15 top foods to eat in Iowa

Welcome to Iowa!  As an Iowan, I am very proud of the food we offer.  We may not be on the cutting edge of the food world. However,  we are very proud of the popular foods in our state, and they are worth trying!. We have a rich history of our state of Norwegian, Dutch, and Czech immigrants settling here.  Farming is a big part of our culture!  Please stay a while and try some of our most popular food offerings while you’re here! 

15 Top Foods to eat in Iowa 

Iowa may seem like a “flyover” state to some, but there are many culinary experiences to have while you’re here! There is a large variety of delicious foods to be had while you are here!  Iowa is famous for sweet corn and the field of dreams, but here are the top foods I recommend you try while you are here as a local!

Maid-Rite Sandwiches

Maid-Rite restaurants date back all the way to 1926!  A Maid rite is a famous loose meat sandwich and an Iowa Classic!  There are several Maid-Rite locations in all corners of Iowa.  So whether you find yourself in Cedar Rapids, Dubuque, The Quad Cities, or Des Moines, find the local Maid-Rite location and try one!


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Maytag Bleu Cheese

Every time my out-of-state family members come to Iowa, they make sure they pick up some Maytag Bleu Cheese to take home with them.  A little Maytag Bleu cheese goes a long way! It tastes delicious on a burger, on a salad, or even on sweet corn!

Sweet Corn

Every summer, you can get freshly grown sweet corn almost anywhere in Iowa.  It doesn’t matter where in the state you are. You will find some local fresh sweet corn.   You can add all kinds of toppings to your sweet corn, but you definitely don’t need to!

Kalona Cheese Curds

If you find yourself in the Iowa City area, I highly recommend that you head 15 south to Kalona to get yourself some cheese curds!  These squeaky cheese curds are made fresh daily!


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Egg on a Stick

Did you know that Iowa is the #1 egg producer in the United States?  Every year at the Iowa State Fair, The egg council hands out a hard-boiled egg on a stick for free to everyone!  Make sure you get your egg on a stick!  Breakfast recipes using eggs are popular throughout the state.  You can find breakfast pizza, egg casseroles, and other egg recipes at brunch restaurants all over Iowa!

Four Queens Soft Serve

Suppose you happen to be in the Cedar Valley ( Cedar Falls and Waterloo area). I highly recommend going to Four Queens!  They have four locations throughout the Cedar Valley. You can find them in Cedar Falls, Waterloo, Evansdale, and Waverly.  This will be the best soft serve you will ever have!

Dutch letter

Every Spring, Pella, Iowa, holds its annual tulip festival. If you ever find yourself in Pella, you should stop at one of the local bakeries for a Dutch letter!  These pastries are called letterbanket or banketstaven in the Netherlands.  They are pastries made with butter, flour, and almond paste.


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Cedar Rapids Czech Village is a fun place to visit, and while you’re there, make sure you pick up some kolaches. ( pronounced ko lah chee)  and other Czech baked goods.


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Turkey Dressing Sandwich

A Turkey Dressing Sandwich is a unique culinary tradition in Dubuque, Iowa.  In fact, I have been to several wedding showers in Dubuque, where turkey dressing sandwiches were served.  A turkey dressing sandwich is a hot turkey sandwich served on a roll with stuffing.  Locals in Dubuque eat them all year round.  You can find a Turkey Dressing sandwich at Cremer’s Grocery located on the north end of Dubuque.

Betty Jane Gremlins 

Did you know that Betty Jane’s Gremlins from Betty Jane Candies is the #1 culinary gift in the State of Iowa?  Betty Jane Candies has been located in Dubuque since 1938, and you need to stop here to get some when you visit Dubuque! Although all the chocolates at Betty Janes are excellent, they are known for their Gremlins.

Taco Pizza

If you have ever spent significant time in the Quad Cities, you probably have tried taco Pizza from Happy Joe’s.  Happy Joe’s founder Joe Whitty invented taco pizza over 40 years ago.  Many other local restaurants now have their own version of taco pizza, including Caseys, which is my favorite.


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Sterzing’s Potato Chips 

Sterzing’s has been manufacturing potato chips in Southeast Iowa since the 1930s.  These potato chips have a rich and unique flavor.  You can find Sterzing’s potato chips at most grocery stores throughout the state!


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Pork Chop 

Did you know that there are more pigs than people in the state of Iowa?  There are 3 million people in Iowa, so that is a lot of pigs!  Most pork you buy in Iowa is locally grown, and if you ever find yourself and the Iowa State Fair, you should try the Iowa Pork Producers’ Pork Chop on a stick!   Each town throughout Iowa has its favorite spot for a pork chop!


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Kalona Super Natural Chocolate Milk 

This milk is so good that my mother-in-law gives it out as Christmas gifts!  ( we like consumable gifts in our family)  You can find Kalona Super Natural Chocolate Milk at most Hyvee stores.


Blue Bunny Ice Cream 

Blue Bunny Ice cream is made in Iowa! Blue Bunny is the second-largest ice cream maker in the United States and is made right in Le Mars, Iowa!  Le Mars, Iowa, has been declared the Ice Cream Capital of the World!


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