An A to Z Guide to Iowa State Fair Foods -

An A to Z Guide to Iowa State Fair Foods

It’s that time of year again! The Iowa State Fair has unveiled the new foods for this year’s fair. In addition to these newbies, you can also enjoy old favs. There’s always so much great food to eat at the Fair that it can be hard to know where to begin, so we’ve done the hard work for you. Loosen your belts…here’s your A to Z guide to trying foods at the Iowa State Fair.

A – Apple Taco

The Apple taco is a soft-shelled tortilla deep fat fried sprinkled with cinnamon/sugar filled with granny smith apples topped with whip cream and caramel. You can find it along with many other apple flavored goodies at the east canopy of the Varied Industries Building, the Cultural Center Courtyard, the southside of the Triangle and in the northwest corner of Walnut Square.

B – Bacon & BBQ

What smells better than bacon or BBQ? Follow the aroma and find Bacon Cheese Fries, Bacon in a Cup, Bacon Wrapped Hot Dog and a Bacon Wrapped Chicken On-A-Stick; which are all new this year and available at All Wrapped Up in Bacon. The Rib Shack and The Iowa Pork Producers are two places to get some great Que with options like smoked brisket, pulled pork sandwiches and ribs.

C – Corn Dog, Cheese Curds and Sweet Corn

The food trifecta of the Iowa State Fair.  I’m not sure you can say you’ve been to the Fair if you didn’t eat at least one of these!

D – Deep-Fried Goodness

Almost anything you can think of comes fried at the Fair.  Butter, check. Cheese, check. Chicken, check. Taco, check. Oreos, check.

E – Elephant Ears

Similar to a funnel cake (but not the same!), an elephant ear is fried flattened dough and can be found at a McConnell Concessions stand near the Administration Building.

F – Funnel Cake and Fair Squares

If you’re looking to soothe your sweet tooth you can’t go wrong with this duo.  Funnel Cakes are an iconic fair treat and have come a long way since their debut, one of this year’s new foods is a Cheesy Fried Enchilada Funnel Cake! And, kids always love a crispy marshmallow cereal treat, especially one dipped in chocolate or Birthday Cake flavored (new).

G – Gyros

This Greek specialty is the ultimate walking around fair food.  You can find it at one of The Greek Gardens’ two locations.

H – Honey

Find honey products along with Honey Lemonade at the Iowa Honey Producers exhibit in the John Deere Agriculture Building.

I – Ice Cream

You can find ice cream from a number of concessioners at the Fair.  It totally makes sense, since a lot of people are probably looking for a cool treat!   A couple of can’t miss stops are Bauder’s Ice Cream and the Midwest Dairy Association’s Dairy Barn (two locations).  Bauder’s has a new concoction available called the Bauder Mud – Cream cheese brownie chunks, drenched in a chocolate shake, topped with whipped cream, drizzled with chocolate syrup and served in a Bauder Skillet. Requires a straw and spoon!

J – Jerky

Jerky comes in a range of flavors at The Jerky Shoppe, which is located on the upper level of the Ag Building.

K – Kettle Korn

If you are craving something sweet and savory, Kettle Korn might hit the spot.  You can find it at one of Olde Tyme Kettle Korn’s two locations.

L – Lemonade

Probably the most popular thing to buy at the Iowa State Fair, you can purchase lemonade from over 25 vendors scattered across the Fairgrounds.  You can have it shaken, or flavored with strawberry, cherry, lime, blue raspberry and new this year Bomb Pop Lemonade.

M – Mac N’ Cheese

Enjoy this comfort food fried up into Mac N’ Cheese Bites or Fried Mac N’ Cheese with Bacon and Sour Cream.

N – Nachos

Of course, you can get tortilla chips topped with cheese, but that’s so last year. New this year are Tot-Chos…tater tot nachos!  You can get them with traditional nacho toppings or try Sweet Potato Tot-Chos with a marshmallow and caramel sauce drizzled over top.

O – Onion Rings

A fried food staple, onion rings and sticks, can be found at a number of concessions and go great as a side with a corn dog, tenderloin or beer;)

P – PB & J

This one is for the kiddos.  You can find PB & J on a stick at The Salad Bowl and fried at the Veggie-Table.

Q – Quesadillas

Another great traveling food, you can find a number of creative quesadillas at the Iowa State Fair.  Regals Concessions near the Jacobson Exhibition Center serves them up for breakfast, lunch and dinner.

R – Root Beer

You’ll need something to wash all that fried food down with, right?  And, nothing does the job better than a frosty root beer.

S – Sno Cones

On a hot August day, a sno cone may be just what you need to keep you going at the Fair.

T – Tenderloins and Turkey Legs

Tenderloins and turkey legs, oh my!  Some of our favorite fair eats.  You can find tasty tenderloins at Chuckie’s and turkey legs from the Iowa Turkey Federation.

U – Ultimate Bacon Brisket Grilled Cheese Sandwich

Say that three times.  No explanation needed for this ultimate sandwich served up at the Rib Shack.

V – Veggies

You can find veggies fresh, fried and grilled at the Iowa State Fair.  The Iowa Fruit and Vegetable Growers stand in the Ag Building is a great stop if you’re looking for something on the healthier side.

W – Watermelon

At this point, I may just be trying to include a few healthy options.  But, there’s really nothing more refreshing than watermelon on a hot August day.  You can find watermelon in fruit cups at Beattie’s near the Giant Slide.

X – Xtreme Eats

I don’t know about you, but a lot of the new Iowa State Fair Foods seem a bit extreme to me?!? Golden Fry Choco Pocko; Bruschetta Sundae “Mt. Vesuvius”; Rah! Edible Cook E Dough; Thanksgiving Balls; and Pork Almighty to name just a few. There’s over 40 new fair foods.  For a complete list, visit the Iowa State Fair’s New Fair Foods page.

Y – Yogurt

One lonely vendor sells yogurt at the Fair, LOL!:) Find it at, of all places, the Iowa Sheep Industry Association booth.

Z – Zombie Cones

After a day at the Fair, we sometimes feel a little brain dead. Maybe a Zombie Sno Cone will perk you back up?


Value Bites

Check out the Iowa State Fair’s Value Priced Items for $3 or Less page.  It lists over 70 bargain-priced items available at the Fair.

Food Finder

Check out the Iowa State Fair’s Food page to see where you can purchase all of your favorite Fair foods.  You can also download the Fair Food Finder App on your phone.  It’s so convenient to have the lists of foods, vendors and healthy fare locations along with daily events accessible on your phone as you are touring the Fair.



Did we miss one of your favorite Iowa State Fair foods?  Let us know!

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