The Most Popular Fair Food: A Crowd-Pleasing Delight

Choose the fair food you think is the most popular!

Author: Gregor Krambs
Updated on Apr 16, 2024 07:04
Welcome to StrawPoll's mouth-watering ranking of the most popular fair food! As we know, fairs are a smorgasbord of delicious treats and scrumptious eats, but which ones reign supreme in the hearts (and stomachs) of fair-goers? That's where you come in! We've compiled a lip-smacking list of tantalizing fair favorites, from the classic, golden-fried funnel cake to the irresistible, ooey-gooey deep-fried Oreos, and everything in between. Now it's time for you to have your say! Cast your vote for your all-time favorite fair food or suggest a drool-worthy option we may have missed. Get ready to embark on a flavor-filled adventure as we discover the ultimate fair food champion, and remember, every bite counts!

What Is the Most Popular Fair Food?

  1. 1
    A classic fair food that is easy to eat on the go, corn dogs are a popular choice for fairgoers of all ages.
    Corn dogs are a popular fair food consisting of a hot dog sausage coated in a thick cornmeal batter and deep-fried until golden brown. The hot dog remains moist and savory on the inside while the crispy cornbread shell provides a delicious contrast in texture. It is typically served on a stick for easy eating.
    • Origin: United States
    • Main ingredients: Hot dog sausage, cornmeal batter
    • Cooking method: Deep-fried
    • Texture: Crispy outside, moist inside
    • Serving style: On a stick
    Corn dogs in other rankings
  2. 2
    A sweet and indulgent treat, funnel cakes are a staple at fairs and carnivals across the country.
    Funnel cakes are a popular fair food that originated in Pennsylvania Dutch country. They are made by pouring batter through a funnel into hot oil, creating a crispy yet doughy treat. Funnel cakes are typically served dusted with powdered sugar and can be enjoyed plain or topped with various sweet toppings such as fruit, chocolate sauce, or whipped cream.
    • Origin: Pennsylvania Dutch country
    • Preparation: Batter poured through a funnel into hot oil
    • Texture: Crispy yet doughy
    • Toppings: Powdered sugar, fruit, chocolate sauce, whipped cream
    • Serving Style: Plain or topped
  3. 3
    Fried Oreos
    Cla1402group4 · CC BY-SA 4.0
    A fair food twist on a classic cookie, fried Oreos are a decadent and delicious treat that many people can't resist.
    Fried Oreos are a popular Carnival food that combines the beloved Oreo cookie with a deep-fried batter. This sweet treat offers a warm and crispy exterior, while the inside remains soft and gooey. The combination of the Oreo's chocolatey cream center with the crunchy outer coating creates a delightful contrast of textures and flavors.
    • Calories: Approximately 98 calories per cookie
    • Ingredients: Oreo cookies, batter (flour, milk, eggs, sugar, baking powder)
    • Cooking method: Deep-frying
    • Texture: Crispy outside, soft inside
    • Flavor: Sweet, chocolatey
    Fried Oreos in other rankings
  4. 4
    A hearty and filling option, turkey legs are a popular fair food that can be enjoyed as a meal or a snack.
    Turkey legs are a popular fair food consisting of turkey drumsticks that are typically seasoned, smoked, and grilled to perfection. They are known for their juicy and flavorful meat, smoky aroma, and crispy skin. The turkey legs have become a staple at fairs and festivals, often drawing long lines of eager customers.
    • Size: The average turkey leg weighs around 1-1.5 pounds (0.5-0.7 kg).
    • Seasonings: They are typically seasoned with a variety of spices, including salt, pepper, garlic powder, paprika, and sometimes Cajun or barbecue seasoning.
    • Smoking: The turkey legs are often smoked over a wood fire, enhancing the flavor and giving them a distinct smoky taste.
    • Grilling: After smoking, the turkey legs are usually grilled over an open flame to achieve a crispy and caramelized skin.
    • Texture: The meat is known for its tenderness and juiciness, with a slightly gamey flavor that is unique to turkey.
    Turkey legs in other rankings
  5. 5

    Cotton candy

    William James Morrison
    A favorite among kids and adults alike, cotton candy is a fun and festive fair food that is sure to satisfy any sweet tooth.
    Cotton candy is a fluffy spun sugar confection that is popular at fairs and carnivals. It is made by heating and liquefying sugar, and then spinning it out through tiny holes where it solidifies in midair and forms thin strands of sugary goodness. The resulting candy is light, airy, and melts in your mouth, creating a sweet and satisfying treat.
    • Ingredients: Sugar
    • Texture: Fluffy and light
    • Color: Vibrant and colorful
    • Flavor: Sweet and sugary
    • Preparation: Heat and liquefy sugar, then spin through tiny holes
  6. 6
    A refreshing drink that is perfect for hot summer days, lemonade is a popular fair beverage that can be enjoyed by everyone.
    Lemonade is a refreshing and tangy citrus-based drink that is popularly enjoyed during the summertime. It is made by combining freshly squeezed lemon juice, water, and sugar or a sweetener of choice. Lemonade has a vibrant yellow color and is often served with ice and a slice of lemon as garnish.
    • Flavor: Tangy citrus
    • Color: Yellow
    • Main ingredients: Freshly squeezed lemon juice, water, sugar
    • Sweetness level: Customizable based on sweetener used
    • Presentation: Served over ice with a slice of lemon as garnish
  7. 7
    A savory and satisfying snack, nachos are a popular fair food that can be customized to suit any taste.
    Nachos are a popular appetizer in America consisting of tortilla chips topped with melted cheese and various toppings. This dish is typically served as an appetizer or snack in restaurants, bars, and sports venues.
    • Origin: Mexico, but popularized in America
    • Main ingredient: Tortilla chips
    • Cheese: Usually melted cheddar or nacho cheese
    • Toppings: Commonly include salsa, guacamole, sour cream, jalapenos, and black olives
    • Variations: Some variations include adding cooked meat like ground beef or shredded chicken
  8. 8
    Fried pickles
    Guanaco · CC BY-SA 4.0
    A unique and flavorful fair food, fried pickles are a popular choice for those looking for something a little different.
    Fried pickles are a popular fair food that consists of pickles that have been breaded and deep-fried until crispy and golden brown. They are typically served as a finger food or appetizer and are enjoyed for their unique combination of tangy pickles and crunchy coating.
    • Pickles: Sliced dill pickles are commonly used.
    • Breading: The pickles are coated in a seasoned breading mixture, often made with ingredients such as flour, cornmeal, or breadcrumbs.
    • Deep-frying: The breaded pickles are then deep-fried in hot oil until they become crispy and golden brown.
    • Taste: Fried pickles have a combination of flavors, with the tangy and briny taste of the pickle contrasting with the crispy and savory coating.
    • Texture: They have a crunchy outer coating and a tender, juicy pickle inside.
    Fried pickles in other rankings
  9. 9
    A sweet and crispy pastry that is a fair food favorite, elephant ears are a indulgent treat that many people look forward to every year.
    Elephant ears are a popular fair food that originated in the United States. Also known as fried dough, these tasty treats are made by deep-frying a flat, unleavened dough until it puffs up and becomes golden brown. The resulting pastry is then sprinkled with cinnamon and sugar, giving it a sweet and slightly crispy texture. Elephant ears are typically served warm and are often enjoyed as a handheld snack.
    • Size: Varies, but typically large and circular, resembling the shape of an elephant's ear.
    • Ingredients: Flour, water, yeast or baking powder, salt, sugar, cinnamon, and oil for frying.
    • Texture: Crispy on the outside and soft and doughy on the inside.
    • Toppings: Cinnamon and sugar are commonly sprinkled on top, but some variations may include additional toppings such as chocolate sauce, caramel, or fruit preserves.
    • Calories: Depends on the size and toppings, but a typical large elephant ear can range from 300-600 calories.
  10. 10
    Kettle corn
    msgohan · Public domain
    A salty and sweet snack that is perfect for sharing, kettle corn is a popular fair food that is enjoyed by many.
    Kettle corn is a sweet and salty popcorn treat that is commonly found at fairs and carnivals. It is made by popping corn kernels in a large kettle or pot with sugar, salt, and oil. The combination of the hot kettle and the sweet coating gives the popcorn a crispy texture and a unique flavor.
    • Flavor: Sweet and salty
    • Texture: Crispy
    • Ingredients: Popcorn kernels, sugar, salt, oil
    • Cooking method: Popped in a large kettle or pot
    • Appearance: Golden brown with a thin glaze

Missing your favorite fair food?


Ranking factors for popular fair food

  1. Originality
    Unique and creative fair food items tend to draw more attention. A popular food item should have a different and exciting combination of flavors, textures or presentation that sets it apart from others.
  2. Visual Appeal
    Attractive presentation of the food item can draw in more customers. A visually appealing food item will likely be more popular amongst fairgoers.
  3. Portions
    A fair food portion size should be large enough to satisfy the customer, but not too large that it becomes wasteful. Striking the right balance may contribute to a food item's popularity.
  4. Price
    Affordability plays a significant role in determining the popularity of a fair food item. If the item is reasonably priced, it will attract more customers and become more popular.
  5. Availability
    Some fair food items are available only at specific fairs or events. An item's popularity will be higher if it is easily accessible at multiple locations.
  6. Tradition
    Fair food items with historical or cultural significance will have a higher chance of being popular.
  7. Nostalgia
    Food items that evoke memories or emotions can enhance their popularity. People tend to be drawn towards food items that bring back fond memories from their childhood or past experiences.
  8. Instagram-Worthy
    In today's social media-driven world, a food item that photographs well and attracts attention on social media platforms has a better chance of becoming popular.
  9. Word of mouth
    Recommendations from friends, family, and online reviews also play a significant role in determining the popularity of a fair food item. A food item with a good reputation will likely rank higher on the popularity scale.

About this ranking

This is a community-based ranking of the most popular fair food. We do our best to provide fair voting, but it is not intended to be exhaustive. So if you notice something or fair food is missing, feel free to help improve the ranking!


  • 181 votes
  • 10 ranked items

Voting Rules

A participant may cast an up or down vote for each fair food once every 24 hours. The rank of each fair food is then calculated from the weighted sum of all up and down votes.


More information on most popular fair food

Fair food is a beloved tradition in many parts of the world, with people flocking to fairs and carnivals to indulge in all kinds of delicious treats. From deep-fried delights like funnel cakes and corn dogs to savory options like BBQ and roasted corn, there's something for everyone at the fair. But which fair food is the most popular? At StrawPoll, we've asked our users to weigh in and share their favorite fair foods. Read on to discover the top picks and why they're so darn tasty!

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