Classic Southern Dishes That'll Make Your Mouth Water

Classic Southern Dishes That'll Make Your Mouth Water

Let's take a journey to the heartwarming and flavour-filled world of Southern cuisine. Where cooking is always done right! The American South is a region renowned for its unique and soulful cooking styles; from the smoky tang of barbecue to the comforting embrace of creamy grits, Southern food is an expression of its history, culture, and hospitality. So for today, we're going to explore and highlight some classic Southern dishes that'll definitely make your mouth water. Prepare yourself!

1. Biscuits and Gravy

Imagine this - soft, flaky biscuits smothered in a rich, creamy sausage gravy that you can't get enough of. Sound good? Well, biscuits and gravy is a Southern breakfast staple you need to try then. The biscuits are perfectly light and buttery, acting as the perfect vessel for the hearty and peppery gravy. It's a filling and heartwarming way to start any day!

1024Px-Biscuits And Gravy (9845421004) (1)jeffreyw on Wikimedia Commons

2. Fried Chicken

Nothing encapsulates Southern comfort food quite like crispy and golden fried chicken. With the perfect crunch on the outside provided by its well-seasoned crust and its juicy, meaty interior, fried chicken has been a staple in Southern kitchens for generations. Once you take a bite, you won't be able to stop! It's absolutely irresistible and it's no surprise it's a favourite at family gatherings and Sunday dinners.

Gabe-Pierce-Qclljvbk3Ei-UnsplashPhoto by Gabe Pierce on Unsplash

3. Shrimp and Grits

A true Southern classic, shrimp and grits is a beloved dish of creamy, buttery grits topped with spicy, sautéed shrimp. It's often finished with a sprinkle of sharp cheddar and fresh green onions that really tie the whole dish together. It's a delightful combination of flavour, expertly combining the best of land and sea ingredients with a homey feel.

1024Px-Probably The Best Shrimp & Grits I've Ever Had, Ever Cochon Butcher New OrleansAnn Larie Valentine on Wikimedia Commons

4. Pulled Pork BBQ

We can't talk about Southern food without mentioning BBQ! Slow-cooked to tender perfection, Southern pulled pork BBQ is on a whole other level. It's soft, flavourful, and often drenched in a tangy, sweet barbecue sauce that perfectly complements the meat. Whether it's piled high on a bun or served alone alongside classic sides, this dish is a testament to the art of Southern barbecue.

Jez-Timms-8X3Oqzxqqa4-Unsplash (1)Photo by Jez Timms on Unsplash


5. Chicken Fried Steak

An incredibly hearty and filling Southern dish, chicken fried steak is a tenderized steak that's coated in seasoned flour and fried like chicken. The result? A crispy, flavourful piece of chicken that's topped with a creamy, peppery white gravy. It's a satisfying dish that will surely please any meat lover.

Chicken Fried SteakLeeMNichols on Wikimedia Commons

6. Collard Greens

Yes, vegetables can be delicious when cooked right! Southern collard greens are a great example of this - they're slow-cooked and flavoured with bits of bacon or ham hock. It's a staple side dish in Southern cuisine, with their unique and slightly bitter flavour wonderfully complementing many meat dishes. 

Collard Greens On A StovetopNolabob on Wikimedia Commons

7. Pecan Pie

Let's talk about some iconic desserts! A quintessential Southern dessert is pecan pie, a sweet and nutty treat made with a buttery crust and filled with a gooey mixture of pecans, eggs, butter, and sugar. Best served with a dollop of whipped cream or a scoop of vanilla ice cream, it's the ideal end to any Southern meal.

Keighla-Exum-Wnn9Guvxiz4-Unsplash (1)Photo by Keighla Exum on Unsplash

8. Cornbread

This traditional Southern side is a bread made from cornmeal, and can be served either sweet or savory. Crispy on the outside and soft and warm in the middle, cornbread is often served next to chili, BBQ, or as a nice addition to any Southern dish. It goes well with everything!

Jose-Luis-Y9 Q0Oo3D4E-Unsplash (1)Photo by Jose luis on Unsplash

9. Red Beans and Rice

Simple but comforting, this rice dish is typically served with Andouille sausage, red beans, and a blend of Creole spices. It's a staple in Southern Louisiana and we can see why. All served over a fluffy bed of white rice, there's nothing incredibly extravagant about it, but its certainly a hearty meal with a depth of flavour that's hard to beat.

Red Beans And RiceArnold Gatilao from Fremont, CA, USA on Wikimedia Commons

10. Banana Pudding

If you've got a sweet tooth, don't worry because we've got you covered. Another beloved Southern dessert is banana pudding - a luscious combination of creamy vanilla custard, ripe bananas, and soft vanilla wafers. Usually topped off with a light meringue or whipped cream, it's a sweet and satisfying treat that's often a favourite at any potluck or picnic. 

Classic Banana PuddingAlabama Extension on Wikimedia Commons


11. Fried Green Tomatoes

Who knew frying a fruit could turn out so deliciously? A Southern delicacy, fried green tomatoes are slices of unripe tomatoes coated in cornmeal and fried to a crispy golden brown. They offer a perfect balance of tanginess and crunch, often served with a creamy remoulade sauce that complements their unique flavor.

Fried Green Tomatoesninjapoodles on Wikimedia Commons

12. Hushpuppies

If you've never tried hushpuppies before, here's your sign to try them. These deep-fried balls of seasoned cornmeal batter are a Southern favourite, especially when paired alongside seafood. Crispy on the outside, soft and fluffy on the inside, hushpuppies are simply addictive. Best enjoyed with a dab of butter or dipped in a tangy sauce, you won't be able to stop after just one.

Hushpuppies 5StackWhitebox on Wikimedia Commons

13. Gumbo

This iconic Louisiana stew is a melting pot of flavors, featuring a rich base, the holy trinity of onions, bell peppers, and celery, along with various meats or seafood, and a scoop of rice. Each bowl of gumbo is a hearty, soul-warming experience.

Gumbo - 8831284354 (1)William Andrus on Wikimedia Commons

14. Chicken and Dumplings

Southern cuisine just does comfort food right. Another great dish when you're craving something warm and homey is chicken and dumplings, a simple meal consisting of tender chicken pieces and soft doughy dumplings simmered in a savory broth. It's the perfect example of how sometimes simple is best, with this homely dish bringing back fond memories of family dinners and cozy evenings.

Mmm... Chicken Dumplings (7867591472) (1)jeffreyw on Wikimedia Commons

15. Brunswick Stew

Originating from Virginia and Georgia, this thick stew is loaded with a variety of meats like chicken, pork, or beef, and mixed with corn, tomatoes, and lima beans. Brunswick stew is a hearty, flavorful meal that's often a crowd-pleaser at Southern gatherings.

Brunswick StewJoe Loong on Wikimedia Commons

16. Fried Catfish

No Southern fish fry could ever be complete with a crispy, golden fried catfish in the mix. This flaky, mild-flavoured fish is taken to new heights when it's coated in seasoned cornmeal batter and fried to perfection. Typically served next to a side of slaw or hushpuppies, this is one meal you definitely want to indulge in.

Fried Catfish New OrleansChensiyuan on Wikimedia Commons


17. Sweet Potato Pie

Back to desserts! Similar to pumpkin pie but with Southern twist, sweet potato pie is a velvety, spiced, sweet filling loaded inside a flaky, buttery crust. It's a traditional holiday favourite, adding some extra love and warmth to any table.

Sweet Potato Pie - 418797133John on Wikimedia Commons

18. Sausage Gravy

A variation of the classic gravy we know and love, this rich and creamy sauce is filled with crumbled sausage, completely elevating it. It's a staple in Southern cuisine, most commonly poured over biscuits for breakfast, but it's versatile enough to accompany a variety of different dishes.

1024Px-Biscuits And Sausage Gravy (6340833792) (1)jeffreyw on Wikimedia Commons

19. Okra Gumbo

A variation of the traditional gumbo, this dish features okra as a star ingredient, which not only adds a unique flavor but also acts as a natural thickener. Combined with meat or seafood and Creole spices, okra gumbo is a true Southern delight.

Smoky Red Pepper And Beans GumboJoey Doll on Wikimedia Commons

20. Peach Cobbler

In the South, where peaches are plentiful, peach cobbler is a beloved dessert. This dish consists of juicy, sweet peaches topped with a biscuit or cake-like crust, often served warm with a scoop of vanilla ice cream. It's the perfect balance of sweetness and comfort. It could easily become your new favourite!

1024Px-01 Peach CobblerRalph Daily on Wikimedia Commons

21. Black-Eyed Peas

A symbol of good luck in the South, black-eyed peas are often cooked with bits of ham or bacon and seasoned to perfection. This humble dish, with its creamy texture and savory flavor, is a staple especially during New Year's celebrations.

1024Px-Black-Eyed Peas Close UpJud McCranie on Wikimedia Commons

22. Crawfish Boil

The crawfish boil is a festive and fun Southern tradition where crawfish is cooked with a flavourful mix of spices, potatoes, corn, and sometimes sausage. It's incredibly delicious, but it's not just a dish. It's really a social event that brings friends and family together, with everyone gathered around the table to peel and eat these spicy and tasty crustaceans.

Crawfish Boil - July 2017JoanDragonfly on Wikimedia Commons


23. Fried Okra

This Southern garden favourite takes okra, which is sliced and breaded, and throws them into the fryer to create a crunchy, golden snack. Delicious on its own, it's also served as a popular side to many dishes. It has a unique texture and earthy flavour that really speaks to Southern comfort food.

Fried Chicken, Fried Okra And Mac & Cheese From Mary Mac's Tea Room In AtlantaGatorfan252525 on Wikimedia Commons

24. Country Ham

With a taste and texture similar to prosciutto, country ham is a Southern delicacy that's been salt-cured and aged until it has a deep and rich flavour. It's usually served thinly sliced next to biscuits, or it's incorporated into other popular dishes.

Country Ham Along With Red-Eye Gravybeccapie on Wikimedia Commons

25. Smothered Pork Chops

This hearty, meaty dish features pork chops that are slow-cooked in a rich and savory gravy until tender. It uses the "smothering" technique, a staple in Southern cooking, that ensures each bite is as juicy and full of flavour as the next.

1024Px-Smothered Pork Chops, Onion RingsKent Wang on Wikimedia Commons

26. Buttermilk Pie

A simple yet indulgent dessert, buttermilk pie features a custard-like filling that's made from buttermilk, sugar, eggs, and butter. It's all baked in a flaky pie crust, with the two together creating a tangy, sweet, and utterly delicious dessert.

Buttermilk PieBrett Spangler on Wikimedia Commons

27. Corn Pudding

Combining the sweetness of corn with the creaminess of custard, corn pudding is a unique side dish that's both comforting and addictive. It's probably a flavour and texture combination you never thought would work, but it does! It's a versatile dish, perfect for both casual family dinenrs and festive holiday feasts.

1704828890558.pngJ Doll on Wikimedia Commons

28. Jambalaya

This iconic and beloved Louisiana Creole dish is a celebration of cooking and an explosion of flavours. It features rice cooked with a mix of meat (like chicken or Andouille sausage), seafood, and a beautiful blend of spices. Really, it's got everything you could want! Jambalaya is truly the epitome of a hearty meal. 

Jambalaya - 3315899200Arnold Gatilao on Wikimedia Commons

29. Deviled Eggs

A staple at Southern gatherings, deviled eggs are hard-boiled eggs filled with a creamy, tangy mixture of egg yolk, mayonnaise, mustard, and spices. Often garnished with paprika or chives, they're a simple yet elegant appetizer loaded with flavour.

Tahirah-Walker-Fmql1Py5Dq0-UnsplashPhoto by Tahirah Walker on Unsplash

30. Baked Macaroni and Cheese

In the South, macaroni and cheese is more than just a comforting meal - it's like an art form. Baked until golden, bubbly, and perfectly cheesy, this version features a blend of rich cheeses and a topping of crispy breadcrumbs. It's insanely indulgent, and no matter where you serve it, it'll always be a crowd-pleasing side dish.

1024Px-Baked Macaroni And Cheese Close-UpScott Veg on Wikimedia Commons