30 of the Most Iconic Maryland Food and Drink

We all know that the most iconic Maryland food is the blue crab caught out of the beautiful waters of the Chesapeake Bay.

I mean, as a born and bred, native Marylander, I’m here to tell ya, you really can’t get any better than that!

However, as I did my due diligence researching this topic, I discovered that EVEN I learned a thing or two about the iconic dishes that make Maryland so special.

For example, have you ever heard of Coddies, Smearcase, or Stuffed Ham?

For this very reason, I decided it was time that I dive into this topic and share with my readers ALL the local favorites that make Maryland home!

Iconic Maryland Food and Drink

One of my methods for fact checking this list was to ask this question in one of my favorite Facebook groups, Maryland is a Cult. Not a State.

With over 222,000 followers, this page is a wealth of genuine information about anything related to the Free State (Maryland’s nickname)!

In addition, I just happen to know a LOT about my home state!

Therefore, firsthand experience has GREATLY contributed to this list.

So, without further ado, here is THE list of the most iconic Maryland food and drink, including places you can find each item!

1. Beaten Biscuits

Iconic Maryland Food Beaten Biscuits

Beaten biscuits are a dense, hardtack type of biscuit deeply ingrained in the history of Maryland cuisine.

The dough is beaten (to hell!) with a hard object or on a hard surface and then pricked with a fork before baking.

Thankfully, after all the hard work and muscles required for making them, these biscuits can be stored for several months in an airtight container.

Great Places To Buy Beaten Biscuits:

Or if you want to make them yourself, here’s a local recipe submitted by Salisbury University:

Maryland Beaten Biscuits – Tidewater Times recipe by Cindy Doerzbach 

  • 2 cups sifted all-purpose flour 
  • ¼ teaspoon salt 
  • ½ teaspoon sugar 
  • 3 ½ tablespoons lard 
  • OR 5 ½ tablespoons shortening 
  • ½ to 2/3 cup milk 

Sift together flour, salt, and sugar, cut in shortening and stir into milk to make stiff dough. Turn out on pastry board and beat with wooden mallet. Fold over and beat again. Continue folding and beating about the size of walnuts, form into balls and press flat. Stick four times with a fork. Bake on ungreased cookie sheet at 425 degrees for 30 minutes. Makes about 15 biscuits.  

2. Berger Cookies

Berger Cookies
Photo credit: Berger Cookies

Originating from Baltimore (Charm City known to locals), Berger Cookies have been around for over a century.

They are an incredibly decadent, soft, cake-like cookie with a thick layer of rich, fudge-like icing.

Needless to say, when you think of Maryland, Berger Cookies are an iconic Maryland food that comes top of mind! Mmmm!

Where to Find Berger Cookies:

3. Coddies

Iconic Maryland Food and Drink
Photo credit: Geresbeck’s Food Market

Coddies are a snack food, most popular in Baltimore, MD, consisting of mashed potatoes, eggs, salt, pepper, onions, crushed up saltine crackers, and salted cod fish.

Formed into patties, breaded and deep fried, Marylanders eat coddies sandwiched between saltine crackers with mustard and a side of deviled eggs.

Who knew?

I contacted Geresbeck’s Food Market to ask them if I could use one of their coddie photos from their website.

Not only did they provide me a photo, but they shipped me a complimentary order of Coddies AND Smearcase (you’ll find out what that is later on in this post)!

SO delicious! Thank you to Geresbeck’s for the treat!

Great Places To Get Coddies:

4. Crab Cakes

Iconic Maryland Food and Drink Crab Cakes

Arguably one of the most famous and recognizable iconic Maryland food of ALL is crab cakes!

Made with fresh crab meat (the more the better!), breadcrumbs, and a blend of herbs and spices, these golden-brown cakes are crispy on the outside and tender on the inside.

Served with a side of tartar sauce, aioli or remoulade sauce, Maryland crab cakes are the epitome of Maryland!

Try my Air Fryer Crab Cakes and my Healthy Crab Cakes with Remoulade Sauce and let me know what you think!

Where To Enjoy The Best Crab Cakes:

5. Crab Dip

Iconic Maryland Food and Drink

Maryland crab dip is a MUST-HAVE whenever you visit Maryland OR to make at home – wherever you are!

This Maryland Hot Crab Dip Recipe happens to be THE most popular recipe on my entire blog!

Because hot crab dip is SO popular in restaurants, you can find it almost everywhere you go.

BUT it wouldn’t hurt to read the reviews first because some places will add too much shredded cheese and cream cheese and not enough crab meat.

It goes without saying that the ratio needs to be just right!

6. Maryland Blue Crabs

Steamed blue crabs

No conversation about iconic Maryland food and drink would be complete without mentioning its most famous delicacy – the Maryland Blue Crab.

Renowned for its sweet, succulent meat and distinctive flavor, the blue crab is EVERYTHING to Marylanders!

For me, just the sight of a newspaper lined table with a huge pile of steaming hot crabs thrown on top and a side of vinegar and melted butter equals pure happiness and good times!

Naturally, Crab feasts around these parts are aplenty all summer long!

Ya just can’t beat it!

Best Places in Maryland to Enjoy Steamed Crabs:

7. Maryland Crab Soup

Iconic Maryland Food and Drink Maryland Crab Soup

Maryland crab soup originated in the Chesapeake Bay region of Maryland.

This flavorful, hearty soup starts with a tomato-based broth along with Worcestershire sauce.

Then, it’s loaded with fresh vegetables like carrots, celery, corn, potatoes and generous portions of lump crab meat.

This sweet and savory soup is seasoned with Old Bay seasoning and a blend of other spices.

Here’s my delicious recipe for making Maryland Crab Soup!

And if you’re more of a creamy crab soup kinda person, you have to try my delicious, award winning Cream of Crab Soup recipe!

OR, you can eat 50/50 crab soup, which is half cream of crab and half Maryland crab soup.

8. Fishers Popcorn

Fishers Popcorn
Photo credit: Fishers Popcorn

Fishers Popcorn is another iconic Maryland food that evokes happy memories for me.

This old fashioned popcorn stand is located in Ocean City, the beach mecca for the state of Maryland.

Along with the awesome beach comes the boardwalk – the place to walk, people-watch, ride the rides, buy souvenirs and eat lots of FOOD!

Fishers Popcorn has been on Ocean City’s boardwalk since 1937!

Gotta say it’s the BEST caramel popcorn, made on the premises right in front of you!

They’ve also expanded their flavors to include Old Bay flavored popcorn.

Where To Get Fishers Popcorn:

9. Goetze’s Candy Company

Goetze's Candy
Photo credit: Goetze’s Candy Company

Goetze’s Candy Company, based in Baltimore, MD makes 2 iconic candies that I’ve absolutely loved for as long as I can remember – Caramel Creams and Cow Tales.

Both are the perfect combo of soft, chewy caramel with a sweet, creamy center.

Be careful though because I guarantee you can’t eat just one!

Where To Find Goetze’s Candies:

10. J.O. Spice Company

J.O. Spice
Photo credit: J.O. Spice Company

I know you’ve heard of ‘that other spice’ that Marylanders are OBSESSED with.

BUT, have you heard of J.O. Spice Company?

Since 1945 J.O. Spice Company, located in Baltimore, Maryland, has manufactured and distributed a wide range of seafood seasonings, spices, batters, breading and soups. 

As a matter of fact, J.O. #2 is what Maryland crab houses use for steaming their crabs.

However, when local seafood restaurants make their crab soups, crab cakes and fish, they use J.O. #1 All Purpose Seafood Seasoning.

Needless to say, J.O. Spices are good on everything, offering blends that are:

  • 50% Less Salt Seasoning
  • No-Salt Seasoning
  • Blackened Seasoning
  • Seasoning for Boils
  • Poultry Seasoning Blends
  • Beef Seasoning Blends
  • Pork Seasoning Blends

Where To Get It:

  • Shop online
  • You can also find J.O. Spice in most Maryland grocery stores.
  • Amazon

11. King Syrup

Iconic Maryland Food and Drink

King Syrup, created by the Mangels-Herold Company in Baltimore in 1901, is a combination of corn and sugar syrups.

Throughout the 20th century, King Syrup was used on everything from pancakes to grits, to biscuits, to ham recipes and in Shoo Fly pie recipes.

Although King Syrup isn’t made in Baltimore anymore, many Marylanders still prefer King Syrup over any other syrup.

As a matter of fact, Marylanders WILL travel out of their way to get their hands on some King Syrup.

Jesi M. “Love the King Syrup. Pancakes with scrapple on the side.”

Reggi D. “It’s the best! Can’t eat pancakes without it!!”

Shalimar J. “I’ve been eating King Syrup my whole life! My Grandfather gave me my first taste as a baby! ❤️ Our family mixes it with Jif Peanut Butter and then we put it on top of fried bread dough. 🤤

Where To Find King Syrup:

  • Online: Amazon, Walmart, Instacart
  • Some Maryland & Southern grocery stores (please let me know in the comments what stores you’ve found it in)

12. Lemon with Peppermint Sticks (Lemon Sticks)

Baltimore Lemon Sticks
Photo credit: Kaitlin Newman/The Baltimore Banner

Lemon sticks are a unique, beloved summertime tradition and iconic Maryland food that began back in 1911 during the annual Baltimore Flower Mart!

As you can see from the photo above, a lemon stick is very easy to make!

Use a lemon with the top sliced off and a hole made in the center.

Then insert a soft peppermint stick into the lemon, acting as a straw.

As you squeeze the lemon and sip from the peppermint stick straw, the tangy citrus, lemonade flavor mixes with the sweetness of the candy, creating a refreshing treat.

Where To Find Soft/Porous Peppermint Sticks:

13. Ledo Pizza

Ledo Pizza
Photo credit: Ledo Pizza

If you haven’t tried Ledo Pizza, you are SO missing out!

Ledo’s began in 1955 with their first restaurant in Adelphi, Maryland.

As a child, whenever we’d go to the original Ledo Pizza location, it was a BIG deal and always very crowded.

I love the fact that their pizza is made in a rectangular shape and the pieces are square.

There’s just something about their sweet sauce, thick cut pepperoni and crisp-flaky crust that keeps me going back for more!

Where To Find Ledo Pizza:

  • You can now find a Ledo Pizza all over the East Coast

14. Maryland Rye Whiskey

Iconic Maryland Food and Drink
Photo credit: Springfield Manor Winery, Distillery, & Brewery

When it comes to spirits, Maryland claims bragging rights for it’s famous rye whiskey.

Distilled from a mash bill that includes at least 51% rye grain, Maryland rye whiskey has a distinctive flavor profile characterized by its spicy, peppery notes.

Enjoy it neat, on the rocks, or mixed into a classic cocktail like the Manhattan for a taste of local Maryland flavor.

Places To Find Maryland Rye Whiskey:

15. McCormick

Founded in 1889 in Baltimore, Maryland, McCormick is a global leader in the production of premium herbs, spices, and seasonings.

I’ve used McCormick spices all my life, even before I realized it was a hometown company.

McCormick has been a pioneer in flavor innovation, offering innovative blends that have delighted kitchens globally for over a century.

Where To Find McCormick Spices:

  • Any grocery store
  • Order it online on Amazon

16. Orange Crush

Iconic Maryland Food

The famous Maryland Orange Crush is a super refreshing cocktail known for its bright citrusy flavor!

This drink, made with fresh orange juice, orange-flavored vodka, triple sec, and a splash of lemon-lime soda, became popular in beachside bars along Maryland’s coastline.

Now, thankfully, you can find it pretty much anywhere these days!

Where To Get The Best Orange Crush:

17. National Bohemian

Iconic Maryland Food
Photo credit: Avery’s Maryland Grille

For beer enthusiasts, no visit to Maryland would be complete without sampling a cold, crisp Natty Boh (short for National Bohemian beer).

This iconic Baltimore-brewed beer has been a beloved staple of Maryland’s drinking scene for generations.

With its smooth, refreshing taste and distinctive logo featuring the iconic Mr. Boh, Natty Boh is the perfect beverage on a hot summer day while eating crabs.

Where To Find Natty Boh:

18. Old Bay Seasoning

Iconic Maryland Food

As you can see from the photo above, I use Old Bay A LOT! I even have an apron showing my love for Old Bay.

Clearly, it’s a quintessential ingredient in Maryland cuisine!

Originally created in Maryland in 1939, this beloved seasoning has become synonymous with the state’s culinary identity.

There’s just something about Old Bay’s flavorful blend of herbs and spices that adds a zesty kick to SO many dishes like Old Bay Wings, Old Bay Fries, and Bloody Marys.

You can even sprinkle it on your popcorn for that authentic Maryland flavor.

Where To Find Old Bay Seasoning:

19. Otterbein’s Cookies

Iconic Maryland Food and Drink Otterbein's Cookies
Photo credit: Otterbein’s Cookies

I just love me some Otterbein’s Cookies!

Known for their homemade taste and crispy texture, Otterbein’s Cookies (made in Baltimore, MD) are made with simple ingredients like flour, butter, sugar, and eggs.

Otterbein’s Cookies come in a variety of flavors including sugar, chocolate chip, lemon sugar, and ginger.

Where To Find Otterbein’s Cookies:

20. Oysters

Iconic Maryland Food

Oysters from Maryland are known for their briny and sweet flavor with a crisp, clean finish.

Chesapeake Bay oysters thrive in cool, nutrient-rich waters, resulting in plump and succulent meat that is highly prized by seafood enthusiasts.

Whether served raw on the half shell, fried, scalloped, oyster fritters, or oyster stuffing, Maryland oysters offer a taste of our state’s maritime bounty.

Where To Get The Best Maryland Oysters:

21. Baltimore Peach Cake

Baltimore Peach Cake
Photo credit: Fenwick Bakery

Baltimore peach cake has roots in the German immigrant community of Baltimore, Maryland, dating back to the 19th century.

This beloved dessert consists of a dense cake base topped with fresh peach slices, sometimes arranged in a decorative pattern, and finished with a sprinkling of cinnamon sugar.

The result is a deliciously moist and fruity dessert that showcases the sweetness of in-season, local peaches.

Over time, Baltimore peach cake has become a cherished local specialty, enjoyed by generations and often served as a symbol of community and celebration in the city.

Where To Enjoy Peach Cake:

22. Pit Beef

Iconic Maryland Food and Drink
Photo credit: Smoky’s BBQ

Pit beef, which is served rare and has a smoky flavor, became a popular Maryland iconic food in the 1970’s in Baltimore.

Pit beef consists of roast beef (typically cuts of top round) prepared quickly at high temps over a charcoal fire.

Sliced thinly and served on a Kaiser roll, Maryland pit beef is traditionally topped with horseradish and/or mayonnaise along with some sliced raw onion.

Great Pit Beef Stands in Maryland:

23. Rockfish

Iconic Maryland Food
Photo credit: Fisherman’s Inn

Also known as striped bass, Maryland rockfish is a prized catch in Maryland’s bountiful waters.

With its firm texture and mild, buttery flavor, rockfish is a versatile fish that can be prepared in countless ways.

Whether grilled, baked, stuffed with crab, pan-seared, or as ‘bites’, enjoying fresh rockfish is a must-have when in Maryland!

Popular Spots with Rockfish On The Menu:

24. Smearcase Cake

Iconic Maryland Food and Drink
Photo credit:Geresbeck’s Food Market

Smearcase (or Smierkase) Cake, a traditional dessert from Maryland, features a rich and creamy filling made from cottage cheese, sugar, and eggs, spread on top of a layer of moist cake.

The cake is often topped with a sweet glaze or powdered sugar, creating a delightful combination of flavors and textures.

Gerebeck’s sent me some Smearcase Cake to try for myself.

It is delicious and very similar to cheesecake except that it’s in the shape of a rectangle with a more cakey bottom (vs. a crust).

Where To Find Smearcase Cake:

25. Smith Island Cake

Iconic Maryland Food and Drink
Photo credit: Smith Island Baking Company

Indulge your sweet tooth with a slice of Smith Island Cake, Maryland’s official state dessert.

Named after Smith Island in the Chesapeake Bay, this decadent cake features multiple (10) thin layers of moist yellow cake with rich chocolate frosting between each layer.

I’ve always wanted to make this cake, but I’m admittedly a tad bit intimidated by the number of layers.

BUT, I do plan to make it at least once in my lifetime!

Here’s the official Smith Island Cake recipe originally created by Mrs. Frances Kitching from, you guessed it, Smith Island, Maryland.

Places To Find Enjoy Smith Island Cake:

26. Snowballs

Iconic Maryland Food and Drink
Photo credit: The Snowball Stand, Berlin, MD

Snowballs (also called Penny Sundaes or Hard Time Sundaes) are made of finely shaved ice—just chunky enough to hold up on a summer day—and then soaked with flavored syrup (egg custard is a favorite) and topped with marshmallow fluff.

Dating back to the 1800s this sweet Maryland iconic food gained popularity during the Great Depression.

Notably, the Baltimore snowball is NOT a snow cone OR Hawaiian shaved ice, but a thing all its own.

Where To Find Maryland Snowballs:

27. Softshell Crab Sandwich

Iconic Maryland Food and Drink
Photo credit: Bahama Mike’s

Soft shell crabs are one of my husband’s favorite Maryland foods to eat.

A softshell crab sandwich typically consists of a fried softshell crab placed between two slices of bread or on a bun.

The crab is often coated in a crispy batter, and the sandwich may be garnished with lettuce, tomato, and a sauce like tartar or aioli for added flavor.

Where To Get The Best Softshell Crab Sandwich:

28. Stuffed Ham

Iconic Maryland Food and Drink

Stuffed ham, a traditional dish from Southern Maryland (St. Mary’s County), involves stuffing a ham with a mixture of seasoned greens, such as kale, cabbage, and spinach, along with other ingredients like onions, peppers, and spices.

The stuffed ham is then cooked until tender, resulting in a unique flavor.

This dish is typically served during holidays and special occasions.

From my St. Mary’s county friend, Jack P “It’s a big event down here! There is not just one recipe. It’s made to taste in different areas. Different ratios of kale, cabbage, and onions. Also different levels of spiciness. Most like it a little hot. So red pepper flakes or cayenne in the stuffing. Most people make several at a time. It’s a lot of work and smells the house up. But we buy a lot of it.”

Places To Get A Stuffed Ham:

29. Thrasher’s French Fries

Iconic Maryland Food
Photo credit: Thrasher’s French Fries

If you haven’t heard of Thrasher’s French Fries, you’ve never been to Ocean City Maryland!

It is an absolute MUST that if you are anywhere near the vicinity of the boardwalk, you HAVE to get yourself some Thrashers – preferably with Old Bay and apple cider vinegar doused on top!

These iconic fries have been an Ocean City staple for over 90 years.

Where to get your hands on some Thrashers Fries in Ocean City, MD:

  • At the Pier
  • 2nd St. & Boardwalk
  • 8th St. & Boardwalk

30. Utz Potato Chips

Iconic Maryland Food

Utz Potato Chips are considered a Baltimore food because of the company’s close historical ties to the city.

Founded by William and Salie in Hanover, Pennsylvania, just a short distance from Baltimore, Utz Snacks has had a significant presence in the Baltimore area for nearly a century.

As Utz chips became a popular snack food, they became intertwined with Baltimore’s culinary culture, earning them the status of a local favorite and an essential part of Baltimore’s food identity.

With its rich tapestry of flavors and traditions, Maryland iconic food and drink are as diverse and vibrant as the state itself.

For more Maryland resources, click on over to:

17 Best Outdoor Breweries in Maryland

Crab Festivals in Maryland

Free, Printable Maryland Kids Activity Book

Iconic Maryland Food
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