Growing up going to the Minnesota State Fair every summer, I didn't know how good I really had it. Taking the cake as the largest state fair in the U.S. according to daily attendance, the Minnesota State Fair attracts foodies from all over with their unique, fried, endless food options.

This year, I decided to bring a friend and eat my way through the fair—from the classics to the newbies, we had to try it all. Surprisingly, I didn't have a heart attack and lived to tell the tale. Here is the story of my food journey through the largest state fair in the U.S.

Paneer on a Spear

sauce, ketchup, tomato sauce, tomato, sausage
Carly Koemptgen

We started our day off at the closest spot to our entrance: the International Bazaar. There, you will find the Midtown Global Market booth that boasts their "paneer on a spear."

With a shoutout from BuzzFeed Food, we figured it would be worth a shot. For those of you not familiar with paneer, it is a soft cheese commonly found in South Asian foods—think Indian, Pakistani, and Afghan dishes. The fried cheese was served with a side of tomato garlic chutney.

Our thoughts: We expected gooey, melty, fried cheese, and this just wasn't it. The cheese was more sponge-y than anything. The tomato garlic chutney was good, though, and overall it was flavorful and worth the shot we gave it. Don't make our mistake and just get cheese curds instead. You're better off just getting those fried nuggets of goodness.

Apple Cider Freezes

milk, cheese, popsicle, dairy, dairy product
Photo courtesy of

After the International Bazaar, we headed over to the Horticulture building to learn about where our food actually comes from. We made a stop at the Minnesota Apples booth to get one of my personal favorites—the apple cider freezes.

Our thoughts: These never disappoint. I think I've gotten at least one of these every summer for most of my childhood. I specifically remember one night where I consumed six of these. Think of the spice of hot apple cider mixed with a cool, refreshing freezie that's perfect on an 80-degree summer day. Yeah, that's what these are.

Grilled Cheese Bites

chicken, cheese
Carly Koemptgen

After being disappointed in the paneer from earlier, we were a bit apprehensive to take a risk on a new fair food. However, we were up for the challenge and stopped by O'Gara's to try their new grilled cheese bites.

Our thoughts: Oh. My. Goodness. We still are dreaming and drooling over these. Think of your favorite childhood meal, battered and deep fried to perfection, served with a side of "bloody mary marinara." 10/10 would recommend to anyone with tastebuds.

Corn on the Cob

Carly Koemptgen

When in the Midwest, eat corn. Even though we had road tripped 4.5 hours to get out of the corn state, we couldn't resist this state fair classic. After being roasted, buttered, and salted to your liking, the corn on the cob at the Corn Roast is hard to pass up.

Our thoughts: Getting corn at the state fair is more out of tradition than anything. While it's sweet and fresher than anything you'll get at the grocery store, we could have done without it and saved room for other fried deliciousness.

Australian Battered Poatoes

cheese, chicken, bacon
Carly Koemptgen

At this point we were getting pretty full, but we still had to stop by another one of my favorite fair places: Australian Battered Potatoes. Thinly-sliced Idaho potatoes, battered, deep fried, topped with melty cheese, and served with a side of ranch—what more could you possibly need?

Our thoughts: They must have changed their recipe, because these were not as great as they have been in the past. The batter seemed to be thicker than normal and the huge plate was hard to put down between two people. We would recommend going here with at least three people if you don't want your food to go to waste. They were tasty, though, just like any heaping plate of cheesy fried potatoes would be.


chocolate, coffee, milk, cookie, sweet
Carly Koemptgen

The final stop on our Tour de Fair was obviously Sweet Martha's cookies. We were very full but still thriving. Surprisingly, we didn't get diabetes OR have a heart attack. Recognized nationally by Insider Food, Sweet Martha's cookies are a state fair classic that you cannot visit without trying. We opted for the bucket and the all-you-can-drink milk booth across the street, and certainly were not disappointed.

Our thoughts: The gooey, warm, chocolate-y goodness that is Sweet Martha's cookies will never disappoint. Nothing says Minnesota State fair like a bucket of these cookies and a glass of fresh milk. We would be surprised if you can finish the bucket between two people, but don't worry, these cookies taste just as yummy the day after.

Honorable Mention: Fried Pickles

A photo posted by Erin (@erinjbgood) on

We didn't actually make it to the Perfect Pickle stand because we felt like we were going to explode from eating too much, but I think that these fried pickles deserve an honorable mention.

My personal favorite fair food of all time is definitely these bad boys. They were also recently recognized by Insider Food, alongside Sweet Martha's. Battered and deep fried to perfection, served with a side of ranch (I mean this is the Midwest, what do you expect?), these bite-sized treats were SO HARD to pass up.

Our final thoughts: Eating our way through the Minnesota State Fair has to be one of the best ideas I've had in a long time. Our only recommendation? Help keep the unbelievable daily attendance up and bring a few friends. This is a task for more than just two people.