts, South Dakota's cuisine is nothing to be excited about. With a focus on meat and potatoes, there's a pretty limited representation of international flavours, and really, anything beyond the typical American cuisine. While you can certainly find good restaurants, people have stated the food here might just feel a bit uninspired.

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6. Alaska

Despite having access to some exceptionally fresh seafood, Alaska is pretty limited by its remote location. Impacted by both the variety and freshness of the ingredients available, you won't find the most mind-blowing food experiences up North here. The harsh climate is a major factor, restricting the growth of fresh produce which in turn, affects the diversity and quality of its cuisine.

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7. Mississippi

While rich in Southern culinary traditions, Mississippi typically ranks lower on the scale of "best foods in America". Many discussions online have pointed out the state's heavy emphasis on fried and comfort foods, which of course isn't bad, it can just be very limiting for those who want more healthy and varied food options. Despite how tasty it is, too much fried food isn't good for you!

Justin-Wilkens-Dq3Ujemzv0S-UnsplashPhoto by Justin Wilkens on Unsplash

8. North Dakota

Similarly, North Dakota's cuisine generally has a focus on hearty, simple dishes that are comfort picks. The state's food scene is heavily influenced by its agricultural background, but there seems to be a lack of diversity when it comes to food options here. It's a rather limited culinary landscape out here, with not much standing out.

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9. Iowa

Known for its corn and pork production, Iowa's staple dishes often centers around these ingredients. While of course these can be delicious, overall, it can feel a bit repetitive and lacking in the innovation department. To make matters worse, for some passionate users online, they've described the food here as "bland and boring".

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10. Wyoming

Wyoming's food culture has been described online as very "American". Heavily influenced by its cowboy and rural heritage, you won't find much variety out here. The food in this state tends to focus on simple, meat-centric dishes. There's nothing wrong with that of course, but don't expect to find a lot of different choices during your Friday night outings. With a more sparse population and rural nature, it makes sense though that there'd be a less dynamic culinary environment.

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