Food of Baltimore: 17 Signatures Dishes of Baltimore and Places to Try Them!

While Baltimore is famous for its crab cakes and pit beef, the ‘Charm City’ has embraced various cuisines, from Greek and Italian to seafood and Southern food. Take an evening stroll across the Inner Harbour munching on delicious Essay Hot dogs or stop at a roadside stand on a hot summer day and sample a cup of the city’s unique ‘snowballs’! With a delicious and wide-ranging menu, food of Baltimore is as diverse as its residents and offers something for everyone! 

Here is a curated list of the best food in Baltimore to eat all year round! 

1. Maryland Blue Crab

Blue Crab

Maryland Steamed Blue Crab is a quintessential Baltimore dish. Best savoured in Summer; Blue Crab is native to the Chesapeake Bay in Maryland. Locals and tourists alike flock to the farmers market and restaurants to try the fried soft shell delicacy. While Blue crabs are famous everywhere on the East coast, they are popular in Baltimore because of how it’s harvested, cooked and seasoned. Often seasoned with apple cider vinegar and served with a can of lager, it is a must-eat dish! 
Where to Eat: L.P. Steamers, Conrad’s Seafood, Cantler’s Riverside Inn, Obrycki's, Al's Seafood, Bo Brooks, Captain James Landing and Mr Bill's Terrace Inn

2. Old Bay

Old Bay

While Old Bay is not a dish on its own, it is the most famous spice Baltimore has ever produced. Sold by McCormick & Company, it is a mix of salt, paprika black pepper and red chilli flakes. You can use the condiment for cooking blue crabs, season chicken or sprinkle on seafood sauce. Locals swear by Old Bay, and it is a staple in every kitchen in the city! 
Where to Try: Any local supermarket or online. 

3. Fractured Prune Doughnuts

Fractured Prune Doughnuts

Fractured Prune Doughnuts has been a landmark food of Baltimore since 1976. With over thirty glazes and toppings, this is the go-to place for a sweet treat to pamper yourself. Try the honey glaze, rainbow sprinkles, mixed berry glaze and cinnamon sugar, mint glaze and mini chocolate chips, or the Banana Glaze, Chocolate Sprinkles. Coconut and Peanuts flavoured doughnuts or pick your own flavours! 
Where to Eat: Ocean City, Baltimore, Maryland and other outlets across the state. 

4. Utz Chips

 Utz Chips

A Pennsylvania native, Utz Chips is nevertheless a popular snack food in Baltimore. Their potato chips covered in Old Bay spice, (often called crab chips) is legendary! Buy a packet from your local Walmart or Target and explore the city’s attractions munching on some salty, lip-smacking Utz chips or pretzels. 
Where to Try: Target, Walmart, 7- Eleven or any local supermarket. 

5. Smith Island Cake

Smith Island Cake

Smith Island Cake is the official dessert of Maryland and is a delicious eight to ten layered, fluffy cake. It is made of bananas and vanilla and topped with chocolate icing, peanuts and buttercup pieces. Named after the Smith Island in the Chesapeake Bay, the dessert is a popular addition to Baltimore’s cuisine. 
Where to Eat: Smith Island Baking Company, Unconventional Diner, SugarBakers Cakes, Silver Diner, Rusty Scupper, Old Maryland Grill and Loch Bar

6. Lemon Peppermint Sticks

Lemon peppermint sticks

Mount Vernon Flower Mart is a 108-year-old tradition of summer markets that’s unique to Baltimore. Lemon peppermint sticks are a cheap but iconic part of this festival. The perfect balance of sweet and sour, pucker on this classic treat under the sun as you explore all that the city has to offer in the summer! 
Location: Lemon stick stand on the corner of North Charles Street and Mount Vernon Place

7. Berger Cookies

Berger Cookies

Introduced to Baltimore in 1835 by the German Berger family, Berger Cookies has become a household name and has numerous awards including the "Best of Baltimore Award" in 2011. The cookie is a vanilla shortbread covered in a thick layer of smooth chocolate frosting and tastes as delicious as it sounds 
Where to Try: Berger Cookies are sold in multiple locations in Baltimore including Eddie’s Market, Cheese Galore & More, H&S Bakery, EC Pops LLC, 7Eleven and Canton Market. 

8. Pit Beef

Pit Beef

Pit Beef is a flavourful Charm City classic. Heaven for meat lovers, this charred and barbecued beef is more than just ‘meat on a bun’! Try some pit beef sandwiches or burgers along with a side of horseradish and mayonnaise. Head over your local bar or restaurant and savour some of the best food in Baltimore.  
Where to Eat: Baker's Pit Beef and Tavern, Bird's Nest BBQ, Charcoal Style, Char'd BBQ, Expressway Pit Beef and Jake's Grill

9. Snowballs


Found in every neighbourhood corner, snowballs are a Baltimore food tradition. Beat the summer heat and feast on a cup of shaved ice topped with vanilla, eggs and sugar. They come in wide-ranging flavours from passionfruit to coconut. Feeling adventurous? Ask for some bloody orange icecream on top of your snowball. 
Where to Eat: Val’s Snowballs, B&B Snowballs, Sugar Shack Snowball Stand, Walther Gardens and Opie’s Soft Serve and Snowballs

10. Charm City Cakes

Charm City Cakes

Founded by Chef Duff Goldman in 2002, Charm City cakes have become a national favourite after the bakery was featured on Food Network’s Ace of Cakes. Colourful, bold and delicious, these cakes can be bought for every occasion from birthdays, weddings and milestones. Check out their Panda, Baby Shark and Bouquet de Fleurs. 
Address: 2936 Remington Ave, Baltimore, MD 21211, United States
Timings: Monday to Saturday: 11:00 AM to 6:00 PM 

11. Sauerkraut


Thanksgiving nights in Maryland are not complete without a dash of Sauerkraut! Introduced by the Germans, Sauerkraut and Turkey is an iconic food of Baltimore. This sour dish is made from grated cabbage fermented in salt and can be eaten with hot dogs, Reuben sandwiches, oysters or even pork. 
Where to eat: The Capital Grill, Charleston, The Oregon Grille, The Rusty Scrupper, Victoria Gastro Pub, Snake Hill and Outpost American Tavern. 

12. Boog Powell’s Barbecue

Boog Powell’s Barbecue

Boog’s BBQ is a beloved food stand selling pork, pit beef and turkey to baseball fans at Oriole Park or Camden Yards for the last 28 years. Boog himself was a highly successful MLB player before he retired to start a BBQ stand. Boog's BBQ has blown up in popularity with some big names like Alex Jones and Donald Schaefer visiting the stand. Watch a Baltimore Orioles’ home game match at Camden park and enjoy a pit beef sandwich with soda from Boog’s! 
Address: 323 W Camden St, Baltimore, MD 21201, United States

13. Black-Eyed Susan Cocktail

Black-Eyed Susan Cocktail

Exclusively sold on the third Saturday of every may before the Preakness Stakes horse race, the Black-Eyed Susan Cocktail is unique to Baltimore. Made of bourbon, vodka, peach schnapps, orange juice and sour mix, it leaves a fruity aftertaste which nearly 250,000 horse race enthusiasts attest to! 
Where to drink: Pimlico Race Course, Baltimore

14. Otterbein’s Cookies

Otterbein’s Cookies

Another traditional food in Baltimore, Otterbein’s Cookies are a crispy and buttery delight. Since 1881, the family-run business has been making chocolate, ginger, lemon sugar and oatmeal raisin cookies. Buy a 10 pack or 20 pack of homely, freshly baked cookies and munch on the go as you explore the German heritage in Baltimore. 
Address: Otterbein’s Baker, 2603 Rolling Rd. #309, Windsor Mill, MD 21244, United States. Available in all local stores. 

15. Fisher’s Popcorn

 Fisher’s Popcorn

Creamy fresh popcorn made at the mid-Atlantic beaches, Fisher’s Popcorn has been a household name since 1937. Try their Caramel with Peanut, Butter Flavor, White Cheddar, Old Bay and Caramel Chocolate Drizzle on a family day out at the beach! 
Address: 200 S Atlantic Ave, Ocean City, MD 21842, United States

16. Thrasher’s French Fries

Thrasher’s French Fries

A nearly 90-year-old store, Thrasher’s French Fries is an iconic french fry shop in Ocean City Baltimore. Founded by a Georgia man committed to providing the most delicious salty fries, Thrasher’s French Fries has retained its quality and brand over the years. Now, it is one of the most popular by the ocean side eats in Baltimore!
Address: 401 S Atlantic Ave #1, Ocean City, MD 21842, United States and Three other locations at Ocean City- At the Pier, 2nd St & Boardwalk, 8th St & Boardwalk
Timings: Saturday and Sunday 10:00 AM to 4:00 PM 

17. National Bohemian/Natty Boh

National Bohemian/Natty Boh

Natty Boh is a hit in every bar in Baltimore and is almost exclusively available in Maryland. First brewed in 1885, Natty Boh is a lager beer and is dubbed the "official" beer of Baltimore. Available in cans, bottles and served in bars in kegs, Natty Boh is best consumed with a pit beef burger watching a baseball game at Oriole Park. Originally brewed by the National Brewery (hence the name Natty Boh), it is the place where the nation’s first “six-pack” beer was introduced! 
Where to drink: Nacho Mama’s, The Sidebar Tavern, The Ottobar, The Brewer’s Art, Frazier’s on the Avenue, Hamilton Tavern, Frisco Grille & Cantina or you can buy a six-pack or twelve-pack at a local store. 
Whether it's fancy seafood like trout and oysters or affordable burgers and BBQ, Baltimore has food for everyone! Check out Fort McHenry, the National Aquarium and the Inner Harbour while savouring some iconic and traditional Baltimore dishes!

This post was published by Anupama Manjunath

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