Ranking the Top 5 Carnival Foods

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Summertime is carnival time. And while the coronavirus might stifle some of the fun this year, that doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy carnival foods. If you can’t ride the rides, you can at least let the greasy, sweet and savory flavors that remind you of those pre-pandemic days.

Here are the top 5 noshes from the fairgrounds. Why not make them at home and have your own backyard carnival?

Corn dogs

Whether you eat corn dogs with mustard, ketchup or some combination of both, they are a staple of carnival food. They’re portable, require no utensils and are very filling. You can be sure that one corn dog will get you through at least a few roller coaster rides. You can buy corndogs from the freezer aisle at the supermarket or get regular hot dogs and make your own corn batter at home. From there, just fry them in some oil until they’re perfectly golden-brown.

Fried pickles

Nothing satisfies that snacking urge like a plate of fried pickles. These are made by battering and deep-frying sliced dills. Dip them in whatever dressing you want and enjoy this relatively light carnival snack. If you’re making them at home, consider adding Cajun seasoning to the batter and pairing it with a horseradish sauce. 

Caramel apples

If you don’t mind getting sticky, you’ll love caramel apples. These snacks give the illusion of being “healthy” because of that big apple in the middle, but once they’re smothered in candy, they can hardly be called fruit. Make these at home by dipping apples into melted caramel sauce. For an easier take, cut an apple into slices and drizzle the caramel on top.

Fried dough/Funnel cake

Fried dough and funnel cake are really the same treat, just served in different shapes. It’s hard to judge which part is better: the hot doughy base, or the powdered sugar topping. Either way, funnel cake is super easy to make at home, and there are loads of recipes to choose from online.

Cotton candy

This is the only carnival food that you can’t make at home unless you have a cotton candy machine. (If you do have one, please invite us over!) This light, wispy treat truly is a carnival specialty. Grocery store bags of pre-made cotton candy are just no substitute for that freshly-made, still-warm fairgrounds delicacy.


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