See the 2022 list here!
Of course I’m going to put together a list of must eat Minnesota State Fair Foods. As far as I’m concerned, the Minnesota State Fair is the greatest event on the planet. My last list of 37 must eat foods in Minnesota seemed pretty popular so let’s try it again with the Minnesota State Fair. I would spend all 12 days there if I could and still not be sick of it. The food, the people watching, the food, the drinks, the food. I just can’t get enough of it. I budget all year for the fair because once I get out there I throw money in the air like I’m Chris Hawkey at a casino. The fair is my Graceland its in large part due to the incredible food.
Every year the fair adds new foods so it’s possible this list will change over time. But for right now, and In no particular order, these are the 37 must eat Minnesota State Fair Foods. I hope you have pockets as deep as Kirk Cousins because getting through the entire list won’t be cheap.
1. Giant Egg Roll on a Stick at Que Viet Concessions
Located on Cooper and Dan Patch
This is my favorite item at the state fair and it’s by a pretty large margin. I cannot explain how great this thing is. There are also cream cheese wontons that are top-notch at this stand. I eat so much food at the Minnesota State Fair that I try not to duplicate foods but I always save room for two egg rolls.
If you’re going to listen to me about anything on this list, the Giant Egg Roll on a stick is the one to try.
2. Big Fat BaconLocated 1694 Nelson Street
Since 2008, Big Fat Bacon has served up more than 860,000 pieces of Big Fat Bacon and I’m responsible for about 859,000 of them. Big Fat Bacon is a quarter-pound, (although I’ve also seen it listed as 1/3 pound) maple-glazed slab of bacon that’s dusted with a blend of seven peppers and salt. It’s proof that being big and fat is a good thing. I love you, BFB.
3. Nashville Hot Chicken on-a-stick from the Blue Barn
Located 1839 W Dan Patch Ave
This is one of the newer items at the Minnesota State Fair and it’s one of the best offerings available. It’s sweeter than it is hot, which will work well for most Minnesota palates but it has enough heat to keep it interesting. Its crunch puts Captain Crunch to shame. 10/10.
4. Ice cream from Nitro Ice CreamLocated in the Food Buidling
There’s no ice cream like Nitro Ice Cream. It’s smoother than Trae Turner’s slide thanks to them using liquid nitrogen and some science experiment process while making it. They give out free samples so feel free to try before you buy, but you’re going to want more than just the free sample.
5. *Cinnie Smiths with Vanilla Custard (If the cinnamon rolls are warm!)
Located on Murphy Avenue & Underwood Street
Pretty often this is stop #1 because it feels like a breakfast item. But there’s no reason these badboys can’t be eaten all day. Freshly made hot cinnamon rolls with frozen custard comes together for an experience that will make you weak at the knees. I love these things more than Aaron Rodgers loves a scapegoat (which is also the only time I’ll use Aaron Rodgers and goat in the same sentence… well and in that one as well). #TB12
*Worth noting, I got an order of these this year and the cinnamon rolls weren’t hot. I’ll give them another shot but if the cinnamon rolls are no longer served warm, these are completely skippable.
6. Fresh Cut French FriesMultiple Locations
These are iconic at the Minnesota State Fair. For more than 45 years Fresh Cut Fries has been serving ‘pure freshness’ and was even voted the Best Fries in America by Gourmet Magazine. Shareable, bingeable, crunchy, and salty. They’re everything you want from fair food. The lines are pretty much always long, which is why they go through 400,000 pounds of potatoes per year, but they go quickly. Plus all the potatoes are grown in Big Lake, Minnesota! So that’s a cool little tidbit.
7. Onion Rings at Danielson & Daughters
Outside of the Food Building between Underwood & Cooper
There are a few different places to get onion rings at the Minnesota State Fair but none even come close to the ones at Danielson & Daughters. This stand has been going since 1956 and serves up world-class onions. If you get the Blue Ribbon Bargain book, there’s usually a $2 off coupon which makes these one of the best bargains at the fair as well. These put up a good fight for my #1 food at the fair.
8. Pronto Pup
Located all over the place
I’ll probably get ripped for only liking ketchup on my pronto pup but sue me. The Karnis family introduced the Pronto Pup to the Minnesota State Fair in 1947 and it’s been a mainstay ever since. The entire history of them is kind of fascinating if you’re interested in learning more but all you need to know for this list is that they’re delicious.
9. Dole Whip
Located in front of the DNR building on Carnes Avenue
Pineapple flavored soft serve swirled into a glass of pineapple juice is about as refreshing as it gets on a hot day at the fair. I don’t even like pineapple that much and I still love these. Also, they just make for a pretty picture. Gotta do it for the ‘gram, right?!
10. Fresh Squeezed Lemonade at the Cheese on a Stick/Lemonade StandLocated on the East Side of Ligget Street
Fairs and fresh-squeezed lemonade go together like Anthony LaPanta and good hair. They’re just synonymous with each other. I absolutely love the lemonade at the cheese on a stick stand. It’s not overly sweet or bitter. It tastes like summertime.
11. A Hot Dog from About a Foot Long Hot Dog
Multiple locations. But one is located at the intersection of Carnes and Nelson Streets
A state fair taste tradition unlike any other and hard proof that fair food doesn’t need to be overly gimmicky. The skin has a nice snap to it, the onions are perfectly done. It’s simple but perfect. Also, feel free to hate on me for also enjoying ketchup on my hot dog. As the great philosopher, Curtis Jackson once said “If they hate then let ’em hate and watch the money pile up.”
Except it seems like a ton of people dislike me and I’m still not rich for I’m not sure that philosophy works well.
12. Giant Turkey Sandwich from Turkey to Go
Located at 1265 Clough Street
Turkey to go doesn’t lack flavor or size. Their half-pound sandwiches are plenty of people’s #1 food item. These birds have been at the fair since 1958, originally named Turkeyteria as a play on cafeteria. They’ve also gone by The Turkey House, and Pilgrim Thom’s Takeout Turkey. Today we just know them as Turkey to Go and we know the food is fantastic. They also offer massive turkey legs if you want to eat like Fred Flinstone.
13. Deep Fried Pickles by the Perfect Pickle
Located on the corner of Liggett Steet and Dan Patch Avenue
So if I’m being transparent, this isn’t on the list for myself. I personally believe pickles should be illegal but my wife completely disagrees. These are one of her must eat Minnesota State Fair Foods and based on the lines, I’m the wrong one. Actually, in 2016, the Perfect Pickle won the Favorite Fair Food Award so obviously ignore my pickle-slander.
But also pickles are terrible.
14. 1919 Root Beer
Located on the corner of Dan Patch and Underwood
You’re also more than welcome to turn this into a root beer float at this stand. The ice-cold root beer is the sugar rush you need to keep going. 1919 is a Minnesota classic and there’s no better spot to gulp one down than the fair.
15. Cheese Curds from The Mouth Trap
Located in the Food Building
There was some debate about who had the best curds at the fair but now that the Original State Fair Cheese Curds stand had to close, the Mouth Trap is the undisputed King of the Curd. The Mouth Trap crew goes through 60 tons of natural cheddar cheese each year. You simply can’t put together a must eat Minnesota State Fair foods list without including the Mouth Trap cheese curds.
16. Frozen Blu by Schell’s at the Schell’s Pavilion
Located in the West End Market next to the Schilling Amphitheater
It can be downright balmy in August and few things can beat the heat better than a frozen Grain Belt Blu. An already cold beer is topped with a 23 degree frozen blueberry slushy header which turns it into an adult Iceee. They don’t lack sweetness so I can’t consume many of them but the first one goes down incredibly easily.
17. Burger and a Beer at the Midway Mens Club
Located 1354 Underwood Street
This place is a hidden gem. When you need to take a break from the chaos of the fair, the Midwest Mens Club offers an excellent escape. Take a seat and enjoy the cheapest beer at the fair along with some downright affordable food options. Their booth is run by volunteers, 85 percent of their profits go to St. Paul youth programs, and the prices have stayed pretty much the same since 1960. I always end up spending a ton of time at the club and I don’t need to feel pretentious about that statement.
18. Beef Jamaican Patty at West Indies Soul Food
Located in the International Bazaar
Be a little adventurous at the fair! You can get either beef or chicken but I like the beef much more. Dip it in some jerk sauce and be prepared for the heat. While you’re there, grab some of the jerk wings and a pork chop (which might be the best one at the fair). Honestly, this is one of the more underrated stands at the entire fair.
19. Gizmo Sandwich from Carl’s Gizmo Sandwhiches
Located on Machinery Hill right under the skyglide.
Oh, buddy, these are tasty. Ground beef and Italian sausage covered in homemade red sauce and then topped with a pile of mozzarella cheese? Yes, please. The Gizmo started at the Iowa State Fair around 1973 and I’m so happy it’s made its way to Minnesota.
20. Flowing Onion
Located on Judson Avenue
You probably should share this since it’s about 37,000 calories but a little-known secret is calories don’t count at the fair. Eat all the Minnesota State Fair Foods you want, there are no consequences. The flowing onion is a little tricky to eat and walk. The risk of you running into a stroller will absolutely increase but it’s worth the risk.
21. Mini Donut Beer by Lift Bridge Brewing at the Ball Park Cafe
Located 1312 Underwood Street
For my money, this is the best beer at the Minnesota State Fair. The sugar rim perfectly compliments the beer and there’s just nothing else like it. I cannot wait to guzzle these suckers down. Much like my plead for you to try the Giant Egg Roll on a stick, if you’re going to try any beer at the fair, this is the one.
22. Frozen Cider Pop from the Minnesota Apple Growers Association
Located in the Agriculture Building
For $2, this might be the best deal at the entire fair. Plus it feels like it’s healthy since it’s just apple cider. There’s something about these cute little fellas that are just fun.
23. Breakfast at The Peg
Located on the side of the Horticulture Building
The fair’s only full-service restaurant and a perfect way to start your day if you like to get to the fair early. This spot is family-owned and operated and offers the perfect spot to eat while plotting out the rest of your day. They offer all the classics and it’s downright affordable. The Peg is another perfect example of fair food not needing to be overly gimmicky. Get yourself some hotcakes, biscuits and gravy, maybe some hashbrowns. They’re also celebrating their 37th year at the fair this year so I have to include them on a list of 37 must eat Minnesota state fair foods. It only makes sense.
Breakfast goes until 11:30am but don’t worry, they have a variety of burgers and sandwiches available during the day if you’re not a morning person.
24. Roasted Corn at the Corn Roast
Located on the Southeast Corner of Dan Patch Avenue outside of the Grand Stand
25 acres of corn are sold at the Minnesota State Fair each year. That’s roughly 25 times the size of one acre. Corn is picked daily for the fair, delivered to the stand, roasted, and then dipped in a bucket of butter. Fun fact: the corn roast goes through 4,000 pounds of butter at the fair. Makes sense when you consider they’re selling around 25,000 ears of corn every day.
25. Garlic Fries at Ball Park Cafe
Located 1312 Underwood Street
These are not for the faint of heart. You REALLY need to like garlic to enjoy these fries because I’m not sure if there’s more potato or garlic on these suckers. The Ball Park Cafe really took the cloves off when making these fries (see what I did there? A bad garlic joke). If there happen to be any vampires at the fair, you’ll be safe at the ballpark.
26. All You Can Drink Milk
Located 1759 Judson Avenue
The AYCDM stand pours around 26,000 gallons of milk during the fair and for a couple of bucks, you can have as much of it as you want. Chocolate, 2%, or skim–but come on, skim milk is trash. This stand offers one of only two unlimited food options at the fair. Pro move: go get yourself some Sweet Martha’s cookies and then head to the milk stand.
27. Mini Donut Iced Latte from The Anchor Coffee House
Located West side of Underwood St. between Carnes & Judson avenues, outside Ramberg Music Cafe
If starting your day with a mini donut beer sounds too aggressive for you, the mini donut cold brew is the way to go. If you like cinnamon, this is a real treat. Not only does it just look excellent in pictures, it also tastes fantastic. This also comes hot if that’s more your jam. I haven’t had that one yet but I can’t imagine it’s anything other than fantastic.
28. Nordic Waffles
Located at the end of the West End Market along West Dan Patch Avenue
Perfect for those who want to start their day at the fair with an actual breakfast but also perfect who want to eat something unique. I’m not going to pick just one option as one of the must try Minnesota State Fair foods because they have a ton of options and they’re all good. All day breakfast? Berries and cream? S’mores? Cinna-Sugar and butter? Or maybe a turkey chipotle club is more your style. They’ve got you covered.
I cannot emphasize this enough: THESE SHOULD BE SHARED. These are way too thick to be considered a potato chip but they’re also not a potato wedge. These battered slices of deep-fried potato have a few topping options. I like just the regular cheese sauce on the side and dip as I go but you can also get ranch, ranch with bacon and cheese, and sweet chili with sour cream.
The regular is plenty of food on its own but if you want to be full for 3 weeks, I guess you could get a bucket.
30. French Toast Bites from the Blue Barn
Located 1839 W Dan Patch Ave
The Blue Barn is full of great Minnesota State Fair Foods and they added another to their list with the french toast bites. A perfect snack to share if you’re feeling nice but nobody is forcing you to. These have a tasty berry sauce with whipped cream and then they sprinkle some pop rocks on top because why not?
31. Pork Chop on a Stick from Peterson’s
Located on Judson Street next to the Dairy Building
Peterson’s charbroiled chicken-n-chops on a stick has been a highlight at the Minnesota state fair since 1994. I’d argue very few spots can compete with just how great this stand smells and the chops are no disappointment either. They’re thick-cut and bone-in with fantastic char marks on them. Unlike the Minnesota Twins, these never disappoint.
32. Malt from the Dairy Goodness Bar
Located in the Dairy Building
I’m not going to pick just one option from the dairy goodness bar. There are too many to choose from. Vanilla, chocolate, apple-caramel, rhubarb-strawberry, birthday batter blast, s’more. How to choose?! Of note: this is the big advantage of the Dairy Goodness bar versus the Kiwanis Malt Shop. Much love for the KMS but the options at the DGB are hard to beat. Check out the butter heads while slurping down a malt. It’s great fun.
33. Cake’d Up by Mankato Brewery at the Hangar
Located at the Hangar by machinery hill
I have to show some love to my hometown brewery. The state fair can bring out some real gimmicky drinks and while I appreciate the creativity, I appreciate solid execution more. Cake’d Up isn’t made to be a gimmick, it’s made to be as good as a single serving as it is in a 6-pack. There’s also multiple flavors available. Pictured is this year’s flavor, Cake’d Up Triple Berry Cheesecake Lager.
34. Minnesota Mule Cider by Sweetland Orchard at the Ball Park Cafe
I‘m hoping you know where its located by now
We’re back a the Ball Park Cafe for another drink because the Ball Park Cafe is arguably the best place to drink at the fair. This is a fun drink that will end your day early if you’re not careful. Coming in at 7.0% ABV, it’s one of the stronger options available to you at the fair. It’s also one of the most refreshing. There’s no copper mug but you’ll be okay without it.
35. Sweat(back) Together from Bent Brewstillery at… you guessed it. THE BALL PARK CAFE!
I have to show some love for IPAs on the list because so far all of my beer suggestions have been on the sweeter side and there’s some passionate feelings about IPAs at 10K. The sweat together (named sweat back together this year) doesn’t play around at 7.3% ABV and 80 IBUs. It’s big and hoppy and delicious. No shock, it’s another beer from The Ball Park Cafe. Seriously, check out their list. They offer a ton of beers exclusive to the ballpark so find yourself a seat and drink for a while. If you don’t want to click on the list, let me break down a few of them for you
- Shandlot Golden Tea by Bauhaus
- Kirby Pucker Watermelon Paloma by Eastlake (Um, yes please. I had the paloma on my best summer drinks list so I’m very excited for this one)
- Tropical Smoothie Sour by Modist
- Clasico Salted Lime Cream Ale by Bent Paddle
- MN Brew Together Peaches & Cream Milkshake IPA by Modist & Dangerous Man
- Lemonade Seltzer by Fulton
- Bomb Pop Seltzer by Lift Bridge
I’ll be spending an enormous amount of time and money at the Ball Park Cafe.
36. Vietnamese Iced Coffee at Que Viet Concessions
Located on Cooper and Dan Patch
The state fair can involve a lot of walking around and digesting food. These two things can make you feel a bit like Flossie Dickey. Luckily at the same spot, you can get the greatest egg rolls of all time, you can also pick up a cup of delicious iced coffee. It’s not overly sweet, it’s not watered down, it’s proper coffee and properly tasty. Grab one in the morning (along with an egg roll) and then another one in the afternoon (with another egg roll) to keep you going all day.
37. Sweet Martha’s Cookies from Sweet Martha’s Cookie Jar (But keep reading, I have honorable mentions!)
Located at the end of all the longest lines at the fair
You were starting to think I forgot about the cookies, didn’t you? Honestly, I don’t know how anyone consumes an entire bucket of these. It’s not that I don’t love them, but the bucket has SO MANY. I also never buy them at the fair. My wife and I play a game where we just ask strangers if we can have some of their cookies and whoever gets the most wins. It may not surprise you, the attractive gal asking for cookies beats out the overweight drunk guy every single year. Shucks. Though I doubt we’ll play it this year. I suggest everyone just buy their own cookies this time around and let’s give ‘er a whirl next year, yeah? When talking about Minnesota State Fair Foods at any level, Sweet Martha’s cookies must be included.
Please share your favorite Minnesota State Fair Foods or drinks!
I’m sure I missed a ton of incredible options and there’s no saying I won’t go back and update this list. Or maybe there are 37 hidden gems at the fair I don’t know about yet. What are your favorite Minnesota State Fair Foods? Let me know at
Honorable Mentions (Otherwise known as things I may not have had but other people requested).
Pickle Dog from Pickle Dog
located on the south side of Carnes
As I said earlier, I’m not about the pickle life but my wife adores them. Since she’s smarter than me, I’ll assume other people will as well.
Poutine from Duke’s Poutine
Located North side of Judson Ave. between Clough & Nelson streets
These might make the official must try list next year. They’re new to me this year and I adore them. Fresh cut fries, squeaky cheese curds, and fantastic gravy. If you’re a fan of poutine, you’ll like these.
Frozen Sangria from Grain Belt
Located in the West End Market next to the Schilling Amphitheater
Just like the frozen Blu but instead of blueberry, it’s sangria!
Wild Rice Burger from Wild Rice Confections
Located in the food building
This is well worth grabbing. The wild rice in the burger makes it unique enough to make you feel like you’re not just eating a standard burger at the fair. There are some people that will argue that this burger is the BEST item at the entire fair. They’re not crazy.
Duck Bacon Wontons at Giggles Campfire
Located at the corner of Lee Avenue and Cooper Street
If the idea of eating duck sounds too exotic to you, this is a nice way to explore something new. If you already like duck, you’re set on these being good.
*Cranberry Wild Rice Meatballs at the Hamline Church Dining Hall
Located on the north side of Dan Patch between Underwood and Cooper
Sometimes it’s fine to sit down for an actual meal. This gives you that opportunity. Note: for 2021, Hamlin Church Dining Hall is only serving ice cream. No cranberry wild rice meatballs this year.
Gyro from Holy Land
Located in the Bazaar
Multiple people, including my buddy Jeffrey, said I must add this spot to the list, so I am. Honestly, they do look fantastic. Well worth a shot.
Almost anything at the Mexican Hat
Located outside of the Grand Stand by the KFAN booth
My dad says this place is good so I’m adding it.
Corn Fritters from The Original Corn Fritters and Fried Green Tomatoes stand
Located on the South side of Dan Path Avenue between Underwood and Cooper Streets
My stepmom said they’re great so they’ve made the list.
Cherry Go Round Sour by Schell’s at LuLu’s Public House
Located in the West End Market
They used to have the Berry Go Round sour and that was great so I’m just assuming this one will be as well.
Chan’s Chicken on a Stick
Located right outside the Dairy Building
Multiple people on Reddit said I needed to add this to my list so here we go. Marinated chicken on a bed of fried rice. Mighty tasty.
Tom Thumb Mini Donuts
I’ve included multiple beverages with mini donuts and there’s just no way to skip the best mini donuts at the fair!
I was in at least 3 people’s Myspace Top 8. I have as many NBA Championships as Tom Brady. I’m probably too old to be here. @NickLewis37