The Minnesota State Fair is located a seven-hour drive from where I live, but this year I might just consider a road trip. The fair runs from August 24 to September 4, and since it’s the second-largest state fair in the nation (sitting just behind Texas, at 2 million annual visitors), you’ve probably heard about its fun culinary offerings before. The lineup of new foods at the 2023 state fair has officially been announced, and just as in years past, the menu has us more than a little intrigued.
According to a press release, this year’s Minnesota State Fair will debut 34 new foods and seven new food vendors. As difficult as it is to whittle down that list, we tried to highlight below some of the most fascinating items and the ones that seem most worth traveling for—and no, surprisingly they aren’t all deep fried.
If you want to get the whole rundown, you can check out the list on the official Minnesota State Fair’s website. Here are the ones we think look the most fun:
- Ba-sants: If you’ve never heard of a ba-sant, that makes two of us. This “buttery, crisp and caramelized pastry” is a hybrid of a bagel and croissant, filled with either everything-bagel-seasoned cream cheese or a sweet corn custard.
- Bacon-Wrapped Waffle Dog: Using pancakes or waffles as a handheld vehicle for other food isn’t anything new, but the idea of a hot dog served in a waffle, along with bacon, cheddar, pickle, onions, and burger sauce, sounds both fun and novel.
- Cheese Curd Stuffed Pizza Pretzel: It doesn’t get more Midwestern than cheese curds. But I’ve never seen them stuffed into a pizza-seasoned pretzel before, and certainly never with diced pepperoni on top. The jumbo pretzel, made with pizza dough and brushed with garlic butter and dusted with Parmesan to finish, will be served with pizza sauce on the side for dipping.
- Cheesecake Curds: These curds are a whole different ballgame. They’re made of little nuggets of Eli’s Cheesecake, which are then dipped in funnel cake batter and deep-fried. Dusted with powdered sugar and served with a strawberry dipping sauce, they look like the perfect sharable fair food.
- Crispy Lutefisk Steam Bun: Lutefisk is one of those foods inextricably associated with Minnesota, and this year the jiggly lye-treated fish is getting the gourmet treatment. It will be presented in a steamed lotus bun filled with veggies and yum yum sauce, as well as a drizzle of hoisin and a sprinkling of sesame seeds.
- Dill Pickle Cheese Curd Taco: This vegetarian fried cheese curd taco will have dill pickles, cream cheese, and raspberry chipotle sauce in a flour tortilla—one that, yes, comes deep fried.
- Fried Butternut Squash Ravioli: These ravioli sound more like dessert than a savory entree, since they’re filled with mildly sweet butternut squash and topped with maple cinnamon sugar, served with a side of whipped ricotta.
- Fruity Cereal Milk Biscuit: Fruity Pebbles fans, it sounds like this biscuit’s for you. It’s made with fruity cereal milk and rainbow cereal bits, topped with fruity cereal icing and even more cereal pieces.
- Hot Honey Cheese Sticks: More fried cheese comin’ at ya, this time in the form of deep-fried halloumi drizzled in hot honey and served with pieces of what looks like Honeycomb cereal.
- “Kind of a Big Dill” Pickle Lemonade: We’re big fans of pickles here at The Takeout, so this pickle-inspired lemonade made with pickling spices sounds pretty refreshing to us.
- Miami Mango Pickles: The pickle fun doesn’t end just yet—these are pickles soaked in mango punch. (They sound like Kool-Aid pickles.)
- Dill Pickle Lemonade Paletas and Mini Donut Paletas: Paletas are Mexican popsicles, perfect for sunny weather, and these two highly photogenic options (full of actual pickle slices and entire mini donuts, respectively) probably taste as unique as they look.
- Pickle Fries: The sour hits continue with fry-cut pickles that are battered, deep fried, and served with a chipotle dipping sauce. Since fried pickles are such a hit on restaurant menus, isn’t it kind of surprising the fair hasn’t served these until now?
- Walleye Fritter Pops: Walleye is a Midwestern staple (we’re big fans of the Culver’s fried walleye sandwich), and these fritters on a stick incorporate smoked walleye with cheese and a pickle relish. You’ll be able to dip them in comeback sauce as well as spritz a bit of lemon juice on them.
Which of the menu items above has you camping out next to the Get-Together gates?