The Most Popular Super Bowl Foods In Every State

While our nation's biggest food festivity is undoubtedly Thanksgiving, what would your guess be for the No. 2 celebration for when we all gather together with family and friends to feed our faces? Sure, Christmas dinner tends to involve mountains of food, and Easter often features a big meal in addition to all of that candy. There are also all those backyard barbecues on Memorial Day, Labor Day, and points in between. None of these, however, has us in quite such a frenzy of food preparation (or at least takeout-ordering) as Super Bowl Sunday. According to data collected by the U.S. Department of Agriculture, the football (and commercial) watching rite of winter is the second-biggest food holiday on the calendar.

If there was one official food of Super Bowl Sunday, that food would probably be beer. Hundreds of millions of gallons of the stuff pass through our bellies, inevitably leading to what NYC Water (via Medium) calls a "drastic uptick" in water usage at halftime as toilets everywhere are pressed into use to accommodate the overflow. As far as what we're nibbling while we chug, preferences vary from state to state. Google Trends crunched 2021's numbers and came up with a wide array of dishes ranging from traditional to trendy. (Absent from the list, though, were snackadiums, since who's got the time to build one of those?) Let's take at look at the food preferences for all 50 states during the Super Bowl.  

These states like it beefy

Where's the beef? Six different states want to know, since that's what they all prefer on their menus come Super Bowl Sunday. This 2021 Google Trends infographic of uniquely searched game day foods, however, shows that each one likes their beef preferred a slightly different way. Alabama, interestingly enough, goes for tri-tip steak, even though that cut is typically seen as a California thing. Arkansas goes all fancy with wagyu beef — livin' it up in the Natural State! In Alaska, however, they're keeping warm with a hearty bowl of beef stew.

In Georgia, they want something a little spicier: a nice Korean bbq will do for them. Rhode Island, a very compact state, also prefers its ribs on the short side. In South Carolina, however, they go with ground beef — not burgers, but meatballs. Google does not break down specific preferences for us, however, so we're not sure if the Palmetto State likes their meatballs with a side of marinara, in a crockpot with barbecue sauce, or with mashed potatoes and lingonberry jam à la Ikea.

These states keep things cheesy

Another one of the basic game day food groups is, of course, the cheese group. There does tend to be quite a bit of crossover between cheese and other categories, such as the cheeseburgers favored by California. The Golden State, doesn't want just any old cheeseburgers, though. Instead, they want cute little sliders, just like the ones they make at White Castle. Too bad that chain has no locations in California, so they might have to make their own.

In Nebraska, they're really into the yogurt cheese known as labneh. South Dakota prefers something from south of the border: queso blanco, or, as Google Trends refers to it, white queso. We're not sure whether they do a homemade version or just order to go from Chipotle, though. In Ohio, they prefer to keep things old school with a cheese ball, most likely with a side of sturdy crackers. If you'd like to snack like the Buckeye State, we have recipes for a delicious cranberry-orange cheese ball, as well as a cheeseball shaped like a pumpkin and one molded into the form of a skull. With very minimal tweaking, you could make them into cheesy footballs, instead.

These states choose chicken

One of everybody's favorite football foods is the ever-popular chicken wing in all its many forms. In fact, it's likely that during the Super Bowl over a billion wings will be gobbled up by football fans. It's no surprise, then, that more than one state had them as their top pick. Google Trends shows that both Florida and Michigan were searching for chicken wings in 2021, though again we don't know whether they were looking to order wings to go or were planning to make their own at home. If it's the latter, we're also unsure just what recipes they were planning to make, nor the cooking method they favored. Maryland, however, gets a bit more specific when it came to stating their wing preferences as their most-searched 2021 Super Bowl food was deep-fried wingettes.

In Hawaii, they opt to go local, searching for Hawaiian BBQ chicken recipes. According to The New York Times, this type of chicken, which also goes by the name of huli huli, is often made with thighs or other chicken parts rather than wings. For a quick and easy DIY version, you can always make this dish by brushing your chosen chicken parts with King's Hawaiian BBQ Sauce before grilling or baking.

This state likes chips

Oddly enough, there was only one state that was really interested in yet another classic game day food: nachos. Google Trends reports that this dish was tops in Maine during the last Super Bowl, but we suspect that they may have come in a solid second in quite a few other states, as well. Nachos, after all, are awesome — except they are kind of messy when you eat them, so perhaps they lose a few points with people who own light-colored couches. Still, it's not like wings are significantly less messy, so maybe that's not it.

Another strike that nachos have against them, especially in a situation where they are likely to be sitting out for a while, is that the chips do have a tendency to get soggy under the weight of all those toppings. If you choose extra-sturdy chips, though, and take some care creating your layers and selecting less-goopy toppings, then you (and the entire state of Maine) should be able to create the perfect nachos for the big game.

These states prefer dips

Perhaps the best way to avoid all of the mess and the sogginess so often associated with nachos is to keep your chips naked until it's time to dunk them in a delicious bowl of dip. (If that sounds unhygienic with a houseful of guests, you can also do mini-cups of dip to allow a measure of food safety.) Fully 11 states in 2021 chose some type of dip as their top Super Bowl snack.

According to Google Trends, in Arizona, Louisiana, Utah, and Washington, they're all about that 7-layer dip, which is about as close as you can get to nachos in a bowl, minus the melty cheese. Connecticut, Kansas, Missouri, New Jersey, New York, and Wisconsin are all partial to Buffalo chicken dip, which is a less-messy way to enjoy a somewhat wing-like experience. Iowa, however, stands alone in its appreciation for crab Rangoon dip, whether homemade or the Aldi version.

These states are partial to pasta

Everybody loves pasta, but to most of us, it's always seemed like more of a sit-down meal than something you eat in front of the TV as it tends to get kind of messy. Well, New Hampshire begs to differ, as per Google Trends. Perhaps they know something we don't in the Granite State when it comes to balancing a plate of lasagna on their laps as they watch the big game. Garfield (the cartoon cat, not the 20th president of the United States) would be so proud.

In Oregon, they like their pasta in a broth, as their game day pick is the soup known as pasta fagioli. If you're unfamiliar with it, for starters, it's actually pronounced pasta fazool — yes, it's that stuff Dean Martin sings about in "That's Amore." Pasta fagioli is a hearty vegetable/bean soup, but, as the name implies, it's also chock full of short, chunky pasta.

These states prefer pork products

While chicken is great for game day, some states prefer the other white meat. In North Carolina, they like to eat high on the hog, and Carolina barbecue is all about pulled pork. That messy meal is not their top food for the big game, though. Instead, for Super Bowl LV, Google Trends indicates that North Carolinians were pigging out on pigs in a blanket. This super-simple dish consists of just two ingredients: sausages or hot dogs wrapped in strips of dough and baked in the oven to make the perfect finger food.

In Vermont, they go for something a bit more elaborate on game day: the Chinese (or, in some cases, Chinese-ish) noodle-based dish known as chow mein, specifically of the pork variety since that is the most delicious kind, and Vermont knows it. Yes, you'll need to eat your chow mein with a fork (or chopsticks, if you have the skills), but with the noodles, veggies, and pork you'll have a full meal on your plate.

These states want a hearty bowlful of goodness

Even though it's not a finger food, one perennially popular Super Bowl meal is chili. Chili is a dish that could actually put forth a case for being one of the great American foodstuffs. There's Greek-influenced Cincinnati chili (5-way for the win!), there's the classic Texas "bowl of red" without a bean in sight, there's white chili, chili verde, and about as many other variants and "secret ingredients" as there are cooks. While Google Trends didn't specify exactly what kind of chili they favored, the states of Colorado, Massachusetts, and Tennessee were all searching for chili recipes for their Super Bowl parties in 2021.

In Kentucky, however, they go a slightly different route. Rather than chili, they fill their bowls with spicy jambalaya. While this dish is more often associated with Louisiana, perhaps the Bayou State sees it as an everyday thing, whereas for the Bluegrass State it's definitely party food. No matter whether you opt for the creole or Cajun version, jambalaya is both tasty and filling and is something that will stick to your ribs through all four quarters of the game.

These states are satisfied with a sandwich

One of the very best foods for eating while you're sitting on the couch (or jumping out of your seat to either cheer or curse) is something that was invented for its portability: the sandwich, alleged namesake of the earl of that manor (or whatever earls are earls of). While there is no shortage of classic sandwiches to choose from, only two made the cut for 2021's big game.

In New Mexico and Pennsylvania, Google Trends shows that 2021's must-have item for Super Bowl watch parties was the Cuban sandwich, a delightful concoction of roast pork, ham, Swiss cheese, pickles, and mustard piled high atop a Cuban bun, or the closest approximation thereof to be obtained in Pittsburgh or Albuquerque. In West Virginia, however, they stuck with a simple classic: good old grilled cheese. Although, who knows? Perhaps they got all fancy with it, opting for grilled cheese upgrades such as apples, avocados, kimchi, or fried chicken.

These states are really into seafood

Only two states eschewed the usual meat and cheese options in favor of something a little more fishy. Oddly enough, one of these states, Illinois, is pretty much landlocked, unless you consider the fact that it sits on the shore of a Great Lake. Still, Lake Michigan isn't really known for its seafood. WBEZ notes that there are fish in there, true, but there are also a frightening number of pollutants. Per Google Trends, the Prairie State's Super Bowl pick is a Cajun seafood boil, something that is typically made with crawfish, shrimp, or maybe crab. None of these types of seafood can be found in great abundance in the Midwest, but they are super-tasty, so we're not going to fault Illinois for their failure to eat local. They won't be watching local, either, as Pro Football Reference reminds us that the Bears' last appearance in the big game was 2007. (They lost to the Colts then, too.)

Delaware, on the other hand, is a coastal state, but they're also probably importing the seafood they'll be using. The dish Delaware favors for Super Bowl snacking is prawn toast, and shrimping isn't a big industry in the Blue Hen State. It doesn't matter to us, though. Prawn toast (or shrimp toast) is delicious, if not too nutritious.

These states are starting with dessert

While most typical game day snacks tend to be heavy on protein, no party is complete without some sweet treats. Two states, it seems, are more into the dessert tray than the apps or main meals. As Google Trends reports, Texans really, really love their chocolate chip cookies, as well they might. You just can't beat a classic cookie like that, even if they were invented by a Yankee. Texas being Texas, though, we wouldn't be at all surprised if they weren't jazzing up their chocolate chip cookie recipes with mix-ins like bacon or bourbon or chile peppers.

In the nation's capital, aka the 51st (not quite) state, they go with something a bit more international. It seems the District of Columbia is really, really into mochi. While the term mochi itself refers to Japanese rice cakes both savory and sweet, one super-popular way many of us now enjoy it is as the outer coating encasing a small ball of ice cream. Mochi ice cream is a true Asian-American fusion food, and it's actually a pretty great game day dessert, too. The mochi helps to keep the ice cream from melting too fast, so it makes a fun-to-eat, yet not too messy, treat.

These states like to keep up with the latest trends

If something is trending on Google Trends, that, by definition, makes it trendy, right?  Well, the favorite 2021 Super Bowl food of Idaho, Mississippi, and Nevada, happened to be a food that was particularly popular last year and continues to grow in popularity: birria tacos. They're not all that new, really, as their roots date back over 50 years, but they've been gaining a lot of traction lately due to having been deemed highly Instagram-worthy by the mysterious cabal who determines such things. Trendy they may be, but they are also tasty, so good choice, you three states!

Three more states, those being Indiana, Oklahoma, and Virginia, opted for another intensely Instagrammed food: charcuterie boards. Sure, people have been eating deli meats and cheeses for eons, and even piling them on plates with crackers and perhaps a few grapes or apple slices. In recent years, though, charcuterie boards seem to have evolved into a competitive sport where people fight to outdo each other with OTT presentations. In fact, a football-themed charcuterie board like this one from Smack of Flavor is almost like a 2-D version of a snackadium, so maybe people in the Hoosier, Sooner, and Old Dominion States do have time on their hands, after all.

This state is sticking with good old snack mix

One state, though, remains impervious to trends, and chooses to stick with something tried and true for their Super Bowl snacking. According to Google Trends, Minnesota goes with good old fashioned Chex Mix, the staple party food of mid-century America. If Minnesotans want to keep their game day preparations as simple as possible, all they need to do is head to the store, then try to decide which of the dozens of pre-made Chex Mix flavors they want to serve their guests. They can even go germ-free by serving individual snack-sized bags.

Minnesotans who prefer to DIY their party foods, though, will be able to whip up their own homemade Chex Mix in mere minutes and flavor it with their choice of spices and condiments. They can also serve Chex Mix for dessert, too, with a big old bowlful of Muddy Buddies or Puppy Chow. Who knew Chex were so versatile? In fact, we've even heard a rumor that people eat them for breakfast, as well.

This state's willing to mix in some veggies

It's not really all that surprising that most people's favorite football foods aren't exactly a nutritionist's dream. Meaty things, melty things, crunchy things, ooey-gooey sticky sweet things, these are what we're craving as we settle in for a long evening of watching the year's biggest sporting event — not to mention, the year's best commercials. There is one state, however, that does give a nod to a vegetable for its Super Bowl pick, the state being North Dakota and the veggie being the sturdy, serviceable bell pepper. North Dakotans don't eat these peppers plain, though. (Who would?) Instead, Google Trends indicates that they prefer to stuff them with a hearty filling to turn them into a tasty main dish.

Stuffed peppers typically contain a mixture of rice, ground beef, and seasonings, perhaps cooked in a tomato sauce and maybe incorporating some other veggies like onions or corn. Oh, and don't forget the delicious melted cheese topping that is the stuffed pepper's crowning glory! While stuffed peppers might seem like a surprising pick for a game day snack, the peppers make perfect edible bowls for a meal that's both neat and complete.

These states like to keep it healthy

There are always a few states that put the rest of us to shame when it comes to keeping things clean and healthy. According to Google Trends, Montana is apparently so devoted to their New Year's resolution to give up carbs that keto egg bites was the most-searched food term for last year's Super Bowl. While you might think you'd need a pricy sous vide machine to duplicate the kind of egg bites you can get at Starbucks, what Montana likely found out is that with a copycat recipe like ours, all you really need is a mini muffin pan to bake them.

Wyoming went in an even more off-the-beaten path direction for their Super Bowl pick. Believe it or not, their number-one searched food before last year's game was the oddly specific "chia seed coconut milk dessert." We're not sure quite what they found with those exact search terms, but it was most likely a pudding made with ch-ch-ch-chia, the superfood that can do a lot more than grow hair on your whimsically-shaped clay pots.