The Best Minnesota State Fair Food and Drink…according to us! We’ve been attending the fair for 21 years in a row, and these are our favorites.

Dole Whip at MN State Fair

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 and Minnesota State Fair goers, when they inquire about our family’s favorite eats and drinks at the fair.

crowd of people at the fair

Attending the annual Minnesota State Fair is a 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. This year will mark our 21st year in a row, attending together.

Also. Our two daughters, now seventeen and twelve, 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!), our favorite greasy cheese curds, or the items we’ve fallen for at The Blue Barn.

New Minnesota State Fair Food

But beyond the food traditions that have stood the test of time for us, the fair does a crazy awesome job at continuing to lure us with tasty new things to eat. And each year, we make a point to try at least a few new foods.

In 2019, the fair will debut 7 new food vendors and 31 new fair foods >> check out the 2019 Minnesota State Fair new food.

While we will never be able to say we’ve tried every single food item at the Minnesota State Fair, these are the items we have tried, and will definitely eat again. You won’t find anything on this list that we wouldn’t eat again ourselves.

First, be sure to bookmark or save this post to reference from your phone during your visit(s) to the Minnesota State Fair. This food map will help you find all our favorites!

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.

Our favorite Minnesota State Fair eats and drinks are organized into three categories:

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

In each category, I have 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, although the names of concessions on the Google Map are listed alphabetically.

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

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

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

Blake and I grab a coffee, our girls grab an order or two of French Toast Bites, 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!

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

This food is fairly new to the fair. And I ate one of these egg rolls three of the four days I visited in the first year of its debut. I’d list it as one of my own personal favorites.

This is a traditional deep-fried Vietnamese egg roll. Except that it is 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

two hands holding chocolate covered marshmallows on sticks

Chocolate-Covered Marshmallows On-A-Stick

This little sweet treat is the best value at the fair. When our oldest daughter Hatti was a toddler, touring the fair via stroller, she found marshmallows dipped in chocolate. And on their own little stick, in true fair fashion. Hatti has insisted on these every year since. You’ll also find many other treats at this confectionary booth, as well.

Find this at:  Ultimate Confections, tucked into the southeast corner of the Grandstand on the first floor

apple cider freeze pop

Apple Cider Freeze

Another cheap eat, and one that is especially wonderful when the temperatures are high. Basically, this a freezer pop…but instead of fake fruit flavors, this is made from local Minnesota apple cider. It’s 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 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 from this place to grab a cold, crisp brew from the Leinie Lodge to wash them down.

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

watermelon sticks in a glass of kombucha

Fruit N’ Booch

The girls and I are big fans of kombucha, 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. Go here on a hot day to cool down!

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

2 deep fried Reeses sprinkled with powdered sugar

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! It’s rare to find this frozen treat outside of Walt Disney World and Disneyland.

Frozen pineapple-flavored soft serve is swirled into a tall glass with cold pineapple juice. It’s sweet and refreshing and a bit tropical. And if I close my eyes, I can imagine I’m actually at Disney World!

Find it at:  Dole Whip, on Carnes Avenue, between Liggett Street and Nelson Street, in front of the DNR Building

huge deep fried onion rings

Craft-Brewed Beer Onion Rings

I was introduced to these fried golden rings a couple years ago, while attending the fair with my 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

girl with sunglasses on, biting into a fluffernutter sandwich sprinkled with powdered sugar

Bacon Fluffernutter

Our girls wanted to try this mostly sweet and just a little bit savory sandwich. I was feeling suspicious as I handed over what felt to be too much money for this treat ($9). But I ended up liking it. (The fluffernutter, not the price tag!)

A grilled cinnamon bun sandwich filled with bacon, peanut butter, and marshmallow cream, with a good sprinkling of powdered sugar to finish it off.

Find it at: The Sandwich Stop, on Clough Street, between Carnes Avenue and Judson 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, you have to find this concession trailer. 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. Thin slices of huge Idaho potatoes are dipped in a special 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

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

A super flavorful sandwich featuring thinly sliced rib-eye steak mixed with sauteed onions and green peppers. 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

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Nitro Ice Cream

This is one of my own favorites. Ice cream is made on site with the use of liquid nitrogen. It’s rich and smooth and ultra cold, with an almost chewy texture. An ice cream gimmick? Maybe so. But if I like it, I like it!

Find it at: Nitro Ice Cream, in the Food Building, in the northeast corner

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 checked table-clothed tables.

Swedish-style meatballs with cranberries and wild rice are rich and comforting. 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

scoops of Izzy's ice cream in a cup

Izzy’s Ice Cream

A must-stop each year for our daughter Hatti. She just has to get a scoop of Mini Donut Batter Crunch from Izzy’s Ice Cream. And I like to check out the latest State Fair exclusive ice cream flavor.

Find it at:  Izzy’s Ice Cream, at the front of the 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. No ice granules here. The texture is delicate and fluffy. And the flavors are many. This is a great place to stop when it’s a hot day at the fair.

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

a paper basket of triple truffle trotters

(photo credit: The Blue Barn)

Triple Truffle Trotters

I’m a fan of truffle oil. So these waffle fries topped with sliced peppers and bacon and a big dollop of truffle oil mayo are a total win!

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

pickle spear wrapped in pastrami and cream cheese

Pickle Dog

A cold juicy dill spear is a refreshing bite, especially when you need a break from greasy fried food. And it’s 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

a bite out of a mini sconut, plus a drink with cucumber slices floating in it

Mini Sconuts

Buttermilk scone holes are filled with chocolate, marshmallow, and Nutella – and then deep-fried and sprinkled with powdered sugar. I don’t feel that “scone” is the best name for these. They’re more like a really wonderful artisan donut hole.

These would be a great way to kick off a morning at the fair, with a cup of coffee. (Or that cucumber lemonade, shown in the photo – I liked that, too!)

Find it at: French Meadow Bakery & Cafe, on the north side of Carnes Avenue, between Nelson Street and Underwood Street.

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.

girl holding bucket of fresh baked chocolate chip cookies

Chocolate Chip Cookies

And last, but certainly not least, is a treat that has become iconic with the Minnesota State Fair. Sweet Martha’s continues to be the top-selling concession year after year, grossing $4.73 million last year.

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.

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 hollowed-out fresh 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

a glass of iced coffee

Vietnamese Iced Coffee

This cold brew coffee, with sweetened condensed milk, is my biggest craving each afternoon at the fair.

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

a glass of blueberry basil lemonade

Blueberry Basil Lemonade

This drink smells and tastes just like summer. Bright 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

2 girls drinking glasses of milk

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

Our Favorite Minnesota State Fair Drink 21+ (alcohol)

Please know that this list includes brews that are found ONLY at the 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

Kirby Pucker #34

I have been loving all the sour beers coming out the past few years. And so I like to check out the Kirby Pucker Sour Series from East Lake Brewery. Flavors change up each year for the fair. Past years have featured grilled peaches, strawberries, and rhubarb. This year it’s all about the Arnie Palmer. You know I’ll be there!

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 from Barley John’s Brew Pub is hopped with dill and horseradish, and garnished with a chunk of havarti dill cheese and a dill pickle. Yes, there’s alot of dill going on here.

I think this beer is super fun, and a perfect example of Minnesota’s playfulness when it comes to the fair.

If you don’t like pickles, don’t waste your time with this beer. Also. If you do like pickles, don’t hate me if you hate this beer!! I had recommended this brew to a beer-loving friend who also likes pickles, only to find that he thought it “tasted like someone just poured pickle juice in my beer”. Sigh. On the flip side, I know WAY MORE people who LOVE this beer.

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!

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

Raspberry Apple Hard Cider

A blend of three Minnesota-born apples – Honeycrisp, Haralson, and SweeTango – gets a little love from a fresh raspberry puree. I thought this was a great berry brew from Sociable Cider Werks.

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 so much!

Grain Belt Premium gets a load of fresh blueberry goodness. 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 foam that you can add to your beer. It floats right on top, keeping your beer super chilled.

Find it at:  Schell’s Pavilion, located at West End Market

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!

Pinterest image, a collage of Minnesota State Fair photos