Take a peek at this curated list of foods you might find throughout the country and in certain regions that speak to American culture and cuisine. This list of the top 30 American foods reveals the typical dishes that were born in the USA!
American foods are often globally-inspired originally but have a bit of a twist to make them more Americanized.
And a big part of American culture is the food!
If you are not American, some of these may seem unusual to you, but for those of us raised in America, these are completely normal and some may be our favorite foods!
These are all delicious and a great choice in introducing someone to our country’s food or even exploring what a certain region of the country is well known for!
Cheese Curds and Philly Cheesesteak may have come to fame thanks to their popularity in a certain area but you can find people all over the country enjoying Chicken Pot Pie and Pot Roast.
There are also tons of desserts for finishing off your American meal like Apple Pie or Root Beer Floats.
It can be hard to define what makes food American but this list will be very familiar to those who have grown up in America and will provide a great taste of our cuisine to those who are unfamiliar.
Going to many fast-food restaurants, you will see a classic hamburger on their menu.
Even the 4th of July, one of the most American holidays, is characterized by grilling burgers and hot dogs to celebrate.
Making your own burger at home is very easy and can be incorporated into your weekly meals for a dinner you and your family will love!
Popular in New England, chowder is a comfort dish that is easy to make and packed full of your favorite seafood!
The broth in this recipe is thinner than most other chowders so you can sip up the last bits left in your bowl.
Prepare a bowl of this during a cold winter day and you will have a warm and satisfying soup that will show you exactly why chowder is so popular in New England!
When you venture to the south, you will struggle to find someone who doesn’t love these crispy yet juicy fried tomatoes.
Green tomatoes taste different from traditional red tomatoes since they are not yet ripe, so you will get a more tart taste in every bite of this delicious appetizer.
With a side of ranch and an iced cold glass of sweet tea, you have a classic southern meal ready to enjoy!
Here’s our list of what goes best with these crisp, delicious FGTs!
Even though pizza is often thought to be Italian, it is not uncommon to find it being enjoyed in an American household.
This style of using a thick crust with tomatoes topping everything off can be attributed to the popularity it has seen in Chicago.
It gives you a dish that is more like a pie than the flat crust you would find elsewhere.
5. Apple Pie
Few dishes are associated with America like Apple Pies are.
The phrase “American as apple pie” originated during World War 2, and is still used often today (Better Home & Gardens).
With a flakey crust and a sweet and soft filling of apples, you will see for yourself why this traditional dessert has lasted since the pilgrims first reached America!
All regions of the US have their own specialties when it comes to barbecue but the Carolinas are known for their pulled pork.
No matter your favorite type of barbecue, Carolina-style pulled pork deserves to make an appearance in your meals from time to time.
This is rich and savory while also adding a slight touch of sweetness to balance everything out.
When it comes to southern-style comfort food, few dishes compare to the classic meal of chicken fried steak.
A deep-fried steak, similar to chicken tenders, is paired with sausage gravy for a meal that will leave you feeling happy and satisfied.
It is worth noting that sometimes you may hear this referred to as country-fried steak, but the main difference between these two dishes is that country-fried steak will typically use brown gravy while chicken-fried steak uses cream gravy (Difference Between).
After finishing your dinner of delicious chicken fried steak, end it all off with another southern classic like banana pudding.
Layered on top of one another are vanilla custard, wafer cookies, fresh bananas, and whipped cream or meringue.
It is a lot simpler to make than it may seem so it is well worth adding to the menu of a southern dinner.
A coney island dog is so much more than a regular hot dog.
This is topped with onions, mustard, and tons of meat sauce (that’s right, no beans) for an incredibly filling and delicious all-American dish.
The next time you want to visit a Coney Island restaurant, you need to make yourself the restaurant namesake at home instead!
Like many other foods, chili will have different variations depending on which region of the country you are in.
This recipe balances out the best parts of all regions for a new recipe that will please everyone!
Your new favorite beef stew features tons of spices, tomato puree, beans, and ground beef.
The options on how to enjoy this chili are endless so go ahead and make Frito pie, another American dish, top off your hot dog, or just eat it as is!
Although authentic Philly Cheesesteaks leave off the bell peppers and mushrooms, there is no harm in adding them into this recipe for a west coast twist on this east coast favorite.
When you add in your cheese, try to opt for provolone, which is the most popular flavor that avoids overwhelming your tastebuds with a too strong flavor.
These popular sandwiches are quick to make so they are a great idea for a fast and easy weeknight dinner when you realize you forgot to plan your meal ahead of time.
The story of how Nashville Hot Chicken came about is a pretty interesting one.
Although it probably began as a revenge dish for a womanizing significant other, it is very much edible and less painful these days.
Talk to anyone local to Nashville and they just may try to convince you to try this spicy twist on chicken.
Transforming brisket from traditional brisket to Texas Style Brisket is all about getting it moist and juicy, which is fortunately very easy to do.
Injection and a douse of apple cider are the keys to getting the juiciest brisket while making it at home.
Brisket will take about 12 hours to cook but the good news is that most of this is hands-off cooking with a little prep involved ahead of time.
14. Cheese Curds
Although the midwest often goes forgotten, the Cheese Curds that they are known for are a top choice in American foods.
It is simple to prepare but such a delicious appetizer or side dish.
It only takes four steps and a handful of ingredients for this amazing way to enjoy cheese with your meals!
15. Cheesy Meat Loaf
Meatloaf gained in popularity during the Great Depression as an affordable way to stretch the small amounts of meat to feed many (Bon Appetit).
In modern times, it is enjoyed as a comfort meal made better with the addition of cheddar cheese and oatmeal to help lock in moisture.
An added bonus is how great this tastes even after being frozen and reheated!
16. Pecan Pie
Another dish that Texans love is their pecan pie, which is actually the state pie.
Even with a pre-made pie crust, you can bake a pie that is delicious with an amazing texture that is so easy yet will impress everyone who has a bite!
This dessert absolutely should be enjoyed year-round, aside from just during the holiday season.
17. Macaroni Salad
Just like how America is a melting pot of different cultures, their food also reflects that by combining Italian macaroni with German inspiration from potato salad (Dagostino Pasta).
Many Americans grew up enjoying Macaroni Salad during the summertime at barbecues, cookouts, or picnics, making this a very American dish!
You get to enjoy creaminess, crunch, and tons of zesty flavor all in one easy-to-make dish.
Cheese and bread are a combination as old as time, but what we enjoy as the modern grilled cheese came about during the 1920s due to the accessibility of loaves of bread and processed cheese (The Committed Pig).
Despite its simplicity, this sandwich is a classic for good reason.
It is a foolproof dish that can only be made better by adding in your favorite protein, vegetables, or even fruits!
Thank you to the Anchor Bar for giving us the buffalo wings we know and love (National Chicken Council)!
These hot wings go great with either blue cheese or ranch and a side of carrots or celery sticks.
As long as you get your sauce right, everything else for this meal seems to fall into place perfectly!
During the summertime season, this seafood dish is the perfect appetizer to keep friends and family happy until it is time to dig into your main meal.
The process to prepare this is easy but the taste is anything but simple!
Remember to prepare your homemade tartar sauce to pull everything together!
21. Key Lime Pie
Tartness and sweetness come together into one dessert that is so smooth and creamy.
There are a few occasions where this wouldn’t be a great choice for your dessert.
With a store-bought graham cracker crust, this pie is incredibly easy to bake but will easily become one of your new favorite desserts to bake.
22. Salisbury Steak
Dating back to the Civil War, Salisbury Steak has come a long way from being described as a “muscle pulp of beef” (Smithsonian Mag).
This has evolved into a common TV dinner but making it fresh at home makes it so much better than the frozen dishes you would buy in-store.
This may seem similar to meatloaf but the main difference is the fact that meatloaf is one large loaf while Salisbury Steak is an individual serving with tons of gravy served on top.
23. Fried Okra
If getting a serving of vegetables with your meals is difficult, venture to the south of the US where Fried Okra is a staple!
Okra is similar to green beans or eggplant when it comes to taste, meaning that when it is fried, it only tastes so much better.
With the right mixture of spices and a coating of cornmeal, you can make your own southern staple that makes eating your vegetables so much easier!
24. Root Beer Float
Root beer can thank its popularity to the American brand A&W and from that, we have evolved into the delicious dessert-like drink of Root Beer Floats!
Frosted glasses, good-quality root beer, and ice cream with the right fat content are all you need for a delicious drink to sip on.
Even if you are struggling to find good ice cream, gelato can be used instead.
With Native American origins, grits are continued to be enjoyed throughout the southern regions of the US (Savannah, Georgia).
Stone-ground grits and consistent stirring are key ways to get a nice and creamy texture for your versatile dish of grains.
A little bit of milk and butter with a pinch of salt is all you need to add for an amazing bowl of grits to enjoy with all types of meals.
In Southern Louisiana, black-eyed peas are a key part of preparing a soul food meal.
Typically eaten on New Year’s Day in many parts of the United States, these taste delicious and have a place in meals throughout the year.
A simple side of black-eyed peas can still be packed full of bold flavors with some Cajun seasoning.
28. Pot Roast
Letting your crockpot cook all day with minimal prep is a great way to ensure a delicious dinner that can feed a crowd!
Often referred to as “Yankee Pot Roast”, this meal is popular throughout New England.
It is an economical meal that is very easy to cook and will end up tasting delicious!
Here are a few ideas for side dishes to pair with your pot roast.
29. Chicken Pot Pie
Believed to have originated in Greece (Supper Thyme OK), Chicken Pot Pie is now a common comfort dish throughout America.
You get a crispy crust full of chicken, vegetables, and a creamy filling for it all to sit in.
Bisquick mix (or even Carbquik) is a great way to get your crust in an easy and quick way while avoiding any mess-ups.
30. Watergate Salad
There are many different names for this sweet, fruity, and nutty salad, but regardless of what you may call it, it has grown in popularity throughout the US.
All you need are five ingredients and five minutes for this refreshing dish that will be a great summertime snack or post-dinner treat!
The bottom line
American foods vary in their origin, preparation, and taste.
Regardless of the regional differences that may be found, all of these 30 dishes are commonly eaten throughout the US nowadays.
Which ones are your favorites?
Looking for more American food options, we’ve compiled lists of 27 BEST American Breakfast Recipes, and 25 Best American Soups that you should definitely check out.
- Homemade Burger
- Seafood Chowder
- Fried Green Tomatoes
- Chicago Style Deep Dish Pizza
- Apple Pie
- Carolina Pulled Pork
- Chicken Fried Steak
- Southern Banana Pudding
- Coney Island Hot Dogs
- All-American Beef Chili
- Philly Cheesesteak
- Nashville Hot Chicken Strips
- Texas Style Smoked Beef Brisket
- Cheese Curds
- Cheesy Meat Loaf
- Pecan Pie
- Macaroni Salad
- Grilled Cheese Sandwich
- Buffalo Chicken Wings
- Baltimore Crab Cakes
- Key Lime Pie
- Salisbury Steak
- Fried Okra
- Root Beer Float
- Southern Black-Eyed Peas
- Onion Rings
- Pot Roast
- Chicken Pot Pie
- Watergate Salad
- Find your favorite recipe from our American Foods list.
- Gather all the ingredients needed.
- Start cooking and make us proud!