35 Classic Southern Foods Grandma Used to Make

By Ghuman


Grandma’s cooking was always a special treat. Her classic Southern recipes were full of flavor and love. From fried chicken to cornbread, these 35 classic Southern foods are sure to bring back fond memories of Grandma’s kitchen. Whether you’re looking for a comforting meal or a sweet treat, these recipes are sure to satisfy. From creamy macaroni and cheese to sweet peach cobbler, these classic Southern recipes are sure to become family favorites. So grab your apron and get ready to cook up some delicious Southern dishes!

35 Classic Southern Foods Grandma Used to Make

Grandma’s cooking was always a special treat, and these classic Southern foods are no exception. From fried chicken to cornbread, these recipes are sure to bring back fond memories of Grandma’s kitchen. So grab your apron and get ready to recreate some of Grandma’s favorite dishes.

1. Fried Chicken

Fried chicken is a classic Southern staple. Grandma’s recipe was always a hit, and it’s sure to be a hit with your family too. Serve it up with mashed potatoes and gravy for a truly Southern meal.

2. Cornbread

Cornbread is a must-have side dish for any Southern meal. Grandma’s recipe was always moist and flavorful, and it’s sure to be a hit with your family too. Serve it up with butter and honey for a truly delicious treat.

3. Biscuits and Gravy

Biscuits and gravy are a classic Southern breakfast. Grandma’s recipe was always a hit, and it’s sure to be a hit with your family too. Serve it up with scrambled eggs and bacon for a truly Southern breakfast.

4. Grits

Grits are a classic Southern side dish. Grandma’s recipe was always creamy and flavorful, and it’s sure to be a hit with your family too. Serve it up with butter and cheese for a truly delicious treat.

5. Collard Greens

Collard greens are a classic Southern vegetable. Grandma’s recipe was always flavorful and nutritious, and it’s sure to be a hit with your family too. Serve it up with bacon and onions for a truly Southern dish.

6. Fried Okra

Fried okra is a classic Southern side dish. Grandma’s recipe was always crispy and flavorful, and it’s sure to be a hit with your family too. Serve it up with ranch dressing for a truly delicious treat.

7. Hoppin’ John

Hoppin’ John is a classic Southern dish. Grandma’s recipe was always flavorful and filling, and it’s sure to be a hit with your family too. Serve it up with cornbread for a truly Southern meal.

8. Sweet Potato Pie

Sweet potato pie is a classic Southern dessert. Grandma’s recipe was always sweet and flavorful, and it’s sure to be a hit with your family too. Serve it up with a dollop of whipped cream for a truly delicious treat.

9. Fried Green Tomatoes

Fried green tomatoes are a classic Southern side dish. Grandma’s recipe was always crispy and flavorful, and it’s sure to be a hit with your family too. Serve it up with ranch dressing for a truly delicious treat.

10. Pecan Pie

Pecan pie is a classic Southern dessert. Grandma’s recipe was always sweet and nutty, and it’s sure to be a hit with your family too. Serve it up with a dollop of whipped cream for a truly delicious treat.

It is no secret that Southern meals is a few of the most comforting homestyle cuisines in the USA. And typically nothing else will suffice besides making recipes the old school method. That features meals with slowly developed flavors that seep their scrumptious cooking smells by means of the home, making ready inconceivable (multiple Southern youngster has burned their mouth on a just-cooked piece of fried rooster). We now have you lined from appetizers to desserts with these traditional Southern meals you would discover in a Southern grandma’s recipe assortment any day, plus the artistic recipe concepts for recreating them at dwelling.

Whether or not you grew up within the South having fun with home-cooked variations of those meals otherwise you’ve simply tried them at a restaurant, your mouth shall be watering if you’re performed studying this listing. Southerners know the best way to do meals proper—particularly when there’s an previous household recipe concerned.

And for extra, do not miss these 15 Basic American Desserts That Deserve a Comeback.

Deviled eggs

The roots of “stuffed eggs” could be traced again to historic Rome. However the time period “satan” was launched to explain spicy or extremely seasoned meals in nice Britain within the 1700s. Southern cooks, in the meantime, have their model of deviled eggs.

For a traditional Southern deviled eggs recipe, boil the eggs, slice them, and put the yolks in a bowl. Subsequent, mash the yolks with mayonnaise, mustard, and candy pickle relish, plus a little bit salt and pepper. Lastly, spoon the candy and tangy yellow combination into the egg and dirt with a little bit of paprika.

And if you’d like an genuine tackle the Southern dish, Duke’s is the mayonnaise of alternative within the South. It is sugar-free and better in egg yolks than most mayo, and loads of Southerners will swear by the model. Its do-it-yourself style leads to a creamier concoction.

Get our recipe for Deviled Eggs With Bacon.

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buttermilk biscuits on cooling rack

Southern grandmothers usually had a bread bowl the place they stored flour prepared to combine biscuits for the dinner meal. They perfected the artwork of biscuit-making as a simple solution to refill hungry bellies at their desk, and you are able to do the identical right this moment with a easy biscuit recipe.

Again in your grandma’s day, cooks would knead of their fats of alternative—butter, shortening, or lard—and add buttermilk or milk to tug it collectively. One of the best biscuits are candy and tender on the within and brown and crispy on the skin. The key is to softly combine the dough, folding it over, and creating layers. These treats have been usually served with cane syrup or do-it-yourself preserves.

Get our recipe for Southern-Model Biscuits.

Paleo oven fried chicken
Mitch Mandel and Thomas MacDonald

There could also be nothing extra iconic to the Southern meals canon than fried rooster. The meat, dredged in thick flour and fried to a golden crisp, is a salty and satisfying meal. A Southern grandma would most likely have cooked this in a cast-iron frying pan, the seasoned cookware so beneficial that it was willed to the subsequent era’s greatest prepare dinner. One thing in regards to the pans provides the rooster a crispier pores and skin whereas sustaining the tender juiciness of the meat, permitting Southerners to excellent the recipe.

The nation’s most well-known fried rooster restaurant, KFC, was based in 1930 to feed hungry vacationers at Harland Sanders’ roadside gasoline station. Sanders developed a recipe utilizing a stress cooker, very similar to the expertise of an Immediate Pot. That recipe hasn’t modified a lot through the years. (By the way in which, in case you’re questioning, he was a Colonel, though it was an honorary title.)

Get our recipe for Crispy Oven-Fried Hen.

serving of peach cobbler with spoon

Whereas peaches are grown throughout the USA, there’s something very particular in regards to the variations harvested in Georgia. Generally known as “The Peach State,” connoisseurs swear by the standard of fruit grown within the state.

Consuming a Georgia peach is a multi-sensory expertise of sight, odor, and style that usually leads to sticky, candy peach juice working down your arm. And the cobbler created from a recent Georgia peach is scrumptious, particularly with vanilla ice cream.

And if you wish to strive an genuine model of the dessert, head to the Georgia Peach Competition. Yearly, festival-goers make the world’s largest peach cobbler and provides it away without cost to the occasion’s visitors. Cannot make it to the South? This blueberry peach cobbler recipe tastes simply as scrumptious wherever you might be.

Get our recipe for Blueberry-Peach Cobbler.

When you’re not from the South, I wager you’ve got puzzled what grits are. Just like polenta, grits are made by grinding white corn referred to as hominy. Earlier than the kernels are floor, the hulls are eliminated, leading to a nice consistency.

Grits grew to become essential in Southern dishes as a result of farms within the space usually grew corn. Normally served with breakfast and paired with eggs, grits are used for dinner too, usually made with greens or topped with sautéed shrimp. Southern cooks have tons of strategies to make their grits. The easiest way to pattern their distinctive taste is boiled with cream, butter, and salt added to style.

Get our recipe for Southern-Model Shrimp and Grits.

jars of banana pudding

Banana pudding is a staple at potluck dinners, consolation meals at funerals, and a candy ending for summer time suppers. Southerners have loved scoops of the cool custard topped with whipped meringue and studded with bananas and Nilla wafers for years, and it isn’t going away anytime quickly.

The recipe is nice eaten the day it is made, however it’s even higher when the cookies have had an opportunity to soak up a few of the candy moisture of the pudding. They flip right into a cake-like consistency that makes you hunt for extra treasure on the finish of your spoon. Nabisco printed its well-known model of the banana pudding recipe on its containers within the Nineteen Forties, and it is remained there ever since.

Get our recipe for Southern-Model Banana Pudding.

chicken pot pie

Whereas nobody down South can declare that meat pot pies obtained their begin within the space, there’s hardly a household who does not sit right down to this dish usually. Possibly it appears so Southern due to the extent of consolation it supplies: pastry, broth, rooster, and greens multi functional sitting.

Regardless of the purpose, rooster pot pie is a staple within the South and exhibits no indicators of changing into much less fashionable anytime quickly. Liked by each children and grown-ups, it is a kind of meals that pleases everybody on the desk.

Get our recipe for Hen Pot Pie.

southern chicken dumplings in square bowl

Many reminiscences of Southern grandmas contain them rolling out the dumpling dough proper on the counter, flouring the floor to forestall it from sticking. They lower the dough into strips and added it to a slow-cooked, flavorful rooster broth that had been simmering for hours. The boiled dumplings, mixed with the tender rooster and greens, made many a satisfying Sunday meal, feeding a big household with one pot and fewer expense.

Get our recipe for Hen and Dumplings.

blackened catfish dinner plate

A funny-looking fish inhabits the creeks and rivers of the decrease South, and it has whiskers. They’re a enjoyable fish to catch, merely caught by many Southern youngsters with a cane pole loaded with a bit of a sizzling canine. Fishermen, in the meantime, need to watch out of the saltwater model—its poison-loaded barbs will trigger a fast journey to the hospital.

The freshwater fish, like this 89-pound fish caught by an angler in South Carolina, is scrumptious fried in a batter of cornmeal, served historically with hush puppies, fried potatoes, and coleslaw.

Get our recipe for a Blackened Fish Sandwich.

biting into a slice of coca cola cake on a grey plate
Kiersten Hickman/Eat This, Not That!

Some bakers within the South swear by the addition of Coca-Cola to cake to punch up the sweetness and add airiness to the feel with the carbonation. The Coca-Cola sheet cake is smothered with marshmallows and icing straight out of the oven, including to the gooey dessert.

Cracker Barrel adopted the recipe in 1997 when the corporate was searching for a method to make use of Coca-Cola of their menu, calling it “Double Chocolate Fudge Coca-Cola Cake.” It was so beloved by diners that it has now grow to be their signature dessert.

Get our recipe for Conventional Coca-Cola Cake.

roasted peanuts with salt in brown bowl

We now have a love affair with peanuts within the South. Nobody is bound when precisely this love was mixed with our obsession with Coke, however the mixture of the 2 did grow to be a satisfying candy and salty snack that many Southerners bear in mind from their childhood. There may not be a recipe for this goodness in your Southern grandmother’s assortment, however she certainly helped you get pleasure from it to curb starvation whereas she cooked.

Here is what we thought after we tried peanuts and Coke.

whole sweet potato pie

A favourite for meals lovers within the South, the candy potato pie is a candy and satisfying substitute for pumpkin pie. And it graces many tables on Thanksgiving.

The dessert’s roots come from Africa, the place yams have been a beloved, acquainted style. Within the South, cooks substituted the candy potato, which was available within the space, and turned it right into a dessert. Undecided the place to start out? Patti LaBelle shared her household’s candy potato pie recipe, which has the strategy of including brown sugar earlier than the candy potato, making a candy layer of syrup close to the crust. Her packaged model was so fashionable, it bought out in shops final yr. Scrumptious!

We like this candy potato pie recipe from What’s Gaby Cooking.

Collard greens

Associated to cabbage and kale, collard greens are wealthy in beta carotene and are stuffed with antioxidants and phytochemicals to forestall illness. However the powerful, fibrous leaves require an extended cooking time, and this usually reduces the dietary worth of the plant. Southerners had an answer.

It was widespread to make use of the “pot liquor,” the nutrient-rich olive-colored water that was used to prepare dinner the greens, for a soup base, and even simply eaten soaked up by a bit of cornbread. Greens have been often cooked with some ham for taste, making the ensuing pot liquor salty and scrumptious.

We like this collard greens recipe from Cookie + Kate.

serving dish of creamed corn

Go forward and thank the oldsters right here at Eat This, Not That! proper now. Whereas recipes for creamed corn have every kind of strategies to chop corn kernels from the cob, there’s a device.

One of the best-creamed corn comes from a corn creamer, an implement that matches over your saucepan, shredding the corn and all its pure juices into the pot. A easy back-and-forth movement cleans the husk of any edible goodness. After that, merely including butter and cream or half and half, together with a pinch of salt, and cooking for just a bit bit creates essentially the most scrumptious facet dish within the South. An important factor is to make use of recent corn, particularly Silver Queen candy corn if you will get it.

We like this creamed corn recipe from Properly Plated by Erin.

raw green organic okra

Logically, this needed to be the subsequent dish on the listing. Fried okra makes a scrumptious accompaniment to creamed corn. Throw in a little bit rooster, and you’ve got a glorified meals coma, second solely to Thanksgiving.

Okra is firmly rooted in Southern delicacies, however it’s eaten everywhere in the world, in nearly each tradition. And in case you’re looking for the veggie, larger is not higher. The pods flip fibrous and difficult once they develop on the plant too lengthy. It is best to select and luxuriate in okra early.

We like this air fried okra recipe from A Stunning Mess.

pimento cheese bread spread with knife

A fast sandwich for lunch or simple appetizer earlier than dinner, pimento cheese has been a handy and attractive answer for Southern cooks for the reason that early 1900s. The straightforward combination is manufactured from shredded cheddar cheese, mayonnaise, pimentos, and seasonings.

There could be variations that contain mustard or garlic, however the easy recipe makes a scrumptious dip for celery or a improbable topping for a burger.

We like this pimento cheese dip recipe from Heartbeet Kitchen.

Iced tea

Dolly Parton’s character Truvy labeling candy tea “the home wine of the South” in Metal Magnolias aptly describes the widespread love of this drink. Candy tea could be present in almost each Southern restaurant. And no meal is full with out its sugary accompaniment—the extra syrupy, the higher. Fortuitously, one of the best ways to make iced tea is not troublesome to copy at dwelling.

Most Southerners boil water in a pot and let tea luggage steep for some time, making a fairly robust answer. It is then blended with pure sugar cane sugar (tons) or easy syrup and water. The drink is then poured over ice, however it’s greatest to chill it first to keep away from diluting the style.

Candy tea could be an addicting beverage, counteracting the steamy warmth of the summer time. If you’re searching for candy tea that tastes genuine, it is fairly well-known that McDonald’s has perfected the mix.

We like this honey and orange candy tea recipe from A Stunning Mess.

hoppin john in bowl

This dish is served each New Yr’s Day, mentioned to convey luck to whoever eats the flavorful combination of pork, black-eyed peas, and rice. Add a number of greens and “golden” cornbread to accompany it, and because the custom goes, your yr shall be full of cash!

We like this hoppin’ John recipe from The Seasoned Mother.

RELATED: The simple solution to make more healthy consolation meals.

cornbread in basket wrapped in cloth

Cornbread could be traced again earlier than the settlers to Native American populations grinding maize into cornmeal to combine with water and salt. The crumbly fast bread was an prompt favourite within the South, with cooks including eggs and bacon fats and swapping water for buttermilk. The consequence, cooked in a cast-iron pan, was a bread crispy-fried on the skin with a young, moist golden yellow crumb on the within. There’s a lot dialogue about candy versus savory cornbread within the South, however the unique model was a bit tangier.

We like this cornbread recipe from Sally’s Baking Dependancy.

country captain chicken on plate

Nation Captain is claimed to have originated on the coast of Georgia and, the place captains introduced spices and recipes from India into their ports.

For this dish, stewed rooster is cooked with tomatoes, onions, inexperienced peppers, and currants and flavored with aromatic curry powder, leading to a flavorful meal usually served over steaming sizzling rice. Even Franklin D. Roosevelt loved the dish when he visited Heat Springs, Georgia, for polio remedy.

We like this nation captain rooster recipe from The Seasoned Mother.

sour cream pound cake

Each Southern grandmother had a favourite recipe for pound cake, various solely within the quantities of sugar, butter, or bitter cream added to convey the most effective crust and condensed buttery middle. The wealthy cake could be served sliced with strawberries and whipped cream and even toasted within the oven with a smear of butter.

The leftovers usually discover their method right into a trifle, a candy foil to lemon curd or chocolate custard. And why is it referred to as a pound cake? The most straightforward recipes name for a pound of flour, a pound of eggs, a pound of sugar, and—you guessed it—a pound of butter.

We like this blueberry bitter cream pound cake recipe from Julie’s Eats and Treats.

divinity christmas candy on dish

A white sweet that appears very similar to a cloud, divinity is created from solely six components (principally sugar). Pop a bit in your mouth, and the candy instantly begins to soften, coating your tongue with its sugary goodness.

The sweet could be difficult to make, although. A moist day may maintain it from setting, whereas dry climate helps it to treatment.

We like this cherry-almond divinity recipe from Cafe Johnsonia.

raw figs

Scrumptious with buttermilk biscuits, fig preserves have been usually discovered on a Southern sideboard. To make fig preserves, slice figs and prepare dinner them with sugar, lemon slices, or ginger to make a thick, candy relish.

The jam, bottled in mason jars sealed with thick lids, made an amazing vacation present, or a housewarming present for brand new neighbors. And making the preserves allowed everybody to get pleasure from figs year-round, slightly than simply throughout their quick season within the South.

We like this fig preserves recipe from Operating to the Kitchen.

pot of brunswick stew

Brunswick County, Virginia, and Brunswick, Georgia, each declare the origins of this dish. The Virginia Common Meeting proclaimed the state the “birthplace” of Brunswick Stew, whereas the Georgia Home of Representatives made the identical assertion on their state’s behalf.

No matter the place you fall on this argument, Brunswick Stew is a wealthy amalgamation of greens harking back to barbecue, however sweeter. The soup is full of butter beans, corn, tomatoes, potatoes, and meat. In Virginia, it is historically made with rooster, whereas Georgia provides beef.

We like this Brunswick stew recipe from Consuming Chook Meals.

Potato salad

There are as many recipes for potato salad as there are for barbecue and simply as many arguments about which one is the most effective. Scorching, chilly, with mayo or mustard, celery, onion, bell pepper, or pickles, it appears nobody can agree.

The best way to make the most effective potato salad is, in fact, your grandmother’s recipe. As a result of each Southern household served their model, grandma’s recipe is the most effective. Nevertheless, it’s best to all the time use Duke’s mayonnaise.

We like this potato salad recipe from FoodieCrush.

raw peanuts

When this Southern snack is launched, some individuals simply cannot consider it. Why would you’re taking a wonderfully good peanut and do something however roast it? However boiled peanuts are one thing to be skilled. And a great peanut stand may have the correct selection, with plump crimson or inexperienced peanuts savory from their immersion within the salty bathtub.

They need to be cooked to the place they’ve the proper texture: not mushy, but additionally not uncooked. And it is best to get pleasure from boiled peanuts exterior, the place the juice and the shells can find yourself on the bottom.

We like this boiled peanuts recipe from She Wears Many Hats.

whole pecan pie with slice

Butter, Karo syrup, eggs, and pecans. The sugary gooey goodness is sufficient to make your tooth damage, however you retain coming again for extra. Do not feel any disgrace: Pecan pie is an addictive addition to the vacations. The nuts are usually harvested down South from September to November, which instances the harvest for Thanksgiving celebrations.

The nutritious nut has sparked one more Southern argument about its pronunciation. Anybody down South will let you know that the way in which you say it’s “PEE-can.”

We like this pecan pie recipe from Style & Inform.

whole custard pie

The filling of this dessert is a gratifying combination of eggs, cream, and vanilla, with notes of nutmeg. Just like buttermilk pie, this custard is made with what Southern grandmothers would name “candy milk,” or complete milk for the remainder of us. A great recipe is clean however not too eggy. My grandmother would go to Morrison’s Cafeteria and stand in line impatiently to get to the items that flew off the buffet.

We like this blueberry custard pie recipe from The Lady Who Ate Every thing.

plated giblet gravy

Basic Southern meals have all the time mirrored thrift, utilizing components that have been out there domestically and creating methods to scale back waste. Giblet gravy is a method to make use of the opposite elements of the rooster, those you discover contained in the cavity. (After all, in a Southern grandmother’s day, the rooster may not have arrived pre-frozen.)

Giblet gravy makes use of the neck, gizzards, and hearts which might be packaged inside modern-day grocery retailer birds. Cooks boil them slowly in rooster broth and craft them right into a wealthy gravy particularly suited to turkey or different dry white meats. Pass over the liver, although. Its taste is a bit overwhelming to make use of.

We like this giblet gravy recipe from Platter Speak.

Pork ribs

Let me begin this by saying: All kinds of Southern barbecue are all scrumptious. Now that we have gotten previous that, there are as many sorts of Southern barbecue than you’ve got fingers and toes. And folks get upset in case you say theirs is not the most effective. Whether or not you want your pit-cooked meat (pork or beef) lined with a mustard-based, vinegar, white, candy, or tomato sauce, sluggish cooking with smoke creates probably the most traditional Southern meals.

We like this baked ribs recipe from Impressed Style.

Old fashion red velvet cake

The roots of this dessert aren’t precisely Southern. Nevertheless it has grow to be so iconic that you just seldom see a group of recipes or a church buffet with out it added. The traditional recipe comes from the Waldorf-Astoria lodge in New York Metropolis, its clean, cocoa-flavored batter topped with a difficult fluffy boiled icing.

Southern cooks additionally like to substitute a cream cheese icing, leading to a cake that is not too candy however nonetheless pleasing. To start with, beets have been used for the rosy hue, with meals dye making it even brighter within the Nineteen Forties.

We like this crimson velvet cake recipe from My Title Is Yeh.

chicken fried steak with gravy

It’s possible you’ll be confused in regards to the distinction between “country-fried steak” and “chicken-fried steak.” The nation model is frivolously dusted with flour and served with brown onion gravy, whereas rooster fried steak is closely battered and lined with cream gravy.

Identical to all issues Southern, the dish is wealthy and hearty. It is usually served over mashed potatoes, with a facet of greens. As for its origin, Texas holds the declare to the unique rooster fried steak recipe. Based on legend, a short-order prepare dinner named Jimmy Don Perkins unintentionally mixed two orders, one for rooster and one for fried steak, into the recipe we get pleasure from right this moment.

We like this rooster fried steak recipe from Macheesmo.

smoked ham on wooden cutting board with peppercorns and rosemary

Earlier than refrigeration was extensively out there, Southerners discovered to protect their meat in a crust of salt, stopping the method of decay. Additionally they used smokehouses to hold meat, slowly cooking it with a smoky fireplace to create hams that will final for months.

Nation ham is often salty and scrumptious, extra like bacon than common bland processed ham. Southern grandmothers most definitely coated the ham with a glaze of brown sugar and pecans, making a salty and candy mixture.

We like this baked nation ham recipe from Leite’s Culinaria.

squash casserole in glass dish

Generally plain greens could be, effectively, plain. However Southern grandmothers beloved to jazz up their produce, and squash casserole isn’t any exception. Tender cooked disks of squash with butter, onion, cream, and cheddar cheese make a tasty casserole. And the dusting of buttery Ritz Crackers on the highest makes it decadent. The dish works effectively with any forms of squash proper out of the backyard or the farmer’s market.

We like this Southern squash casserole recipe from 5 Coronary heart House.

uncooked red rice bowl spoon

Southerner grandmothers know the best way to make a meal out of rice, particularly once they added celery, bell pepper, onion, and shrimp sautéed in bacon fats. This recipe was refined within the coastal Southern areas of Savannah and Charleston, the place the components have been plentiful. Newer variations embody pork, sausage, beef, or different greens.

We like this crimson rice recipe from Spicy Southern Kitchen.

Even when you do not have Southern kinfolk at dwelling, you may get pleasure from these traditional Southern meals at loads of eating places right this moment. Or, higher but, select your favorites and study to organize them your self. There’s nothing higher than a home-cooked meal, particularly a Southern one.

For extra, take a look at these 108 hottest sodas ranked by how poisonous they’re.