Table of Contents
21 Must-Try Pennsylvania State Food and Drinks
Pretzels have a long history in Pennsylvania, dating back to the early days of German immigrants settling in the state. They were originally made by monks as a Lenten treat and were known as “bretzels.”
An Italian monk is said to have invented soft pretzels to illustrate praying children’s crossed arms as a gift to them for learning their prayers.
The traditional soft pretzel is made from wheat flour, yeast, water, and salt and is twisted into a knot-like shape before being baked.
They are often served with mustard or cheese dip but can also be enjoyed plain.
Pennsylvania is home to many famous pretzel bakeries, such as the Reading Pretzel Machinery Company and Julius Sturgis Pretzel Bakery, the oldest commercial pretzel bakery in the United States.
Next time you’re in Pennsylvania, try a warm, soft pretzel, and you’ll understand why it’s such a beloved snack in the state.
And if you’re unable to visit, don’t worry; you can find pretzels in most supermarkets and convenience stores around the country.
The cheesesteak, also known as a Philly cheesesteak, is a sandwich made with thinly sliced steak and melted cheese on a long roll.
Since its invention in Philadelphia in the early 20th century, it has become a national favorite.
The traditional cheesesteak is made with thinly sliced ribeye or top-round steak, grilled onions, and melted cheese.
Cheez Whiz is the most common cheese, but you can also find it made with American, provolone, or mozzarella.
The best place to try a cheesesteak is in Philadelphia, where you can find many famous cheesesteak shops, such as Pat’s King of Steaks, Geno’s Steaks, and Tony Luke’s.
These shops have been serving up delicious cheesesteaks for decades and have become iconic in the city.
So, if you’re ever in Pennsylvania, make sure to try a cheesesteak and taste the deliciousness for yourself.
And if you’re not able to visit, don’t worry; you can find cheesesteaks in many restaurants and delis across the country.
Lebanon bologna is a semi-dry, fermented sausage originating in Lebanon County, Pennsylvania.
It is made from a combination of beef and pork, along with a blend of spices, and is then smoked and aged. The result is a unique taste, texture, and aroma of sausage.
Lebanon bologna is often sliced thin and served on sandwiches, but it can also be used as an ingredient in many dishes such as salads, soups, and pasta. It’s also a popular snack, often paired with cheese and crackers.
Lebanon bologna is a specialty product found in many butcher shops and delis in Pennsylvania but also in many supermarkets or online.
It’s a must-try for any meat lover visiting the state and anyone who wants to try something new and delicious.
So, give it a try and taste the unique flavor that Lebanon bologna offers!
Banana Split is a classic dessert consisting of a banana split in half lengthwise and topped with scoops of vanilla, chocolate, and strawberry ice cream.
It’s then drizzled with chocolate, strawberry, and pineapple syrups and topped with whipped cream, nuts, and a cherry.
The Banana Split is said to have originated in Latrobe, Pennsylvania, in 1904, and it quickly became a popular treat at ice cream parlors and soda fountains across the country.
The banana split is a perfect dessert for any occasion, whether you’re looking for something to cool off on a hot summer day or a sweet treat to enjoy with friends or family.
It’s a classic that has stood the test of time and remains a beloved taste of Pennsylvania to this day.
You can find banana splits in many ice cream parlors, restaurants, and diners across the country, but it’s also easy to make at home with some ice cream, banana, and toppings of your choice.
So, give it a try and enjoy the sweet, creamy, and delicious combination of flavors that a Banana Split has to offer!
Apple butter is a spread made by cooking apples, sugar, and spices together until they are thick and caramelized. It has a rich, deep flavor and is the perfect accompaniment for many different foods.
Apple butter is a popular spread for toast, biscuits, and pancakes, but it can also be used in many recipes, such as marinades, glazes, and even as an ingredient in baking.
The history of apple butter in Pennsylvania can be traced back to the early settlers, who used the abundance of apples from their orchards to make this spread, which could be stored for long periods.
Pennsylvania is known for its delicious apples, and many local orchards and farmers’ markets sell homemade apple butter. You can also find it in many supermarkets and specialty food stores.
So, next time you’re looking for a tasty and versatile spread, give Apple Butter a try and taste the rich and sweet flavor this spread offers!
Shoofly Pie is a traditional molasses-based pie originating in the Pennsylvania Dutch region. It’s a sweet, rich, gooey pie made with a crumbly crust and a filling made from molasses, brown sugar, and spices.
The origin of the name “Shoofly” is not certain, but it is believed to be named so because the pie was often left out and attracted flies, and bakers had to “shoo” them away.
This pie is a staple dessert in the Pennsylvania Dutch region, and you can find it in many restaurants, bakeries, and even in supermarkets in the area.
It’s also a popular homemade dessert and can be easily made with ingredients that are commonly found in the kitchen.
Shoofly Pie is a must-try for any dessert lover visiting the state and anyone who wants to try something new and delicious.
Tomato Pie is a savory dish that combines a pie and a quiche, made with a flaky pie crust and a filling of fresh tomatoes, onion, and cheese. It’s a perfect summer dish when tomatoes are in season and at their sweetest and juiciest.
Tomato pie is a popular dish in Pennsylvania, and it can be found in many local restaurants and bakeries, especially during the summer months. Making this dish at home is an effective way to use up your overabundance of tomatoes.
Tomato Pie is a perfect dish to enjoy with friends and family, whether for a summertime lunch or a casual dinner.
It’s a versatile dish that can be served warm or at room temperature, making it perfect for picnics or potlucks.
Roast Pork Sandwich
This bad boy is a sandwich made with thinly sliced roast pork, topped with broccoli rabe and provolone cheese on a long roll. It’s a sandwich that will make your taste buds dance and your stomach sings with joy.
The Roast Pork Sandwich is said to have originated in the city of Philadelphia, and it’s a popular sandwich in the region.
The key to a good roast pork sandwich is the quality of the meat, which is slow-roasted with a blend of spices, giving it a delicious and tender flavor.
You can find this tasty sandwich in many delis and sandwich shops in Philadelphia and some restaurants around the country that specialize in it.
But let’s be honest, nothing beats a homemade roast pork sandwich made with love and care, and you can customize it with your favorite toppings and sides.
So, what are you waiting for? Take a big bite out of this taste of Pennsylvania food and enjoy the deliciousness of the Roast Pork Sandwich!
Are you ready to sink your teeth into something sweet and delicious? Look no further than Tastykake from Pennsylvania!
Tastykake is a brand of sweet baked goods that originated in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.
It’s a brand that has been around for over 100 years and offers a wide variety of treats, from cupcakes and pies to cookies and pastries.
Tastykake is known for using high-quality ingredients and for its delicious, homemade taste. Some of their most popular products are Butterscotch Krimpets, Peanut Butter Kandy Kakes, and Chocolate Cupcakes.
These treats can be found in many supermarkets and convenience stores across the country, but nothing beats biting into a fresh Tastykake straight out of the oven.
Tastykake is the perfect treat for any occasion, whether you’re looking for a sweet pick-me-up or something to share with friends and family.
The Pittsburgh salad is a salad that originated in the city of Pittsburgh and is made with a combination of fresh greens, French fries, and a variety of toppings such as diced tomatoes, cucumbers, onions, and coleslaw.
This salad is typically topped with a vinaigrette or creamy dressing, and sometimes it’s also served with meat, such as chicken or ham.
The origin of this salad is said to be from a lunch counter in Pittsburgh that served a salad with French fries on top to give its customers a hearty and satisfying meal.
This salad is a popular dish in Pittsburgh, and it can be found virtually everywhere in the city.
The Pittsburgh Salad is a perfect dish for those who love salads but want something a little more substantial. It’s also a different way to enjoy French fries. Make sure to try this one-of-a-kind Pennsylvania food.
The Hoagie originated in the city of Philadelphia, made with a long roll filled with a variety of meats, cheeses, lettuce, tomato, onion, and a variety of condiments, such as mayonnaise, oil, and vinegar.
This sandwich is known for being big, messy, and oh-so-delicious.
It’s said that the name “hoagie” comes from the Italian immigrants who came to work on the Hog Island shipyard in Philadelphia in the early 20th century and started calling it “Hog Island Sandwiches,” which over time became “hoagies.”
The Hoagie sandwich is a popular dish in the city of Philadelphia, and it can be found in many delis and sandwich shops, but also in some restaurants around the country that specialize in it.
Nothing beats a freshly made hoagie piled high with meats, cheeses, and all the fixings. It’s a perfect sandwich for any occasion, whether you’re looking for a quick lunch or a satisfying dinner.
Pierogis are a type of dumpling that originated in Eastern Europe, and they are a popular dish in the state of Pennsylvania, particularly among the Polish-American community.
They are made by wrapping a variety of fillings, such as potatoes, cheese, sauerkraut, or meat, in a thin dough and then boiled or fried.
They’re often served with butter, onions, sour cream, and sometimes bacon bits. They are a classic comfort food, perfect for a cold winter night or when you’re craving something warm and filling.
You can find Pierogis in many Eastern European and Polish restaurants, delis, and supermarkets in Pennsylvania. Making Pierogis at home is also a popular tradition, passed down from generation to generation, and you can customize them with your favorite fillings.
Whoopie Pie is a traditional dessert that consists of two soft, fluffy cake-like cookies sandwiching a creamy filling.
The origins of the Whoopie Pie can be traced back to the Amish communities in Pennsylvania, where it was a popular treat and often packed in lunch pails as a dessert.
The most classic Whoopie Pie is made with chocolate cookies and marshmallow creme filling, but you can find them in many flavors, such as pumpkin, vanilla, and even savory ones.
Whoopie Pies can be found in many bakeries, supermarkets, and online. Try one as a perfect example of the sweet tastes of Pennsylvania.
Water Ice, also known as Italian Ice, is a frozen dessert made with fruit juice, puree, sugar, and water. It’s a popular treat in the state of Pennsylvania, particularly in the Philadelphia area.
Water Ice is similar to a sorbet or a snow cone but creamier; it’s also usually served in a cup and can be enjoyed with a spoon.
Water Ice is a perfect treat for a hot summer day, and it’s also an excellent option for those who are looking for a refreshing and less sweet treat.
You can find Water Ice in many ice cream shops, convenience stores, and street vendors across the state of Pennsylvania and other states.
Making Water Ice at home is also a popular option; you can use your favorite fruits and customize the sweetness to your liking.
Scrapple is a traditional dish that originated in the Pennsylvania Dutch region; it combines pork scraps and trimmings with cornmeal and spices and then is formed into a loaf. It’s sliced and fried and often served as a breakfast food.
It may not be the most glamorous dish, but it’s a classic comfort food that has been a staple in the region for generations.
Some people love it, and others not so much, but one thing is for sure, it’s a unique and delicious dish representative of the taste of Pennsylvania.
Scrapple is a popular breakfast food in the Pennsylvania Dutch region and can be found in delis and supermarkets in the area. It’s also a popular dish to make at home, and you can customize the recipe to your liking.
Chipped Ham is a type of deli meat made by slicing cooked ham very thin, almost paper-thin, and then re-shaping it into a block. It’s often used as a sandwich meat, particularly popular in Pennsylvania.
It’s a versatile meat that can be enjoyed in many ways; it can be served on a sandwich, added to a salad, or even used as an ingredient in casseroles and other dishes.
Chipped Ham is a popular meat and is located in delis and supermarkets in the state. You can also make it at home by buying cooked ham, slicing it thinly, and reshaping it into a block.
So, next time you’re looking for a new and delicious deli meat, give Chipped Ham a try and taste the delicious flavor that this meat has to offer!
Birch Beer is a traditional carbonated soft drink made from the sap of birch trees and flavored with wintergreen or birch oil. It’s a popular drink in Pennsylvania and is known for its unique and refreshing taste.
Birch Beer comes in different varieties, such as root beer, cream, and ginger beer, and you can also find it in different colors, such as red, brown, and even clear.
It’s a perfect drink for a hot summer day and a great option for those looking for a refreshing and less sweet alternative to traditional soda. You can find Birch Beer in many convenience stores, supermarkets, and online.
Why wait any longer? Take a sip of Birch Beer and experience the unique and refreshing taste of Pennsylvania!
Mushroom Strudel is a traditional savory pastry made with flaky phyllo dough, filled with mushrooms, onions, and spices.
It’s a dish that originated in Eastern Europe, and it’s popular in the state of Pennsylvania.
Mushroom Strudel is a perfect dish for a cold winter night or whenever you’re craving something warm and comforting. It’s often served as a side dish but can also be a main course.
You can find Mushroom Strudel in many Eastern European and German restaurants and occasionally in bakeries and supermarkets.
By making it at home, you can customize it with your favorite mushrooms and spices, creating your personal taste of Pennsylvania.
Philadelphia Pepper Pot Soup
This soup is a traditional dish that originated in the city of Philadelphia, and it’s made with tripe, green pepper, onions, and various spices.
It’s a hearty and comforting soup, enjoyable any time of the year. Philadelphia Pepper Pot Soup is said to have originated during the Revolutionary War when the Continental Army was camped in Valley Forge, and the soldiers were in need of a warm and nourishing meal.
Several recipes exist to make this soup at home, where you can customize it with your favorite meats and spices.
Stromboli is a type of Italian-American cuisine that originated in the city of Philadelphia; it’s made by rolling up Italian deli meats, cheese, and vegetables in a pizza dough and then baking it. It’s similar to a calzone but with a different shape and size.
This dish is a perfect meal for any occasion, whether you’re looking for a quick lunch or a satisfying dinner.
It’s also a great option for a party or get-together with friends and family. You can find Stromboli in many Italian restaurants, delis, and pizzerias in the city of Philadelphia and in most other states.
At home, you can customize it with your favorite meats, cheeses, and vegetables.
Funnel Cake is a traditional fair and carnival food made by pouring a batter of flour, sugar, eggs, and milk through a funnel into hot oil, resulting in a crispy, golden fried dough.
The dough is then removed from the oil, dusted with powdered sugar, and sometimes topped with fruit, chocolate, or caramel. The sweet aroma of freshly fried dough wafts through the air, making it impossible to resist.
Funnel Cakes have a fantastic texture, crispy on the outside and fluffy on the inside, with just the right amount of sweetness and nutmeg in every bite.
The powdered sugar adds an extra sweetness that will make you want to keep going for more.
Funnel Cake is a perfect option for those looking for a sweet and indulgent treat.
You can find Funnel Cake in many fairs, carnivals, and festivals, but also in some restaurants, carnival-themed restaurants, and street vendors.
Discover the delicious combination of crispy fried dough, powdered sugar, and toppings that is Funnel Cake!
What is the most famous food from Pennsylvania?
The most famous food from Pennsylvania is the Philly Cheesesteak, a sandwich made with thinly sliced beefsteak, grilled onions, and melted cheese on a hoagie roll.
Are there any places to find organic or farm-to-table food in Pennsylvania?
Yes, there are many places to find organic or farm-to-table food in Pennsylvania, such as farmers’ markets, co-ops, and restaurants that source their ingredients from local farms.
Are there any famous restaurants in Pennsylvania that serve traditional state foods?
There are many famous restaurants that serve traditional Pennsylvania state foods. Some examples include Reading Terminal Market in Philadelphia, which serves a variety of traditional Pennsylvania Dutch dishes, and Primanti Brothers in Pittsburgh, which is known for its iconic sandwich that includes French fries and coleslaw on top of the meat.
Are there any wineries or breweries in Pennsylvania that produce traditional state foods?
There are several wineries and breweries in Pennsylvania that produce traditional state foods. Some examples include the Lancaster County Cidery, which produces traditional Pennsylvania Dutch cider, and the Yuengling Brewery, the oldest operating brewery in the United States, based in Pennsylvania.
In conclusion, the state of Pennsylvania is home to a rich and diverse culinary tradition that is influenced by its history, geography, and the diverse cultures that have settled in the state over the years.
From classic comfort foods like the famous Philly Cheesesteak, soft pretzels, and the traditional Pepper Pot Soup to sweet treats like Tastykake, Irish Potato Candy, and Funnel Cake, there is something for every palate in Pennsylvania.
Pennsylvania is also known for its farm-to-table cuisine, highlighting the state’s abundant agricultural offerings, from fresh fruits and vegetables to meats and dairy products.
The state also offers a variety of traditional and modern drinks like Birch Beer and traditional Eastern European and German dishes like Pierogies and Mushroom Strudel.
Pennsylvania is a food lover’s paradise, and the next time you find yourself in the state, be sure to explore its delicious culinary offerings, and you will not be disappointed.
You can choose from many options if you’re looking for a hearty sandwich, a sweet treat, or a refreshing drink in Pennsylvania.
So, whether you’re a local or just visiting, come and explore the delicious world of Pennsylvania state food and discover the unique flavors and traditions that make it so special.
Interested to visit destinations in Pennsylvania? Check out our guides:
- 10 Best Restaurants In Pittsburgh
- 10 Best Burgers In Pittsburgh PA
- Best Restaurants In York Pennsylvania
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