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Top 10 Classic Carnival Foods

VO: Rebecca Brayton
Script written by Allen-Michael Harber These foods help complete the carnival experience. Join as we count down our picks for the Top 10 Classic Carnival Foods. For this list we are counting down our favorite foods, snacks and desserts that are served at carnivals and fairs. Special thanks to our users mezipe64 and Zach Casto for submitting this idea on our Interactive Suggestion Tool at WatchMojo.comsuggest

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Script written by Allen-Michael Harber

Top 10 Classic Carnival Foods

These foods help complete the carnival experience. Join as we count down our picks for the Top 10 Classic Carnival Foods.

For this list we are counting down our favorite foods, snacks and desserts that are served at carnivals and fairs.

#10: Deep Fried Candy Bars / Twinkies

Carnivals and fairs prove that anything can be fried, and Twinkies and candy bars are no exception. They’re both prepared the same way: Take the item in question, dip it in batter, drop it in the oil and fry away. The process is the same, but the outcome is different. With Twinkies, you get a crunchy outside with a sweet and soft inside. With candy bars, well, it depends on whether you’re using a Hershey bar, Snickers or some other taste sensation. Whatever the choice, you end up with a melty, sweet treat.

#9: Churros

Although nobody’s quite sure where this star-shaped snack was first created, it has become a staple on fairgrounds near and far. Special dough is prepared and put through a churrera, which is a syringe that gives the Churro its star shape. Afterwards it’s fried until crunchy and sprinkled with sugar or cinnamon sugar. Some are even filled with a paste that adds a bit of flavor. Popular in places like Spain and France, as well as in North America, the best thing about churros is that they can be enjoyed

#8: Doughnuts

Sure, you can always buy doughnuts from your local bakery or coffee shop but nothing beats the taste of a piping hot, fresh doughnut from a carnival stand. Out of all the snacks on this list, doughnuts have the distinction as the one that can be made with the most variety. Everyone likes their doughnuts a different way, whether it’s glazed, covered with sprinkles or even filled with jelly. The traditional doughnut shape is a classic, but it can also be twisted or otherwise molded into any new form you like.

#7: Caramel Apples

They say an apple a day keeps the doctor away, so these may be the healthiest snack on the list – ish. Of course, dipping that apple in caramel and putting it on a stick may affect its overall nutritional impact. Although they can be enjoyed during any time of year, caramel apples are most popular during the autumn months, especially around Halloween. For the best caramel apples, use crispy varieties like Granny Smith or Fuji. And for those who don’t like just plain caramel apples you can always add nuts or crushed up cookies for a crunchy sweet taste.

#6: Funnel Cake

Fried dough appears yet again on this list in the form of the ever-popular funnel cake. This favorite treat gets its name from its method of preparation. Using a funnel, batter is poured into oil in a circular motion, so that it overlaps itself. Normally served with powdered sugar, funnel cake can also be enhanced by the addition of chocolate, cinnamon, fruits or pretty much anything else. Funnel cakes can be found not only at carnivals but at also sporting events, theme parks, and even some resorts for a fatty, fried snack wherever you are.

#5: Popcorn

Popcorn is a snack that can be enjoyed in any situation, and there are many different varieties as well including kettle corn and caramel corn. Still, nothing beats the air popped classic. Out of all the foods on our list, this is pretty much the easiest one to make. Seriously, it’s pretty much just pouring in the popcorn kernels and there you go. Even though some people prefer their popcorn plain, most would agree that it’s better with a load of butter and a sprinkling of salt.

#4: Soft Pretzels

While you can always go out and buy a bag of pretzels, you gotta go to the carnival if you want the really good stuff. When you walk by and see it hanging in the stand, its alluring aroma is just calling your name. With that twisted knot and its toppings of either salt or sugar, it’s pretty impossible to resist. Besides its signature knotted shape, there are plenty of other ways that the soft pretzel is served, including in long thin rods. Add a dip of mustard for THE taste – and a bit of a messy snack, but we’re not judging.

#3: Snow Cones

Like popcorn, snow cones are the kind of snack any amateur can make. All that’s needed is a bit of ice and some fruit flavored liquid. Simple, but effective. Is there any better way to cool down on a scorching hot day? This is another treat that can be found outside thecarnival, including at concerts or, if you have an ice cream truck nearby, on your own street. Whether you call it a snow cone or shaved ice, there’s no denying that this is one cool treat.

#2: Corn Dogs

The hot dog has always been a popular food at carnivals and sporting events, and there’s no denying it’s delicious. However we’ve decided to go with its cousin the corn dog because they’re practically synonymous with carnivals. While hot dogs have always been easy to eat, corn dogs take that ease one step further. By being placed onto a stick and fusing the bun with the dog, the whole eating thing is easier. Even better, it’s a breeze to dip it into any condiment of your choice. Plus, deep fried!

Before we chow down on our number one pick, here are a few honorable mentions.
- Corn on the Cob
- Peanuts
- Ice Cream
- Turkey Legs

#1: Cotton Candy

Containing almost nothing but sugar, with just a tiny smidge of food dye and flavoring, cotton candy is not only a favorite in the United States but also a chosen snack all around the world. It’s made by pouring liquid sugar into a machine which spins the sugar around until it solidifies into delicate little strands of deliciousness. Plopped on top of a nearby paper cone, the result is sugary, easy to eat and impossible to resist. No carnival or fair is complete without this sweet treat.

Do you agree with our list? Which food do you pig out on at carnivals? For more delicious top 10’s published daily, be sure to subscribe to

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