Texas Food Guide: 25+ Famous Things to Eat in Texas

How good is the food in Texas? 

Among the best in the world, of course!

From TexMex to barbecue, Texas’ cuisine is incredibly varied and irresistibly delicious.

The best things to eat in Texas generally involve big flavors and bigger portion sizes and tend to be so tasty that you finish every bite in spite of yourself.

Most of these Texas foods aren’t exclusive to the Lone Star State, of course–many of them weren’t even invented here–but they are cherished parts of modern Texas culture.

green plate with a texmex burrito and sides. what is texas known for includes lots of texmex dishes

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Influences in Texas cuisine include Germany, Louisiana, the Czech Republic, and–of course–Mexico, all adapted by (some might claim improved by) the Lone Star State.

If you’re planning a trip soon, or you’re a Texan preparing to introduce an out-of-state friend or relative to the best food in Texas, here’s what to eat in Texas!

Fair warning: you’ll need to arrive hungry.

Texas kolaches arranged on a tray with fruit and cheese on top

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Texas Barbecue

The Holy Grail of all Texas cuisine, Texas barbecue is a must-try food in Texas.

Texas barbecue is such a serious business, in fact, that it deserves its own detailed blog post!

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For example, did you know that barbecuing traditions differ depending on which region of Texas you’re in?

For the purposes of eating, though, the most important thing to know is that it’s all delicious and well worth trying.

The Texas barbecue tradition dates back to the German and Czech immigrants to Texas who brought their traditions of smoking meat with them across the Atlantic, but there’s no doubt that Texas barbecue is now its own distinct food group.

The barbecue style from Central Texas, focused on showing off the meats with little-to-no sauce, is most iconic.

When you order a platter, you can expect to have white bread, pickles, raw onions, and (sometimes–this is a point of contention) sauce included.

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Use them to your heart’s content, though be warned that some will scoff at coating your brisket in barbecue sauce.

While there are dozens of different dishes that make up Texas barbecue, here are the three most essential dishes (and yes, you should order at least one round of all of them when in Texas).

tray of texas bbq in blanco tx with 2 barbecue sandwiches on it


Texas Smoked Brisket is made from beef, and when it is pulled off the smoker, it will be entirely enveloped in an almost-burned-looking exterior–but it’s not burned.

Slice it open, and an incredibly tender, juicy, flavorful meat will be revealed.

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Brisket is a favorite of Texans–so much so, that many even eat it for breakfast.

(I’m not kidding–you can even get brisket breakfast tacos at popular gas stations. But that’s a story for another day!).

pitmaster holding a brisket cut in half, a classic of texas barbecue


Falling-off-the-bone pork ribs are a staple of Texas barbecue!

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Like brisket and ribs, homemade sausage is near-ubiquitous on a Texas barbecue plate!

They are primarily made with beef (though pork is sometimes mixed in as well).

Most barbecue joints will have at least two sausages on the menu–usually a classic and a jalapeno-and-cheese–and some places will have even more options.

Plate of Texas barbecue served on a picnic table outside with a beer in the background. Barbecue is an important Texas food group!

Texas Chili (Chili Con Carne)

Much like Texas barbecue, simply saying “chili” won’t do when describing this beloved traditional Texas food.

Chili is a serious business in Texas (as are chili cook-offs, like the famous ones in Terlingua), and is even recognized as the official state food of Texas.

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The dish includes absolutely no beans, tomatoes, or tomato-based products.

In Texas chili, the flavor from the beef and chilis are the main focus of the dish.

White bowl full of Texas chili with cheese tomatoes and sour cream on top, with a slice of cornbread in the background. When exploring Texas food be sure to try Texas chili!


We love Mexican food. And we love TexMex.

And–here’s the important bit to consider when you’re ordering food in Texas–they’re not the same thing.

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TexMex is its own category of food entirely, characterized by lots of flour (and some corn) tortillas, lots of cheese (much, much more than what you’ll find in most Mexican food), beans, rice, peppers, and meat.

Two ubiquitous foods in TexMex that you’ll see are:

smothered burrito at a texmex restaurant


Made from skirt steak (and often chicken, though it’s less traditional), fajitas are generally served on a cast-iron skillet, still sizzling, mixed together with grilled bell peppers and onions.

The fixings–usually rice, beans, salsa, flour tortillas, shredded cheese, and sour cream–are served on the side, and you can then make your own fajita tacos at the table as you eat.

Skillet of steak fajitas with peppers, one of the most ubiquitous things to eat in Texas

Chili Con Queso

Melted cheese mixed with chilis for spice and then scooped up with salty tortilla chips: is there a more addictive food anywhere on this planet?

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I sincerely doubt it.

Chili Con Queso is one of the most popular things to eat in Texas, and for a very good reason!

Bowl of chili con queso with tortilla chips on a plate in front of it

Frito Pie

Frito Pie is as delicious as it is simple: it’s made by pouring chili on top of Fritos.

Frequently, the chili will then be topped with chopped onions and shredded cheese.

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To make the dish even easier, it’s sometimes served directly in the Frito bag!

Whether Frito Pie was invented in Texas is up for a bit of a debate–New Mexicans also claim the invention–but there’s no doubt that it’s a delicious staple of Texas diners, football stadiums, and tailgates.

texas frito chili pie served in a basket in a diner

Breakfast Tacos

As someone completely obsessed with breakfast tacos of all kinds, let me just say: if you visit Texas and don’t eat several rounds of breakfast tacos, you’re doing it wrong.

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Served in warm flour tortillas, breakfast tacos can be stuffed with an enormous variety of foods, from classics like bacon & egg or bean & cheese to certified Texas favorites like brisket or smoked sausage.

Add a bit of salsa if you like, and you have on your plate one of the best breakfasts on the planet–and one of the most popular breakfasts in Texas.

plate of 3 tacos in austin with salsa verde, an essential meal during a long weekend in austin texas

King Ranch Casserole

A favorite of potlucks, King Ranch Casserole is a true hodgepodge of a dish, featuring canned diced tomatoes, cream of mushroom soup, diced onion, bell pepper, cheese, layers of corn tortillas (or sometimes chips), and shredded chicken.

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This may not be the most famous Texas food, but don’t knock it until you try it!

It’s a popular food in Texas for a reason, despite the eclectic list of ingredients.

chicken casserole served in a round bowl

Texas Toast

With a short description, Texas toast sounds fairly unremarkable, if very tasty.

Soft white bread coated in butter and sometimes garlic that is then grilled or toasted until its outsides are crispy and golden brown.

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The thing that makes Texas toast distinct, though, is that it’s incredibly thick.

Texas toast is generally about twice the thickness of an average slice of sandwich bread–and therefore perfect for mopping up the extra barbecue sauce left on your plate!

2 slices of Texas toast on a blue plate with a small piece of green garnish on the left side of the photo


Texas inherited kolaches from the Czech immigrants who settled there in the 19th century, and they are a beloved addition to Texas cuisine.

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Made of a soft yeast dough, cut into squares, and then stuffed with either fruit or cheese, kolaches are an absolute treat.

In Texas kolache shops, you’ll generally find a savory but equally delicious treat right next to them that is often also referred to as a kolache in casual conversation–but more on that below.

tray of kolaches for sale a weikels bakery in la grange texas


The savory cousin to the kolache, klobasniky pastries are also tied to Texas’ Czech heritage–but unlike kolaches, they are a Texas original.

The Village Bakery in West, Texas is credited with inventing the klobasnek in the 1950s.

Made of soft kolache dough wrapped around meat–usually sausage, but ham is also fairly common.

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In other words, a klobasnek bears a striking resemblance to a sausage roll.

Sausage rolls don’t usually also come with jalapenos and cheese inside, though–that’s all Texas.

In casual conversation, you may hear Texans refer to klobasniky as kolaches, but they are technically distinct!

gray plate with five sausage klobasnek pastries stacked on it

Chicken Fried Steak

Tenderized steak that is breaded, deep-fried, and then coated in a peppery white gravy: for many Texans, this is the ultimate comfort food.

Chicken fried steak isn’t unique to Texas, but it is incredibly popular here!

Chicken Fried steak with white gravy on top on a blue background. Chicken fried steak is popular in Texas cuisine

Fredericksburg Peaches

Did you know that Texas grows some truly phenomenal peaches?

Sometimes called Stonewall Peaches or Texas Hill Country Peaches, Fredericksburg Peaches are incredibly delicious and one of the most popular foods in Texas.

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If you visit the Hill Country during the summer months, you may even have a chance to pick your own peaches!

And, while eating fresh peaches is incredibly popular for good reason, peach cobbler is just as beloved.

womans hand peach picking texas at one of the texas peach farms where you can pick your own peaches

Jalapeno Cornbread

How do you take a widely popular staple like cornbread and Texas-ify it?

Add jalapenos, of course.

The extra kick from the jalapenos is a fantastic addition to an already delicious dish.

three slices of jalapeno cornbread, a staple of texas cuisine

Texas Ruby Red Grapefruit

I may be biased, but Texas grows the best grapefruits on the planet.

Texas Ruby Red Grapefruits are incredibly sweet, drip with juice, are packed with flavor, and are absolutely worth sampling if you’re visiting Texas in winter.

Red grapefruits cut in half and piled on top of each other

Amazing Desserts to Eat in Texas

Texas Sheet Cake

This absolutely delicious chocolate cake is thin, covered in incredibly sweet chocolate icing mixed with pecans, and is an incredible treat when exploring what to eat in Texas.

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Made in large pans, Texas sheet cake is often served to groups at events like potlucks and picnics, cut into square pieces, and–if you’re lucky–served with a scoop of ice cream.

This cake is one of my childhood favorites and I love it to this day!

Slice of Texas sheet cake on a red plate with pecans on top and a scoop of vanilla ice cream in the background. When deciding what to eat in Texas, be sure to give this cake a try!

Pecan Pie

Pecans are native to parts of Texas and incredibly popular throughout the state.

It’s no surprise, then, that the American holiday favorite of pecan pie tends to be a year-round treat in Texas–it’s even the official state dessert!

Slice of pecan pie on a brown plate with a fork in the upper left foreground of the photo. pecan pie is the official state dessert and one of the best things to eat in texas.

Blue Bell Ice Cream

Choosing a “best” ice cream is a truly impossible task, but there’s no doubt that Blue Bell is a crowd favorite among Texans.

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And, while it’s incredibly tasty, the fact that Blue Bell Creameries is a homegrown brand from Texas sure doesn’t hurt!

Texans looking for a taste of nostalgia and a great scoop of ice cream can even tour Blue Bell Creameries in Brenham–and visit their on-site ice cream parlor while they’re there!

two scoops of blue bell ice cream being held up in the sunshine at a tour blue bell brenham


Generally considered to have migrated over from nearby Louisiana, pralines are deliciously sweet treats that are among the best things to eat in Texas.

Made of pecans mixed with some combination of sugar, corn syrup, butter, and/or milk, and then dried into something between a candy and a cookie, pralines are a simple and delicious addition to any list of popular Texas foods.

Batch of pralines drying on a light brown surface. Pralines are one of the best things to eat in Texas.

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Margaritas are the drink of choice for many Texans out on the town!

While the original margarita initially hailed from Mexico, frozen margaritas were invented in Dallas in 1971, and Texans have been slurping them happily ever since.

2 frozen margaritas in clear glasses with blue rims with lime slices on the side. Margaritas are one of the best things to drink to Texas!

Dr. Pepper

Invented in Waco, Texas in 1885, Dr. Pepper is so popular in Texas that the question “Coke or Dr. Pepper?” is common when ordering a soft drink in the state.

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Originally, Dr. Pepper was also bottled in Texas–specifically at Dublin Bottle Works in Dublin, Texas–which certainly didn’t hurt its popularity in the state.

Texans love Dr. Pepper so much, in fact, that you can even visit the Dr. Pepper Museum in Waco!

dr pepper mural in downtown corsicana texas, a fun stop when driving from dallas to austin tx

Sweet Tea

Sweet tea is popular across the southeast United States, but it has definitely wormed its way into the hearts of Texans!

a pitcher of sweet tea and 4 glasses of sweet tea with slices of lemon on them sitting on a wooden tray outside on a table in front of a tree

Texas Wine

When you think of wine, you might think of Tuscany or Bordeaux.

But Texas?

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Texas may still be working toward a national and international reputation with its wines, but with over 50 wineries on the official Texas Wine Trail alone, the wine scene in Texas is absolutely hopping.

Personally, we have had wine all over the world and have never failed to find a bottle to enjoy when exploring wine in Texas.

2 glasses of wine with a bottle between them and a plate of crackers and fruit in the foreground near Fredericksburg Texas

Shiner Beer

Shiner Beer may not be fancy, but it is a classic Texas favorite and a homegrown beer to boot!

The small town of Shiner, Texas (population: just over 2,000) is the home of the popular Texas beer and has been since 1909.

2 photos of Texas food: breakfast tacos on top and a barbecue platter on the bottom. Black text on a white background reads "what to eat in Texas"

2 thoughts on “Texas Food Guide: 25+ Famous Things to Eat in Texas”

  1. I miss home so bad. I’ve been in the UK for 11 years now and have managed even one visit back home. The food here is abysmal (and has no seasoning), the people are cold and lifeless, nothing is accessible for disabled folks, and I often cry about how homesick I am. There’s also authentic Mexican food in Texas, which was sadly left out of the article. I just wanna go home and eat and buy craft supplies (another thing that doesn’t exist here, along with Halloween decorations). Anyway, this made me drool. I can smell the Salt Lick.


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