America’s 50 Most Outrageously Insane State Fair Foods (Slideshow)

Corn dogs and cotton candy are ancient history

50. Deep-Fried Scorpion, Arizona

Wikimedia Commons/ Takoradee

Bugs are becoming popular offerings at state fairs, including in Arizona. To go along with some other creepy-crawly bites, the Arizona State Fair has deep-fried scorpions. You can get them plain or dipped in chocolate. 

49. Pickle Pops, Kansas

Flickr/ Nata2

Even though the name sounds a bit outlandish, pickle pops are surprisingly one of the few fair foods that won’t increase your waistline. Pickle pops, which you can try at the Kansas State Fair, are basically pickle-flavored ice pop. They are made from pickle juice, which has virtually zero calories. Even though they aren’t high in calories, they are just strange enough (and high enough in sodium) to make the list. Let’s face it, a state fair food that isn’t a heart attack waiting to happen, well that’s outrageous in-and-of itself. 

48. Salad on a Stick, Iowa

Flickr/ Dinner Series

Salad on a stick — it sounds a bit confusing, right? The concept is so befuddling that it had to make our list. After all, how do you get lettuce and all your other mix-ins like tomatoes, carrots, and croutons to stay put? And what about dressing? Well, at the state fair, most salad-on-a-stick recipes look more like a vegetable kebab with large pieces of lettuce, cherry tomatoes and cheese put on a stick for your enjoyment. It made the Iowa State Fair’s list of extreme fair foods in 2008. 

47. Bacon-Wrapped Caramel Apples, Various Fairs

State Fair of Louisiana

Add a bit of a porky taste to that sweet caramel apple by covering it in bacon. You can find these at most state fairs, including the Oklahoma State Fair. The concept is pretty simple, but very delicious. Take an apple on a stick, dip it in melted caramel, and sprinkle bacon on top. Bam, you’ve got a new treat. 

46. Shrimp Corn Dog, Iowa

Flickr/ Adactio

It might not seem all that weird, but the shrimp corn dog is definitely something different from your typical fair food. If you visit the Iowa State Fair, instead of eating multiple corn dogs throughout the day, switch one of them out for shrimp on a stick dipped in corn dog batter. It will be a totally different taste and who knows, you might even like it more than a regular corn dog.

45. Fried Pickles and Chocolate, Minnesota

Minnesota State Fair

Minnesota State Fair vendor The Perfect Pickle is selling fried pickles and chocolate. Their popular dish features deep-fried pickles that are dusted with powdered sugar and served with a side of chocolate. 

44. Kool-Aid Pickles, Various Fairs

Flickr/ I Believe I Can Fry

Bright red pickles might be a bit off-putting to some people, but others at the Texas and North Carolina State Fairs love them. The red color is achieved by marinating the pickles in cherry or fruit punch Kool-Aid. The Kool-Aid makes the pickles both sweet and a bit sour. 

43. Bacon-Wrapped Corn Dogs, Oklahoma

Flickr/ The Tales End

Bacon-wrapped foods are in no short supply at the Oklahoma State Fair. Though corn dogs might seem like typical fair food, wrapping them in bacon takes things to the next level. Whether the bacon is wrapped around the dog before going in the batter or after, you’ll have a taste of it with each bite.

42. Deep-Fried Green Jell-O, Utah

Flickr/ Steven De Polo

Former Governor Leavitt made Jell-O the official snack food of Utah in 2001. To keep up with the demand for Jell-O, the Utah State Fair introduced its own versions of the dish, one of them being deep-fried green Jell-O.


41. Reindeer Hot Dogs, Alaska

Flickr/ Traveling Otter

You don’t hear about these kind of hot dogs everyday. While most hot dogs are made from — well, do you really want to know what hot dogs are made from? — the reindeer hot dogs are made of reindeer and are a crowd favorite at the Alaska State Fair, where the reindeer population is booming. 

40. Krispy Kreme Sloppy Joe, Virginia

Flickr/ koad munkee

There’s a Krispy Kreme Sloppy Joe at the Virginia State Fair. This dish features meat, Cheddar cheese, and two halves of a glazed donut. It might not be quite as famous as its cousin, the Krispy Kreme burger, but it is definitely part of the same family. 

39. Spaghetti and Meatballs on a Stick, Minnesota

sugarjunkieblog.com

Let’s put pasta on a stick! Surprisingly, this actually works. The Minnesota State Fair created spaghetti and meatballs on a stick, and it is possibly one of the best dishes to ever be transformed into stick form. The meatballs and spaghetti are mashed into balls then dunked in garlic batter and, of course, deep-fried. Garnish with marinara sauce and pop it on a stick and you’re good to go. 

38. Krispy Kreme Burger, Mississippi

Flickr/ NC State Fair

The Mississippi State Fair introduced the Krispy Kreme Burger a few years ago and since then it has become hugely popular. It is made with a juicy beef patty that is sandwiched between two glazed Krispy Kreme donuts. Sweet and savory, this burger has it all.

37. Tornado Potato, Illinois

Flickr/aida mollenkamp

Another crowd favorite at the Illinois State Fair is the "Tornado Potato." It might look like corn on the cob from a distance, but make no mistake, the thin spiral swirls of the "Tornado Potato" taste very different. This giant spiral-shaped french fry is a unique twist on your everyday fry, and as serving it on a stick makes it much easier to walk around with than a typical potato — consider it to be a practical invention. 

36. Comet Corn, Minnesota

Minnesota State Fair

We aren’t sure if "Comet Corn" is outrageous or just plain cool. Any vendor can pop popcorn and make it in different flavors. But this year at the Minnesota State Fair, the Blue Moon Dine-In Theater booth had popcorn that was anything but ordinary. This futuristic caramel corn is made with liquid nitrogen. It is ice-cold and leaves a trail of "comet dust" when you exhale out of your nose or mouth. 

35. Chocolate-Covered Bacon on a Stick, Various Fairs

Flickr/ UrbanFoodie33

Chocolate-covered bacon became a state fair staple just a few years ago, in the height of the bacon crazy. Simply take bacon and dip it in melted chocolate — whichever kind you desire — and wait for it to set. You can get the salty and sweet treat at fairs across the country, from Minnesota to Texas.

34. Viking on a Stick, Montana

Flickr/ izatchu

The name might seem strange, but this state fair treat is quite popular at the Montana State Fair. "The Viking" is an oversized meatball that's dipped into a thick batter then deep-fried it until it's crispy and brown. And, like the majority of popular state fair food items, it is served on a stick.

33. Mealworm-Covered Caramel Apples, Arizona

Chef Du Jour

Arizona created a dessert that’s not for the faint of heart. The mealworm-covered caramel apple looks exactly like it sounds — a caramel apple with worms stuck to it. Give it a try if you like to live life on the edge. 

32. Fried Alligator, Various Fairs

Flickr/ Rachel Kamer Bussel

Alligator isn’t an uncommon food in the South (it tastes like fish but has the texture of chicken), but it definitely isn’t the most popular protein. Several states, including North Carolina, Nebraska, and even Illinois, have embraced this fried food. 

31. Deep-Fried S'mores, Wisconsin

Flickr/ Stacey Huggins

You’re killin’ me, Smalls! Imagine if Ham Porter knew about deep-fried s’mores! The concept is pretty simple. Take two graham crackers, put a couple of marshmallows and chocolate in between them, then slather some cake or pancake batter over them and throw them in the deep-fryer and violà! Try them at the Wisconsin State Fair

30. Deep-Fried Bubblegum, Texas

Kevin Brown

Deep-fried bubblegum doesn’t actually have any bubblegum in it, because frying gum just doesn’t taste good and takes all the chewiness out of the gum. This dish is created by taking marshmallow extract and dipping it into pink bubblegum-flavored batter and frying the marshmallows until they are a pretty golden brown. Creator Justin Martinez won the Most Creative category in the 2011 Big Tex Choice Awards for the State Fair of Texas competition.

29. SPAM Curds, Minnesota

Flickr/ tsuacctnt

Most people have at least heard of cheese curds. SPAM curds? Probably not. This outrageous dish made the list because of the main ingredient: SPAM. It’s meat that carries a mystery with it that causes most people to shy away from tasting it. But, putting it into a deep-fried curd form apparently makes it more appealing. Besides, there is a good chance the grease will mask the taste of the "mostly ham" meat. If you’re daring enough, you can try to find them at the Minnesota State Fair, where SPAM is already a popular treat. 

28. Nitro Ice Cream, Kansas

NASA

That’s right, liquid nitrogen makes an appearance at the Kansas State Fair. It is often used in making ice cream because it allows ice cream makers to freeze their ice cream much faster than usual, and the faster ice cream is frozen, the smoother the texture. Nitro ice cream is like a cross between the smoothness of soft-serve ice cream and the dense flavor of custard. Though nitro ice cream is not exclusively a state fair food (many ice cream stores across the country make it) it is a unique and interesting take on the typical ice cream treats found at the fair.  

27. The Legend, New Jersey

Flickr/ cookbookman17

What's so outrageous or insane about sliced filet mignon on bread, you ask? The reason "The Legend" made our list isn’t necessarily because of an outrageous portion size or calorie count. Instead, its sheer presence alone at a state fair is so out of place that it's as big a head-turner as the deep-fried monstrosities. Created by Steve Ebers (aka "Lobster Steve"), "The Legend" is filet mignon served on small slices of bread, a dainty, renouncement of everything state fair foods stand for, far fancier than anything else sold at state fairs. Try it, and other "fancy foods," at his booth at the New Jersey State Fair.

26. Deep-Fried Goo Goo Clusters, Tennessee

Flickr/ ninaradio

Tennessee’s "Deep-Fried Goo Goo Clusters" are legendary. Legendary. Since their inception in 1912, these marshmallow, caramel, peanut, and chocolate clusters have been a crowd favorite, and deep-frying them just makes them even better. They are so popular that the producer Standard Candy Co. is now selling them online, too.  

25. Deep-Fried Girl Scout Cookies, North Carolina

flickr/ Amy Loves Yah

What can we say, Girl Scout cookies are amazing. Deep-frying them can only make them better, right? North Carolina is one of the fairs that offers deep-fried Samoas and Thin Mints (and possibly other Girl Scout favorites) to guests. 

24. Hot Beef Sundae, Tennessee

Tennessee State Fair

Put roast beef, gravy, mashed potatoes, cheese, and cherry tomatoes together in one bowl and you’ve got a hot beef sundae. These have been popping up at state fairs for a few years now, including at the Tennessee State Fair

23. Deep-Fried Kool-Aid, Various Fairs

flickr/ cuttlefish

Whoever figured out how to deep-fry a liquid should be worshipped in state fair circles. Kool-Aid balls look like donut holes and are made from a batter of flour, water, and Kool-Aid. That means you won’t have an actual liquid pour out when you take a bite, but you will get the flavor of the Kool-Aid. Try them at the state fairs across the country including in North Carolina, Louisiana, Missouri, and Virginia.

22. Deep-Fried Frito Pie, Texas

NC State Fair

Let’s all give a bit thanks to Texas for introducing us to the deep-fried Frito pie. The fair food world wouldn’t be the same without it. So what is it? Balls of cheese and chili rolled with corn chips, of course. Oh, and its all deep-fried. It originally debuted in 2010 at the State Fair of Texas.

21. Peanut Butter & Jelly Malts and Sundaes, Minnesota

Minnesota State Fair

New at the Minnesota State Fair this year are the Peanut Butter and Jelly Malts and Sundaes from Goertze’s. The malt features soft-serve ice cream blended with milk, malt powder, their homemade peanut butter sauce and grape jelly. The sundae also uses soft-serve ice cream and is covered in the homemade peanut butter sauce, laced with grape jelly and is finished with whipped cream and a peanut butter cookie.


20. Deep-Fried Cookie Dough on a Stick, Louisiana

Flickr/bunchofpants

Let’s be honest, who doesn’t like cookie dough? Sure, moms sometimes warn you against eating it raw, but the dough is just as good, if not better, than the actual cookie. Throwing some into a deep-fryer and then putting it on a stick with chocolate sauce and powdered sugar only makes cookie dough more enjoyable. It’s not going to help your waistline get any smaller, but an indulgent treat now and then at the State Fair of Louisiana is more than worth the calories. 

19. Spaghetti Ice Cream, California

Wikimedia Commons/ Frank C

Guests at the California State Fair can try a different type of ice cream — spaghetti ice cream to be exact. Unfortunately for all our spaghetti and meatball lovers out there, this dish doesn’t taste the same. Instead, Anthony Cardinali of Cardinali Sweet Treats puts the ice cream through a press to create the noodles. Strawberry ice cream takes the place of marinara sauce while white chocolate shavings create the Parmesan cheese look. It's spaghetti al pomodoro in appearance, at least. 

18. Chocolate-Covered Deep-Fried Cheesecake, Iowa

Flickr/ Stacey Huggins

How can you go wrong with cheesecake? The answer: you can’t. The bigger the piece the better, in our opinion. The Iowa State Fair agrees, too. They’ve taken things even further by deep-frying it and then covering it in chocolate. Yum!

17. Bacon-Covered Cinnamon Rolls, Texas, North Carolina

Kevin Brown

What goes together better than bacon and cinnamon rolls? It’s like putting together two of our most favorite breakfast foods into one. You can try different versions at a number of state fairs including the Texas and North Carolina. While some vendors sprinkle bacon over the cinnamon roll, others wrap the bacon inside. Which would you prefer?

16.

Flickr/ Ink Photography

No, it isn’t actual road kill, thank goodness! The Oregon State Fair takes fried dough to a new extreme with the name Road Kill. Flat, fried dough is topped with colorful berry sauces and syrups to make it seem like there is blood and guts oozing out from within. 

15. Maggot Melt Sandwich, Arizona

Flickr/ LT Carter

That’s right, bugs and creepy critters are no longer contained to that strange lollipop phenomenon. It is now possible to get a Maggot Melt Sandwich at the Arizona State Fair. This outrageous fair item contains American cheese melted on two hamburger buns and is topped with actual fly larvae. Delicious!

14. Deep-Fried Pig Ears, Minnesota

Flickr/ WordRidden

While eating a pig’s ear may not sound as appetizing as eating pretty much any other part of the pig, they’re actually delicious and crunchy when fried, and deep-fried pigs ears are extremely popular at many state fairs, including the Minnesota State Fair. The ears are cut to look like curly fries and are served with a chipotle glaze. So make sure you look twice if someone offers to share their "curly fries." 

14. Deep-Fried Pig Ears, Minnesota

Flickr/Renée S. Suen

While eating a pig’s ear may not sound as appetizing as eating pretty much any other part of the pig, they’re actually delicious and crunchy when fried, and deep-fried pigs ears are extremely popular at many state fairs, including the Minnesota State Fair. The ears are cut to look like curly fries and are served with a chipotle glaze. So make sure you look twice if someone offers to share their "curly fries." 

13. Fried Jelly Beans, Massachusetts

Flickr/ Stacey Huggins

Though they were reportedly introduced in Texas, the Massachusetts State Fair has adapted a version of fried jelly beans. This version rolls jelly beans in funnel cake batter before frying them and topping them with powder sugar. The end result: steaming hot and gooey deliciousness.

12. Deep-Fried Butter, Various Fairs

Kevin Brown

It had to make our list at some point. With all the gluttonous deep-fried foods found at the fairs, it was only a matter of time before someone came up with an idea so outrageous it was sure to be wildly successful. Deep-fried butter is so popular that not one state fair can claim it as its own anymore. From Texas to Colorado and North Carolina, there is some form of deep-fried butter waiting to melt on a visitor’s tongue at fairs around the country.

11. Ice Cream Potato, Idaho

Flickr/ vxla

Idaho is known for its potatoes, so it makes sense that a favorite at the Western Idaho Fair would highlight them. However, the name might deceive your taste buds because there is nothing "potato-y" about this ice cream except for its shape. What looks like a baked potato topped with sour cream is really just a ton of ice cream. The potato is made from vanilla ice cream and is rolled in cocoa to create the "skin." Whipped cream replaces the sour cream and it is finished with Oreo crumbs. It’s sure to satisfy any sweet tooth.


10. Deep-Fried Peanut Butter and Jelly, Virginia

Flickr/ The Hungry Dudes

Take every kid's favorite sandwich and put it in a deep-fryer and you’ve got something magical. Making this dish isn’t too hard, either. If you can make a PB&J and have hot oil to fry it in, you could try making this at home. Just remember to cut off the crust and crimp the edges together, otherwise it will get really messy, really fast. If you’re looking for them at the fair, try the Virginia State Fair

9. Moink Balls, Nebraska

Flickr/ jlwelsh

Moooo-oink! Want something a little different but not too crazy? Moink balls are the answer at the Nebraska State Fair. These treats are made by taking a meatball and wrapping it in bacon, and of course, the last step involves putting it on a stick. 

8. Snap, Krackle, & Fluff on a Stick, Florida

flickr/ kalleeboo

Head down to the Florida State Fair to try Snap, Krackle, & Fluff on a Stick. If you’re confused as to what that is, don’t worry. The name leaves a lot of room for your imagination to take over. In reality, though, this treat is made from Rice Krispies treats that are dipped into batter and deep-fried. Sweetened condensed milk, powdered sugar, chocolate, marshmallows, and caramel bring everything together.


7. Deep-Fried Beer, Texas

Kevin Brown

From the outside, these look like toasted ravioli. However, there isn’t any meat or cheese stuffed inside. Instead, you’ll find the taste of beer. There are different methods to frying beer, but a typical one used at the State Fair of Texas calls for beer to be placed in a pocket of pretzel-like dough that's then dipped in hot oil. To remain alcoholic, the dough is dipped in the oil for only about 20 seconds. 

6. Do-e-Oreo, Illinois

Doeoreo

Take an Oreo cookie, surround it with chocolate chip cookie dough, dip it in a special batter, and fry it until its golden brown and you’ve got yourself a "Do-e-Oreo." You can get one of these high-calorie but delectable treats at the Illinois State Fair

5. Scrapple, Delaware

Flickr/ mmarchin

Visitors to the Delaware State Fair love scrapple. This unusual dish is made from the scraps of leftover pork combined with cornmeal, flour, and spices. Once the mixture is turned into a loaf, state fair vendors deep-fry it and hand it over to the customers. If there is one thing to be said about scrapple, it’s that it's a "no-scrap-left-behind" kind of treat. 

4. Deep-Fried Taco Cheesecake, Wisconsin

flickr/ vxla

Ready for something that is a combination of two things that don’t seem to go together? Introducing the taco cheesecake. It sounds crazy, but the Wisconsin State Fair found a way to make it work. Before it hits the deep-fryer, a tortilla shell is stuffed with cream cheese. After coming out of the fryer it’s topped with cinnamon sugar and whipped cream and drizzled with chocolate, strawberry, or caramel sauce. 

3. Giant Deep-Fried Gummy Bear, Ohio

Flickr/ Tammy Cherry

Each item at the fair has to be bigger and more outrageous than the next, and Ohio’s giant deep fried gummy bear is no exception. This 5-inch tall cherry gummy bear is deep-fried in vanilla or chocolate batter before being stuck on a stick. 

2. Pancake Burger, Nebraska

Flickr/serenete

The pancake burger is like a mobile version of brunch. Similar to a donut burger and available at the Nebraska State Fair, the pancake burger features a burger, topped with your choice of condiments (like cheese, tomatoes, lettuce, etc.) and squished in between two pancakes. And yes, adding syrup is an option.

1. Cheeseburger with Deep-Fried Ice Cream, Florida

Dennis Reas

As if cheeseburgers weren’t already greasy and fatty enough, let’s add some deep-fried ice cream to the mix. This fair food item found at the Florida State Fair is by far one of the highest in calories and not at all nutritious, though if you’re sneaky you could argue that it includes all food groups. (Tomatoes are a fruit, right?) It hits the top of our list for its originality, portion size, and of course, high calorie count.