The Best Sandwiches in Each State

Sandwiches are the answer to lunchtime blues. Whether you keep it simple or add some flair, it’s hard to mess up a classic sandwich.

Tuna sandwich on wooden board

Each state has managed to cook up its signature sandwich thanks to regional tastes in the United States. 

My guide will cover the best sandwich in every state.

For the adventurous reader, this can quickly become a sandwich bucket list to make sure you try the most famous sandwiches in each state. 

Learn which sandwich every US state is famous for, and try them if you visit the state!

Alabama: BBQ Chicken Sandwich With White Sauce

What makes this BBQ chicken sandwich magical is the addition of white sauce, a staple of Alabama’s southern barbecue.

White sauce is a type of barbecue sauce first created in 1925 by Bob Gibson. The sauce is mayo-based rather than tomato-based, like your typical sauce. 

Although fancier versions exist, a basic white sauce consists of mayonnaise, vinegar, pepper, and salt.

Drizzle the sauce over some shredded BBQ chicken and a basic white-bread bun, and you’ve got Alabama’s best sandwich. 

Alaska: Smoked Salmon Sandwich

Alaska is well-known for the quality of its fresh, wild-caught salmon.

Salmon dishes are a staple in the state, but the flavors that come from smoking salmon are especially beloved.

The Alaskan government even penned a guide on properly smoking your salmon at home. 

Since the smoked salmon is the real star here, the rest of the sandwich is pretty simple.

The ingredients are smoked salmon, hearty bread (such as sourdough), lettuce, and mayo. 

Arizona: Sonoran Hot Dog

Whether a hot dog can be considered a sandwich is fraught with debate, but the use of bolillo bread makes this a definite sandwich.

Bolillo is popular in Mexico and Central American countries and is somewhat similar to a baguette. 

Bolillo can come in pre-made buns, or you can slice it down the middle.

The hot dog is wrapped in bacon before it’s grilled, then topped with diced onions and tomatoes, pinto beans, mayo, mustard, and jalapeno salsa. 

Arkansas: Fried Bologna Sandwich

Fried bologna sandwiches are a diner and homemade favorite in Arkansas.

This sandwich elevates a slice of bologna into a tasty meal. 

The star here is the fried bologna, as the title might suggest. Take a slice of bologna and stick it in a pan.

The bologna will take on a caramel color, which means it’s just right. Slap the bologna on white bread and top it with American cheese, mayo, and mustard. 

California: French Dip

The French Dip isn’t inspired by French cuisine, the type of bread used in the sandwich is a French roll.

The sandwich is also known as a “beef dip” or a “roast beef dip.” The classic French Dip consists of just thinly-sliced roast beef on a French roll (baguette)

The sandwich comes with a side of beef broth, which comes from cooking the roast beef. You dip the sandwich into the beef broth as you eat it. 

Colorado: Fool’s Gold

The Fool’s Gold sandwich, also called the Fool’s Gold Loaf, is a dish that comes from the Colorado Mine Company in Denver, Colorado.

The sandwich starts with a baguette, covered with two tablespoons of margarine, and baked.

The bread is then hollowed out and filled with fried bacon, peanut butter, and jelly. 

The sandwich is famously linked with Elvis Presley because the singer and his friends flew to Denver, ordered thirty Fool’s Gold sandwiches, and enjoyed them with champagne. 

Connecticut: Clam Roll

The star of coast-side Connecticut’s seafood on offer is the humble clam, a delicious shellfish that tastes great fried, baked, and in chowder.

Whether made in a restaurant or at home, fresh-caught clams are a must for this sandwich. 

Clams are first floured and dredged in a batter with white pepper, then fried until golden brown.

The fried clams go into a buttered hot dog bun lined with crunchy lettuce and topped with tartar sauce. 

Delaware: The Bobbie

The Bobbie is a regional Delaware sandwich made at Capriotti’s, a famous local sandwich shop that has since expanded nationally. This sandwich is a sub roll that tastes like Thanksgiving in one bite. 

The sandwich uses specially-made bread supplied by Serpe’s Bakery, filled with house-made stuffing, shredded roast turkey, cranberry sauce, and mayo.

The sandwich is served year-round, so it’s perfect for when you want a taste of Thanksgiving in the middle of February. 

Florida: Cubano

As the name might suggest, the Cubano was brought to Florida and popularized by immigrants from the nearby country of Cuba.

The sandwich quickly became popular in cities with major Cuban populations in Tampa and Miami, Florida. 

The sandwich starts with Cuban bread, similar in shape to a baguette but with a sweeter taste. The bread is topped with ham, roasted pork, Swiss cheese, pickles, and mustard.

Tampa, which has a large Italian population, often adds salami to the ingredient list. 

Georgia: Pimento Cheese Sandwich

Pimento cheese is a southern favorite, and Georgia even made a sandwich with it.

This sandwich is similar to a grilled cheese but uses a pimento cheese spread. 

You can buy pre-made pimento cheese at any grocery store in the south, but to make your own, combine shredded cheddar cheese (the sharper, the better), a jar of pimentos, mayo, hot sauce, sugar, garlic powder, onion powder, and salt.

Spread the pimento cheese on white bread and toast it until golden brown. 

Hawaii: Kalua Pork Sandwich

Kalua Pork is a staple of any traditional luau in Hawaii. “Kalua” refers to how the pork is prepared, cooked in an “imu,” an underground oven similar to a steam cooker.

Typically, the whole pig is cooked in the imu, then broken down to be served. 

The pork is shredded, making sure not to get rid of the juice, and placed on a soft hamburger-style bun.

The pork is then topped with coleslaw and sweet barbecue sauce. 

Idaho: Huckleberry PB&J

The huckleberry is Idaho’s state fruit, so it’s no surprise it’s made its way into the state’s best sandwich.

This sandwich is, by all accounts, a perfectly normal peanut butter and jelly sandwich. 

However, the fantastic taste of fresh huckleberry jam plucked straight from Idaho bushes elevates the flavor.

The huckleberry tastes similar to blueberries, though a bit more complex. Slather some peanut butter and huckleberry jam onto white sandwich bread, and you’ve got a delicious sandwich. 

Illinois: Italian Beef, Horseshoe Sandwich

The Italian Beef, or Horseshoe Sandwich, comes from Springfield, Illinois, the state’s capital.

The Italian Beef is an open-faced sandwich, meaning it’s not contained by a piece of bread on top and is eaten with a fork. 

The original sandwich used ham as the main protein, but it’s nearly always made with hamburger meat nowadays.

Texas toast serves as the base layer, topped with a hamburger patty, french fries, and cheese sauce. 

Indiana: Hoosier Sandwich

The Hoosier Sandwich from Indiana is visually stunning, as it’s usually served with a large pork tenderloin barely contained by two regular-sized hamburger buns.

Restaurants that serve this sandwich often try to make the pork tenderloin as crispy as possible by flattening the meat to increase the frying surface area.

The pork tenderloin is breaded and deep fried before laying it on a hamburger bun and topping it with mayo, ketchup, mustard, lettuce, onions, and pickles. 

Iowa: Loose Meat Sandwich

Iowa’s Loose Meat Sandwich is a mix between a Sloppy Joe and a cheeseburger.

Rather than taking ground meat and forming it into a patty, this sandwich cooks up ground beef and puts it right on the patty, completely loose.

The ground beef cooks with chopped onions and then is poured on top of a simple hamburger bun.

A classic version comes with a few pickles, but many people top it, similar to a cheeseburger, with cheese, pickles, ketchup, mustard, and mayo. 

Kansas: Burnt Ends Sandwich

The Burnt Ends Sandwich originated in Kansas City, the one in Kansas rather than the one right across the border in Missouri.

The sandwich consists of burnt ends from barbecue brisket, as the ends are a bit thinner, so they end up burnt and crispy.

This sandwich is typically served on two slices of simple white bread, a favorite in southern barbecue.

The bread is soft enough to absorb all the delicious flavors from the brisket’s burnt ends. 

Kentucky: Hot Brown

The Hot Brown is an open-faced sandwich that was first created in Louisville, Kentucky, at The Brown Hotel.

Chef Fred Schmidt is credited as the first person to make and serve the sandwich in 1926.

To make the sandwich, two slices of bread are topped with turkey breast, ham, and bacon and smothered in Mornay sauce, a creamy cheese sauce.

The sandwich is broiled until the bread is toasted, and the sauce starts to turn brown. 

Louisiana: Muffuletta

The Louisiana Muffuletta was popularized by the Italian immigrant population of New Orleans.

Muffuletta is a type of sesame bread that originated in Sicily, Italy. Thanks to Louisiana, the name “Muffuletta” now commonly means the sandwich rather than just the bread.

The sandwich starts with a sliced muffuletta loaf, topped with olive salad (consisting of diced olives, cauliflower, pickled carrots, celery, olive oil, garlic, and oregano), ham, salami, Swiss cheese, and Italian mortadella cheese. The sandwich is typically served cold. 

Maine: Lobster Roll

Lobster from Maine is nationally famous for its taste and quality.

There is some debate over this sandwich, as some people argue pure lobster is better than the classic lobster salad.

However, the lobster salad version is more popular and widespread within the state.

The lobster salad is prepared first, combining freshly cooked lobster meat, mayo, lemon juice, salt, and pepper, then optionally add dill, parsley, and garlic powder.

This lobster salad is then poured into a buttered New England-style hot dog bun. 

Maryland: Crab Cake Sandwich

Like Maine and Connecticut, Maryland is well-known for the quality of its shellfish, particularly the soft shell crabs.

The state is famous for various crab cake dishes, including this delicious crab cake sandwich.

The recipe starts with a classic Maryland crab cake made with fresh lump crab meat, breadcrumbs, egg, mayo, mustard, parsley, Worcestershire sauce, and Old Bay or crab seasoning.

The crab cake is placed on a toasted hamburger bun, then topped with lettuce, a thick tomato slice, and tartar sauce. 

Massachusetts: Fluffernutter

The Fluffernutter is a twist on the classic peanut butter and jelly sandwich.

Many people in Massachusetts grew up with this sandwich as a childhood favorite.

On simple white sandwich bread, you spread marshmallow crème and creamy peanut butter.

Marshmallow crème spread and became especially popular during World War I when sugar became extremely expensive.

The sandwich became popular at this time, but the term Fluffernutter wasn’t invented until 1960 when a marketing agency wanted to boost sales of marshmallow crème. 

Michigan: Ham Sandwich

A ham sandwich may sound like a universally beloved sandwich that you can get it anywhere.

Sandwich shops became especially popular in Detroit, where workers would flock during their lunch break from industry jobs.

The HoneyBaked Ham Store opened in Detroit, Michigan, in 1957, the first of many in the area.

A classic Michigan ham sandwich uses thick slices of cooked ham, placed on an onion roll and topped with mustard, Swiss cheese, and lettuce.

Minnesota: Walleye Sandwich

Minnesota is often called the Land of Ten Thousand Lakes because so much of the state’s geography is consumed by lakes.

In reality, there are closer to 12,000 lakes located in the state of Minnesota. The many lakes make Minnesota a hotspot for fishing.

The Walleye Sandwich features a breaded and fried walleye filet. Once fried to perfection, the walleye filet is placed on a hoagie bun and topped with lettuce, tomato, and tangy tartar sauce. 

Mississippi: Pig’s Ear Sandwich

Don’t let the name scare you away, as this Mississippi favorite is a delicious piece of Mississippi history.

A soul food restaurant called the Big Apple Inn in Jackson, Mississippi, is the place that popularized this sandwich.

The pig’s ears, which have a nice pork taste, are pressure cooked for two hours. The ears are cut into thirds, and each piece makes its way to a soft bun.

The pig ear is topped with slaw, mustard, and hot sauce.

Missouri: The Gerber Sandwich

The shop where this sandwich comes from, Ruma’s Deli in St, Louis, Missouri, had an option for customers, like neighbor Dick Gerber, to pay a fee and create any sandwich they wanted with their name on it.

The sandwich is open-faced and uses French bread as a base.

The bread is covered with garlic butter, ham, and Provel cheese, then sprinkled with paprika and toasted until warm and the cheese melts.

Montana: Pork Chop Sandwich

You can find a Pork Chop Sandwich at restaurants all over the state of Montana.

The sandwich was first made in Butte, Montana, by John Burklund in 1924.

Burklund originally sold these sandwiches to miners on their way to work before opening Pork Chop John’s in 1932.

The sandwich combines a fried pork chop, sautéed onions, pickles, and mustard, all on top of a standard hamburger bun. Many people add cheese, bacon, or a fried egg to the sandwich. 

Nebraska: Reuben

In 1925, a man named Reuben Kulakofsky dreamed up what would become Nebraska’s most popular sandwich.

Kulakofsky was in Omaha, Nebraska, at the Blackstone Hotel, playing a game of poker late at night with friends. 

The sandwich starts with rye bread covered with thousand island dressing. Several slices of corned beef come next, topped with sauerkraut and Swiss cheese.

The whole sandwich is placed in a broiler until the bread is toasted. 

Nevada: Patty Melt

The Patty Melt from Nevada is a twist on the classic childhood favorite, the grilled cheese.

By adding a bit of flavor and heft, the patty melt is a more sophisticated and filling version of its simpler sandwich sibling. 

A classic patty melt uses Swiss cheese, melted to perfection, and combines it with grilled onions and a hamburger patty. The sandwich is traditionally served on well-toasted rye bread. 

New Hampshire: Fried Haddock Sandwich

The Fried Haddock Sandwich from New Hampshire takes the fish filet sandwich offered at many fast food chains and shows you what it should actually taste like.

Haddock is a tender fish, similar in look and taste to cod.

To create this sandwich, a filet of haddock makes its way to the deep fryer.

Once golden brown, you place the fried filet on a toasted hamburger bun. Once topped with lettuce and tartar sauce, you’ve got a perfect fried haddock sandwich. 

New Jersey: Italian Hoagie

If you’re looking for a delicious sandwich in New Jersey, an Italian Hoagie is the only choice.

New Jersey has a thriving Italian population, as many immigrants anchored their families there. 

The Italian Hoagie has many ingredients and is a truly filling meal.

On an Italian-style roll, you layer boiled ham, capicola, salami, provolone cheese, iceberg lettuce, sliced tomato, sliced onion, red wine vinegar, extra-virgin olive oil, salt, pepper, Italian oregano, and hot or sweet peppers. 

New Mexico: Green Chile Cheeseburger

New Mexico is heavily influenced in culture and cuisine by its neighbor to the south, so it’s no surprise that the state’s best sandwich is a Mexican-American fusion favorite.

This sandwich takes a classic American cheeseburger and spices it up with green chiles, a staple of Mexican and Hispanic cooking.

On a basic hamburger bun, lay down your hamburger patty, top it with green chiles and onions, then cover it with cheese, preferably an extra-melty variety like pepper jack. 

New York: Pastrami on Rye

The Pastrami on Rye was popularized by the Jewish community in New York City, New York.

The sandwich has roots all the way back to 1888 when it was first served by Sussman Volk in a deli on Delancey Street. 

The Pastrami on Rye has become the signature sandwich of the state. A traditional recipe consists of rye bread, sliced pastrami, and spicy brown mustard served with a kosher dill pickle on the side. 

North Carolina: Pulled Pork Sandwich

In the world of barbecue, the “correct” way to do things is always hotly contested.

In North Carolina, the only way to go is a vinegar-based sauce, unlike in South Carolina, where tomato-based sauces are more the norm. 

The favorite sandwich of North Carolina is a vinegar-based pulled pork sandwich. The pork is cooked low and slow, then hand-shredded.

The pork is mixed with a sauce made of vinegar, sugar, ketchup, and crushed red pepper then scooped onto a hamburger bun. 

North Dakota: Sloppy Joe

Though the Sloppy Joe seems like a uniquely American recipe, this sandwich had its start in Havana, Cuba.

The recipe for Sloppy Joe’s came to the United States in the early 1900s and quickly spread nationwide.

The North Dakota version of the Sloppy Joe is undefeated. First, cook ground beef with sweet onions and bell peppers, chopped as fine as you can.

After adding seasonings, ketchup, and Worcestershire sauce, you can scoop it onto a hamburger bun. 

Ohio: Polish Boy

The Polish Boy is Ohio’s answer to delicious barbecue. Originating in Cleveland, Ohio, this sandwich is unique. The term “Polish” here comes from kielbasa, a Polish sausage.

The kielbasa goes in a hot dog bun, then covered with french fries, barbecue sauce, and coleslaw.

The kielbasa is typically grilled, but some restaurants go the extra mile and deep-fry the sausage on top of grilling it. 

Oklahoma: Chicken Fried Steak Sandwich

Chicken fried steak is a staple in Oklahoma, so it’s not shocking the state’s best sandwich features the dish.

Chicken fried steak, also sometimes called country fried steak, is called “chicken-fried” because the breading, dredging, and frying process are the same as with fried chicken.

The sandwich starts with a slice of beefsteak, tenderized and hammered thin, then battered and deep-fried. The steak goes on a standard hamburger bun and is drenched in creamy white gravy. 

Oregon: The Reggie Deluxe Sandwich

Biscuits are typically associated with the South in America, so it may be surprising that Oregon’s best sandwich is a biscuit sandwich.

However, the sandwich was brought to the state by Pine State Biscuits, a restaurant founded by three guys from North Carolina.

The Reggie Deluxe starts with a perfect buttermilk biscuit, cut in half and filled with fried chicken, bacon, and over-easy eggs.

The fillings are covered with sausage gravy and cheddar cheese. 

Pennsylvania: Cheesesteak

For anyone who’s been anywhere near Pennsylvania, it’s no surprise that the famous Philly Cheesesteak is the favorite sandwich in the state.

The most widely-accepted origin story states the sandwich came from brothers Harry and Pat Olivieri in the 1930s. 

A long hoagie roll serves as the base for this sandwich, which is filled with thinly sliced browned steak and melted cheese.

The most popular cheese choices are American cheese and provolone, which both melt well. 

Rhode Island: Hot Wiener

Ordering a basic hot dog seems almost pointless in Rhode Island, where you can get the state-renowned Hot Wiener instead.

Many people credit the Original New York System as the origin of the hot wiener, a tiny diner in Providence.

The hot wiener uses hot dogs made from pork, beef, and veal in a natural casing. In a sweet, steamed hot dog bun, you place the wiener and top it with mustard, meat sauce, celery salt, and minced onions. 

South Carolina: Pulled Pork Sandwich

The Pulled Pork Sandwich is the favorite sandwich of both North and South Carolina, but thinking you can compare the two is a fool’s mission.

As mentioned in the North Carolina section, the disputes over proper barbecue are widespread and heated.

The South Carolina pulled pork sandwich barbecue sauce will vary by location, either a mustard-based sauce, a light tomato-based sauce, a heavy tomato-based sauce, or a vinegar and pepper sauce.

South Dakota: Pheasant Salad

Pheasant Salad sandwiches became a symbol of South Dakota when women handed these sandwiches to troops passing through the state during World War II.

The sandwich is a variation of the classic chicken salad sandwich, using the state’s popular pheasant, in place of chicken. 

The sandwich starts with the pheasant salad mixture, a combination of chopped pheasant, hard-boiled eggs, carrots, onion, celery, sweet pickle relish, mayo, salt, and pepper.

Once combined, you can spread the mixture on two slices of white bread.

Tennessee: Hot Chicken Sandwich

Nashville, Tennessee, is the origin of hot, fried chicken that is covered in cayenne pepper-based sauce.

The chicken has become famous enough that food trucks and restaurants serving authentic Nashville hot chicken have sprouted all over the country. 

The hot chicken sandwich takes a piece of the chicken, typically a breast piece, and places it on soft white bread. Pickles are typically the only added topping. 

Texas: Beef Brisket

Smoked brisket is one of the most popular barbecue dishes in the state of Texas.

This sandwich can be as simple or as complicated as you like, adding to the customizability.

The preparation for the beef brisket sandwich is somewhat disputed, as variations are popular throughout the state.

At its most basic, sliced or pulled smoked brisket goes on top of basic white bread, with a few pickle chips on top. 

Utah: Halibut Sandwich With Fry Sauce

Fry sauce exists in several forms throughout the United States, but Utah has staked its claim as the fry sauce capital.

Fry sauce is pretty much what it sounds like, a sauce that goes with everything fried. 

A halibut filet is breaded and lightly fried, then placed on a hamburger bun.

You can then top it with lettuce and an optional tomato, then a generous helping of fry sauce consisting of mayo, ketchup, onion powder, and pickle juice. 

Vermont: The Vermonter

The Vermonter is one of those sandwiches that seems deeply weird at first glance but ends up being one of the most delicious things you’ve ever had.

Several ingredients are negotiable, as this sandwich has been tweaked and fiddled with over the years, but Vermont cheddar and apples are the necessary flavors here.

On your favorite sandwich bread, spread apple butter on each slice, then layer on some sliced deli turkey, Vermont sharp cheddar, and, optionally, some crunchy lettuce. 

Virginia: Country Ham Sandwich

Layne’s Country Store, a grocery and goods store in Lexington, is one of the most famous homes of the Virginia country ham sandwich, but you’ll find this state favorite all over the region.

Country ham is the foundation of this sandwich, a type of Southern cured ham.

On two slices of white bread, a giant stack of country ham is topped with crunchy lettuce and American cheese. 

Washington: Banh Mi

Banh Mi is a type of Vietnamese sandwich that has become a staple in Viet-American areas, especially in Seattle, Washington.

These sandwiches were popularized first by small street carts and food trucks but have since evolved to full restaurants serving only these sandwiches.

The classic Washington banh mi consists of a sliced Vietnamese baguette filled with either liver pate, sliced pork belly, pork sausage, or head cheese.

Topping the meat is cucumber, cilantro, pickled carrots, white radishes, and sometimes a creamy mayo-based sauce.

West Virginia: Sausage Biscuit Sandwich

Biscuit sandwiches aren’t limited to breakfast in West Virginia, where biscuits are a regular addition to meals.

The sausage biscuit sandwich was especially popularized in the Appalachian regions of the state, where Southern cooking reigns.

The sandwich can consist of simply a buttermilk biscuit and sausage, but many people choose to add on.

A fried egg, gravy, or hashbrown potatoes are popular favorites. Essentially, the biscuit needs to be buttered. 

Wisconsin: Grilled Cheese

As the home of some of the best cheese in the country, Wisconsin’s best sandwich takes the primary ingredient and adds little else.

Wisconsin cheese comes in different forms and variations, so you can be as creative with this sandwich as you wish.

The most basic version of the Wisconsin grilled cheese uses American cheese, which melts well.

Fancier versions might use multiple kinds of cheese, such as sharp cheddar, provolone, mozzarella, and mortadella. 

Wyoming: Beef Sandwich

Wyoming is home to hundreds of cattle ranches, making it one of the premier ranching states in the country.

With local farms offering grass-fed, free-range beef all over the state, the beef sandwich became a fast favorite.

The beef sandwich is fairly simple, with some recipes consisting of thin-sliced roast beef on a sandwich roll.

Some variations add some cheddar and lettuce, but you can never go wrong with a simple roast beef sandwich. 

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Written by Brian Nagele

Brian attended West Virginia University, then started his career in the IT industry before following his passion for marketing and hospitality. He has over 20 years experience in the restaurant and bar industry.

As a former restaurant owner, he knows about running a food business and loves to eat and enjoy cocktails on a regular basis. He constantly travels to new cities tasting and reviewing the most popular spots.

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