Skip To Content
    Jun 25, 2020

    19 Extremely American Foods You Should Eat At Least Once In Your Lifetime

    What's life without canned meat and aerosol cheese?

    1. Biscuits And Gravy

    A plate of fluffy biscuits smothered in a creamy sausage gravy
    Lauren / Via tastesbetterfromscratch.com

    Is there anything more homey than a giant buttermilk biscuit split open and topped with creamy sausage gravy? If you wanna take this staple to the next level, add a fried egg and a couple slices of bacon.

    Try biscuits and gravy here.

    2. S'mores

    Someone holding a s'more — a toasted marshmallow and a piece of chocolate sandwiched between two crackers — in front of a campfire
    Quattrophotography / Getty Images

    Whoever thought to put roasted marshmallows and chocolate between graham crackers is an absolute genius. This sweet treat is usually enjoyed around a campfire, and half the fun is building it. The camping sandwich is made with Hershey’s chocolate and a perfectly browned marshmallow squished between two graham crackers. Sticky fingers is part of the experience.

    Try these epic s'mores recipes.

    3. Corn Dog

    4. Meat loaf

    Two slices of meat loaf with ketchup on a bed of mashed potatoes with a side of bright green beans
    Natasha Kravchuk / Via natashaskitchen.com

    There are a few different theories around the origin of this homey meal. Some say it started as a Mediterranean dish in medieval Europe; others say it came from German immigrants in colonial times. Either way, today meat loaf is an American staple. There are several variations, but at its core, it's literally a loaf of ground meat that’s baked, topped with sauce (most often ketchup), and served in slices.

    Try meat loaf here.

    5. Philly Cheesesteak

    6. PB&J

    7. Root Beer Float

    A can of root beer being poured into a tall glass. The liquid is brown and creamy with a foamy top
    Eazy Peazy Mealz / Via eazypeazymealz.com

    To experience an American diner staple, put a few scoops of vanilla ice cream in a glass and pour a root beer on top. The result is a frothy, chilled drink that's so sweet, a sugar buzz is inevitable.

    Make a perfect root beer float here.

    8. Chicken And Waffles

    A big, round, golden waffle topped with a knob of butter and two pieces of crunchy fried chicken
    Jocelyn Delk Adams / Via grandbaby-cakes.com

    Weird, yes. Amazing, YES. Sweet and soft meet savory, crispy goodness in this Southern dish. Just as you might expect, fluffy waffles are topped with a piece of crispy fried chicken and doused with maple syrup. Add on gravy, if you dare.

    Try chicken and waffles here.

    9. Jell-O

    10. Sweet Potato Casserole

    Bright orange sweet potato mash covered with roasted marshmallows
    Christina Lane / Via dessertfortwo.com

    Around the holidays, certain dishes make their annual appearance. One Thanksgiving go-to is sweet potato casserole: a warm, gooey side dish that’s made using chopped or mashed sweet potatoes, butter, brown sugar, and pecans. As bizarre as it sounds, this veggie dish is then topped with marshmallows and served as a side (nope, it's not a dessert) along with cranberry sauce and green beans.

    Try sweet potato casserole here.

    11. American-Style Cheeses

    12. Snow Cones

    13. Spam

    14. Buffalo Wings

    15. New England Clam Chowder

    16. Chicken Fried Steak

    Dinner plate with crunchy chicken fried steak topped with creamy gravy and vegetables on the side
    Katie Aubin & Karlee Rotoly / Tasty

    Contrary to how it sounds, there’s no chicken in this dish. A piece of beefsteak is coated with seasoned flour, fried in a pan, and smothered in cream gravy. The “chicken fried” comes from this breading and frying technique that’s more commonly used to make fried chicken. Pair it with some mashed potatoes and a veggie side, and prepare yourself for a satisfying, stick-to-your-bones type of meal.

    Try chicken fried steak here.

    17. Grits

    18. Tater Tots

    Paper bag filled with crispy tater tots and a side of ketchup
    Tomsmith585 / Getty Images

    Long before Napoleon Dynamite stuffed crispy tots into the pocket of his cargo pants, Americans had fallen in love with these crispy nuggets made from shredded potatoes. The ultimate comfort food, these golden, bite-size tots are a blank canvas — douse them in ketchup or ranch, or pair them with a plate of eggs.

    19. Ranch Dressing

    What's your favorite American food? Tell us in the comments!

    Don't forget to check out Bring Me! for all of BuzzFeed's best travel tips and hacks, vacation inspiration, and more!

    colorful illustrated skyline
    Jay Fleckenstein / BuzzFeed