Arizona Cuisine Must-Try: 10 Greatest Meals to Eat in Arizona

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Are you curious about Arizona food? Then you’ve arrived to the correct location!

Sonora, a Mexican border state, has affected Arizona cuisine due to its rich desert landscape and history. Arizona is home to over 20 Native American tribes, as well as immigrants from all over the globe and out-of-state settlers seeking the sun.

The Southwestern cuisine of Arizona is the product of their combined influences.

In major towns, international eateries abound, providing anything from Peruvian ceviche to Jamaican braised oxtails and Korean corn dogs.

Apart from regional chain eateries, Phoenix is home to a popular New York City food cart and a well-known Chicago chicken shack.

Local foods are being appreciated in innovative ways in fine dining restaurants, garnering them national praise.

The Tohono Oodham were relocated east of the Gila River by Spanish missionaries 400 years ago, and Arizona’s cuisine culture stretches back to that period.

The seeds from saguaro fruits were used to flavor and texture early Oodham cuisine.

Are you going to other places in Arizona? See our other guides:

  • 15 Best Restaurants in Prescott, Arizona
  • 7 Sedona Restaurants With a View
  • 10 Fun Things To Do In Goodyear Arizona
  • 6 Must-Try Glendale Restaurants
  • 8 Best Cave Creek Restaurants
  • 5 Best Scottsdale AZ Restaurants

The Best Arizona Cuisine

Whether it’s a cuisine with deep roots in Arizona or an indigenous ingredient found only in the Grand Canyon State, these delectable meals should be enjoyed in the Grand Canyon State.

Crispy Cheese

Cheese crisps are largely thought to have originated in Arizona. A favorite bar snack is griddle-fried flour tortillas topped with crumbled cheese.

Before being sliced and split, the meal may be improved with onions, chilies, or other toppings. There’s also the traditional option of scattering pieces of green chile in a star pattern over the melted cheese.

Although it is uncertain if they originated in Tucson, El Charro Caf Mexican Restaurant in Phoenix and Macayos Mexican Cuisine in Scottsdale are possible alternatives.

Teepee Mexican Food, a Phoenix institution with a proven history, provides three varieties of its famous cuisine.


You’ll get terrific results if you deep-fry a tortilla. Several of the state’s sit-down Mexican eateries feature crunchy-fried tortillas topped with shredded or minced meat. It’s difficult to deny that the origins of chimichangas are disputed.

It was undoubtedly originated in Mexico, where it is a wrapped beef sandwich stuffed with mayonnaise and chopped tomatoes. Yet, other Arizona eateries, including Phoenix’s Macayos and El Tanquero café, claim to have invented it. Charro Caf is also located in Tucson.

After unintentionally dropping a burrito into the fryer one day, creator Monica Flin used a renowned Mexican swear term.

It doesn’t matter where it came from; the Arizona chimichanga has become a favorite, particularly when slathered in red or green chile sauce. Delicious!

Sonoran Chili Dogs

The Sonoran hot dog is the Phoenix equivalent of the New York and Chicago hot dogs. They offer a mix of American pork products with Mexican tastes, wrapped in bacon and loaded with pinto beans, onion, tomato, mayo, mustard and jalapeño salsa.

Originally conceived in Hermosillo, Sonora’s capital, where hot dogs were served during baseball games, these dogs appeared in Arizona during the 1990s and were popularized by rival Tucson vendors El Gero Canelo and BK.

The hot dog made history earlier this year when it won the prestigious James Beard Award in the Americas Classics category, cementing its reputation as an iconic meal.

The tastiest Sonoran hot dogs in most Arizona communities may be obtained from roadside carts, frequently with add-ons like Hot Cheetos and nacho cheese.

They’re much delicious when served with a green bulb onion and a toasted yellow chile gero!


The cafe’s cool fruit drinks are named after the Tucson-based sandwich shop company.

An Eegee has the texture and taste of a slushy mixed with Italian ice. Still, the month’s tastes have included mango tango, orange dream, and cosmic grape.

Edmund Irving and Robert Greenberg founded the enterprise in the early 1970s, selling iced masterpieces from a food truck.

There are now dozens of Eegees sites throughout Tucson and Casa Grande, as well as one in Gilbert, Arizona. When the weather is hot, I highly suggest this drink!

The Prickly Pear

Prickly pear candies and pink syrup are available in airport gift shops because the cactus fruit is associated with desert holidays.

Despite the sweetness of the prickly pear sweets, the majority of residents prefer the prickly pear beverages, which range from sour beers to fuchsia cocktails.

A delightful summer drink is a hot pink prickly pear lemonade. For those wishing to add some agave to their Southwestern drink, prickly pear margaritas are a popular choice at Mexican eateries.

Tunas, which are golf ball-sized purple fruits, are available at farmers markets and grocery shops in late summer and early winter.

Navajo tacos are also known as Indian tacos because they employ fried bread instead of tortillas and are topped with beans, beans, chili, ground meat, lettuce, tomato, onion, and cheese.

While not exclusive to Din communities, these tacos are often served at fundraising events, powwows, and roadside kiosks throughout Arizona.

In the Salt River Pima-Maricopa Native Community, there is even a site named The Stand. Fry bread is a golden-brown flatbread that is crispy on the exterior and fluffy on the inside. It is an iconic meal in its own right.

Moreover, it is a dish with a difficult connection with Indigenous people, as well as a cuisine stained by trauma.

At the middle of the 1800s, the United States forcibly relocated Din people living in present-day Arizona to New Mexico, where they were forced to grow their crops on soil they couldn’t farm.

Instead, the government supplied them with flour, sugar, salt, and fat, which they used to create fried bread.

The Flour of Mesquite

For generations, indigenous cultures in the Southwest processed mesquite pods into flour as a food source.

These tall, flat legumes grow on mesquite trees endemic to Arizona’s deserts. As they begin to turn yellow in the summer, they are ready to harvest. They may be ground into a sweet and nutty flour that can be used to create everything from pancakes to spaghetti.

Mesquite flour is a rare pantry staple these days, but local chefs and bakers are finding creative ways to utilize it.

Super Chunk Sweets & Treats in Scottsdale is well-known for their mesquite chocolate chip cookies, which have received both local and national accolades.

Salad Chopped Original

The Original Chopped Salad is sometimes referred to be the unofficial state salad by local foodies.

Arugula, smoked salmon, pearl couscous, pepitas, asiago cheese, dried sweet corn, and marinated Roma tomatoes make up the salad.

The Stetson Chopped Salad became famous at Cowboy Ciao in Scottsdale over 20 years ago.

A similar meal was offered at Steven, another now-closed Scottsdale restaurant, according to an article published in The Arizona Republic in 1984.

Chef Bernie Kantak revised the dish while working at Cowboy Ciao, and it can now be seen on menus across the Valley.


Nothing compares to Arizona burritos. These are not the Mission-style burritos seen at Chipotle or many burrito restaurants in California; instead, they contain a scoop of meat on a fresh wheat tortilla, maybe with some cheese or guacamole.

The Arizona burrito strikes you hard, exactly like the ones imported from the northern Mexican states of Sonora and Chihuahua in the 1900s by laborers looking for a protein-rich, full lunch.

Grab a snack at one of their 24-hour Mexican restaurants, such as Filibertos or Rilibertos, Albertos or Los Betos. Just make sure you’re hungry beforehand. Don’t forget to request a side of spicy salsa to accompany your meal.

Fry Bread Made by Native Americans

The Navajo people of Arizona were banished 300 miles to a reservation in New Mexico as a consequence of the Long Walk in 1864, when they prepared fried bread for the first time.

With few ingredients, a Navajo bread recipe called for flour, water, salt, and baking powder to be cooked in fat.

Other tribes have modified the recipe in the current period, and the fluffy bread is generally topped with beans, meat, cheese, lettuce, tomatoes, and sour cream, or it is used as a shell to wrap taco toppings.

While visiting the Hopi Arts Trail, have some of the greatest fried bread in the state at the Hopi Culture Center.

The Top 10 Must-Try Arizona Meals

Arizona has several stunning sights, including the Grand Canyon, the Petrified Forest, and Saguaro National Park.

It is fairly unusual for travelers to travel long distances to see other natural marvels such as Havasu Falls and Meteor Crater.

Arizona has a population of about 7 million people and a thriving culinary culture.

Thus, if you are a true gourmet, you should really consider visiting Arizona and sampling all of the delicious meals!

Which of these Arizona dishes are you most interested in trying first? Please share your thoughts in the comments box below!

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