From burgers and hot dogs to s’mores and apple pie, a list of the most popular American foods could go on and on.
So to keep things short and sweet, I’ve picked 25 of my faves.
American food really takes the cake when it comes to thinking outside of the bun…I mean box.
We’ve got chicken fried steak, cheese in a can, birds stuffed in birds, and more.
But for this list of the most popular American foods, I’ve decided to keep it simple with classic recipes and foods we all love.
So grab a few friends and a PBR, and let’s talk food.
25 Most Popular Foods in America + Recipes Ideas
1. Hot Dogs
Stadiums, backyards, street vendors, shopping centers…you can find hot dogs pretty much everywhere in America.
Hot dogs feature a long, soft bun cut along the top with a sausage placed in the cut.
And while there are plenty of tasty hot dogs around the world with crazy toppings, American dogs are traditionally topped with mustard and relish.
They’re a super budget-friendly food and are ideal for serving a crowd. Plus, you dress them up with fancy sausages and unique extras – like caramelized onions!
2. French Fries
French fries are an American classic. The most common variety being thin strips of potatoes fried to crisp perfection.
Of course, they also come in many shapes and sizes. From super thin shoestring fries to crispy curls, there’s a fry for every appetite.
Some other varieties include crinkle cut, waffle fries, sweet potato, and steak fries, which are thick and fluffy.
French fries go perfectly with all kinds of meals and are loved by everybody.
To make them perfectly crispy on the outside and fluffy in the middle, try soaking the fried in cold water for a couple of hours before frying.
3. Chicken Tenders
Chicken tenders are a staple on the kids’ menu, but plenty of grown adults love them too.
I mean, how can you go wrong with juicy, tender chicken cut into strips and battered and fried?
Dip and dunk them into your favorite sauces like ranch, barbeque, or honey mustard. Oh, and don’t forget the fries on the side!
We all know that pizza was not invented in America. But over the years, we’ve created our own version of it.
Where Italian pizza is typically thin with very little sauce and cheese, American pizzas range from thin crusts to deep dish.
We also love to top them with anything and everything. I’m talking buffalo chicken, mac and cheese, and even burgers!
Of course, those are over-the-top versions you’ll see in restaurants as gimmicks.
But it’s not unusual to see your local pizza place offering salad pizzas or pizzas with pasta on top.
My all-time favorite is BBQ chicken with peppers and red onions. What’s yours??
Like chicken tenders and fries, you’ll see burgers on menus all across the states. We even have entire businesses dedicated to just burgers.
Typically made with ground beef, they can also feature turkey, pork, or veggies.
But for the best burger, you need to pile it high with toppings and serve it in a burger bun.
Cheeseburgers with ketchup are probably the most common. But I’ve seen some truly insane creations – like this peanut butter burger!
6. Apple Pie
Apple pie is probably America’s most beloved dessert. You’ll see it at every July Fourth bash and holiday feast – and for good reason!
It’s a simple flakey pie crust filled with cinnamon and sugar-coated apples.
Sometimes it has a pastry top, and sometimes it’s a simple crumb of flour, butter, and sugar.
Either way, it’s sweet, lightly spiced, and to die for. Serve it with a scoop of ice cream, and enjoy!
Meatloaf is a childhood favorite for most Americans. And while it may not look too appealing, it’s super rich, meaty, and filling.
It’s most often made with ground beef, pork, turkey, or a combination of meats.
That’s combined with seasonings, vegetables, and a binder like eggs or breadcrumbs.
Meatloaf can be topped with gravy, ketchup, or served alone with mashed potatoes. It’s an American comfort food classic.
8. Macaroni and Cheese
Macaroni and cheese isn’t just for the kiddos, ya know? In fact, some recipes are so indulgent, I think they’re strictly adult-only.
The most basic recipe calls for elbow-shaped pasta with a mild, cheesy sauce. It’s simple but a little plain.
If you use a box, it’ll be pretty bright (sometimes vibrant orange). But it’s super easy to make with milk, seasonings, and shredded cheese.
I always make mac and cheese from scratch because I like to use all kinds of yummy cheeses. Mature white cheddar and Gruyère are my faves!
Plus, you can add so much to the dish to jazz it up. So serve it with bacon, jalapeños, caramelized onions, or garlic spinach. Yum!
9. Grilled Cheese Sandwiches
Who doesn’t love grilled cheese sandwiches?
They’re crunchy on the outside, warm and gooey in the middle, and always loaded with cheesy goodness.
In the states, they’re often made with simple white bread and American cheese slices.
But of course, it’s not hard to make them extra!
Use sourdough and butter both sides. Then fry the bread in garlic butter for maximum toasty deliciousness.
As for the cheese, American is fine (not my fave), but there are so many better options! Colby, cheddar Jack, Gouda, etc. – you can’t go wrong!
Make sure to put plenty of cheese on the bread and cook it until golden brown and ooey-gooey.
10. Pot Roast
Pot roast is another American comfort food that’s as nostalgic as it is delicious.
It’s usually made with a tough cut of meat, like chuck or bottom round. It’s slow-cooked in moist heat and produces a juicy and tender meal.
You’ll see it served with veggies like potatoes, carrots, and onions. And they’re quite often cooked right in the pot with the meat.
It’s an all-in-one meal that’s perfect for a rainy day.
11. Chocolate Chip Cookies
Chocolate chip cookies are world-renowned. They’re chewy, sweet, chocolatey, and impossibly delectable.
So, it’s no surprise to find them in almost every store, bakery, and restaurant in America – and around the globe.
Chocolate chip cookies are the kind of thing pretty much everyone loves. And whether you like them crunchy or chewy, they’re always a hit.
I like them thick, chewy and topped with sea salt. And they’re so versatile, you can even make them vegan.
12. Tater Tots
Tater tots are a fantastic side to all kinds of meals.
To make them at home, you’ll grate potatoes, squeeze out the moisture, then form them into nuggets (usually with fat and starch).
Then they’re fried until nice and crispy.
Tots are for quick dipping and snacking. Plus, you can easily add veggies to the mix and sneak them to your kids.
I’ve even had tater tot breakfast “nachos” with melted cheese, crumbled chorizo, bacon, and a fried egg on top. Delish!
13. Fried Chicken
Fried chicken is a southern staple we love from Alaska to Florida and everywhere in between.
Basically, it’s marinated chicken coated in batter or breadcrumbs, then deep-fried until golden.
Use legs, thighs, breasts, or a mix, and be sure to let it sit in buttermilk for a few hours, so it’s nice and tender.
Fried chicken is a fantastic meal with biscuits and gravy or in a bun with crunchy slaw – hello, Nashville Hot Chicken!
Or go for the all-American chicken and waffles with plenty of butter and syrup!
14. Ice Cream
Ice cream is everyone’s favorite dessert. At least, it’s pretty darn popular from the states to Europe to Australia.
It’s traditionally made by churning a sweet cream mixture until it gets super cold and thickens.
But there are plenty of variations, and some don’t need churning at all.
And then there’s sorbet, gelato, frozen yogurt, and sherbet – all of which fall under the “ice cream” umbrella but are slightly different.
Classics like chocolate and vanilla are really common. But you’ll see all kinds of wild flavors, including pickle and garlic!
15. Potato Chips
If you’ve never walked down the chip aisle in an American grocery store, you’re really missing out.
First of all, it’s enormous. There are so many brands and varieties with fun flavors and textures.
It would take years to try them all!
And while you can get chips made out of fruit, peas, and root veggies, the most popular kind are potato chips.
Potato chips are made from thinly sliced deep-fried potatoes – kettle fried or baked are available too.
Some are thicker than others, and some have ruffles to trap more flavor. But they’re all scrummy.
The top flavors include cheese, sour cream & onion, salt & vinegar, and BBQ.
My faves are sweet Maui onion which comes in a purple package. If you can find them, buy like ten bags! You’ll need them!
Donuts are one of the best-fried treats around.
Soft, sweet, and covered in glaze, you just can’t beat a ring of fried sweet dough. That said, some are rounds with fillings and a sweet glaze!
To make a classic donut, you’ll start with a yeast-based dough. Of course, that needs kneading, rolling, proofing, and frying.
It’s a long process, but it’s more than worth it.
But if you want something fast, cake donuts are essentially cake batter baked into rings with frosting or glaze on top.
They don’t have that signature fluffy, doughy texture, but they’re still a terrific option when you get a sugar craving.
17. Barbecue Ribs
Barbeque ribs are fantastic for parties, game days, and Sunday dinners.
Tender meat falls off the bones when it’s done right, and they make a delicious meal.
Smother them with sweet, tangy, and spicy barbecue sauce for the authentic American rib experience.
Serve tender, meaty barbecue ribs with potato salad and some watermelon. Yum!
Brownies are another super popular dessert that’re welcome at pretty much any occasion.
They’re quick and easy enough for a snack, tasty enough to bring to parties, and rich enough that you’ll see them in fancy restaurants for dessert.
Denser than cake and gooier than cookies, they’re incredibly chocolatey and beyond decadent.
Serve them warm with ice cream or let them cool and top them with frosting. You can’t go wrong either way.
And if you want something extra extra, try these slutty brownies!
Cupcakes took over the dessert scene a few years ago, and they’re still going strong.
Kids love them, adults love them, and you’ll love them too.
They’re mini cakes (of any flavor you can imagine) with the perfect proportion of sponge to frosting.
Baked and served in a paper case, they’re ideal for bringing to parties and are the perfect single serving.
You’ll see cupcakes at birthdays, bake sales, and even weddings. In fact, they’re one of the better options for weddings because of their convenience.
Instead of a huge (expensive) cake, you can have a small wedding cake for cutting (which is cheaper) and then have pre-portioned cupcakes for your guests.
Make them elegant or make them wild – they’ll fly off the plate no matter what.
20. Pulled Pork
Pulled pork is a delectable, savory dish you can eat alone or as a sandwich. It’s rich, tender, and super meaty.
It’s also easier than you think to make!
You’ll start with a big chunk of pork (shoulder or butt), then cook it low and slow for around 6-8 hours (depending on how big the piece is).
When cooked right, it’s tender, juicy, and oh-so-yummy.
Cook it in soda, apple cider, or beer for added flavor. And don’t forget the dry rub before it cooks!
You’ll know it’s ready when it falls apart under a fork.
S’mores are the quintessential American camping dessert. And they’re so easy to make, even the kids can do it!
Bring some Graham Crackers, chocolate, and jumbo marshmallows. Then, find a clean stick and get to toasting.
Watch the kids, and be sure to keep the mallow out of the flames. Then, when golden on the outside, it’s ready to sandwich in the crackers with the chocolate.
Keep your s’mores classic like the picture above, or go nuts with chocolate chip cookies and peanut butter cups instead of plain chocolate!
Coleslaw is a mixture of crunchy shredded cabbage, veggies, and a sauce to bring it together.
It’s crunchy, creamy, tangy, sweet, and just what you need on the side of rich meats.
Buy a bag pre-shredded or shred your own cabbage and carrots.
As for the dressing, it’s usually mayonnaise or vinaigrette based. For example, a mix of mayo, apple cider vinegar, chilis, and salt works really well.
But you do you!
Rich, meaty, and chock-full of flavor, chili is the definition of American rainy-day food.
Some make it with ground beef, while others think it’s sacrilege to have beans in the mix – I’m looking at you, Texas.
It can be ultra meaty, totally vegan, or overloaded with veggies. It’s totally up to you.
I like it spicy with plenty of sweet potatoes and chunks of beef. But I also adore this white chicken chili with a side of jalapeño cornbread!
24. Peanut Butter and Jelly Sandwiches
Open almost any American lunchbox, and you’ll find a peanut butter and jelly sandwich at least once a week.
It’s simple, sweet, nutty, and nostalgic.
I think it’s best with creamy peanut butter and strawberry jam. But I also enjoy blueberry jam with almond butter.
Really, it’s a classic combo that’ll always put a smile on your face.
25. Buffalo Wings
Buffalo sauce has nothing to do with buffalos. Instead, it’s named after the city in which it was invented – Buffalo, New York!
Spicy and tangy, when you slather it on fried chicken wings, magic happens.
Buffalo chicken wings are about as addictively American as it gets. So serve up a big platter with plenty of blue cheese dressing and dig in!
We are sorry that this post was not useful for you!
Let us improve this post!
Tell us how we can improve this post?