12 Of Elvis Presley's Favorite Foods And Drinks

Elvis Presley was larger than life — his singing skills, movie appearances, and unmistakable look turned him into one of America's most enduring icons. The 2022 biopic starring Austin Butler reintroduced the King of Rock and Roll to a whole new generation, but one thing the movie didn't explore all that much was Elvis' status as a legendary eater. 

Food was incredibly important to Elvis — in fact, it may have been the most important part of his world. One of his private cooks told the BBC, "He said that the only thing in life he got any enjoyment out of was eating ... and he liked his food real rich" (via The New York Times).

Elvis did indeed like very rich food, but one of his most endearing traits was that, no matter how much money he made, he didn't eat like a rich person. He may have enjoyed copious quantities of indulgent dishes, but the recipes he liked were mostly relatable, down-home comfort-food classics. Here are the foods and drinks that brought Elvis the most joy.

Fool's Gold Loaf

The Fool's Gold Loaf was a specialty of Denver's Colorado Mine Company restaurant in the 1970s. It consisted of an entire loaf of bread that was hollowed out and stuffed with a jar of peanut butter, a jar of jam, and a pound of cooked bacon. Though descriptions of the sandwich vary, it's possible that the whole thing was also deep-fried before being served. In 1976, it cost $49.95, which works out to about $276 and change in modern money.

Though the high price and general over-the-top nature of the dish make it seem like it was more of a novelty stunt item than a serious recipe, Elvis Presley was a big fan. He reportedly flew in his private jet to Denver on February 1, 1976, just to eat this sandwich with some of his friends. He didn't even leave the airport — the sandwiches were delivered to the plane, and Elvis and his entourage ate them there. 

With many conflicting tellings of the story, it's not clear how many people were on the plane, or how many Fool's Gold Loaves he ordered — some sources say 30, while others claim 22. Whatever the truth is, apparently all the Fool's Gold Loaves were devoured that night before Elvis flew back home to Memphis. 

Peanut butter and banana sandwiches

The King was clearly a big fan of peanut butter, because another of his favorite dishes — one he enjoyed much more regularly than the Fool's Gold Loaf — was a toasted peanut butter and banana sandwich. He picked up a taste for these sandwiches and began eating them regularly after that. He only enjoyed them if prepared in a specific way, however, and his cook at Graceland, Mary Jenkins Langston, had to experiment and seek out advice from Elvis' family before arriving at a Presley-approved recipe.

To make Elvis' favorite peanut butter and banana sandwich, you have to first toast the slices of bread. Then, spread on peanut butter and thin slices of banana. Finally, fry the sandwich in a generous amount of butter. Langston reported that she used a ratio of two sticks of butter for every three sandwiches, and Elvis wanted all the butter to be soaked into the bread by the time the sandwich was finished frying. 


You may be wondering what Elvis Presley liked to drink to wash down all that rich food. He wasn't a big fan of alcohol — though he may have dabbled in peach brandy and whiskey as a young man, the latter libation giving rise to recently released Elvis Presley-inspired whiskey line. Nonetheless, the legendary stories of his indulgent meals later in life don't typically involve alcohol. 

For example, although one version of the Fool's Gold Loaf story says that Elvis' buddies drank Dom Pérignon Champagne with their sandwiches, the King went with Perrier himself. And while he was flying to Denver on that mission, Elvis and his crew slaked their thirst with his go-to drink, Pepsi.

Pepsi was Elvis' preferred beverage to drink with meals, and he may have sipped the soda onstage, too, as his stage-used paper Pepsi cup was auctioned off in 2013. The cup even came with photos of Elvis drinking out of it at a 1976 show in Eugene, Oregon. Pepsi also may have influenced Elvis' music; his song "All Shook Up" was allegedly inspired by a shaken-up Pepsi bottle (though the Pepsi idea apparently came from the song's co-writer Otis Blackwell, not the King himself). 


Pepsi may have been Elvis Presley's drink of choice throughout most of the day, but in the morning he reportedly started his day with orange juice and coffee. As you might expect from someone who loved soda so much, he preferred his coffee sweet, drinking it with half-and-half and Sweet'N Low. 

Known to be a germophobe, Elvis sipped from his coffee mug in a strange way — close to the handle. That meant he wouldn't be sipping from the same spot as other people who might have previously used the mug. 

Later in his life, Elvis began taking his morning coffee with copious amounts of prescription drugs, prescribed to him by Dr. George Nichopoulos (aka "Dr. Nick"), Elvis' controversial personal physician. According to the I Need Coffee blog, Elvis would wash down a decongestant, blood pressure medicine, vitamins, and appetite-suppressing pills with his morning cup of java. If the caffeine in the coffee wasn't enough to wake Elvis up, the stimulants in the pills probably did the trick.


Elvis Presley was a native of Tupelo, Mississippi, and many of his food preferences reflect a love for Southern cuisine. His cook, Mary Jenkins Langston, told the BBC in 1996 that he loved a big Southern-style breakfast in the morning that included biscuits, scrambled eggs, and sausage patties. As if that weren't rich enough, the biscuits would be fried in butter. Per Langston, "I'd bring the tray up to his room, he'd say, 'This is good, Mary.' He'd have butter running down his arms” (via The New York Times).

Though Langston reported that she would make homemade biscuits for the King, it seems like he wanted a more convenient option for when biscuit cravings struck. A researcher compiled a list of grocery items that Elvis wanted in stock at Graceland 100% of the time, and it included a half-dozen cans of ready-to-bake biscuits. You might think this means he ate biscuits as his bread with every meal, but that's not the case — rolls were reportedly on the shopping list for Elvis' staff, as well.


Another mandatory supply in Elvis Presley's fridge was everything required to make meatloaf — he clearly ate the dish frequently. And, just like with the peanut butter and banana sandwiches, you can recreate this dish the way Elvis ate it. In this case, the recipe is preserved thanks to the "The Presley Family Cookbook," which was co-written by Elvis' uncle, Vester Presley, and another one of his cooks, Nancy Rooks.

The recipe in the book is fairly standard, for the most part — it includes classic meatloaf ingredients like ground beef, eggs, bread, onions, salt, and pepper. There are other additions, however. The secret ingredient in Elvis' favorite meatloaf is wheat germ, mixed in with the meat and seasonings, taking the place of some of the breadcrumbs that are traditionally included in meatloaf. It would add a nuttier taste and some extra fiber to the recipe. While the Presley family may have originally made it this way to bulk up the dish when they were impoverished, Elvis continued to enjoy his meatloaf with wheat germ long after striking it rich.

Krystal burgers

Elvis Presley ate a lot of burgers, both at home and from fast-food places. He kept his fridge stocked with ground beef, burger buns, and condiments at all times. Elvis was fixated on burgers because, to him, they were a sign of his success; he grew up in deeply economically challenged conditions, and burgers were an unattainable luxury when he was a child. Once he was making enough money to afford burgers, he indulged in them frequently.

According to Express, Elvis' cousin Danny Smith remembers Krystal being the King's favorite burger chain for ordering takeout when he was at home in Graceland. Krystal is sort of a Southern answer to White Castle; it was founded in Chattanooga, Tennessee in the 1930s, and it serves steamed sliders by the sackful (Krystal's term for a bag of 12 burgers). The burgers may be small, but Elvis made up for that by buying a ton of them. Per Smith, Elvis ordered "gobs and gobs of them. And everybody up in Graceland would eat on them."

Banana pudding

Elvis Presley had a big sweet tooth — he loved snacking on sugary packaged treats like Girl Scout cookies. He always wanted to have banana pudding on hand, too. The King was so fond of this dessert that Graceland sold postcards with a banana pudding recipe printed on them.

For the uninitiated, this Southern treat isn't actually banana-flavored pudding. Instead, it's a parfait-like dessert made with vanilla pudding layered with sliced bananas and vanilla wafers. Many banana pudding recipes are served cold and topped with whipped cream, but the Graceland recipe is a little different. 

Once the pudding, bananas, and cookies are combined in a baking dish, they are then topped with a layer of sweet meringue and then baked. The time in the oven would brown the meringue, giving the dish a toasty flavor note you don't get with whipped cream. (We're not sure if the King liked to eat the pudding warm out of the oven, or if you're supposed to chill it after baking.) 


Elvis Presley did not pursue a low-carb lifestyle — in addition to the previously discussed biscuits, rolls, and sandwiches, he was also fond of cornbread. Mary Jenkins Langston shared her recipe for his favorite cornbread, and surprisingly, it contains no butter (though we wouldn't be surprised if Elvis spread copious amounts of butter on it at the table). 

Instead, this cornbread is made with a relatively innocuous ¼ cup of cooking oil, plus 1 teaspoon coating the skillet. It is also light on sugar, so it would have a more savory character than many a modern cornbread recipe, which can be a little sweet.

One nice touch in Langston's cornbread recipe is that she uses buttermilk, which would add a nice tang. She also cooks it in an interesting way: She said that while mixing up the batter, you should heat up a small amount of oil and cornmeal in the skillet you'll be baking the bread in. You only pour the batter into the pan once the skillet is hot. We imagine this preheating step would give the cornbread an extra-crunchy crust.

Pound cake

Classic pound cake isn't exclusively a Southern thing, but it is popular down there, and Elvis Presley couldn't get enough of a Southern version of the dish made by Janelle McComb, a friend from his childhood days. McComb would deliver two loaves of this cake to Graceland every Christmas — one for Elvis, and one for everyone else. Elvis would reportedly eat his loaf entirely on his own in one sitting. Pound cake is often served garnished with fruit and whipped cream, but it's not clear if Elvis added anything or just ate it plain.

McComb's recipe makes a pretty traditional pound cake that's rich with butter, eggs, and sugar. It's flavored with vanilla and is made extra luxurious with the addition of heavy cream. The cake didn't have any leavening, so it would come out quite dense. Elvis' favorite pound cake recipe has been preserved because McComb reportedly shared it with food historians after the King's death.

Barbecue pork pizza

As a Southerner, Elvis Presley ate barbecue, but he liked to eat it in an untraditional way. One of his favorite dishes was barbecue pork pizza — specifically, the one from Coletta's Italian restaurant in Memphis. According to PMQ Pizza Magazine, Coletta's claims to have invented barbecue pizza in the 1950s, the same decade when Elvis was helping to pioneer rock and roll. 

According to the website, Horest Coletta came up with the idea because he was having a hard time selling traditional pizza in Memphis — in the '50s, pizza was still an unfamiliar food in the city. So, he added some barbecue pork, which people already knew and liked, and a classic was born. The restaurant's version of the dish is topped with barbecue sauce, cheese, and pulled pork cooked for eight hours.

Elvis is remembered as ordering barbecue pork pizza from Coletta's every week. The restaurant is still going strong, over 100 years after it got its start as an ice cream parlor in 1923.

Rendezvous ribs

Closing out with another non-traditional barbecue offering, we have to talk about Elvis Presley's choice for ribs in Memphis, Rendezvous. He reportedly loved these ribs so much that he once ordered a batch of them to share with legendary sportscaster Harry Caray during a late-night chat session, according to USA Today.

While this restaurant serves ribs cooked over an open flame and doused with a spice rub, they're not the slightly sweet, saucy, wood-smoked ribs you'll find in a lot of the best BBQ joints in Memphis. Instead, the ribs are coated in seasonings ordinarily used in a Greek chili recipe, with paprika added to give it a more classic barbecue color. 

If you want to eat Elvis' favorite ribs, Rendezvous is still cooking them the same way as when the King was alive. The Memphis mainstay restaurant has been serving the same rib recipe since the late 1950s.