I love Oklahoma cuisine. Whenever I’ve lived abroad (or even just in other states), I start to miss Oklahoma food something fierce.
But I have to admit, that while I’ve had the components of the official Oklahoma state meal separately, I’m never attempted to eat them at one time.
There are so many dishes included in this meal, I don’t even know if I could eat it in one sitting!
Here are the thirteen dishes that make up our state meal. Have you ever eaten all thirteen at once?
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History of the Official Oklahoma State Meal
The state meal was enacted into law by the Oklahoma legislature in 1988 through House Concurrent Resolution 1983, becoming one of our official state symbols. April 19, 1988, was declared to be “Oklahoma Meal Day.”
(I suggest the legislature pick a different day of the year if they want to celebrate it again in the future… April 19th needs to be reserved for more somber times).
The dishes were chosen with input from different Oklahoma food producers and associations, so the dishes represent traditional Oklahoma cuisine featuring produce and dishes that can be made from local Oklahoma ingredients.
Essentially, this was a 1980s version of a farm-to-table meal promoting Oklahoma products.
These are not dishes that are only found in Oklahoma since a lot of them are heavily influenced by Southern cuisine and Midwestern cuisine.
However, I’ll admit I did grow up eating all of these pretty regularly…again, just never at once!
In 2010, State Senator Brian Crain tried to repeal the state meal on the argument that, even if you served small portion sizes, it’s pretty unhealthy when eaten as a single meal.
However, this move was rejected because “each of those items listed is grown or produced in Oklahoma.”
The Official Oklahoma State Meal Menu
So just what is on the Sooner State’s extensive menu? Have a look:
Nothing says Oklahoma like taking a nutritious veggie like Okra and deep frying it in a coating of cornmeal.
Not that I’m complaining, because fried okra is a gift from above.
A common crop used across the South, okra is originally from Africa and was brought to the US during the African Slave trade.
While states like Louisiana use okra in gumbos and stews, Oklahomans like to fry and pickle ours.
Fried okra is so common in Oklahoma that growing up they served it in the cafeteria at school. It’s still one of my favorite side dishes, and I order it every time I see it on a menu.
I never really associated squash with Oklahoma in the past, but I realize now that growing up we ate squash all the time. Ours was usually the yellow variety, steamed, with a bit of Cavender’s Seasoning (from nearby Arkansas) sprinkled on top.
But squash has been tied to Oklahoma for centuries. It (along with beans and corn) was grown by Native Americans since agriculture was first introduced to the state. It is still a staple food of many of the nations living in Oklahoma.
These three crops are referred to together as the Three Sisters and the planting of these crops is celebrated by the Chickasaw each March. And all three of these crops are featured on this menu.
Corn appears several times on this list, but I don’t know an Oklahoma who would argue that corn isn’t an important part of life here.
For the purposes of fulfilling the state meal, it doesn’t specify whether the corn needs to be served as corn on the cob or as shelled corn (or even as creamed corn or hominy), so go nuts!
This is corn’s third appearance on this list, but you really cannot omit cornbread from an Okie dinner. Of course, it’s great from scratch, but no one would fault you for busting out a box of Jiffy Corn Muffin mix.
If you want to get creative, you can add bits of jalapeno and cheddar, or you can opt for straightforward cornbread with a little butter on top.
Oklahoma barbeque is hard to define, but we know it when we see it. It’s almost a mix of Texas-style meats and Kansas City sauce, but that doesn’t quite do it justice.
Essentially, it’s mouthwatering meat but don’t you dare serve it dry.
There are a lot of biscuits out there in the world, but Okies know these need to be fluffy buttermilk biscuits, or it’s not worth your time.
If you don’t like a white gravy, these kinds of biscuits are also excellent served with a little strawberry jam or Oklahoma honey.
Sausage and Gravy
While you could theoretically serve a sausage patty covered in white gravy (and it has to be a white gravy), most Oklahomans would expect it to be served as one item with the sausage mixed into the gravy.
You can serve this on the side for guests or pour it over the biscuits for them.
Grits might be the official state food of South Carolina, but they are a part of Oklahoma’s state meal. Oklahoma grits are usually served with cheese, though plain with butter will also suffice.
Oklahomans don’t tend to have sweet grits too often, and it’s more common to see them served with shrimp or sausage these days than in the past.
You’ll note that this is the fourth (and final) time that corn shows up on our state meal. We do love it!
Like okra, black-eyed peas originated in Africa and migrated to the US with the Atlantic Slave Trade. Referred to as cowpeas in the Old World, Americans cultivated many different varieties and gave them a wide array of common names.
Oklahoma Black-Eyed peas are served with crispy bacon and cooked in bacon fat, so vegetarians should be wary.
You can see a delicious Oklahoma Black-Eyed Peas recipe on the New York Times’s website here.
Nothing says comfort food in Oklahoma quite like a chicken fried steak.
A true slice of Oklahoma history, the chicken fried steak is an Oklahoman (and Texan) take on the kinds of fried-and-breaded meats that came over with German and Italian immigrants. Think of a countrified version of schnitzel or Milanese.
The best chicken fried steaks are crispy on the outside, packed with flavor on the inside, and smothered in white gravy.
The state meal has strawberries served as a stand-alone dessert, but you could also pair them with ice cream or throw them in a cobbler.
Read next: 17 Best U-Pick Strawberry Farms in Oklahoma
Honestly, this is one where the commerce of the pecan industry overruled the practicality of creating a meal that reflects what Oklahomans eat daily.
The Oklahoma pecan industry generates over 200 million dollars in sales every year, so we are eating a lot of pecans. I just don’t know that many of us that eat pecan pie other than around Thanksgiving.
I do love pecan pie, and I wouldn’t be sad to be offered it more often. But I think Oklahomans are more likely to be having fried pies, cobblers, or apple pie.
What to Drink with the Official State Meal?
While the obvious choice is Sweet Tea, feel free to throw in an Okie-style cherry limeade or your favorite Route 44-sized drink from Oklahoma-grown Sonic Drive-In.
There are quite a few dishes Oklahomans eat regularly that didn’t get included. It also has to be said that the meal doesn’t cover a very wide mix of cultural backgrounds.
Foods that could easily make our state meal today include fried catfish, onion burgers, waffles, flatbread tacos, mashed potatoes to go with the chicken fried steak, or even Okie versions of Tex-Mex like chile rellenos and burritos.
Or we could just have a setup included as the amuse-bouche to the official state meal. I wouldn’t complain.
Where to Eat the Oklahoma State Meal
You could piece together half (or more) of these menu items at many restaurants across the state.
Fancy places like Food Network star Ree Drummond’s Pioneer Woman’s Mercantile in Pawhuska have biscuits and gravy worth writing home about, and you’ll find amazing chicken fried steak at places like Cowpokes BBQ Grill in Prague.
But…while restaurants were encouraged to serve the meal on the first “Oklahoma Meal Day,” I can’t think of a place that serves all of these items together as one meal.
Again, it’s simply too much food for one person!
Frequently asked questions about Oklahoma’s Official State Meal (FAQ)
These are the questions most often asked about the Oklahoma State Meal.
Which state has a state meal?
Oklahoma is the only state in the USA to have an official state meal!
There is an official meal of North Louisiana, but this was designed to highlight how northern and southern food in Louisiana are different, as opposed to spotlighting a meal for the entire state.
Of course, since it’s only the official meal of a region, this means Oklahoma has the only official true state meal.
What food is the state of Oklahoma known for?
Oklahomans are known for making dishes that pull from both the Midwest and the South’s cuisines. You can see a list of Oklahoma foods here.
What is Oklahoma’s state food or drink?
We don’t have a single official food. All of the dishes listed here comprise our official state meal.
We also have an official state steak (ribeye), state vegetable (watermelon), and state fruit (strawberries).
What is Oklahoma’s official state dessert?
The two desserts in our state meal are strawberries and pecan pie.
What is the state’s official state pastry?
Oklahoma doesn’t have an official state pastry.
What is the state motto of Oklahoma?
The Oklahoma state motto is Labor Omnia Vincit, meaning “labor conquers all.”
Can you make a vegetarian or vegan version of the Oklahoma State Meal?
A good vegan or vegetarian chef could whip up versions of these dishes that meet their dietary restrictions, but it will take some ingenuity.
The meal isn’t the healthiest meal to begin with, so you could also try to make a more nutritious version with healthy takes on gravy, etc.
Pin this Menu for the Official Oklahoma State Meal for Your Culinary Adventures!
Stephanie Craig is a born-and-bred Oklahoma mom and travel expert who has been to over fifty countries. After traveling all over the world, Stephanie moved back to Oklahoma to explore more of her own backyard. Her favorite things to do in Oklahoma include visiting the Blue Whale of Catoosa, the Arcadia Round Barn, and the Talimena Scenic Byway.