American food can be difficult to define. Being a melting pot of cultures, the food is as diverse as its people. When you take into account how much American food has been influenced by the cuisine of other countries, it is hard to identify one dish as “truly” American. Nevertheless, we have put together a list of foods traditionally considered American and the perfect wines to elevate your next American-inspired meal.
Best Red Wine to Pair with American Food
A wide range of reds will go with a variety of American dishes.
- Zinfandel: fruit-forward red with moderate tannins and high acidity.
- Cabernet Sauvignon: full bodied, high tannins, notes of black cherry and cedar.
- Pinot Noir: a food favorite; light on body, high on aromatics and fruit.
- Grenache: floral with strong berry flavor and notes of citrus.
Best White Wine to Pair with American Food
The best white wine options tend to be crisp and acidic.
- Riesling: It’s light, sweet, crisp and highly acidic; a food-friendly wine.
- Albariño: Dry with high acidity and notes of lemon and grapefruit.
- Pinot Gris: refreshing acidity with a well-balanced finish and notes of apricot.
- Sauvignon Blanc: highly acidic, fruity, dry white with herb tones.
Pairing Wine with Various American Dishes
Wine With Hamburgers
It probably doesn’t get more American than hamburgers. Pair your burger with a Cabernet Sauvignon, or if you want something a bit lighter, try a Pinot Noir.
A crisp, acidic white is will elevate your hot dog to new levels. Try a Sauvignon Blanc or the always food-friendly Riesling.
Wine With Fried Chicken
Fried chicken needs a wine with some acid to cut through the fat and grease. Albariño would be a great choice, but Champagne would be an excellent choice.
Wine With French Fries
Similar to fried chicken, French fries do well with a wine that will balance the fat. A sparkling wine or Pinot Gris will be the best match.
Wine With Philly Cheesesteaks
This American classic needs a good red. Try a Cabernet Franc or Beaujolais to balance all the rich meat and cheese in this sandwich.
Wine With Deep Dish Pizza
This Chicago staple is a cheese-lover’s dream. You can go red or white here; choose a Zinfandel or Syrah if you prefer red, Sauvignon Blanc or Chardonnay if you prefer white.
Wine With Baked Ziti
A red with good acidity will be your best option for this Americanized Italian dish. A Chianti or Barbera will complement this pasta well.
Wine With Macaroni & Cheese
Macaroni and Cheese can easily go red or white. For red, choose something fruity and low in tannin, like Pinot Noir or Grenache. For white, a Chablis or Riesling with refreshing acidity will pair nicely.
Wine With Reuben Sandwiches
This rich and delicious sandwich needs an acidic white. Try a Gewürztraminer or sparkling wine.
Wine With Meatloaf
As evidenced by its name, Meatloaf is a meat-heavy dish that will require a bold red. Cabernet Sauvignon or Merlot are both great choices to stand up to this classic.
Wine With Lobster Rolls
You could do a few different whites, such as a Riesling or Verdejo, with this staple of Maine, but Chardonnay is the best for pairing with both the lobster and the roll it comes on.
Wine With Stromboli
This savory turnover filled with classic pizza ingredients is similar to a calzone. Wine pairings may vary slightly based on the filling, but a good all-around choice would be a Malbec or Syrah.
Wine With Chop Suey
This Chinese dish was invented by Chinese immigrants to make Chinese food more palatable to Americans. A Gewürztraminer or Riesling provides a nice balance to this savory dish.
Wine With Club Sandwiches
A sandwich stacked high with deli meats, cheese and bacon and will pair nicely with a Chardonnay or a refreshing Rosé.
Wine With Spaghetti and Meatballs
Another Americanized Italian dish that requires an acidic red. You cannot go wrong with a Chianti or Primitivo to elevate your meal.
Wine With Chicken Fried Steak
A definitive, American comfort food, this rich and heavy dish needs a fruity, acidic red for balance. A Grenache or Montepulciano will give you just that.