Texans Share Their 27 Favorite Iconic Recipes

Texas is known as a foodie destination because of its vibrant and diverse cuisine. Famous dishes from the Lone Star State include barbecue, chili and pecan pie, one of its official state foods. Along with Tex-Mex, Texas also has staples brought by German and Czech immigrants and passed down through the generations.

To assemble some of the best Texas recipes, we reached out to popular Texas restaurants, native food bloggers and even found Texan winners of the annual Pillsbury Bake-Off contest. We called on our our own Texan friends and family to share some of their trusty recipes. 

Whether you were born and bred in Texas, are a new transplant or are looking to incorporate more of the state's cuisine into your repertoire, these classic Texas dishes are staples in any recipe collection. 

Arroz Verde

Translated as "green rice," arroz verde is  the perfect accompaniment to any Tex-Mex dish with beans and meat. There are many variations, but all include green veggies (in this case, green onion and green bell peppers) and a rich flavor that comes from cooking the rice in stock. If you want to amp up that signature "green" color, mix cilantro and spinach leaves in a blender and add to the saute pan.

For the Arroz Verde recipe, click here.

Avocado Crema

Many Tex-Mex restaurants serve avocado crema as a sauce to dip tortilla chips in or to spoon over pretty much anything on the menu. While it goes particularly well with fish tacos, you can serve this sauce in a dish alongside salsa verde and use it to liven up grilled chicken, steak fajitas and more.

For the Avocado Crema recipe, click here.

Baked Chicken and Spinach Stuffing

A home cook from Austin, Texas, won the grand prize at the 2006 Pillsbury Bake-off with this healthy and surprising dish of baked chicken with spinach stuffing. This retro dinner recipe gets a breakfasty twist with ingredients like waffles and maple syrup. 

For the Baked Chicken and Spinach Stuffing recipe, click here.

Bananas Foster

This dish was originally invented at legendary Louisiana restaurant Brennan's, but it's served at Brennan's sister restaurant in Houston and has made its way onto menus and into homes across Texas. This show-stopper makes the perfect ending to a romantic dinner.

For the Bananas Foster recipe, click here.

Buttermilk Biscuits

Fluffy buttermilk biscuits are the basis for an iconic Southern breakfast like biscuits and gravy. At farm-to-table restaurant Dish Society in Houston, biscuits topped with fried chicken and gravy are a house favorite. You can make the restaurant's recipe at home as a meal, side or even as the base for a dessert like strawberry shortcake.

For the Buttermilk Biscuits recipe, click here.

Cast-Iron Pan Jalapeño Cornbread

Cornbread is a Southern staple, but jalapeños, cheddar cheese and a cast-iron skillet give it an extra Texas twist. This cornbread is best served warm with butter.

For the Cast-Iron Pan Jalapeno Cornbread recipe, click here.


Chicken-Fried Steak

Any Texas home cook will tell you the secret to perfect chicken-fried steak is a three-step dredging method: First dredge the meat in a flour mixture, then a beer batter, then again in the flour mixture. Fry it up in a pan and serve it with white gravy. 

For the Chicken-Fried Steak recipe, click here.

Chili con Queso

Chili con queso is so ubiquitous in Texas that Texas Monthly magazine once dubbed it "a Texan's sixth food group." This is the cheesy, piping hot appetizer you order when dining out or make as a game day appetizer for a watch party.

For the Chili con Queso recipe, click here.


Chile con Queso Au Gratin

Chile con Queso can be more than just a dip. In fact, it's the star ingredient in this decadent side dish with a Tex-Mex kick. Poblano chiles, chipotle and Chihuahua and pepper jack cheese help elevate this dish to something extraordinary. Chihuahua cheese is just one of many cheeses from around the world that everyone should try.

For the Chile Con Queso Au Gratin recipe, click here.

Creamed Corn

There's no harm in occasionally taking a healthy side dish and smothering it in cream cheese, milk and butter. This creamed corn is so good, you'll have to stop yourself from eating the entire pot straight from the stove.

For the Creamed Corn recipe, click here.

Frito Pie

If you grew up in Texas, you likely grew up eating this guilty pleasure food right out of the Frito bag at high school football games, county fairs and maybe even in your own kitchen. These days, you may find a few restaurants serving up a sophisticated twist on Frito pie, but you can't go wrong with the original, which is basically Texas chili served over a bed of Fritos and topped with all the fixings.

For the Frito Pie recipe, click here.

German Potato Salad

The wave of Germans who immigrated to Texas in the 19th century brought with them recipes for beer, brats and even potato salad. Made with Dijon vinegar dressing instead of mayonnaise, this recipe can be served hot or cold. You can visit many classic German restaurants in small towns settled by German immigrants that still look like they're stuck in time.

For the German Potato Salad recipe, click here.


Avocado is one of the best foods for weight loss as well as the foundation of a Tex-Mex staple: guacamole. The only guac recipe you'll ever need, this is made with avocados, lime, red onion, cilantro, a bit of garlic and salt. Just make sure you follow this hack to make your guacamole last longer.

For the Guacamole recipe, click here.

King Ranch Chicken Casserole

Casseroles are one of the ultimate American comfort foods, and one of the best casserole recipes you can make from Texas has a nice added zing. Named for the massive King Ranch in Texas, which is larger than the state of Rhode Island, this casserole includes plenty of cheese, tortillas and shredded chicken as well as cans of soup to make it nice and creamy. 

For the King Ranch Chicken Casserole recipe, click here.

Old-Fashioned Peach Cobbler

While apple might be the iconic pie associated with America, Texas is all about peaches. One of the simplest ways to enjoy this seasonal fruit is in a peach cobbler. For a truly Texas experience, top your peach cobbler with a dollop of Blue Bell Ice Cream, a beloved brand founded in Brenham, Texas.

For the Old-Fashioned Peach Cobbler recipe, click here.


Pecan Pie

Pecan pie is one of the many official state dishes of Texas as pecan trees are native to more than 100 Texas counties. Sweetened with both sugar and corn syrup, this Thanksgiving Day staple can be found 365 days a year in the great state of Texas.

For the Pecan Pie recipe, click here.

Pecan Pralines

Pecan pralines are a Texas tradition that migrated from French Louisiana cuisine and Spanish-inspired Mexican cooking around the same time. Found everywhere from holiday gift bags to host stands at neighborhood Tex-Mex restaurants, pecan pralines are a simple, sweet treat you can also whip up at home. This recipe comes from Molina's Cantina, a Houston Tex-Mex institution famous for its pralines.

For the Pecan Pralines recipe, click here.

Quick Crescent Pecan Pie Bars

A Texan was crowned co-champion at the 1973 Pillsbury Bake-Off thanks to this recipe also using the state's beloved pecans. These simple bars have just a handful of ingredients and a great nutty flavor.

For the Quick Crescent Pecan Pie Bars recipe, click here.

Refried Beans

There are many types of beans used in Texas cuisine but the most famous of all is the refried bean. You'll find this option on every Mexican restaurant menu, almost always served next to a piping hot mound of rice. It's the perfect accompaniment to America's best burritos or whatever Tex-Mex dish you're making at home. 

For the Refried Beans recipe, click here.

Sizzling Steak Fajitas

Although it's a popular menu item at America's top chain restaurants, the fajita plate was originally popularized in Texas. Fajitas became a huge hit in the 1970s thanks to Ninfa's, a Houston restaurant, and can be easily customized at home with a variety of meat, veggie, tortilla and topping options, though steak fajitas are a classic choice.

For the Sizzling Steak Fajitas recipe, click here.

Southern White Gravy

Typically made by creating a roux of flour and fat and adding plenty of milk or cream, Southern white gravy is best served atop chicken-fried steak or with homemade biscuits. Also known as cream gravy, this sauce is a Southern staple that the rest of the world really needs to try.

For the Southern White Gravy recipe, click here.

Sweet Onion Pie

This recipe features the 1015 Texas sweet onion, which was developed in Texas and released in 1983. A fun fact about Texas is that these onions have an economic impact on the state of around $350 million per year. Don't have sweet onions from Texas? No worries, this variety of onions can be grown in a few other states, or you can substitute other sweet varieties like Walla Walla or Vidalia onions.

For the Sweet Onion Pie recipe, click here.

Texas Barbecue Sauce

Barbecue sauce is a hotly debated topic in Texas. Many barbecue masters have insisted over the decades that good barbecue doesn't need a sauce. But tell that to the masses of people who can't help but love a sweet, tangy sauce atop their barbecue. Just don't overpour in front of the pitmaster.

For the Texas Barbecue Sauce recipe, click here.

Texas Caviar

The name "Texas caviar" is a tongue-in-cheek riff on the infamously expensive luxury item. This black-eyed pea dip is best scooped up with tortilla chips and can be enjoyed year-round but typically makes an appearance in Texas households on New Year's Day to bring luck in the new year.

For the Texas Caviar recipe, click here.

Texas Red Chili

In the great American chili debate over beans versus no beans, where you fall on the matter likely depends on what region in the country you are from. For Texans, chili does not have beans in it. This no-bean recipe is bursting with flavor thanks to three different kinds of chili peppers.

For the Texas No-Bean Chili recipe, click here.

Texas Sheet Cake

A Texas sheet cake has always been the perfect way to serve a large crowd at any occasion, such as block parties, backyard barbecues, tailgates and church gatherings. Slice it up into perfect chocolatey squares, and adults and kids alike will eat it up.

For the Texas Sheet Cake recipe, click here.

Texas Toast

Thick-cut, slathered in butter and then grilled on the stove, Texas toast is simple, buttery and delicious. Buy a loaf of unsliced white bread and slice it thick. Serve this alongside chicken-fried steak or any meat-and-potatoes dish and you'll understand why this is one of the many Southern recipes every Northerner needs to try.

For the Texas Toast recipe, click here.

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