101 Great Southern Recipes and Southern Food Dishes
Best southern food on the planet!
As a big fan of southern food, and as a lifelong southern cook, I’m often asked about the best southern recipes. Gosh – how do you pick just one or two…or ten? With so much amazing southern food to choose from, narrowing my choices down to a manageable number is all but impossible. I started out making a list of the ten best southern recipes, but that increased to twenty-five. As I was typing, I thought of more southern food dishes that I just couldn’t leave out, so my list jumped quickly to fifty. Before I knew it, I had seventy-five of my favorite southern food dishes, but then I recalled some more wonderful southern recipes, so I had to make my list even larger. I finally stopped at 101, but believe me – I could easily make a list of a thousand great southern recipes! The following southern recipes and southern food dishes are in no order whatsoever. Also, the complete recipes for most of the dishes can be found on my Hubpages or on my cooking site, Best American Food (dot net). Enjoy!
List of the best southern recipes
1. Fried chicken – the ultimate southern food. The best fried chicken includes a dip in buttermilk, and it’s cooked to crispy perfection – crunchy on the outside and tender and juicy on the inside.
2. Barbecued chicken – bone-in pieces of chicken grilled over a charcoal fire and brushed with a sweet, hot, tangy BBQ sauce.
3. Chicken and dumplings – pieces of boned chicken, stewed with soft, fat dumplings.
4. Chicken and dressing – off-the bone chicken cooked with a savory cornbread dressing.
5. Fried pork chops – center-cut pork chops double dredged in flour and fried up golden brown.
6. Barbecued pork chops – thick pork chops grilled over charcoal or wood, coated in a thick BBQ sauce.
7. Grouper fingers – strips of grouper dipped in a beer batter and fried crisp.
8. Steamed blue crabs – just-caught blue crabs steamed with a mixture of herbs and spices. Best eaten on a picnic table that’s been covered with newspapers.
9. Crab cakes – lots of blue crab meat, with just enough breading to hold the crabmeat together. Must contain onion and garlic.
10. Stone crab claws – a real delicacy! Best eaten with melted butter and cocktail sauce.
11. Stuffed flounder – fresh flounder stuffed with crabmeat and shrimp.
12. Fried green tomatoes – sliced green tomatoes coated with a cornmeal and flour batter, then fried. A great dipping sauce makes these even more amazing.
13. Fried squash – yellow summer squash, sliced thin, breaded, and fried in hot oil.
14. Hushpuppies – a must for fried seafood. Hushpuppies are a mixture of cornmeal, flour, onions, sugar, and buttermilk. The “balls” are fried in hot oil.
15. Buttermilk fried shrimp – I dip my peeled and deveined shrimp in buttermilk and eggs, dredge them in flour, and fry until golden brown.
16. Low Country Boil – shrimp, sausage, corn-on-the-cob, potatoes, and spices all boiled together in the same pot.
17. Pecan pie – pecans, eggs, Karo syrup, brown sugar, butter, and vanilla baked in a flaky crust.
18. Sweet potato pie – mashed sweet potatoes, eggs, brown sugar, butter, cinnamon, ginger, and cloves baked in a pie shell.
19. Buttermilk biscuits – the perfect addition to any southern food entrée. The best buttermilk biscuits are soft and flaky.
20. Crackling cornbread – cornbread laced with cracklings – rendered pig skin. Best cooked in a cast iron skillet in the oven.
21. Buttermilk slaw – shredded cabbage, onion, garlic, apple cider vinegar, mayonnaise, buttermilk, sweet pickle relish, and salt and pepper.
22. Blackberry cobbler – fresh blackberries, sugar, butter, flour, and milk. Best served with vanilla ice cream on top.
23. Peach ice cream – homemade vanilla ice cream made with pieces of fresh peaches.
24. Pound cake – a very dense, buttery cake. The best pound cake has a thick crust on top.
25. Shrimp salad – diced shrimp, chopped celery, sweet pickle relish, green onion, chopped boiled eggs, lemon juice, mayonnaise, and seafood seasoning.
26. Roasted oysters – fresh oysters in the shell, covered with wet burlap and grilled over charcoal until the shells pop open.
27. Fried oysters – standard oysters rolled in cornmeal or flour and fried in hot oil. Fried oysters should be crunchy but not hard.
28. Pulled pork – one of the most famous southern recipes of all. Pork shoulders are rubbed with spices and smoked over wood for several hours. Once done, the meat is shredded, or “pulled.” Can be mixed with barbecue sauce – or not.
29. Pecan-smoked pork loin – a bone-in pork loin that’s been rubbed with a wet or dry rub prior to cooking. The meat is slow-smoked over pecan wood for hours.
30. Smoked ham with a crunchy ham glaze – sugar-cured ham smoked over apple, peach, cherry, or pecan wood. Once the meat is almost done, a sweet glaze is brushed on.
31. Chicken pie – large pieces of boneless breast meat cooked in a white sauce inside a flaky pastry.
32. Fried venison steaks – venison backstraps that have been sliced, seasoned, and dredged in flour. The steaks are then fried in hot oil or shortening.
33. Country fried steak – cubed beef steaks or pounded round steaks are dredged in flour and fried until brown. A thick gravy is then made, and the cooked steaks are added to the pan and the gravy. The heat is turned down, and the pan is covered, allowing the steaks to tenderize in the gravy.
34. Cream gravy – a thick white gravy consisting of cream, butter and/or pan drippings, flour or cornstarch, and salt and pepper.
35. Smashed taters – mashed potatoes with their skins. Small pieces of potatoes often remain “unmashed,” making the dish lumpy. Butter, cream, garlic, chives, and/or salt and pepper may be added.
36. Lima beans and ham – dried lima beans cooked over low heat for hours, along with smoked ham, bacon, or ham hocks. Onions and hot peppers are often cooked in with the beans and pork. Best eaten with a generous dousing of hot sauce.
37. Mustard greens – fresh young mustard greens torn into pieces and cooked with some form of smoked pork. Must be served with pepper vinegar.
38. Green tomato pickles – super crunchy, super sweet pickles made from sliced green tomatoes. A powdered lime soak is used to make the tomatoes crunchy.
39. Peach pie – fresh sliced peaches, a thick syrup, cinnamon, and a little butter that’s baked in a pie shell. Traditionally, a second pastry shell is added on top.
40. BBQ ribs – in the South, “ribs” means pork ribs – baby back ribs, spareribs, or country-style ribs. The best southern recipes for BBQ ribs require slow-cooking the ribs over wood for a few hours and finishing them over direct heat.
41. Hoppin’ John – basic hopping John is made from rice and black-eyed peas, but southern recipes might also include chicken broth, diced onions, diced peppers, and spices.
42. Batter-fried fatback – small squares of pork fatback are battered and fried until crisp.
43. Vidalia onion rings – sweet Vidalia onions sliced, separated into rings, and coated with a batter. Then they’re fried in deep fat.
44. Watermelon – no southern recipes needed here. A sweet, ripe, southern-grown melon that’s ice cold needs nothing else!
45. Stewed squash – yellow squash sliced thin and stewed with sliced onions in bacon grease.
46. Shrimp Creole – fresh shrimp cooked with tomato sauce, onions, bell peppers, and herbs. Best served over white or yellow rice.
47. Smoked sausage – the South makes some great smoked sausage links. We like the hot ones the best.
48. Fried quail – wild bobwhite quail are the best. The dressed birds are cut in half, dredged in flour, and fried. Most southern recipes recommend placing the lid on the skillet once the quail have browned, in order to finish cooking and to tenderize the flesh.
49. Fried turkey – the absolute best way to cook a turkey is in a vat of hot peanut oil! The skin is crunchy, while the inside is incredibly juicy and flavorful.
50. Cornbread dressing – a mixture of crumbled cornbread, eggs, onions, celery, butter, spices, and chicken stock. The best southern recipes for dressing include making the stock from chicken backs.
51. Po’ Boy Sandwiches – can be made with fried oysters, fried shrimp, or both. Served on a large roll with tartar sauce or remoulade.
52. Sweet potato casserole – cooked and mashed sweet potatoes, butter, eggs, and cinnamon. Some southern recipes also include pineapple, raisins, and/or vanilla. The casserole is usually topped with marshmallows or a sweet pecan topping.
53. Blackened redfish – redfish fillets cooked at a very high temperature in an iron skillet, with butter and hot spices.
54. Crab pie – meat from blue crabs, butter, cream, shredded Swiss cheese, onions, and peppers are cooked in a pie shell. The top is usually made with crushed crackers.
55. Pork rinds – fried pork skins, seasoned with salt. Some southern recipes also add BBQ seasoning, black pepper, or vinegar.
56. Savannah red rice – a mixture of white rice, garlic, onions, stewed tomatoes, peppers, and spices.
57. Chicken and rice – rice, chicken broth, herbs, spices, and chicken. The chicken might be in boneless pieces or in serving pieces with the skin and bones.
58. Fried corn – fresh sweet corn is cut from the cob with a special cutter that releases the starches from the kernels. The creamed corn is then fried in butter or bacon drippings and seasoned with salt and pepper.
59. Fried crab claws – claws from blue crabs are battered and fried. Often serves as an appetizer in southern restaurants.
60. Fresh peaches – good fresh peaches need no recipe. A ripe peach should be very sweet, and the juice should run down your chin when you bite into the fruit. Best served cold.
61. Toasted pecans – pecan halves are toasted in the oven with butter and salt. Some southern recipes include adding herbs, spices, and/or sugar to the nuts.
62. Boiled peanuts – young green peanuts are boiled in their shells in salted water. The resulting goobers are tender and salty.
63. Peanut butter cookies – cookies made with creamy peanut butter, eggs, butter, brown sugar, and flour. The best are chewy and soft.
64. Peanut butter cake – cake squares made with peanut butter and topped with chocolate frosting.
65. Peanut butter pie – a frozen pie usually made of peanut butter and vanilla ice cream. Some southern recipes also include a chocolate topping on the pie.
66. Egg custard pie – a blend of eggs, milk, sugar, and vanilla, baked in a single pie shell. Usually sprinkled with nutmeg.
67. Deviled crab – crabmeat combined with onion, garlic, egg, mayonnaise, cracker crumbs, and seasoning. Often baked in a crab shell.
68. Crab sandwich casserole – made with crabmeat, slices of white bread, peppers, onions, eggs, cream, and spices. Some southern recipes might also include grated cheese.
69. Hot crab dip – meat from blue crabs, butter, chopped onions, chopped bell peppers, minced garlic, cayenne, and grated cheese. Served hot with crackers.
70. Grits – dried corn is boiled to make hominy. The hominy is dried and ground into grits. Grits are cooked in boiling salted water. Cheese is sometimes added, and butter is always added.
71. Macaroni and cheese – southern recipes for this dish usually contain elbow macaroni, butter, a white sauce, eggs, dry mustard, and lots of grated cheddar.
72. Okra and tomatoes – sliced fresh okra cooked with stewed tomatoes, onions, peppers, basil, and a little sugar. Southern recipes for this dish might also include other herbs and spices.
73. Grilled eggplant – sliced eggplant brushed with olive oil and grilled over hot coals. May be sprinkled with salt, pepper, onion powder, garlic salt, paprika, or grated parmesan cheese.
74. Pole beans – fresh pole beans cooked with bacon or smoked ham. Onions and/or new potatoes might be cooked with the beans.
75. BBQ beans – dried beans, diced onions, brown sugar, and BBQ sauce, topped with bacon slices and slow baked. Some southern recipes add ground beef, diced peppers, or pulled pork to the mixture.
76. Crab stew – picked crabmeat, butter, diced onions, minced garlic, diced potatoes, diced bell peppers, diced celery, cream, milk, paprika, cayenne, salt, and black pepper. Awesome!
77. Pecan brittle – same as peanut brittle, except that it’s made with pecans.
78. Peanut brittle – you know what this is.
79. Brunswick stew – a hearty stew that was invented in my home state of Georgia. It typically contains ground beef, shredded or diced chicken, pulled pork, tomato sauce, stewed tomatoes, onions, vinegar, diced potatoes, lima beans, creamed corn, peas, and BBQ sauce.
80. Watermelon rind pickles – sweet, crunchy pickles made from the rinds of watermelons. Some southern recipes flavor the pickles with red hot candies.
81. Blackberry chicken – chicken breasts cooked in a blackberry syrup.
82. Zucchini fritters – shredded zucchinis, diced onions, garlic, egg, flour, milk, and salt and pepper are combined to make a pancake-like batter. The batter is fried in a small amount of cooking oil.
83. Beer butt chicken – a whole dressed chicken is seasoned with a rub and placed atop a can of beer. The chicken is then grilled until done.
84. Boiled shrimp – fresh shrimp boiled in their shells until pink. In my opinion, the best southern recipes for boiled shrimp include beer, vinegar, and some type of seafood boil.
85. Crab-stuffed shrimp – large shrimp are butterflied and filled with a mixture of crabmeat, egg, cracker crumbs, and seasonings. The shrimp and stuffing are drizzled with melted butter and baked until done.
86. Bacon-grilled shrimp – colossal shrimp are peeled and deveined, then sprinkled with Cajun seasoning. Bacon is then wrapped around each shrimp and secured with a toothpick. The shrimp are grilled until done.
87. Cracker salad – an old Low Country and Charleston dish. It’s much like potato salad, but it calls for crushed saltines instead of potatoes.
88. Pralines – a crunchy candy made with pecans
89. Chocolate-covered pecans – toasted pecan halves dipped in chocolate coating
90. Divinity – a white candy made of egg whites, sugar, corn syrup, vanilla, and pecans.
91. Jambalaya – a dish of rice, broth, celery, onions, peppers, tomatoes, seasonings, and meat. The meat can be shrimp, smoked sausage, chicken, and/or ham.
92. Red beans and rice - red beans and rice cooked together,often with chicken stock. Southern recipes for red beans and rice might also include onions, bell peppers, celery, sausage, ham, and/or herbs and spices.
93. Potato salad – southern recipes for potato salad are varied. Of course, the main ingredient is cooked and diced potatoes, but they might also contain onions, green onions, chives, mayonnaise, salad dressing, vinegar, diced radishes, diced bell pepper, hot peppers, boiled eggs, sugar, mustard, garlic, parsley, black pepper, paprika, or cayenne.
94. Fried sweet potatoes – raw sweet potatoes are sliced very thin and fried in hot oil until crisp. Salt, cinnamon, and/or sugar might be sprinkled on the fried potatoes.
95. Fried fruit pies – dried fruits or other fruit fillings are placed on circles of dough, and the dough is folded over and sealed to make half-circles. The pies are then fried in hot oil.
96. Gator tail – just what it sounds like! The tail of an alligator is cut into small pieces, seasoned, and cooked. Many southern recipes require dredging the meat in flour or dipping it into a batter and then frying it. Gator tail tastes like a combination of chicken, pork, and fish.
97. Grilled rabbit – dressed wild cottontails, cut into serving-size pieces and grilled with BBQ sauce. The loins are the best part!
98. Grilled largemouth bass – whole dressed bass or bass fillets coated with oil and sprinkled with herbs and spices. Grilled over charcoal.
99. Florida lobster – not as famous as its northern cousin, but in my opinion, Florida lobster tastes better than Maine lobster. You might miss the claws, however.
100.Orange meringue pie – like lemon meringue pie, except that it’s made with orange juice instead of lemon juice. It’s not as tart as the lemon version, and in my opinion, it’s better!
101.Scatter dog – hot dog in a bun that’s topped with chili, slaw, grated cheese, oyster crackers, and just about anything else the cook might come up with.