Sure, the New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival (or Jazz Fest, for short), is first and foremost a music festival. But everyone knows that Jazz Fest wouldn’t be Jazz Fest without the killer menu of local and state food vendors selling one-of-a-kind, mouthwatering dishes–many of which you can only get during the 10-day festival that happens once a year. And one thing that seems to shock newbies the most is that this isn’t your typical fest fare–sure you’ll find casual grub that’s easy to snack on as you move from stage to stage, but other offerings feel like they’d fit in just as well at a white-table-cloth establishment, and yet somehow, they’re perfectly executed in the great outdoors on disposable plates.

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Paul Broussard
Jazz Fest Food Area 1

So for those of us with food FOMO (guilty), a plan of attack is absolutely crucial to fit in all of the delicacies before the festival gates shut on the final Sunday. A lot of this food isn’t exactly light (we’re talking po-boys and crawfish-and-cream-sauce-stuffed puff pastry), so it’s often best to team up with a group of friends who are as food-driven as you are and make a pact to share bites to ensure you get to try as much as possible.

Paul Broussard
A Jazz Fest Food MVP

And while this list contains the classics, it’s always best to save room for new kids on the fest block, as there will always be something else delicious that catches your eye.

Paul Broussard
Crawfish Bread

Crawfish Bread


Jazz Fest isn’t Jazz Fest without a few staple dishes, which is why locals and regulars were up in arms over the absence of Panorama Foods' iconic crawfish bread during the 2023 fest. But fear not, the legend has returned this year in all her spicy, cheesy perfection. Enjoy spicy, saucy crawfish tails in melted cheese pressed between fresh bread. This one is fairly portable, so grab it as you make your way to the stage of your choice.

Hartley Wasser, New Orleans & Co.
Vaucresson’s Hot Sausage Po-Boy

Hot Sausage Po-Boy


If you’re a fan of spice, definitely try out this spicy sausage po-boy from Vaucresson’s. It’s bright red, so you know it brings the heat. 

Paul Broussard
Cochon de Lait Po-Boy

Cochon de Lait Po-Boy

Love at First Bite

For those who love meat, the cochon de lait po-boy can’t be missed. It’s perfectly spiced and tender smoked pork shoulder on French bread with a mustardy, crunchy slaw. 

Pecan Catfish Meuniere 

Gallagher’s Grill

This dish is a prime example of a fairly surprising find at an outdoor music festival. Catfish is perfectly cooked, then topped with a decadent meuniere sauce dotted with pecans. You can also grab a crab cake to go alongside your fish at this same vendor. 

Paul Broussard
Trout Baquet

Trout Baquet 

Lil’ Dizzy’s 

This excellent fish dish features a buttery heap of delicious Lousiana crabmeat atop a panfried piece of trout. Again, unexpectedly fancy for a festival. But certainly worth a taste. 

Justen Williams, New Orleans & Co.
Muffuletta - Jazz Fest


Di Martino’s Famous Muffulettas

Jazz Fest is as much about the only-at-Jazz-Fest delights as it is about the classics. And when it comes to classic New Orleans sandwiches, you can’t go wrong with a muffuletta. In contrast to the ones you’ll usually find in restaurants around town, this one is better portioned for a single serving, giving you just enough cured-meat-olive-salad deliciousness to allow enough room in your stomach to continue your food journey throughout the festival grounds.

Fried Pork Chop Sandwich 

Ms. Linda’s Catering

Here you’ll find bone-in, thin chops perfectly seasoned and fried served with a slathering of mayo between two slices of white bread. Don’t let the bone scare you off–this sandwich is pure heaven. 

Justen Williams, New Orleans & Co.
Prejean's Crawfish Enchilada

Crawfish Enchiladas and Pheasant, Quail, and Andouille Gumbo

Prejean’s Restaurant

It may seem like we’re on to a theme here with the crawfish tails and melted cheese, but this Louisiana spin on a Mexican classic is spicy, rich, and filling. Also from Prejean’s, this hearty stew is an excellent pick for anyone who loves dark roux and a seriously spicy gumbo. 

Paul Broussard
Soft-Shell Crab Po-Boy

Soft-Shell Crab Po-Boy

Galley Seafood Restaurant

Another top pick is the fried soft-shell crab po-boy from Galley Seafood Restaurant. If you’ve never had soft-shell crab before, don’t be alarmed to find a full, crispy-fried crab waiting for you between french bread and served with pickle slices. 

Paul Broussard
Crawfish Monica, Jazz Fest 2016

Crawfish Monica

Big River Foods

This fan-favorite pasta dish is a classic for good reason. Rotini pasta is coated in a rich, buttery sauce full of crawfish tails, garlic, and Cajun spices. If mac’n’cheese had a South Louisiana cousin, this would be her.

Justen Williams, New Orleans & Co.
Patton's Combo Plate - Jazz Fest

Crawfish Sack, Oyster Patties, and Crawfish Beignets


While each item from Patton’s can be purchased individually, true fest food fans know that the combo plate is the ideal Jazz Fest trifecta. The sack is a fried beggar’s purse with crawfish filling, while the oyster patty is a tower of puff pastry filled with oyster cream sauce. Finally, the crawfish beignet is a savory take on the New Orleans classic dessert–this time with spicy crawfish in the batter, which is then fried and topped with a crawfish cream sauce. *chef’s kiss*

Justen Williams, New Orleans & Co.
Fried Chicken and Jambalaya - Jazz Fest

Fried Chicken 

Catering Unlimited

Fried chicken might not be an exclusively New Orleans dish, but wow, do we know how to do it right. And when it comes to a fairly portable, easy-to-eat-at-a-fest food, fried chicken is always a good choice. If you want to make it more of a meal, opt for a combo of Cajun Jambalaya on the side.

Hartley Wasser, New Orleans & Co.
Loretta's Praline Beignet - Jazz Fest

Praline Beignet

Loretta’s Authentic Pralines

Beignets are a New Orleans must, and while you can (and should) get the traditional powdered sugar ones from Café du Monde at Jazz Fest, the stuffed versions at Loretta’s are absolutely not to be missed. You can opt for savory (lump crabmeat) or go sweet with the praline-stuffed beignet. In a word­–divine.

Crawfish Strudel


Continuing in the tradition of decadent crawfish dishes we crave all year long, the crawfish strudel from Caluda's is absolutely divine. Perfectly golden phyllo dough surrounds crawfish tails coated in a creamy, lightly cheesy sauce. 

Andy Kutcher, New Orleans & Co.
Goi Cuon (Spring Rolls) - Jazz Fest

Goi Cuon (Spring Rolls)

Ba Mien Vietnamese Cuisine

Sometimes you need something crisp and refreshing at Jazz Fest, and when that craving strikes, Vietnamese spring rolls are just what the doctor ordered. They’re fresh and bright, with shrimp, crunchy veggies, and a delicious peanut sauce for dipping. You can also find a few other traditional Vietnamese dishes at this stop, including bánh mì, bun, and cha gio (Vietnamese egg rolls).

Justen Williams, New Orleans & Co.
Strawberry Lemonade - Jazz Fest

And to wash it all down… (The Best Jazz Fest Beverages) 

Rosemint Herbal Iced Tea

Sunshine Concessions

Perhaps one of the most refreshing beverages on the planet, there’s truly nothing that compares to a giant cup of rosemint iced tea on a warm day at the fairgrounds. Choose between sweetened or unsweetened, both with hints of hibiscus and a minty punch. 

Strawberry Lemonade

Strawberry Lemonade

Another ultra-refreshing beverage, the strawberry lemonade is tart yet sweet and oh-so sippable.

Paul Broussard
Mango Freeze

Mango Freeze


And finally, the ultimate Jazz Fest cooldown treat has to be the mango freeze. While it’s technically a dessert, it works very well as a palate cleanser between sets. Rumor has it that it also transforms into a delightful frozen-ish cocktail when combined with the canned sparkling wine sold throughout the festival.