Kansas food is special because it reflects the state’s rich agricultural history and diverse culinary influences. The state is also known for its comfort foods, such as chicken fried steak, pot roast, and homemade pies. These dishes are hearty and satisfying and are often made with locally-sourced ingredients.
In addition to its traditional fare, Kansas has also embraced new culinary trends and global flavors. The state is home to a vibrant food scene, with a wide range of restaurants and cafes that offer everything from classic American cuisine to international dishes.
There’s no shortage of delicious dishes that are specific to this Midwestern region. Here are some of the traditional or famous Kansas foods to try when you visit – let’s dig in!
Most Famous Kansas Food
Kansas Style BBQ
Kansas City is widely known as the home of some of the best BBQs in America. It is easily one of the most famous foods in Kansas.
This barbecue style is characterized by its use of slow-cooking methods, wood-burning ovens, and thick, sugary sauces.
BBQ in Kansas is a way of life. It’s not just a meal, it’s a cultural experience. And when it comes to Kansas Style BBQ, it’s all about quality meat with passionate and patient cooking.
The most popular meats you will find are ribs, pork, beef brisket and chicken. The signature sauces range from sweet to spicy and are often used to give each dish its own unique flavor.
And of course, we can’t talk about Kansas Style BBQ without mentioning burnt ends. If you’ve never had burnt ends, you’re missing out. These delicious nuggets of meaty goodness are the crispy, caramelized pieces that come from the brisket. They’re a Kansas specialty, and they’re absolutely delicious.
Kansas City’s barbecue is famous all over the world for its deliciousness and has even been featured on the Food Network! If you ever find yourself in Kansas City make sure to visit one of these renowned BBQ joints for an unforgettable meal.
Popular Kansas Foods
Chili And Cinnamon Rolls
This might sound like a weird combination, but Chili and Cinnamon Rolls in Kansas are a total game-changer. This is another one of the classic Kansas foods.
It’s a simple but incredibly delicious option that consists of chili served with a buttery, cinnamony roll.
In case you are not familiar, chili here does not refer to the spicy red plant. This is a hearty, meaty stew with a bit of a kick. It’s typically made with beef, beans, tomatoes, and a blend of spices.
Sometimes it’s served with toppings like shredded cheese, onions, and sour cream. It’s the perfect comfort food for chilly days.
The cinnamon rolls in Kansas tend to be big, fluffy, and slathered in frosting. And when you pair them with a bowl of chili, it’s a surprising and unforeseen match made in foodie heaven.
So while the flavor combination might sound strange, don’t knock it till you try it! This hearty meal is, in fact, popular across the Midwestern states. The sweetness of the cinnamon rolls perfectly balances out the spiciness of the chili.
You will be able to find this unique Kansas food in cafes and diners throughout the state as well as at some events. It’s one of those foods of Kansas that everyone seems to love and look forward to having when visiting.
Chicken Fried Steak
This is one of the signature foods in Kansas and its popularity has spread to other states. Chicken Fried Steak is a thing of beauty. If you’ve never had it before, you’re in for a treat.
First thing first, Chicken Fried Steak doesn’t actually have chicken. It’s a fried beef steak that is pounded thin, dredged in flour and spices, then fried until crisp and golden brown. The dish is then topped with a thick gravy that pairs perfectly with mashed potatoes or mac & cheese.
One of the things that really sets Kansas Chicken Fried Steak apart is the gravy. It’s creamy, savory, and oh-so-delicious. We take our gravy seriously in Kansas, and it’s the perfect complement to the crispy, juicy steak.
You can find this dish on menus all over Kansas, from family-run diners to upscale restaurants. This comforting classic will always have a special place in the hearts of Kansas foodies.
If you’re a burger lover, you have to try the Z-Man Burger in Kansas. It’s a true masterpiece of sinful indulgence. The Z-Man Burger is the ultimate burger experience that has become an integral part of Kansas’ food culture.
It consists of a juicy beef patty that’s grilled to perfection. It’s then topped with smoked brisket, provolone cheese, and a couple of crispy onion rings. The whole thing is then slathered in a tangy barbecue sauce and served on a Kaiser roll. It’s messy, it’s delicious, and it’s oh-so-satisfying.
This monstrosity was created at Joe’s Kansas City Bar-B-Que, and has grown to be one of the iconic dishes burger fans visit Kansas to try.
What sets this burger apart from other varieties is the combination of flavors and textures. The juicy patty, smoky brisket, melty cheese, and crispy onion rings create a symphony of tastes in your mouth.
When you think of comfort food, pot roast probably comes to mind. Luckily for us, this slow-cooked classic is a staple on Kansas tables. It’s hearty, comforting, and most importantly, great for sharing with loved ones.
The key to making the perfect pot roast starts with choosing the right cut of beef: chuck roast or top round are best. The meat is then seared in a hot skillet before being combined with potatoes, carrots, and onions in the pot.
As the ingredients simmer together they create an incredibly rich sauce that will have your mouth watering! Once it’s done cooking you can enjoy it as is or shred it and put it between two slices of toast for a truly indulgent sandwich experience.
But Pot Roast isn’t just delicious – it’s also a dish that’s steeped in tradition. It’s a reminder of simpler times when families gathered around the dinner table and enjoyed a home-cooked meal together.
Even though times have changed, the love and care that goes into making a good Pot Roast remain the same. Without a doubt, one of the most traditional yet meaningful Kansas foods.
Snack Foods In Kansas
Immigrant stories are some of the most interesting facts about Kansas that has influenced the state’s culture and certainly its food scene.
Bierocks are a savory pastry that originated in Europe. There is often a debate on whether they are German or Russian. Regardless, they were brought to Kansas by German immigrants and have become a beloved snack throughout the state.
These little pastries are basically pockets of dough that are stuffed with ground beef, cabbage, onions, and cheese. They’re then baked until they’re golden brown and crispy on the outside.
Bierocks can be served as an appetizer or enjoyed as a meal. They make a great lunch or dinner option when you need something warm and satisfying.
What makes Bierocks special is the combination of flavors and textures. The savory beef and onions pair perfectly with the slightly sweet cabbage. And the dough is soft and pillowy on the inside, with a crispy crust on the outside.
Kansas City is especially known for its bierocks and they make a popular item at many local restaurants. It’s also one of the super convenient foods in Kansas to eat. If you ever find yourself in the state make sure to try one of these delicious pastries!
This simple, yet delicious dish is one of the well-loved foods from Kansas. It’s a savory pie that’s loaded with all the fixings of a cheeseburger, making it a perfect meal for burger lovers.
The main ingredient in this pie is ground beef mixed with onions and seasonings then placed in a pie crust. It’s then topped with cheese and baked until the crust is flaky and golden brown.
The beauty of Cheeseburger Pie lies in its simplicity. There’s no need for fancy ingredients or complicated recipes – just a few pantry staples that come together to create something amazing!
Plus, it makes for an easy weeknight dinner option that everyone will love. You can also easily customize it by adding extra toppings or ingredients into the mix. Many like to include fresh tomato slices and lettuce for a refreshing kick to the hearty dish.
Desserts And Sweet Foods Kansas Is Known For
Another one of the classic foods from Kansas is Stayman apples. They’re a type of heirloom apple that’s been grown in the state for over a century. This variety was first developed by Dr. Joseph Stayman in 1866.
Stayman apples are sweet, slightly tart, and crisp. They are great for snacking but also hold up well in baking and cooking. You can imagine why there’s a local sense of pride for these bad boys. They are a true treasure when it comes to local produces.
That versatility is what makes them popular as well. You can use them for making different dishes such as pies, apple sauce, or even cider.
These apples are easily found at farmers’ markets around Kansas throughout the fall and winter months. So if you’re looking for something local, delicious, and simple to try while visiting, this is it!
Kansas Dirt Cake
One of the ultimate desserts and food Kansas is known for is no doubt the Kansas Dirt Cake. It is the perfect monster for anyone with a sweet tooth.
This unusual dessert consists of a rich chocolate cake that is covered in and filled with layers of Oreo cookie crumbs, pudding, and whipped cream. The final result looks like a kiddy pail full of dirt when it’s served.
Sometimes it is It’s further topped with gummy worms to enhance its context visually. Drizzled with melted chocolate on top, this tasty treat has been a staple at potlucks and family gatherings in Kansas for decades. It is easy to make and always a crowd-pleaser.
Kansas Dirt Cake may seem simple on the surface, but its flavor packs a punch! The layers of sweet cookies, creamy pudding, and fluffy whipped cream blend together to create an irresistible combination. It’s no wonder why this dessert has become so popular throughout the years.
FAMOUS FOODS IN THE US
Iconic Drinks From Kansas
Kansas isn’t just about food – it’s also home to some great drinks. One of the most delicious libations is the Horsefeather Cocktail which was created in Lawerence, Kansas.
This refreshing drink is made with whiskey, ginger beer, angostura bitters, and a splash of lemon juice. The combination is smooth and tangy, without being overpowering. This makes it a great thirst quencher on hot summer days.
For best results, serve it over ice with a wedge of lime or lemon for added visuals or extra citrus flavor. A well-rounded cocktail with a Kansas twist.
The Horsefeather Cocktail has been embraced by locals as one of their own creations and they take pride in this unique beverage – which is why it’s an absolute must-try during your time in Kansas!
Discovering Delicious Foods In Kansas
Kansas is a state full of rich history and culture, which extends to its food. From the classic Stayman apples to the iconic Horsefeather Cocktail, Kansas has some truly unique dishes and drinks that everyone should try when visiting.
With so many delicious local foods in Kansas to choose from, it’s no surprise why food has become such an important part of their heritage – and your experience! So as you explore the famous landmarks in Kansas, don’t forget to also indulge in all the wonderful cuisines on offer next time you’re in town.