Try-at-home Fair Food Recipes

It’s State Fair Time!

The Minnesota State Fair started in 1854 as a territorial fair and became the Minnesota State Fair in 1859, a year after Minnesota was granted statehood.

This year, there are over 275 food vendors for the fair. If you are looking to get your fair-food fix, here are a few great recipes to try at home.

If you have a tried-and-true recipe you would like to share with our readers, send one in - so others may try it!

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Easy Pancake Mix Funnel Cakes


Prep: 5 min.

Cook: 2 min.

Total: 7 min.

4 servings


Vegetable oil, for frying

1 c. buttermilk pancake mix

1 T. sugar

1 tsp. vanilla extract

Approximately 1/2 c. water

Confectioners’ Sugar, for dusting


Fill a 10-inch (or larger) heavy skillet halfway with the vegetable oil. Over medium heat, bring the oil to 350° F. Combine the pancake mix, sugar, and vanilla extract in a medium bowl. Whisk in the water, a few tablespoons at a time, until desired consistency is achieved. It should be similar to a cake batter, not too runny but not too thick. Transfer the batter to a pastry bag fitted with a 1/4-inch-wide tip. Or use a plastic zip top bag with a small portion of the corner snipped off. Working quickly, squeeze all of the batter in a circular motion into the hot oil, forming a large disk. Cook about 1 minute, then flip and cook the other side for an additional 30 seconds to 1 minute or until golden brown. Lift and remove from the oil using a large, slotted spoon or spatula. Transfer to a paper towel lined plate to drain off excess oil. Sprinkle with confectioners’ sugar and serve warm.


Funnel Cake Variations

Instead of confectioners’ sugar, drizzle your funnel cake with maple syrup or a fruit-flavored syrup.

A dusting of cocoa powder along with the confectioners’ sugar also works well for a chocolate twist.

You can top funnel cakes with scoops of ice cream or whipped cream and a drizzle of your favorite hot fudge sauce or caramel sauce.

Make a strawberry shortcake funnel cake with a generous dollop of whipped cream and macerated strawberries.


Fair-Favorite Corn Dogs


Prep: 15 min. + standing

Cook: 5 min./batch

10 corn dogs


1 pkg. (8-1/2 ounces) cornbread/muffin mix

2/3 c. all-purpose flour

1 tsp. ground mustard

1/2 tsp. onion powder

1/2 tsp. chili powder

1/2 tsp. paprika

1/8 tsp. ground cumin

1 c. 2% milk

1 large egg

10 wooden skewers

10 hot dogs

Oil for deep-fat frying


In a large bowl, combine the first 7 ingredients. In another bowl, whisk milk and egg; stir into dry ingredients just until moistened. Let stand for 15 minutes. Insert skewers into hot dogs; dip into batter.

In an electric skillet or deep-fat fryer, heat oil to 375°. Fry corn dogs, a few at a time, until golden brown, 2-3 minutes, turning occasionally. Drain on paper towels.

Note: Don’t forget to let the batter stand before coating the hot dogs. It thickens up a bit and clings better after 15 minutes.

Make sure the oil temperature returns to 375° between batches.


Grilled Herbed Corn on the Cob


Prep: 10 mins

Cook: 15 mins

Additional Time: 15 mins

Total: 40 mins

6 servings


6 ears fresh corn on the cob, husked

6 T. sweet butter, softened

1 tsp. fresh thyme

1 tsp. fresh parsley

1 tsp. fresh rosemary

1 tsp. fresh basil

1 tsp. white sugar

1 tsp. salt


Soak corn in water for 15 minutes. Drain and place each corn on the cob on an individual piece of aluminum foil, large enough to wrap around the corn.

Preheat an outdoor grill for medium-high heat and lightly oil the grate.

Mix butter, thyme, parsley, rosemary, basil, sugar, and salt together in a bowl until evenly mixed; rub onto each corn on the cob. Wrap foil around the seasoned corn.

Grill corn on the preheated grill, turning often, until tender, about 15 minutes.


Oven-Fried Pickles


Prep: 20 min. + standing

Bake: 20 min.

8 servings


32 dill pickle slices

1/2 c. all-purpose flour

1/2 tsp. salt

2 large eggs, lightly beaten

2 T. dill pickle juice

1/2 tsp cayenne pepper

1/2 tsp garlic powder

1/2 c. panko bread crumbs

1 T. snipped fresh dill


Preheat oven to 500°. Let pickle slices stand on a paper towel until liquid is almost completely absorbed, about 15 minutes.

Meanwhile, in a shallow bowl, combine flour and salt. In another shallow bowl, whisk eggs, pickle juice, cayenne and garlic powder. Combine panko and dill in a third shallow bowl.

Dip pickles into flour mixture to coat both sides; shake off excess. Dip into egg mixture, then into crumb mixture, patting to help coating adhere. Transfer to a greased wire rack in a rimmed baking sheet.

Bake until golden brown and crispy, 20-25 minutes.


Deep-Fried Candy Bars on a Stick


Prep: 20 min. 

Cook: 5 min./batch

2 dozen


1-1/2 c. all-purpose flour

4-1/2 tsp. baking powder

1 T. sugar

1 T. brown sugar

1/8 tsp. salt

1/8 tsp. ground cinnamon

1 large egg

1/2 c. water

1/2 c. 2% milk

1/4 tsp. vanilla extract

Oil for deep-fat frying

24 fun-size Snickers® and/or Milky Way® candy bars, frozen

Wooden skewers

Confectioners’ sugar, optional


In a small bowl, whisk together first 6 ingredients. In another bowl, whisk together egg, water, milk and vanilla; stir into dry ingredients just until moistened.

In a deep cast-iron or electric skillet, heat oil to 375°. Dip candy bars, a few at a time, into batter; fry until golden brown, about 30 seconds per side. Drain on paper towels.

Insert skewers into bars. If desired, dust with confectioners’ sugar.


No-Fry Fried Ice Cream


Prep: 20 min. + freezing

8 servings


1 qt. vanilla ice cream

1/4 c. packed brown sugar

1 T.  butter, melted

1 tsp. ground cinnamon

2 c. crushed cornflakes

Opt.: Whipped cream and caramel ice cream topping


Preheat oven to 350°. Using a 1/2-cup ice cream scoop, place 8 scoops of ice cream on a baking sheet. Freeze until firm, about 1 hour. Meanwhile, combine brown sugar, butter and cinnamon. Stir in cornflakes. Transfer mixture to an ungreased 15x10x1-in. baking pan. Bake until lightly browned, 4-6 minutes. Cool completely.

Roll ice cream balls in crumb mixture. Cover and freeze until firm, at least 1 hour. If desired, serve with toppings.


Deep-Fried Cookies


Prep: 10 min. + freezing Cook: 15 min.

1-1/2 dozen


18 Oreo® cookies

Oil for deep-fat frying

1 c. biscuit/baking mix

1 large egg

1/2 c. 2% milk

Confectioners’ sugar


On each of eighteen 4-in. wooden skewers, thread 1 cookie, inserting pointed end of skewer into filling. Freeze until firm, about 1 hour.

In a deep cast-iron skillet or deep fryer, heat oil to 375°. Place biscuit mix in a shallow bowl. In another bowl, combine egg and milk; whisk into biscuit mix just until moistened.

Holding skewer, dip cookie into biscuit mixture to coat both sides; shake off excess.

Fry cookies, a few at a time, until golden brown, 1-2 minutes on each side. Drain on paper towels. Dust with confectioners’ sugar before serving.


Cinnamon Sugar Mini Donuts


Prep Time: 15 minutes

 Cook Time: 10 minutes

 Total Time: 25 minutes

 Servings: 24 donuts


For the Donuts:

2 c. all-purpose flour

1 c. sugar

1/2 c. light brown sugar

1-1/2 tsp. baking powder

1/2 tsp. baking soda

1/2 tsp. ground nutmeg (you can decrease to 1/4 tsp if you want a milder flavor)

1 tsp. kosher salt

1 large egg lightly beaten

1 c. plain Greek yogurt

3/4 c. milk

2 T. butter melted

2 tsp. vanilla bean paste


For the Topping:

4 T. Sugar

1 tsp. ground cinnamon


Preheat your oven to 325°.

Lightly coat your mini donut pan with cooking spray.

In a small bowl, mix together 4 T. of sugar with 1 tsp. ground cinnamon and set aside.

In a large bowl, gently whisk together the flour, sugars, baking powder, baking soda, nutmeg and salt. Set aside.

Melt the butter and cool slightly.

In another bowl, lightly beat the egg. Add the yogurt, milk, butter and vanilla and briefly whisk to combine.

Gently fold the wet ingredients into the dry, taking care not to overmix.

Using a pastry bag or plastic sandwich bag with the tip cut, pipe the batter into the donut molds, filling each well no more than 2/3 full.

Bake at 325° for 8-10 minutes or until golden brown. If using the mini donut maker, bake 4-5 minutes.

After removing from the oven, toss the warm donuts in the cinnamon sugar mixture to coat and serve immediately.


Quote of the Week:

“You don’t have to play masculine to be a strong woman.”

~ Mary Elizabeth Winstead, actor 


The Drummer and The Wright County Journal Press

PO Box 159
108 Central Ave.
Buffalo MN 55313

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