10 Best Foods In Maryland: Dishes Maryland Is Known For

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Maryland is known for its diverse range of seafood dishes that showcase the state’s bountiful Chesapeake Bay. However, that is not all that the Maryland food scene has to offer. From savory pit-beef sandwiches to chocolatey Berger Cookies, the delicious cuisine and foods from Maryland stretch far beyond marine life.

What’s Special About Foods Of Maryland

Maryland cuisine is all about celebrating the state’s rich culinary traditions and the abundance of fresh, locally-sourced ingredients available. While it is obviously a seafood lover’s paradise, this East Coast state has a wide range of culinary offerings that will make your mouth water.

Marylanders have always had an appreciation for quality foods with rich histories behind them. You can expect to find some interesting stories behind each dish such as the state’s official dessert – Smith Island Cake.

Here are some of the most famous foods in Maryland to try when you visit. So get ready to take a tasty tour through one of America’s most flavorful states!

Most Famous Maryland Food

Steamed Crabs

Maryland is synonymous with steamed crabs. This dish consists of blue crabs that are steamed in beer, herbs, and spices. It’s a staple at seafood restaurants in the state and most often enjoyed with melted butter and a special blend of seasonings that give them a mouthwatering flavor that’s both savory and spicy.

The Chesapeake Bay is home to some of the best crabs, so it’s no surprise that this dish is an iconic part of Maryland cuisine. The crabs are usually caught locally, so you know they’re fresh and packed full of tender flavor. 

More than just a delicious meal, it’s also a social experience. People will often have crab feasts or cookouts where they crack open dozens of these salty crustaceans for their meal. It’s a laid-back, casual atmosphere that’s perfect for soaking up the sun and enjoying the company of those around you.

if you’re in Maryland and you haven’t tried steamed crab, you’re missing out! It’s a quintessential Maryland food experience that you won’t soon forget.

Popular Maryland Seafood

Crab Cakes

Another classic Maryland food is crab cakes. This dish consists of fresh crab meat mixed with a few simple ingredients, then formed into small cakes and typically fried or baked. They’re often served on top of salads, sandwiches, or as a stand-alone appetizer.

But what makes Maryland crab cakes truly special is their texture. They’re crispy on the outside, but tender and moist on the inside, with big, juicy chunks of crab that burst with flavor in every bite.

That said, the key to making good crab cakes is to use jumbo lump crab for the best gastronomic experience. Be sure to also season them well with salt and pepper so that you can really taste the delicate sweetness of the crab meat.

Crab cakes are popular all around the country, but they truly shine in Maryland where there’s an abundance of fresh seafood from the Chesapeake Bay. 

If you’re looking to indulge in the local flavors, don’t pass the chance to grab a cold drink, sit back, and savor the crabcakes – it’s a tasteful food Maryland is known for.


Rockfish is a type of fish found in many parts of the United States, but it’s especially popular off the coast of Maryland. Also known as striped bass, rockfish is a beloved local catch and a common Maryland seafood.

It has white flesh, a mild flavor and firm texture that pairs perfectly with a variety of seasonings and cooking methods.

In fact, what makes rockfish so special is its versatility. Whether it’s grilled, baked, fried, or served raw as sushi, rockfish always delivers a taste of the sea that’s fresh and flavorful. 

It’s also one of the most sustainable seafood options since rockfish can be found in plentiful amounts along the Chesapeake Bay area. This makes it not just delicious, but also environmentally conscious too! And supports the local fishermen.

Best Foods In Maryland

Pit Beef

Get ready for a flavor explosion with pit beef. This is a classic Maryland food that’s sure to leave you wanting more!

This mouth-watering dish is made with thinly sliced beef that’s slow-cooked over an open flame for several hours until it’s tender and juicy. This also gives it a deliciously smoky flavor that’s hard to resist.

The key to perfect pit beef is using the right cut of meat – top round – as well as a good marinade. From tangy mustard to spicy horseradish and the iconic Old Bay seasoning, you can apply based on your preference. 

The result is a succulent piece of meat that pairs perfectly with your favorite sides. Pit beef is often served simply with some toast or rolls as an entrée or sandwich, but you can also enjoy it in sliders or chopped up and added to salads or tacos. 

You can find pit beef at plenty of local barbecue joints and food trucks, the best way to enjoy it is at a pit beef stand. These roadside stands have been a Maryland institution for decades, serving up hot, juicy pit beef sandwiches with all the fixings.

Old Bay Seasoning

It’s said that no food from Maryland would be complete without a sprinkling of Old Bay seasoning! This iconic blend of spices is a staple in the local cuisine as it adds just the right amount of flavor and zest to any meal.

The origins of Old Bay date all the way back to the 1940s when it was created by a German immigrant, Gustav Brunn. The seasoning mix is made up of 18 herbs and spices including celery salt, mace, nutmeg, ginger, bay leaves, mustard seed, and paprika.

Old Bay is used not only on steamed crabs but also as an ingredient in crab soup or as a seasoning for fried foods like French fries and onion rings. You can even use it as a rub for chicken or fish. 

That said, Old Bay isn’t just a seasoning – it’s almost a way of life! Marylanders are proud to use it in just about everything. You will find it at almost every crab shack, seafood joint, and corner store in the state.

It’s the ultimate complement to any Maryland food, from steamed crabs to crab cakes to shrimp boils. This also makes a perfect souvenir to take home; it’s like taking a taste of Maryland back with you.

Snack Foods In Maryland

Utz Crab Potato Chips

For a crunchy, flavorful snack that’s uniquely Maryland – it has to be crab potato chips! These crispy, golden chips are lightly dusted with Old Bay seasoning, giving them a subtle spice and salty crab-like taste.

This is a unique flavor of potato chips that’s inspired by Maryland’s famous seafood cuisine. They pair wonderfully with beer, so you can enjoy munching on them while sipping an ice-cold brew or munching on them as an afternoon snack.

Utz is a popular brand for this mouth-watering snack, or you can also seek out Herr. Best of all, you can even order them online if you are not visiting Maryland anytime soon.

Infused with the rich, savory taste of fresh crab meat, this is a fun Maryland spin on classic potato chips. Stash a couple into your backpack as you go around exploring the famous landmarks in Maryland.

Thrashers French Fries

There are many delicious foods from Maryland, but it’s hard to beat the classic Thrashers French Fries. This crispy fried potato snack has a cult following in the area, with some people even making special trips just to get their hands on them!

Thrashers are made from quality Idaho potatoes that are hand-dipped into boiling peanut oil and served with 100% Apple Cider Vinegar. These sinful treats are available in 3 different sizes.

But what really sets Thrashers apart is their commitment to quality and tradition. The company has been serving up salty, golden perfection since 1929. They still use the same recipe and cooking process that they did nearly a century ago, ensuring that every fry is just as delicious as the last.

These crunchy golden fries are best enjoyed while they’re still hot as they can become soggy quickly. You can often find them at roadside stands and beachfront eateries.

Desserts And Sweet Foods From Maryland

Berger Cookies

Calling all cookie lovers – have you tried Berger Cookies? If not, you’re in for a treat! Berger cookies are a Maryland food specialty, and they are hard to miss. 

These are giant mounds of shortbread cookie dough, smothered in a generous dollop of thick chocolatey fudge on top. They are known for their soft, cake-like texture, one bite and you’ll be transported to dessert heaven!

These decadent treats were first created by German immigrant Henry Berger in 1835. Today, Berger Cookies remain one of the most popular dessert foods in Maryland and the surrounding Mid-Atlantic states.

The cookies have become so iconic that you can even find knockoff versions sold across the US. But nothing beats these delectable originals made right here in Maryland. 

So if you’re looking for a classic dessert Baltimore is known for, be sure to give these beloved treats a try! They pair perfectly with a glass of milk.

Smith Island Cake

Smith Island Cake is the official dessert of Maryland, and therefore an absolute must-try when visiting. This delicious and fluffy treat has layers of moist cake and rich frosting that make it irresistible. 

The traditional version has 8 to 10 layers of yellow cake, each separated by a layer of chocolate fudge frosting, but there are also variations with other cake flavors and fillings.

The history of Smith Island Cake goes back to the early 1800s. It was a popular treat that wives make for their fishermen spouses who were going out on oyster harvesting trips. Today, it’s one of the beloved foods in Maryland and beyond.

In some places, they refer to this delicacy as “the eight layer cake” due to its distinctive multi-layer interior. This dessert can be enjoyed any time of year, not just during the holidays! 

What makes Smith Island Cake so special is not just its delicious flavor and texture, but also the fact that it represents a unique piece of Maryland’s cultural heritage.

It’s not every day that a cake gets to become the official dessert of a state. This famous food from Maryland has even been recognized by the state legislature as a symbol of Maryland’s rich history and traditions.

Iconic Drink In Maryland

Natty Boh

Natty Boh, short for National Bohemian, is a beer brand that’s been around for over 100 years. It’s known for its crisp, refreshing taste and iconic logo featuring a one-eyed, mustached mascot named Mr. Boh.

Also known as “the Pride of Baltimore,” it has been a staple in the city since 1885. For generations, Natty Boh has been present at backyard barbecues, and other social gatherings throughout the state. 

It’s a symbol of the pride and camaraderie that Marylanders share in their love for good food, good company, and good times. The mascot has even been immortalized in song lyrics and local artwork.

The company also runs catchy marketing slogans, such as “From the Land of Pleasant Living” and “A Toast to Baltimore”. Natty Boh’s distinctive malty flavor and golden hue have made it one of the most beloved beers in Maryland. 

Today, you can find this classic brew at bars and restaurants all over the state. If you’re visiting, be sure to grab a cold can of Natty Boh and catch the sunset at one of the best beaches in Maryland.

Discovering The Famous Foods In Maryland

The foods in Maryland are a unique blend of flavors, ingredients, and cultural influences that make it truly one of the most delicious cuisines in America. From the famous steamed crabs to the nostalgic Natty Boh beer, there is some form of story and connection to the state.

Whether you’re munching on traditional treats or indulging in modern twists on classic recipes, every bite will transport your taste buds back to this beautiful state. Certainly one of the top Maryland facts for food lovers!

So if you ever find yourself exploring Maryland’s culinary scene be sure to savor each morsel – there are so many delightful dishes waiting for you!



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Welcome To NomadsUnveiled
This is Rax. For over a decade, I have traveled to over 60 countries - from a budget backpacker to a business traveler, expat and then a digital nomad. You can find insights and perspectives from myself and other world travelers that will inspire your journey of discovery.


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