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17 of Aretha Franklin’s Favorite Foods

It's said that the only thing Aretha Franklin loved as much as soul music was soul food.

Aretha Franklinvia Aretha Franklin/Facebook

When she wasn’t singing her heart out, the Queen of Soul loved to cook and eat. These recipes are inspired by her favorite comfort cuisine, from homey meat loaf to old-fashioned banana pudding.

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Peach Cobbler

Aretha’s peach cobbler recipe was a tried-and-true go-to for many of her fans! While she used canned peaches and refrigerated pie crusts, this recipe’s fresh peaches and hand-mixed topping create a wonderful cobbler if you have the time.
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Pineapple Ham

The Queen of Soul’s Queen of Soul Ham recipe is classic, with maraschino cherries, pineapple rings, lots of brown sugar and yellow mustard. This copycat recipe would be perfect for a holiday.
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Banana Pudding

In her biography, Aretha mentioned loving banana pudding. But really, who doesn’t?! This recipe yields a great one with a made-from-scratch pudding mixture.
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Fried Chicken

Since the Queen of Soul loved soul food, fried chicken is something she must have relished. It can’t get much more crispy and satisfying than this!
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Mac & Cheese

Way back in 1967, Aretha told Ebony magazine that her favorite food was chitlins. It’s hard to come by recipes for those anymore, but since she loved comfort food, this mac and cheese topped with crushed pork rinds would have undoubtedly made her day!
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In the same interview, Aretha also mentioned hot water cornbread as a food she loved, and since she surely slathered it with butter, this version would have been a hit with her!
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Italian Chicken

Ms. Franklin shared her recipe for Chicken Italiano with Martha Stewart. It consists of chicken pieces from a whole bird, tomato sauce and fresh rosemary. It comes together quickly and easily, just like this recipe does.
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Thai Shrimp

Aretha could branch out too! Using peanut butter and soy sauce to flavor her Mmm Mmm Mmm Peanut Butter Shrimp gives it a decidedly Thai twist.
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Black-Eyed Peas & Ham

Ham-infused black-eyed peas are the epitome of soul food. Use a smoked ham hock or take the shortcut and use regular ham like this recipe does.

Meat Loaf

Cornflakes are a wonderful replacement for bread crumbs in a batch of meat loaf, and Aretha knew it! She also included olives in her holiday loaf. You could stir them into this recipe, too.
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Baby Back Ribs

Barbecue ribs are also on the menu of her favorite foods as told to her biographer Mark Bego. We wonder if she kept moist towelettes in stock!

Homemade Ice Cream

We hear she loved homemade ice cream as well, but there’s no mention of a specific flavor. Was she on team chocolate or team vanilla, or did she prefer something else entirely, like rhubarb ice cream?
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Shrimp & Grits

A bowl of shrimp and grits can make even the worst day seem pretty good. Aretha’s recipe smothers the shrimp in a very buttery tomato cream sauce.
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Rumor had it that the accomplished singer had planned to start her own line of comfort foods. Chili was one of the items she was considering, and she would certainly approve of this version that’s cooked low and slow.
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Gumbo was also supposedly on Aretha’s product list. She’d probably opt for a classic recipe like this one with both chicken and sausage.
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Chicken & Dressing

Aretha baked her chicken and dressing, another item with her new label, in a loaf pan, but we bet this traditional casserole would be OK with her.
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Pumpkin Pie

It was said that the reason Ms. Franklin wanted to start her food brand was to compete with Patti LaBelle, whose sweet potato pie has been wildly popular. Since Aretha hailed from Detroit, we think maybe she would have included a pumpkin pie in her offerings instead.

Grace Mannon
Grace is a full-time mom with a Master's degree in Food Science. She loves to experiment in the kitchen and writes about her hits (and misses) on her blog, A Southern Grace.