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75 Classic New England Foods

From American Chop Suey to Yankee Pot Roast, this A-Z list of 75 classic New England foods is Yankee-approved.

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With its fertile farmland, coastal waters, and flavorful influence from generations of immigrants, it’s no surprise that New England cuisine has a reputation for being seasonal, hearty, and comforting. From American Chop Suey to Yankee Pot Roast, here’s an A-Z list of 75 classic New England foods worth celebrating. Did your favorites make the list?

75 Classic New England Foods

75 Classic New England Foods

75 CLASSIC NEW ENGLAND FOODS

American Chop Suey
It’s a comfort food dish with many names, but here in New England, a concoction of noodles, seasoned beef, and tomato-y goodness nearly always goes by one name and one name alone – American Chop Suey.

Anadama Bread
Maybe the most New England of breads, and popular for good reason – sweetened with molasses, Anadama is terrific for toast and sandwiches.

Apple Cider
Not to be confused with hard apple cider, which contains alcohol, “regular” apple cider is bold, raw apple juice that hasn’t been filtered to remove the pulpy bits (once filtered, it’s juice). They love it so much in New Hampshire they made it the official state beverage.

Apple Pie with Cheddar
Fall is for apples, and apples are for deep-dish pie baked in a buttery, golden crust. Don’t forget the wedge of sharp cheddar on the side!

Autocrat Coffee Syrup/Coffee Milk
What do you get when you add Autocrat coffee syrup to ice cold milk? In Rhode Island, you get the official state drink – coffee milk.

B&M Brown Bread
In New England, one of the most popular varieties of brown bread is made by B&M in Portland, Maine, and it’s sold in a can.

Baked Bean Sandwich
What do you do with leftover Saturday night baked beans? Put them (cold, of course) between two slices of thick white sandwich bread and call them Sunday lunch.

Maple Baked Beans

Baked Beans | Classic New England Foods

Aimee Tucker

Baked Beans
Seasoned and simmered to perfection, there’s a reason baked beans are a New England classic. Can you envision a potluck, ham supper, or summer cookout in New England without them? We won’t even try!

Ben & Jerry’s Ice Cream
A Vermont original that took on the world, one sweet bite at a time. The famous ice cream company got its start in Burlington, Vermont back in 1978.

Blueberry Muffins
Anyone who has spent a summer in New England knows what a delightful flavor fresh blueberries can be. One favorite way to enjoy them is in a batch of homemade muffins…

Blueberry Pie
Another (even more popular) blueberry dish is a traditional pie made with wild Maine blueberries. They don’t call it the official state dessert for nothing.

Boiled Dinner
You don’t have to be Irish to enjoy this New England staple made (mostly) with corned beef and cabbage, but it doesn’t hurt. Neither does a pint of frosty green beer. 

Boiled Lobster

Boiled Lobster | Classic New England Foods

Aimee Tucker

Boiled Lobster
It’s hard to explain how something so simple could also be a regional culinary icon, but boiled (or steamed) lobster is it. Served with melted butter, a sturdy set of crackers, and sometimes (for tourists and messy eaters) a bib, the lobster dinner is a New England dining experience that’s not to be missed. In a 2015 web poll, our readers voted this #1 of all the classic New England foods.

Boston Cream Pie
The original “pie in cake’s clothing,” this beloved combination of golden sponge cake, pastry cream, and chocolate ganache is so popular in New England you can even find it in doughnut form.

Brown Bread
Steamed brown bread made with molasses, cornmeal, and rye flour is an old-fashioned favorite, especially alongside a plate of baked beans.

Cabot Cheddar 
Another New England-born favorite whose fame has spread. Cabot Creamery, now owned by 1,200 farm families, got its start in the northeast corner of Vermont back in the early 20th century. Pass the cheese, please!

Cape Cod Chips
Kettle-cooked and extra crunchy, Cape Cod potato chips have been a Cape Cod (and beyond) favorite since 1980. Did you know their logo is a woodcut of Nauset Light in Eastham, MA?

Chop Suey Sandwich
The Chop Suey sandwich, or Chow Mein sandwich, is a bit of a head-scratcher (it’s exactly what it sounds like — chop suey noodles ladled onto a hamburger bun — and just as messy), but it’s shown up on menus in Rhode Island and the Fall River area of Massachusetts since the 1930s.

Cold Hollow Cider Mill

Cider Doughnuts | Classic New England Foods

Aimee Tucker

Cider Doughnuts
It’s a cider maker’s tradition to use some of the freshly pressed juice to make lightly tangy, apple-scented doughnuts, and no trip to the apple orchard is complete without one (or several) of these fall favorites.

Clam Cakes
A favorite in Rhode Island, clam cakes (or fritters) are kind of like clam doughnuts – a deep-fried batter containing chunks of chopped clam. In 1947, we suggested they be served as part of an Easter menu, but really, they’d be perfect anytime.

Clam Chowdah
It doesn’t get much more New England than this. A warm bowl filled with fresh clams, butter, milk or cream, potatoes, maybe some onions or celery, common crackers to thicken it up… is anyone else suddenly feeling hungry? Fish chowder is pretty good, too.

Clear-Broth Clam Chowdah
A popular chowder choice in Rhode Island, clear-broth chowder favors clam broth over cream, but still packs plenty of clams, potatoes, and fresh aromatics.

Coffee Ice Cream
We love the deep flavor of coffee here in New England, and that includes ice cream. Chocolate chips or crushed Oreo cookies are optional, but encouraged.

Things to Do on Plum Island in Summer

Cold lobster roll with mayo (from Bob Lobster in Newbury, MA) | Classic New England Foods

Aimee Tucker

Cold Lobster Roll with Mayo
More common in northern New England, this roll typically comes in a buttered and toasted top-split New England hot dog roll, but the lobster meat is cold and lightly dressed with mayonnaise. Variations include a bed of shredded lettuce, diced celery, and dusting of paprika.

Common Crackers
Hearty and crunchy, yet subtle in flavor, the common cracker is a true Yankee workhorse. The original way to thicken your chowda.

Connecticut Shad
Each spring, American shad make their way up the Connecticut River to spawn. Named the state fish of Connecticut in 2003, the locally-famous shad is notably celebrated each spring at the Essex Shad Bake.

Corn Chowdah
A lot like clam chowder, but with corn (preferably fresh in the summer). Particularly beloved by Yankee vegetarians.

Crab Cakes
We know crab cakes are most often associated with the mid-Atlantic coast, but we’ve got ’em up here too, and many (especially the Maine peekytoe) taste just as great.

Easy, Homemade Cranberry Sauce

Homemade Cranberry Sauce | Classic New England Foods

Aimee Tucker

Cranberry Sauce
Even if we secretly love the stuff in the can (Ocean Spray, if you please), most New Englanders have a recipe or two for homemade cranberry sauce for the Thanksgiving table.

Del’s Lemonade
Frozen lemonade never tasted so good – a true Rhode Island classic.

Dunkin’ Donuts
Maybe it’s the daily large regular or the old-fashioned cake doughnut to dip into it. Then again, it could be the hundreds of munchkins consumed throughout the average childhood or the iced coffees we clutch in our adult gloved hands in February. America might run on Dunkin’, but New England got there first, and our love runs a deep orange-pink.

Fenway Franks
The culinary icon of New England baseball got a fresh start in 2009, and now, thanks in part to a bold, new recipe, Fenway Franks are more popular than ever.

Fluffernutter

Fluffernutter | Classic New England Foods

Aimee Tucker

Fluffernutter
Flip open a few lunchboxes in a New England elementary school cafeteria, and I suspect at least one of them will contain a Fluffernutter sandwich – a heavenly, sweet combination of white bread, peanut butter, and marshmallow Fluff. They’re good grilled, too. Either way, you’re going to need that glass of milk…

Franks & Beans
The quintessential Saturday night tradition is still a classic. Take warm baked beans, then add hot dogs. Brown bread is good, too. This is Yankee comfort food at its finest.

Frappe/Cabinet
When is a milkshake not called a milkshake? In New England, of course, where it’s a frappe (or a cabinet, if you’re from Rhode Island).

Fried Clams | Strips vs. Bellies

Fried Clams (bellies on the left, strips on the right) from The Clam Shack in Falmouth, MA on Cape Cod | Classic New England Foods

Aimee Tucker

Fried Clam Bellies
“Go belly or go home!” is the cry of the passionate fried clam belly fan. A summertime favorite made with whole-belly soft-shell clams, lightly battered and deep-fried to sweet, golden perfection. Often served at seaside shacks with a side of tartar sauce.

Fried Clam Strips
Fried clam purists turn up their nose at strips (contrary to popular belief, they aren’t rubber bands, just cuts of larger surf clams without the bellies) but strip fans say they prefer the chewy strip to the sometimes sandy belly. You can thank Howard Johnson’s either way.

Grapenut Pudding
What do you get when you add nutty Grape-Nuts cereal to a classic custard recipe? The New England comfort food diner favorite, Grapenut Pudding. We like the cereal in ice cream, too.

Harvard Beets

Harvard Beets | Classic New England Foods

Aimee Tucker

Harvard Beets
The origins of the name are a little murky, but if you like your beets a little bit sugar-sweet and a little bit vinegar-sour, flavored with a hint of cloves and smoothed with a little butter, then you’re already a fan of Harvard Beets.

Hermits
With spicy molasses flavor and chock full of raisins, hermits were a popular seafaring New England cookie, noted for their ability to last on long voyages. Not as common today as peanut butter or chocolate chip, but we still love them!

Hood Golden EggNog
It’s just not Christmas until the first cartons of Hood Golden EggNog appear on store shelves. The recipe’s been a secret for more than 50 years, but as long as Hood continues to churn out batches of creamy, spicy, egg-y goodness, we don’t mind being kept in the dark.

hoodsie cups

Hoodsie Cups | Classic New England Foods

Aimee Tucker

Hoodsie Cups
The saving grace of those who can’t decide between chocolate or vanilla ice cream since 1947. Just add the flat wooden spoon and dig in.

Hot Lobster Roll with Butter
More common in southern New England, where it is served in a buttered and toasted top-split New England hot dog roll, with the lobster meat warm and tossed with butter. Variations sometimes include sherry butter, or a round roll.

Humpty Dumpty Chips
A Maine potato chip favorite with a memorable cartoon mascot. Popular flavors include “Sour Cream & Clam” and “All Dressed,” a flavor that combines barbecue sauce, ketchup, and salt & vinegar.

Slow Cooker Indian Pudding

Indian Pudding | Classic New England Foods

Aimee Tucker

Indian Pudding
Warm and fragrant with molasses, Indian pudding is a traditional cornmeal-based New England pudding. Topped with melty vanilla ice cream or whipped cream, it’s an old-fashioned bowl of heaven.

Jimmies
Sure, you can find sprinkles on ice cream nationwide, but only here in New England do we call them jimmies. Credit for their creation is claimed by Brigham’s, a Boston-area ice cream company that got its start back in 1914.

Joe Froggers
200-year-old New England cookie royalty, Joe Froggers are large, molasses-infused cookies (originally frog-sized) that date back to colonial times.

Jonnycakes
Made from 100% Rhode Island Flint Corn (spelled johnnycakes if they’re not), these cornmeal “cakes” are thick or thin depending on what part of the Ocean State you’re in.

Jordan Marsh Blueberry Muffins

Jordan Marsh Blueberry Muffins

Aimee Tucker

Jordan Marsh Blueberry Muffins
The Boston-based department store may be long gone, but the recipe for sweet and sugary Jordan Marsh Blueberry Muffins remains a New England favorite.

Louis’ Lunch Hamburger
Long credited as the birthplace of the “hamburger sandwich,” Louis’ Lunch in downtown New Haven, Connecticut draws hamburger-lovers near and far with their take on the all-American classic — a ground-steak patty between two slices of toast. Condiments are forbidden, so don’t ask.

Maple Candy
Prized for its crumbly-meets-creamy texture and deep maple flavor, maple candy is made when the sap is heated beyond the syrup stage to the crystalline stage, where it’s then whipped and poured into decorative molds to harden. Hold on to your cavities!

Maple Creemee Sign in Vermont

Maple Creemee Sign in Vermont | Classic New England Foods

Aimee Tucker

Maple Creemee
In Vermont, maple-flavored soft serve ice cream isn’t ice cream, it’s a creemee (or creamie), and it’s delicious. Local lore has it that the more e’s in the word creemie (or creemee), the better the soft-serve ice cream is.

Maple Syrup
New England’s own “liquid gold,” maple syrup is what’s left when maple sap is heated until the water evaporates, leaving a concentrated (delicious) syrup behind. One taste and you’ll forget all about Mrs. Butterworth’s, if you ever knew her at all.

Maple Walnut Ice Cream
More maple? Why not! Another popular New England ice cream flavor, maple walnut is maple-flavored and studded with chunky walnuts.

moxie glass

Moxie | Classic New England Foods

Aimee Tucker

Moxie
We think Maine’s favorite soda tastes like a subtle, not-too-sweet blend of wintergreen and licorice, but others…well…they toss around words like medicine, motor oil, and “root beer that’s gone really funky.” A true carbonated Maine classic since 1884.

Necco Wafers
Love ’em or hate ’em, Necco wafers are New England candy classics. Made here since 1847, the powdery sugar wafers also come in chocolate and tropical flavors. We love the Sweethearts come Valentine’s Day, too.

Needhams Potato Candy
Mainers love potatoes so much that they even found a way to mash them up with coconut and dip them in chocolate. Eat one needham and love them for life.

New Haven Pizza. This one is from Frank Pepe Pizzeria Napoletana.

New Haven Pizza (this one is from Frank Pepe Pizzeria Napoletana) | Classic New England Foods

Aimee Tucker

New Haven Pizza
For many, no visit to New Haven is complete without a stop at Frank Pepe Pizzeria Napoletana, Sally’s Apizza, or both! Sometimes, New Haven coal-fired pizza (known locally as apizza) is the reason for the whole trip.

Parker House Rolls
The signature buttery dinner roll recipe at the Parker House Hotel. Famous fans included Charles Dickens, Nathaniel Hawthorne, Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, and most of the Kennedy clan.

Pumpkin Pie
The first Thanksgiving took place here in New England, so it’s only right that we hold a more recent Thanksgiving tradition – the pumpkin pie – in such high regard. We’re also partial to One-Pie brand.

Quahogs
Ever ask, “What’s the official state mollusk of Rhode Island?” It’s the quahog (Mercenaria mercenaria). These hard-shelled clams are most prevalent between Cape Cod and New Jersey, but they especially love Rhode Island’s Narragansett Bay. Ever wonder, “How do you pronounce that?” Around here, it’s “ko-hog.”

Red Flannel Hash

Red Flannel Hash | Classic New England Foods

Aimee Tucker

Red Flannel Hash
What do you get when you swap out some of the potatoes in a batch of corned beef hash with beets? The result has flannel-esque patches of red, so we call it Red Flannel Hash. Crack in a few eggs and call it Sunday breakfast.

Red Snapper Hot Dogs
Known for their neon red color and natural casing “snap,” Maine’s Red Snapper hot dogs are a backyard barbecue and camp grill favorite.

Rhubarb Pie
New Englanders know the sweetest rewards for surviving a long winter are the first fruits of spring. Rhubarb, along with its pal the strawberry, is one of the most anticipated, and nowhere does its tart flavor shine brighter than baked into a tasty pie.

Salmon and Peas
An old-school New England 4th of July favorite, the classic combination of salmon and peas has more to do with the calendar than anything else. The late-June ripening of peas and the annual summer migration of salmon made this dish an inevitable July mainstay.

Salt Cod
A staple in frugal Yankee kitchens (well, it used to be), salt cod is cod that has been dried and salted. Before eating, it’s soaked in water and re-hydrated. Popular dishes using salt cod include “Cape Cod turkey” and codfish balls.

Sky Bar
Why settle for one flavor when you can get four? A classic “made in New England” candy bar, Sky Bar has four chocolate squares with different fillings – caramel, vanilla, peanut, and fudge.

steamers

Steamers | Classic New England Foods

Aimee Tucker

Steamers
Signs of summer in New England include watching the Red Sox, battling black flies, and sitting down to a heaping tray of steamed clams (known as “steamers”), served with bowls of broth and butter for swishing and dipping.

Stuffies
Stuffed quahogs, a.k.a. “stuffies,” are Rhode Island’s favorite term for a delectable mixture of breadcrumbs, diced clams, and spices baked on the half-shell.

Succotash
A culinary combination of corn and beans, succotash was one of the first foods that the Native Americans of coastal New England shared with the Plymouth settlers.

Tollhouse Cookies
Today it’s the most popular cookie in America, but the very first chocolate chip cookie was invented right here in New England by Ruth Wakefield at the Toll House Inn in Whitman, Massachusetts back in the 1930s.

J.J. Nissen New England Frankfurt Rolls

Top-Split Hot Dog Rolls | Classic New England Foods

Aimee Tucker

Top-Split Hot Dog Rolls
With a toasted, buttery outside and a soft inside, flat-bottomed, top-loading New England style hot dog rolls are arguably some of the best buns in the world.

Tourtiere (Pork Pie)
Tourtiere is a savory French-Canadian meat pie. It’s thought that Quebec immigrants moving south introduced the recipe to New England, where it remains a holiday favorite.

Whoopie Pies | Classic New England Foods

Whoopie Pies | Classic New England Foods

Aimee Tucker

Whoopie Pies
Two hamburger-sized rounds of soft, domed chocolate cookies (nearly cakes in texture) sandwiching an inch or more of pillow-y vanilla filling has made the whoopie pie one of the all-time favorite classic New England desserts, and the official “state treat” of Maine.

Yankee Pot Roast
Whether the “Yankee” in Yankee pot roast is a nod to the dish’s American regional origins or (as some suggest) a joke about New England fru­gality, a good Yankee pot roast embodies the traditions of simplicity and patience rewarded.

Did your favorite classic New England foods make it only our list? What did we miss? Let us know!

A shorter version of this list was first published in 2015. 

Comments
  • Born in MA and now live in VT, could never leave New England. Love the memories, food and the Region. Thanks for the list, makes me hungry.

    Reply
  • margaretp3

    Something special from Bouchard Family farms in Arostook county Maine is “Ploys” a French Acadian buckwheat crepe that is fabulous with butter & “real” maple syrup for breakfast. Later in the day ploys are the daily bread with stews or creton spread. On the coast sardines & crackers should be eaten daily for longevity. Crab rolls are made similar to lobster rolls but much sweeter. You also forgot fiddleheads (young maiden head ferns) a springtime treat.

    Reply
  • Love this list. I’ve been away for 52 years but remember it all! Yes, Grinders were left off – skipped school with a bunch of friends to have a feast!! And I haven’t n heard the word Bulkie since I left. Thanks so much.

    Reply
  • Priscilla

    Oh, I am feeling soooo nostalgic for these foods. I was born in New London, CT and grew up in Duxbury, MA. So many wonderful memories of these special foods that my dear Mother and Grandmother often made. Thank you for bringing back such special memories of growing up New England. My heart will always be there!

    Reply
  • I was born in Worcester, MA. Sixty years ago but have been been a FL cracker for almost fifty of those sixty years, I remember Table Talk Pies. Yum you all.

    Reply
  • Hot Weiners from Olneyville RI, dough boys/fried dough, cold pizza from RI,

    Reply
  • i’m orginial from Vermont , moved to NH and now living in Alabama. I do miss New England and miss the food even more. love your list and I will be sending it to my brother who is die hard Vermonter and now living in Tenn. can’t get brown bread, clams, lobster my favorite foods down here and the good Shultz hot dogs. thanks again for the list. just makes me miss New England even more.

    Reply
  • You forgot fish cakes, and frozen pudding ice cream, and I’d also agree about creton–we used to get in in Lewiston Me., and I still make it here in Florida–yummily!!

    Reply
  • Perhaps not as well known, but mock cherry pie (i.e. cranberry-raisin) was a family favorite of ours. Old(er) editions of Fanny Farmer cookbooks contain the recipe!

    Reply
  • Tri-Sum potato chips made in Leominster, MA and Wachusett potato chips from Fitchburg, MA 1939

    Reply
  • I was born and raised in Lewiston Maine and all these recipes and products just make me want to go straight home.I miss it sooo much.I now live in Mesa Az.,BUT,my heart is in Maine.I cannot thank you enough for putting all these on here.

    Reply
    • Thank you for that nice comment, Jeanne! That’s exactly why we wanted to put this list together. Sending you warm thoughts from home!

      Reply
  • What about the school lunch favorite, Chinese Pie? Ground beef layered with cream corn and topped with mashed potatoes.

    Reply
  • Mac and cheese made with Cabot Seriously Sharp Cheddar (NO Velveeta or American cheese!)

    Reply
    • Barbara, you’re singing my song re mac-and-cheese!!! One change I’ve made in the last few years is substituting Kitchen Basics Chicken Stock for the milk ~ give it a try, you might just like it!!!

      Reply
  • Sticky buns as created by the Dog Team Restaurant in New Haven VT (forgot that one)

    Reply
  • Blueberry pancakes, with a touch of mace, to go with the maple syrup. Corn pudding – a holiday is not a holiday in my home without corn pudding. Jordan Pond popovers. Publick House sweet rolls.

    Reply
  • You left out Red Snappers! The red hot dogs! And you left out Italian Sandwiches! Both Maine favorites forever!! And you left out Giffords Ice Cream . . .

    Reply
    • Hi Donna! Red Snappers are on the list — you must have scrolled right past them! Italian sandwiches are a great suggestion for when we expand the list to 100. 😉

      Reply
      • April-Lyn

        Yes, Italian sandwiches! Also salmon pie, cretons, ketchup potato chips (though that might be more Canadian that only recently started to sneak down into New England), fish chowder, and molasses cookies.

        Reply
  • Catherine

    Plum Pudding, As a child I lived in Fall River, Mass and we ate Plum Pudding with a Hard Sauce. Also Left over baked beans from Sat warmed up on Sunday Morning with Bacon and Eggs. I live in Pa now and miss my New England Food.

    Reply
  • Those franks and beans are SAUGYS & BEANS on Saturday Nights throughout Rhode Island for 147 years. In Rhode Island, you don’t ask for a hotdog, you ask for a Saugy!

    Reply
  • Wonderful list,really enjoyed it. Can’t wait for another visit to Maine and pick up lots of goodies.

    Reply
  • Patricia

    Mariners have the most delicious foods ever. Red hot dogs clams and Maple ice cream so yummy . So enjoy getting these treats when I get home for my visits….

    Reply
  • Unless something is included from all of the six states of New England, which your list clearly does not include, then your list is incomplete and you should try again.

    Reply
  • We can now enjoy autocrat coffee ice cream here in southern Mass and Rhode Island. I must say it’s the best coffee ice cream I’ve ever had.

    Reply

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