American cuisine is notorious for having some of the best delicacies the world has ever tasted. With a background in European and Native American foods, American cuisine is quite varied, however, foods born of the “Down South” tradition—fried chicken, chicken fried steak, apple pie—have set the bar for the American standard.
Here we’ll be covering some of America’s most famous foods.
There’s a reason “As American as apple pie” is a common phrase—apple pie is about as American as you can get. The combination of tart apples, sweet sugar and flaky crust is irresistible, and has been a staple of the American diet since the early colonists.
While apple pies are the most popular fruit pie in America, but there are many other types of fruit pies that can be found in bakeries and restaurants all over the country. Some of the most popular include cherry, blueberry, peach and blackberry pies.
Fried chicken is another Southern classic that has made its way all over the country. This dish was born out of necessity—early settlers needed to make use of every scrap of meat they had, so they breaded and fried chicken instead of roasting it. Fried chicken is now a staple at picnics and barbecues all over America, along with chicken wings and legs.
Chicken Fried Steak
Chicken fried steak is another Down South favorite that has gained widespread popularity. This dish is made up of tender beefsteak pounded thin and covered in a savory breading, then fried to perfection. Chicken fried steak is best served with a heaping helping of mashed potatoes and gravy.
When it comes to American cuisine, the hamburger is king. This simple sandwich—a beef patty on a bun with condiments—has been a staple of the American diet for generations. Invented in the early 1900s, the hamburger has been served at diners and drive-ins all over the country. Today it can be found everywhere from restaurants in Idaho Falls to ball games in Boston, Massachusetts.
The cheeseburger is often used synonymously, but it technically refers to a hamburger with cheese added. Other popular variations of the sandwich include the bacon cheeseburger and the double cheeseburger.
A mixture of quahog shellfish, tender potatoes, salted pork, herbs and heavy cream, New England clam chowder is a thick and hearty soup that is perfect for a cold winter day. This iconic American dish originated in the colonial era, when cooks made do with what they had on hand. Later it was innovated upon with the addition of milk and tomatoes, giving it a smoother texture.
Macaroni and Cheese
This cheesy casserole is a favorite among kids and adults alike. Mac and cheese can be made with a variety of different cheeses, such as cheddar, gouda or brie, and sometimes includes add-ins such as ham or bacon. This comfort food has been around for centuries, with recipes popping up in cookbooks as early as the 1700s and earlier.
Bagel & Lox
Beginning in New York, with its relatively large Jewish population, the bagel and lox became a popular meal in America. Who would have thought that a simple combination of these two items could be so popular? The classic New York breakfast features a smoked salmon bagel, cream cheese, capers and red onion.
There’s nothing quite like a hot slice of pizza, fresh out of the oven. This Italian-American staple has been around for centuries, and there are countless variations of the dish. From pepperoni to pineapple to BBQ chicken, no one can resist a good pizza pie.
Deep-dish pizza is a particularly American-style of pizza that originated in Chicago. This hearty dish is made with a thick crust and topped with lots of cheese and meat.
The hot dog is another all-American favorite. This delicious snack is great for lunch and dinner and has endless toppings to choose from. You can find hot dogs at almost any ballpark or festival in the country, as well as movie theaters, diners and fast food restaurants.
Corn dogs are another type of hot dog that’s popular in the Midwest. This dish is a hot dog on a stick that is coated in a cornmeal batter and deep fried.
Drop Biscuits & Sausage Gravy
In America, a “biscuit” is a flaky scone usually made with lard and buttermilk. In Montana, where many people burned a lot of energy working on the ranch, biscuits are a common breakfast option along with bacon, sausage gravy and eggs.
What sets Texas barbecue style food apart from the rest of the country is the use of indirect heat, which makes the meat very tender. The sauce is also a little sweeter and more vinegary than other barbecue styles.
Texas barbecue style food is common all over America, and as the main standard for American barbecue, you’ll find a lot of it in Kansas City, Missouri—the BBQ capitol of the world.
Another heavy hitter coming from the South, hominy grits are essentially, a rough powder of corn cooked with butter or bacon grease. They’re often served with shrimp or grits gravy, which is a white sauce made with bacon, onions and green bell peppers.
Originating in Mexico and risen to great popularity in the US, tacos are now one of the most iconic American foods.
While there are many different types of tacos, the most common is the ground beef taco, which includes seasoned ground beef, shredded lettuce, cheese and diced tomatoes all wrapped up in a soft or hard shell tortilla.
Tacos are often also made with chicken, pork or fish.
Other American Foods
America has a wide variety of dishes all its own—learn more about quintessential American dishes here.