Breakfast is traditionally touted as the most important meal of the day, but it can also be the most delicious.
Sometimes we might think breakfast foods are only cereals, pastries, eggs, waffles, or pancakes, but there is a whole world of exciting and unique breakfasts out there for you to try.
Different regions in the US will have different styles of breakfast foods that are popular there, but which may be unknown just a few hours away. In this article, we’re going to share the 21 most popular breakfast foods from around the country.
So, what are the top 21 breakfast foods you have to try? They range from your classics like pancakes with real maple syrup and whipped cream to country fried steak and eggs all the way to American twists on Canadian, Cuban, and Mexican recipes.
Read on to discover the 21 breakfast foods from around America that you have to try. Your taste buds will thank you.
1. Biscuits And White Gravy
This iconic breakfast can be found on many tables across the Southern United States, with slight variations depending on region.
This decadent and mouth-wateringly delicious breakfast is made from Southern biscuits that are the size of a small baked roll with a crumbly inside.
The texture of the biscuit is crucial since it helps to soak up the delicious white gravy. This gravy is typically made from ground pork, rich cream, and butter. If you’re used to brown gravy, the white version is a real treat.
If you don’t live in a state where you can find biscuits and white gravy on a menu, never fear. There are tons of authentic recipes online that you can try.
Just make sure you find a recipe from someone who actually lives in the South and not a different regional adaptation – trust us, you’re gonna want the real thing!
2. Grits – Sweet Or Savory
Another popular dish in the South, especially in Alabama, grits take the spotlight on any breakfast table.
You can use either stone-ground (the most popular in the South) or quick grits to make your meal.
The stone-ground version will have an amazing texture, but they do take up to an hour to prepare.
Grits are typically cooked slowly and lovingly with heavy cream, butter, and some salt to create a delicious porridge-like dish. You can make either sweet or savory grits depending on what you add to them.
One of the signature breakfast dishes of Alabama is savory shrimp and grits. These grits have cheese added (yum!) and fresh shrimp cooked on top.
Some other things you can add include:
- Brown Sugar
- Maple Syrup
- Peanut Butter
- Scallions/Green Onions
- Caramelized Onions or Peppers
3. Chicken And Waffles
We’ve decided to take a little stroll through Southern cuisine at the beginning of the list because they honestly all sound so delicious.
And chicken and waffles is no exception! This soul food is super comforting and combines sweet waffles with savory fried chicken, topped with maple syrup.
It’s really hard to go wrong with the combination of crunchy, fluffy, sweet, and savory. If you’re a fan of sweet/savory combos, definitely add this one to your list.
This breakfast food is a staple and popular item in Texas, Nebraska, and South Dakota.
These pastries originate from the Czech Republic and can be stuffed with sweet or savory fillings.
They use a type of brioche dough (which is an enriched bread dough) that is shaped into a circle and stuffed with the filling of choice.
Some places stuff them with jams and cream cheese, while you can also find them stuffed with sausage for a twist on a British sausage roll, or pigs-in-a-blanket.
Regardless of the filling, these portable breakfast treats are definitely worth a try if you enjoy pastries.
5. Bananas Foster Pain Perdu
This New Orleans breakfast sounds absolutely incredible. It’s a spin on a classic French toast combined with the dessert, bananas foster.
This dessert is typically made of bananas cooked in a sauce made from butter, brown sugar, cinnamon, dark rum, and banana liqueur.
If you haven’t had French toast, it’s a way to use up bread that may otherwise be thrown away (hence the term pain perdu). You soak it in an egg, milk, vanilla, and spice mixture, then fry it up so the outside is browned and the inside is soft.
As you can imagine, the combination of French toast with bananas foster makes for a heavenly breakfast.
6. Fluffy Pancakes With Vermont Maple Syrup
For this breakfast we’re going to move North a little bit to the world of maple syrup, specifically Vermont (though a few other states also produce excellent syrup).
Pancakes are a staple throughout the country, but fluffy pancakes with real, rich Vermont maple syrup are out of this world.
There is no comparison when it comes to real maple syrup and the storebought “maple” syrup that’s made from corn syrup and maple flavor. Combined with the fluffy American-style pancake made from eggs, flour, milk, and baking powder, it’s a real treat.
You can also add some whipped cream and berries. Or if you want to play with the sweet and savory combination, you can add bacon or breakfast sausage to your plate of pancakes and maple syrup.
7. Bacon, Egg, And Cheese Sandwich
It’s hard to pinpoint where exactly the classic American breakfast sandwich came from, but it is a staple across the country.
There can be variations in terms of the types of cheese used, subbing sausage for bacon, or whether you use English muffins or biscuits, but this sandwich stands the test of time.
It is super easy to carry on the go and it can be as simple or decadent as you like. While it may seem a little plain when stacked next to some other dishes on this list, it is a classic for a reason. It’s almost impossible to have a bad bacon, egg, and cheese sandwich.
8. Tex-Mex Huevos Rancheros
While this breakfast originated in Mexico as a delicious and nourishing way to feed folks working on farms, it has made it’s way north to San Antonio, Texas and beyond.
This dish is traditionally consists of a plate with tortillas, beans, eggs, sometimes meats, all covered in a delicious tomato-based sauce.
Since moving north into the states, it has had other toppings added such as guacamole or sliced avocado, cheese, hot or chile sauces, and sour cream. This breakfast is super hearty, but tastes fresh and light thanks to the tomato sauce. We love adding a squeeze of lime to brighten it up.
If you’re looking for a dish that hits all the savory notes and will fill you up until lunchtime, huevos rancheros is definitely the way to go.
9. Breakfast Burrito
Ah the breakfast burrito. Staple of busy professionals from across the US, but originally from a cafe called Tia Sophia in Sante Fe, New Mexico.
It is a spin on a classic burrito, but stuffed with traditional breakfast foods such as eggs, sausage, cheese, potatoes, and salsa.
Since moving to the mainstream, there have been countless variations on the breakfast burrito with fillings ranging from ham to beans to spinach and everything in between. Usually the tortilla is wrapped in tinfoil or paper for easy transportation.
Regardless of your preference, if you want to find a filling breakfast food to take on the move, the burrito is going to be a perfect choice for you.
10. Eggs Benedict
This breakfast is probably our all-time favorite on this list. There is just something so comforting and decadent about an eggs Benedict that we can’t resist.
This dish was popularized in New York City and is typically made from two halves of an English muffin topped with slices of Canadian bacon, poached eggs (always go for soft poached), and Hollandaise sauce. The sauce is our favorite part, probably because it’s mostly made of butter.
There are some other popular variations on eggs Benedict that you’ll see on menus such as eggs Florentine, where the ham is replaced with spinach, or a version with tomato slices instead of bacon. In the Pacific Northwest, it’s not uncommon to find a smoked or candied salmon Benedict.
Another version of the eggs Benedict is eggs Neptune. This is a popular dish served traditionally on Mother’s and Father’s Days. Like the original Benedict, it was popularized in New York City.
This version is made from a split English muffin topped with delicate crab meat, poached eggs, and a creamy Hollandaise sauce.
A similar option is eggs Hussarde, which takes eggs Benedict in a whole other direction. This dish is popular in New Orleans and has a few key changes that make it a unique breakfast food.
Instead of using English muffins, this dish traditionally uses Holland rusks (small flat, circles of dry, toasted bread made in the Netherlands). These rusks are topped with Canadian bacon or tomatoes and poached eggs. It is then covered in a red wine sauce called marchand de vin sauce.
Finally, it is slathered in Hollandaise to create a decadent and complex twist on a classic.
In Alaska, you’re likely to find a Benedict made with crab cakes. So wherever you are in the States, there’s almost guaranteed to be a regional variation that you can try out to become an eggs Benedict aficionado.
11. Creamed Eggs On Toast
This breakfast food is one of the most popular simple dishes across the US.
It is thought to have originated during the Depression in the 30s and is made from slices of toast topped with chopped boiled eggs and a creamy white sauce.
The white sauce is a spin on a traditional béchamel and if you want to get creative you could add cheese, herbs, or spices to the gravy to make it your own.
While it sounds deceptively simple, it combines different flavors and textures to create a hearty and comforting breakfast food to start your day with.
12. Avocado Toast
While avocado toast has become somewhat of a joke aimed at millenials, this is one delicious and healthy breakfast food.
It has its roots in Californian cuisine. Like some other breakfast foods on this list, there are lots of ways that you can prepare it to your tastes.
The basic avocado toast is made of toast with sliced or mashed avocado on top and maybe some salt and pepper. But you can add butter to the toast or sprinkle different toppings on the avocado, like crunchy nuts or seeds, cheese, chopped bacon, fresh herbs or microgreens, or poached eggs.
You can also use different styles of bread from sour dough to multigrain to ancient grains or classic white bread. Each one will give a unique flavor and texture to this simple dish.
13. Cider Donuts
A New England breakfast food staple that are especially popular in the fall, these donuts are made by adding apple cider to the batter.
This gives the donuts a unique crumbly texture and delicious flavor. Often, they are coated in sugar for a truly sweet way to start your day.
We recommend picking up a cider donut, some rich hot chocolate, and bundling up for a cozy fall breakfast outside as you watch the changing leaves of the season.
14. Sweet Rice
Considering Arkansas is the top rice producing state in the US, it is hardly surprising that this staple grain has made its way to the breakfast table in the form of sweet rice.
It’s similar to a porridge, but made with rice instead of oats.
It’s creamy and typically made with butter, milk, and sugar, cooked slow and low to develop the perfect silky texture. You can easily add different flavors to the dish such as cinnamon and vanilla or even cocoa powder for a chocolatey treat.
Fruit, raisins, walnuts, and other toppings can add some texture and flavor to this sweet breakfast treat.
If you’ve never been to Pennsylvania, you may never have heard of scrapple, but this breakfast food is one of the state’s most iconic dishes.
This hearty dish was created by the Pennsylvania Dutch and makes use of leftover kitchen scraps to create a delightful breakfast food.
To make scrapple, you combine leftover meat scraps with cornmeal, wheat or buckwheat flour, and spices. These ingredients are formed into a small loaf shape and then fried until crispy and delicious. Some traditional recipes we’ve seen use bits we’d often throw away, such as the pig’s head, to make it.
While you don’t have to go that exact route, this dish is a great way to use cuts of meat you might normally throw away. And with the popularity of nose to tail cooking, there are lots of variations on scrapple that you can make depending on the meat used and the spices you enjoy.
16. Cornbread And Buttermilk
You might be familiar with adding a slice of delicious cornbread to your lunch or dinner plate, but in the Southern US, combining cornbread with buttermilk is a popular breakfast choice.
Traditionally, this dish is served as a bowl of crumbled cornbread topped with sour buttermilk.
Some people will top the dish with sugar to cut through the sour taste of the buttermilk. If you’re a big fan of cereal for breakfast, this spin might be a fun way to change it up.
17. Country Fried Steak And Eggs
Another savory and filling breakfast from the South, country fried steak and eggs will help you start your day with a full belly and content soul.
To make this dish, a piece of steak is breaded with flour and then pan fried for a crispy crunchy outside and beefy, meaty center.
Combined with eggs however you like them and hashbrowns or potatoes, this breakfast is not for those with small appetites in the morning. It’s the perfect way to start your day if you know you won’t have your next meal for a while or if you have a physically demanding day ahead.
Heading back to the North East, Jonnycakes are a breakfast food that is super popular in the small state of Rhode Island.
These little griddle cakes are similar to pancakes, but blended with polenta/cornmeal to make something unique and delicious.
It is said that this recipe was handed to the colonists from the Narragansett people on the coast and remains popular to this day thanks to the crispy crunchy outside and fluffy center. While most often associated with Rhode Island, they can be found along the East coast from Newfoundland to Jamaica.
These corncakes make a great addition to any breakfast plate and combine well with eggs, sausauge, bacon, and maple syrup for a hearty way to start your day.
America is a melting pot of different tastes, and this breakfast treat is no exception.
This sweet pastry breakfast food is enjoyed in Florida but originates in Cuba.
These amazing treats are made with a puff pastry like dough stuffed with sweet or savory fillings.
One popular filling is guava and cream cheese, though the variations on this dish are virtually limitless.
Pick up a pastelito and a cup of amazing cafecito (a Cuban espresso) in Florida and start your day with a taste of Cuba.
20. Fried Mush
While the name of this dish native to Indiana might be a little offputting, the dish itself is crunchy, savory, and super satisfying.
It is made from a combination of cornmeal, milk, water, and salt that is fried in butter. I mean is anything better than food cooked in butter?
This dish is basic and super customizable, which means you can add whatever toppings you like to it. Want a savory breakfast? Serve it with bacon, eggs, sausage, and cheese. Looking for something on the sweeter side? Try topping with honey or maple syrup, whipped cream, berries, and cinnamon.
There are so many ways to enjoy this Indiana (or Heartland) staple breakfast food. Get creative and try whipping up your own version at home.
21. Poutine With An American Twist
While not traditionally served as a breakfast food, the adaptations of this Canadian dish have been making their way south to the States, and we are definitely on board.
It was first created in rural Quebec (a French-Canadian province) in snack bars and is made of fresh-cut fries, cheese curds, and gravy.
Many American breakfast and brunch places will put their own spin on it by using hashbrowns or fries, hollandaise sauce or gravy, different types of cheese, and sometimes adding things like bacon or eggs to take it to a really decadent level.
If you’ve never tried poutine before, then we highly suggest you either whip up a version at home or give it a try next time you see it on a brunch menu. You won’t be disappointed!
With so many breakfast foods from around America to try, you can make this meal a time to get creative and explore different regional and cultural cuisines.
Do you have a favorite breakfast food that didn’t make the list? Let us know in the comments.
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