The Best Snack Recipes to Pack for a Road Trip

From pimento cheese hush puppies to the best crackers we've ever tasted

Road trips are an American birthright, and if you’re going to do one, you’ll need to eat. While we’re firm believers in sampling local fare along the way—and we have an excellent guide to help you in that regard—we’re also big on the home-packed meals and snacks to keep you well fed without having to resort to gas station grub.

Here are some sweet and savory snacks to keep you fueled, from New Jersey’s greatest contribution to breakfast to standout empanadas to the most chocolatey cookies to power overnight drives.

Fried Shredded Beef Empanadas

Get the recipe for Shredded Beef Empanadas »

These crunchy empanadas, featuring shells made with masa, lard, and salt, are filled with tender shredded beef tossed in a spicy salsa. You can prepare the masa and filling in advance, but don’t fill or fry the empanadas until just before eating. Adding baking powder and using an electric mixer are two secrets to light, puffy empanada pastry. Get the recipe for Fried Shredded Beef Empanadas »

Taralli

Crisp, biscuit-like Italian crackers, taralli taste best baked until dry and golden-brown: the toastiness brings out and complements the flavors of the spices and fruity olive oil. Baking them atop a drying rack helps ensure an even browning all around, but if you don’t have one, dry the taralli briefly on clean kitchen towel and bake them on a parchment-lined sheet. You can omit the fennel seed and replace with 1 ¼ tsp. coarsely ground black pepper if desired, or leave the dough plain. Get the recipe for Fennel Seed Taralli (Italian Olive Oil Crackers) »

Dorie Greenspan’s Chocolate Chunker Cookies

You’ll need a lot of chocolate—more than a pound!—for this gooey cookie recipe. Get the recipe for Dorie Greenspan’s Chocolate Chunker Cookies »

There are chopped salted cashews in the mix; winey, sweet-tart dried cherries; chopped milk chocolate; and both chopped and melted bitter-sweet chocolate. You need a lot of chocolate—more than a pound!—and every penny that you put into buying great chocolate for these will come back to you in oohs, aahs and culinary contentment. There’s no question that Chunkers are one of the world’s great cookies. Get the recipe for Dorie Greenspan’s Chocolate Chunker Cookies »

The World’s Best French Fries

The World’s Best French Fries

Perfectly fluffy inside, crisp and golden outside—these fries, from a skilled and glamorous home cook, might be the best we’ve ever had. Get the recipe for The World’s Best French Fries »

Meyer Lemon Sandwich Cookies

Meyer Lemon Sandwich Cookies

Fragrant Meyer lemon zest goes into these shortbread cookies from pastry chef and author Emily Luchetti. She then uses the sweet–tart juice to make a silky citrus curd that sandwiches two cookies together. Get the recipe for Meyer Lemon Sandwich Cookies »

Chestnut and Goji Berry Rugelach

Classic sweet rugelach get a Chinese twist with a filling of chestnuts, goji berries, and Chinese five-spice powder. Get the recipe for Chestnut and Goji Berry Rugelach »

Classic sweet rugelach get a Chinese twist with a filling of chestnuts, goji berries, and Chinese five-spice powder. Get the recipe for Chestnut and Goji Berry Rugelach »

Persian Herbed Frittatas with Fenugreek (Kookoo Sabzi)

Persian Herbed Frittatas with Fenugreek (Kookoo Sabzi)

This variant of the classic Iranian frittata-like egg dish has become a popular street food in London. Feel free to add walnuts, barberries, or raisins to make it your own. Get the recipe for Persian Herbed Frittatas with Fenugreek (Kookoo Sabzi) »

Chocolate Chocolate Chip Cookies

Chocolate Chocolate Chip Cookies

These cookies test the limit of exactly how much chocolate you can possibly pack into one cookie. Made with cocoa powder and more than one type of chocolate chip, this cookie’s soft dough benefits from at least 4 hours of refrigeration, allowing the disks to stay thick and chewy when cooked. Plus, the dough will keep frozen for several months, so stash a few in the freezer to throw in the oven whenever you’re hit with a craving for chocolate. Test Kitchen Director Farideh Sadeghin developed this recipe based off New York City’s famous Levain Bakery. Get the recipe for Chocolate Chocolate Chip Cookies »

Roasted Cherries

Roasting cherries caramelizes their sugars and gives them a deeper flavor; they’re perfect on ice cream, cheesecake, or yogurt, or even mixed into cocktails. Get the recipe for Roasted Cherries »

Roasting cherries caramelizes their sugars and gives them a deeper flavor; they’re perfect on ice cream, cheesecake, or yogurt, or even mixed into cocktails. Get the recipe for Roasted Cherries »

Strawberry Rhubarb Hand Pies

Strawberry Rhubarb Hand Pies

For these portable fruit pies, Georgia-based chef-restaurateur Hugh Acheson uses rice wine vinegar to make the flavors pop. Get the recipe for Strawberry Rhubarb Hand Pies »

Homemade Granola

Homemade Granola with Apricots, Blueberries, and Almonds

Lightly sweet, perfectly crunchy, and with a mild vanilla flavor, this addictive granola is perfect served over yogurt or as an on-the-go snack. Get the recipe for Homemade Granola »

Pork Roll Breakfast Sandwich

Pork Roll Breakfast Sandwich

Make these hangover helpers with the processed meat pride of New Jersey: pork roll (a.k.a. Taylor ham). Get the recipe for Pork Roll Breakfast Sandwich »

Venetian Fried Mozzarella Sandwiches

These crisp mini-sandwiches are deep-fried and filled with molten cheese. Get the recipe for Fried Mozzarella Sandwiches »

These crisp mini-sandwiches are deep-fried and filled with molten cheese. Get the recipe for Fried Mozzarella Sandwiches »

Olive Oil Crackers

Adapted from Anya Fernald’s Home Cooked, this recipe for delicate, whole wheat-flecked crackers makes enough to feed a party, or last all week in your pantry. “The key to [their] crispiness is to roll out the dough extremely thin,” the author writes. If the dough springs back at all while rolling, let it rest at room temperature for 5 minutes, then try again. Get the recipe for Olive Oil Crackers »

Adapted from Anya Fernald’s Home Cooked, this recipe for delicate, whole wheat-flecked crackers makes enough to feed a party, or last all week in your pantry. “The key to [their] crispiness is to roll out the dough extremely thin,” the author writes. If the dough springs back at all while rolling, let it rest at room temperature for 5 minutes, then try again. Get the recipe for Olive Oil Crackers »

Indian Fried Banana Cakes (Mangalore Buns)

Indian Fried Banana Cakes (Mangalore Buns)

In the tropical Udupi-Mangalore region on India’s southwestern coast, you’ll find a sweet and fragrant puri made with mashed ripe bananas and cumin. The combination works better than you might expect, and these sweet, earthy doughnuts, called Mangalore buns or banana puri, are served hot, for breakfast with tea, or for a with spicy coconut chutney as a snack. Get the recipe for Indian Fried Banana Cakes (Mangalore Buns) »

Pimento Cheese Hush Puppies

Pimento Cheese Hush Puppies

At Lillie’s Q, hushpuppies—little cornbread fritters you could eat like popcorn—get a dose of zesty pimento cheese for extra richness. Get the recipe for Pimento Cheese Hush Puppies »

The Ultimate Fried Chicken Schnitzel Sandwich

The Ultimate Fried Chicken Sandwich

Raegan Steinberg, co-owner of Arthur’s Nosh Bar in Montreal’s hip Saint-Henri neighborhood, calls her partner chef Alex Cohen an “everything and the kitchen sink kind of cook.” Called the McArthur Sandwich, this high-piled schnitzel-filled creation adapted from the restaurant is the perfect example of his genius. Pounded and breaded chicken is topped with sweet honey, salty dill pickles, and vinegar-y iceberg slaw, then served upon crispy challah toast. The secret to the crunchy yet hearty schnitzel breading: instant mashed potato flakes mixed into the breadcrumbs. Get the recipe for The Ultimate Fried Chicken Sandwich »

Abruzzo-Style Grape Focaccia

Abruzzo-Style Grape Focaccia

When this fluffy, oil-slathered dough bakes, the red and green grapes dotting it burst, releasing their sweet juices into the bread. Get the recipe for Abruzzo-Style Grape Focaccia »

Barbecue Trail Mix

Barbecue Trail Mix

This trail mix uses three kinds of nuts (cashews, pecans, Marcona almonds), two kinds of dried fruit (apricots, figs), cacao nibs, and a flurry of spices (cinnamon, cumin, and more). Barbecue sauce and bacon glazed with maple syrup add an irresistible savory-sweet tang to the snack. Get the recipe for Barbecue Trail Mix »