Texas is a prominent place. At 268,596 square miles, Texas is the second-largest state in the country, surpassed only by Alaska. But what would Texas be without all those delicious food options?
The culture of Texas is vibrant, with the flavors of the South, Southwest, and Midwest all present in everyday life.
Texan cuisine itself has inspired chefs, bakers, grilling enthusiasts, and self-proclaimed gourmands to create their interpretation of what it means to make something truly “Texan.”
Texas food frequently provides an excellent representation of the state’s rich culture. Nearly every town has its signature dish, which is often influenced by the ethnic groups that settled there in the past.
Yet, the origins of each dish vary. Some are Mexican influenced, while others represent German, African-American, Italian, or Czech dishes.
Some stick to the same ingredients, while others frequently come in new combinations that keep customers buzzing after their first bite.
Looking for fun things to do on your Texas vacation? Click here to read all about the best things to do in Texas!
Visiting other destinations in Texas? Check out our other delicious guides:
- 9 Must-Try League City Restaurants
- 11 Best Restaurants In Southlake TX
- 8 Must-Try Keller Restaurants
- 10 Best Restaurants in The Woodlands, TX
- 7 Must-Try Restaurants in Katy, Texas
10 Best Texan Dishes
It is considered the essential food in Texas cuisine and must-try food.
This is such a serious business that it deserves to have a special article. For example, did you know that barbecuing traditions differ from one part of Texas to another?
It’s important to know, however, that all of them are delicious and worth trying.
The tradition of Texas barbecue originates with German and Czech immigrants who brought their traditions of smoking meat across the Atlantic. Still, there is no doubt that Texas barbecue is now a distinct food group.
Among the most iconic barbecue styles are Central Texas, which tends to emphasize the meats with little or no sauce.
Upon ordering a platter, you can expect to receive white bread, pickles, raw onions, and sauce – use them to your heart’s content, but be aware that some people will laugh at you if you cover your brisket in the sauce.
Chicken Fried Steak
Fried chicken steak is also known as chicken fried steak or country fried steak. It’s a cube steak that’s been battered and then fried in a pan.
Now, you can certainly go to just about any restaurant and order this, and it’ll be good. However, for the perfect Texas Fried Chicken Steak, I recommend Lockhart’s Barbecue.
Several versions of chicken fried steak exist across the country. Still, the two most popular involve tenderizing a thick cut of beef by pounding or tenderizing it before breading and frying it, then serving it covered in gravy.
Mexican and Texan cuisines combined to create Tex-Mex cooking, including queso, fajitas, flautas, and everything else on the Mexican restaurant menu.
You can be sure that the cuisine is the best here – because it comes from Texas.
Tex-Mex is a San Antonio specialty. It is especially popular at an old-school local restaurant.
A true Tex-Mex meal awaits you at Mi Tierra’s bakery, restaurant, and bar in Historic Market Square.
At Mi Tierra, you can find traditional Tex Mex, a mix of Mexican and Southern cooking. To get a complete experience, I ordered the Mi Tierra Special Breakfast, with eggs, refried beans, tortillas, and carne de res guisado.
The tortillas were buttered and airy. Slightly creamy, well-seasoned beans surrounded the tortillas. In addition, the taste of the beef was not muted or obscured by the flavor of the peppers or tomatoes. It was delicious!
It’s not enough to say “chili,” just as it isn’t enough to say barbecue in Texas. However, Texas chili is an important business, and the dish does not contain beans, tomatoes, or tomato-based products.
This dish is primarily made up of meat and chilis, both of which contribute strongly to the flavor.
Warm bowls of chili are the perfect filling for a cold night.
However, I prefer a softer chili made with tomatoes, turkey, beans, and cheddar cheese over traditional Texas chili, which lacks beans and is heavily beef-based.
Black Walnut Cafe serves delicious chili. Black Walnut Cafe is an upscale brunch spot with an interesting menu. That is something I can tell you with confidence because I have tried almost all of them.
Even though chili might not sound appetizing for breakfast, you can order it for breakfast, and you will enjoy it thoroughly. It’s that good!
It was Czech immigrants who brought their iconic pastries to Texas around the 1850s. Tradition dictates a sweet, pillowy texture encloses a thick filling such as fruit, seeds, or cream cheese.
There is nothing more Czech than a Texas kolache. The kolache has evolved into a must-have Dallas to Austin road trip snack.
Kolaches can be purchased at many bakeries and grocery stores in the Austin area, including the famous “Kolache Factory.”
Late at night, most people order kolaches from either Kamala’s or Sunrise/Sunset Drive-In.
Pecan pie is one of the most traditional Texas foods. The pecan pie is a sweet treat made from roasted pecans, sugar, butter, and vanilla.
Texas is known for its pecan pie during the autumn season. I don’t know how other pies can compete with buttery pecans atop a layer of corn syrup filling encased in a flaky golden crust. It’s pretty well-known that everyone’s grandma makes the best pecan pie out there.
It is a big deal in Texas. The dessert is so beloved that I’ve heard folks from other states say that Texans “ruin” Thanksgiving with their love of it. Before leaving the state, a slice is practically a rite of passage.
There’s nothing like a classic breakfast taco to get your day started.
I am obsessed with breakfast tacos in general, so let me just say: if you visit Texas and don’t have breakfast tacos, you are doing it wrong.
Breakfast tacos are served in warm flour tortillas, stuffed with a wide selection of foods, ranging from classics like bacon and eggs to Texas favorites like brisket and smoked sausage.
One of the best breakfasts on earth is complete with a bit of salsa if you like.
The popularity of fajitas is easy to understand. They are just so damn good. However, the best ones I’ve had were at a family restaurant in Austin, Texas. They were absolutely amazing!
Tacos with grilled meat and vegetables along with homemade guacamole and sour cream are simply delicious.
A defining characteristic of a Tex-Mex fajita is the quality of its meats. The skirt steak, in particular, must be sliced thinly across the grain to reveal a chewy structure that is essential to the texture of the dish.
In addition, fajitas are served on a hot skillet or griddle, covered in peppers and onions caramelized with lime juice and fresh peppers.
As you eat, you can make fajita tacos with the fixings, such as rice, beans, salsa, flour tortillas, cheese, and sour cream, on the side.
Chili Con Queso
It is probably impossible to walk into any Mexican restaurant in Texas and not see queso.
Tortilla chips, cheese, and spicy peppers; who could resist? The bowl is gone before you know it. Nachos are so addictive. It’s no wonder they’re so popular. I confess I’m addicted to them. No shame.
The combination of melted cheese, fiery hot sauce, and salty tortilla chips is one of the most delicious on this Earth.
Chile con queso is one of the most popular foods in Texas, and it’s for a very good reason!
Klobasnek pastries have ties to Texas’ Czech heritage, but unlike kolaches, they are original to Texas.
It is believed that the klobasnek was invented by The Village Bakery in West, Texas, in the 1950s.
Klobasnek is made of soft kolache dough wrapped around sausage, but ham is also famous and resembles a sausage roll.
Although sausage rolls are usually not filled with jalapenos and cheese, that’s a Texas thing.
Kolaches and klobasnek are technical distinctions that you will hear Texans use in casual conversation.
Summary Of The 10 Best Texan Dishes
How good is the food in Texas? Let’s just say that Texas cuisine was a quantifiable factor in our decision to research and choose the Ten Best dishes there.
In Texas, food options are endless and irresistible, including Tex-Mex and barbecue.
The best foods in Texas tend to have big flavors and big portions and to be so tasty that you finish every bite regardless of your size.
The majority of these Texas foods aren’t native to Texas, of course, and many of them weren’t even invented here, but they are still one of the most beloved aspects of modern Texas culture.
So, if you are planning a trip to Texas, make sure you arrive hungry!
Which one of these Texas foods do you want to try first? Let us know in the comments section below!
Travel writer and owner of the blog. My work has been featured on Fodors, Eater.com, International Living, and Great Escape Publishing, among many others. My story? Nearly six years ago, I left my job at an Oklahoma City law firm and embarked on a journey around the world. At the time, I thought I would only be gone for 6 months, but the more I traveled, the longer my bucket list became. Flashpacker describes how I travel. Rather than traveling as the normal world wise backpacker and staying in hostel dorms, I prefer a more comfortable experience, and typically stay in private rooms, take Ubers instead of taxis, and now use a suitcase instead of a backpack. Foodie, on the other hand, describes one of the key reasons why I travel. I love to pick a central “base camp” and then explore the surrounding area, really immersing myself in the culture and interacting with the people, and enjoying and exploring the food of an area is an essential part of this experience.