Food in Minnesota

Food in Minnesota is often a hot dish or lake fish.

Although farms produce primarily sweet corn, wheat, soybeans and apples, Minnesota is first among the states in the production of sugar beets. Minnesota is notable for its wild rice. Wild rice, not really rice but the kernels of a grass that grows in shallow lakes, was first harvested by Native Americans and so it is known as Indian rice. Native American groups still harvest wild rice with their canoes by late summer.

It is also a major producer of milk and dairy products. Livestock raised in Minnesota include beef cattle and hogs. Commercial fishing is an important industry and boats on Lake Superior catch freshwater fish such as walleye pike or trout.

Food processing is probably the main industry in Minnesota. Pillsbury and Green Giant, two leading food brands, were Minnesota start ups. Charles Pillsbury started his business with a flour mill. Green Giant began by canning corn. Both brands are now part of General Mills, another Minneapolis, Minnesota food company.

Pancake syrup using maple syrup and cane sugar syrup was first invented by Patrick J. Towie, a St. Paul grocer who wanted to give people the flavor of maple syrup without the high price. He gave his syrup the name of Log Cabin to honor his boyhood hero, Abraham Lincoln, who spent his childhood in a log cabin.

Minnesota Foods

Wild rice soup is a Minnesota classic. The soup is made with wild rice, a type of grass that is native to the state, and typically contains chicken, vegetables, and cream. Wild rice soup is hearty and filling and perfect for a cold winter day.

Tater tot hotdish is another Minnesota staple. The dish is made with tater tots, ground beef, vegetables, and cream of mushroom soup. It is simple to make and can be easily tailored to feed a large crowd.

Walleye pike is a type of freshwater fish that is native to Minnesota. The fish has a mild flavor and flaky texture and is often pan-fried or baked. Walleye pike is a popular choice for fish fries and other casual gatherings. Walleye pike is served everywhere, not only family dinner tables, but from small dinner tucks to starred restaurants. It is normal to find offers of "all the walleye you can eat" in some of the restaurants.

Many Swedish and Norwegian immigrants, and other Scandinavians, settled in Minnesota. Although not so popular as before, there are many Scandinavian traditional dishes still on the menu. Lutefish, cod soaked in lye and then cooked, and lefse, crepes eaten with butter and cinnamon, continue to be served, mainly at Christmas.

Lefse is a traditional Norwegian flatbread that is popular in Minnesota. The bread is made with potatoes, flour, butter, and milk, and can be served sweet or savory. Lefse is often eaten as part of a holiday meal, but can also be enjoyed year-round.

Krumkake is a Norwegian cookie that consists of two thin wafers filled with whipped cream or pudding. The cookies are rolled into cones and then dusted with powdered sugar. Krumkake are typically served around Christmas time but can be enjoyed any time of year

People will take a "hot dish" to a picnic or potluck dinner. This is a casserole with varied ingredients, and each family may have their special recipe.

…and food events

Taste of Minnesota Food Festival, St. Paul, July, hopefully will run again - Minnesota State Fair, end of the summer, St Paul - St. Paul Winter Festival, January.

The State Fair and the Winter Festival are not strictly food events but events with great food, and much eating and drinking.

The Land of 10,000 Lakes
Capital: St. Paul
State bird: Common Loon
State tree: Norway Pine
State Flower: Showy Lady's Slipper

Recipes from Minnesota

Wild rice and chicken soup, the staple soup, is a wonderful and comforting soup for chilly days,

Swedish meatballs, exactly the Minnesota style.

Lefse is also served in Minnesota, as well as North Dakota.

A Juicy Lucy is a cheeseburger with the cheese stuffed inside the burger patty, rather than on top. The origin of the Juicy Lucy is disputed, but many believe it was created in Minneapolis in the 1950s. Today, numerous restaurants in the city serve their version of the Juicy Lucy.

Turkey legs and corn cooking over the grill at a Minnesota fair.


If in Minneapolis or St. Paul, visit the Farmer's Market on East Fifth Street in St. Paul, on Saturday or Sunday, to find fresh produce and enjoy the array of smells, and many quaint restaurants in Lowertown.

Seventh Street Eatery, for a late night repast.

Other Minnesota facts

The word minnesota comes from the word for "sky-tinted water" or "water that looks like the sky" in the Dakota Sioux language.

The first Europeans to visit Minnesota were probably French fur traders during the 1650s.

Minnesota sites

Minnesota historical site
Minnesota State information