20 Foods That Were Invented in America

The United States has contributed to the global culinary scene with many unique and mouthwatering dishes. From the corners of fast food restaurants to refined dining experiences, American inventions have permeated every level of food culture worldwide. Here are 20 foods that were invented in America. 


Hamburgers, a beloved American classic, have become a global sensation. It is believed that this iconic dish originated in Hamburg, Germany, but it was transformed into a sandwich with the addition of bread and other condiments in America. Today, hamburgers come in various forms and flavors and are a staple in many countries. 


S’mores, a popular campfire treat made with chocolate, graham crackers, and toasted marshmallows, was first mentioned in a recipe book published in the 1920s. This sweet and gooey creation has become a must-have at summer gatherings and has even inspired other variations like s’mores-flavored ice cream and cookies. 

Chocolate Chip Cookies

Ruth Graves Wakefield invented chocolate chip cookies in the 1930s at the Toll House Inn in Massachusetts. These delicious treats have become a staple in American households and are now enjoyed worldwide. They come in various sizes, textures, and flavors, from classic chocolate chips to white chocolate macadamia nuts.  

Buffalo Wings

The Anchor Bar in Buffalo, New York, is where the famous bar food, Buffalo Wings, originated in 1964. They are deep-fried chicken wings coated in spicy sauce and served with blue cheese dressing and celery sticks. Today, buffalo wings have evolved into various flavors, from BBQ to garlic parmesan, and are enjoyed by many around the world.  

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Caesar Salad

The Caesar salad originated in Tijuana, Mexico, created by the Italian-American chef Caesar Cardini. It consists of romaine lettuce, croutons, Parmesan cheese, and a dressing made with garlic, lemon juice, olive oil, and egg yolks. This dish, known for its simplicity and bold flavors, has become popular in restaurants worldwide. 

Potato Chips

Potato chips were created by George Crum, a chef at a resort in New York, in the 1850s. Legend has it that he accidentally created them when a customer complained about their potatoes being too thick and soggy. Today, potato chips come in various flavors and are a popular snack worldwide.   

Mac and Cheese

Mac and cheese, a comforting dish made with macaroni pasta and a cheesy sauce, has its roots in America. Thomas Jefferson introduced it after falling in love with it while traveling to Italy. Today, mac and cheese can be found on menus worldwide and has become a staple comfort food for many.  

Reuben Sandwich

The iconic Reuben sandwich, made with corned beef, sauerkraut, Swiss cheese, and Russian dressing on rye bread, was invented in Nebraska in the early 1900s. This mouthwatering sandwich is now enjoyed worldwide and has inspired variations like the Rachel (made with pastrami instead of corned beef).    

Peanut Butter and Jelly Sandwich

The classic peanut butter and jelly sandwich, a favorite among children and adults alike, was first introduced in America during World War II. The combination of creamy peanut butter and sweet jelly or jam between two slices of bread has become a go-to snack for many people.  

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Corn Dogs

Corn dogs, also known as hot dogs on a stick, were first introduced at the Texas State Fair in 1942. They are made by dipping a hot dog in batter and deep-frying it, resulting in a crispy outer layer and juicy center. This fair food has become popular worldwide, with variations like cheese-filled corn dogs and vegetable corn dogs.    

Banana Split

The banana split, a dessert made with scoops of ice cream and toppings like chocolate sauce, whipped cream, and cherries, was first created in Pennsylvania in 1904. It has since become a classic treat served in many ice cream parlors and restaurants globally.  


Pop-Tarts, a breakfast pastry filled with fruit jam or chocolate and topped with frosting, was first introduced in 1964. They have become a staple in American pantries and are now available in various flavors like s’mores, brown sugar cinnamon, and wild berries.    


Donuts, deep-fried dough covered in sugar or glaze, have been around for centuries. However, the modern-day donut with a hole in the middle was invented by Hanson Gregory, a 16-year-old sailor from Maine. Today, donuts come in various shapes and flavors and are enjoyed worldwide.      


Twinkies, a famous snack cake filled with cream, was invented in 1930 by James Dewar. They became trendy during World War II because of their long shelf life and have since become an American icon. Nowadays, you can find them in stores worldwide, with a wide range of flavors to choose from.   


Cheesecake, a rich and decadent dessert made with cream cheese and graham cracker crust, has roots in New York. The recipe was introduced in the early 1900s by Arnold Reuben at his restaurant, which is still operating today. This iconic dessert has become popular worldwide, with many countries adding their twist to the original recipe.    

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Peanut Butter Cups

Peanut butter cups, made with creamy peanut butter covered in chocolate, were invented by H.B. Reese in the 1920s. They have become a popular candy worldwide and inspired other variations like white chocolate peanut butter cups and dark chocolate almond butter cups.     

German Chocolate Cake

German chocolate cake, a layered chocolate cake filled and topped with coconut-pecan frosting, was not invented in Germany. It was created by an American baker named Sam German in the 1950s using his brand of baking chocolate. It has since become a classic dessert in America.    

Apple Pie

Apple pie, a classic American dessert made with flaky crust and apple filling, has been around since the early 1800s. It has become an iconic symbol of American culture and is enjoyed worldwide. Variations like Dutch apple pie (made with crumb topping) are also popular among baked goods lovers.         

Cuban Sandwich

The Cuban sandwich, a pressed sandwich filled with ham, roast pork, Swiss cheese, pickles, and mustard, originated in Florida in the late 1800s. It was created by Cuban immigrants who worked in cigar factories and has since become popular throughout America.         

Dip Dish Pizza    

Dip dish pizza, also known as Chicago-style deep-dish pizza, was invented in 1943 by a restaurant called Pizzeria Uno. It has a thick crust and is filled with layers of cheese and toppings, making it more like a pie than traditional pizza. This style of pizza has become popular, with many countries adding their twists to the recipe.

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