A local dessert from Paducah, Kentucky

Kentucky's Regional Cuisine

The Flavors of
KENTUCKY

For a state of Kentucky’s size, we have an amazingly rich and diverse culinary heritage. You’ll find many of our signature dishes all around the state, but for others, it’s best to go where they originated. From the Western Waterlands' famous banana pudding, to fried fish caught in the lakes of the Southern Shorelines, to barbecued meats, pit-cooked and sliced thin in the Bluegrass, Blues & BBQ region, here’s your guide to Kentucky’s homegrown dishes, region by region.

Explore Kentucky's

Regional Cuisine

An overhead shot of a hot brown, bibb salad and other traditional foods of Kentucky's Bourbon, Horses & History region

Bourbon, Horses & History

Each of Kentucky’s nine travel regions has its own unique flavor. Must-taste highlights of this richly varied region include Hot Brown sandwiches and Old Fashioned cocktails. 

A close-up image of tomato pie, a Northern Kentucky specialty

Northern Kentucky River Region

German goetta, tomato pie and a favorite dessert of Kentucky native George Clooney are among the culinary gems in the “top of the south.”

A tablescape showing traditional foods of the Bluegrass, Horses, Bourbon & Boone region of Kentucky

Bluegrass, Horses, Bourbon & Boone

Work up an appetite in Horse Country and you'll be rewarded with beer cheese, spoon bread, local craft beer and much more.

An overhead shot of a wooden table set with traditional foods of the Daniel Boone Country region of Kentucky

Daniel Boone Country

From moonshine to apple stack cake, the stories behind this region’s culinary traditions are as good as the food.

A shot of salmon cakes, blackberry jam cake and other traditional foods of the Kentucky Appalachians

Kentucky Appalachians

Appalachian cuisine has gained newfound admiration in recent years, and these tried-and-true staples have sustained many generations of mountain families.

An overhead shot of a wooden table set with traditional foods of the Southern Shorelines region of Kentucky, including fried fish and Ski soda

Southern Shorelines

Feast on locally caught fish with all the regional fixings – and wash it down with a refreshing bottle of Ski, a local citrus soda.

A shot of Western Kentucky BBQ and sides

Bluegrass, Blues & BBQ

Barbecue is only the beginning in this Western Kentucky region – but oh what a beginning it is!

Tradition foods of Kentucky's Caves, Lakes & Corvettes region fill a table, including pork shoulder and local cheeses

Caves, Lakes & Corvettes

Farm-fresh veggies, homemade cheeses, fresh apple cider and fruit cobbler – this Central Kentucky region is all about eating local.

A close-up of fish and country ham, two specialties of Kentucky's Western Waterlands region

Western Waterlands

Banana pudding from the “Banana Capital of the World” and Kentucky-style surf-and-turf are can’t-miss classics in this region.

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