March 4, 2024


Food & Travel Enthusiast

What food items is Iowa renowned for? From Taco Pizza to Ham Balls, listed here are 8

In Iowa’s 175 a long time as a state, it has turn out to be synonymous with certain hearty, salty, not-as well-fussy food items that make individuals from other states talk to, “Why?”

Strategy any Iowan about the dishes that Iowa is recognised for, and you’re probably to get a recounting of their family’s edition or a intense defense of the foodstuff in concern — or each.

Even though there is certainly some overlap in Midwestern state cuisines, these are some of the delicacies Iowans declare that fill our community cookbooks, community potlucks, and holiday getaway tables.

Taco Pizza

Felix & Oscar's taco pizza comes with seasoned ground beef, chips, lettuce, cheddar cheese and tomatoes.

A person foods can generally pretend to be a further and even now be truly very good at it. Enter taco pizza. With all the free toppings not certain to the crust with cheese, it’s possibly harder to try to eat than a taco, but the endeavor is gratifying nonetheless.

Joseph Whitty at Satisfied Joe’s Pizza & Ice Cream Parlor in Bettendorf promises he designed the taco pizza in 1974, but now it is a commonplace menu product at pizzerias and gas stations statewide.

The great pizza is created with all those people delightful taco innards — assume seasoned floor beef, lettuce, tomato — scattered atop a crust slathered in refried beans and salsa. The crumbled tortilla chips and taco sauce increase to the deconstructed taco vibe.


Scotcharoos are chunks of Rice Krispies Treats topped with melted chocolate and butterscotch chips and with peanut butter throughout the bar. The dessert's origins are unclear, but it's a staple in Iowa.

These Rice Krispie-based bars occur jointly in no time at all, creating them an necessary party snack or past-moment potluck contribution.

Traditionalists coat the peanut butter, sugar and cereal combination with a skinny layer of melted butterscotch chips and semi-sweet chocolate chips. Then there are those people of us who think the chocolate layer really should be fifty percent an inch thick. Possibly way, the chewy mess of peanut butter and chocolate is wildly addicting.

Extra:The supremacy of Iowa’s scotcheroo

Ham Balls

Deb Scheidel serves ham balls to RAGBRAI riders in Ossian in 2017.

As the country’s leading producer of pork, it is also Iowans’ obligation to do the weirdest factors with it. Ham balls are so strange that they perform. Right after operating alongside one another ground ham (not ground pork!), ground beef, graham cracker and an egg, Iowans split the mixture and form it into baseball-sized meatballs. Those are then drowned in a tomato-based mostly sauce with brown sugar and vinegar that, when baked, kinds a syrupy crust all around just about every ham ball. Yum.

Extra:Holiday break dishes Iowans grew up with (and never you dare make enjoyable of them)

Chili with Cinnamon Rolls

The chili burger with a cinnamon roll bun from The Boulder Tap House in Ames.

Any one who attended an Iowa public school likely has a Pavlovian affiliation involving chili and cinnamon rolls. The two were so normally served jointly on a compartmentalized plastic lunch tray that it is tough not to crave the difficult outer edges of a cinnamon roll (perfect for dipping) any time chili is on the menu.

It’s simple to see how sweet and savory pair nicely, but how specifically a thick tomato sauce with beef and beans enhances a fluffy, gooey spiral of cinnamon roll is more difficult to explain. You just wanted to be there.

Breaded Pork Tenderloin

The breaded pork tenderloin at Smitty's is big enough for two people to share.

A descendant of German schnitzel, the breaded pork tenderloin is an absolute Iowa staple. The professional tenderloin is in fact more durable to excellent than it seems: the loin needs to be pounded so slender it stretches to the sizing of a dinner plate, then breaded and deep fried. It requires mere minutes and a excellent eye to pull out the perfect, crackling pork frisbee: cook it far too prolonged, and the meat overcooks and usually takes on an disagreeable chew.

Top rated that child with the condiments of your alternative and a teeny very small pitiful bun, and you have obtained your self the formal sandwich of Iowa.

Extra:The judges have spoken. Here is the winner of the 2021 Iowa ideal tenderloin contest

Snickers Salad and Pretzel Salad

This festive 'salad' incorporates pretzels, Cool Whip and Jell-O.

Iowans are proud to tell out-of-staters that our salads do not have greens. Alternatively, Iowans have figured out a way to make the salads of our goals a actuality with sweet fillings and fluffy consistencies. Is this heaven?

There is the Snickers salad: a creamy amalgam of whipped cream and vanilla pudding coats slices of Granny Smith apples and pieces of Snickers candy bars, rendering them indistinguishable from every other. Just about every bite is a surprise: Will it be crisp and juicy, or nougaty and total of peanuts?

Then there is the three-layer pretzel salad: It’s more bar than salad, actually, with a great deal likely on texturally. The crushed pretzel base is layered with a cheesecake-like filling and sealed with strawberries suspended in Jell-O. What is not to appreciate?

Pickle Wraps

A plate of sliced pickle wraps.

Ah, pickle wraps. They go by many names — wraps, roll-ups, cream cheese pickles — but the strategy is the identical. At the Iowa Condition Good, they’re bought unsliced as Pickle Dawgs and can be deep fried, definitely. These scrumptious minimal bullseyes are designed by wrapping a dill pickle in product cheese and ham (or pastrami! Or roast beef! Select your possess journey.). They’re sliced crosswise exposing the a few distinct elements. They’re salty and crunchy and oh so addictive.

A lot more:Athletics bar or day night time? Here is exactly where to try to eat in downtown Des Moines

Steak de Burgo

Steak de burgo at Tursi's Latin King restaurant in Des Moines.

A Des Moines vintage, the steak de burgo has been served for decades at local dining establishments. The now-shut Johnny & Kay’s statements to have produced this dish, whose recipe created it into a 1964 Superior Residences and Gardens recipe ebook identified as “Renowned Meals from Renowned Locations.” It’s built by pan frying a beef tenderloin steak in butter and topping it with fresh herbs and an emulsified pan sauce of butter, garlic, weighty cream and wine.