state Disclosure: Our trip to fair was hosted by the Roseville Visitors Association and the Minnesota State Fair. However, all opinions are my own.
When we first started planning our trip to the Minnesota State Fair, I knew we would spend a good amount of our day focusing on one thing—the food. While we’re regular Iowa State Fair goers, I have to admit that I was beyond impressed by the Minnesota fair’s fare.
If your first thoughts when I say “fair food” are of deep fried oddities on a stick and outlandish large portions, the Minnesota State Fair will make you think again. You’ll still find all of your fried fair favorites, but all are offered up alongside an impressive selection of fantastic food you just, well, want to eat. From pastries warm from the oven and fruit fresh from the tree to an all-you-can-drink milk stand, this fair knows how to host an interesting variety of vendors without sacrificing quality eats.
Still don’t believe me? Try not to lick your lips reading about everything we ate during our day at the 2016 Minnesota State Fair.
One of the things that delighted me most about the Minnesota State Fair was the array of breakfast options available. After careful consideration, we opted to share a savory ham and cheddar crepe from the French Crepe stand. While a little pricey, this freshly made favorite was hearty enough to split and get us going for a long day of exploring.
Price: Ham & Cheddar Crepe, $9
French Meadow Bakery
Located next to the French Crepe stand, French Meadow Bakery & Cafe offers everything from breakfast sandwiches to pastries fresh out of the oven. Step inside the building to watch the bakeries at work or head to the back toward People’s Organic Coffee to get your jolt of java. This coffee shop is the real deal and offers all kinds of speciality items including hemp milk.
Price: Iced Coffee, $4.50 / Iced Latte, $5.50
If there’s one thing I truly love, it’s a quality soft pretzel. After a pretty disappointing summer on the pretzel front, the Pretzel Factory was like a shining beacon. The classic salted certainly hit the spot—so much so that we headed back later in the day to try the parmesan pretzel. (Shoutout to my boyfriend and go-to hand model, Josh, for his pretzel-holding skills).
Price: Salted pretzel, $5
Sweet Martha’s Cookie Jar
When we told friends we were headed to the Minnesota State Fair, Sweet Martha’s chocolate chip cookies were one of the first things each of them mentioned. So when we arrived, we were prepared to stand in line for an overflowing bucket of gooey goodness. Yes, four dozen cookies is a little excessive, but you’ll have plenty to take home to friends or enjoy later.
Pro tip (literally—we actually saw multiple seasoned fairgoers do this during our visit): Bring a gallon size ziplock bag to stash the cookies that won’t fit inside the bucket.
Price: $16 for four dozen
While they’re not my favorite food, I’m all about an annual corn dog at the Iowa State Fair. But, as any Minnesota State Fair aficionado will tell you, the Pronto Pup is no corn dog. The hotdog is coated in a flour-based batter almost like a pancake instead of a cornmeal batter. After ordering, your Pronto Pup is smeared with your choice of ketchup or mustard for easy enjoyment. A Minnesota State Fair staple since 1947, there are eight Pronto Pups stands throughout the fair. So don’t stress—you’ll never have to wait long for one of these savory snacks.
Price: $4 for regular size
After all of the fried options available throughout the fairgrounds, roast corn was a welcome addition. With huge grills and lots of busy lines, perfectly roasted corn on the cob with just a splash of butter and shake of salt and pepper is available just within reach outside of the fair grandstand.
Price: $3 per cob
An essential element of any good fair food is being able to eat it easily while walking, and few compare to the gyro. We stopped by Dino’s Gyro to try the classic gyro for an early lunch. With a zesty salad and perfectly sliced meat, Josh deemed this gyro “better than the Iowa State Fair’s,” which is high praise coming from a native Iowan.
Apple Rollover & Cider Freeze
Time and time again, the scope and variety of food at the Minnesota State Fair surprised me. Many of my favorite surprises were found in the Agriculture Building. Located in the building’s apple section, the flaky apple rollover was one of the best I’ve ever had, and paired nicely with the apple cider freeze. Is it fall yet?
Price: Apple Rollover, $3 / Apple Cider Freeze, $1.50
Minnesota Craft Beer
What would a trip to the state fair be without a little imbibing? We stopped in at the Minnesota Craft Brewers’ Guild to sample some of the state’s finest craft beers. I opted for one of the “Minnesota Mix” samplers. Of my four tastes, I especially enjoyed Bent Paddle Brewing Co.’s Cold Press Black coffee porter.
Price: $10 for four samples
A huge thank you to the Roseville Visitors Association and the Minnesota State Fair for making our day possible!
Have you been to the Minnesota State Fair? What’s your favorite fair fare?
Too many awesome things to eat at the State Fair! I went to the Indiana State Fair for the first time this year and I ate the biggest fried tenderloin sandwich I’ve ever seen.
So true! Gigantic tenderloin sandwiches are a Midwest essential. If you ever make it toward Des Moines, Goldie’s has the best tenderloin I’ve ever eaten. Thanks for reading!
And now I’m hungry! This all looks so delicious and those cookie buckets…yes please!!!
Right!? I’ve been dreaming of those gooey bits of heaven since September. Thanks for reading!
O.M.G. You hit the spot! And that’s freaking delicious looking food. Growing up, my family only went to the fair to enjoy – well the fare. This brings back memories of that hot delicious corn, curly fries and more. Lucky for me I can now add beer to my repertoire. Excited to see such a great craft beer showing in Minnesota.
Thanks so much, Alexandra! I’m glad my recap could bring back so many fun family memories. The craft beer selection is definitely not to be missed if you make it back this year for a little adult fun!
Oh my goodness, I shouldn’t have read this being hungry, it literally made me salivate…..
It all looks and sounds absolutely delicious. I’m from the UK so the concept of state fairs are new to me – does every state have one? Do they take place once a year in the summer?
Also, I’m intrigued to know what a gyro is…..from your picture and description I can get a rough idea – but such a strange name? Is this a Northern USA speciality? And all-you-can-drink milk stand too? Just wow….
Next time I’m in the States I’m going to have to time it with one of these fairs!
I’m pretty sure that every state has a state fair, but they don’t all take place in the summer! It sounds like some places have theirs in the spring or fall instead. They’re definitely a unique experience and worth checking out!
I believe gyros are actually Greek, but they’re fairly popular in the U.S.! Think what you might find at a kebab stand.
Thanks so much for reading, Louise!
Everyhitng looks so delicious. Food at these kind of events is just the best thing! I would so love some French crepes right now. 🙂
The crepes were especially wonderful! I’m still thinking about them almost a year later.
You’re right, it was difficult not to read through all this (and look at the pictures) without my mouth watering and now i want to try it all! There’s so much available at these fairs, it’s almost a food festival in itself.
Woah, that is a lot of variety and choice! I think I would need a few days to sample all of those options. Everything looks so yummy.
How did you eat all that? So much food!! Those buckets of cookies look delicious, though… Was the line long?
This fair seems to have exactly the kind of food that I love having when on the go. Particularly when I am traveling places. The street food, takeaways and sweet savories are not just delicious, they even save so much of our precious time
It’s so interesting to see the difference between fair food the USA and UK! Yours all looks so good. I’d love to try the Pronto Pup and the apple bits sound delightful!
It really is interesting! After the fair last year I’m now a Pronto Pup convert. They’re just so good! Thanks for reading, Rosie!
After seeing the dates from this article, I’m super late to the party but still wanted to pop in and say thanks for the amazing shout out to The Pretzel Factory. ? My parents are the proud owners and they just celebrated their 40th year at the great MN get together. I’ll be sure to pass along your kind words. ?