It’s Not Hamburger! Here Are 19 American Food Inventions


Some American foods are not invented in America; apple pie, hamburgers, and hot dogs. These foods are imported from other countries. Somehow, they turn out to be American cuisines as they have blended with the people. However, there are still plenty of American food inventions and many of them are popular too. Here is the top list.

American Food Inventions You Must Know


Anything with marshmallows is related to the old American time, and ambrosia is one of the lists. It is invented around the 1800s and was called a salad but it contains coconut, marshmallows, canned pineapple, and mandarin oranges that are combined with mayonnaise, sour cream, or Cool Whip. Some people include bananas, strawberries, or maraschino cherries. To add texture, adding nuts is legal! Pretty sure that this old recipe is almost extinct.

Tuna Noodle Casserole

This typical casserole was seemingly on every dinner table in America during the 1950s. This classic casserole is made of egg noodles, canned tuna, creamy sauce or cheese, breadcrumbs, and also vegetables such as corn, peas, and carrots. This dish was very popular for a few decades. Now, many Americans prefer buying high-quality tuna and also tinned fish for making casseroles.

Rice and Tapioca Pudding

The desserts were popular back then in the 1900s as a homemade or instant version. It is thickened with tapioca or rice pearls. This pudding is a dessert that you can chew.

However, these puddings are rarely seen today. But you can make these desserts if you are craving some carbs but don’t want to eat heavy food.

Chocolate Chip Cookie

American Food Inventions

Who doesn’t like cookies? This is a comforting food that is delicious to enjoy with milk. The chocolate chip cookie was invented by Chef Ruth Graves Wakefield in 1938 at the Toll House Inn. It instantly becomes everyone’s favorite and now you can find many chocolate chip cookies in the world.

Corn Dog

American Food Inventions

Nothing beats this deep-fried meaty goodness! It is originally made by Neil Fletcher in 1942 in Texas. At that time, he thought that he would sell hot dogs faster if he made them fried, breaded, and put on a stick. He was right. Today, people still enjoy corn dogs as their favorite snacks.

Chocolate Brownies

American Food Inventions

There are a few versions of the chocolate brownies’ histories. But here is the thing. The first brownie recipe appeared in 1986 in Boston Cooking-School Cook Book. The recipe was written by Fannie Farmer.

Some myths and theories are surrounding the brownie origin. One of them is a story of a woman in Boston who was baking a chocolate cake. She forgot to include baking powder as the vital ingredient. It turned out her chocolate cake didn’t rise like a regular cake. However, she still served the cake by cutting it as a flat piece of cake.

American Cheese

You are probably familiar with this American cheese. It is cheddar cheese that is exported between the late 1700s to early 1800s. American cheese is a typical food that is related to processed cheese. It is patented in 1916 by James L. Kraft. He is the founder of one of the most popular cheeses that we know today.

Tater Tots

American Food Inventions

If French fries are popular in French and Belgium, then the U.S.A. has tater tots. It is deep-fried potatoes but tots come as an upgraded version. In 1953 a company wanted to make a product from excess potato scraps. They wanted to make something remarkable. Then, the company decided to chop potato scraps then mixed them with seasonings and flour. The mixture is turned to be a nugget-like product and deep-fried in hot oil.

Sloppy Joes

Sloppy Joes was knowns as “loos meat sandwiches”. Many said it originated from a restaurant in Sioux City, Iowa. The dish is pretty simple. It is ground pork or beef that is seasoned with sweet tomato sauce and then served with a hamburger bun. The sandwich doesn’t hold its shape which gives a sloppy eating experience. This American staple was popular in the 1980s.

Cream-Chipped Beef

Cream-chipped beef is one of the traditional American foods that is rarely seen nowadays. It is thin-sliced dried beef that is served with milk-based gravy. It was a very popular breakfast due to its cheap price. It is served over toast, offering a perfect taste in the morning. This food was still popular even after the Depression era.

Turkey Tetrazzini

Thanksgiving often leaves a lot of leftovers. Especially turkey. Then the best way to make it more appetizing is by making a pasta dish.

The turkey tetrazzini is a casserole with pasta. You can use spaghetti or egg noodles. It is combined with peas, mushrooms, breadcrumb topping, and creamy sauce.

Chicken Cordon Bleu

Yes! It sounds like French cuisine because of its name. But it is an American classic dish. It is a nice combination of Swiss cheese and ham that is wrapped inside the chicken breast, breaded then deep-fried in a hot oil.

Many say it originated from Switzerland that is invented in the 1940s. And then, it was popular as a frozen meal until the 1990s.

Since there are many healthy ways to prepare chicken, this dish is getting rare now.


It indeed looks like fried rice at first. This Louisiana dish is influenced by early settlers. Jambalaya comes in various specific recipes, but generally, it includes seafood like shrimp and crawfish, meat (sausage), vegetables, and rice. Certain preparation styles like Cajun style or Creole style bring different ingredients and methods.

Cincinnati Chili

Keep in mind that many American cuisines are influenced by people who immigrated to the States hundred years ago.

This Ohio dish was made by Macedonian immigrants in the 1920s. It consists of fragrant beef stew that is put on top of spaghetti. And then it is sprinkled with shredded cheese.

General Tso’s Chicken

American Food Inventions

Another popular dish that is influenced by immigrants is this General Tso’s chicken. The flavor is originally Hunanese which is salty, hot, heavy, and sour.

In the 1950s, Taiwan was the heaven of classical Chinese dishes. Now modern-American General Tso’s chicken has a crispy and sweet flavor. Now, General Tso’s chicken is found in many restaurants in the country.


If you are casseroles lovers, then you will like hotdish. As we know, casseroles become the most crucial part of American food culture. Hotdish is a combination of frozen vegetables, creamy soup, potatoes, and meat. It is delicious and very comforting.

Buffalo Wings

American Food Inventions

Chicken wings have been popular since the 1960s. Back then, chicken wings are usually used for soup stock. It was thrown away too.

In 1964, Teresa Bellissimo, an owner of Buffalo, New York’s Anchor Bar, brought the idea of deep-frying the chicken wings and then tossing them in the hot sauce. However, Duff’s also claimed that they created Buffalo Wings in 1961. But Snchor Bar didn’t sell the Buffalo wings until a decade later.

Now, this dish has become the most important item to enjoy during Super Bowl parties and it is available in most pub menus too.

Big Mac

American Food Inventions

The first MacDonald’s restaurant was opened in 1940. 15 years later, the company became a chain. However, the Big Mac doesn’t make its first debut until 1967. Thanks to Jim Delligatti, the franchise owner in Pennsylvania. The Big Mac then appeared on the menu across the country a year later.


American Food Inventions

Charles Kaelin invented this iconic in 1934. Then, there were cheeseburgers invented? It was invented in Louisville, Kentucky. However, he didn’t trademark it. Instead, Louis Ballast trademarked the cheeseburger in 1935.

The original burger comes with lettuce, pickles, tomato, onions, and mustard. It can also be with mayonnaise and ketchup. Then, it is loaded with cheese.


What Are The Most Common American Dishes?

Some American dishes are widely popular around the world such as cheeseburgers, mashed potatoes, grilled cheese, steak and baked potato, hash browns, fried chicken, corn on the cob, steak and fries, BBQ ribs, apple pie, turkey sandwiches, roast beef, tater tots, chicken pot pie, and sloppy joes.

What Do Most Americans Eat Regularly?

Each family might eat different combos, but we have summarized the most common combinations that are eaten by most Americans according to Healthline. The list includes:

  • Rice, chicken, and salad
  • Potato, cheese, and beans
  • Bread, egg, and bell peppers
  • fries, beef, and tomato
  • Quinoa, turkey, and broccoli
  • Couscous, pork, and spinach

What Is Typical American Breakfast?

Typically, most American like to prepare their breakfast in a pan. This includes omelet, ham, pork, sausage, eggs, bacon, fried potatoes, toast, and pancakes. They also like waffles and Eggs Benedict.

Where Did The Hamburger Come From?

The term “hamburger” originated from Hamburg, Germany. It is the place where the first minced beef-style dish was created. The meat was minced with onion, garlic, salt, and pepper. Then, it is shaped into patties which are later called Hamburg steaks. Back then, the burger was pretty pricey.

Then How Did Hamburgers Become So Popular In America?

The German immigrants arrived in New York and Chicago. Many of them opened restaurants and the menu often includes Hamburg steak. Since it is difficult to eat while standing, a cook sliced bread and then sandwiched the hamburger. This is how the hamburger was born in the U.S. Sadly, the creator’s name was lost in history.

So, what are your favorite American food inventions? Check also our apple pie recipe here.

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