Last week I had the joy of experiencing the wonders of the Minnesota State Fair for the first time in my life. Although the various displays, rides and carnival games were pretty great, it was the stalls upon stalls of fried (and non-fried!) foods that really caught my eye.    

Although one day at the fair was not nearly enough to try all the foods I wanted - RIP stomach - I've compiled a quick list of 5 must-eat foods everyone and their mother must try during state fair season. Bon appétit!

1. Sweet Martha's Cookies 

chips, chocolate
Photo by Priyanka Godbole

Perhaps the most popular stall in the state fair, Sweet Martha's gooey, bite-size chocolate chip cookies are truly to-die-for. The 30-minute line for cookies in the sweltering sunny weather felt like a breeze, as soon enough there appeared a bucket of cookies in my eager and willing hands. These heavenly cookies are available in 2 containers: a funnel or a souvenir bucket.

2. Bacon Chili Cheese Fries

cheese, poutine, sauce, meat
Photo by Priyanka Godbole

Enough said.  But in all seriousness, Frontier Bar's ~loaded~ bacon chili cheese fries are literally dripping in calories-in the best way possible.  

#SpoonTip: Avoid any and all rides for at least 1 hour after consuming this monstrosity.

3. Fried Pickles

Photo courtesy of

Don't knock them 'til you try them.  Appropriately found at 'The Perfect Pickle' stall, these deep-fried golden brown gherkins are a surprisingly satiating snack for anyone not feeling their sweet tooth.  The stall additionally serves up various twists on the classic pickle.  My favorite? The spicy Cajun Pickle.

4.  Bacon on-a-stick

coffee, tea
Photo courtesy of

A (red-lip) classic fair food, this foot-long slice of bacon grilled with maple syrup sauce is found at a stall appropriately called 'Big Fat Bacon'. Although my vegetarian family member chose not to try this delicacy (amidst my pleas), the locals that were swarming around the stand notified us that this was not a cuisine to be overlooked.

5. Cinnamon Roasted Nuts

sweet, meatball, meat
Photo courtesy of

It was my keen sense of smell that led me to find one of the many stalls serving up fresh roasted nuts.  The aroma itself was so tantalizing that I couldn't resist sampling a few (10-12) of the various sticky sweet options.  From almonds to cashews, honey roasted nuts prove to be one of the healthier options at the fair, and therefore one of the most popular. 

Photo by Justin Deffenbacher

All in all, my stomach happily survived its day out at the fairgrounds. While this article provides a glimpse into the sweet, salty, and bizarre foods found at this annual event, new foods are debuted nearly every day of the fair each year. Stay hungry.