Top 11 Most Popular Foods in Illinois

PUBLISHED ON February 2020 03:20:53 PM Read TIME: 6 minutes


While Illinois is known for freezing weather and champion sports teams, the state’s greatest pride is the food. There are so many extraordinary food experiences ahead of you in Illinois. Wherever you go in Illinois, you’ll find skilled cooks, chefs, and bakers crafting memorable mouth-watering dishes. If you’re craving a classic Illinois experience, then trying the state's most iconic foods is a must. Its fine dining or street food you crave.

Here are the 11 most popular foods in Illinois that are considered as the best food and drink in the Land of Lincoln.

11. Ranch Dressing

Ranch Dressing

Ranch dressing is typically a salad dressing made of some combination of onion, garlic, mustard, herbs, spices, buttermilk, and salt mixed into a sauce based on mayonnaise or with another oil emulsion. Yogurt and Sour cream are sometimes used in addition to or as a substitute for buttermilk and mayonnaise. Ranch dressing has been the best-selling salad dressing in the United States since 1992, and it quickly surpassed the Italian dressing.

Ranch dressing is popular throughout the United States as a dip and flavoring for chips and other foods. In 2018, more than forty percent of Americans named ranch as their favorite dressing.

10. Italian Beef Sandwich

Ranch Dressing

Italian Beef Sandwiches are a very popular regional special food in Chicago and surrounded areas. It consists of thin slices of seasoned roast beef, simmered and served aujus on a long roll. Italian Beef Sandwiches are definitely juicy and full of flavor in every mouthwatering bite! Italian beef sandwiches are usually found in many areas including hotdog stands, pizzerias and Italian American restaurants in northeastern Illinois.

Try this exemplary dish while you are in Illinois…Crazy juicy, tender, flavorful Crockpot Italian Beef Sandwiches loaded with all your favorite toppings!

9. Pierogi


Pierogi are made from dough that is filled with meat and then boiled. Pierogi may be stuffed with vegetables, meat, and cheese, or other ingredients depending on the cook's preferences. Conventionally considered peasant food, pierogi eventually become popular and spread throughout all social classes including nobles all these years.

Pierogi stuffed with potatoes, bacon, and butter and served with sour cream is the ultimate comfort food for all food lovers. Pierogi has been often eaten as a main dish in Canada and European countries, Americans especially Illinois residents often consider them a side dish, frequently served with meat.



Gyros are a Greek dish made from meat cooked using the vertical rotisserie. Like shawarma and tacos al pastor, it is derived from the lamb-based dish. Gyros are delicious, and you can find great gyros joints across Illinois, and definitely tons in Chicago. American mass-produced gyros are prepared with finely grounded beef mixed with lamb.

Gyros wrapped sandwiches are the most popular fast food in Chicago, Connecticut, and New York City. Although gyros were starting to be mass-produced in the US by Gyros Inc. of Chicago, the stacks of meat were still hand made at most places.

7. Chicago Hot Dog

Chicago Hot Dog

The Chicago Hot Dog is one of the world’s best foods. The hot dog is topped with tomato slices or wedges, mustard, white onions, dill pickle spear, sweet pickle relish, pickled sport peppers and a dash of celery salt.

The complete assembly of a Chicago hot dog is called to be "dragged through the garden" due to the more toppings. Chicago-style hot dogs are prepared in hot water or steamed before adding the toppings.

Chicago area has many hot dog restaurants than McDonald's, Wendy's, and Burger King Restaurants combined.

6. Horseshoe Sandwich

Horseshoe Sandwich

This is one of the best dishes here in Illinois. The horseshoe sandwich is originating in Springfield, Illinois in the United States. It is an open-faced sandwich, consists of thick-sliced toasted bread a hamburger patty, cheese sauce, and French fries. A breakfast horseshoe is also available. For breakfast horseshoe, the hamburger and French fries are swapped with sausage or bacon, eggs, and hash browns. The cheese sauce is also replaced with milk gravy.

5. Chicago-style Pizza

Chicago-style Pizza

Chicago-style pizza is a pizza made according to several different styles developed in Chicago. The most famous is the deep-dish pizza. A deep dish is easily the most popular Midwest pizza style. The number one difference between deep-dish pizza and most other pizza is that, as the name suggests, the crust is very deep, creating a thick pizza that looks like a pie more than a flatbread. Although the pizza is very thick, in traditional Chicago-style deep-dish pizzas, the crust itself is thin to medium in thickness.

Don’t leave the state without trying it.

4. Rainbow Cone

Rainbow Cone

The Original Rainbow Cone is a local tradition for the last 90 years. The Rainbow Cone continues to attract kids, adults and old with its winning combination. The Original Rainbow Cone consists of five curiously unique flavors of Chocolate, Strawberry, Palmer House (New York vanilla with cherries and walnuts), Pistachio and Orange Sherbet, all piled high on a crispy cake cone. 

It was a perfect snack to eat while sitting at Navy Pier staring out at Lake Michigan with loved ones.

3. White Fence Farm Fried Chicken

White Fence Farm Fried Chicken

Since its inception in the early 1920s, White Fence Farm, located near Romeoville, Illinois, has been known throughout the mid-west for its exceptional chicken dinners. "The World's Greatest Chicken" is an announcement that has proved over the period. All of their dinners are served with bean salad, coleslaw, cottage cheese, pickled beets, and corn fritters. 

White Fence Farm has become famous for its dinners featuring crispy, perfectly cooked fried chicken served in an atmosphere that brings families together.

White Fence Farm has never been interested in the following trends. The meals served at this Romeoville eatery along Illinois' Route 66 haven't changed much since its inception.

2. Golconda Shrimp

Golconda Shrimp

Shrimp in Illinois??? Yes, freshwater prawn is sustainably raised in ponds right here in Pope County. The “Shrimp Festival” in Golconda, along the Ohio River, celebrates Tanglefoot Ranch each year and it is one kind of crazy festival you don't want to miss! 

The street shrimp vendors lined up in the streets of Golconda will serve you with a variety of shrimp dishes and its definitely a great treat to shrimp lovers…

This is a shrimp cook-off with farm-fresh Southern Illinois shrimp cooked in many different ways than you can imagine. Try it in the festive time!!!!

1. Summer Garden Fish Tacos

Summer Garden Fish Tacos

Summer Garden Fish Tacos originated in Chicago in Illinois, where they consist of grilled or fried fish, lettuce or cabbage, Pico de Gallo, and sour cream or citrus/mayonnaise sauce, all stuffed on uppermost of a corn or flour tortilla. Whitefish fillets which are lean and flakey are traditionally used in fish tacos. If you’ve got them, add toppings like bright peppers, green onions or purple carrots.

Packed with vegetables and protein, these summer garden fish tacos will leave you with a full belly but also with plenty of energy to get you through the day. 


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