Flamin' Hot Cheeto Corn Dog (photo by Jim Vickers)

Ohio State Fair Food Guide

From sandwiches that celebrate our state's farmers to creative midway favorites to food items new to the fair for 2023, here's a sampler of what you can dig into this year. 

It’s Ohio State Fair season again, and along with loveable food oddities like the Butter Cow sculpture, our state’s annual celebration includes eats that reflect our rich agricultural heritage alongside a full lineup of creatively decadent midway fare. In addition to the nearly two dozen varieties of food on a stick and plenty of deep-friend goodness, are also cool and creative treats. (Gelato Tacos, anyone?) Here’s a taste of what you’ll find at this year’s Ohio State Fair, which runs July 26 through Aug. 6. 

Interior of Taste of Ohio Cafe (photo by Jim Vickers)

Beef, Pork and Lamb at the Taste of Ohio Cafe

Farming has been at the core of the Ohio State Fair since it started in 1850, but it wasn’t until 1993 that fair-goers could try locally sourced dishes served up by associations representing our state’s beef, chicken, pork, lamb and dairy producers.

The Ohio Pork Council has been part of  the Taste of Ohio Cafe for more than three decades, and this year, one of its offerings stands tall beside other state-fair eats across the U.S. on A&E network’s “Best in Chow” series. (The episode debuts July 29). The Ohio Pork Council’s Double-Decker Pork Loin Sandwich features two thick slices of pork loin, bacon, coleslaw and barbecue sauce, making it a must-try this fair season.

The Taste of Ohio Cafe also offers smoked brisket and Ohio’s famous hot shredded chicken sandwich. You can even grab a glass of Ohio wine or an Ohio-made domestic or craft beer to enjoy with your meal in the air-conditioned space that’s always a big draw for fair-goers. Here are some other foods served there that we’ve tried and recommend. 

Taste of Ohio Cafe Hot Shredded Chicken Sandwich (photo by Jim Vickers)
Hot Shredded Chicken Sandwich: The hot shredded chicken sandwich is an Ohio legend (and tough to find anywhere beyond our state). Although it’s served on a bun, the sandwich is probably most easily enjoyed with a fork, and it perfectly delivers what hot shredded chicken sandwiches should be. 

Taste of Ohio Cafe Pork Loin Sandwich (photo by Jim Vickers)
Pork Loin Sandwich: While this sandwich might not have all the fixings of the Double-Decker Pork Loin Sandwich, this solid option from the Ohio Pork Council features the same thick pieces of pork loin on a bun. Drizzle it with barbecue sauce or enjoy it without. You can’t go wrong either way. 

Taste of Ohio Cafe Gyro (photo by Jim Vickers)
Greek Gyro: The Ohio Sheep Improvement Association’s gyros deliver the flavor. The lamb is served shredded versus shaved and is complemented by olives, feta cheese, tomatoes, tzatziki sauce and lettuce all stuffed into a pita. 


10 Ohio State Fair Favorites Returning This Year

From funnel cakes that offer a delightful mashup of Oreos and s’mores to deep-fried macaroni and cheese on a stick, the Ohio State Fair is full of beloved midway foods from years past that are making a return for 2023. The choices are plentiful, but here are 10 favorites that offer a flavor for the surprising mashups and fun twists on classics you’ll find at the Ohio State Fair.

Flamin' Hot Cheetos Corn Dog (photo by Jim Vickers)

Flamin' Hot Cheetos Corn Dog
Tracey Company
We didn’t even know the traditional fair corn dog needed an upgrade until we tried this creation that incorporates crushed-up Flamin’ Hot Cheetos into its batter. The spicy corn dog is served with a side of Sriracha-infused nacho cheese while a handful of Flamin’ Hot Cheetos ride along.  

Philly Tots
Donut Burger (Dickerson & Kenna)
This creation gives a pile of traditional tater tots the proper Philly cheesesteak treatment, smothering them with steak, onions and green peppers all covered with melted cheese. Spuds never had it so good.

Frozen Buckeye Cheesecake & Frozen White Chocolate Oreo Cheesecake
Maggie’s Sundae in a Cone
If you've never had a piece of frozen pie dipped in chocolate before your eyes and handed over to you on a stick, now’s the time to do so. Plus, this stand has two delightful options from which to choose.

Strawberry Lemonade, Cucumber Lemonade and Raspberry Lemonade
First National Bank of Hot Dogs (S&C Concessions)
Why should lemons have all the fun? When it comes to a tasty summer refresher, this spot offers options that include sweet strawberry, tart raspberry and refreshing cucumber.

Deep Fried Mac & Cheese on a Stick
First National Bank of Hot Dogs (S&C Concessions)
Sure, you could eat it with a fork, but when mac & cheese makes the jump off the plate, into a fryer and then onto a stick, it becomes much more portable (and delicious).

BBQ Chicken Nachos & Brisket Nachos
Dre’s Place BBQ
The pairing of chips and cheese are great — arguably among the greatest duos in snack food history — but how about amping it up with some smoky barbecue chicken or brisket? Yeah, that’s what we thought.

S’mOreo Funnel Cake
Made from Scratch Funnel Cakes (Hill Concessions)
And to think we used to only have traditional funnel cakes. This invention tops the traditional fair favorite with powdered sugar, hot fudge, marshmallow cream and crumbled Oreos.

Sriracha Bacon Maple Doughnuts (photo by Jim Vickers)
Sriracha Bacon Maple Donuts
Inky-Dinky Donuts (North Coast Concessions)
Sweet-and-savory doughnuts have become a trend, and this spot adds some heat to the equation. Tiny fried doughnuts are piled into a boat and topped with a drizzle of Sriracha, maple and crumbled bacon.  

Pork Butt Tots
Donut Burger (Dickerson & Kenna)
Tater tots, meet nachos. Nachos, meet tater tots. Now that we've gotten that out of the way, let's throw some pulled pork, green onions, red onions and melted cheese on top.

Pulled Pork or Chicken Sundae
Famous Gabby’s
Built on a bed of french fries and baked beans, you can opt either for a scoop of pulled pork or chicken with coleslaw as the metaphorical cherry on top of this savory sundae.


New Foods at the Ohio State Fair This Year

There are more than a dozen new food offerings making their debut at the Ohio State Fair in 2023. We know you have your perennial favorites, but it’s good to branch out. If you’re the sort with a sweet tooth, you’ll be happy to learn that nearly half of the new arrivals are desserts the promise to deliver a dose of sugary bliss.

Dipped Cookie Dough
Funky Flamingo, south of Marvelous Mutts Dog House near Taste of Ohio Cafe
Rekindle the childhood magic of eating cookie dough right out of the mixing bowl by trying this edible cookie dough dipped in chocolate and garnished with your favorite toppings.  

Dipped Fruit
Funky Flamingo, south of Marvelous Mutts Dog House near Taste of Ohio Cafe
If you’re looking for a slightly healthier option than digging into the edible cookie dough, try chocolate-dipped fruit with all the same toppings available.

Cookie Dough Explosion
Funky Flamingo, south of Marvelous Mutts Dog House near Taste of Ohio Cafe
This mountainous sundae features a freshly baked chocolate chip cookie topped with salted caramel gelato, whipped cream, hot fudge, crumbled Oreos and a generous helping of cookie dough.

Crawfish Bowls
Big G’s Food Service, west side of Nationwide Donahey Land & Living Building
Ohio State Fair food and seafood don’t usually overlap, but this boiled crawfish dish seems like it would go great with some Ohio sweet corn.

Homemade Gelato
Funky Flamingo, south of Marvelous Mutts Dog House near Taste of Ohio Café
The mention of gelato makes us perk up faster than you can say Super Mario Bros. This traditional Italian dessert is available in a variety of flavors.

Gelato Tacos
Funky Flamingo, south of Marvelous Mutts Dog House near Taste of Ohio Café
This sweet take that merges the frozen Italian dessert with the portability of the classic street food has our attention. 

Gelato Nachos
Funky Flamingo, south of Marvelous Mutts Dog House near Taste of Ohio Café
If the gelato tacos got your attention, how about gelato nachos — another sweet and cool innovation that we didn’t know we craved.

Flamin’ Hot Cheeto Burger
Dickerson & Kenna Concessions, WNCI Food Highway on west side of WCOL Celeste Center Entrance
The Flamin’ Hot Cheeto Corn Dog has a cousin this year. Try the spicy deliciousness in burger form.

Mac and Cheese Bowl
Concessions by Cox, WNCI Food Highway on west side of WCOL Celeste Center Entrance
Take standard mac and cheese to the next level with these bowls topped with your choice of roast beef, Buffalo chicken, bacon, chili, green onions, crushed tortilla chips, shredded cheese and jalapeños.

Nacho Sundae
North American Food Service Inc., south of Main St. Stage
This inventive dessert replaces nacho chips with broken waffle cone pieces while hot fudge is used to substitute the gooey cheese sauce. Caramel whipped cream and nuts are available, too.

Fresh Squeezed Blue Raspberry Lemon Shakes
Prowant Specialty Company, north of Kiddieland and Nationwide Donahey Land & Living Building
Add a splash of blue raspberry flavoring to this ultimate fair classic for a refreshing treat that’ll help you tackle the heat of summer.

Deviled Eggs
Ohio Poultry Association, Taste of Ohio Café
The classic deviled egg is undefeated, but we love the idea of a steady rotation of inventive takes, ranging from Mexican Street Corn to Everything Bagel to Tomato Bacon Ranch.

Giant Shaved Gourmet Ice
Concessions by Cox, WNCI Food Highway on west side of WCOL Celeste Center Entrance
How do you improve upon the chill creation that is shaved ice? Make it bigger, of course. Flavors range from mango to maple bacon and toppings include fresh fruit and candies.


Now that we’ve whet your appetite, download the Ohio State Fair app for Android or Apple to plan your day and locate specific food stands. For more information about the Ohio State Fair, which runs July 26 through Aug. 6 go to ohiostatefair.com.

Explore the Ohio State Fair: Iconic Spots | Food Guide | Animal Attractions | Where to Cool Off | Concerts and Shows