The Best Signature Dishes From Different States Across America

The Best Signature Dishes From Different States Across America

Each state in America is like its own little country - there are unique aspects to them that make them stand out from one another! One such thing is the food, specifically each state's signature dish. Perfectly embodying everything you need to know about the state, let's take a look at these dishes to learn more about America as a whole.

1. Texas: Texas Barbecue Brisket

Although it's the signature food from the state of Texas, we'd like to argue it may be one of the standout signature dishes in all of America. Have you ever tried Texas barbecue? Specifically their brisket? It's truly a work of art and a taste experience you never had before. Slow-cooked and marinated for hours until it's completely tender and melts in your mouth, you've never tasted good barbecue till you've had this.

Brisket Luis Santoyo on Unsplash

2. Alaska: King Crab Legs

Although Alaska is often forgotten about, maybe if you knew King Crab Legs was one of its signature dishes, you'd remember it more! These gigantic, meaty crab legs are exactly what seafood lovers dream of. When they're steamed and boiled to perfection then served with melted butter, it captures every essence of the ocean.

Michal-Mrozek-Wmxarkhid3W-UnsplashPhoto by Michal Mrozek on Unsplash

3. Louisiana: Gumbo

Now gumbo is just such a fun word to say! This Louisiana stew perfectly embodies the state's love and talent for cooking, creating a dish that certainly doesn't hold back. It's got everything you could want in a delicious stew, from a strong-flavoured stock, meat or shellfish, and a vegetable medley of celery, bell peppers, and onions. It's a hearty signature dish that accurately matches the joyful, expressive vibe of its people.

David-Trinks-Lyru0 Nfbtm-UnsplashPhoto by David Trinks on Unsplash

4. Maine: Lobster Roll

You can't talk about Maine without bringing up their iconic lobster rolls! When it comes to this delicious signature dish, simple is best. We don't want to overpower the natural flavours of the lobster, we want to highlight it! So instead of throwing in too many ingredients, the famous Maine lobster roll consists of fresh and juicy lobster meat that's lightly dressed in mayo or melted butter, all packed into a soft, toasted bun. It's an absolute must-try.

Alexander-Grey-Myansb4 8Cc-UnsplashPhoto by Alexander Grey on Unsplash


5. Georgia: Peach Cobbler

Also known as the "Peach State," it makes sense why one of the signature dishes of Georgia wants to highlight this tasty fruit. Peach cobbler is one of the best ways to make use of peaches; it's homey, heartwarming, and has a lot of soul to it. It's not overly complicated and highlights the peaches in a great way. And when it's served warm with a hearty scoop of vanilla ice cream on top, it's hard to imagine anything better.

Sarah-Brown-A8Qqdl8Yl-K-UnsplashPhoto by Sarah Brown on Unsplash

6. Hawaii: Poke

All the way down South, Hawaii's signature dish has grown popular across the entire country. When you want to enjoy fresh fish with a variety of complementary flavours and textures, poke is a definite go-to. There's just something about fresh fish (usually tuna) that's marinated in a delicious mix of soy sauce and sesame oil that pairs so well with a warm bed of rice. It's the perfect dish to embody the culture of the islands.

Food-Photographer-Sekm9 Nc2Bm-UnsplashPhoto by Food Photographer on Unsplash

7. New Mexico: Green Chile Stew

It seems like America just does stews right, because over in New Mexico, their star dish is another popular favourite: the green chile stew. It just goes to show you, people love comforting food! Made with the state's famous local green chile peppers, cubes of pork, potatoes, and onions, everything about this dish is made to warm you up. Both figuratively and literally!

1024Px-CarbonadaMarco Antonio Correa Flores on Wikimedia Commons

8. Maryland: Crab Cakes

If you love crab cakes, there's no state in America better for you to visit than Maryland. Because let us tell you, they do it right. Each bite of these fried goodies are packed with crab flavour. You definitely won't be complaining about the crab meat to filler ratio! 

Alexandra-Tran-Elmqv3Ynwpu-UnsplashPhoto by Alexandra Tran on Unsplash

9. Wisconsin: Cheese Curds

Head over to Wisconsin if you love cheese, because this state is famous for their squeaky and delicious cheese curds. Whether you enjoy them plain or deep-fried, this state covers it all. They're super fun to eat and are a testament to the state's title as America's Dairyland.

Cheese Curds (3891624126)Wisconsin Denizen on Wikimedia Commons

10. California: Sourdough Bread

You're probably wondering, "How could bread be a state's signature dish?" but just one taste is all you need to understand. California, particularly San Francisco, has become a master at creating artisanal bread. It's so popular, tourists from other countries go there just to try it! Whether it's served as a base for clam chowder or enjoyed toasted with a simple slab of butter, you won't be disappointed with the bread here, that's for certain.

Debbie-Widjaja-H Pxix 4Bwc-Unsplash (1)Photo by Debbie Widjaja on Unsplash


11. Vermont: Maple Syrup

Look out Canada, you've got some competition! Turns out you can stay within America to get delicious maple syrup too, specifically in Vermont. Harvested from the sugar maple trees that grow in large numbers here, the resulting syrup is a sweet and addictive topping that goes well with most baked goods. Of course, no breakfast pancakes or waffles would be complete without it!

Kobby-Mendez-5Nexodaoav0-UnsplashPhoto by Kobby Mendez on Unsplash

12. Florida: Key Lime Pie

Originating from the Florida Keys, it makes sense why Key Lime Pie is the signature dish of this state. After all, it's delicious! Creamy, tangy, and rich all in one bite, the Key lime juice helps cuts through all that sweetness. Besides, as an American, how could we ever complain about pie?

Nathan-Lemon-Jkcoi3W2Uko-UnsplashPhoto by Nathan Lemon on Unsplash

13. Illinois: Chicago Deep-Dish Pizza

If New York is known for its pizza, so is Chicago. The deep-dish pizza is a must-try staple that tourists from all over the world come just to get a taste of. It'll definitely open your eyes to what pizza can be! It's hearty, filling, and deliciously cheesy, definitely a standout food in Illinois that deserves to be the state's signature dish.

Manvi-Mathur-Q2Blvthocak-UnsplashPhoto by Manvi Mathur on Unsplash

14. South Carolina: Shrimp and Grits

A comforting, homestyle dish prominently found in South Carolina, shrimp and grits is one of those foods you just have to try first so you can understand. It's hard to explain exactly what grits taste like, but imagine the rich taste of bacon, garlic, and cheddar cheese flavours oozing throughout while juicy shrimp sit atop. It's a combination that'll have you drooling in a matter of seconds.

1024Px-Shrimp And Grits At The Green GoddessJason Riedy on Wikimedia Commons

15. Idaho: Idaho Potatoes

Idaho and potatoes are basically synonymous at this point - it's hard to think about one without the other! This state has the most ideal conditions for growing high-quality potatoes, meaning you're going to get the best of the best out here. Potatoes are incredibly versatile too, whether you like it baked, served as fries, hashbrowns or whatever you like! Now that's one signature food we can't complain about.

Jeshoots-Com-Fp1X-X7Dwds-UnsplashPhoto by JESHOOTS.COM on Unsplash

16. Mississippi: Catfish

Down in Mississippi, you can find the most delightfully fried catfish in the whole country. They do fried fish right! Completely dredged in a tasty cornmeal coating, this southern staple is only complete when it's served alongside some hush puppies and coleslaw. And if you're lucky, it might be drenched in a delicious gravy sauce! Talk about comforting.

Stephen-Mcfadden-Gc-Gf7Egfrg-UnsplashPhoto by Stephen McFadden on Unsplash


17. Nevada: Shrimp Cocktail

You might think it's a little random, but in Nevada, the shrimp cocktail is a Las Vegas classic. It's a pretty simple dish, consisting of large chilled and cooked shrimp that's served with a tangy cocktail sauce. But while you're busy gambling away, it's a refreshing snack that always hits the spot. You see it everywhere in this state, from buffets to seafood bars to casinos!

Menu-Acapulco-Kjwyy77Wptq-UnsplashPhoto by Menú Acapulco on Unsplash

18. Pennsylvania: Philly Cheesesteak

If we're talking about Philadelphia in Pennsylvania, there's no way we could leave out the Philly Cheesesteak! It's this state's most prized food staple! While this sandwich only contains a couple of simple ingredients, it's packed with so much flavour. All it needs are some thinly sliced beef, melted cheese, onions, peppers, and mushrooms. The bun is part of the show too though, served in a long hoagie roll that's nicely toasted. This sandwich is more than a signature dish - it's a matter of local pride.

Cheesesteak Sandwich At A Restaurantstu_spivack on Wikimedia Commons

19. Tennessee: Nashville Hot Chicken

The signature dish down in Tennessee definitely isn't for the faint of heart. If you don't like heat or can't handle spice well, look out - Nashville Hot Chicken is no joke. It's fiery and will definitely set your tongue ablaze. While it's delicious in its own way, and cooked perfectly till it's crispy and golden, this level of spice isn't for everyone.

Princes Hot ChickenSean Russell from Knoxville, TN, USA on Wikimedia Commons

20. Washington: Cedar Plank Salmon

Known for their abundance of salmon, one state you can head over to for some delicious seafood is Washington. Cedar plank salmon is one of their signature dishes, one that showcases the fish while also reflecting on the state's indigenous traditions. When salmon is grilled on a cedar plank, you get a unique smoky and earthy flavour that brings the salmon to a whole new level. 

Cedar Plank Salmon With Peach Pico De Gallo 2 (28791090980)Sharon Chen from Austin, United States on Wikimedia Commons