Wisconsin’s food is influenced by its rich, immigrant history and strong agriculture industry. Some of the foods below are known throughout the state and even across the US as Wisconsin delicacies, while others are specific to certain regions within the state itself. If you’re an expatriated Wisconsinite, here are the top foods and drinks that you crave when you’re away from home.
1. Cheese curds
3. Brandy old fashioned
Instead of whiskey, we take our old fashioneds with brandy. Served sweet or sour with 7Up or Squirt and double cherries.
4. Friday fish fry
Now a staple in diets and social calendars across the state, fish fries were started by European immigrants who avoided eating meat on Fridays. You likely head to your local supper club for dinner with the family — and half of your neighborhood at the end of the work week.
5. Beer and cheese soup
A cheesehead’s perfect meal combines two of our state’s favorite delicacies into a creamy, silky, rich soup that’s perfect for chilly fall nights and Super Bowl parties.
6. Fish boil
If you’ve been to Door County or Port Washington, you’ve likely taken part in a fish boil. When the traditional boil over of the gigantic pot signals that it’s done, this simple combo of fresh fish, red potatoes, onions, and salt brings folks together for a satisfying meal.
7. Corn on the cob
Nothing says summer like fresh sweet corn bought by the dozen from a stand on the side of the road.
Many Wisconsinites have venison stocked in their freezer from the last hunting season. Whether it’s a roast in the crockpot, steaks, jerky, or summer sausage, venison will likely be on the menu.
Culver’s popularity is expanding outside of Wisconsin, and with good reason. A buttered and toasted bun complements a cheeseburger oh-so-well.
10. Cream puffs
The Wisconsin State Fair has a dedicated Cream Puff Pavilion that churns out 400,000 cream puffs each year. Filled with delectably sweet cream, these giant pastries take two hands to eat and are worth every single calorie.
Wisconsin is the largest producer of cranberries in the US. The Cranberry Highway includes the Wisconsin Rapids, Nekoosa, Warrens, Tomah, and more. You can tour cranberry marshes and sample a wide range of treats — from cranberry ice cream to sausages to wine.
12. Kringle from Racine
Brought to Racine in the 1800s by Danish immigrants, today the kringle is Wisconsin’s official state pastry. The only thing harder than choosing a filling is deciding where you’ll get it from — O&H Danish Bakery, Bendtsen’s Bakery, or Racine Danish Kringle?
13. Blue moon ice cream
The origins are fuzzy and the flavor is indistinct, but Wisconsin is one of the few places to have this iconic blue and sweet treat.
14. Frozen custard
If the bright blue of blue moon isn’t your favorite, then you’ll be satisfied with a scoop or two of your choice of custard — the velvety smooth, rich relative of ice cream. Fun fact: per capita, the highest concentration of frozen custard shops in the world is in Milwaukee.
15. Beer brats
What’s better than a hot and juicy brat fresh off the grill? One that’s been boiled in beer, obviously. Served on a bun with mustard, beer brats are a must for sporting events and cookouts. Other toppings are available, but discussions may get heated.
Cheese is always top of mind and we incorporate it proudly into a lot of our foods. Broccoli and cauliflower? Top it with cheese sauce. Scrambled eggs? Sprinkle in some cheese. Potatoes? Cover them in cheese. Is it excessive? Yes. Is it delicious? Also yes.