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Top 10: Utah's signature foods

Published May 17, 2011 7:25 pm
This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2011, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.

Utah has its own way of dishing up a meal. Some traditions date back to the American Indians, pioneers and farmers who make up our history. Others are simply culinary anomalies that have developed over time thanks to our need to feed large families on a budget. Here's our list of Utah's Top 10 Signature Foods and why we love them.

Fry sauce

The founder of Arctic Circle restaurants created this pink concoction in the 1950s as an alternative dipping sauce for french fries. Since then, almost every Utah restaurant has developed its own version using ketchup, mayonnaise, pickle relish and spices. While huge in Utah, fry sauce remains mostly a mystery outside the state.

Utah scones

What's not to love about deep-fried dough, slathered with whipped honey butter? These massive treats — a take on the Mexican sopaipilla — are often the size of dinner plates and shouldn't be confused with dainty English scones served with tea.


At one time, Utahns consumed more Jell-O per capita than any other state in the country. Green is the color of choice, but Utahns will eat just about any "Jell-O salad" if it contains canned fruit and is topped with whipped cream. Legend has it that peas were once added to the jiggly mix, but few have been willing to recount the culinary horrors.

Bear Lake raspberries

The Bear Lake valley in northern Utah offers cool nights and warm days, the perfect climate for growing sweet, candy-like raspberries. While everyone loves these flavorful berries plain, few can resist the taste when they're folded into the creamy shakes sold in nearby Garden City

Pastrami burgers

In Utah, it's perfectly acceptable to put mounds of thinly sliced pastrami on a charbroiled cheeseburger. This meaty offering first appeared in the 1980s as the signature offering at Crown Burgers restaurants. Since then, other Greek-American fast-food outlets have also made it a menu staple. News of this distinctive burger has even reached the coasts, as the pastrami burger was the focus of a 2009 New York Times' regional food feature.

Funeral potatoes

This baked casserole is made with potatoes, canned soup, cheese and a crushed corn-flake topping. It's a mainstay at many family gatherings, but got its name because Mormon women regularly make large pans to serve grieving families after a funeral.

Dutch oven fare

The cast-iron pot was a favorite cooking utensil of the Mormon pioneers. Today, the state is home to the International Dutch Oven Society and hosts the World Championship Dutch Oven Cook-Off. The Dutch oven is the official state cooking pot, and more people per capita own a Dutch oven in Utah than in any other state.

Green River melons

Many drivers have been know to slam on their brakes when they see a roadside stand boasting melons from this central Utah city. The area is protected by the Book Cliffs and blessed with light, sandy soil, conditions that allow cantaloupe, honeydews, watermelons and the like to grow large and sweet.


You can't have a beehive as a state symbol and not make delicious honey. There are many successful family operations in Utah, including Cox's Honeyland in Logan, where you can get plain honey, whipped honey, and honey flavored with orange, raspberry and huckleberry.

Collegiate ice cream

Utah State University in Logan and Brigham Young University in Provo are among 15 colleges nationwide that make their own ice cream for students, alumni and devoted fans. At USU, the No. 1 seller is Aggie Blue Mint, a blue ice cream with pieces of Oreo cookies and white chocolate mixed in. At more conservative BYU, LaVell Vanilla — named after legendary football coach LaVell Edwards — is the favorite. Dishes to match our mountains

Does this list match your list of Utah's most popular and distinctive dishes? What have we missed? Send your suggestions to food@sltrib.com with "Top 10 Utah dishes" in the subject line.

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