Foods in the USA are a culmination of different influences that span the cuisines of the world. It is this myriad of connections that makes American food a gastronomical delight.
If you aren’t quite sure what the dishes in the United States have in store for you or you are just looking for more flavors to taste outside of your usual meals, then get your taste buds (and bucket list) ready! From grilled cheese to Chicago-style pizza to something as exotic as fried alligator, here is a list of different foods to try and taste in the USA.
American Food Bucket List: Cuisine, Dishes & Names of Foods in the USA to Eat
1. Apple Pie
And what better way to start this food bucket list than the all-time American dessert: apple pie! It is as delightful as it sounds, with a butter crust that maintains its form nicely and some wonderful sweet flavors, fall spices, and a butter crust that holds its shape well. The perfect pie for your Thanksgiving Bucket List, or any other occasion throughout the year!
Recipe: Apple Pie by Grandma Ople
2. Avocado Toast
Are you looking for something new for breakfast? Why not try some avocado toast! It’s high in fiber and healthful unsaturated fats, plus it’s a quick and easy breakfast or snack to make. You can also add proteins like eggs or tuna for a well-balanced and nutritious meal!
Recipe: Avocado Toasts by Cookie + Kate
3. Bagel & Lox
A bagel and lox is a famous New Yorker sandwich consisting of freshly baked bagel split in half, then stuffed with cream cheese and cured salmon (also known as lox). If you want to add extra flavors to this yummy sandwich, you can garnish it with tomatoes, sliced onions, cucumbers, and capers!
Recipe: Bagel and Lox by Spruce Eats
4. Baked Beans
Another classic dish that is enjoyed not just in America but worldwide (I eat them for breakfast every time I am in Europe!). Baked beans are the perfect pair for barbeques but can also be paired with other meals such as potatoes, hot dogs, grilled cheese, and more! They are also an easy dish to make, which means that you can take them with you on potlucks or picnics.
Recipe: Smoky Baked Beans by Jessica
5. Banana Bread
Bananas are not just a tasteful treat by themselves. They also add a sweet flavor to different dishes, including bread, not to mention the nutrients it gives like protein and fiber.
Whether it’s mixed with nuts, raisins, or even chocolate chips, people of all ages will definitely enjoy having banana bread, whatever time of the day it is!
Recipe: Best Banana Bread Recipe by Nichole
6. Banana Split
Do you know why bananas are such good ballet dancers? It’s because they can do a good split ☺
Kidding aside, banana splits are a sweet and refreshing dessert to enjoy, especially on a hot day. Topped with a scoop of vanilla, chocolate, and strawberry ice cream, you’ll be left smiling with each spoonful!
Recipe: Classic Banana Split by Jamielyn Nye
7. Barbecue Ribs
This popular USA food is coming in hot from the grill! If you are looking for some barbecue-style goodness, you can never go wrong with barbecue ribs. Marinated and slow-cooked on a grill for hours and served with some special barbecue sauce, this tender meal will get you smacking your lips in hearty delight!
Recipe: Barbecued Ribs by Ricardo
8. Biscuits & Gravy
Biscuits and gravy are two foods that you might not imagine go together in a dish, but you are in for a surprise! It is a popular breakfast meal in America, especially in the South.
With a soft, doughy biscuit smothered in black pepper-seasoned meat gravy, this hearty meal will surely whet your appetite!
Recipe: Biscuits and Gravy by Samantha
BLT is a famous sandwich characterized by its three main ingredients: bacon, lettuce, and tomato (hence the acronym BLT). What’s also great about this is that you can easily add your personal touch to it, like adding mayonnaise or avocado or even swapping bacon with some turkey bacon! How would you personalize your BLT?
10. Bread Pudding
With bread pudding, throwing out stale bread is a thing of the past. This delicious treat is a mixture of milk, eggs, and sugar, where the bread is soaked and mixed in before being baked. Some recipes add in a touch of cinnamon, vanilla, or even bourbon!
The result? A delightful sweet dessert with a soft gooey inside and a crisp outside!
Recipe: Old Fashioned Bread Pudding by Fantabulosity
11. Buffalo Wings
Buffalo wings make for a great appetizer or even as a main dish. An unbreaded wing part (a flat or drumette) is usually deep-fried before being coated or dipped in sauce (Cayenne pepper-based hot sauce, melted butter, and vinegar).
Pair it with some dipping sauce like the traditional blue cheese or even Ranch dressing, and you’ll have yourself a crispy, saucy Buffalo wing goodness! PS: if you want an extra special bucket list experience, then eat at the New York restaurant that created buffalo wings!
Recipe: Fried Buffalo Wings With Blue Cheese Dip by Food Network
12. California Roll
Also known as California maki, is an inside-out sushi made of cucumber, crab, and avocado at the center. The outer part of the roll is rice, sometimes sprinkled with toasted sesame seeds or roe.
Though not a traditional food from Japan, once you have a mouthful of these, you’ll be greeted with a burst of different flavors, more so if you added wasabi and soy sauce!
Recipe: California Roll by Kiano Moju
Cheeseburgers (and hamburgers in general) are a staple among fast-food chains around America. And with over 50 million burgers consumed each year in the United States alone, it is undeniable how good they are.
From its melting, cheesy goodness to its layers upon layers of hamburger patties and other veggie toppings, it’s no wonder why people around the world love cheeseburgers.
14. Chicago-Style Pizza
Are you tired of the same old regular pizza? Why not try some Chicago-style pizzas instead! Unlike classic pizzas, Chicago-style pizzas are enormous, measuring up to 2 inches tall and 12-14 inches in diameter.
They are usually referred to as deep-dish pizzas, starting with stacks of cheese, followed by fillings (meat and vegetables), and then sauce. Is your mouth watering yet?
15. Chicken Fried Steak
Chicken-fried steak is a beefsteak-based breaded cutlet meal eaten with cream sauce in the United States. It gets its name from the fact that it’s breaded and cooked like regular fried chicken.
Texas has some of the best chicken-fried steaks in the country, but you can also check it out in different states.
Recipe: The Ultimate Chicken Fried Steak Recipe by Trish
16. Chocolate Chip Cookies
Chocolate chip cookies are America’s favorite cookie, and you can see why that is. I mean, who wouldn’t love this sweet delectable treat with its crunchy, crisp cookie sprinkled with chunks of chocolate?
From kids to the kids at heart, chocolate chip cookies will have a special place in our hearts for the years to come.
Recipe: The Best Chocolate Chip Cookie by Laura
Enjoy some seafood goodness in the form of Cioppino! It consists of a wide assortment of seafood like crabs, clams, shrimp, scallops, squid, mussels, and fish in a tomato-based broth. You can also dip some bread into its sauce, just like how you would on pasta.
Recipe: Cioppino with Mussels by Andrew Zimmern
18. Cobb Salad
Cobb salads often are prepared as a main dish, with chopped salad greens, tomato, crisp bacon, fried chicken breast, hard-boiled eggs, avocado, blue cheese, and red-wine dressing.
Its neatly arranged ingredients on a plate only add more to its visual and tasty appeal.
19. Corn Dog
A corn dog is a hot dog on a stick coated with corn batter and deep-fried, which gives it a sweet and salty taste with a crunch. And it’s one of America’s famous street foods that can be found at festivals, fairs and even in the frozen foods section in just about any North American supermarket.
Recipe: Homemade Corn Dogs Recipe by Natasha
Cornbread is a well-known quick bread that comes in many different regional varieties across the United States. People have enjoyed this delicious bread, with its crispy golden-brown crust and soft, dense, and crumbly inside.
From baked cornbread to cracklin’ bread to corn prone to Johnnycakes to Hushpuppies, whatever type of cornbread it may be, it will surely make you feel at home.
Recipe: Grandmother’s Buttermilk Cornbread
21. Crab Cakes
Crab cakes are a popular type of fishcake in the USA. It consists of crab meat and different ingredients like bread crumbs, mayonnaise, mustard, eggs, and seasonings.
Its sweet, slightly creamy crab taste blends perfectly with side dishes like greens or fries. Add a glass of wine, and you have a meal that will delight the taste buds.
Recipe: Baltimore-Style Crab Cakes by Food & Wine Magazine
22. Eggs Benedict
Popularized in New York City, Eggs Benedict is a traditional American breakfast or brunch dish made of toasted English muffin cut in half, bacon, poached eggs, and Hollandaise sauce. It’s decadent, savory, and satisfying.
Eggs Benedict has spawned different variations like California Eggs Benedict, with one or more of its main ingredients swapped for a different one (save for the egg).
Recipe: Perfect Eggs Benedict by Gordon Ramsay
Fajitas are a classic Tex-Mex dish consisting of marinated, grilled meat with peppers and onions served with wheat flour tortillas. Most restaurants bring the fajitas on a sizzling plate.
You can enjoy this classic dish any way you want, on a plate or wrapped in a tortilla, and is best topped with cheese or salsa!
24. Fried Alligator
Warning: this one is more for your weird food bucket list! The idea of eating fried alligator meat might not sound appealing to some, but it is actually quite delicious. The taste is like a mix between chicken and pork. Nevertheless, it is a unique and exotic cuisine that you can proudly tick off your bucket list once you’ve tried it.
25. Fried Chicken & Waffles
Chicken and waffles are mainly just that: chicken and waffles! Now you might be thinking, do they go well together? The answer is a resounding yes.
It has been a part of various culinary traditions, including “soul food” and Pennsylvania Dutch cuisine. It is usually served as a breakfast or dinner meal, complete with butter and syrup for the waffles and gravy for the chicken.
Recipe: Southern Fried Chicken and Waffles by Ari Laing
26. Fried Green Tomatoes
Fried Green Tomatoes is a culinary dish made from sliced unripe tomatoes (hence green tomatoes) with cornmeal breading. Its crunchy, tomatoey taste is complemented well by the slight sweetness coming from the cornmeal.
It also goes well as a side dish or ingredient for other dishes like BLT or pork chops.
Recipe: Best Fried Green Tomatoes by Diana Swenson-Siegel
27. Green Bean Casserole
Green bean casserole is a baked dish using green beans, cream of mushroom soup, and french fried onions as the main ingredients. Its creamy, silky sauce and unique flavor, as well as its simplicity, give the green bean casserole its appeal.
As a side dish, it is perfect with roasted turkey or chicken, and even pot roast—that’s why it’s served at Thanksgiving dinners all around America.
Recipe: Classic Green Bean Casserole by Holly
28. Grilled Cheese
Out of all the sandwiches in America, grilled cheese takes the number one spot as the best sandwich. With the simplicity of its preparation combined with the deliciousness of melted cheese and toasted bread, it’s no wonder this classic comfort food has won over the hearts of people.
Recipe: Grilled Cheese Sandwich Recipe by Natasha
Grits is a cornmeal porridge formed by boiling. As a breakfast dish, it’s frequently flavored with different ingredients. Grits can be savory or sweet, but savory spices are more popular. The meal originated in the South but is now accessible throughout the United States. Grits are frequently served as part of a supper entrée, most commonly as shrimp and grits, which is popular in the South.
Recipe: How to Make Grits by Holly
30. Hot Dogs
Hot dogs are one of the most delicious and versatile sausages ever created. It is also one of the favorite street foods, especially in the Big Apple, and has been an American staple at baseball games.
Due to its versatility, you can put almost anything on it. From mustard to ketchup to onions to chili and so much more, you’ll have many ways to garnish your hot dog. Not to mention you can enjoy it on a stick or a bun!
31. Ice Cream Sandwich
Summer is synonymous with ice cream sandwiches, just as rain is with spring and bicycles with childhood. Ice cream sandwiches are a classic summer treat that can be found in any grocery store, but it’s also simple to create.
This is, without a doubt, a straightforward dessert: a block of vanilla ice cream sandwiched between two layers of soft, chocolatey cake. But that is precisely why this is such a popular American dessert; it is simple to prepare and will undoubtedly wow your taste buds.
Jambalaya is a rice dish seasoned with herbs and is usually served with handy ingredients (ham, sausage, chicken, shrimp, or oysters). It’s a Louisiana-born cuisine that draws on historical French and Spanish flavors. Jambalaya has been a popular American dish for years because it is inexpensive, hearty, and flavorful.
Recipe: Jambalaya recipe by Nagi
Since 1897, Jello has been a gelatin-based dessert on American menus. This jiggly, sweet material is most commonly associated with school meals and hospital platters, but it’s also famous among dieters as a low-calorie treat. Jell-o is also a well known dessert all over the world.
34. Key Lime Pie
Key lime pie is a sweet dessert prepared with Key lime juice, eggs, and condensed milk from the United States. It can be served plain, with an egg white meringue topping, or with whipped cream; it can be baked in a pie crust, graham cracker crust, or without a crust.
The dessert is named after the little Key limes, which are more aromatic than Persian limes and have golden juice rather than green. Because of the egg yolks, the filling in a Key lime pie takes on more or a yellow tint.
I had the BEST key lime pie in Florida’s Key West but you can make your own with this recipe: Key Lime Pie by Jenn Segal
35. Lobster Rolls
A lobster roll is a New England specialty— I had delicious ones in both Kennebunkport and Portland Maine. It’s cooked with lobster meat and is placed on a grilled hot dog bun. Butter, lemon juice, salt, and black pepper may be added to the filling, with mayonnaise being substituted for butter in some New England varieties. Other variations may include celery or scallion chopped.
36. Macaroni & Cheese
Mac and cheese has become one of America’s best comfort foods due to its simplicity and creamy, gooey goodness. There are even packaged mixes that you can cook over a saucepan or microwave for those spur-of-the-moment cravings!
Macaroni and cheese sauce (made from butter, milk, and cheddar cheese) make up this delectable comfort food. You can also include other ingredients like breadcrumbs or meat (like bacon bits) for added flavor.
Recipe: Creamy Mac And Cheese by The Chucky Chef
Meatloaf has been a staple in every household because of how cheap and easy it is to make. The recipes vary in every family, but the main ingredient is the ground meat mixed with other ingredients like onions, garlic, bread, and more which is then shaped into a loaf and baked. Some also add ketchup on top before baking.
The result? A dish that will give you a taste of being home!
Recipe: Meatloaf by The Hairy Bikers
You would typically think of nachos as a Mexican food, but they are actually an incredibly popular food in America—from ballparks to Tex-Mex restaurants to dishes served at home.
There are loads of toppings that go well with the tortilla chips for nachos, like ground beef, nacho cheese, guacamole, onions, to name a few.
39. New England Clam Chowder
New England clam chowder is rich, creamy, and milky white. Who can say no to this lovely, mellow American fare? The sweetness of the pork balances out the clams’ subtle bitterness, with fragments of celery and onion that have almost fully dissolved into the broth and faded into the background.
Recipe: New England Clam Chowder by Jen
40. New York Style Cheesecake
A traditional New York Cheesecake is a delicious, creamy baked dessert. Sweetened cream cheese, sour cream, and eggs are used to make this dish. Originally, this kind of cheesecake had no toppings, but various versions have been created to give this magnificent delicacy more life and richness. For an outstanding holiday treat, enjoy it plain or with your preferred cheesecake toppings!
Recipe: New York-Style Cheesecake by Jenn Segal
Going for a cocktail with friends on a bright weekend and having a dozen raw oysters to share is a common pastime among many. While some people today find oysters, raw or cooked, unappealing due to the strange texture of the flesh and its saline, slimy flavor, oysters have been a staple of the human diet for thousands of years. This delectable, and somewhat pricey mollusk is still a popular American delicacy.
42. Peanut Butter & Jelly Sandwich
For decades, peanut butter and jelly sandwiches have remained popular for kids and adults alike—they are one of the iconic American packed lunches. It’s definitely a parent favorite because of the high protein content, and the fact that the youngsters appreciate the sweet taste of jelly!
43. Philly Cheese Steak
The mix of finely sliced beef, loads of melted cheese, and a huge roll is what makes a typical Philly Cheesesteak sandwich. This sandwich has a distinction for satisfying hefty appetites and is a favorite for a reason—it’s meaty, gooey, and delightfully messy.
Recipe: Philly Cheesesteak Recipe by Natasha
The po’boy is a one-of-a-kind sandwich with a long history. It was created by two brothers named Benny and Clovis in Louisiana in the early twentieth century. Coming in from Louisiana, the po’boy is a traditional sandwich made up of New Orleans French bread filled with roasted meat or fried seafood. The sandwich has become quite popular because of the locally-made French bread’s crisp outside and exceptionally soft inside.
This Louisiana classic is often served with French fries and gravy, enjoyed with a cold drink on the side.
Recipe: Shrimp Po’ Boy Sandwich by Imma
Watching movies at the theater is never complete without a bucket of popcorn. It comes from a variety of corn kernels that *pop* when heated up (hence the name popcorn). Different flavors like butter and salt, white cheddar, and caramel give popcorn an added boost in its taste!
You can also get yourself some popcorns in microwavable bags, perfect for when you are looking for some snacks while watching movies or shows on Netflix.
46. Pot Roast
There’s nothing quite like pot roast for a Sunday supper in the United States. Of course, it doesn’t matter what day of the week it is; pot roast is a fantastic dinner any day of the week. Any cut of beef roast can be seared in a skillet to make a superb pot roast. It’s a simple comfort food that’s hearty, filling, and large enough to feed the entire family.
Recipe: Perfect Pot Roast by Holly
47. Potato Chips
Many people can’t help but munch more when they’re stuck at home with nowhere to go, and many of them reach for a bag of potato chips.
Whether it’s classic, barbecue, or salt and vinegar (my favorite!), whatever flavor that may be, you will surely enjoy the crunchy crisp goodness of potato chips in every bite!
48. Reuben Sandwich
Corned beef, sauerkraut, Swiss cheese, and a hearty smear of Russian dressing are sandwiched between toasted, buttered rye. That’s the usual recipe of a Reuben Sandwich. Like many other great meals, it has several origin stories, but whatever story you know, the Reuben sandwich will remain as a delectable delicacy that’ll keep you full for a long time.
Recipe: Reuben Sandwich with Homemade Russian Dressing by Natasha
49. Rocky Mountain Oysters
Prairie oysters, often known as Rocky Mountain oysters, are true Western delicacies. Another entry on our weird food bucket list, they are the parts of the bull that are removed while he is young to make him more tractable, meatier, and less macho. Have you figured out what we are talking about yet?
Testicles, like other organ meats, can be deep-fried whole, sliced into broad, thin slices, or marinated in a variety of ways. Cowboys and ranch men tossed the meat on a hot iron stove during roundups in the old West. They’re regarded as quite a delicacy.
50. Rootbeer Float
There’s one thing we look forward to more than any other on a hot summer day. It includes velvety, creamy ice cream and delightfully sweet, effervescent soda. What exactly are we discussing? Of course, a root beer float!
The easy way to prepare a root beer float is our favorite. Place a large glass in the freezer and leave it there until it is extremely cold. Spoon a couple of scoops of vanilla ice cream into the bottom of your glass once it’s ready. Then, until it foams up to the top, pour cooled root beer over the top. You’ll need a straw and a spoon to get started.
A campout will not be complete without roasting marshmallows over an open fire to produce s’mores, the delicious dessert that all campers are familiar with.
A s’more is a classic camping food that has long been a favorite of both kids and their parents. – for a very long time. S’mores are essentially a sandwich of roasted marshmallows and chocolate between graham crackers, despite the fact that many distinct kinds have arisen through time.
If you consider yourself a pork lover, scrapple should be on your menu. Scrapple is a typical Mid-Atlantic rural American cuisine that exemplifies the peasant custom of repurposing food that could go to waste into something delightful. Hog offals like the head or heart, cornmeal, and other seasonings like sage or thyme are boiled together and make up the mush. The mush is then shaped into loaves and cooled off until it sets.
Scrapple is a delectable dish. It’s usually served as a breakfast side dish alongside ketchup, applesauce, honey, mustard, or maple syrup as a sweet or salty condiment. It can also be eaten with scrambled eggs or between two slices of white bread on its own. It’s delicious, porky, hearty, and adaptable.
While you may think of Spam as a simple canned pork, it is truly a mainstay of American food. Spam was quickly adopted by homemakers, and it became a favorite lunch and breakfast food. It became a desirable product in many countries across the world, particularly in those that have experienced economic difficulties. It fills a real purpose because it is inexpensive, filling, and has a long shelf life.
54. Surf & Turf
Surf and turf, sometimes known as surf ‘n’ turf, is an American main meal that mixes fish and meat. It’s very popular in North American British/Irish-style pubs and steakhouses. The “surf” element represents the lobster, prawns, or shrimp that can be grilled or breaded and fried. On the other hand, the “turf” part refers to a steak.
55. Sweet Potato Casserole
A prepared sweet potato casserole is a must-have for Thanksgiving, and other times of the year too! It’s rich but not candy-like, with smoked paprika and cayenne pepper undertones to balance out the warmth of the cinnamon. A crisp, creamy streusel topping contrasts the luscious middle, in addition to the melty, fluffy marshmallows.
Recipe: Sweet Potato Casserole by Holly
56. Sweet Tea
Sweet tea is a tasty beverage that many people drink on a regular basis in the Southern United States. Because it is served cooled, it is typically classified as an iced tea.
57. Tater Tots
While French fries are widely regarded as the ultimate fried potato meal, there is another popular choice in the United States—Tater Tots. This side dish is made of grated potatoes shaped into little cylinders and deep-fried. Like many other meals, it has a variety of names depending on where you live.
58. Tuna Melt
The tuna melt is said to have originated by accident in the 1960s at a Woolworth’s lunch counter in Charleston, South Carolina, when a bowl of tuna salad tipped over onto a grilled cheese. We may never know if this anecdote is real, but the tuna melt is undeniably a famous American diner dish, and one of my favorite sandwiches!
Recipe: Tuna Melt by Elise Bauer
Turducken is a show-stopping Thanksgiving meal, mainly because they are three deboned birds progressively stuffed into each other. It starts off with a deboned chicken, stuffed inside a deboned duck, stuffed inside a deboned turkey, hence turducken :)
You’ll get a piece of all three birds when sliced, with filling sandwiched between the layers. Turducken is a delicious delicacy that mixes the flavors of juicy roast chicken with a savory filling.
Twinkies are a favorite American snack cake, known for its golden sponge cake and creamy vanilla filling inside. People have enjoyed this classic guilty pleasure since the 1930s to this day.
What’s more, you can also enjoy a Twinkie deep-fried. That’s right, deep-fried! This transforms the Twinkie into a whole new level of goodness that you should definitely try.
You can probably find them at any convenience store or have them delivered to your house by Amazon.
. . .
I hope our list of foods in the USA has whetted your appetite. Which of these mouth-watering American dishes is your next bucket list checkmark?
With so many flavors to enjoy spanning different influences both here and abroad, you will get to taste what each of those cultures and nationalities has to offer. This diverseness has made American cuisine into something it can proudly call its own.
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