This trip was hosted by Visit Roseville.
If you’ve heard of the Minnesota State Fair, you’ve probably heard of the Minnesota State Fair food. And if you haven’t, I’m here to share why you might want to add the nation’s second largest state fair to your food bucket list. And why you’ll want a plan of what to eat at the Minnesota State Fair.
Planning Your Trip to the Minnesota State Fair
The Minnesota State Fair is located in St. Paul (one of the twin cities) and is easily accessible if you stay in Roseville, Minnesota, like I did. It’s one of only two suburbs that borders both Minneapolis and St. Paul so it gives you the best of both worlds and is only about 10 minutes from the fairgrounds.
You will most likely have to park in a remote parking lot and take a shuttle to the fairgrounds. Just remember to wear comfortable shoes and be prepared to WALK! It’s the easiest way to burn off all the calories you’ll eat!
The Local Favorites
Since this was my first time to the fair, we had the local Visit Roseville crew recommend their favorite food. These were their suggestions which I took very seriously:
- Cheese Curds but must be from the Food Building and a Pronto Pup
- Corn on the Cob
- Deep Fried Pickles
- Turkey to Go or Strawberry Sundae from Dairy Building
- Sweet Martha’s Cookies
What to Eat at the Minnesota State Fair
Sweet Martha’s Cookies
Everyone from the airplane to the hotel to the shuttle bus told me I had to eat these cookies. They are only available during the 12 day run of the fair and earn over $4 million in revenue.
That’s a lot of cookies.
With 3 locations, you’ll never have trouble finding some but you will need help to scarf down this overflowing $17 bucket of cookie goodness.
These are definitely worth it But make sure you have a group of people to eat it because the cookies are best when they’re warm and straight out of the oven!
This is another Minnesota exclusive. It’s like a corn dog but it uses a flour-based batter instead of a corn-based batter. And I loved that they brushed ketchup and/or mustard on the dog – so clever!
If you love corn dogs (like me), this may taste a little bland to you but it’s definitely a thing to try at least once at the Minnesota State Fair.
Fried Cheese Curds
If I had to pick a favorite food from the Minnesota State Fair, this would be it. It’s FRIED CHEESE. Need I say more?
But if you’re still stuck on the idea of what cheese curds are exactly, you’re not alone. Cheese curds are typically the fresh curds of a cheese, like cheddar. They have a mild flavor and they’re pretty firm so they won’t be melting in your hands.
We liked them so much that we tried them in two different locations and agree that The Mouth Trap Cheese Curds in the Food Building was, indeed, the best.
Fried pickles aren’t a unique food for me but I do love them. So I’m always down for trying more! These are thick slices and they’re served with ranch dressing.
If I’m being honest, they weren’t my favorite. These tasted more breaded than battered. If I were to go again, I’d probably skip them.
Ice Cream Sundae
Here’s a confession: I don’t love ice cream. I don’t hate ice cream but I don’t go out of my way for it. But since this ice cream from the Dairy Goodness Bar was highly recommended, I forced some down.
Instead of a traditional Strawberry Sundae, I decided to shake things up a bit and try the Strawberry-Rhubarb Sundae.
It was admittedly the smoothest, creamiest ice cream I’ve ever eaten. But luckily I had two friends to share it with and I still couldn’t eat it all.
Corn on the Cob
Okay, I didn’t actually do the eating this time. One of the other travel writers on the trip posed for this photo. I couldn’t imagine that corn in Minnesota is much different than corn anywhere else but she swore it was amazing.
I personally was just impressed with the fact that they recycle their corn cobs!
Bacon on a Stick
Much like the corn, I thought bacon is bacon. Why would I go to the fair to eat a big greasy piece of bacon? So I didn’t. Buut everyone else in my group did and some swore it was their favorite thing all day.
I SHOULD HAVE TRIED IT! Next time, I’ll know. And at this stand, you can also top you big slice of bacon with one of many sauces and sprinkles.
Deep Fried Alligator
I did not set out to eat alligator. I have tried it but it’s been a few decades and I didn’t realize have a desire to revisit it. But when I saw this stand, I popped in just to see what it looked like.
That’s where I met the nicest family who were all standing around enjoyed their alligator nuggets. I asked them what they thought about them and they graciously offered me a taste. I refused at first and then though, I’m at the fair! WHY NOT?
It tasted better than I remember. Kind of like a smoky chicken.
It’s apparently a very big deal to be accepted to the fair and a big deal is made over new food vendor. In fact, the local food critic writes about all of them!
We chose to sample two pies from new vendor, Sara’s Tipsy Pies. They’re touted as hand pies “made with love and local alcohol.” Our samples included sweet (blueberry lemon) and savory (caramelized onion and gouda).
They were good but not great. Next time, I’d save my calories for something else.
You can’t go wrong with cream puffs, right? For these cream puffs, you got to pick your fillings so we chose an assortment of chocolate vanilla and strawberry.
Did I like them? Sure. Did I love them? Nah. Save your calories for something else.
Egg roll on a stick
It’s true what they say. You can pretty much get anything on a stick at the Minnesota State Fair. In this case, it was an egg roll.
Looks good, right? It wasn’t bad but just know it was very heavy on the pork and definitely greasy (then again, it IS fried food!).
Fresh French Fries
Read this part carefully. There are fries everywhere at the fair but we were told the big yellow and red sign, “Fresh French Fries” had the best.
At first bite, I thought they were okay. At second bite, I thought they were pretty good. At third bite, I didn’t want to stop.
These are hand cut fries but they have the perfect amount of crispness that you can’t normally get with handcut fries. WORTH IT!
What I Didn’t Try
A LOT. I barely scratched the surface of all of the culinary delights at the Minnesota State Fair.
I didn’t try the craft beers, or double bacon corn dogs, fry bread tacos, nitro ice cream, Swedish egg coffee, cheesy sriracha funnel cake bites, deep fried dilly dog, grilled sota sandwich, pierogies, or Gram’s sin-a-buns.
And for that reason, I’d love a chance to try again. I promise I’ll do better next time, Minnesota!
For your trip to the Minnesota State Fair, I would plan at least two days and recommend staying in nearby Roseville for quick and easy access.