Austin is undoubtedly one of the most popular cities in Texas. From the catchy “Keep Austin Weird” slogan to the live music, Austin is a culturally vibrant city that always has something to do. While it is often referred to as the “Live Music Capital of the World,” the foods in Austin are also well worth the trip.
Austin is renowned for its diverse and eclectic food scene. From mouthwatering barbecue and Tex-Mex cuisine to gourmet food trucks and innovative fusion eateries, Austin offers a wide range of culinary delights. If you are visiting Austin, there are plenty of Austin foods you shouldn’t miss out on!
What’s Special About Foods In Austin?
Austin foods are special for several reasons! Firstly, the city embraces a diverse culinary landscape, with Tex-Mex foods and innovative American classics taking center stage. The food scene is known for its emphasis on local sourcing and farm-to-table practices, supporting local farmers and showcasing fresh, high-quality ingredients.
Additionally, Austin’s creative and innovative spirit is reflected in its food, with chefs and food entrepreneurs pushing boundaries and fusing different cuisines to create exciting and unique dishes. The city’s vibrant food truck culture adds to its charm, providing a diverse array of flavors and culinary experiments, which is definitely worth a try!
Most Famous Austin Food
What food is Austin known for if not Austin barbecue? Austin barbecue is renowned for its mouthwatering flavors and rich barbecue traditions. The city is known for its dedication to slow-cooked, smoky meats that are tender and bursting with flavor! One of the most iconic barbecue meats, brisket, is the star of Austin barbecue.
The secret to Austin barbecue lies in the meticulous smoking process using post oak or other hardwoods, resulting in a distinct smoky aroma and a pink smoke ring. Barbecue joints in Austin often offer a variety of traditional sides like coleslaw, potato salad, and beans, along with tangy sauces and pickles to complement the meat.
The best part of this Austin food? The barbecue scene is super diverse, ranging from legendary spots like Franklin Barbecue to neighborhood favorites and food trucks.
If you want to get a taste of this famous Austin food and others, make sure you check out the Downtown Austin Food Tour! From barbecue to breakfast tacos, this downtown food tour will show you the best places to start with the Austin food scene.
Famous Mexican & Tex-Mex Foods In Austin
There are such strong Mexican roots in the city, they have become an integral part of food in Austin as well; that shows clearly in the tamales! Tamales are made by spreading a masa dough onto a corn husk, filling it with various ingredients such as seasoned meats, cheese, or vegetables, and then wrapping and steaming them. In Austin, you can get everything from traditional tamales to innovative tamale creations!
This delicious dish is often enjoyed during holidays, festivals, or as a comforting meal at any time of year. Tamales can be found in local Mexican eateries, food trucks, or even tamale-specialty shops, where you can savor the authentic flavors and textures of this Mexican delicacy.
Migas is a popular Tex-Mex breakfast food that has a devoted following in Austin. This dish consists of scrambled eggs mixed with crispy tortilla strips, onions, peppers, and various other possible ingredients like cheese, tomatoes, and jalapeños. The tortilla strips are fried until golden and add a delightful crunch to the dish as well.
Migas are often seasoned with spices like cumin and paprika to enhance all the flavors. This Austin food is normally enjoyed with warm tortillas, refried beans, and a side of salsa or pico de gallo. You can find migas throughout different eateries and breakfast spots in Austin!
Along the same line as migas, breakfast tacos are a famous Austin food. This beloved morning staple showcases the city’s Tex-Mex culinary heritage and can be found at local taquerias, food trucks, and even some cafes.
Breakfast tacos typically consist of warm tortillas filled with scrambled eggs, cheese, and a variety of toppings and fillings.
Popular breakfast taco fillings include crispy bacon, savory sausage, tender chorizo, or even vegetarian options like beans and grilled vegetables.
If you want to get a taste of this and other Austin food classics, you should check out the Austin Brunch and Live Music Tour! Breakfast tacos and good vibes will be served up on this tour, guaranteed!
There is no better add-on to Tex-Mex dishes than queso! Queso is a creamy and indulgent melted cheese dip that is often enjoyed as a topping, appetizer, or snack. This Austin food typically combines melted cheese, tomatoes, onions, and various spices to make a delicious dip.
The cheese used can vary, but popular choices include cheddar, Monterey Jack, or a blend. Queso in Austin is often served with warm tortilla chips for dipping, creating a perfect combination of gooey cheese and crispy chips. You can find delicious queso all around Austin, where it is always a crowd-pleasing favorite!
Pastries, Desserts & Sweet Foods In Austin
Certainly a famous food in Austin, Kolaches are a beloved pastry that originated from Czech immigrants who settled in the area. These pastries consist of a soft, slightly sweet dough that is typically filled with various sweet or savory ingredients.
From fruit-filled options like apricot or cherry to savory versions filled with sausage, cheese, or jalapeños, you can enjoy a kolache at any time of day. Often, kolaches are a breakfast food or snack throughout the day. They can be found in specialty bakeries, food trucks, or traditional Czech eateries around town, so check them out!
If you’re looking for a creative, high-quality sweet treat, gourmet doughnuts are a great way to go! Around Austin, you’ll find dozens of specialty doughnut shops that offer unique flavors, innovative toppings, and artisanal craftsmanship.
This Austin food often features unconventional flavor combinations, such as bacon-infused maple, matcha green tea, or lavender vanilla.
These doughnuts are generally full of attention to detail, with quality ingredients and local flavors. This makes them a sought-after delight throughout the day, whether you’re looking for breakfast, a sweet snack, or a decadent dessert. Make sure you grab a few while you’re in town!
While ice cream isn’t the most famous Austin food, it is definitely a favorite local treat. Austin is home to several artisanal ice cream shops that offer a wide range of creative and delicious flavors. These ice cream parlors normally prioritize high-quality, local ingredients like seasonal fruits and herbs.
From classics like chocolate and vanilla to inventive combinations like lavender honey or bourbon-infused flavors, Austin’s ice cream scene offers something for everyone.
Many shops also cater to dietary preferences with vegan to gluten-free options. If you want a taste of some of the best ice cream, you can rest assured you’ll get some on Austin’s E-Bike foodie tour!
American Classic Foods In Austin
Chicken-fried steak is a classic Southern dish that brings together delicious fried meat and smooth gravy. The steak is typically pounded into a thin, tender cutlet, which is then dipped in an egg and milk mixture before being coated in seasoned flour or breadcrumbs. The steak is fried until crispy on the outside and juicy on the inside, resembling the texture and appearance of fried chicken.
The final touch is a generous serving of white gravy made from pan drippings, flour, and milk. This indulgent comfort food really captures that Southern flavor in Austin food. If you’re lucky, you’ll get this delicious steak served with classic sides, such as mashed potatoes, green beans, or buttered biscuits.
Hot sauce is undoubtedly the most beloved condiment in Austin cuisine! Texas state is known for its vibrant hot sauce scene, with a wide range of local producers crafting unique and flavorful sauces. The hot sauces in Austin often showcase a blend of different chili peppers, such as jalapeño, habanero, or serrano, resulting in various levels of heat and distinct flavor profiles.
Many hot sauce makers in Austin prioritize using fresh and locally sourced ingredients, including chili peppers grown in Texas. These hot sauces range from tangy and smoky to intensely spicy, which means everyone can pick out the flavor that is right for them.
You’ll see hot sauce in grocery stores, specialty stores, and local farmers’ markets, making it easy to find the perfect sauce to add to your favorite meals.
Texas-style chili is a hearty and flavorful dish that reflects the Lone Star state’s love for bold and robust flavors. It is a meat-centric chili that typically consists of chunks of beef, often from brisket or chuck, cooked with a rich blend of spices and seasonings.
A classic dish in Texan cuisine, this signature chili is known for its deep, smoky flavors, achieved through the use of ingredients like chili powder, cumin, paprika, and sometimes even a touch of dark chocolate or coffee.
Don’t expect to find any beans in this Austin food! Beans are not traditionally included in Texas-style chili, as the purists claim chili should focus exclusively on meat and spices. It is often slow-cooked to allow the flavors to meld together, resulting in a delicious dish you should try!
The Kolache burger takes an American classic and turns it into a classic Austin food, by combining the famous Czech pastry with a burger patty. It typically features a burger patty sandwiched between a split kolache bun, which is made from a soft, slightly sweet dough. The bun adds a unique texture and sweetness to the savory burger, creating a delightful contrast of flavors.
The Kolache burger can be customized with various toppings and condiments, such as cheese, lettuce, tomatoes, pickles, or special sauces to enhance the overall taste experience. This inventive combination is a popular choice for those looking to try something different and delicious in Austin’s vibrant food scene.
Iconic Drinks In Austin Food Scene
Texas Hill Country Wine
While Austin is not typically known for its wine production, it is located near several wine regions in Texas that are gaining recognition for their wines. The Texas Hill Country, located just west of Austin, is one of the most prominent wine regions in the state. It has a thriving wine industry and is known for producing a variety of wines, including Tempranillo, Viognier, and Cabernet Sauvignon.
Since these wineries are located nearby Austin, they make for a great day trip from downtown. Check out the Texas Hill Country Wine Tour, so you can enjoy the wine and not worry about transportation. We promise it’ll be a great complement to all the delicious Austin food you’ll be eating along the way!
There is perhaps no better complement to food in Austin than the craft beer scene! Austin’s craft breweries often prioritize using high-quality ingredients, locally sourced where possible, and experimenting with different flavors and brewing techniques.
There is so much energy around craft beer in Austin. it is celebrated through beer festivals, taproom tours, and events that bring together beer lovers and showcase the creativity and skill of local brewers. Craft beer enthusiasts can find a diverse selection of styles, including hop-forward IPAs, rich stouts, refreshing lagers, and experimental brews.
If you want to get a taste of the craft beer scene in Austin, you should consider the Pedicab Austin Brewery Tour! This tour will take you pedaling from brewery to brewery, where you can enjoy the most popular beers in the city.
Margaritas are a quintessential drink that perfectly complements the Tex-Mex culinary scene in Austin. They are a refreshing cocktail, typically made with tequila, lime juice, and orange liqueur, served over ice in a salt-rimmed glass. Austin’s margaritas often feature creative twists and variations, including fresh fruits, herbs, or unique flavor combinations.
From classic margaritas to fruit-infused options like watermelon or prickly pear, there’s a margarita for every taste preference. Austin’s bars and restaurants offer a wide range of margarita options, including frozen margaritas and variations made with high-quality tequila or mezcal. Whether enjoyed during happy hour or alongside delicious Austin food, margaritas are an Austin signature drink that captures the city’s vibrant and lively spirit.
FAMOUS FOODS IN THE US
Sampling Famous Foods In Austin
With all the food trucks and popular restaurants, there are lots of places to pick up some real treats in Austin, Texas! From the famous barbecue and breakfast tacos to the craft brews and hot sauce, there is something for every palette.
Whether you prefer to grab food at a food truck or sit down at an upscale restaurant, make sure you don’t miss out on some of the most popular foods in Austin!