Midwest, Minnesota

Best Food at the MN State Fair

There are state fairs and county fairs but there is nothing quite like the Minnesota State Fair. Hundreds of thousands of people flock to St. Paul for two glorious weeks in the summer. It is the perfect period to put on the end of the wonderful thing we call a Minnesota summer.

Everyone goes to the fair with one purpose… to eat as much as they can. Make sure you go with people who share similar food tastes to you! You’ll never be able to tackle this list alone… Here are some food and drink items that my friends and I thought were the best (in no particular order of deliciousness) and those not worth the inevitable heartburn.

Worth it!

  • Carpe Diem: Waffle in the shape of a fish+ice cream +strawberry balsamic drizzle=winning

MN State Fair Food - Due Midwest

  • Sweet Martha’s cookies

Tip: split a cone with one friend and you will have the perfect amount of cookies before they get cold. You may be tempted to get the bucket and “save them for later.” Trust me when I say, the magic wears off once you leave the fair. AKA they are not good the next day; even if you reheat them.

MN State Fair Food - Due Midwest

  • Cheese curds

Fair staple and all around deep fried gloriousness. Go to the “original” cheese curds with the mouse on the front (near the corn roast). These are the best. Trust me.

MN State Fair Food - Due Midwest
MN State Fair Food - Due Midwest

  • Roasted corn

They roast the corn in the husk, shuck it and then dip in a vat of butter. Enough said.

MN State Fair Food - Due Midwest
MN State Fair Food - Due Midwest

  • Strawberry Donut Delight

A krispy kreme-esque donut cut in half and filled with strawberries and whipped cream? I only wish I wasn’t so full so I could have eaten more of it.

MN State Fair Food - Due Midwest

  • A Cracker Jack caramel sundae

I didn’t eat this myself but since my friend, Andrea, didn’t share even one bite… it had to be awesome.

MN State Fair Food - Due Midwest

  • Cheesy French onion monkey bread

If you like any of the things listed in the title of this, you’ll love it. Warm bread, gooey cheese and soft onions. Eat this fast because it did get soggy.

MN State Fair Food - Due Midwest

  • Pronto pup

You can only get these at the fair and yes they taste different than a corn dog. Get the smaller size unless you’re not going to eat anything else at the fair. There are a bunch of stands scattered throughout the fair so if there is a line, just walk a bit further and you’ll find another!

MN State Fair Food - Due Midwest
MN State Fair Food - Due Midwest
MN State Fair Food - Due Midwest

  • Bang Bang Fresh Chicken Tenders

The dipping sauce really makes these stand out. I am a big fan of chicken tenders and these were mostly meat (not overdone on breading) and quite tasty.

MN State Fair Food - Due Midwest

  • Apples and apple cider

You can try some U of M variety apples inside the agriculture building. They seemed kind of expensive this year so I decided to go for a bottle of apple cider. So tasty.

MN State Fair Food - Due Midwest
MN State Fair Food - Due Midwest

  • Shake from the dairy barn

The smoothest ice cream you ever did see. This tastes kind of like a Frosty from Wendy’s but 10 times better

MN State Fair Food - Due Midwest

  • French fries

I’m sure there are die hard fans that can argue both sides but I think the best fries are over by the midway. Freshly made and perfectly salty.

MN State Fair Food - Due Midwest
MN State Fair Food - Due Midwest

  • Grilled cheese bites at O’Gara’s

This tasted like a really delicious mozzerella stick. They weren’t my favorite food at the fair but they tasted good washed down with a Loon Juice 🙂 PS sorry for the terrible quality photo.

MN State Fair Food - Due Midwest

  • Chicken in a waffle from the Blue Barn

This is one I also did not eat myself. According to Andrea and Alicia, the gravy was spicy but overall this was a tasty choice.

MN State Fair Food - Due Midwest

  • Banana Cinnamon & Cream Dipped in Dark Chocolate at JonnyPops

This was a pretty tasty Popsicle. If you need a cool treat that isn’t too heavy, I would recommend this!

MN State Fair Food - Due Midwest

  • Cherry rhubarb cider from Sweetland Orchards

Found this over at the Ballpark brews booth and it was very tasty. I didn’t get too strong of a rhubarb flavor. It wasn’t overly sweet and you definitely got a bit of tart. Thumbs up!

MN State Fair Food - Due Midwest

Meh, save your money

Sometimes, the food doesn’t live up to the hype. Here are a couple things we tried that weren’t all that great.

  • Juicy Lulu

I had this 2 years ago when it was new and loved it. They must have changed something because I wasn’t impressed this year. The first one I got had no cheese in it (I know, right?). They did give me a new one which was very nice but most of the cheese dripped out and it was too thick without it.MN State Fair Food - Due Midwest

  • BBQ shrimp taco at Tejas

    My dad ate this and reports the slaw and the shrimp were good but the tortilla was soggy and not very flavorful. This is the only thing I didn’t take a picture of because it was that unappetizing looking. Of note, I don’t like seafood so that was probably part of my issue 🙂

  • Candied bacon BLT:

My dad also tried this as well. He was not impressed with the overall sandwich but reports the bacon itself was tasty.

MN State Fair Food - Due Midwest

  • S’mores

These taste better when sitting around the campfire. I think my hangup was there were graham cracker layers in between the chocolate and marshmallow layer. Too much graham and not enough of the things we’re really eating s’mores for, am I right?

MN State Fair Food - Due Midwest

Well, that wraps up my food coverage of everything I loved (and stuff that wasn’t that great) at the fair this year. I hope a lot of these new foods stick around because almost everything I tried, I would like to have again. I hope this helps you plan your food consumption!

Of note, I went to the fair 3 times so all this food was not consumed in one day by me or anyone I know.

Also, my friend Andrea also wrote a really great post about our food adventures at the fair so head to her post here for another opinion on the food we ate. Follow my friends Alicia, Andrea and Rachel on Instagram for more of their lovely pictures of our adventures at the fair!

Due Midwest Guide to Food at the MN State Fair

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  • Reply Beth

    Yes to all of these! Especially how Sweet Martha’s is pretty much only magical and wonderful fresh AT the Fair. The next day is no good.

    September 7, 2016 at 8:41 PM
  • Reply nora bird

    Dammit, why did I move away??? 😉

    September 7, 2016 at 8:47 PM
  • Reply Sarah

    Thanks for the wrap up. I hadn’t heard of a few of these!

    September 7, 2016 at 9:58 PM
  • Reply Kelly Ratcliff

    Oh man!!! This food makes me regret not going to the State Fair! Lovely pictures and a great recap.

    September 7, 2016 at 10:21 PM
  • Reply Micaela @MindfulMomma

    I’m so jealous you got to try the Carpe Diem. The line was super long and my family did not want to wait! We did try the chicken in the waffle though – delicious!

    September 8, 2016 at 5:07 PM
  • Reply Due Midwest - 15 Things to Do at the Minnesota State Fair - Due Midwest

    […] of your favorites (cheese curds and pronto pups, anyone?), there is a lot to choose from! Check out my post from last year about what to eat. But, you can’t just sit and eat the whole time. You need to give your body […]

    August 14, 2017 at 4:19 PM
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