Welcome to the wonderful world of Arkansas cuisine! The Natural State is known for its delicious and diverse food options, with influences from southern, Cajun, and even Native American cultures.
One of Arkansas’s most loved state foods is catfish, often breaded and fried to perfection. This tasty fish can be found on menus across the state, from casual eateries to fine-dining restaurants.
Another popular dish is rice and gravy, a comforting and hearty meal staple in many southern households.
And, of course, no discussion of Arkansas state food would be complete without mentioning the famous Arkansas-grown rice and soybeans used in various dishes.
Whether you’re in the mood for a classic southern plate or something with a little more spice, you will find something delicious in the Arkansas state foods.
So come and explore the taste of Arkansas state food with us!
Table of Contents
The 16 Best Arkansas State Foods and Drinks
Chocolate gravy, oh, chocolate gravy! Where do we even begin with this delicious and heavenly treat? Chocolate gravy is a southern delicacy that combines cocoa powder, sugar, and flour to create a rich and velvety gravy.
It’s then poured over warm, fluffy biscuits for a breakfast treat that will make your taste buds dance with joy.
The first bite is like a party in your mouth, with the warm, buttery biscuit acting as the perfect vessel for the smooth and decadent gravy.
The cocoa powder gives it a deep, rich chocolate flavor that will make you want to close your eyes and savor every bite.
And the sugar adds just the right amount of sweetness to balance out the chocolate and make it the perfect breakfast indulgence.
You might be wondering, “Chocolate gravy? That sounds weird?” But trust us, it’s a Southern classic, and once you try it, you’ll be hooked!
It’s like a chocolate lover’s dream come true, and it’s the perfect way to start your day off with a little bit of indulgence.
So go ahead, treat yourself to a plate of biscuits and chocolate gravy, and see why it’s a beloved southern tradition.
This delicious and gooey treat is a staple in many households across Arkansas. It’s a creamy, cheesy dip that combines melted cheese, spices, and often some kind of liquid, like milk or beer, to create the perfect consistency.
It’s typically served warm and is perfect for dipping in tortilla chips, crackers, or vegetables.
When you bite into cheese dip, you’ll be immediately struck by its gooey, melty texture. It’s like a warm hug for your taste buds.
The cheese can vary, but it’s usually a blend of cheddar, Monterey Jack, or Colby cheese, giving it a sharp and tangy flavor.
The spices used can vary too, but it usually has a hint of garlic, cayenne pepper, and sometimes even a little paprika for a bit of smokiness.
Cheese dip is a perfect appetizer for a party or game day; it’s easy to make and always a crowd-pleaser.
It can also be used as a topping for nachos, enchiladas, burritos, and even hot dogs. It’s versatile, delicious, and always a hit! So next time you’re looking for a tasty and easy appetizer, give cheese dip a try; you won’t regret it!
These crispy, salty treats are a beloved delicacy in many parts of the country and are especially popular in the southern states.
Fried pickles are made by coating slices of dill pickles in a mixture of flour, cornmeal, and spices before frying them to golden perfection. The result is a crispy, crunchy exterior that gives way to the tangy and salty flavor of the pickles inside.
The satisfying crunch is the first thing you’ll notice when you take a bite of fried pickles. The coating is crispy and golden brown, and it’s the perfect contrast to the soft and juicy pickles inside.
Dill pickles are typically cut into thick slices so that they can be dipped in sauces such as ranch, bleu cheese, or spicy mustard.
Fried pickles are a classic bar food, but they’re also a great appetizer to serve at a party or a game day.
They’re easy to make, and they’re always a crowd-pleaser. You can also find fried pickles at many restaurants and fast food chains. They’re versatile, delicious, and always a hit!
Arkansas Possum Pie
This may sound strange to some, but it’s an Arkansas delicacy. Possum pie is a sweet and savory pie made with chocolate and pecans. It’s similar to a pecan pie, but instead of a traditional pie crust, it uses a chocolate cookie crust.
It’s a unique and delicious dessert that will surprise and delight your taste buds.
The chocolate cookie crust is buttery and crumbly, providing the perfect base for the sweet and gooey pecan filling. The pecans are toasted and chopped, giving the pie a nice crunch and a nutty flavor.
Possum pie is a classic southern dessert that is often served at family gatherings and holidays. It’s a beloved state delicacy in Arkansas and a must-try if you’re ever in the state.
It’s a unique and delicious dessert that combines sweet, nutty, and chocolate flavors in one delicious pie.
Rice and Gravy
This delicious and comforting dish is a beloved staple in the southern states and is especially popular in Arkansas.
Rice and gravy is a simple yet satisfying dish made by cooking rice and then adding a flavorful gravy made from pan drippings, flour, and broth. It’s usually made with chicken, beef, or pork, and it’s a classic Arkansas state food.
The savory and comforting flavor is the first thing you’ll notice when you take a bite of rice and gravy. The rice is perfectly cooked and the perfect base for the rich and flavorful gravy.
The gravy is a great way to add depth of flavor to the dish. In addition, the gravy can be made with different meats, giving it a unique and delicious taste.
Rice and gravy is a classic southern dish that is often served as a side dish or a main course. It’s perfect for a cold winter day and a great way to experience the flavors of the south.
It’s a delicious and comforting dish that is sure to warm you up and fill you up. It’s best served with green beans, mashed potatoes, or fried okra.
Arkansas Delta Tamales
These delicious and hearty treats are a staple in Arkansas state foods, more specifically in the Delta region, located in the eastern part of the state.
Tamales are a traditional Mexican dish consisting of a masa dough filled with various meats, cheeses, or vegetables, wrapped in a corn husk, and steamed to perfection.
Delta tamales are known for their savory and spicy filling, usually made with pork or beef, and they are often served as a main course or a side dish.
The soft and fluffy masa dough is the first thing you’ll notice about Arkansas Delta tamales. It’s made with corn flour, lard, and seasonings, giving it a unique and satisfying texture.
The filling is savory, spicy, and flavorful, thanks to the combination of meats, spices, and vegetables.
The corn husk gives it a subtle earthy flavor and helps keep the tamale moist and flavorful during the steaming process.
Arkansas Delta Tamales are a traditional state dish deeply rooted in the region’s culture, and it’s often served at family gatherings and events.
They’re a delicious, hearty, and satisfying meal that can be enjoyed on its own or with a side of rice and beans.
Tamales are a must-try if you’re ever in the Arkansas Delta region, and they are a delicious way to experience the local culture and flavors.
Cavender’s Greek Seasoning
This seasoning blend is a beloved staple in many kitchens across Arkansas and beyond. Cavender’s is a proprietary blend of herbs and spices inspired by traditional Greek flavors.
It’s a versatile and flavorful seasoning that can be used on various dishes, from meats and poultry to vegetables and salads.
The blend of herbs and spices creates a unique and distinctive taste that is hard to replicate. It’s made with a combination of garlic, salt, black pepper, and oregano, which gives it a slightly tangy and earthy flavor.
Additionally, it usually contains MSG, which is responsible for the umami flavor.
Cavender’s Greek Seasoning is a versatile and flavorful seasoning that can be used in various dishes.
It’s perfect for marinades, rubs, and dressings and a great way to add a touch of Mediterranean flavor to your meals.
The seasoning is widely available in grocery stores, and it’s a must-have for anyone who loves to cook and experiment with flavors.
These delicious and juicy grapes are a beloved delicacy in the southern state and are an especially popular staple in Arkansas state food.
Muscadines are a type of grape that is native to the southeastern United States. They are larger and sweeter than traditional grapes and have a unique, musky flavor that sets them apart from other grapes.
They come in two varieties, the scuppernongs (bronze) and the cultivars (black), and they are often used to make jams, jellies, and wine.
They are plump and bursting with juice, making them the perfect snack on a hot summer day. The skin of the muscadine is thick and slightly tough, but it’s edible, giving the grape a unique texture.
The musky flavor is a characteristic of the variety, and it’s a great addition to the sweet and juicy taste.
Muscadines are a beloved delicacy in the state of Arkansas and throughout the south, and they are often enjoyed fresh or used to make jams, jellies, and wines.
They are also a great source of antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals. They are typically in season during late summer and early fall and are often found at farmers’ markets and local orchards.
So next time you’re looking for a delicious and unique fruit, give muscadines a try. You won’t regret it!
This delicious and hearty stew is a commonly served food in Arkansas, and it’s especially popular throughout the southern states.
Duck gumbo is a traditional Cajun dish made by simmering a flavorful roux with various meats, vegetables, and spices to create a rich and hearty stew.
Duck is a popular protein choice, but it can also be made with other meats such as chicken, sausage, or seafood.
The roux, which is made with flour and fat, gives the gumbo a thick and satisfying consistency. The duck meat is tender and flavorful, adding a unique depth of flavor to the dish.
The vegetables, such as onions, bell peppers, and celery, provide a nice balance of sweetness and crunch, and the spices give the gumbo a warm and comforting taste.
Duck gumbo is a classic Cajun dish that is often served as a main course. It’s perfect for a cold winter day and a great way to experience the flavors of the south.
It’s a delicious and hearty stew that is sure to warm you up and fill you up. It’s best served over rice and usually garnished with green onions, parsley, or file powder.
This delicious and refreshing soft drink is a cherished staple of Arkansas state foods, and it’s been a favorite for many years.
Grapette is a grape-flavored carbonated soft drink created in the 1940s by Benjamin F. Fooks, an entrepreneur from Camden, Arkansas.
It has a unique and unmistakable grape flavor that sets it apart from other soft drinks. It’s made with a secret blend of natural flavors, and it’s caffeine-free.
Take a sip of Grapette, and you’ll immediately notice how bold and refreshing the grape flavor is. It’s sweet and fruity with a nice balance of tartness.
The carbonation gives it a nice crispness, making it the perfect drink for a hot summer day. The color is a deep purple, similar to the color of Concord grapes.
Grapette is a nostalgic and beloved soft drink in Arkansas, and it’s often associated with memories of childhood, summer days, and local events.
It’s available in many convenience stores and grocery stores across the state and distributed in some other states.
Grapette is an excellent option if you’re looking for a refreshing and unique soft drink, and it’s a must-try if you’re ever in Arkansas.
Mountain Valley Water
This delicious and refreshing water is common in Arkansas, and it’s been a favorite for many years.
Mountain Valley Water is a premium natural spring water sourced from a natural spring located in the Ouachita Mountains of Arkansas.
The water is naturally filtered through rock layers, giving it a unique and refreshing taste. It’s also rich in minerals such as calcium, magnesium, and potassium.
It’s naturally filtered through layers of rock and has no added chemicals or artificial flavors.
The water is also naturally alkaline, which can help to balance the body’s pH levels. In addition, the mineral content gives it a unique and satisfying taste that sets it apart from other waters.
Mountain Valley Water is a premium water, bottled at the source, and is available in many stores across the state.
It’s a great option if you’re looking for high-quality refreshing water, and it’s a must-try if you’re ever in Arkansas.
Many people prefer to drink it because it’s a natural spring water bottle at the source, ensuring the purity and mineral content are intact.
I am aware that watermelon is not solely an Arkansas state food. They are grown all across the south.
However, if you visit the state during the summer, you should definitely try an Arkansas watermelon.
This delicious and juicy fruit is a diet staple in the summer months, and it’s an especially popular Arkansas state food.
The juicy and sweet flavor is the first thing you’ll notice when you take a bite of an Arkansas watermelon.
The flesh is crisp and refreshing, and it’s the perfect way to cool down on a hot summer day. Watermelon is also a great source of hydration, and it’s a great way to replenish fluids and electrolytes after a workout or a day in the sun.
The seeds are edible, but they can be removed easily, and it’s also a good source of antioxidants and amino acids.
Watermelon is primarily a summertime fruit often enjoyed at picnics, barbecues, and other outdoor events.
It’s also popular for making refreshing drinks, like watermelon juice and watermelon-lime agua fresca.
It’s also a great ingredient to add to salads and other dishes to give them a touch of sweetness and a nice crunch.
So next time you’re looking for a refreshing and delicious fruit in Arkansas, give their watermelons a try; you won’t regret it!
This delicious and crispy treat is a cherished delicacy in the southern states and is especially popular in Arkansas.
Fried chicken is a classic southern dish made by coating chicken pieces in a mixture of flour, spices, and herbs before frying them to golden perfection. Arkansas fried chicken is known for its crispy exterior and juicy, flavorful meat.
The satisfying crunch is the first thing you’ll notice when you take a bite of Arkansas Fried Chicken. The coating is crispy and golden brown, and it’s the perfect contrast to the tender and juicy meat inside.
The spices used in the coating give the chicken a unique and delicious flavor, often with a hint of heat, cayenne pepper, or paprika. The chicken is usually served with mashed potatoes, gravy, coleslaw, or biscuits.
Fried chicken is a classic southern dish, a staple in many households and restaurants across the state. It’s a perfect meal for a family gathering, a game day, or a picnic.
Arkansas Fried Chicken is a must-try Arkansas state food, and it’s a delicious way to experience the local culture and flavors.
Fried catfish is a classic southern dish made by coating catfish fillets in a mixture of flour, cornmeal, and spices before frying them to golden perfection.
The result is a crispy, crunchy exterior that gives way to the succulent and flavorful meat inside.
The coating is crispy and golden brown, and it’s the perfect contrast to the flaky and moist meat inside.
The spices used in the coating give the catfish a unique and delicious flavor, often with a hint of cayenne pepper or paprika. The catfish is usually served with hushpuppies, coleslaw, or fries.
Fried catfish is a classic southern dish, and it’s often served as a main course or an appetizer. Fried catfish is a must-try Arkansas state food if you’re ever in Arkansas, and it’s a delicious way to experience the local culture and flavors.
This dish is often served at seafood restaurants and is also a popular way of cooking catfish in the southern states.
Did you know that Arkansas produces more soybeans than any other state in the country? These versatile and nutritious beans are a staple crop in Arkansas.
Soybeans are a legume often used to make various products such as soy milk, tofu, and soy sauce.
They are also used as an ingredient in many processed foods and are a great source of protein, fiber, and other nutrients.
They have a tender and creamy texture and are a great addition to many dishes. They can be eaten fresh, cooked, or roasted, and they’re a great alternative to traditional protein sources such as meat or dairy.
Soybeans are also a good source of phytochemicals, compounds that have been shown to provide health benefits, such as reducing the risk of heart disease and certain types of cancer.
Soybeans are a versatile and nutritious crop widely used in many different ways, from food to feed, oil, and more.
They are widely available in most grocery stores and supermarkets, and they are a great ingredient to have on hand for many different recipes.
They can be used in salads, soups, stir-fries, and more, and they’re a great way to add a source of plant-based protein to your diet.
Purple Hull Peas
Purple Hull Peas are a type of cowpea, also known as southern peas, that is known for its distinctive purple hull, hence the name.
They have a unique and rich flavor and are packed with nutrients like fiber, protein, and other vitamins and minerals.
They have a tender and creamy texture and are a great addition to many dishes. They are often used in dishes like soups, stews, and side dishes.
They can be eaten fresh, cooked, or canned, and they’re a great alternative to traditional protein sources such as meat or dairy.
Purple Hull Peas are a beloved delicacy in the southern states, and they are often enjoyed at family gatherings, events, and picnics.
They are usually in season during late spring and early summer and are often found at farmers’ markets and local farms.
They are a must-try if you’re ever in the state, and they’re a delicious way to experience the local culture and flavors.
So next time you’re looking for a tasty and flavorful side dish, give Purple Hull Peas a try; you won’t regret it!
FAQs: Arkansas State Food
What is the state food of Arkansas?
The main Arkansas state food is rice.
Are there any famous restaurants or food establishments in Arkansas that are known for their use of local ingredients or traditional dishes?
Yes, several famous restaurants and food establishments in Arkansas are known for their use of local ingredients and traditional dishes, including The Joint, Whole Hog Cafe, and Sims Bar-B-Que.
Are there any food festivals or events in Arkansas that celebrate the state’s food culture?
Yes, there are several food festivals and events in Arkansas that celebrate the state’s food culture, including the Arkansas Rice Festival, the Watermelon Festival, and the Catfish Festival.
Conclusion: Arkansas State Food
Well, folks, that concludes our culinary journey through Arkansas’s delicious and diverse state!
We’ve explored some of Arkansas’s most beloved and iconic dishes, from the crispy and juicy Arkansas Fried Chicken to the sweet and refreshing Watermelon.
We’ve also discovered some lesser-known gems like Purplehull Peas and delved into the unique flavors of Grapette and Cavender’s Greek Seasoning.
One thing is for sure, Arkansas knows how to bring the flavor, whether it’s with a classic southern dish like Fried Catfish or a regional specialty like Arkansas Possum Pie.
And let’s not forget about the other delicious treats like Fried okra, Soybeans, and Mountain Valley Water that are also a staple in this state.
So next time you’re looking for a tasty and satisfying meal or just a refreshing drink, look no further than the great state of Arkansas foods.
With its rich culinary heritage and diverse range of flavors, there’s something for everyone to enjoy.
And remember, when in doubt, just add a side of hushpuppies and a cold glass of Grapette, and you’ll be in southern food heaven!
Visiting other destinations in Arkansas? Check out our other guides:
Igor Jovanovski is an aspiring digital nomad, travel blogger and graphic designer who really loves food. He also has a creative side, and he works as a freelance graphic designer in his spare time. He has traveled across Europe quite a few times since he was young and recently started his mission to visit every country in the world! Igor’s favorite thing about traveling is the way he gets to know new people, food, places and cultures.
This exciting experience helps him create his own stories and make memories that will last forever