The Best Minnesota State Fair Food and Drink…according to our family. 2023 marks our 25th year in a row that we’ve attended the fair, and these are our favorite things to eat and drink!

Dole Whip at MN State Fair


The Best Minnesota State Fair Food & Drink

This is our list of the Best Minnesota State Fair Food and Drink. And when I say “best”, I mean our family’s favorites.

This is where I direct friends and family when they inquire about our family’s favorite eats and drinks at the fair!

crowd of people at the fair

Our Family Tradition

Attending the Minnesota State Fair is an annual tradition in our family.

Blake and I walked through the gates together for the first time back in 1999, just a few weeks before we were married. And we haven’t skipped a beat.

family photo, 25 years attending the fair together

This year marked our 25th year in a row attending together (minus 2020 when the fair was cancelled).

Also. Our two daughters, now 21 and 16, have been to the fair every single year of their lives. They’ve graduated from being pushed in strollers, to leading us around the fair.

Yes, it’s true. We love The Great Minnesota Get-Together!

girl holding foot long corndog

We are mostly a traditionalist kind of family when it comes to state fair foods. Which means that, as a family, we’d never consider skipping out on a footlong corn dog (no Pronto Pups for this family!) or our favorite greasy cheese curds.

New Minnesota State Fair Food & Drink in 2023

But beyond the food traditions that have stood the test of time for us, the fair does a crazy awesome job of continuing to lure us with tasty new things to eat and drink. And each year, we make a point to try at least a few new offerings – it’s good to go to the fair with people who like to share!!

2023 New Foods: In 2023, the fair announced 7 new food vendors and 34 official new foods (and there’ll likely be more added as the fair gets closer). Here’s the 2023 Minnesota State Fair New Food list!

2023 New Drinks: There are also 65 brand-new brews and beverages premiering or found exclusively at the 2023 fair. Plus 39 returning beverages found only at the Great Minnesota Get-Together. Here’s the 2023 Minnesota State Fair New Brews & Beverages list!

Our Favorites, in 3 Categories:

While we will never in a million years be able to say we’ve tried every single food & drink item at the Minnesota State Fair, these are the items we have tried, and will definitely eat again. We’ve obviously eaten a LOT more than you’ll see listed here, but you won’t find anything on this list that we wouldn’t order again.

First, be sure to bookmark or save this post to reference from your phone during your visit(s) to the Minnesota State Fair. This map will help you find all our favorites, which I’ve broken down into 3 categories:

  1. Food
  2. Drink (no alcohol)
  3. Drink 21+ (with alcohol)

In each category, I’ve listed our best MN State Fair food and drink, along with a short description. Nearly all of the photos were taken by our family, except where I’ve noted otherwise. Items are listed in no particular order.

I will do my best to keep this post updated from year to year, adding in new favorites and deleting those that we no longer deem worthy.

So let’s go. Here are our go-to fair favorites!

a couple holding cups of coffee in front of The Blue Barn

Our Favorite MN State Fair Food

When we visit the fair bright-and-early, with coffee and breakfast fare on our brains, we usually head straight to The Blue Barn. This concession is a longtime family favorite, and it tempts us morning, noon, and night.

Blake and I grab a coffee, our girls grab an order or two of French Toast Bites and a couple Blueberry Basil Lemonades, and our day begins!

French toast with whipped cream and Pop Rocks

French Toast Bites

These bites are a particular favorite of our youngest daughter Tessa. We usually order more than one serving to share, and enjoy them any time of day or night. They’re not just for breakfast!

Little eggy ciabatta bites of French toast are topped with a berry sauce, whipped cream, and Pop Rocks. This longtime Pop Rocks fan (me) wholeheartedly approves of a second helping!

UPDATE: This year (2023) they changed up the style of the bites slightly. Our two orders featured larger pieces of French toast than in years past – and sadly, it just wasn’t quite the same experience that we crave. The larger pieces weren’t as easily poppable, plus this changed up the texture. Still good, with the same flavors, just not the same dish we fell in love with years ago.

Find this at:  The Blue Barn, at West End Market, south of the History & Heritage Center

giant egg roll on a stick

Giant Egg Roll on a Stick

I ate one of these egg rolls 3 of the 4 days I visited in the first year of its debut. This is one of my own personal favorites.

The giant egg roll is a traditional deep-fried Vietnamese egg roll. And it’s HUGE. The filling is heavy on the pork and it’s served on a stick. With a sweet and tangy sauce for dunking, these savory, perfectly crispy (and nicely greasy!) egg rolls are gone in a flash.

Find this at:  Que Viet, on the east side of Cooper Street, outside the Merchandise Mart

big chopped turkey sandwich

Giant Juicy Turkey Sandwich

If you haven’t yet tried this jumbo sammy from Minnesota Turkey, I beg you to do so.

A large, squishy-soft bun is LOADED with tender, flavorful turkey that’s been shredded and chopped. This is great for when you’re looking for something that’s filling and not fried.

giant turkey sandwich with bbq sauce

I like to eat it with some BBQ sauce, but the sandwich has so much flavor you really don’t need it.

Also. I highly recommend grabbing a fork and knife. The sandwich is ultra tender and they stuff that bun FULL of turkey!

Find this at:  Turkey to Go, on the east side of Clough Street, between Carnes Avenue and Judson Avenue

apple cider freeze pop

Apple Cider Freeze

Another cheap eat, and one that is especially wonderful when it’s a hot day at the fair. Basically, this a freezer pop…but instead of fake fruit flavors, this is made from local Minnesota apple cider. Because Minnesota apple varieties are quite a thing. This frozen treat is a delicious way to cool down!

Also find other Minnesota apple treats here, including ice-cold cider and apples dipped in caramel.

Find it at:  Minnesota Apples, in the Horticulture Building, on the west side

deep fried pickle chip with a bite out of it

Deep Fried Pickles

Big juicy slices of puckery dill pickles are dipped in batter and then deep-fried until crispy. We like to eat ours dipped in ranch sauce.

Find it at:  The Perfect Pickle, in the bright green concession trailer at the corner of Liggett Street and Dan Patch Avenue. Next to the Midway entrance and Heritage Square.

Can’t get to the fair? Try my recipe for Fried Dill Pickles!

cheese curds in a tub

Cheese Curds

These salty, gooey, crispy nuggets of pure cheese awesomeness are A MUST for our family. And we never order cheese curds from any other place.

If you’re 21+, I highly recommend walking across the street to grab a cold, crisp brew from the Leinie Lodge to wash them down. I usually order a Summer Shandy or a Honey Weiss, or try one of their new brews.

Find it at: The Mouth Trap, inside the Food Building, at the center of the building

Fruit N’ Booch

The girls and I are big fans of kombucha and fresh fruit, so this has been an awesome find.

Fresh spears of watermelon (other fruits are available) soak in a chilled kombucha of your choice. It’s ultra refreshing. They also sell the most delicious fresh peaches – they’re always sweet and super juicy.

Go here on a hot day to cool down!

Find it at:  Produce Exchange, at the northwest corner of Carnes Avenue & Underwood Street

Deep-Fried Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups

Blake and Hatti own this favorite in our family. I tried it the first year, and it’s just “too much” for me. But to each their own.

Candy bars are battered and then deep-fried, served on a stick with a sprinkling of powdered sugar.

Find it at: Deep Fried Candy Bars, on Carnes Avenue, between Nelson Street and Underwood Street

Dole Whip at MN State Fair

Dole Whip Pineapple Float

It makes me so happy to know I can enjoy this each year at the Minnesota State Fair, especially on a hot day! While it was once rare to find this frozen treat outside of Walt Disney World and Disneyland, it’s become a little easier to enjoy elsewhere these days. Yay!

Frozen pineapple-flavored soft serve is swirled into a tall glass with cold pineapple juice. It’s sweet and refreshing and tastes like you’re on a tropical vacation.

Find it at:  Tasti Whip, on the northwest corner of Dan Patch Avenue and Underwood Street (In previous years, a Dole Whip stand was located by the DNR Building. The stand disappeared for the 2022 fair. This is a new vendor in a new location for 2023.)

huge deep fried onion rings

Craft-Brewed Beer Onion Rings

I was introduced to these fried golden rings a number of years ago, while attending the fair with a couple girlfriends. Now I make a point to get my family there each year to help me eat a basket of these incredible nibbles.

Thick-sliced onions are dipped in local craft beer, and then battered and fried. I like to dip them in the spicy beer mustard – the onion rings nearly shatter when you bite into them! These are some fantastic fried goods, my idea of the perfect onion rings.

Find it at: Ball Park Cafe, on the east side of Underwood Street, between Dan Patch Avenue and Carnes Avenue

a hand holding a gyro sandwich

Greek Gyro Sandwich

Whenever we’re in the northeast corner of the fair, and in need of something a bit more substantial to eat, you can bet we’ll be grabbing a gyro and a tall, cold lemonade at this concession.

The Greek gyro sandwich features seasoned beef and lamb in a tender pita, with your choice of traditional sauces and fresh toppings.

Find it at:  Gyros by G & G Concessions, on Randall Avenue, between Underwood Avenue and Cooper Avenue

homemade nutroll on a stick, with a bite out of it

Chocolate-Dipped (Fresh-Made!) Salted Nut Rolls

If you’re a fan of the Salted Nut Roll candy bar (a Minnesota-made candy bar that dates back to 1933), you have to find this concession. These are homemade candy bars, with a core of tender vanilla nougat dipped in caramel – and then YOU get to choose which kind of salty nuts to roll it in… traditional peanuts, cashews, or pecans. Have it dipped in chocolate. Or not!

Find it at:  Colonial Nut Roll Company, at Dan Patch Avenue and Underwood Street,  just south of the Visitors Plaza

Can’t get to the fair? Try my recipe for Chocolate Dipped Salted Nut Roll Bars!

large deep fried potato slices and ranch sauce

Australian Battered Potatoes

This favorite of our goes way back. And my photo does not do justice to the deliciousness on that plate!

Thin slices of huge Idaho potatoes are dipped in batter and then deep fried. They’re served fresh and hot and super crispy. The photo shows both a cheese sauce and buttermilk ranch over the potatoes. But we usually opt for just ranch, on the side, for dipping as we please.

Find it at: Australian Battered Potatoes, on the north side of Judson Avenue, between Liggett Street and Clough Street

Philly cheesesteak at Andy's Grille

Philly Cheesesteak

Another longtime favorite of ours, this one goes back to when Blake and I visited the fair for the first time, and we still share one every year.

A super flavorful sandwich featuring thinly-sliced, tender rib-eye steak mixed with sauteed onions and green peppers. It’s served on a toasted, butter-dipped bun, and topped with Swiss/American cheese. 

Find it at:  Andy’s Grille, on the south side of Carnes Avenue, between Chambers Street and Nelson Street


inside the Hamline Dining Hall

Cranberry Wild Rice Meatballs

We’re pretty fond of this quaint little dining hall, staffed with the sweetest Minnesota peeps. It’s the oldest food concession at the fair, over 120 years strong!

When we need to sit for a spell, or if it’s rainy or chilly, you might find us sitting at one of these checkered table-clothed tables.

Swedish-style meatballs with cranberries and wild rice are rich and comforting – a great meal for a cool day at the fair. This dinner plate comes with a choice of sides (get the mashed potatoes!), coleslaw, and a roll. And lingonberry sauce!

Find it at: Hamline Church Dining Hall, on the north side of Dan Patch Avenue, between Underwood Street and Cooper Street

duck bacon wontons and a cup of sauce

Duck Bacon Wontons

Who doesn’t love cream cheese-filled things?! These crispy, deep-fried wontons are stuffed with duck bacon, grilled sweet corn, and cream cheese – and served with a dipping sauce.

Find it at:  Giggles’ Campfire Grill, at the southeast corner of Lee Avenue and Cooper Street

girl with sunglasses on, holding a cup of shave ice

Minnesnowii Shave Ice

Minnesota + Hawaii = Minnesnowii. Right?!

While I haven’t (yet) enjoyed the famous shave ice from Hawaii, this stand offers the most wonderful shave ice I can imagine. The texture is delicate and fluffy, and the flavors are many. This is a great place to stop when you need something to cool you down.

Find it at: Minnesnowii Shave Ice, on the south side of West End Market, along West Dan Patch Avenue.

pickle spear wrapped in pastrami and cream cheese

Pickle Dog

A super-cold and juicy dill spear is a refreshing bite, especially when you need a break from greasy fried food. It’s also particularly welcome on a hot day at the fair.

A pickle spear that’s wrapped up in a layer of cream cheese and zippy pastrami. So Minnesotan.

Find it at: Pickle Dog, on the south side of Carnes Avenue, between Liggett Street and Chambers Street

Can’t get to the fair? Try my recipe for Pickle Roll Ups and Pickle Dogs!

girl holding a stack of 3 containers with different flavors of cotton candy

Cotton Candy 6 different flavors

There are a number of cotton candy stands at the fair, but we recently discovered one that offers six different flavors!

Grape, banana, watermelon, bubble gum, strawberry, raspberry. How to choose from so much fun?!

Find it at: Cotton Candy 6 Different Flavors, on the southeast corner of Dan Patch Avenue & Underwood Street.

Chocolate Chip Cookies

This treat has become iconic with the Minnesota State Fair. Sweet Martha’s continues to be the top-selling concession year after year, grossing more than $5 million in 2019!

Hot and buttery chocolate chip cookies. Need I say more? We totally recommend ordering a glass or two of milk with your cookies.

Find it at: Sweet Martha’s Cookie Jar – at three locations. On the south side of Carnes Avenue, between Nelson Street and Underwood Street. Another location on the west side of Underwood Street, between Murphy Avenue and Lee Avenue. And another location on the north side of West Dan Patch Avenue, between Liggett Street and Chambers Street.

Nashville hot chicken on a stick at Blue Barn

Nashville Hot Chicken on a Stick

The Blue Barn has MANY good eats!

This dish features a juicy chicken strip with a crunchy corn flake coating. It’s MN-nice as far as spicy goes, but the flavor is really, REALLY good with its sweet-heat butter glaze. Nestled on a piece of soft white bread to soak up all the straying yumminess, plus a couple pickle chips, it’s all kinds of delicious.

Find it at: The Blue Barn, at West End Market, south of the History & Heritage Center

Hummus Bowls

A new favorite for us in 2021, the hummus bowls at Baba’s sweet little Airstream in the NE corner of the fair are superb. I’m so happy to be able to grab their delicious hummus at local stores now whenever I want – I can always find it at Kowalski’s and Super Target. And they’re opening a new brick and mortar SOON!!

Pictured is the “Hummus Bi Lahme” bowl with beef shawarma and toasted almonds, plus a skewer of super soft pita puffs. We also really like their falafel bowl. The taco bowl is new for 2023, and we tried it. It’s very good with tender, tasty barbacoa, but we all agreed that we liked the two I previously mentioned a bit more (We’d love to see some bright acidity added to the bowl – pickled red onions, perhaps?!)

Find it at: Baba’s – East side of Underwood Street between Lee & Randall avenues, just south of Little Farm Hands.

rice and meat at Union Hmong Kitchen

Mov + Nqaij (Rice + Meat)

Union Hmong Kitchen was a new fair vendor in 2022, but no stranger to the food world. Chef Yia Vang has made quite a name for himself locally and beyond.

We ordered the purple sticky rice with tender chicken thigh on a stick that’s flavored with ginger and lemongrass, plus the lemongrass scallion sauce. It comes with a wonderful little pile of pickled vegetables (heat warning!) and a sprinkling of pretty microherbs. It was delicious – I want to go back to try the Hmong sausage and other sauces!

Find it at: Union Hmong Kitchen – at the International Bazaar, on the south wall

a biscuit and fried chicken sandwich

Southern Chicken Biscuit Sandwich

Blake read through last year’s new foods and this sandwich was at the top of his list. And I’m so glad he stood in line for it so I could have a few bites!

  • Biscuit: tender (yet sturdy) and flaky
  • Chicken tender: juicy and deliciously seasoned
  • Pimento cheese: wonderfully flavorful and melty

That about covers it. Delicious!

Find it at: Lulu’s Public House – at West End Market on the west side

ribs in a white paper serving boat

Maui-Sota Sticky Ribs

New in 2023, this was my top pick of our State Fair visit this year!

Featuring slow-smoked St. Louis-style ribs that are gorgeously caramelized with sticky huli huli sauce and seasoned with furikake, and finished with fresh green onion and cilantro.

I’ve always loved tender, chewy ribs. These are a winner!

Find it at: RC’s BBQ – on the north side of West Dan Patch Ave. between Liggett & Chambers streets

pizza with pickles on a white paper plate

Pickle Pizza

The pickle pizza was a new food last year at the Minnesota State Fair, and we missed out. We kept hearing from friends that they loved it, so made a point to stand in the looooooong line this year to grab a slice. And it was GOOD!!

Featuring homemade hand-tossed pizza with a lightly creamy dill ranch sauce, mozzarella cheese, crunchy sliced dill pickles, plus a sprinkling of dill weed seasoning.

Next year, I want a slice all to myself!

Find it at: Rick’s Pizza – on the west side of Cosgrove Street between Wright and Dan Patch avenues

Our Favorite Minnesota State Fair Drink (no alcohol)

3 girls sharing a pina colada drink

Pina Colada in a Pineapple

This non-alcoholic pina colada features a combination of pineapple juice, coconut juice, and ice, served in a fresh hollowed-out pineapple. Even when you’re wearing sweatshirts and raincoats at the fair, this mocktail makes you feel like you’re on a tropical vacation!

Find it at:  Manny’s Tortas – in the Food Building, in the northeast section

Can’t get to the fair? Try my recipe for a homemade Pina Colada (with or without alcohol)!

a glass of iced coffee

Vietnamese Iced Coffee

This cold brew coffee, with sweetened condensed milk, is our biggest craving each afternoon at the fair. We used to share one or two between the four of us, but now we each demand our own glass. If you like iced coffee, GET THIS!

Find it at:  Que Viet – on the east side of Cooper Street, outside the Merchandise Mart

Blueberry Basil Lemonade

This drink smells and tastes just like summer. Bright and lemon-puckery and super refreshing, with a bit of herby goodness, this is a whole-family favorite.

Find it at:  The Blue Barn – at West End Market, south of the History & Heritage Center

Can’t make it to the fair? Try my recipe for Blueberry Basil Lemonade!

All You Can Drink Milk

Choose white or chocolate. And then fill your glass to your heart’s content, over and over again, as much as you please!

This stand is owned by Minnesota’s 3,500 dairy farmers, and operated by Midwest Dairy Association. We’re a family big on milk, so this is a must-stop. Especially when one of Martha’s Cookies stands is not too far away!

Find it at:  All You Can Drink Milk – at the northeast corner of Judson Avenue and Clough Street

Summer Lakes Beverage at the MN State Fair

Summer Lakes Beverage

I’m so happy that this vendor set up a more permanent location in 2021, right next to Baba’s Airstream. Their fresh squeezed cocktail/mocktail mixes are crazy good – I especially like their bright, citrusy Bootleg mix. Ask them for a sample or two if you can’t decide on a flavor!

Find it at: East side of Underwood Street between Lee & Randall avenues, just south of Little Farm Hands

Our Favorite Minnesota State Fair Drink 21+ (alcohol)

Please know that this list includes beer, cider, seltzer, and wine that is premiering or found ONLY at the 2023 Minnesota State Fair!

Be sure to check out this year’s Minnesota State Fair new beers!

3 glasses of beer on a table

Mini Donut Beer

I had my reservations when it came to trying this beer for the first time. It had a great name for an exclusive buy-it-only-at-the-fair beer. But would I want to return for a second glass?

And the answer is, “Yes. I’d very much enjoy another cold glass. Thankyouverymuch.”

Thankfully, sweetness does not overwhelm this malty beer. I find it to be an immensely joyful kind of brew, and absolutely adore the cinnamon and sugar rimmed glass. Well done, Lift Bridge Brewery!

Find it at:  Ball Park Cafe – on the east side of Underwood Street, between Dan Patch Avenue and Carnes Avenue

a glass of beer with a skewer on it with a pickle and cube of cheese

Dill Pickle Beer

This beer was made by Barley John’s Brew Pub when I first tried it a number of years ago. It was hopped with dill and horseradish, and garnished with a chunk of havarti dill cheese and a dill pickle. Yes, there was A LOT of dill going on there.

I thought the beer was super fun, and a perfect example of Minnesota’s playfulness when it comes to its love of pickles and the fair.

But I will say, if you don’t like pickles, don’t waste your time with this beer! It really is a dill pickle lovers’ beer.

Also know that, while the fair has featured a dill pickle beer for many years, the actual brewing company has changed hands at least a couple of times. This beer is no longer made by Barley John’s, when I had it. Tin Whiskers made it for awhile, then Blacklist Brewing Company took over.

For 2023, I see that Blacklist is still the brewer, offering their Dill Pickle Kölsch. “Infused with fresh dill and cucumber, this brew is garnished with a dill pickle and a cube of Havarti dill cheese”.

TIP: This drink is located at Giggles, which is also a favorite food vendor. If you’re only wanting to order a drink, walk around back to their newish back-bar…you’ll get your drink MUCH faster!

Find it at:  Giggles’ Campfire Grill – at the southeast corner of Lee Avenue and Cooper Street

a glass of dark beer with a sugar rim and floating marshmallow

S’mores Beer

Playing perfectly into the summer theme, this brew from Excelsior Brewing Company stuffs the flavors of s’mores into a glass. A chocolate-infused porter with a touch of smoke looks extra tantalizing in a glass rimmed with chocolate and dipped in crushed graham crackers. A floating marshmallow cinches the s’mores beer win!

TIP: This drink is located at Giggles, which is also a favorite food vendor. If you’re only wanting to order a drink, walk around back to their newish back-bar…you’ll get your drink MUCH faster!

Find it at:  Giggles’ Campfire Grill – at the southeast corner of Lee Avenue and Cooper Street

a blueberry beer with a foam topper

Frozen Grain Belt Blu

Gosh, I like this one so much!

Grain Belt Premium gets a load of fresh blueberry goodness with its Grain Belt Blu. It’s a most delicious and refreshing summery spin on a classic Minnesota beer. And the best part? The beer geniuses at August Schell Brewing Co. freeze the brew into a frozen mixture that you can add to your beer. It floats right on top, keeping your beer super chilled. That Grain Belt Blu Topper makes this a top favorite!

You’ll also find a Schell’s Sangria lager at this same stand. It’s sweet and citrusy, and EXTRA refreshing when you add a frozen Schell’s Sangria Topper. I usually order the Blu, but I’ve also been known to enjoy a sangria – especially if we make multiple visits to the fair. (They also offer a Grain Belt Lem’n Shandy with a frozen Lem’n Shandy Topper, which I have yet to try!)

Find it at:  Schell’s Pavilion – at West End Market

slushie drink at the MN State Fair

Lemon Berry Chill Slushie

Calling all you fans of fruity, slushie, and Red Bull!

New in 2023, this new slushie was a hit for us. This collaboration between local Lift Bridge Brewing‘s Lemon Icee Seltzer and Red Bull’s Blue (blueberry) Edition. It’s super refreshing, playfully fruity, and just plain fun!

Find it at:  O’Gara’s – on the southwest corner of Dan Patch Avenue & Cosgrove Street

a shandy style beer with a skewer of blackberry and strawberry

Rhubarb Shandy

New in 2023, this new brew is So Minnesota – we do love our rhubarb!

With fresh, bright lemon and tangy rhubarb flavor, I’d describe this as a mellow sour. It’s super refreshing, goes down smooth and easy – a delicious summery brew by Mankato Brewery.

Find it at:  Giggles’ Campfire Grill – at the southeast corner of Lee Avenue and Cooper Street

a slushy "Bririta" cocktail in a glass


This drink was new in 2022 – if you like white wine and margaritas, I’m pretty sure you’ll love this one.

This frozen cocktail is crisp and refreshing, with Round Lake Vineyards & Winery’s Brianna blend mixed with Island Oasis Margarita mix. It’s very margarita-esque, even garnished with a slice of lime!

TIP: This drink is located at Giggles, which is also a favorite food vendor. If you’re only wanting to order a drink, walk around back to their newish back-bar…you’ll get your drink MUCH faster!

Find it at:  Giggles’ Campfire Grill, at the southeast corner of Lee Avenue and Cooper Street

Please share YOUR best Minnesota State Fair food and drink!

If you have any Minnesota State Fair favorite foods and/or drinks that you think we need to try, please leave a comment below. Thank you!

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Dole Whip float at the Minnesota State Fair

This post was first published in 2018. We update it each year to reflect our current favorite foods and drinks at the Minnesota State Fair.