Posted on by Cleverona Kitchen


Since presidential palates fluctuate as frequently as foreign policy, it’s a good thing that the most famous house in the United States comes with a personal chef. Each POTUS has his own favorite thing to eat, and many of them are relatively standard fare. From Ronald Reagan’s notorious addiction to jelly beans to Donald Trump’s obsession with fast food, most presidential tastes can hardly be labeled as “gourmet”. 

Ever wondered what Abraham Lincoln liked to eat for dinner, or what George Washington usually wanted for breakfast? Here are some of the dishes and guilty pleasures enjoyed by all US presidents, both past and present. We’ve included versions of their favorite food for your pleasure. And though it might not be the exact dish or treat that they’ve feasted on before, we think they’re quite amazing nonetheless.




A lot of literature has been written about America’s first president, and not all of it agrees on the identity of his favorite food. His own digital library describes him as being excessively fond of fish, but it also has an entire page dedicated to his love of hoecakes and honey. Hoecakes are an early version of an American breakfast classic that originated as a Native American recipe.

[Hoecakes recipe]

Photo by Tornadough Alli

Hard Cider

As a student at Harvard, Adams picked up one peculiar habit of drinking a morning "gill" (about a quarter of a pint) of hard cider. He later wrote that he would "... never forget how refreshing and salubrious" he found the beverage in college.

Hard cider is an alcoholic drink made by fermenting the juice of a fruit, usually apples. The addition of "hard" in its name is used to distinguish this drink from its non-alcoholic counterpart, the apple cider.

[Fireball Hard Cider cocktail]

Photo by Tornadough Alli

Mac and Cheese

Jefferson discovered a fondness for pasta while visiting Italy. He's credited with popularizing the food in the US after he brought a machine for making the pasta back from Naples, Italy. It is possible that he did this by serving a variation of the dish to guests at Monticello, his home in Virginia. Some sources say he discovered the cheesy version while on a trip to France.

[Spicy Mac and Cheese recipe]

Photo by Life as a Strawberry


Ice Cream

While it's hard to pin down one favorite food for president James Madison, the first lady Dolley Madison popularized the frozen treat during her time in the White House and the president was one of its top consumers. She also made her own, and her specialty was oyster ice cream, made with oysters she snagged from the Potomac. Other Popular flavors in those days included parmesan, asparagus, and chestnut.

[Old Fashioned Vanilla Ice Cream recipe]

Photo by Add a Pinch

Spoon Bread

Monroe stayed true to his native Virginia by snacking on spoon bread, which is similar to a bread pudding. And he maintained an affinity for the dish for much of his life, despite traveling the world. This delicacy, made largely from cornbread and said to have a pudding-like consistency, takes its name from the utensil required to eat it.

[Sweet Corn Spoon Bread recipe]

Photo by Damn Delicious

Fresh Fruits

President John Quincy Adams kept it simple and healthy, eating fresh fruit on a regular basis during his time in the White House. He enjoyed fresh fruit so much that he made a point of planting fruit trees around his presidential grounds. He also lamented having not been wise enough to plant more when he was younger.

[Fresh Fruit Salad recipe]

Photo by Tastes Better From Scratch

Leather Britches

Andrew Jackson had a penchant for leather britches. The dish has nothing to do with sturdy pants, but rather an Appalachian tradition of drying string beans in the pod as a method of preserving them. The name comes from the shriveled, leathery appearance of the resulting beans, which are usually simmered in a pot with water and bacon.

[Dry-Fried Green Beans with Garlic Sauce]

Photo by Pickled Plum


According to canon, our eighth president was fond of oysters prepared pretty much any way especially raw and with wine, which is how he once served them to Vice President Aaron Burr. This dish would have been served as an appetizer.

[Mignonette Sauce, Citrus Vodka Sauce and Tangy Cilantro Pepper sauce recipe]

Photo by Northwest Fresh

Squirrel Stew

William Henry Harrison perished after only serving 32 days, the shortest tenure in US presidential history. But it was not because of his diet (the real cause was pneumonia). Harrison loved to indulge himself in squirrel stew. Harrison's proclivity for nature might have contributed to his taste for squirrel, which was a common protein at the time in a variety of dishes.

[Traditional Brunswick Stew recipe]

Photo by Practical Self Reliance

Indian Pudding

President Tyler was more of a Commander in Sweet than anything else. He loved desserts, especially pudding and his favorite kind was Indian Pudding.

The name is likely derived from the cornmeal, which was known as Indian meal way back when. Traditional Indian pudding dates back to New England's colonial days. This lightly spiced baked custard is made with cornmeal, milk, eggs, and molasses.

[Indian Pudding recipe]

Photo by Elise Bauer/Simply Recipes

Corn Pone

President Polk took his Southern palate to the White House during his four-year term. One of his favorite foods was corn pone. 

The difference between corn pone and cornbread lies in the ingredients and in the history of the two dishes. Corn pone consists of cornmeal, water, salt, and oil or bacon drippings, while cornbread adds eggs, sugar, butter, milk, flour, and baking powder into the mix.

[Corn Pone recipe]

Photo by Taste of Home


President Taylor loved anything Southern, and his taste for Southern and Creole food led him to calas, which are similar to the treats consisting of fried dough covered in powdered sugar now known as beignets. 

[Calas recipe]

Photo by Spicy Southern Kitchen


Fillmore was a fan of hearty foods, including beef stew, mock turtle soup, fish, ham with macaroni, duck, chicken, pigeon, and larded sweetbreads. His last words were even reportedly in reference to a bowl of soup: “The nourishment is palatable.”

[Ina Garten's Creamy Tomato Bisque recipe]

Photo by Quentin Bacon/Country Living

Fried Apple Pies

Franklin Pierce was the first president born in New Hampshire. His taste in food was true to his New England roots and included fried clams, clam chowder, and his favorite New Hampshire-style fried apple pies.

[Fried Apple Pie recipe]

Photo by Jernej Kitchen


Like many of our nation's Founding Fathers, President James Buchanan loved to eat French cuisine and other gourmet foods of his day. However, the president also liked his butter and he liked it best from Philadelphia. He liked it so much that he regularly had a locked brass kettle of it delivered to the White House from Philly.

[Herb Compound Butter recipe]

Photo by Love and Lemons

Chicken Fricassée

Honest Abe Lincoln was a simple man with simple tastes that includes corned beef, cornbread, and corn pone. But his notoriously shy appetite could be tempted by a plate of chicken fricassee. Mary Todd Lincoln described it as his absolute favorite dish, and there’s even been heavy speculation about whether or not it was also his final meal.

[Chicken Fricassée recipe]

Photo by Recipe Tin Eats

Hoppin’ John

Andrew Johnson's presidency was one of the most dramatic in US history, surviving impeachment by only one vote. Comfort food must constantly be on the menu during his administration. Andrew Johnson most enjoyed the Southern delicacies of his youth and his favorite food was a Southern dish called Hoppin' John. It's made with black-eyed peas, rice, chopped onion, sliced bacon, and seasoned with salt.

[Hoppin' John recipe]

Photo by A Spicy Perspective

Rice Pudding

The leader of the Union Army and the 18th President of the United States kept things simple with his love for rice pudding. He had his own recipe for a simple rice pudding that included a special lemon favor. For Grant, lemon-flavored rice pudding was one of the most important things in combating his Civil War nerves.

[Laurie Colwin’s Lemon Rice Pudding recipe]

Photo by Faith Durand

Cornmeal Pancakes

President Hayes was a breakfast kind of President. And he enjoyed this simple but hearty dish during his presidency. Rutherford Hayes only allowed himself a single cup of coffee with breakfast each day, but he also greatly enjoyed his daily serving of cornmeal batter cakes. His wife's recipe for these Civil War-era pancakes has been preserved for diners of today. That was as sweet as it got for Hayes, known for being somewhat uptight.

[Cornmeal Pancake recipe]

Photo by Went Here 8 This

Squirrel Stew

Garfield was the second president to count squirrel as one of his favorite meals, which is nearly unheard of today. After contracting dysentery during military service, James Garfield had to stick to a diet he knew worked, and that included regular servings of squirrel soup, a personal favorite. He continued to eat squirrel soup even while occupying the White House, to some notoriety. 

[Squirrel Stew With Paprika and Greens recipe]

Photo by Holly A. Heyser

Mutton Chops

It’s easy to remember Chester A. Arthur’s preferred dish. He wore an infamous set of mutton chops on his face, and that also happened to be his favorite food. He was a light eater overall, typically chowing down on just a single chop for dinner on many nights.

[Smoked Mutton Chops recipe]

Photo by The Spruce Eats

Corned Beef and Cabbage

Besides being the only president to serve two non-consecutive terms, Grover Cleveland is also ranked as one of the country's least healthy presidents. 

Grover Cleveland loved corned beef and cabbage. So much so that he preferred it over the finer cuisine whipped up by White House chefs. On one occasion, Cleveland reportedly smelled corned beef and cabbage being cooked for his servants and insisted on having that for dinner instead of the presumably fancier food that had already been prepared for him. He then announced it was “the best dinner he’d had in months".

[Corned Beef and Cabbage]

Photo by The Suburban Soapbox


Luckily (especially for squirrels), President Benjamin Harrison did not have the same appetite as his grandfather, President William Henry Harrison. Instead, he liked to eat corn with butter and salt. Simple, but delicious. Harrison's beginnings in Ohio and Indiana put him in the middle of the country's main corn production region and shaped his favorite foods for years to come.

[Corn Chowder recipe]

Photo by Natasha's Kitchen


William McKinley was noted for his enormous breakfasts. Not a fancy one, but just a tremendous quantity of breakfast. And he was not alone at the table. First Lady Ida McKinley was a woman with a hearty appetite to match her husband's. The breakfast usually consisted of hot pieces of bread, potatoes, steak or chops, fruit, coffee, and occasionally fish. Eggs inevitably made an appearance at the breakfast table, often fried or scrambled, but sometimes in the form of a fluffy, baked "McKinley omelet" that was rather akin to an egg casserole.

[Loaded Baked Denver Omelet Casserole recipe]

Photo by Simple Seasonal

Fried Chicken and Gravy

Teddy Roosevelt liked to regularly eat any kind of meat, but he loved nothing more than fried chicken. Said to be able to take down more than a whole chicken in a single sitting, Roosevelt probably would have been a big fan of KFC and Popeyes had they existed in his day. He once stated that “the only way to serve fried chicken is with white gravy soaked into the meat”.

[Fried Chicken Cutlets and Country Gravy]

Photo by The Seasoned Mom


President Taft set the record as the heaviest US President to ever serve, which may or may not have been the reason he installed a bigger bathtub in the White House residency. One of the reasons for his weight was his obsession with steak and potatoes. Among other foods, Taft would eat a 12-ounce steak with breakfast, lunch, and dinner each day, and sometimes he’d have two with dinner.

[Garlic Butter Steak and Potatoes Skillet recipe]

Photo by Creme de la Crumb

Chicken Salad

While some presidents like complicated or foreign foods, President Wilson liked to keep it simple and heart-healthy. In fact, the only stand-out favorite a former housekeeper could recall beyond classic breakfast foods was chicken salad. The chicken salad was his favorite comfort food.

[Chopped Thai-Inspired Chicken Salad]

Photo by Pinch of Yum

Chicken Pot Pie

Harding's presidency might have been full of scandals, but his appetite wasn't. Harding's rollercoaster presidency might have pushed him toward the comfort-food favorite of a chicken pot pie that points back to his roots in the Midwest.

[Skillet Chicken Pot Pie recipe]

Photo by The Modern Proper

Apple Pie

The former president was known to be a bit of an adventurous eater, who enjoyed noshing on a wide variety of foods, including Vermont country pickles and Mrs. Coolidge's Chicken Chop Suey. But his favorite dessert recipe belonged not to his wife, but to his mother, who seemed to have some pretty interesting culinary ideas herself, as demonstrated by the fact that her beloved apple pie recipe included pork. Apparently, this meaty dessert was among the president's favorite foods, and Coolidge once claimed he "never ate anything as good as his mother's pork apple pies."

[Old-Fashioned Apple Pie recipe]

Photo by Antonis Achilleos, Prop Styling by Missie Neville Crawford, Food Styling by Torie Cox


Sweet potatoes with marshmallows

Hoover's favorite has stood the test of time, as sweet potatoes topped with marshmallows can still be found on dinner tables across the country come Thanksgiving. Herbert Hoover thought marshmallows cooked on top of sweet potato was the height of deliciousness, so much so that he left his own recipe for the treat in the presidential archives. President Hoover loved sweet potatoes with toasted marshmallows more than anything else. Clearly, he liked to keep the Thanksgiving vibe around all year long.

[Sweet potato with marshmallow recipe]

Photo by Jamie Oliver

Grilled Cheese Sandwich

During Franklin Delano Roosevelt's administration, his favorite go-to snack was really gooey grilled cheese. His love of a grilled-cheese sandwich is well-documented and restaurants and diners throughout the US serve toasties named in his honor. Roosevelt, who was president from 1933 to 1945 and helped pull the country out of the Great Depression, loved foods “he could dig into”, according to White House housekeeper Henrietta Nesbitt. The oozy toasted sandwiches came out top, along with hot dogs and scrambled eggs.

[Lasagna Grilled Cheese Sandwich]

Photo by Joy the Baker

Well Done Steak

Truman had an interesting take on steaks. Truman was specific that his steak was to be cooked well-done. He once said that "only coyotes and predatory animals eat raw beef." But Truman is not the only U.S. president who favored this cut of beef cooked well-done. President Donald Trump, according to Business Insider, also prefers his steak without any red or pink showing. Other presidents who liked their steaks cooked well-done include Ronald Reagan, who needed a side of chili, and Ulysses S. Grant, who apparently did not like the sight of animal blood.

[Pan Seared Steak Basted With Garlic Thyme Butter recipe]

Photo by Recipe Tin Eats

Mamie Eisenhower's Million Dollar Fudge

Many people don't know that President Eisenhower was actually a very good cook, often whipping up treats for his family and for foreign dignitaries. He also liked cooking as a stress-reliever. However, his wife, Mamie, stole the show in the White House with her Million-Dollar Fudge. This fudge soon becomes one of the president's go-to snacks.

[Million Dollar Fudge recipe]

Photo by Flour On My Face

Clam Chowder

The young president arrived at the White House from a wealthy and privileged background. He and first lady Jacqueline Kennedy epitomized early 1960s grace and style, and their tastes in food reflected that. The Kennedy era helped popularize classic French cuisine. Yet Kennedy also reportedly enjoyed timeless New England staples such as clam chowder. The president loved Boston clam chowder prepared in the creamy style befitting his roots. He pretty much always ate soup for lunch, sometimes with a sandwich and fruit on the side.

[Easy Clam Chowder recipe]

Photo by Damn Delicious

Southern Staples

Heat appeared to be a big part of Johnson’s palate, as he also greatly favored Mexican cuisine. Johnson’s dinners were usually the heavy Southern staples he preferred, and he insisted that the portions be big. He loved home-state favorites, especially black-eyed peas. In addition to Mexican food, cornbread, and grits, Johnson tucked into hearty chicken-fried steak.

[Southern Black Eyed Peas recipe]

Photo by Immaculate Bites

Cottage Cheese with Ketchup

Richard Nixon’s food of choice is perhaps a bit strange. Nixon adored cottage cheese and was especially fond of it with some ketchup dolloped on top. He ate it regularly for breakfast along with more normal additions of coffee and fresh fruit. He even ate cottage cheese with pineapple as his last lunch before announcing his resignation, facing impeachment, in August 1974.

[Homemade Cottage Cheese recipe]

Photo by Bless This Mess

Pot Roast

Gerald Ford is known for his controversial pardoning of Richard Nixon, but he didn’t ruffle many feathers with his rather ordinary favorite dish. Home-cooked classics could always be found on the dinner table when this Gerald Ford was in office. Juicy pot roast and red cabbage were regulars, always followed by desserts like butter pecan ice cream or German apple pancakes.

[Melt in Your Mouth Pot Roast recipe]

Photo by The Recipe Critic


While Carter was known as a peanut farmer from Georgia, peanuts don't feature prominently in his favorite dishes or those that were served at White House state dinners. Jimmy Carter is credited with kickstarting the Golden Age of Grits in the United States due to his well-publicized love of simple staple food. According to his wife, Jimmy Carter was the one in charge of breakfast at home, which consisted of grits, cheese, eggs, and coffee. Their dog was even named Grits after his beloved staple.

[Southern-style Grits recipe]

Photo by The Kitchn

Jelly Beans

Ronald Reagan first started eating jelly beans as he attempted to stop smoking, and he soon had an uncontrollable jelly bean habit that necessitated keeping a jar on hand at all times. His love for the treat went as far as placing a standard order for 306,070 Jelly Beans per month to be distributed throughout the White House and other federal buildings. His fondness for the candy even led to an unofficial partnership with the Jelly Belly candy company during his time in the Oval Office.

[Jellybean Bark recipe]

Photo by All Recipes

Pork Rinds

Bush loved pork rinds with Tabasco so much that pork rind sales actually increased 11 percent during his presidency. That is the power of the presidency in a nutshell. 

The Bush family kept things pretty low-key for the White House chef, with simple requests like eggs, hot dogs, and beef jerky. The one constant request was that everything, even pork rinds, was covered with Tabasco or kicked up with some sort of hot sauce.

[Pork Chicharon recipe]

Photo by Kawaling Pinoy

Egg McMuffins

Back in the day, Bill Clinton was known to dig into McDonald's hamburgers. And a particular favorite was the Egg McMuffin. So much so that Clinton and the Secret Service would even make regular impromptu morning trips to McDonald's for breakfast. But following an emergency heart surgery in 2010, he decided to go vegan and hasn't looked back. He's off dairy and opts for items like cheese-free lasagna and chili enchiladas made with meat substitutes to stay healthy.

[Homemade Sausage and Egg McMuffin recipe]

Photo by Recipe Tin Eats

Cheeseburger Pizza

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[Cheeseburger Pizza recipe]

Photo by I Wash You Dry


The former president once told Jerry Seinfeld during an episode of Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee, that nachos were one of his greatest vices. He said nachos are "one of those where I have to have it taken away. I'll have guacamole coming out of my eyeballs."

[Beef Nachos recipe]

Photo by Nadia Lim

Fast Food

Donald Trump hasn’t been shy about his love of fast food. He claims it’s an ingenious plan to avoid tampering because fast food is pre-made and ordered through a drive-thru, which would make food-tainting difficult. In fact, he trusts the “cleanliness” of companies like McDonald’s and Wendy’s more than restaurants in which “you have no idea where the food is coming from”. He has even served a spread of fast-food favorites to White House guests including the Clemson Tigers football team.

[Homemade Big Mac recipe]

Photo by The Girl on Bloor

Ice Cream

The United States' 46th president adores a fittingly all-American food. According to his granddaughters, he loves nothing more than a scoop of vanilla ice cream, preferably with chocolate sprinkles. "he’s always eating ice cream. Usually vanilla with chocolate. He likes ice cream in hidden ways, eating it in the freezer so that my grandma doesn’t see".

[Banana Ice Cream recipe]

Photo by Well Plated

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