The one snack food that defines every state
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The Snack Food That Defines Every State

These are the foods folks are munching on across America
The one snack food that defines every state
Brent Hofacker/Shutterstock

When you’re hungry for a snack, what do you reach for? While some foods like chocolate chip cookies, Lay’s potato chips and string cheese can be found all across the country, snack foods are surprisingly regional, even down to a state and local level. To determine the signature snack from every state, we tracked down official state foods, regional specialties and products that are made in certain states and have amassed cult followings among residents. These are the things people are snacking on across America.

Alabama: Golden Flake Potato Chips

Alabama: Golden Flake Potato Chips

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There are plenty of crispy, salty and satisfying potato chips out there, but if you’re in Alabama, Golden Flake Potato Chips are the king of crisps. The recipe has been the same for nearly 100 years, and these thin, perfectly seasoned chips are still made in the Heart of Dixie every single day.

Alaska: Smoked salmon

Alaska: Smoked salmon
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Salmon defines the culinary landscape in Alaska; it’s the state’s official fish, after all. While you can eat Alaskan salmon any way (it’s particularly good when you know how to grill salmon perfectly), for a snack, you’re best off eating this local delicacy smoked on a piece of warm, crusty bread.

Arizona: Prickly Pear Cactus Candy

Arizona: Prickly Pear Cactus Candy

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Prickly pear is one of those fruits you’ve probably never heard of but need to try. That is, unless you’re from Arizona. These soft sugar-sanded jelly candies are made from real Arizona prickly pear and are satisfyingly sweet.

Arkansas: Fried pickles

Arkansas: Fried pickles
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While fried pickles are a staple at the best sports bars around America, they hold a special place in the heart of Arkansans. Legend has it, this snack was popularized by Bernell “Fatman” Austin at his Pope County drive-in restaurant, The Duchess Drive-In. Though the restaurant is long gone, Fatman’s original fried dill pickle recipe can still be enjoyed at the annual Picklefest held every May in downtown Atkins, Arkansas.

California: See’s Candies

California: See’s Candies
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It’s not like you need a reason to eat chocolate, but if you’re in California and looking for a signature treat, head to a local See’s Candies shop (or just about any grocery store) and get a box of these sweets. See’s is practically a religion in California and has been beloved since Charles See opened his first candy shop in Los Angeles in 1921.

Colorado: Rocky Mountain oysters

Colorado: Rocky Mountain oysters

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Rocky Mountain oysters may sound like a type of shellfish, but this Colorado specialty is actually deep-fried bull testicles. It may sound totally bizarre, but they have a satisfying, slightly gamey taste and the texture of calamari. While you can find this dish at plenty of spots across the Centennial State, you’re best off going to one of the oldest restaurants in America, Denver’s Buckhorn Exchange, to try them out.

Connecticut: Pez

Connecticut: Pez
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If you ever wondered how Pez is made, head to Orange, Connecticut. While Pez has been manufactured since 1927, it’s been headquartered in the Constitution State since the 1970s. Today, you can take a tour of this candy factory to see how these little sugary snacks are made and the largest collection of Pez memorabilia in the world.

Delaware: French fries

Delaware: French fries
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While there are plenty of things you may not know about french fries, you may also not know that people in Delaware are disproportionately crazy about this snack. For the signature Delaware fry experience, head to Thrashers on the Rehoboth Beach boardwalk, which has been serving buckets of fries since 1929. Be sure to eat yours with a side of vinegar.

Florida: Oranges

Florida: Oranges
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Floridians love their fresh, homegrown citrus and no singular fruit defines the state quite like the orange. The orange blossom is the state flower, orange juice is the state beverage and oranges are the state fruit. If you’re looking to make a signature cocktail for every state, look no further than mixing your Florida OJ with some Champagne for a mimosa.

Georgia: Peaches

Georgia: Peaches
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When a food is literally in your state’s nickname, that’s when you know it’s the most iconic food from your state. Georgia is known as The Peach State, and people from here really are that crazy about this syrupy sweet fruit. Peaches were officially named Georgia’s state fruit in 1995.

Hawaii: Shave ice

Hawaii: Shave ice
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It gets hot in Hawaii, and one of the absolute best ways to cool down is with some shave ice. This refreshing snack is exactly what it sounds like: dessert that is made from shaving a block of ice. Perhaps the best-known place in Hawaii is Matsumoto in Haleiwa, where you can get your shave ice topped with flavors like guava, lychee, green tea, yuzu or classic flavors like strawberry and cherry. No matter what fruit flavor you choose, shave ice is one of those regional desserts you need to try.

Idaho: Ice cream potato

Idaho: Ice cream potato

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Idaho really is crazy about potatoes, and folks from this state will even eat them for dessert. Well, sort of. In Idaho, you’ll find a curious dessert called the ice cream potato, which is vanilla ice cream molded into the shape of a potato, covered in cocoa and topped with whipped cream and chocolate shavings, resembling a potato with a dollop of sour cream on top. To try this treat, head to Boise’s Westside Drive-In, one of the drive-ins in America you can still pull up to.

Illinois: Popcorn

Illinois: Popcorn
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Illinois named popcorn its official state snack in 2003 after a campaign from second and third graders from a Joliet, Illinois, elementary school. While most people think of movie theater popcorn as the default, if you head to Chicago, chances are you’ll find bags of Chicago Mix popcorn. This is a controversial mix of cheddar and caramel corn in one bag that locals swear is the perfect salty and sweet combo.

Indiana: Sugar cream pie

Indiana: Sugar cream pie
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There’s a signature pie in every state, but Indiana’s most famous dessert, sugar cream pie, is so integral to the state’s identity that it’s literally also referred to as Hoosier pie. Made simply with sugar, milk, butter, vanilla, cinnamon and cornstarch, this dessert is budget-friendly and satisfying.

Iowa: Taco pizza

Iowa: Taco pizza
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A specialty from Iowa-based pizza chain Happy Joe’s, taco pizza is a merry mashup of two fast food favorites. It features refried beans, sausage, taco-seasoned beef, lettuce, tomatoes and taco chips. If you really want to load up, you can get a taco supreme pizza with sour cream, black olives and onions (and you should). Good for dinner or a late-night snack, this pizza is right up there with the 101 best pizzas in America.

Kansas: Fried chicken

Kansas: Fried chicken
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Fried chicken is best eaten in the heartland, so if you find yourself in Kansas City, Kansas, make sure you head to Gus’s, which is serving some of the best fried chicken in America. Gus’s lists fried chicken as a snack on the menu, and who’s going to complain about starting a fried chicken meal with more fried chicken?

Kentucky: Bourbon balls

Kentucky: Bourbon balls
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Bourbon and Kentucky go hand in hand — 95% of the world’s supply of bourbon is crafted in the state and the origins of your favorite cocktails with bourbon lie in Kentucky. When it comes to bourbon-based snacks, bourbon balls — no-bake sweets made by soaking chopped nuts in bourbon and dipping them in chocolate — are No. 1.

Louisiana: Beignets

Louisiana: Beignets
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No trip to New Orleans would be complete without trying Louisiana’s signature doughnut: the beignet. These perfect pillows of powdered sugar-topped fried dough are best enjoyed fresh and hot from the legendary Cafe du Monde, which has been serving them since 1862 and is one of those tourist trap restaurants that are actually really good.

Maine: Whoopie pies

Maine: Whoopie pies
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Maine designated the whoopie pie as its official state treat in 2011, and these sweet sandwiches with white cream between soft chocolate cakes have reportedly been made in the Pine Tree State since 1925. While you can probably find these at the best dessert shop in every state, they’re made best in Maine.

Maryland: Utz ‘The Crab Chip’ Potato Chips

Maryland: Utz ‘The Crab Chip’ Potato Chips

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If you head to the best seafood shacks in Maryland, you’ll find steamed blue crab doused in Old Bay seasoning. Those flavors are translated into the Utz “The Crab Chip” Potato Chips, which can be found at grocery stores all across Maryland. Though Utz potato chips were founded in Hanover, Pennsylvania, they’ve been sold in Baltimore since the beginning and have a cult following in Maryland.

Massachusetts: Boston cream doughnut

Massachusetts: Boston cream doughnut
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If Massachusetts is crazy about one thing, it’s Dunkin’, so of course the state has an official state doughnut: the Boston cream doughnut. A play on the Boston cream pie, this yeast doughnut features a custard filling and is frosted with chocolate icing and can be found at the best doughnut shop in every state.

Michigan: Fudge

Michigan: Fudge
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One of the best weekend getaways in America is Michigan’s charming Mackinac Island, which also happens to be known as America’s Fudge Capital. The small island has over a dozen fudge shops, each with their own take on this indulgent dessert, and all are worth trying.

Minnesota: Honeycrisp apple

Minnesota: Honeycrisp apple
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When it comes to all of the different apple varieties, few are more satisfyingly sweet and crisp than the Honeycrisp. This apple was developed at the University of Minnesota and was named Minnesota’s official state fruit in 2006.

Mississippi: Mississippi mud pie

Mississippi: Mississippi mud pie
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There’s an iconic dessert from every state, and for Mississippi, that dessert is the Mississippi mud pie. Its ties to the Magnolia State are right there in the name. This chocolate custard pie is topped with a thick layer of whipped cream, chocolate sauce and chocolate shavings or nuts.

Missouri: Toasted ravioli

Missouri: Toasted ravioli
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Lovingly referred to as T-Ravs by locals, toasted ravioli may seem like an entree, but these breaded and deep-fried pillows of pasta are so easy to pop in your mouth and make a great snack. If you’ve never heard of toasted ravioli, don’t worry — it’s one of those dishes you’ll only find in the Midwest.

Montana: Jerky

Montana: Jerky
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Jerky is one of those junk foods we won’t apologize for loving, and some of the absolute best jerky comes from Montana. Perhaps the best-known jerky in this state is made by Hi-Country, which is based in Lincoln, Montana.

Nebraska: Runzas

Nebraska: Runzas

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Runzas are probably one of those regional dishes you’ve never heard of, that is unless you’re from Nebraska. The sandwiches are made by stuffing dough with ground beef, onions and cabbage (among other filling options) before baking and are a great snack to eat when you’re on the go.

Nevada: Shrimp cocktail

Nevada: Shrimp cocktail
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While you can find shrimp cocktail on the menu at America's best steakhouses, this signature appetizer was introduced to the public en masse at Nevada’s Golden Gate Casino in 1959 and caught on quickly. It’s still on most menus across the Silver State today.

New Hampshire: Apple cider doughnuts

New Hampshire: Apple cider doughnuts
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Apple cider is the official state beverage of New Hampshire, but if you want all of the flavors of cider in an even better form, you need to try New Hampshire’s apple cider doughnuts. These sugar-coated doughnuts are sweet and have the perfect hint of apple flavor. Best eaten fresh and hot, apple cider doughnuts are one of those foods you’ll only find in New England.

New Jersey: Saltwater taffy

New Jersey: Saltwater taffy
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If you travel down to the Jersey Shore and stroll along one of those boardwalks that take you back in time, chances are you will stumble across some saltwater taffy. Shriver’s Salt Water Taffy and Fudge in Ocean City, New Jersey, is one of the state’s best-known taffy shops, operating on the shore since 1898.

New Mexico: Biscochitos

New Mexico: Biscochitos
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Biscochitos were named New Mexico’s state cookie in 1989. Made using anise, lard and brandy, these little cookies were brought to New Mexico by the early Spaniards and are one of the best cookies in America.

New York: Yogurt

New York: Yogurt
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While you might think that a standard New York snack is a bagel with lox and cream cheese, or bacon, egg and cheese on a roll, those are just some of the most iconic breakfast foods in America. The Empire State has actually designated yogurt (another healthy breakfast option) as its official state snack.

North Carolina: Krispy Kreme doughnuts

North Carolina: Krispy Kreme doughnuts
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Krispy Kreme is undeniably one of the best doughnut chains in America, and in North Carolina, doughnuts from this spot are like a religion. There are 30 locations in the state, but for the best experience, go to the original Krispy Kreme in Winston-Salem.

North Dakota: Chippers

North Dakota: Chippers
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Chocolate-covered potato chips are one of those crazy food combinations that just works remarkably well. Maybe it’s that irresistible balance of sweet and salty. If you find yourself in North Dakota, you need to try this signature snack at Carol Widman’s Candy Co., one of the best chocolate shops in America.

Ohio: Buckeyes

Ohio: Buckeyes
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Ohio is called the Buckeye State, so of course its signature snack is the buckeye. And no, we’re not talking about the nuts from the official state tree (those are poisonous), we’re talking about chocolate-covered balls of peanut butter. This dessert is a perfect bite, and while you can find buckeyes at any candy store in Ohio, they’re easy to make at home and are one of the recipes that will have you cooking like a real Midwesterner.

Oklahoma: Fried okra

Oklahoma: Fried okra
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Oklahoma actually has a full official state meal. What’s on the menu? A bunch of iconic Southern foods: chicken-fried steak, barbecued pork, fried okra, squash, cornbread, grits, corn, sausage with biscuits and gravy, black-eyed peas, strawberries and pecan pie. When cooked properly, few things kick off a hearty Southern meal better than fried okra.

Oregon: Marionberries

Oregon: Marionberries
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The marionberry is a cross between two different kinds of blackberries and was introduced to Oregon in 1956; it’s named after Marion County. This cone-shaped fruit has a tart, earthy and sweet flavor and is one of the foods you need to try in every state.

Pennsylvania: Soft pretzels

Pennsylvania: Soft pretzels
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How pretzels got their shape is one of the biggest food mysteries, but you won’t be thinking about that when eating the signature Pennsylvanian snack: hot, soft, freshly baked pretzels. Julius Sturgis opened America’s first commercial pretzel factory in 1861 in Lititz, and Pennsylvania has been crazy for this snack ever since.

Rhode Island: Calamari

Rhode Island: Calamari
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Rhode Island adopted calamari as its official state appetizer in 2017. This fried squid dish is the perfect thing to snack on when you’re strolling along a gorgeous coastline in The Plantation State.

South Carolina: Boiled peanuts

South Carolina: Boiled peanuts
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Boiled peanuts are one of those Southern foods the rest of the world needs to try, and you definitely need to try them if you’re in South Carolina. South Carolinians began boiling peanuts in the 1800s, and you can find this snack at food stands, grocery stores and food festivals across the state. They’re so integral to South Carolina life that boiled peanuts were named the official state snack in 2006.

South Dakota: Chislic

South Dakota: Chislic

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A specialty to southeastern South Dakota, chislic is bite-sized chunks of red meat (usually mutton, lamb or wild game) on skewers, seasoned and prepared simply. A relative unknown outside of the region, you can find this dish on the menu at Pierre’s Cattleman’s Club, one of the best steakhouses in America.

Tennessee: MoonPies

Tennessee: MoonPies

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Based in Chattanooga, Tennessee, MoonPies are marshmallows sandwiched between graham crackers and coated in chocolate. These little cakes have been made since 1917 and are one of the snack foods you won’t believe are over 100 years old.

Texas: Chips and salsa

Texas: Chips and salsa
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When you think about the best recipes from Texas, chances are you start dreaming of tacos, burritos and fajitas. But no Tex-Mex meal would be complete without a round of chips and salsa. That iconic food duo was named Texas’ official state snack in 2003.

Utah: Jell-O

Utah: Jell-O
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While Jell-O may feel like one of those childhood desserts you forgot about, it never went out of style in Utah. The state has recognized this jiggly gelatin-based treat as its official state snack.

Vermont: Ben & Jerry’s ice cream

Vermont: Ben & Jerry’s ice cream
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Ben & Jerry’s was founded in Burlington, Vermont, in 1978, and while this cult-favorite ice cream brand has expanded way beyond its roots, it’s still a favorite in The Green Mountain State. Today, you can take a tour of the Ben & Jerry’s factory in Waterbury and try signature flavors like Cherry Garcia and Chunky Monkey. Ben & Jerry’s shops are up there with the best ice cream stands in America.

Virginia: Biscuits

Virginia: Biscuits
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Biscuits are a staple on Southern breakfast tables, but you can eat these flaky baked goods any time of day, with any meal. When in Richmond, Virginia, take a trip to Early Bird Biscuit Co. — the biscuits are made fresh, in-house every day.

Washington: Frappuccino

Washington: Frappuccino
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Washington has a lot of famous foods: apples, salmon and geoduck, to name a few. But Starbucks, which was first opened in Seattle’s Pike Place Market in 1971, is a way of life in the state. This popular coffee chain has a lot of different coffee beverages, but it is known for popularizing the Frappuccino, and Starbucks started serving this blended, iced drink in 1995

West Virginia: Pepperoni rolls

West Virginia: Pepperoni rolls
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Head to any convenience store in West Virginia and chances are you’ll see some pepperoni rolls for sale. These snacks are exactly what they sound like — pepperoni (and sometimes mozzarella cheese) rolled inside dough. While they can be eaten fresh and hot, they’re best eaten after sitting on the counter for a few hours so the oil from the pepperoni can seep into the bread. This icon of West Virginia made our list of the absolute best thing to eat in every state.

Wisconsin: Fried cheese curds

Wisconsin: Fried cheese curds
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Wisconsin is known as the Dairy State, and nearly 25% of America’s dairy farms are here. The state is particularly known for its cheese, which is celebrated at the Cheese Days festival in Monroe (one of the best food festivals in America). Wisconsin’s cheese products are best eaten as cheese curds — chunks of mild, squeaky fresh cheese. Beer-battered and deep-fried, they make for one of the world’s great bar snacks.

Wyoming: Chokecherry jam

Wyoming: Chokecherry jam
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Chokecherries are a small fruit that can be found growing across Wyoming. They’re best used in jams and jellies, which are incredibly satisfying when spread on fresh-baked breads or biscuits. And while chokecherries aren’t an official food of Wisconsin, they may as well be, along with these official state foods.

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