Top 11 Most Popular Foods In North Dakota

PUBLISHED ON February 2020 06:04:42 PM Read TIME: 7 minutes


North Dakota has many iconic dishes. Across North Dakota, you will find plenty of authentic German and Norwegian dishes. North Dakotans are extremely proud of their affection to the land and culinary traditions. North Dakota is the nation's largest producer of spring wheat, durum wheat, sunflower, barley, oats, lentils, honey, edible beans, canola, and flaxseed. Local restaurants gradually using fresh, North Dakota ingredients straight from the farms. And that’s something to cherish!

Whatever they may be, these 11 most popular foods in North Dakota are must-haves when it comes to being a true and proper North Dakotan. If you haven’t eaten all of these yet, you’re missing out!

11. Kuchen


Kuchen - German cake, has different names in many other European languages are usually different types of savory or gateaux, sweet desserts, and pastries. Usually, Kuchen has flour, eggs, and sugar as common ingredients while also, includes some fat. Germans have the common tradition to invite friends and neighbors over to one's house between noon and evening to drink a cup of coffee and eat Kuchen.

Kuchen recipes are influenced by people of German heritage and as such are often famous in quite a few areas of German settlement in the united states, particularly North Dakota, Montana, Minnesota, South Dakota, Indiana, and Wisconsin.

10. Fleischkuekle


Fleischkuekle popular among the many Russian-German immigrant families of North Dakota. Fleischkuekle is very similar to the Cornish pasty, which is a type of meat pie made with dough. The dish is traditional Germans from Russia recipe, It became an addition to the cuisine of North Dakota when immigrants settled in the state.

Fleischkuekle is usually served hot from a deep fryer. Hot oil has been pooled inside when the breading is partially sealed, making it a smart precaution to drain any excess oil before eating the dish...

Typically in restaurants, Fleischkuekle is made by frying a half-circle of dough containing a seasoned meat patty. Don't miss the delicious dish while you are in North Dakota...

9. Lefse


Lefse is a traditional soft Norwegian flatbread that is extremely popular around the Christmas holidays.  It is made with flour, potatoes, butter, and milk or cream. It is cooked on a traditional large, flat griddle. Usually, special tools are used to prepare lefse, including special rolling pins with deep grooves and long wooden turning sticks.

Thanksgiving and Christmas are the time many Scandinavian - American eat lefse primarily around. 

The custom of making lefse was brought by Norwegian Americans, and potato lefse itself was made when their potato crop was successful.

There are many ways of flavoring lefse. The most popular is adding butter to the lefse and rolling it up for better serving. Lefse is a Scandinavian treat for every food lover…

8. Goulash


Goulash is a stew or soup made of vegetables and meat, typically seasoned with paprika and other different spices. Originating in Hungary, goulash is a common meal predominantly eaten in Central Europe and later in America…

American goulash available in North Dakota, mentioned in cookbooks since the year 1914, exists in several variant recipes. It is typically a dish of seasoned beef, core ingredients of American goulash now usually include cubed steak, elbow ground beef, macaroni or "hamburger", and tomatoes in some form, whether canned whole, as tomato soup, tomato sauce and/or tomato paste. In some areas, it is called "slumgullion".

7. Knoephla


Knoephla is a variety of dumplings, typically used in soups. The word is connected to the modern German dialect word Knopfle, which means little knob/button. 

Custom knoephla soup is a thick chicken and potato soup almost looks like a stew. It is most common in the American states of Minnesota, South Dakota, and North Dakota, where there was a significant settlement of German emigrants from the Russian Empire. 

There are many different varieties known in the American states, though the North Dakotan Knoephla usually contains potatoes, dumplings, and chicken. Warm your soul and body with this hearty knoephla soup while you are in North Dakota!!!

6. Hotdish


Hotdish is a casserole that usually contains meat, starch and a canned vegetable mixed with canned soup. The dish is typically made with ground beef and cream of mushroom soup, but some varieties in Minnesota use the official state grain wild rice, or even macaroni, in place of the taters.

The dish originates in the Upper Midwest region of the United States, where it remains popular, particularly in Minnesota, South Dakota, Wisconsin, and North Dakota. Hotdish typically cooked using a single baking dish and served hot straight from the oven. Hotdish usually appears at communal gatherings such as potlucks, family and church suppers.

5. Cactus Bread

Cactus Bread

"Cactus Bread" is cinnamon and sugar-coated dessert pizza found at The Pizza Ranch chain of restaurants. This chain is the most popular pizza chain in North Dakota but you can’t find anywhere outside of the Midwest, and as far as people’s experience is concerned, no one else made a dessert pizza anywhere near to Pizza Ranch one.

A pizza with a combination of toppings that is a match made in heaven when a top pizza dough: cinnamon streusel and icing.

If you have ever tried Cactus Bread, you are lucky in the planet. It is a sweet, soft, slightly spiced dessert pizza that folks who go to Pizza Ranch make a special point to get!

4. Sauerkraut


Sauerkraut is perhaps the most well-known Lacto-fermented vegetable. Sauerkraut, known in german for sour cabbage, is made from shredded cabbage heads.

Sauerkraut is a cut raw cabbage that generally fermented by a variety of lactic acid bacteria. It has a long shelf life and a very different sour flavor, both of which result from the lactic acid formed when the bacteria ferment the sugars in the cabbage leaves.

Sauerkraut has massive health benefits. It is a high source of vitamins K, C and also high in enzymes. Sauerkraut is also commonly used in American cuisines as a condiment for various foods, such as hot dogs and also in sandwiches.

3. Krumkake


Krumkake is a Norwegian waffle cookie made of eggs, sugar, flour, butter, and cream. To make the thin rounded and curved cake, a special decorative two-sided iron griddle or similar to a waffle iron, is typically used. Krumkake, not quite a waffle or an ice cream cone, but all kinds of tasty - one needs.

Typically, krumkake can be eaten without any filling or filled with whipped cream and other fillings. These cookies are popular not only in Norway but also among Norwegian immigrant descendants in North Dakota and in the American Midwest in general. Krumkake is conventionally made in preparation for Christmas, along with other "Swedish Sweets" that includes Sandbakelse and Rosettes. Sweet desserts have been offered after the traditional Christmas Eve dinner.

2.  Cheese Buttons

Cheese Buttons

Cheese Buttons are absolutely unique to the state of North Dakota. Old-fashioned cheese buttons also called Kase Knoepfla are a dish of tender noodle dough stuffed with seasoned dry cottage cheese. They are very much traditional to the North Dakotans and anyone who grew up in the state has warm memories of eating them growing up.

Cheese buttons have few remarkable comparisons with Italian ricotta ravioli. The recipe for the noodle dough is very similar to the recipe for pasta, and the recipe for the farm cheese is quite similar to at least one variety of ricotta. You will note that the dish is unusually lacking any green vegetable. Traditionally Cheese buttons were served with summer sausage and beef pickles.



Lutefisk is a customary dish of some of the Nordic countries. In the North Dakota, lutefisk is typically served with a range of side dishes—including mashed rutabaga, white sauce bacon, potatoes, lefse, gravy, melted, peas, pea stew or clarified butter, syrup, and "old" cheese. It is occasionally eaten with meatballs, which is not a custom in Scandinavia.

Side dishes usually vary significantly from people to people and area to area and can be a source of jovial contention when eaters of diverse "traditions" of lutefisk eat together.

In North Dakota, the method of seasoning with allspice is usual among Swedish-Americans, while Norwegian-Americans regularly prefer to eat it unseasoned with melted butter or cream sauce. A must-try food when you are in North Dakota!!!


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