When people think of the classic American breakfast, they probably think of a warm plate piled high with scrambled eggs, bacon or sausage, maybe some crispy hashbrowns or home fries, and a side of white toast with butter and jam or a tall stack of pancakes. It’s a breakfast you can find in any greasy spoon across the nation, and it’ll satisfy every time. But the reality is our breakfast traditions are as diverse as they are homogeneous, and those same greasy spoons are also serving up regional specialties that you probably won’t find once you cross state lines. From mystery meats to specialty pastries, we’ve gathered up the most iconic breakfast food for each and every state. There’s much more than eggs and bacon to be had in this country, so grab a cup of coffee and get eating.
— Chad Speck (@a3Chad) March 30, 2019
You can find great breakfast sausage all through the country, but Conecuh sausage is only found across Alabama. In production since 1947, this coiled hickory-smoked pork sausage is spicy, sweet and beloved throughout the state.
While you might be very familiar with a different kind of breakfast syrup, Alaska has one that might be new to you – birch syrup. Spicier than its maple cousin, this sweet syrup is delicious on all the breakfast familiars – pancakes, granola, waffles, and so on.
Due to its geography, Arizona has some great Mexican influences among its local food favorites. A breakfast burrito – sometimes called a “burro” – is a shining example.
Served warm over fluffy biscuits, Chocolate Gravy is more of a decadent chocolate sauce than a savory gravy. It’s a true Arkansas favorite and it’s easy to see why… Who can argue with chocolate for breakfast?
We’re giving the millennial favorite to sunny California, the state the Hass avocado calls home. There might not be a lot to this simple snack, but sometimes the simplest things really are the best.
Plenty of states have an official food, but Colorado has gone as far as selecting an official pastry. The sticky and sweet Cinnamon Roll is the official pastry of the Rocky Mountain State, and there’s no shortage of bakeries and cafes across the state that claim to serve the very best one.
Eggs Benedict is a common enough breakfast dish, but a Lobster Benedict makes so much sense in a region where lobster is a commonplace addition to any meal. While you’ll see this on menus throughout New England, we’re giving it to Connecticut, where claims that this dish originated there are so prevalent that it must be true.
While you may not have ever even of heard of it, Scrapple is a big deal in Delaware. A mush-like mixture of ‘mystery’ pork parts, cornmeal, and spices that are formed into a loaf before being sliced and fried, this mid-Atlantic favorite takes the place of bacon and breakfast sausage on morning plates throughout The Diamond State.
Orange juice may be a breakfast staple throughout the country, but Florida is known for its endless groves of bright flavorful citrus. You can get fresh-squeezed juice at fruit stands across The Sunshine State.
Fried Chicken Biscuit
We all know that fried chicken is a hallmark of southern cuisine, but Georgia takes it up a notch by nestling it in a fluffy and tender biscuit. Sometimes featuring scrambled eggs and maybe even a little sausage gravy, it’s a fine way to start your morning.
The Aloha State has a diverse cuisine unlike any other, and the Loco Moco is a fine example of island comfort food. While there are many variations (Spam, anyone?), the traditional version of the dish features a hamburger patty, fried egg, and brown gravy all served over a bed of white sticky rice.
Idaho sure knows their potatoes so it only makes sense that a breakfast potato dish as quintessential as hashbrowns goes to them. Crispy yet tender, and perfect alongside so many breakfast favorites, you can certainly find these all over the country… but the best ones are in the Gem State.
You may think you’ve had an apple fritter… but you haven’t truly had one until you’ve had one in Illinois. It’s a great use of the state’s signature fruit, the Goldrush Apple, which are a sweet-tart cousin of the Golden Delicious.
Fried Cornmeal Mush
An Amish Country breakfast staple, Cornmeal Mush is a simple mixture of cornmeal, water, and salt that’s boiled together and then sliced, fried, and served with some syrup or sausage gravy. The Hoosiers know how to start a morning right.
The best place to find breakfast pizza is Casey’s General Store, which has locations all over Iowa. This delicious pie features cheese sauce, scrambled eggs, sausage or bacon, and a little more cheese for good measure.
While bierocks – pastry rolls stuffed with ground beef, onion, and cabbage – are traditionally served later in the day, there are breakfast versions out there to be found. Usually featuring breakfast sausage instead of ground beef (and sometimes scrambled egg too) they make for a great grab-and-go morning meal.
The Kentucky Hot Brown is an open-faced sandwich (for which you very much need a knife and fork) that features sliced turkey and tomatoes underneath a blanket of Mornay sauce. Bacon is positioned in a careful ‘x’ on top and an extra dusting of Pecorino Romano is added before the whole thing goes in the broiler to get brown and bubbly. Thank you, Kentucky.
Call it breakfast or call it a dessert, beignets are a signature New Orleans sweet snack. Similar to a donut, these squares of yeasted, fried dough are pillowy and nearly irresistible. You’ll usually see them served with a very generous dusting of powdered sugar, often accompanied by a cafe au lait.
Maine is famous for a few of its foods, but blueberries and maple syrup are right up there on the shortlist. The two combined make perfect adornments to gussy up a standard pancake breakfast. Visit the Pine Tree State for the best blueberry pancakes around.
Crab Cake Benedict
With the abundance of Blue Crab that comes out of Chesapeake Bay, it’s no surprise that Marylanders have found the perfect breakfast role for the little crustaceans. Turns out poached eggs and hollandaise make lovely partners for crab cakes for a delicious twist on the traditional Eggs Benedict.
Apple Cider Donuts
Apples and apple cider are staples of the fall season in New England, but the tastiest harbinger of autumn just might be Massachusetts’ apple cider donuts. You can find them at orchard stands throughout the state and if you ask us, each one is better than the last!
Paczki are actually Polish in origin, but that doesn’t mean that Michigan hasn’t made these little jelly-filled donuts their own. In fact, there are Paczki Day (Fat Tuesday to the rest of us) celebrations all over The Mitten State every year.
If you’re not familiar, Hot Dish is a beloved midwest casserole featuring some combination of meat, frozen veggies, and creamy sauce (frequently a can of creamed soup) tucked under a layer of tater tots. While it’s usually served for dinner, Minnesotans are known to get creative with breakfast varieties, swapping in some breakfast meat and scrambled eggs under those trademark tots.
Biscuits and Gravy
Biscuits and Gravy are a southern specialty that’s popular throughout the United States so claiming them as icon status for any one state is a hard thing to do. That being said, no one does them quite like Mississippi… so we’re calling it for The Magnolia State.
A slinger is a kitchen-sink style breakfast that usually consists of two eggs, hash browns, a hamburger patty, a slathering of chili con carne, and cheese and onions. It’s a mish-mash for sure, but it’s hearty, and decidedly Missourian.
You can put ’em in pancakes, in scones, in bear claws, in turnovers, or in muffins… What we’re saying is if you’re going to be eating a morning meal in Montana, you have to try huckleberry something and we’re not picky about which breakfast food it goes in. There are huckleberry breakfast options galore in The Treasure State.
Corned Beef Hash
You can count on a state that’s nicknamed “The Beef State” to serve up quality beef at lunch, dinner or, well, breakfast. Salt cure it and serve it up tucked in with some fried eggs and potatoes? That seems like an expert application to us.
The most iconic breakfast in The Silver State isn’t a dish or even an ingredient, but rather the way in which the meal is served. From Reno to Las Vegas you can find massive breakfast buffets that will boggle the mind. A true tribute to excess, you’ll find bottomless mimosas and endless crepes, waffles, seafood, pancakes, pastries, and more. It’s a sight to behold.
Pancakes (Because syrup.)
While Vermont (obviously) gets to lay claim to maple syrup, New Hampshire is a major producer of the sweet and sticky stuff as well, so they get a breakfast basic that’s best covered in it – pancakes!
One of the finest mystery meats out there, pork roll – or Taylor Ham – is served sliced and pan-fried with a fried egg, American cheese, and sandwiched between a bun or bagel. Now, that’s a New Jersey Breakfast.
— Foodspace (@our_foodspace) August 16, 2018
Blue Corn Pancakes
Blue corn is only grown in a handful of states, New Mexico being one of them. You’ll see all kinds of blue corn dishes across The Land of Enchantment, but a breakfast favorite that you’re unlikely to find in the rest of the nation is blue corn pancakes.
Everybody knows the best bagels come from New York, but a bagel with lox is particularly iconic to The Big Apple. There’s just no other choice for The Empire State!
While the name ‘livermush’ isn’t particularly appetizing, plenty of North Carolinians love this loaf of pig liver, head parts, and cornmeal. Dating back to Colonial days, livermush (or sometimes liver pudding) is usually served up sliced and fried alongside eggs and biscuits, though it’s been known to make a lunchtime appearance as well.
Though it’s technically Scandavian, Lefse is popular throughout North Dakota. The potato-based flatbread is served with eggs, jam, or even just a little bit of butter and sugar.
Goetta is a meat-and-grain based sausage that is German in origin but popular in Ohio, particularly in the southwest region of the state. A homely medley of ground beef or pork, onions, spices, and oats, this loaf-style sausage is served after being sliced and griddle until sizzling. It may not look it, but it’s good stuff.
Chicken Fried Steak
We love a dish that’s equally at home at dinner and breakfast and Chicken Fried Steak is a shining example. Named one of the state dishes in 1988 by the 41st legislature, there’s just no better place to get it than Oklahoma!
The Marionberry was bred at Oregon State University by crossing two other types of berries to create the ultimate one. They don’t ship well so aren’t found fresh in too many other places, so make sure to get your fill if you’re in The Beaver State. They’re used in muffins, jam, pancakes, and more, so you’ll have plenty of breakfast opportunities!
Creamed Chipped Beef
Though you might only know it as Sh*t On A Shingle, you can think of Creamed Chipped Beef as a distant cousin of Biscuits and Gravy. Comprised of chipped dried beef that’s cooked into a creamy gravy and served over toast, it’s a Pennsylvania Dutch favorite for good reason.
Johhnycakes (or maybe Johnny Cakes or journeycakes) are one of the oldest breakfast foods on this list. These simple cornmeal patties have been around for over 350 years, but it’s safe to say that Rhode Island made them famous.
Grits are a staple of southern cuisine, but no other state takes them quite as seriously as South Carolina. The state code of laws has an entire section on the classification and preparation of grits, so you just know The Palmetto State does right by them.
Kuchen is technically South Dakota’s state dessert but it’s enjoyed for breakfast just as much. German for ‘cake,’ kuchen is somewhat of a cross between cake and a pie crust spread with custard and fruit. It’s creamy, comes in tons of flavor combinations, and you just know it doesn’t get better than cake for breakfast.
Country Ham & Red Eye Gravy
Country Ham is a little saltier than the ham steak you might be used to. Add a little coffee and butter to the pan drippings from that pan-fried slice and you’ve got what’s known as ‘red-eye gravy.’ The two together (and a side of eggs) make for a stick-to-your-ribs breakfast that’ll wake you right up to boot.
Tacos are great any time of day, something that Texas knows well. Take a tortilla and fold it around some bacon, scrambled eggs, cheese, potatoes, beans, salsa (really any breakfast ingredient you can think of) and you’re well on your way to breakfast glory.
A Utah Scone isn’t really all that much like any other scone you’ve seen before… In fact, it’s more akin to Navajo fry bread. It’s a puffy fried dough that’s drizzle with honey and syrup, and it’s totally delicious.
Maybe it’s not a meal in and of itself, but this sweet and sticky stuff is drizzled over so many breakfast staples that we couldn’t leave it out. Vermont is the main producer of maple syrup in the country, and aside from pouring it over pancakes and waffles and oatmeal and the like, they also serve it drizzled over fresh snow or in the well-loved ‘maple creemee’ ice cream treat.
Country Ham Biscuits
Virginia may be famous for its perfect, salty ham, but they’re just as well known for their tender, flaky biscuits. Put the two together (with a little bit of butter or mustard) and you’ve got a breakfast sandwich that’s hard to compete with.
While we’re not saying it’s advisable to make an entire meal out of this beverage, you’re certainly not alone if it’s your most common breakfast fare. Washington is an outright coffee Mecca, birthplace to Starbucks and home to a different coffee shop on every corner.
They’re hearty, they’re wholesome, but they’re also light, fluffy, and flavorful, so it’s easy to see why they’re an Appalachian breakfast staple. A delicious departure from your standard pancake, a little butter and syrup is all they need.
Hoppel Poppel is one of those dishes that serves the purpose of cleaning out lingering leftovers from your fridge. Got a Tupperware of leftover potatoes? Maybe some ham? (Salami and sausage are totally suitable too.) Toss them together in a skillet with some onions and eggs for a loose sort of farmer’s omelet and you’ve got a Hoppel Poppel. It’s different every time, but it’s always delicious.
Wyoming takes our fourth and final pancake on the list: Sourdough Pancakes. Created with a sourdough starter for a naturally-leavened pancake that’s fluffy and flavorful, these have been around the States since the Gold Rush days. They’re not your basic buttermilk variety and are definitely worth a try.