Home Recipe Roundup 10 Kentucky Foods the Bluegrass State Loves

10 Kentucky Foods the Bluegrass State Loves

Kentucky is famous for more than just the Bourbon Trail, and these classic Kentucky foods are proof. 

They’ve got some killer barbecue, dazzling desserts, and comfort foods that feel like home.

10 Kentucky Foods the Bluegrass State Loves featuring Homemade Kentucky Hot Brown with Bacon and Cream Sauce
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I’m a big fan of boozy bourbon balls and adore beer cheese! And who doesn’t love a Mint Julep in the summer?

There may be a few boozy dishes on this list, but there are booze-free classics like butter cake and hearty burgoo, too.

So, let’s see what the Bluegrass State has to offer with this list of 10 fantastic Kentucky foods.

1. Kentucky Derby Pie

Hear the words “Kentucky Derby,” and you probably instantly think of the classic Mint Julep.

No doubt delicious, but have you tried Kentucky Derby pie?

This humble pie is full of sweet and nutty filling with chocolate and walnuts.

It’s so easy to make; it would be a sin not to whip one up for tonight. 

Mix all your ingredients, then load them up in a store-bought pie crust. It seriously doesn’t get any simpler than that. 

2. Kentucky Butter Cake 

Butter cake is another classic dessert that Kentucky does right.

Infused with syrup and buttery goodness, butter cake has been around since at least 1963.

It won first place at a Pillsbury Bake-Off Contest, so you know this recipe is a winner. 

You’ll love the sweet buttery glaze and dusting of powdered sugar. 

If you happen to have leftovers, this stores pretty well in the freezer, too.

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Although, once your friends and family get a taste, I doubt there will be anything left. 

3. Kentucky Bourbon Balls

Hoping to make some Kentucky Derby party foods to celebrate the races? Add these bourbon balls to the list!

On the outside is a crisp coating of chocolate with a delightful pecan topping. The inside has a secret, though – it’s full of booze. 

Bourbon is often used in desserts because it’s sweet and has beautiful caramel and vanilla notes.

This is also full of pecans giving the inside an added crunch. 

The hardest part is waiting for the chocolate to set.

4. Corn Pudding

I admit corn pudding may not sound all that exhilarating. But just wait until you sink your teeth into this! 

This unassuming dessert takes a box of classic Jiffy cornbread and turns it into a creamy, buttery treat. 

The texture is somewhere between pudding, cornbread, and souffle.

It’s also a good use of that canned corn sitting in your pantry.

If you’re a fan of cornbread, you’ll love this pudding. 

5. Kentucky Benedictine Dip

Nothing says hospitality like Benedictine Dip. It’s a homely dip that’s creamy, crisp, and begging for something crunchy on the side.

To make it right, you need the trifecta of all that is good and holy: cream cheese, mayo, and sour cream.

Cucumber gives it a sweet, fresh pop that’s even better with a couple of dashes of green Tabasco. 

You could choose another hot sauce, but I recommend using something that features green chilis. 

If you’re expecting company, this is a great appetizer to prepare ahead of time and bust out when guests finally arrive.

6. Kentucky Hot Brown Sandwich

You can’t talk about Kentucky foods without mentioning the classic Hot Brown. 

This legendary open-face sandwich comes from the Brown Hotel in Louisville, where it got its name in the 1920s.

As the name states, it’s served hot and piled high with turkey, ham, bacon, and tomatoes.

Then, it’s smothered in cheese sauce. 

It’s a tad messy but super comforting and irresistible to boot!

For lunch or dinner, these sandwiches are addictive.

7. Kentucky Beer Cheese 

There’s beer cheese; then there’s Kentucky beer cheese.

This dip has a sharp bite and spicy kick, and the key is to use a full 12-ounce bottle of something that’s got more body than your average lager. 

Considering there’s sharp cheddar in the mix, I’d say go with something bold and daring like an imperial stout or IPA. 

If you’re feeling extra adventurous, barley wine is about as full-bodied as they come.

This will kill it at your next game day and be all the rage at your next barbecue with friends. 

8. Kentucky Style BBQ

Barbecue is a hot topic in the South, and everyone has an opinion on who makes the best. 

One thing’s for sure, Kentucky-style BBQ is finger-licking good!

This Kentucky-style dish involves smoking seasoned mutton for hours on the grill. 

You’ll need to keep an eye on it to make sure the temperature remains constant, and it needs basting it with a tangy sauce. 

Once it’s done, serve it up with a sweet and tangy dipping sauce and plenty of crunchy slaw.

9. Kentucky Burgoo

Burgoo is the Kentucky version of an Irish stew that features a wild mix of meat. 

I say wild mostly because it’s game meat. Rabbit, pheasant, and venison all make the list.

With strong flavors like that, you need all the ingredients to match.

Game stock and pheasant stock add the complexity the broth needs. 

However, it wouldn’t be proper without some veggies. So this one uses a combo of potatoes, lima beans, corn, and more. 

With so much going on, you’ll need to let this stew for a few hours.

In the end, you’ll have a hearty, comforting, savory bowl, unlike anything you’ve ever had.

10. Mint Julep Fruit Salad 

What happens when you take a Mint Julep and turn it into food? You get this spectacular dish. 

Three types of balled melon are bathed in sugar-infused bourbon with a hint of mint. It’s fresh, fruity, and boozy in the best way.

You could serve this as an appetizer or dessert.

I think it will even make a fine choice for munching on as you wait for that Kentucky BBQ to be ready.

10 Kentucky Foods the Bluegrass State Loves

Kentucky is famous for more than just the Bourbon Trail, and these classic Kentucky foods are proof. So, let’s see what the Bluegrass State has to offer.


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Kim - InsanelyGood
Hey there! I'm Kim. I love running, cooking, and curling up with a good book! I share recipes for people who LOVE good food, but want to keep things simple :)

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