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60 Iconic Southern Comfort Foods

Our best belly-stuffin', soul warmin' southern recipes. Think chicken-fried steak, biscuits and gravy and plenty of pie.

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Buttermilk Lemon Meringue Pie

For lemon lovers everywhere, this wonderful pie with a little tang beats lemon meringue every time, no contest. Compliments roll in whenever I serve it. —Ellen Riley, Murfreesboro, Tennessee

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Southern Black-Eyed Peas

I find pork the secret to a good black-eyed pea recipe. A double dose of ham for flavor and slow and gentle cooking creates this perfect side dish. —Emory Doty, Jasper, Georgia
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Catfish Parmesan

Mississippi is the nation’s largest producer of farm-raised catfish. My family loves this dish, and asks for it often. One reason I like it is it’s so simple to prepare. —W.D. Baker, Starkville, Mississippi
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Easy Pimiento Cheese

Every good Southerner has their own easy pimiento cheese recipe. It’s wonderful on crackers, in a sandwich with a fresh summer tomato, inside a grilled cheese sandwich or plain with some crackers. —Josh Carter, Birmingham, Alabama
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Down South Sweet Tea Cake

I think this recipe combines two of the best and most famous ingredients from the South: sweet tea and pecans! Using a cake mix simplifies prep and helps ease the holiday time crunch. —Melissa Millwood, Lyman, South Carolina
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Tex-Mex Potato Salad

I created this Tex-Mex potato salad for one of my cooking classes, and it was a hit. It’s perfect for a cookout or potluck. The secret ingredient is pickled jalapenos—they add so much interest and flavor! Add a can of black beans for more protein. —Dianna Ackerley, Cibolo, Texas
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Southern Okra Bean Stew

When this spicy stew’s simmering on the stove, my family has a hard time waiting for dinner. It’s much like a thick tomato-based soup with a hearty mix of okra, brown rice and beans. Everyone leaves the table feeling satisfied—and eager to have it again soon. —Beverly McDowell, Athens, Georgia
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Green Tomato Salsa

I came up with this green tomato salsa so I could use up all the fresh tomatoes from my garden. —Vanessa Moon, Tucson, Arizona
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Southern Hoppin' John

This is a quick and easy side dish that will become a favorite of your family.—Anne Creech, Kinston, North Carolina
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Southern Sweet Potato Tart

Our family loves sweet potatoes, so I try to incorporate them in as many dishes as I can. My secret ingredient is the bourbon—it’s what makes this tart so delicious. —Marie Bruno, Watkinsville, Georgia
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Mini Hot Browns

Here's my take on the famous Hot Brown sandwich. Guests quickly saddle up for juicy turkey slices and crispy bacon piled on toasted rye bread and then topped with a rich cheese sauce. —Annette Grahl, Midway, Kentucky
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Southern Shrimp and Grits

A southern specialty, sometimes called breakfast shrimp, this dish tastes great for brunch or dinner, and anytime company’s coming. It’s down-home comfort food at its finest. —Mandy Rivers, Lexington, South Carolina
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Southern Buttermilk Biscuits

The recipe for these four-ingredient biscuits has been handed down for many generations. —Fran Thompson, Tarboro, North Carolina
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Springtime Beignets & Berries

I've always loved beignets, but never thought I could make them myself. Turns out they're easy! Sometimes I'll even make a quick berry whipped cream and pipe it inside for a fun surprise. —Kathi Hemmer, Grand Junction, Colorado
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Southern Potato Salad

This potato salad with a southern twist is perfect for a church supper or potluck. The pickles add extra sweetness. —Gene Pitts, Wilsonville, Alabama
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Southern Seafood Gumbo

I tasted a similar dish at a local restaurant and later duplicated it pretty closely. I trimmed it down a bit and no one in my family seemed to mind. —Susan Wright, Champaign, Illinois
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Southern Lane Cake

I just love this southern-style dessert, and so do dinner guests. With pecans, cherries and raisins in the filling and topping, this version reminds me of a fruitcake—only so much better! —Mabel Parvi, Ridgefield, Washington
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Cajun Shrimp Skillet

There’s plenty of sauce with these shrimp—I always have some bread on the side to soak it up. Make it your own by using your favorite amber beer or flavorful broth. —Mark Oppe, North Pole, Alaska
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Southern Fried BLT

I’m really not big on tomatoes—but I do like them green and fried, so I decided to try them in a sandwich. It was a smash! If you’ve gotta have cheese, add sharp cheddar to this indulgent twist on the traditional BLT. —Stacy King, Rome, Georgia
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Honey Pecan Pie

Looking for a sweet ending to a special meal? This attractive pecan pie is bound to please with its traditional filling and honey-glazed pecans. —Cathy Hudak, Wadsworth, Ohio
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Shredded Barbecue Chicken over Grits

There’s nothing like juicy meat over steaming grits. And the pumpkin in these grits makes them taste like a spicy, comforting bowl of fall flavors. Your family will come running to the table for this one. —Erin Renouf Mylroie, Santa Clara, Utah
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Buttermilk Pound Cake

Now that I've retired from teaching, I have more time to bake. This buttermilk pound cake is the one I make most often. It is a truly southern recipe, and one I think can't be topped—once people taste it, they won't go back to their other recipes with buttermilk. —Gracie Hanchey, De Ridder, Louisiana
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Southern Fried Chicken with Gravy

Southern Fried Chicken with Gravy

Fried chicken may have been perfected in the South, but it is loved everywhere! Seasonings add a little something extra to this recipe, as does a rich gravy. —Taste of Home Test Kitchen
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Chocolate Pecan Torte

This impressive dessert looks lovely on a buffet table. It takes some time to prepare, but it’s worth the effort. —Lois Schlickau, Haven, Kansas
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Slow-Cooked Pork Barbecue

You need only five ingredients to fix this sweet and tender pork for sandwiches. Feel free to adjust the sauce ingredients to suit your family's tastes. —Connie Johnson, Springfield, Missouri
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Corn Pudding

Cornbread mix and canned corn make this southern corn pudding casserole a snap to prepare. Now this is real comfort food! —P. Lauren Fay-Neri, Syracuse, New York
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Biscuits and Sausage Gravy

This is an old Southern biscuits and gravy recipe that I've adapted. Homemade sausage gravy is a classic, hearty breakfast that takes you on a trip to the South every time it's served. —Sue Baker, Jonesboro, Arkansas
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Cajun Shrimp Lasagna Roll-Ups

If you enjoy Creole and Cajun dishes, you'll love this one. The seasoning and andouille sausage give it a nice kick, and seafood fans will appreciate the shrimp. —Mary Beth Harris-Murphree, Tyler, Texas
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Bread Pudding with Bourbon Sauce

There's nothing better than this comforting bread pudding recipe on a cold, wintry day. The bourbon sauce makes the dessert taste special, but it's so easy to prepare—the slow cooker does most of the work! —Hope Johnson, Youngwood, Pennsylvania
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Gulf Coast Jambalaya Rice

As the stew of the South, jambalaya is a definite staple. For ages, home cooks have been making their own tweaks on the traditional recipe. This rendition is my favorite. —Judy Batson, Tampa, Florida
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Sausage Johnnycake

Here’s a nice hearty breakfast with plenty of old-fashioned flavor. I serve it to my bed-and-breakfast guests. They love the cake’s savory middle and maple syrup topping. It’s a fine way to start the day! —Lorraine Guyn, Calgary, Alberta
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Southern Pimiento Cheese Spread

A classic southern comfort food, this spread is used as an appetizer with crackers, corn chips or celery. It is also smeared between two slices of white bread for sandwiches and as a topping for hamburgers and hot dogs. —Eileen Balmer, South Bend, Indiana.
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Bourbon Slush

At our holiday parties, Bourbon Slush is definitely a favorite. Have fun experimenting with different teas when you make it. We like black tea, green tea and orange spice. —Darcene Sigler, Louisville, Ohio
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Seasoned Crab Cakes

At the National Hard Crab Derby in Crisfield, Maryland, these scrumptious crab cakes won me first place. I entered them on a whim after trying many crab cake recipes for my family. —Betsy Hedeman, Timonium, Maryland
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The Best Chicken & Dumplings

 Homemade chicken and dumplings from scratch harken back to my childhood and chilly days when we devoured those cute little balls of dough swimming in hot, rich broth. It's one of those types of soup you'll want to eat again and again. —Erika Monroe-Williams, Scottsdale, Arizona
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Grandma's Collard Greens

My grandmother made the best collard greens recipe in the world. Eating them with a slice of buttermilk cornbread is pure bliss. —Sherri Williams, Crestview, Florida
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Grits Pie

Simple, southern and scrumptious, this pie will be a definite hit even with people who dislike grits. It has the perfect custardy texture.—Victoria Hudson, Pickens, South Carolina
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Banana Pudding

I didn’t see my son, Lance Corporal Eric Harris, for more than two years after he enlisted in the Marines after high school. And when I saw him arrive at the airport, I just grabbed hold of him and burst out crying. When we got home, the first thing he ate was two bowls of my easy banana pudding recipe. He’s a true southern boy! It’s a dessert, but you can have it for breakfast, lunch or dinner. —Stephanie Harris, Montpelier, Virginia
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Homey Mac & Cheese

I also call this "my grandson's mac and cheese." Zachary has been to Iraq and Afghanistan with both the Marines and Navy, and I've been privileged to make his favorite casserole for him for over 20 years. —Alice Beardsell, Osprey, Florida
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Sweet Tea Barbecued Chicken

Sweet Tea Barbecued Chicken

Marinades sometimes use coffee or espresso, and that inspired me to add tea to perk up a barbecue sauce.—Kelly Williams, Forked River, New Jersey
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Chicken-Fried Steak & Gravy

As a child, my grandmother taught me how to make this chicken-fried steak. I taught my daughters, and when my granddaughters are bigger, I’ll show them, too. —Donna Cater, Fort Ann, New York
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Cheddar Corn Biscuits

Skip standard bake-and-serve dinner rolls this year and try my fast-to-fix biscuits studded with cheddar and corn. It’s almost impossible to resist eating one right from the oven! —Susan Braun, Swift Current, Saskatchewan
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Iva's Peach Cobbler

My mother received this peach cobbler recipe from a friend of hers many years ago, and fortunately she shared it with me. Boise is situated right between two large fruit-producing areas in our state, so peaches are plentiful in the summer. —Ruby Ewart, Boise, Idaho
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Carolina Shrimp & Cheddar Grits

Carolina Shrimp & Cheddar Grits

Shrimp and grits were a house favorite—if only we could agree on how to make them. I stirred up a winner for the whole family with some cheddar and Cajun seasoning. —Charlotte Price, Raleigh, North Carolina
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Roasted Fresh Okra

If you have picky eaters who worry about texture, roasted okra is marvelous. It's OK to crowd the pan. Okra shrinks as it cooks. —Anna Katsoulis, Greenville, North Carolina
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Red Beans and Sausage

Turkey sausage, beans and a zesty blend of spices make this a deliciously unique meal.—Cathy Webster, Morris, Illinois
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Cajun Boil on the Grill

I came up with these everything-in-one seafood packets for a family reunion, since the recipe can be increased to feed a bunch. The foil steams up inside, so open carefully. —Allison Brooks, Fort Collins, Colorado
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Skillet Pineapple Upside-Down Cake

For a change of pace, you can substitute fresh or frozen peach slices for the pineapple in this old-fashioned recipe. —Bernardine Melton, Paola, Kansas
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Creole Jambalaya

Jambalaya is a traditional Louisiana dish, coming from our Spanish and French culture. Rice is the main ingredient, with different meats or seafood mixed in. I particularly like this variation with shrimp and ham. —Ruby Williams, Bogalusa, Louisiana
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Southern Loaded Sweet Potatoes

For a taste of a southern classic, we make sweet potatoes stuffed with pulled pork and coleslaw and manage to sidestep the calorie overload. —Amy Burton, Cary, North Carolina
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Quick Buttermilk Cornbread

The tattered recipe card for this cornbread proves it's been a family favorite for years. It's my daughter's top request. —Judy Sellgren, Grand Rapids, Michigan
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Carolina Crab Boil

This pot is a fun way to feed a crowd for a tailgate. You can serve it two ways: Drain the cooking liquid and pour out the pot on a paper-lined table so folks can dig in, or serve it as a stew in its liquid over hot rice. —Melissa Pelkey Hass, Waleska, Georgia
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Marina’s Golden Corn Fritters

Just one bite of these fritters takes me back to when my kids were young. Nowadays for our get-togethers, I sometimes triple the recipe. Serve fritters with maple syrup or agave nectar. —Marina Castle Kelley, Canyon Country, California
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Raisin Pecan Pie

I remember my Grandmother Voltie and Great-Aunt Ophelia making this southern-style pie for Thanksgiving. It was always one of the many cakes and pies lined up for dessert. —Angie Price, Bradford, Tennessee
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Real Southern Fried Chicken

As a Yankee originally from Vermont, I didn't know one fried chicken from another. They all seemed pretty much the same to me. Tasting the Southern version opened my eyes! A side of hot biscuits served with butter and honey is practically mandatory. —Lily Julow, Lawrenceville, Georgia
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Key Lime Cupcakes

I made these light, tangy cupcakes on a chilly day to remind me of our vacation in southern Florida, where Key lime pies are star attractions. —Jennifer Gilbert, Brighton, Michigan
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Country Chicken with Gravy

Here's a lightened-up take on classic southern comfort food. This chicken gravy recipe has been a hit at our house since the first time we tried it! —Ruth Helmuth, Abbeville, South Carolina
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Bananas Foster Sundaes

I have wonderful memories of eating bananas Foster in New Orleans, and as a dietitian, wanted to find a healthier version. I combined the best of two recipes and added my own tweaks to create this southern treat. —Lisa Varner, Charleston, South Carolina
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Sweet Potato Crisp

My not-too-sweet potato crisp features a wonderful buttery crumb topping. This is a welcome change from candied sweet potatoes.—Kathy Hamsher, Moon Township, Pennsylvania
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Creole Cornbread

Cornbread is a staple of Cajun and Creole cuisine. This version is an old favorite, and it really tastes wonderful. I found the recipe in the bottom of my recipe drawer. —Enid Hebert, Lafayette, Louisiana

Nicole Doster
Nicole is a writer, editor and lover of Italian food. In her spare time, you’ll find her thumbing through vintage cookbooks or testing out recipes in her tiny kitchen.
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