Minnesota State Fair Food Guide: The best food and drink bargains

A day at the fair can be expensive, but there are bargains to be had.

Let’s face it, a visit to the Minnesota State Fair isn’t cheap.

There’s parking, the entrance fee, and virtually unlimited options for spending your money once you’re inside the gates – and multiply this if you have kids with you.

But there’s good news: You can have the full fair experience, food-wise, without spending a lot of money.

It’s good to go in with a plan and to keep your objective in mind. Here are a few tips.

Food that fills you up

Australian battered potatoes

While some of the following suggestions may not be the cheapest options out there, they are filling enough that you won't feel the need to eat more.

If you're looking to save money, it might be better to spend $10 on a single meal and feel full, than find yourself spending $5 several times during the day.

As such, here are some of the filling options to consider:

– Australian battered potatoes (on Judson between Liggett and Clough. They start at $10.50, best value is a bucket for $15.50)

– Fresh French Fries (2 locations, $6 for 16oz up to $12 for a massive 88oz)

– Footlong hot dog (varies, but around $6.50).

– Corn dog or pronto pup ($4)

– Turkey leg ($9.50 from Turkey To Go).


But what if you want to try different things?

Eating just once or twice isn't all that fun when you're trying to experience the fair.

So if you want to mix it up without spending a lot of money, here are some of the best deals at the fair:

Shrimp cocktail

Shrimp cocktail lemonade stand

The shrimp cocktail is a welcome change from the heavy, deep fried foods that the fair is best known for, and it costs just $3.

Where to find it: Lemonade and Shrimp Cocktail, south side of Judson Avenue between Underwood and Cooper, near the Haunted House.

Pickle on a stick

A pickle on a stick? Sure, why not. Especially when it’s just a few bucks.

Where to find it: Pickle Dog, south side of Carnes Avenue, between Liggett and Chambers.

Cider freeze pops

Tucked away in the apple section of the Agriculture Horticulture Building is a cheap, refreshing option: Apple cider pops.

These icy treats cost $1.50, and will keep you cool and hydrated as you walk around the fair.

Where to find it: The Agriculture and Horticulture Building.

Southern Sweet Potato Pie

Sweet potato pie

Found in the International Bazaar, this delicious slice of comfort food is made from fresh yams, brown sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg, eggs and heavy whipping cream.

The cost? $3.

Where to find it: West Indies Soul Food, The International Bazaar.

All-You-Can-Drink Milk

All you can drink milk

There’s something about the State Fair that brings out a milk craving.

For just two dollars, you can keep your glass filled with either white or chocolate milk all day – provided you don't leave the premises...

This is the perfect accompaniment for the myriad sweets options the fair offers – like fresh brownies, deep fried candy bars, and of course, Sweet Martha’s Cookies.

Where to find it: Northeast corner of Judson Avenue and Clough Street


Keep on the lookout for the $1 lemonade stands throughout the fair.

Where to find it: All over the place.

Other food bargain tips

If you're planning to spend a decent amount of time at the fair, then you should really consider buying a Blue Ribbon Bargain Book for $5.

It has 150 coupons for vendors and easily pays for itself after a couple of purchases.

Another way is to share with friends. If you figure you want to try a whole heap of different dishes, split the costs with your group.

That said, don’t be afraid of an impulse purchase. Leave a little wiggle room in your budget to indulge!

Find all of BMTN's State Fair stories in this Flipboard magazine.

Next Up

Karl-Anthony Towns

Timberwolves' defense fuels win over Pelicans

The Wolves' have bought in on the defensive end as part of a 2-0 start.

Minnesota Wild

Ryan Hartman's OT goal helps Wild stay undefeated

The Wild improved to 4-0 with a win over the Ducks.

Mar'Keise Irving / Gopher Football

Gophers pound Maryland to stay in Big Ten West race

Four different players scored a rushing touchdown in a 34-16 victory over Maryland.

Father Paul Kubista at St. Mary of Czestochowa

Controversy after Delano priest shares vaccine misinformation in church bulletin

Father Paul Kubista is pastor at St. Mary of Czestochowa Catholic Church.


Mel-O-Glaze, DreamHaven Books robbed at gunpoint minutes apart

The businesses were hit by three robbers just six minutes apart on Oct. 21.

Cambridge house explosion

Explosion destroys house in Cambridge, 5 injured

The explosion occurred early Saturday morning on the 33000 block of Hillary Circle.


Charges: Lyft driver sexually assaulted woman in her home

The defendant is being held on a $100,000 bond.

Pixabay - black bear

Black bear bites professional baseball player in western Wisconsin

The former MSU-Mankato star was bitten in his back.

mickey moore driver's license shared

Beleaguered Ward 9 city council candidate loses Strib endorsement

Mickey Moore has faced questions in recent days about where he actually lives.


State Fair Food Guide: The classics you have to try

Haley Nelson picks out the must-try classics.

State Fair Food Guide 2018: The best new foods, and one to miss

Food writer Haley Nelson sampled some of the new dishes on offer this year.

State Fair

Minnesota State Fair 2021: The best new foods

Our food writer Haley Nelson picks out her favorite new dishes at the State Fair.

Screen Shot 2021-08-28 at 10.57.53 AM

Minnesota State Fair 2021: The best food options that avoid the crowds

Food writer Haley Nelson has been looking for foods off the beaten track.

Minnesota State Fair Food Guide: Don't miss these hidden gems

They don't get the headlines, but maybe they should.

Hidden gems

Minnesota State Fair 2019: This year's hidden food gems

They don't get the headlines, but maybe they should.

Vegan and vegetarian choices

Minnesota State Fair 2021: The best vegetarian and vegan options

Our food writer Haley Nelson has identified some top meat-free options.


Minnesota State Fair 2019: Who has the best malt at the fair?

We picked three contenders, and found it near-impossible to separate them.