Here we have found the most 'Iowan' list I've ever come across. The only thing that would make this scream 'I'm from Iowa!' louder would be someone eating these foods in the middle of a cornfield while drinking a Bush Light.

When I found these 4 Iowa comfort foods on the I Grew Up in Iowa Facebook page, the word quintessential came to mind. The definition of quintessential is "perfectly typical or representative of a particular kind of person or thing," according to the Merriam-Webster Dictionary.

It's pretty difficult to not start thinking about diving into all 4 of these typical Iowa comfort foods once you see pictures of them on the internet. You might want to eat a snack before seeing these 4 comfort foods.

4 Comfort Foods Every Iowan Will Recognize

Loose Meat Sandwich


Anyone who grew up in Iowa will instantly recognize a loose meat sandwich from Maid-Rite. I do have to admit something...I've only lived in Iowa for about 2 years and I've never had a 'real' loose meat sandwich made in Iowa.

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I gather that these are simply hamburgers, except the meat is ground up. They remind me of sloppy joe sandwiches, minus the BBQ sauce. Is my Minnesota upbringing starting to show..? Am I close to being correct?

There are tons of Maid-Rite locations scattered throughout the state of Iowa if you're ever in the mood for one of Iowa's favorite comfort foods. Even though I'm sure most Iowa families have a mom, dad, or grandparent with a secret loose meat sandwich family recipe. If you don't, I'm sure these spots will have you covered.

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Google Maps

Chipped Beef on Toast

We even have this in Minnesota! When I was a kid, my dad always called this 'Sh** on a Shingle." To this day, I would never turn down a chipped beef on toast dinner. If you've never tried adding an over-easy egg on the side, give that a shot the next time you make this for dinner. You can thank me later.

Pork Tenderloin

Huge Breaded Iowa Pork Tenderloin

I'm not sure if you're aware of this or if you've only heard this 1,000 times but Iowa has more hogs than people! Hogs outnumber Iowans 7:1 so there's really no surprise that pork is often consumed in Iowa. In the least shocking news, the world's best pork tenderloin in 2023 was made right here in Iowa.

Darrell's Place, located in Hamlin, is home to the "original #1 pork tenderloin" and there are tons of food establishments in Iowa that serve award-winning tenderloin meals.

Hot Beef Sandwich

Last but certainly not least, we have the Hot Beef Sandwich. This combination of beef, beef gravy, bread/toast, and mashed potatoes screams "perfect meal when it's 10 degrees outside." To be honest, you can have a hot beef sandwich any time of the year but they hit differently during the fall and winter months, in my opinion.

This would be my favorite choice out of these top 4 quintessential Iowa comfort foods.

Which of these 4 do you like the best? Are there any you have never tried before? I really need to get on trying a loose-meat sandwich ASAP to complete my full transformation into becoming a full-blown Iowan.

How Iowan are you?

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