28 Recipes for Favorite Midwest Foods (2024)

Sample a taste of Midwest foods with these recipes that reflect Heartland tradition and ingredients, from South Dakota peach kuchen to corn chowder.

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North Dakota Juneberry Pie

28 Recipes for Favorite Midwest Foods (1)

Called the Blueberry of the Northern Plains, juneberries (also known as serviceberries) give bakers in North and South Dakota a reason to warm kitchens in summer. Pies featuring the berry bake a deep purply red and bring a nutty almond flavor to every fork full.

Make Your Best Pie Ever

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28 Recipes for Favorite Midwest Foods (2)

German-Russians settling the Dakotas put Red River Valley potatoes to good use in this creamy-rich potato-filled base with noodle dough cooked. It's white-on-white comfort food.

Comfort Food to Keep You Warm All Winter

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South Dakota Peach Kuchen

28 Recipes for Favorite Midwest Foods (3)

German settlers brought the recipe for this tender coffee cake to the northern plains. The industrious pioneers changed up the taste by folding local fruits into the batter: apple, gooseberry, plum and even no-fruit cottage cheese. Here's our biscuitlike version with summery peaches. Serve it warm for breakfast or with ice cream for dessert.

Sweet-and-Juicy Peach Recipes

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Dutch Letters

28 Recipes for Favorite Midwest Foods (4)

Iowa shops such as Pella's Jaarsma Bakery serve delicious almond paste tucked into S-shape pastries. Some say the S stands for Sinterklaas, but sweet works for us.

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Brats and Beer Cheddar Chowder

28 Recipes for Favorite Midwest Foods (5)

Midwest Living created this hearty chowder to salute the Badger State's German beer, bratwurst and cheese heritage. The tang of the beer and smokiness of the brats hold up to the bold cheddar and caraway.

Midwest Soups State by State

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Wisconsin Harvest Pie

28 Recipes for Favorite Midwest Foods (6)

This almond-kissed, fruit-packed pie comes from David Harper, of Richland Center, Wisconsin. He likes to serve it with a wedge of Wisconsin cheese, but it's just as good with vanilla ice cream or whipped cream! The recipe was a finalist in one of our recipe contests.

Prizewinning Reader Recipes

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Kansas Zwiebach

When Mennonites came to Kansas, they brought their German language, Turkey Red wheat and the recipe for this addictive sweet, soft dinner roll with a doughy topknot. The secret to its rich taste and moistness: potato water, sugar, butter and egg. Don't confuse it with the tooth-breaking cracker of the same name.

Our Best Recipes for Breads, Rolls and Biscuits

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Sandbakkels the means "sand tarts" because the cookies (which, flipped over, can double as tiny shells to hold cream and fruit) have such a fine, crisp texture. Find these treats, originally brought by Norwegians to the Midwest, in Shauna Sever's book Midwest Made: Big, Bold Baking from the Heartland.

9 Midwest Heritage Cookies and Treats from Shauna Sever

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Classic Chicken and Wild Rice Hotdish

28 Recipes for Favorite Midwest Foods (9)

Rich cream sauce stands in for canned soup in Minnesota chef Amy Thielen's spin on classic chicken and wild rice hotdish. The recipe comes from Amy's book The New Midwestern Table (clarksonpotter.com).

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Crispy Beer-Battered Fried Walleye with Mango Sauce

28 Recipes for Favorite Midwest Foods (10)

Walleye—the official state fish for both Minnesota and South Dakota—is popular throughout the Midwest, but you can substitute lake trout, tilapia or sole fillets if you prefer. The mango sweet-and-sour sauce perfectly complements the fried fish.

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Missouri Gooey Butter Cake

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This wonderfully rich cake doesn't need frosting. Serve it for dessert with just a sprinkling of powdered sugar.

Ultimate Cake Recipes

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Chicago-Style Deep-Dish Pizza

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True Chicago-style pizza is in some ways a closer cousin to a casserole than traditional regular-crust pizza. One slice is a whole meal!

10 Trendy Chicago Sandwiches You Have to Try Now

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Sauteed Morel Mushrooms

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The thrill of a hunt in the spring woods is our favorite part of this Midwest tradition—until you saute those morel mushrooms in butter and dig in.

Morel Mushroom Recipes

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Corn-Sausage Chowder

Creamy chowders are a staple in many Midwest homes. This soup takes just 30 minutes to prepare, making it perfect for a simple weeknight dinner.

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True Butterscotch Pie

28 Recipes for Favorite Midwest Foods (15)

The trick to the filling in this Iowa State Fair prizewinning recipe? Stirring and stirring while it cooks. The recipe comes from Louise Piper of Garner.

Midwest State Fair Blue-Ribbon Recipes

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Walleye Wild Rice Cakes with Wasabi Dressing

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The walleye—state fish of Minnesota and South Dakota—is sought by both anglers and chefs. This recipe comes from Cindi Rockwell of Berkley, Michigan, who paired hearty fish cakes with a zippy wasabi dressing.

Fish Recipes for Dinner Tonight

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Breakfast Wild Rice

28 Recipes for Favorite Midwest Foods (17)

For a hearty breakfast with Midwest grains, serve steaming wild rice topped with toasted pecans, maple syrup, milk or half-and-half, and a pat of melty butter. The recipe comes from The New Midwestern Table (clarksonpotter.com) by Minnesota chef Amy Thielen.

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Springfield Horseshoe Sandwich

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The horseshoe sandwich, created in Springfield, Illinois, is an open-faced pile of a sandwich with toasted bread, meat, cheese sauce and french fries. Reportedly created in 1928 at the Old Leland Hotel, it's now served by many Springfield restaurants. Hamburger is the typical meat, but you'll also see it with ham, turkey, chicken, pulled pork, or even vegetables.

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Sunflower Pumpkin Muffins

28 Recipes for Favorite Midwest Foods (19)

Seeds from the Sunflower State (along with rolled oats and pumpkin) star in this muffin favorite.

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Buffalo Corn-Potato Chowder

28 Recipes for Favorite Midwest Foods (20)

This hearty soup, an update of a Midwest favorite, draws its inspiration from the flavors of Buffalo chicken wings. The recipe doesn't call for chicken, but you can add it if you like.

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Cincinnati-Style Chili

28 Recipes for Favorite Midwest Foods (21)

Locals spar over whether Skyline or Gold Star makes the better version (and whether the secret ingredients should be cinnamon, cocoa or allspice). Whichever, chili in the Queen City translates as a mild, meaty sauce served over spaghetti noodles and topped with shredded cheese.

Warm-You-Up Chili Recipes

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Apricot and Orange Blossom Kolacky

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This tender pastry cookie, a cousin to Jewish rugelach, has Polish origins. The recipe's apricot filling nods to Hungary. Kolacky (sometimes called kolach) became popular throughout the Midwest as Eastern European immigrants arrived. This recipe is from Shauna Sever's book Midwest Made: Big, Bold Baking from the Heartland.

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War Eagle Mill Buttermilk Biscuits

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"My recipes are like my children. I'd hate to single one out as a favorite," says Zoe Caywood, who worked for many years as a miller at War Eagle Mill just east of Rogers, Arkansas. These biscuits are from one of Zoe's cookbooks. The recipe blends wheat and all-purpose flours for a fuller flavor than traditional biscuits. They're great with butter or homemade jams, jellies and preserves.

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Amish Apple Dumplings

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We often equate Amish food with comfort. Here's our version of a favorite dessert you might find at Amish-based restaurants in the Midwest.

Irresistible Apple Dessert Recipes

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Great Lakes Salmon Chowder

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For the Great Lakes State (four of the five lakes touch it), fish chowder was an easy choice. Freshwater salmon teams up with two more state ingredients (potatoes and asparagus) for an exceptionally satisfying meal in a bowl.

Simmering Soups and Stews

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Badger State Muffins

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This cinnamon- and coriander-spiced muffin highlights Wisconsin-grown produce, including apples and cranberries.

Quick and Easy Muffin Recipes

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Brandy Old-Fashioned

28 Recipes for Favorite Midwest Foods (27)

An evening at a Wisconsin supper club usually starts with a Brandy Old-Fashioned. Cooler than a Rat Pack film, these old-school eateries know sensible steaks and relish trays never go out of style.

Why Wisconsin Supper Clubs Just Keep Getting Better

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Cranberry-Orange Wild Rice Muffins

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This North Woods-inspired recipe from Cheryl Francke of Arden Hills, Minnesota, was a finalist in a Best of the Midwest recipe contest.

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28 Recipes for Favorite Midwest Foods (2024)


What ingredients are popular in the Midwest? ›

Sense of Place: Flavors and Ingredients from the Midwest
  • Fruits: Rhubarb. Strawberries. Apples. Raspberries. ...
  • Vegetables and Starches: Wild Rice. Wheat. Potatoes. Green Beans. ...
  • Meat: Beef. Walleye, Perch, and other freshwater fish. Pheasant. Venison.
  • Extras: Cheese. Dairy. Eggs. Beer. ...
  • Related: Sense of Place: The Flavors of Florida.

What is the culinary capital of the Midwest? ›

Culinary Capital of the Midwest

Milwaukee, the Cream City, Brew City, the Good Land, the Gathering…

What do Midwestern people eat for breakfast? ›

Anything with eggs, bacon, sausage or ham

While you will find plenty of casseroles, kringles and fried mush across the Midwest, you're more likely to find the standards: bacon, eggs and carbs. Like a proper Midwestern meal, the best recipes combine all these together, like in a breakfast skillet.

Why are casseroles so popular in the Midwest? ›

Many of the ingredients and inspiration behind these casseroles came from our European ancestors who settled in the Midwest, such as noodle casseroles from Germany, potato gratins from France, and shepherds' pies and pot pies from England.”

What food is Indiana known for? ›

The state is known for its iconic dishes like the breaded pork tenderloin sandwich, sugar cream pie, and Hoosier chili, which have become part of the state's culinary identity. Join Tyler Coia on a foodie's tour of Indiana, where we uncover local culinary delights that define Hoosier cuisine.

What is Midwest best known for? ›

Made up of countless small towns that come together to form what some call “America's Heartland,” the Midwest is known for its industry, farming, and residents with friendly, down-to-earth attitudes.

What fruit is native to the Midwest? ›

The American Black Elderberry, American Wild Persimmon, and Plumb Cider Apple are three Midwestern heritage fruits included on the North America Ark of Taste catalog.

What foods is Iowa famous for? ›

Iowa is known for Sour Cream Raisin Pie, Iowa Ham Balls, Scotcheroos, Maid Rite sandwiches, Steak de Burgo, taco pizza, snickers salad, and corn, lots of corn. It's also the leading producer of pork in the U.S.A.

What is a typical Southern dinner? ›

A traditional Southern meal may include pan-fried chicken, field peas (such as black-eyed peas), greens (such as collard greens, mustard greens, turnip greens, or poke sallet), mashed potatoes, cornbread or corn pone, sweet tea, and dessert—typically a pie (sweet potato, chess, shoofly, pecan, and peach are the most ...

What food does the Midwest grow? ›

FACT: There are over 127 million acres of agricultural land in the Midwest and in addition to 75% of that area in corn and soybeans, the other 25% is used to produce alfalfa, apples, asparagus, green beans, blueberries, cabbage, carrots, sweet and tart cherries, cranberries, cucumbers, grapes, oats, onions, peaches, ...

What are the 3 most popular foods in America? ›

  1. 1 French Fries86%
  2. 2 Steak And Fries81%
  3. 3 Corn on the Cob80%
  4. 4 Apple Pie79%
  5. 5 BBQ Ribs78%

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