Southern Recipes You Need to Try
iStockphoto.com

Southern Foods the Rest of the World Needs to Try

These 25 dishes are must-haves
Southern Recipes You Need to Try
iStockphoto.com

Chicken-Fried Steak is everything you could want for a Southern-inspired menu.

While every single region of the United States has its own distinctive cuisine, nothing compares to the foods of the American South. We’ll never run away from a comforting Midwestern casserole or a stunning seafood boil from New England, but the South really does have it all. Are you looking for a decadent breakfast? The South has plenty of dishes for you. Are you looking for 15 different foods to fry? Yep, the South has those recipes too. Want biscuits and cakes and soups and cookies and even specialty beverages? Look to the South.

And while Southern food is no secret, there are certain foods that are true signatures of the region. And these are those 25 Southern recipes that the rest of the world needs to try.

Biscuits

Biscuits
Shutterstock

Sure, you can get biscuits basically anywhere, but until you’ve had a true Southern biscuit, you haven’t lived.

For the Biscuits recipe, click here.

Boiled Peanuts

Boiled Peanuts
istockphoto.com

Everyone has had salted peanuts, and most folks have had honey-roasted peanuts. But a sure sign you’re from the South is that you’ve been munching on boiled peanuts since you were knee high to a grasshopper. Salty, spicy and always delicious, this bar snack has a texture like nothing else.

For the Boiled Peanuts recipe, click here.

Brisket

Brisket
istockphoto.com

Now, you need to purchase a smoker to properly pull of this Texas-style brisket recipe, but we think it’s worth the investment. Few things are better than meat that has been cooked low and slow all day long. And Southerners who are passionate about barbecue know that well.

For the Brisket recipe, click here.

Chicken and Andouille Gumbo

Chicken and Andouille Gumbo
istockphoto.com

If you ever find yourself in New Orleans, you’d be doing a big disservice if you didn’t get a big ol’ bowl of gumbo for at least one meal. If you can’t make it to the Big Easy, this recipe straight from Emeril Lagasse’s Rolodex will more than suffice.

For the Chicken and Andouille Gumbo recipe, click here.

Chicken and Dumplings

Chicken and Dumplings
istockphoto.com

There’s no shortage of comfort food in a Southern chef’s cookbook, but chicken and dumplings just might take the cake. This recipe is made in the slow cooker, allowing you to take it easy all day long.

For the Slow Cooker Chicken and Dumplings recipe, click here.

Chicken-Fried Steak

Chicken-Fried Steak
istockphoto.com

There are a lot of ways to make a cheap cut of steak tender and delicious, but Southerners know that no marinade holds a candle to a chicken-fried steak. Pound that round steak nice and thin and treat it like the best fried chicken recipe from there. Soon, you’ll know perfection.

For the Chicken-Fried Steak recipe, click here.

Chili con Queso

Chili con Queso
istockphoto.com

A lot of folks will turn their nose up at Velveeta, but Southerners (particularly in the great state of Texas) know that crazy processed cheese product is the base for a zesty, gooey dip known as chili con queso.

For the Chili con Queso recipe, click here.

Chocolate Gravy

Chocolate Gravy
istockphoto.com

You’ve heard of biscuits and sausage gravy, but have you heard of biscuits and chocolate gravy? It’s on many Southern breakfast tables, and kids and kids at heart alike sing its praises.

For the Chocolate Gravy recipe, click here.

Classic Cornbread Dressing

Classic Cornbread Dressing
istockphoto.com

Want to know one thing every Southerner has on their Thanksgiving table? Cornbread dressing. No holiday would be complete without it, but it’s great for any time of year.

For the Classic Cornbread Dressing recipe, click here.

Crawfish Étouffée

Crawfish Étouffée
istockphoto.com

A classic Cajun recipe, crawfish étouffée uses this shellfish in all the best ways, allowing the shell to add flavor to the stock and the meat to become ridiculously tender. Savory, saucy and full of spice, you’ll be singing the praises of the bayou with this dish.

For the Crawfish Étouffée recipe, click here.

Fried Green Tomatoes

Fried Green Tomatoes
istockphoto.com

In most parts of the tomato-loving world, green tomatoes are just seen as underripe fruit. But in the South, they’re the perfect start to an irresistible appetizer.

For the Fried Green Tomatoes recipe, click here.

Fried Okra

Fried Okra
Dreamstime

All of the best vegetables are fried — Southerners know that. And no vegetable is more distinctively Southern than okra.

For the Fried Okra recipe, click here.

Fried Oyster Po'boys

Fried Oyster Po'boys
Southern Living Around the Southern Table

This Louisiana sandwich takes the deliciousness of a perfectly-seasoned fried oyster and adds even more flavor with a scrumptious mayonnaise-based sauce. Don’t have oysters? Shrimp, crab or other seafood will do just as well.

For the Fried Oyster Po'boys recipe, click here.

Frito Pie

Frito Pie
istockphoto.com

Wait… Frito pie? As in… those curly little corn chips? Oh heck yes. A staple of high school football games across the South, Fritos make a salty, crunchy base for a mixture of chili, cheese, onions and sour cream. For the most authentic experience, eat straight from the bag.

For the Frito Pie recipe, click here.

Nashville-Style Hot Chicken

Nashville-Style Hot Chicken
istockphoto.com

Sure, there’s classic Southern fried chicken, but Nashville-style hot chicken isn’t here to play. When we say hot, we mean this is mad spicy. Be sure you have plenty of sweet tea around to wash this dish down.

For the Nashville-Style Hot Chicken recipe, click here.

Refried Beans

Refried Beans
istockphoto.com

Sure, you can buy refried beans in a can from any halfway-decent grocery store. But once you make them from scratch, you’ll know why cooks in Texas go through the effort.

For the Refried Beans recipe, click here.

Shrimp and Grits

Shrimp and Grits
istockphoto.com

You will almost always find grits on a Southern breakfast table, yet they’re seldom seen outside of the region. The most classic way to prep this ingredient is with some perfectly cooked shrimp.

For the Shrimp and Grits recipe, click here.

Southern Sausage Balls

Southern Sausage Balls
istockphoto.com

This three-ingredient appetizer is a true staple of Southern entertaining. If you grew up with this dish, it’s a favorite. If you haven’t, you may or may not be a convert. But you don’t know until you try!

For the Southern Sausage Balls recipe, click here.

Southern White Gravy

Southern White Gravy
istockphoto.com

How can something made simply from butter, milk, flour, salt and pepper be so dang delicious? Chalk it up to another great Southern food mystery. Pour this white gravy all over your fried chicken or biscuits.

For the Southern White Gravy recipe, click here.

Spicy Collard Greens

Spicy Collard Greens
Whole Foods

Braised with jalapenos, bacon and vinegar, these braised collard greens are spicy, meaty, sour and oh-so-tender.

For the Spicy Collard Greens recipe, click here.

Spicy Pimento Cheese

Spicy Pimento Cheese
istockphoto.com

A classic dip at many Southern parties, pimento cheese is the perfect thing for crackers, carrots or even a sandwich. We won’t judge; it’s just that good!

For the Spicy Pimento Cheese recipe, click here.

Bourbon Balls

Bourbon Balls
BIRD Bakery

Bourbon, pecans and plenty of sugar are all must-haves in Southern cooking. This quick and easy dessert has all of those scrumptious ingredients in one delicious package.

For the Bourbon Balls recipe, click here.

Coconut Cake

Coconut Cake

Light, fluffy and full of a milky coconut flavor, coconut cake is a pure Southern delight. This recipe doesn’t even require an oven; it’s all made easy thanks to the convenience of a slow cooker.

For the Coconut Cake recipe, click here.

Spiced Butter Pecan Cookies

Spiced Butter Pecan Cookies
Diamond of California

A pecan pie may be considered a signature of the South, but true Southern cooks know that butter pecan cookies are one of the best dishes to bring to a potluck.

For the Spiced Butter Pecan Cookies recipe, click here.

Sweet Tea

Sweet Tea
istockphoto.com

Tea may be a healthy, hydrating choice in most parts of the world, but in the South, this drink is basically one part tea and one part sugar. And once you master these recipes, there are plenty more classic Southern recipes that non-Southerners need to try.

For the Sweet Tea recipe, click here.

More From The Daily Meal:

Dishes You’ll Only Find in the South

10 Things Southerners Always Have on Their Breakfast Table

Classic Southern Recipes That Are Better Than Grandma’s

Texans Share Their 31 Favorite Iconic Recipes