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78 Best Traditional Southern Comfort Food Recipes


Find all the best traditional southern comfort food recipes right here! You’ll find everything you need to create delicious, mouth-watering dishes your family will love.

I’ve been cooking and learning about traditional southern recipes for at least 50 years. These are the recipes that I watched my mother, grandmothers, and aunts cook when I was a child and that I’ve cooked for my family throughout the years.

Collage showing fried chicken, pimiento cheese, and sweet tea.

I hope you enjoy them as much as we do!

Appetizers and Snacks

1. Alabama Fire Crackers

Perk up your favorite soup or chili with these flavor-filled spicy Alabama Fire Crackers. This fiery, buttery combination of very ordinary ingredients is always a hit at parties and perfect alongside salads and soups.

Finished crackers in a white serving bowl.

2. Cheddar Pecan Cheese Ring with Strawberry Preserves

If you’re looking for the perfect appetizer recipe for any occasion, you have to try Rosalynn Carter’s Cheddar Cheese Ring with Strawberry Preserves. I’ve been serving this since the 1970s and people are still talking about it!

Cheese ring surrounded by crackers on a serving board.

3. Warm Turnip Green Dip

Warm Turnip Green Dip with Bacon. We’ve all had warm spinach and artichoke dip, right? Well, this is that dip’s southern first cousin. It’s a taste-tempting mixture of cream cheese, bacon, and turnip greens. Great for game day or just because it’s Thursday!

Warm turnip green dip in a baking dish.

4. Puff Pastry Cheese Straws

Serve this vintage recipe for the famous Rich’s Department Store (Atlanta) Puff Pastry Cheese Straws for any occasion where a little nibble is called for. The straws are composed of sharp cheddar and Parmesan encased in light, flaky puff pastry.

Puff Pastry Cheese Straws mounded on a serving board.

5. Texas Caviar

Texas Caviar combines black-eyed peas, tomatoes, peppers, onions, and cilantro for a light yet substantial summer dip or salad.

Texas caviar in a blue bowl.

6. Boiled Peanuts

Boiled Peanuts – green peanuts cooked in a salty brine. They’re a little salty, a little earthy, a lot delicious! A real southern delicacy.

Boiled peanuts in a glass bowl.

7. Classic Southern Pimiento Cheese

Homemade Southern Pimiento Cheese is a true classic. With simple ingredients of sharp cheddar cheese, pimiento peppers, and mayonnaise it can be whipped up in minutes and used as a sandwich filling or a spread. Once you try my recipe, you may never want store-bought again.

Pimiento cheese sandwich on a white serving plate.

8. Cheese Pinwheels with Mayhaw Jelly

Cheese Pinwheels with Mayhaw Jelly – a twist on the southern cheese straw made into a wafer and filled with chopped pecans and Mayhaw jelly.

Cheese pinwheels on a green napkin.


9. Southern Sweet Iced Tea

Southern Sweet Tea, a strong infusion of black tea that is sweetened and served over ice, is as essential to southern cuisine as fried chicken and collard greens. Depending on personal preference, it may also include a squeeze of lemon juice. And it’s never limited to warmer weather here, it appears on our tables every day of the year!

A glass of southern iced sweet tea with lemon and mint.

Must Have Iced Tea Glasses

What southern household doesn’t have iced tea glasses? They’re meant to be easy to hold and to show off the color of the tea!

Check it out >

Libbey Iced Tea Glasses

10. Southern Spiced Tea (Russian Tea)

Old Fashioned Southern Spiced (Russian) Tea is a mixture of warm black tea, orange and lemon juice, infused with cloves and cinnamon. It’s a soul-warming winter tea that’s all about comfort.

A cup of hot spiced tea with a plate of cookies in the background.


11. Lacy Cornbread

Southern Fried Lacy Cornbread is thin and oh so crispy! This flat cornbread is perfect for serving with southern vegetables or with soups and stews. Made with only four simple ingredients, it’s sure to become a family favorite.

Lacy cornbread alongside a bowl of soup.

12. Old Fashioned Cornbread

My best and most basic recipe for Old Fashioned Cornbread. Made with finely ground white cornmeal, buttermilk, and no sugar (!) it’s the perfect accompaniment for everything from fried chicken to chili.

A slice of cornbread topped with a pat of butter.

Must Have Cast Iron Skillet

A cast iron skillet is a purchase that will last your lifetime. I’m not sure how I’d manage to cook without mine!

Check it out >

Lodge 10-inch Cast Iron Skillet

13. Southern Hush Puppies

Crispy and crunchy on the outside with a tender, moist spicy interior, these Southern Hush Puppies with jalapeno are an absolute must with any kind of fried fish. Give me a plate of fish with french fries, onion rings, and hush puppies and I’m in heaven with an ocean view!

Finished hush puppies on a plate with dipping sauce on the side.

14. Southern Cornbread Muffins

Any time of day is perfect for these quick and easy Southern Cornbread Muffins. You can have these ready for the table in under 30 minutes. They’re perfect to serve plain or add a pat of butter and a drizzle of honey!

Finished muffins in a baking tin.

15. Easy Hot Water Cornbread

Light and fluffy on the inside with a crispy, crunchy exterior, this rustic and easy Hot Water Cornbread recipe is a classic southern treat! All you need are four ingredients and about 15 minutes to make the best cornbread you ever put in your mouth!

Finished cornbread on a white serving plate.

16. Corn Dodgers

Corn Dodgers are a very old Southern recipe served as an accompaniment to turnip, mustard, or collard greens. They are similar to a cornmeal dumpling.

A corn dodger on a plate with turnip greens.

17. Old Fashioned Buttermilk Biscuits

These Old Fashioned Buttermilk Biscuits are one of my favorite memories from childhood. Served with butter and syrup for breakfast or filled with a slice of ham or sausage, they’re moist, substantial, and totally delicious! Now, if you’re thinking of the kind of homemade buttermilk biscuits that rise high and turn out flaky, then this is not that recipe. These biscuits are made with oil, not butter and the result is incredible!

Baked buttermilk biscuits in a cast iron skillet on a wooden board.


18. Cheese Grits

If you’re looking for the perfect southern side dish then I have the recipe you need! Classic Southern Cheese Grits go with any meal from breakfast to supper and are fabulous with anything from chicken to fried fish to shrimp. They’re always the right answer to the which side dish to serve dilemma.

A white serving bowl filled with cheese grits.

19. Tomato Gravy

An old fashioned, southern recipe for Homemade Tomato Gravy. Delicious served over hot buttermilk biscuits and topped with an over-easy egg.

Tomato gravy with an over easy egg on buttermilk biscuits.

20. New Orleans Beignets

Enjoy these light as a feather and sweet as sugar New Orleans Beignets with a café au lait to feel like you’re right there in Jackson Square. An excellent choice for either breakfast or dessert.

A serving of beignets topped with powdered sugar with a cafe au lait in the background.

21. Country Ham with Red Eye Gravy

Country Ham with Red Eye Gravy – Salty, dry cured country ham with red eye gravy flavored with strong black coffee served with a side of cheese grits.

Country Ham with Red Eye Gravy - Salty, dry cured country ham with red eye gravy flavored with strong black coffee served with a side of cheese grits.

22. Sausage Gravy

Sausage Gravy and Biscuits with Tomatoes – A hearty country breakfast of sausage gravy served over biscuits with baked, herbed tomato slices on the side.

Sausage Gravy and Biscuits with Tomatoes - A hearty country breakfast of sausage gravy served over biscuits with baked, herbed tomato slices on the side.

23. Fried Red Tomatoes with Bacon Gravy

My Fried Red Tomatoes with Bacon Gravy recipe is a delicious way to feature winter tomatoes as the star of the meal. These cornmeal battered ripe tomatoes are pan-fried and topped with homemade gravy and crispy, diced bacon. Serve them on top of an English muffin, a bagel, or toasted bread.

Fried red tomatoes on English muffins with gravy and crispy bacon on top.

Condiments, Sauces, and Dressings

24. Comeback Sauce

What’s the most perfect dipping sauce ever invented? Without a doubt, it’s Comeback Sauce! We use it for everything from chicken fingers to onion rings and fries to sandwiches. Once you try it, you’ll use this stuff on everything, too!

Comeback sauce in a white bowl with an onion ring being dipped.

25. Jezebel Sauce

Classic Southern Jezebel Sauce is a sweet and spicy combination of apple jelly, pineapple preserves, and tangy dry mustard with a kick of horseradish. Serve it alongside ham, pork, shrimp, or grilled chicken. You can also serve it with a block of cream cheese and crackers for an easy appetizer.

Jezebel sauce in a small canning jar.


26. Pecan Pralines

Enjoy a taste of the south with these Homemade Southern Pecan Pralines. They’re perfect little treats loaded with creamy, caramelized sugar and just the right amount of toasty pecan crunch.

Pecan pralines on a white serving plate.

27. Charlotte Russe

Charlotte Russe is a creamy dessert combination of eggs, whipping cream, and whiskey. Traditionally served at Christmas and holidays.

A serving of Charlotte Russe in a crystal dessert dish.

Must Have Stand Mixer

I use mine for everything from whipping cream to mixing bread dough!

Check it out >

KitchenAid Stand Mixer

28. Chinese Chews

Dating from 1917, Chinese Chews, with their crispy tops and chewy centers, are a very old traditional bar cookie featuring nuts and dates. Bake a batch and enjoy the same treat your grandmothers probably had for the holidays.

Chinese Chews on a vintage silver tray.

29. Chocolate Little Layer Cake

A heritage recipe for Chocolate Little Layer Cake, a regional specialty from southwest Georgia. Tiny yellow cake layers filled with boiled chocolate frosting.

Completed Chocolate Little Layer Cake on a cake stand.

30. Mama’s Ambrosia

Mama’s Ambrosia is a simple mix of Navel oranges and coconut with clean, bright flavors. A Christmas tradition in our family.

Crystal dish of ambrosia on a serving tray with vintage spoons in the foreground.

31. Caramel Layer Cake

This Old Fashioned Southern Caramel Layer Cake with its moist yellow cake layers topped with an easy homemade caramel frosting is a long-time favorite of everyone in our family. It’s sure to be a hit with your family, too!

Southern caramel layer cake on a white cake stand.

32. Southern Tea Cakes

Old Fashioned Southern Tea Cakes is a classic, vintage recipe. It’s a bit of a cross between a cookie and cake, not too sweet, and utterly delicious. Tea cakes are the perfect ending to any meal or a great mid-afternoon snack with coffee, tea, or milk.

Old Fashioned Southern Tea Cakes on a white serving plate.

Must Have Biscuit/Cookie Cutters

Makes creating uniform sizes of biscuits and cookies so easy!

Check it out >

NorPro Biscuit and Cookie Cutters

33. Mississippi Mud Cake

A vintage recipe for Mississippi Mud Cake – a brownie cake base topped with melted marshmallows and drizzled with chocolate frosting.

A vintage recipe for Mississippi Mud Cake - a brownie cake base topped with melted marshmallows and drizzled with chocolate frosting.

34. Homemade Peach Ice Cream

Creamy, cold and delicious homemade Peach Ice Cream with sweet, fresh Georgia grown peaches.

Creamy, cold and delicious homemade peach ice cream with sweet, fresh Georgia grown peaches and rich with eggs, heavy cream, and whole milk.

Must Have Ice Cream Churn

For the best ice cream, treat yourself to an electric churn!

Check it out >

Hamilton Beach 4-Quart Ice Cream Churn

35. Texas Sheet Cake

Texas Sheet Cake is a rich chocolate sheet cake spread with a delicious chocolate and pecan icing.

A slice of Texas sheet cake on a white napkin.

36. Pecan Tassies

Pecan Tassies are a traditional southern holiday recipe. These two-bite mini pecan pies make a delicious addition to your dessert tray.

Pecan tassies on a linen napkin.

Must Have Tart Tamper

In the south, we call this a “tassie tamper” and it makes getting the dough into the pan so easy!

Check it out >

NorPro Tart Tamper

37. Never Fail Pound Cake

Never Fail Pound Cake – a classic old southern recipe for pound cake with the tang of buttermilk.

Never Fail Pound Cake - a classic old southern recipe for pound cake with the tang of buttermilk.

38. Red Velvet Cake

This classic Red Velvet Cake features chocolate layers colored red and slathered with loads of cream cheese frosting studded with pecans.

Finished red velvet cake on a cakeplate.

39. Chocolate Meringue Pie

This old-fashioned southern Chocolate Meringue Pie is the ultimate chocolate lovers’ dessert for any occasion. This decadent dessert with its flaky, buttery crust, rich chocolate custard filling, and fluffy homemade meringue is a treasured family recipe we’ve enjoyed for years.

A slice of old fashioned chocolate meringue pie on a white serving plate.

40. Biscuit Pudding

Use the leftover breakfast biscuits to make a Biscuit Pudding for the evening’s dessert. Very old-fashioned southern recipe. 

A serving of pudding on a decorative plate.

41. Egg Custard Pie

Egg Custard Pie is one of those traditional southern heritage recipes that I love so much. It may be made from plain, simple pantry ingredients but it’s so worth getting out the fine china to serve it. Who would think that a few eggs, some sugar, vanilla, and milk could conjure up such strong childhood memories!

Traditional southern egg custard pie on a serving board with a kitchen towel in the background.

Main Dishes

42. Shrimp and Grits

This recipe for an old southern favorite, Shrimp and Grits, is the perfect thing for a quick weeknight supper or your next Sunday brunch. It’s a heavenly combination of sauteed shrimp, bacon, bell pepper, and onion served over creamy, stone-ground grits with cheddar cheese. You’ll want to lick the plate clean and ask for a second helping!

A serving a shrimp and grits in a white bowl.

43. Southern Fried Quail

Southern Fried Quail are a delicacy straight out of my childhood. Simply seasoned, deep fried, and served with cheese grits on the side for an authentic southern dinner.

Fried quail on a vintage dinner plate.

44. Chicken Pie

This fantastic vintage recipe for Chicken Pie contains no peas, no carrots, no vegetables of any kind. It’s just tender shredded chicken in a rich, delicious gravy topped with a batter crust and cooked until golden brown and irresistibly delicious!

A serving of chicken pie in a white bowl.

45. Streak o’ Lean

Somewhere between bacon and lard, you’ll find Streak o’ Lean. It has a long and varied history in traditional southern foodways having been used for everything from seasoning to rendering for fat. This recipe showcases it on its own, dredged in flour and fried. One of the tastiest recipes from my childhood!

Finished slices of streak o' lean on a white serving plate.

46. Oxtail Stew

My Southern Style Oxtail Stew is a simple, easy-to-prepare recipe. Oxtails are cooked low and slow with carrots, onions, and spices, then served over hot, fluffy rice.

Must Have Dutch Oven

An absolute kitchen workhorse for soups, stews, fricassees, etouffees, and gumbos!

Check it out >

LeCreuset 5.5 Quart Dutch Oven

47. Shrimp Creole

Recreate the flavor and spirit of New Orleans in your own kitchen in just 30 minutes. This Louisiana Shrimp Creole with its spicy tomato-based sauce is going to be your new favorite weeknight dinner!

A serving of Louisiana Shrimp Creole over white rice on a plate.

48. Fried Chicken

Real Simple Fried Chicken – My simplest and most authentic recipe for real southern fried chicken. Quick and easy for a family dinner or special occasion.

Finished fried chicken on a white serving platter.

49. Chicken and Dumplings

Chicken and Dumplings – the traditional southern way with rolled dumplings. Almost as good for a cold as chicken soup!

Chicken and Dumplings - the traditional southern way with rolled dumplings. Almost as good for a cold as chicken soup!

50. Red Rice

My Charleston Red Rice is a one-pot meal of rice, chicken, and tomatoes, based on the famous Charleston, South Carolina recipe. Low country cooking at its finest!

A bowl of red rice on a decorative kitchen towel.

51. Chicken Country Captain

Chicken Country Captain is a true old South classic. Chicken, onions, garlic, peppers, and curry powder with raisins and toasted almonds.

Finished country captain in a serving dish.

52. Red Beans and Rice

Part of the foundation of New Orleans’ culinary style, this recipe for Red Beans and Rice uses canned beans to shorten the cooking time.

Red beans and rice in a serving bowl.

53. Chicken a la King

This homemade, from scratch, Chicken a la King is a recipe straight out of my childhood. It’s tender, moist chicken cooked in a creamy mushroom and pimiento sauce.

A serving of chicken a la king over toast points on a white plate.

54. Fried Catfish

Crispy, golden brown Fried Catfish fillets served with a side of creamy cheese grits. The centerpiece of any southern fish fry.

Fried catfish on a platter of cheese grits.

Must Have Fish Fryer

Hosting a fish fry for the neighborhood? You’ll definitely want to do the cooking outdoors with one of these!

Check it out >

10 Quart Gas Fish Fryer

55. Chicken Jallop

Chicken Jallop is a very old, traditional southwest Georgia recipe and is essentially a southern chicken stew served over toasted hamburger buns. It’s not made very often these days, but in the past, you’d find this recipe served at many church and social gatherings.

Chicken Jallop over toasted hamburger buns on a serving plate.

56, Country Fried Steak

Old Fashioned Country Fried Steak is a southern comfort food classic. Cubed round steak is seasoned, then dredged in flour and fried to a golden brown.

Finished country fried steak on a plate with side dishes.

57. Georgia BLT with Fried Green Tomatoes

Georgia BLT with Fried Green Tomatoes – A classic bacon, lettuce, and tomato sandwich with a twist. My version blows the regular BLT out of the water!

Fried green tomato BLT on a serving board.

58. Sausage and Rice Casserole

This Easy Sausage and Rice Casserole is an old fashioned supper recipe that will quickly become a family favorite. It’s full of flavor, is easy to prepare, and can serve as an entree or as a side dish!

A serving of sausage rice casserole on a white plate.

Southern Salads

59. Southern Potato Salad

What’s the perfect dish to bring to any potluck? Why, this Classic Southern Potato Salad Recipe, of course! With its steamed, tender potatoes, celery, pickle relish, and a dressing made from mayonnaise and yellow mustard, this recipe goes with nearly anything and is great year round.

Southern potato salad on a white plate with a hamburger and slice of watermelon.

60. Raspberry Jello Mold

This Raspberry Jello Mold (“Polly’s Pink Stuff”) is a festive retro recipe that was my grandmother’s specialty served for every holiday dinner.

Raspberry jello mold on a silver serving tray with vintage serving pieces in the background.

61. Blueberry Pineapple Congealed Salad

This Blueberry Pineapple Congealed Salad is an old-fashioned southern recipe. It features whole blueberries and crushed pineapple suspended in a jello base topped with a mixture of sweetened cream cheese, sour cream, and walnuts for a wonderfully sweet and tart dish.

A serving of congealed salad on a white plate.

62. Copper Pennies

Old fashioned, vintage recipes are the very best in my book! One of my favorites from years gone by is this recipe for Old Fashioned Copper Pennies. It’s a simple combination of marinated sweet and sour carrots, onions, and bell peppers that may be served as either a side dish or salad.

Copper pennies salad in a serving bowl.

63. Sunshine Salad

This classic southern recipe is great to make year-round whenever you need a treat that is light and delicious and bursting with color! Sunshine Salad is a traditional gelatin salad, or congealed salad, made with a base of lemon jello mixed with crushed pineapple, shredded carrots, and chopped nuts lending it loads of flavor and delightful textures.

A serving of sunshine salad on a small china plate.

64. Black Eyed Pea Salad

My southern marinated Black Eyed Pea Salad is a versatile and effortless side dish for your next picnic or potluck dinner. It takes 15 minutes to make and lasts for days in the fridge. You’ll love the earthy flavor from the peas combined with the bright, tangy marinade!

Black Eyed Pea Salad in a vintage serving bowl set on a kitchen towel.

65. Fire and Ice Tomatoes

This vintage recipe for Fire and Ice Tomatoes is a sweet-tart salad with late summer tomatoes, bell peppers, and sweet Vidalia onions.

Tomatoes, bell pepper, and onion in a glass bowl.

66. Texas Caviar

Texas Caviar combines black-eyed peas, tomatoes, peppers, onions, and cilantro for a light yet substantial summer dip or salad.

Texas caviar in a blue bowl.

67. Lime Congealed Salad

This Lime Congealed Salad is an old-fashioned Southern favorite! It’s a mix of lime jello, cream cheese, pineapple, nuts, celery, and marshmallows that stands in as a fantastic salad, side dish, or dessert.

A serving of Lime Congealed Salad on a red lettuce leaf.

68. Strawberry Banana Jello Mold

This Strawberry Banana Jello Mold is a refreshing summer-y jello salad with strawberries, bananas, and pineapple.

Strawberry banana jello mold on a glass pedestal.

Side Dishes

69. Brunswick Stew

If you’re looking for the perfect, most delicious side dish for your next barbecue, then I have the solution for you right here. This is the best Old Fashioned Brunswick Stew recipe! Not only is it a Georgia staple, it’s an iconic Southern barbecue side dish containing the most delicious combination of meat and vegetables you’ve ever tasted.

Brunswick stew in a vintage bowl.

70. Hoppin’ John

Hoppin’ John is a traditional recipe of rice and peas enjoyed throughout the Southern states every New Year’s Day. Add it to your menu for good luck!

A serving of Hoppin' John on a vintage plate with antique flatware.

71. Sweet Potato Casserole

This delicious heritage recipe for Sweet Potato Casserole starts with a smooth, buttery layer of cooked sweet potatoes and is topped with a crunchy pecan and brown sugar streusel. It’s a side dish worthy of supporting the turkey and cornbread dressing at any southern Thanksgiving table.

Sweet potato casserole in a baking dish with a vintage serving spoon.

72. Curried Fruit

Who says all your side dishes need to be savory? This traditional southern Hot Baked Curried Fruit recipe features a mix of canned fruits topped with a rich butter, brown sugar, and curry mixture that’s baked into sweet, fruity perfection. It’s a great classic side dish for either Thanksgiving or Christmas.

Finished baked fruit in a dish.

73. Southern Cornbread Dressing

Try this recipe once and your mouth will start to water every time you think of it! My cherished family recipe for Southern Cornbread Dressing is wonderfully moist and seasoned with onions, celery, and sage. It puts stuffing to shame!

Southern Cornbread Dressing in a white baking dish.

74. Southern Butter Beans

Fresh or frozen Southern Butter Beans cooked to melt in your mouth tender in the slow cooker. Serve with fried chicken, fried okra, and cornbread for a very traditional southern dinner.

Butter beans on a plate with fried chicken and cornbread.

75. Southern Fried Okra

Southern Fried Okra is a summer dinner favorite! Tender fresh okra is dredged in a light coating of finely ground white cornmeal and fried to a crispy, golden brown in hot peanut oil.

A plate heaped with golden brown fried okra.

76. Turnip Greens and Corn Pone

A combination as Southern as it gets. Turnip Greens and Corn Pone. Tender greens served with crispy, golden brown corn pone.

Turnip greens in a small bowl.

77. Southern Green Beans

My low and slow method for cooking Old Fashioned Southern Style Green Beans with its beautiful, smoky ham hock broth for flavoring, will take you straight to the country no matter where you live!

Old Fashioned Southern Style Green Beans with ham hocks in a serving dish on a tabletop.

78. Stewed Okra and Tomatoes

Southern Stewed Okra and Tomatoes – two Southern classics even more delicious when paired. The perfect side dish for almost any traditional southern meal.

Stewed okra and tomatoes in a small dish with a fork on the side.

I hope you’ve enjoyed this collection of my best southern comfort food recipes. Check back as I add to the list!

Collage showing fried chicken, pimiento cheese, and sweet tea.

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