Every year, Texas kicks off the “State Fair of Texas”, the largest state fair in the country, where visitors enjoy games, livestock shows, carnival rides, arts and crafts, and most importantly the deep-fried foods. For years, Texas has been at the forefront of deep-frying science, creating mutant “foods” that are both outrageous and phenomenal at the same time. And every year, the fair holds a contest for the most innovative deep-fried foods. Some like to call them Frankenfoods (the terms needs no explanation).
There’s no denying the seduction of the fair’s fried food contest; it’s the reason why people go to the state fair in the first place. Everyone wants to see what creation is going to be made this time. Have you ever tried deep-fried bubble gum? Or how about deep-fried Sheppard’s Pie? Is it just me or is your mouth already watering?
This is a list of some of the best deep-fried food creations ever made. You can admire them as classics or even take them as inspiration for your next attempt to deep-fry something this weekend for the kids. And forget the calorie-count – this article is meant to be all about guilt-free deep-fried goodness.
Talk about creative! Someone thought of taking a grilled beef patty and topped it off with cheese, banana slices and peanut butter spread over both buns. And then they took it a step further and fried it in deep oil.
This creation can also be referred to as the Elvis Burger in honor of the King of Rock n’ Roll’s most beloved snack: peanut butter and bananas. This Frankenfood took this combo and made it completely unhealthy and completely mouthwatering.
What’s being deep-fried isn’t an actual solid piece of bubble gum, but a bubble gum flavored marshmallow. And this is exactly the kind of creativity that the state fair looks for in its food contest.
The marshmallow is rolled in a batter and sprinkled with Chicklets. The soft interior compared to the crispy deep-fried exterior of the batter must make the end result in an interesting taste. I wonder what’s better – the look or the taste.
The next one is an example of how deep-frying can defy physics!
It’s not unheard of to deep fry foods in beer batter. That’s old news. But have you heard of beer that’s battered? Here’s another example of an interesting creation that you might only see at the Texas State Fair.
This is a creation in which beer is poured into ravioli pockets and then deep fried. Tasters beware! The first bite can be really hot, so go “fooo” first.
In case you were wondering if it’s possible to make butter even unhealthier than it already is, the truth is you can. It can be deep-fried. Why? Because why not! The contest is for creativity and tastiness, not the calorie conscious.
Bacon slices were coated with batter, and then deep fried just like corn dogs would be.
The next fried food is more on the sweeter side. See what it is next!
Jelly beans can also be rolled in a batter and deep-fried. The state fair contest isn’t only for the lunch and dinner type of foods. Candy can be included as well, as it should be!
It looks like a spoonful of batter is deep fried, with several jelly beans per bite. The end result is quite colorful, but it’s a lot like an apple fritter.
Similar to the bacon delight, it looks like butter can be made even more heart-unfriendly than it naturally is. Deep-frying butter is a classic at the state fair, and a treat visitors love to get their hands on every year.
Butter is frozen into the shape of a ball. The rolled balls are then battered and deep fried. They can be served with four sauces too if you’re lucky. What’s your favorite sauce for butter balls?
Have you ever tried Coke as food? And not coke-flavored gummies…
Deep-fried Coke is something you would only really ever buy at the state fair as it’s not really something you’re going to attempt, let alone successfully execute at home.
But truth be told, you can actually find this recipe tutorial on the internet. Anyways, this is basically a funnel cake with added Coke to make it deep-fried Coke.
Pizza is one of those foods that is amazing on its own, and if you deep-fry it, it can be taken to a whole new level. And the idea isn’t to just take pizza ingredients and pour them in deep oil.
This is actually taking a slice of pizza that is breaded and then deep frying it. The pizza slice is already fully cooked prior to frying. I haven’t had this yet, but it sure sounds frighteningly delicious.
The next fried food goes perfectly with a glass of beer!
Yup, this is a hot dog rolled in batter and then rolled into a bed of French fries. The French fries stick to the batter which allows it to be deep fried.
This is an example of how some foods may look quite unappetizing at first glance, but in reality, are a lot tastier than they seem. Dip it in some Ketchup or hot sauce with a glass of beer, and you have yourself an afternoon.
Believe it or not, salsa can be fried as well, and it’s more for the Tex-Mex lovers. The salsa itself gets mixed with dough made of cornbread, the same kind that is used to make tortillas.
Rolled into ball shapes and then through crushed tortilla chips, deep fried salsa is definitely tasty and even better if it’s a hot salsa. The mild salsa is for the wimps. Kidding! Well…
Milk and cookies can be perfectly enjoyed as they are. But we’re in the business of deep frying. This is done by making a creamy custard with milk, sugar, and cookies, and the mixture can be sliced into sections.
The sections are then dipped in an egg wash and rolled into bread crumbs, which are then, yup you guessed it, deep fried. The question now is: do you wash it down with a milkshake or soda?
The Kool-Aid itself isn’t poured into the batter. It’s more of a doughnut hole, where the batter is flavored with Kool-Aid. The flavored batter is deep fried in small bite-size balls.
The fun thing about choosing Kool-Aid is the fact that there are all kinds of colors to play around with.
The next food is one for all the spicy food lovers out there!
I don’t know about you guys, but Sriracha is a sauce that tops all other sauces. Ketchup has nothing on Sriracha. And finally, someone thought of taking it to the state fair contest.
The Sriracha sauce is put into the battered balls, where they are dipped again to finish the frying. Inside the balls are things like chicken, green chilies, tomatoes, corn, and tortilla chips. One word: yum!
So this is what is done: You take sweet tea and make it into a thick custard. Then you take a portion, roll it in graham cracker crumbs and deep fry it.
When they’re done being in the fryer, drizzle them with a sweet tea syrup. This goes in the sweet and salty category.
Next, a breakfast favorite taken to the deep-fry level!
That box of Pop Tarts that you buy for your kids can be put into the toaster, of course. But you can take a lesson from the state fair and deep fry it and give your kids an extra surprise on Saturday morning.
And to make the treat something to not have more than once per month, you can add to the frosted breakfast snacks by putting whipped cream and Fruity Pebbles on it too.
These Amazeballs consist of chocolate cake and bacon. That’s right: chocolate and bacon. Because the two have always been wanting to meet.
They’re made into balls and deep fried. After frying, they’re wiped down and powdered with sugar. Chocolate sauce can then be drizzled over them, or you can use maple syrup too. Enjoy!
The next deep-fried food won for best sweet taste!
The Big Tex Choice Award gave this one the award for Best Taste – Sweet. Arroz con leche, which is basically sweet, crispy rice, was served coated in puffed rice cereal, deeply fried, and served with ice cream.
They were also coated with powdered cinnamon and caramel. It looks like a treat I would have appreciated when I was a kid!
Just by looking at the name, you won’t be able to tell what a Texas Twang-kie really is. So for those of you who haven’t yet ordered one at the fair, here’s a description.
It’s essentially cornbread filled with grilled chicken and white bean chili. It’s fantastic especially when it’s served with deep-fried cornbread fries and even more chili.
Ever heard of Shepherd’s Pie in any other form? See the deep-fried version…
Clint Probst’s deep-fried shepherd’s pie has been around for the last 10 years and was a contender for five out of the last six years. And it’s as good as it sounds.
A mixture of mashed potatoes and cheese enveloped in the ground beef stuffing with vegetables and gravy is then deep-fried. It’s comfort food taken to the State Fair of Texas level.
With Fernie’s ‘Orange You Glad We Fried It,’ you get the orange with a side of fried. It’s the perfect mix of sweet and salty and the ideal treat for those hot days under the Texan sun.
What it is exactly is a chiffon orange cake with custard-like filling, which is deep-fried. It’s made by Johnna McKee and Christi Erpillo of Winter Family Concessions.
The Cotton Candy Taco won the Most Creative award, and deservingly so. This is really a treat unlike any you’ve had before. It’s something else completely. The Cotton Candy Taco is what starts out as a marshmallow-glazed graham cracker waffle cone taco shell.
That all gets a filling of chocolate, toasted marshmallow, and cotton candy before being completed with chocolate cookie crumbles and chocolate-dipped breadsticks. Hungry anyone?
This treat sums up the essence of the state fair. It’s everything that’s joyful about the state fair funnel cake as a frozen treat. It was created by Tom Landis and his team at Howdy Homemade.
Howdy Homemade employs people with special needs. They operate State Fair of Texas booths and a shop on Lovers Lane in Dallas.
It’s about time we get to the next item on the list!
This is what a tater tot on steroids would look like. It all starts with golden brown skillet potatoes, which are added to diced breakfast sausage patties and packed around a mini Babybel cheese loaf.
All of that is then rolled in seasoned flour and fried. They’re served in potato skins and topped off with cheddar and bacon bites, and your choice of sour cream or chipotle sauce on the side.
Winter Family Concessions also makes this deep-fried cake. Why? Because they can. The classic ingredients include black-eyed peas, white rice, spicy smoked sausage, green onions, and a blend of special spices combined with bread crumbs and eggbeaters – all formed into a cake.
The cake is breaded in an egg wash with flour and panko bread crumbs and deep fried. The cake is complete with a black-eyed pea relish, pickled okra, and a side of Jackpot Sauce. They know what they’re doing.
Hill Country in Central Texas knows what they’re doing when it comes to frying goods in oil. One of their best items is this creation. What they did was take fried mozzarella and basil, sandwiched between two green tomato slices.
Those were then hand-breaded with seasoned breadcrumbs and fried, obviously. Each dish is served on field greens, with balsamic dressing and Texas honey. It was created by Justin & Rudy Martinez. Good job, guys.
All these state fair items just go to show you that based on your creativity, you can deep-fry just about anything. Here is a perfect example of something an average Joe would never in his life consider putting in deep oil.
Tequila shots! Well, they’re actually pieces of tequila-soaked cake. But hello…deep fried piece of tequila-soaked cake? Your next house party just got a whole lot better.
The beauty of deep-frying culture is taking food staples and taking them to the next level by literally frying them. And here’s a classic family favorite that can be made even better.
Mac n’ Cheese is such a comfort food on its own. Deep fry it and it just got that much better. And who doesn’t like bite-size portions?
Next – see what super healthy veggie can be deep-fried too…
Take a healthy super food and take it down a notch in terms of health yet up a notch in terms of deliciousness! The avocado – who says it can’t be deep-fried like the others?
There are many ways one can eat avocado, with no right or wrong way. But one of the “better” ways to eat it would be to deep fry it. You know, that way you can dip it into chipotle sauce.
Pasta wasn’t really seen on this list, but it should not be forgotten. Sure, pasta is heavenly on its own but why not fry it deep in some oil and see how it goes?
Turns out, it can go really well. This is crunchy fried penne seasoned with cumin, coriander, cinnamon, and cayenne. It’s a way to turn pasta into a snack and less of a meal.
Next – hush puppies are a real prize winner!
Hush puppies, the classic deep-fried dough snack, was made even better. You might have grown up eating fried hush puppies made with a mix of all-purpose flour and cornmeal, but these are different.
Lela’s hush puppies have a much lighter texture and bold flavors having been made by this all-cornmeal version. And you can really get creative when it comes to choosing which dipping sauce to have on the side.
You probably never even though of deep frying an egg, right? Scotch eggs are hard-boiled eggs encased in sausage and bread crumbs and then deep-fried.
You may think a portion of food like this is a product of modern pub culture, but the Scotch egg was actually invented by London department store Fortnum & Mason in 1738! Who knew?
This could be the very secret to get your kids to eat their Brussel sprouts! These sprouts are made crispy all over with a quick dip in a deep fryer, then dressed in a sweet-and-sour sauce of honey and balsamic.
Fried shallots, walnuts, and Parmesan are the ingredients that can bring texture and flavor to the dish, and some lemon zest ties it all together. We dare your kids to say it’s not yummy!
This is something of a Texas spin on a traditional Sephardic Jewish dish, the culupidia frita con limón, which is cauliflower coated in a flour and egg batter, fried, and then soaked in lemon juice.
It’s served usually as a side or a snack. In a nutshell, it’s crunchy, tender, and has the right tangy flavor.
Another veggie that can and should be fried is next…
Although some of these aren’t found at the Texas State Fair, it can and might be pop up one of these years. This is another example of how veggies can be made just so much better with batter and oil.
Artichoke bottoms are fried and served with some tasty tahini-based sauce. It’s more of a snack or side dish and one the kids can enjoy without knowing that it’s actually a veggie under all that fried dough.
Similar to some other items on this list, these zucchini blossoms are not hard to make at home! It’s a perfect appetizer when stuffed with anchovies and fried.
You need to remove the stamens before using them. Zucchini blossom also have a short shelf life, so once you buy the packages, make sure to use them within a few days.
Okay, so we get the idea of what can and should be deep-fried. But we would like to also show you what the real classic Texan dishes look like. These are the dishes that people who come to Texas must eat before leaving.
Tex-Mex: it’s the culinary combination of Mexican and Texan cultures that blessed us with queso, fajitas, flautas, and other delicious dishes. The cuisine originated in Texas, so clearly Texas is going to have the best of its kind.
The classic breakfast taco is a staple Texas food, and every Texan has had one. It’s what makes indulging so darn good. The combination of potato, egg, cheese, onion, and breakfast meats together in a fresh tortilla wrap is what champions are made of.
It may seem as though it can’t be that hard, but we challenge you to find a breakfast taco outside of Texas that’s better. Anyone who’s visited Texas will have noticed that every breakfast menu has a taco on it.
It’s not possible to describe Texas without mentioning chicken fried steak. It’s hot, fried, and covered in white gravy. So if that doesn’t make your mouth water, then what does?
And if you order it in Texas, you know you’re going to get a big portion on your plate. If it’s served with some fried okra and mashed potatoes on the side, you’re set for a nice food coma afterward.
In the 1850s, Czech immigrants brought these iconic pastries to Texas. The most traditional form of this dish has a thick filling of fruit, seeds, or cream cheese. It’s now an iconic Texan food.
Nowadays, the most popular version of the Kolaches is the same semisweet dough, but it’s filled with sausage and cheese, making for the best breakfast on a busy morning.
In the 1940s, Lawrence Shipley, Sr. started a signature trend of do-nuts in the heart of Houston. Since then, “Shipley’s” have kept Texans happy and full on this top-notch doughy desert.
There’s nothing like going out to get your favorite foods and desserts, and Shipley’s do-nuts are a guilty pleasure of many Texans for many years.