Sample some of these iconic Midwest comfort food dishes for cuisine that feels like a warm hug.
Iowa: Sweet Corn
Iowa sweet corn doesn’t taste like the typical corn in the grocery store. The state loves to serve this flavorful corn on the cob with a hefty dose of butter. Expect to see piles of fresh sweet corn for sale on every street corner during the summer in Iowa.
Ohio: Cincinnati Chili
Skyline Chili introduced Americans across the country to the taste of Queen City’s unique chili style. The mildly spiced, meat-based sauce is ladled over Coney dogs or big platters of spaghetti. Groups can taste original takes on the dish at popular Camp Washington or at several other local Cincinnati restaurants.
Wisconsin: Fried Cheese Curds
Small, bumpy lumps of cheddar give a springy bite of cheesy flavor. Visitors don’t have to work to hard to find the beloved cheese curds at landmark restaurants like Lakefront Brewery in Milwaukee. They are often served batter-fried with dips and beer.
Michigan: Cherry Pie
Michigan is one of the country’s leading producers of cherries, with over 90,000 tons of the fruit harvested in the state every year. Traverse City’s National Cherry Festival in July celebrates the fruit with fresh cherry pies.
Indiana: Sugar Cream Pie
Supposedly first served in 1816, the sugar, heavy cream and vanilla custard pie is so common in the state it’s nicknamed Hoosier pie. Groups can dine on the decadent dessert for a down-home experience.
Missouri: Toasted Ravioli
Crispy, breaded ravioli is a twist on the Italian classic invented in St. Louis. The indulgent dish now appears all over the state with variations, including a barbecue version at Salt and Smoke in St. Louis.
Well-known in Nebraska, but not commonly found elsewhere, runzas are meat wrapped in a doughy pocket. Similar to a calzone, the dish also commonly contains beef, sauerkraut, onions and other seasonings.
Minnesota: Hot Dish
Traditionally topped with tater tots, hot dish is a casserole commonly seen at church meals and family reunions in Minnesota. Restaurants also offer the casserole, which is a combination of beef or chicken, vegetables and canned cream of mushroom soup. The Mason Jar in Eagen offers an adaptation of the meal made from scratch.
Kansas: Barbecue Ribs
Kansas loves its finger-licking smoked barbecue ribs. Topeka offers some of the state’s best ribs at places like HHB BBQ. Smokers slow roast the ribs with various rub concoctions. The result is fall-apart tender ribs that go well with a side of cheesy potatoes or smoked mac and cheese.
Illinois: Deep-Dish Pizza
The overflowing cheesy goodness of a deep-dish pizza is better consumed with a fork and knife in Illinois. Deep-dish pizza appeared in Chicago in the 1940s, and devouring the famous stuffed pies at Pequod’s and Giordano’s in the Windy City is considered an essential Illinois outing.