America’s 50 Most Iconic Sandwiches by State
- 5 Min Read
You can’t go wrong with a sandwich. Grilled, smothered in sauce, or served with rich jus for extra-delicious dipping, the most popular sandwiches in America have a wide variety of culinary influences. And with August being dubbed National Sandwich Month, we decided to take a state-by-state look at the country’s most popular sandwiches to inspire your next catering order.
Alabama: Chicken Barbecue with White Sauce
Juicy pieces of chicken are charred on the grill and drenched in Alabama’s signature white sauce, a creamy-tangy-spicy combo with a pinch of cayenne for heat. The sauce is so good that you’ll want to put it on more than chicken.
Alaska: Yak Burger
Alaska is fast becoming known for its popular red meat, yak. Locals love a yak burger because the meat is as lean as venison but delicate and flavorful. Try a sizzling yak patty blanketed in cheddar, on a soft seeded bun.
Arizona: Fry-Bread Tacos
Should tacos be considered a sandwich? One thing is for sure: the flavors of this Arizona favorite are killer. Pillowy fry bread gets a quick turn in the deep fryer until it’s crisp and chewy. Then the taco-sandwich mashup is piled high with seasoned ground beef, shredded lettuce, tomatoes, and a dollop of sour cream.
Arkansas: Fried Bologna Sandwich
Word on the street is that the fried bologna sandwich belongs to Arkansas, according to Zagat. Slices of salty bologna are fried until the edges curl. Then the meat is neatly stacked with cheese, lettuce, and crunchy dill pickles on soft bread.
California: French Dip
Invented in Los Angeles, the French Dip sandwich is a diner classic. Hot roast beef is sliced thin and dipped in savory jus, a sauce made from the meat’s natural cooking juices. Then the meat is loaded on top of a crusty baguette with caramelized onions and melty Swiss cheese. The sandwich is served with a bowl of jus for dipping.
Colorado: Fool’s Gold Loaf
Denver’s most famous sandwich owes its glory to a brief tango with Elvis Presley, who once flew from Memphis to Denver just to eat Fool’s Gold Loaf made at the Colorado Mine Company restaurant. The sandwich is a hollowed-out loaf of French bread stuffed with an insane mess of peanut butter and jelly—and crisp bacon.
Connecticut: Connecticut Lobster Roll
You likely think of lobster rolls as a Maine tradition—and you’re not wrong. But the fine cooks of Connecticut take a different approach to Maine’s cold, mayo-driven lobster roll. Connecticut’s version is made with sweet lobster meat, drizzled with butter and served hot.
Delaware: The Bobbie
This signature sandwich was invented by Capriotti’s Sandwich Shop more than 40 years ago. Roast turkey and holiday fixings on a hoagie make this ode to Thanksgiving hard to forget. Sweet, tart cranberry sauce creates the perfect bite with the flavorful turkey and herby stuffing.
It’s hard to think of Miami without conjuring a Cuban sandwich. Layers of ham, roast pork, and Swiss cheese are draped on Cuban bread smeared with butter. Then the sandwich is fried on a plancha until the toppers get melty and crisp. The salty, rich meats are accentuated by dill pickles and mustard.
Georgia: Pimento Cheese
In the North, pimento cheese is an occasional cheese plate addition. But in the Peach State, fresh pimento cheese, made with sharp cheddar and pimento peppers, deserves a sandwich of its own. Creamy pimento cheese is spread on sandwich bread, then the sandwich is griddled with butter until it turns toasty brown.
Hawaii: Kalua Pork
In Hawaii, slow-roasted pork shoulder is nestled in a bun with delicious toppings like pickled kimchi and buttery lettuce. The salty, rich flavors of the kalua pork swirl with a hint of smoke.
Idaho: Basque Lamb
Idaho has one of the largest Basque populations in the country. Celebrate the Basque influence on Idaho’s cuisine with a lamb grinder, or sub sandwich. A freshly baked roll is stuffed with roasted lamb, caramelized onions, melted cheese, and jalapeños.
Illinois: Italian Beef
Chicago’s most famous sandwich, the Italian beef, is a can’t-miss regional delicacy. Ribbons of roast beef are dipped in savory jus. Then the meat is folded and layered on crusty Italian bread, perfectly baked to sop up all the juices. Caramelized onions and sweet peppers take this sandwich to the next level.
Indiana: Fried Pork Tenderloin
Crispy pork cutlets are the centerpiece of this iconic Indiana sandwich. Pork tenderloin is pounded thin, then breaded and fried for a golden crust. The juicy cutlet is satisfying enough, but cool, refreshing pickles and tangy mayo make this sandwich unforgettable.
Iowa: Loose Beef
Iowans love flavorful ground beef so much they almost never use barbecue sauce to transform it into a Sloppy Joe. Instead, hearty “loose beef” is sautéed with onions, a dash of paprika, and scooped onto a soft white burger bun.
Kansas: Burnt Ends
If there’s one thing Kansas does well, it’s barbecue—especially the smoky, crusty tips from barbecue brisket, or burnt ends. Slathered in barbecue sauce, burnt ends make for an especially tasty sandwich.
Kentucky: Hot Brown
This bubbly and browned open-faced sandwich is a Kentucky invention. Rich roast turkey is cloaked in a creamy cheese sauce and topped with an extra handful of sharp Pecorino Romano before it’s tossed in the broiler. Crisp bacon and plump, juicy tomato add textural contrast.
In Louisiana, two sandwiches are king: the muffuletta and the po’ boy—but the muffuletta is harder to find outside the region. Hearty slices of ham, salami, bologna, Swiss cheese, and provolone are served on dense muffuletta loaf. The loaf is spread with an ample amount of briny olive salad to cut through the richness of the meats.
Maine: Lobster Roll
This summer delicacy is a staple of Maine cooking. Fresh lobster is tossed lightly in dressing and dished up cold on a grilled hot dog bun. The sweetness of the tender lobster meat is intensified by rich mayo, chopped celery, and a squeeze of lemon.
Maryland: Crab Cake
Maryland is famous for its crab cakes. Fresh lump crab meat is typically dressed with mayo, dijon, and a squeeze of lemon—just enough to accentuate the sweetness of the crab. From this, a crab salad patty is formed, breaded, and fried until delicately crisp. It’s laid on a soft hamburger bun and the taste is downright unforgettable.
That’s right: the sticky sweet and salty combination of marshmallow fluff and peanut butter you remember from childhood is the Massachusetts state sandwich. Fluff was invented in Somerville, a suburb of Boston, in 1917.
Michigan: Ham Sandwich
Detroit, home to America’s auto industry, is famed for its ham sandwiches. A heap of spiral-cut ham is stuffed into a split onion roll, along with nutty-sweet Swiss cheese. A thin spread of spicy mustard punches up all the flavors.
Minnesota: Juicy Lucy
The Juicy Lucy is such an iconic Minnesotan sandwich that restaurants are still battling over its origins. The grilled hamburger contains a knob of cheese, which oozes out when you bite into the crusty burger.
Mississippi: Grilled Shrimp Po’ Boy
Nothing’s better on a po’ boy than grilled shrimp from the Gulf. The iconic Mississippi sandwich starts with garlicky, marinated shrimp, which are thrown on the grill until lightly charred. A heap of this sizzling, smoky shrimp is served on a crusty baguette.
Missouri: Hot Salami
If you’re traveling through Missouri, don’t miss the iconic hot salami sandwich at Gioia’s Deli. The famous sandwich is made with salam de testa, a soft salami with a rich, distinctively porky flavor. Slices of piping-hot salami are piled high on a sub roll.
Montana: Pork Chop Sandwich
This tender, lightly battered and fried boneless pork chop sandwich has delighted Montanans since the early 1920s. Served on a hamburger bun with lettuce, tomato, and onion.
The Reuben we know and love was invented in Nebraska in the 1950s. With the sandwich’s signature corned beef, sauerkraut, melted cheese, and Russian dressing, you could only serve a Reuben on toasted rye.
Nevada: Patty Melt
Nothing sustains a night of gambling better than a classic Patty Melt, a juicy hamburger patty dished up on toasted bread and smothered with cheese.
New Hampshire: Monte Cristo
Locals embrace New Hampshire maple syrup, their most iconic product, with a diner favorite: the Monte Cristo. Grilled ham or turkey is served between two slices of French toast and with plenty of maple syrup for dipping.
New Jersey: Italian Sub
Whether you’re driving on I-95 or headed “down the shore,” sliced salami, ham, and provolone on an Italian roll make this iconic New Jersey sandwich a memorable order.
New Mexico: Green Chili Cheeseburger
New Mexico’s signature green chilies make the official state sandwich sing. The heat of the chili adds extra oomph to an already-delicious classic.
New York: Pastrami on Rye
Don’t pass up New York’s classic deli sandwich, featuring brined and slow-smoked pastrami on seeded rye. Preferably served with a crunchy dill pickle on the side.
North Carolina: Pulled Pork
When it comes to pulled-pork barbecue, no state does it better than North Carolina. Pork shoulder is dry-rubbed and smoked, then tossed with a sweet, acidic barbecue sauce.
North Dakota: Barbecue (aka Sloppy Joe)
You likely know this dish as a Sloppy Joe, but in North Dakota, it’s simply barbecue. Ground beef is sautéed with onions, slathered in barbecue sauce or ketchup, and scooped onto a hamburger bun.
Ohio: Polish Boy
This famous Ohio sandwich offers a little something extra. French fries, hot sauce, and coleslaw are all piled onto a spicy kielbasa and served up on a grilled hot dog bun.
Oklahoma: Chicken-Fried Steak
A Southern classic found on many a menu in Oklahoma, this breaded and pan-fried beef cutlet sandwich is worth writing home about.
Invented in Oregon in 1981, this iconic sandwich is beloved nationwide. The original combined mushrooms, brown rice, and rolled oats with onions, cheese, and garlic for a tasty veggie burger.
Thin-sliced beef, smothered in melted American cheese, makes for a perfectly decadent lunch in downtown Philadelphia. Add peppers and onions if you dare.
Rhode Island: Fried Clam Roll
A Rhode Island favorite, delicately seasoned and breaded clams taste just as good on a grilled hot dog bun as they do tossed in a basket.
South Carolina: Pulled Pork with “Gold Sauce”
South Carolinians love their pork barbecue. What sets it apart from their neighbors to the north? A “gold sauce,” made from yellow mustard, brown sugar, and vinegar.
South Dakota: Pheasant Salad
Pheasant is prime game in South Dakota, and diners throughout the state still serve pheasant salad—shredded pheasant tossed with mayonnaise, relish, onions, and celery.
Tennessee: Elvis Sandwich
Few sandwiches are more iconic than Elvis’s favorite concoction: fried peanut butter, banana, and bacon. Fit for a king.
Texas: Smoked Brisket
Don’t leave the Lone Star state without sampling a smoked brisket sandwich. This Texas treat is often served with mayo and pickled onions on rich brioche.
Utah: Pastrami Burger
This local favorite is dished up at regional chain Crown Burgers and combines two iconic sandwiches: the pastrami and the Patty Melt. Pastrami, Thousand Island dressing, onions, and cheese top a grilled beef patty for one mouthwatering meal.
Vermont: The Vermonter
Vermont’s sandwich is so iconic, it’s named after the state itself. Roasted turkey, thin-sliced green apples, local sharp cheddar, and honey mustard make this sandwich easy to love.
Virginia: Country Ham
No other state does ham quite like Virginia. Country ham is piled high on white bread slathered with mayo for a simple but delicious meal.
Washington: Banh Mi
Thanks to Washington state’s large Vietnamese population, it’s easy to find a delicious banh mi on the menu almost everywhere you go. Roasted pork, pâté, and pickled vegetables are served on a crusty baguette. The perfect mix of salty, savory, and sweet flavors.
West Virginia: Sausage Biscuit
Biscuits slathered in rich sausage gravy make this Mountain State breakfast sandwich a must-order for anyone with the appetite of a hungry outdoorsman.
It’s hard to beat Wisconsin’s brats. The signature sausage is grilled to crispy perfection and served on a toasted hot dog bun with mustard, grilled onions, or sauerkraut.
Hunters come to Wyoming from the world over to sample buffalo and elk, but the Rocky Mountain state is also the perfect destination for a lightly battered and fried trout sandwich.
Celebrate these iconic sandwiches at your next office lunch or event!