September 25, 2023

Famous Minnesota Foods – We Found 21 Of the Best

Minnesota is known for its tasty and varied food. Both locals and tourists love many of the state’s most famous dishes. From classic dishes like wild rice soup and walleye to lesser-known gems like the Juicy Lucy burger and getting a Pronto Pup at the State Fair, there is something for every taste and preference. These famous Minnesota foods are a comfortable taste treat.

In this blog post, we’ll talk about some of Minnesota’s most famous and iconic foods. We’ll talk about their history, what they’re made of, and where to find the best ones in the state. So whether you’re a Minnesotan looking to rediscover your state’s culinary heritage or a traveler planning a trip to the North Star State, read on to learn about the must-try foods of Minnesota!

What Is Minnesota Famous For? – The Juicy Lucy

A Juicy Lucy

The Juicy Lucy is a hamburger found at the 5-8 Club in Minneapolis. It’s made with cheese stuffed into the center of a beef patty, then cooked until the cheese is melted and gooey—like an inside-out grilled cheese. The burger is served on a bun with lettuce, tomato, and mayo.

The 5-8 Club was founded as a speakeasy in 1928, and it became known for its Juicy Lucy burgers shortly after opening. The brothers came up with the idea for their signature sandwich after seeing how popular French fries were with customers at their restaurant during Prohibition, when alcohol was banned from sale in Minnesota restaurants. So they decided to fill their patties with cheese to keep the grill clean. 

The Juicy Lucy has become one of Minnesota’s most famous foods since its debut at this iconic bar and restaurant in downtown Minneapolis. Today, there are many variations on this classic sandwich available throughout the state–including ones made with different kinds of cheese like cheddar or gouda–, but they are mostly the same.

Video: Top Minneapolis Food Tour

Famous Foods In Minnesota – Salted Nut Rolls

The Salted Nut Roll salad is a Minnesota classic. It’s a simple combination of candy corn, dry roasted peanuts, and a dash of salt.

The candy corn gives the dish its color, while the peanuts offer some crunchiness to contrast with the chewy sweetness of the candy corn. The dash of salt brings out all the flavors in this delicious treat!

Weird Minnesota Foods – Lutefisk

Lutefisk Jarvin Jarle VinesCC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Lutefisk is a traditional food found in Minnesota. It is made from dried cod and has a gelatinous texture that can be described as “slimy.” The dish is usually served with potatoes and white gravy.

Lutefisk was created by Scandinavian immigrants in Minnesota who wanted to preserve their traditional foods while living in a new place. The recipe for lutefisk involves soaking the dried cod in lye water until it becomes soft enough to cook. The result is a fish that tastes like codfish but has an unusual texture that some people love, and others hate.

Better Than Naan Bread – Lefse

Lefse is a traditional Norwegian flatbread made with potatoes and flour, then cooked on a grill. It’s often served with butter and sugar but can also be eaten plain.

Lefse is most commonly found in Minnesota, where it has become a staple of the local diet. However, the dish has been around since the Middle Ages when settlers who had traveled from Russia first introduced it to Scandinavia.

⁠What is Minnesota Famous For – Honeycrisp Apples

HoneyCrisp Apples

The Honeycrisp apple is a Minnesota original. It was developed at the University of Minnesota in the early 1990s, and it’s become one of the most popular apples in the world.

Honeycrisp apples have a crisp texture and sweet flavor, making them ideal for eating out of hand or baking into pies, crisps, and more! In addition, the Honeycrisp has a unique appearance–its skin is red with yellow stripes (a little like a tiger), which makes it stand out from other apples on your table.

The Honeycrisp is best eaten in October through November when harvested from trees at their peak ripeness. If you can’t get fresh Honeycrisps during this period (or live outside of Minnesota), try using frozen ones instead!

⁠Minnesota’s Famous Export – Wild Rice Soup

Wild rice, called manoomin in the Ojibwe language, is native to the lakes and rivers of the Great Lakes region and Canada. It’s a staple food for many Indigenous communities in Minnesota and Wisconsin, who have been harvesting it for centuries.

Wild rice is a type of grass that grows in shallow water. It has a nutty flavor and chewy texture when cooked–perfect for soups like this!

This wild rice soup recipe is easy to make at home with ingredients you probably already have on hand: wild rice, onions, carrots, and celery (or parsnips). You can use chicken instead of vegetable stock to make it even more hearty!

Minnesota Food Brands – Old Dutch Potato Chips

Old Dutch is Minnesota’s oldest potato chip manufacturer, and they have enjoyed a long and successful history in the snack business. Karl Marx founded Old Dutch in 1934 in St. Paul, Minnesota.

Old Dutch’s signature chips are made from real potatoes peeled, sliced, cooked, and seasoned by hand. They use only 100% vegetable oil for frying, which gives their chips a delicious flavor that tastes like home-cooked goodness!

Old Dutch offers various flavors, including Bar-B-Q, Sour Cream & Onion, Cheddar Cheese, and Ketchup Chips. They also make other delicious snacks, such as popcorn and pretzels!

⁠A Great Midwest Brew – Grain Belt Beer

Grain Belt beer began in the late 1800s when it was first brewed in Minneapolis. It changed hands several times before ending up at the August Schell Brewing Company in New Ulm, MN.

This brewery has been making Grain Belt beer since 1893 and has become known for its rustic German-style lagers. The brewery is open to visitors year-round, who can tour their facility and sample some of their other offerings–including Schell’s Hefeweizen, which is made with 50% malted wheat instead of barley.

Minnesota Food Culture – Booya Soup

Booya soup is a thick stew believed to have originated in Belgium. It looks like delicious comfort food, but where it debuted in the United States is debatable. Some think Minnesota, and some think it’s a Wisconsin stew.

It’s made with beef, pork, potatoes, carrots, onions, and cabbage. Booya is usually served in a large pot on a table with generous crackers, breads, and other side dishes like pickles and cheese curds.

Snacks Only Found in Minnesota – Special K bars

The Scotcheroo, or the Special K bar, is a Minnesota staple. It’s made with peanut butter, chocolate, butterscotch, and a lot of sugar–and it’s delicious! 

They’re so popular that they’ve even become part of our state’s culture–you’ll find them in gift baskets during the holidays and at all kinds of events where people gather together. 

We Bet You Will Nibble on Puppy Chow

Puppy Chow – Zophar1, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons

This homemade snack mix is famous all over the upper Midwest. It’s typically made with four simple ingredients; chocolate, peanut butter, Rice Chex cereal, butter, and powdered sugar on top. This delectable sweet is also called monkey munch or reindeer chow.

Minnesota Food Recipes – Puppy Chow

  • Place a bag of chocolate chips, peanut butter, and butter into a large microwave-safe bowl.
  • Melt in the microwave or double boiler pan, and stir until smooth.
  • Pour the chocolate mixture over a whole box of Rice Chex cereal and gently stir together.
  • Coat the mixture in powdered sugar.

Puppy Chow can be kept at room temperature for up to a week in a covered bowl. After that, try chilling or freezing before serving to perk up the flavor.

The Savory Holiday Treat – Pickled Herring

Pickled herring is a staple of Minnesota food culture. It’s been a part of the local diet since immigrants brought it over from Northern Europe, and it’s still popular today.

Picking is a way to store and transport fish, which was important during meatless times like Lent. The herrings would be prepared, then packed in barrels for storage or transportation. Pickled herring can be found in wine and delicious sour cream.

The Ubiquitous Minnesota Hot Dish

Minnesota Hotdish

The Minnesota Hot Dish is a famous dish that originated in Minnesota and is a staple of the state’s cuisine. It’s made with hamburger meat, onions, celery, canned peas, canned tomato soup, and Creamettes — Minnesotan macaroni — all stirred together and baked.

The word “hotdish” was first used in a 1930 Minnesotan cookbook published by the Grace Lutheran Ladies Aid. This landmark recipe called for hamburger meat, onions, celery, canned peas, canned tomato soup, and Creamettes — Minnesotan macaroni — to be stirred together and baked.

Since then, it has evolved into many different variations: from vegetarian versions with lentils or beans instead of meat; to versions that use rice instead of pasta; to versions with potatoes instead of pasta, or even both!

Just Like Grandma Made in The 1960s – Minnesota Jello Salad

The Minnesota Jello Salad is a dish on many tables across the upper Midwest. It is a staple at family gatherings, where it is served alongside other famous Minnesota foods like hotdish and lutefisk.

The Minnesota Jello Salad consists of three layers: an outer layer made up of Cool Whip whipped cream (or Cool Whip Lite), a middle layer made up of Cool Whip Lite and Cool Whip regular whipped cream (or Cool Whip Lite), and an inner layer made up of jello mix and boiling water poured over it until it sets into a firm block that can be cut into cubes like cheese or cubed ham (or both).

The Minnesota State Candy – Nut Goodies

The Pearson Nut Goodie is suggested as the official state candy of Minnesota.

It’s a delicious and unique treat made with walnuts, pecans, and almonds. The Pearson Nut Goodie was first made in 1912 by the Pearson Candy Company of Minneapolis, and it has been a favorite ever since.

The Pearson Nut Goodie is available in a wide variety of flavors: chocolate-covered nuts; peanut butter-coated nuts; honey-roasted nuts; cashew pieces; coconut flakes; chocolate-covered coconut flakes; chocolate-covered peanuts; chocolate-covered raisins; peanut butter cups; caramel corn; and even seasonal flavors like pumpkin pie spice during Thanksgiving time!

Top Food Treat At Minnesota State Fair – Pronto Pup

Pronto Pub Stand at Minnesota State Fair

The Pronto Pup, Minnesota’s official State Fair food, is a deep-fried hotdog served on a stick. It has been a staple at the fair since the 1930s.

The Pronto Pup was invented by George Boyington, who faced a dilemma when a rainstorm ruined all of his hot dog buns at his concession stand in Rockaway, Oregon. He wanted to create something that would appeal to kids, so he came up with the idea of deep-frying a hotdog and serving it on a stick—and thus, the Pronto Pup was born!

People have said that the texture of Pronto Pups, made with a batter made of cornmeal, is like that of funnel cake or doughnuts. They’re served on sticks because they’re easier to eat than regular hotdogs (especially when covered in mustard).

Thank Minnesota for Your Thanksgiving Turkey

Minnesota is known for its many delicious foods, but none is more famous than the Minnesota-bred turkey. This breed has been raised in the state since the 1800s, and it’s been said that no other state can produce as many turkeys as Minnesota can.

Minnesota-bred turkeys have a long history of excellence, so it’s no surprise they’re so popular. They’re known for their large size, high-quality meat and eggs, and ability to thrive under harsh conditions–all qualities that make them perfect for farming conditions in Minnesota.

If you’re looking for a Thanksgiving or Christmas bird this year, consider trying one of these fantastic turkeys!

Wisconsin vs. Minnesota Tradition – Cheese Curds

Culvers Cheese Curds

If you’ve ever been to Minnesota, you may have wondered what all the fuss is about. After all, Wisconsin claims to own the cheese curd–and they’re not wrong. But Minnesotans love cheese curds and have developed a style all their own.

But in Minnesota, we’ve taken our cheese curds to the next level. Instead of just frying them up and serving them, we add spices and ingredients to make our cheese curds even better! As a result, we’ve got everything from jalapeno-flavored cheese curds to rich gravy-covered and butter-filled ones–and we’re always looking for new ways to improve them.

Dairy Farmers of Minnesota Made Land O’Lakes

Land O’Lakes is a Minnesota-based farmer’s Co-op that was founded in 1921. It’s best known for its quality butter and dairy products, but they also offer a wide range of other products, including eggs, cheese and ice cream.

Land O’Lakes was the first to make butter from fresh, sweet cream — not sour cream — and sell it in individually wrapped sticks. This innovation set the standard for butter quality in America.

Minnesota Comfort – Swedish Meatballs

Swedish Meatballs Sharon Chen from Austin, United StatesCC BY 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Swedish meatballs are a staple of Minnesota cuisine. The famous dish originated in the early 1800s when King Charles XII brought back a recipe from Turkey. Since then, it has been adapted and perfected by generations of Minnesotans.

Today, Swedish meatballs are available everywhere–but perhaps most famously at IKEA.

Knoephia Soup

Knoephla soup is a traditional German-Russian dish that is particularly popular in Minnesota’s northern and eastern regions. The soup is made with knoephla dumplings, which are small, dense dumplings made from a mixture of flour, eggs, and milk or cream. These dumplings are then added to a rich and creamy broth, often flavored with chicken or beef, onions, and various herbs and spices.

The origins of Knoephla soup can be traced back to the German-Russian immigrants who settled in the area in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. These immigrants brought their traditional recipes and ingredients with them, and over time, Knoephla soup became a staple dish in the local cuisine.

If you’re looking to try Knoephla soup, you can find it in many restaurants in Minnesota’s northern and eastern regions. Some of the best places to try it include small towns like New Ulm, which has a sizeable German-Russian population, and local restaurants that specialize in comfort food.

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Final Thoughts on Famous Minnesota Foods

Minnesota is home to a wide range of delicious and well-known foods that locals and tourists alike love. There’s something for everyone, from wild rice soup and walleye to Juicy Lucy burgers and Knoephla soup. Whether you’re a Minnesotan looking to rediscover your culinary heritage or a tourist visiting the North Star State, try some of Minnesota’s iconic foods. You will be okay with eating it due to its variety of flavors, ingredients, and history. So next time you’re in Minnesota, explore the local cuisine and discover the many delicious foods the state offers.

Michael Hardy

Mike Hardy is the owner of Thumbwind Publications LLC. It started in 2009 as a fun-loving site covering Michigan's Upper Thumb. Since then, he has authored a vast range of content and established a loyal base of 60,000 visitors per month.

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