Rugged, unspoiled, and bursting with natural bounties, Montana has solidified its culinary heritage around celebrating the state’s wildly scenic landscapes and pioneer spirit. From bountiful ranches, farms, and waters to the long-standing Native American cuisine, Montana’s food scene is rustic yet refined, simple yet utterly satisfying.

A few fun facts about Big Sky Country’s edible treasures:

  • Bozeman was recently dubbed a “FedCow” town, a newly coined term for former “cow towns” now teeming with urban federal employees attracted by the mountain lifestyle.

  • Cow droppings are used to naturally fertilize the fields that grow the beloved “Flathead Cherries” surrounding Flathead Lake.

  • About 90% of the nation’s lentil crop is harvested from the fertile Golden Triangle region of north-central Montana.

  • Montana is one of the last remaining places where it’s legal to hunt bison from horseback, a sacred Native American ritual dating back centuries.

Now for some of Montana’s most iconic foods and classic recipes:

With the largest population of bison remaining in the wild, it’s no surprise this lean, flavorful meat features so prominently in Montana cuisine. You’ll find locally-sourced Bison Burgers, jerky, chili, meatballs and even bison “blood sausages” called utsitđu lavaged by Native communities.

These gorgeous purple berries flourish across Montana’s high mountain elevations, coveted for their sweet yet tangy flavor akin to a cross between blueberries and black raspberries. Montanans go wild for huckleberry milkshakes, pancakes, jams, syrups, baked goods and more.

Flathead Cherries
Thanks to the fertile glacial deposits surrounding Flathead Lake, Montana grows some of the most luscious, deep red cherries around. It’s tradition to visit the cherry orchards for U-pick adventures and to load up on sweet-tart Flathead Cherries from local farm stands.

Rocky Mountain Oysters
Buckle up, adventurous eaters! These “oysters” are actually bull or bison calf testicles coated in seasoned wheat cracker crumbs and deep-fried until crispy on the outside, and tender inside. They’re a cheeky Montana delicacy served at saloons and cook-offs across the state.

With its unspoiled landscapes and frontier legacy, it’s no wonder Montana’s cuisine is known for making the most of simple, high-quality ingredients and wild-foraged bounties. The hearty, adventurous flavors are a true taste of the rugged Last Best Place.

Bison burger with bacon
Bison Burgers