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Mama’s Best Soul Food Recipes

Cornbread, peach pie, catfish, collard greens ... get your sublime soul food fix right here. Mama always knows best.

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Grandma's Collard Greens

My grandmother made the best collard greens recipe in the world. Eating them with a slice of buttermilk cornbread is pure bliss. —Sherri Williams, Crestview, Florida
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Chicken-Fried Steak & Gravy

As a child, my grandmother taught me how to make this chicken-fried steak. I taught my daughters, and when my granddaughters are bigger, I’ll show them, too. —Donna Cater, Fort Ann, New York
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Black-Eyed Peas with Ham

Here's a regional favorite I grew to love after moving to the South. You'll never want black-eyed peas from a can again! Serve the dish as a side with grilled chicken...or make it your main course and round out the meal with greens and corn bread. —Tammie Merrill, Wake Forest, NC
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Zesty Baked Catfish

This catfish combines common pantry seasonings for a taste that's anything but basic. —Karen Conklin, Supply, North Carolina
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Sweet Potato Praline Casserole

For a change from marshmallow-topped sweet potatoes, my mom served us this one. It became an instant favorite. —Caitlin Hooker, Austin, TX
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Slow-Cooked Barbecued Pork Sandwiches

These saucy sandwiches are great for a hungry crowd and easy to prepare. Once the meat is cooked, just keep it warm in the slow cooker until it’s time to serve. —Kim Wallace, Dennison, Ohio
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Grits Pie

Simple, southern and scrumptious, this pie will be a definite hit even with people who dislike grits. It has the perfect custardy texture.—Victoria Hudson, Pickens, South Carolina
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Grilled Cherry-Glazed Chicken Wings

When I take these grilled wings to events, there are never any leftovers! Friends and family love them. —Ashley Gable, Atlanta, Georgia
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White Cheddar Mac & Cheese

My mac and cheese is simple and has lots of flavor from the cheeses and ground chipotle chile. I use conchiglie pasta because its shape allows more melted cheese to pool inside. Yum! —Colleen Delawder, Herndon, Virginia
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Honey Cornbread

It's a pleasure to serve this moist cornbread to family and guests. Honey gives it a slightly sweet taste. Most people find it's difficult to eat just one piece. —Adeline Piscitelli, Sayreville, New Jersey
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Thanksgiving Green Beans

Momma made these green beans only at Thanksgiving because, at the time, the ingredients were out of her everyday budget. Her original recipe inside her recipe box had five stars drawn on it. I would have to agree! —Marcia Shires, San Antonio, Texas
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Mom's Peach Pie

Mom's Peach Pie

A delightful summertime pie, this dessert is overflowing with fresh peach flavor. Each sweet slice is packed with old-fashioned appeal. The streusel topping makes this pie a little different than the ordinary and adds homemade flair. —Sally Holbrook, Pasadena, California
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Bourbon Candied Bacon Deviled Eggs

At our house, it doesn’t get any better than deviled eggs with bacon—bourbon candied bacon, that is. See if you can resist them. We can’t. —Colleen Delawder, Herndon, Virginia
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Truly Tasty Turnips with Greens

This savory dish is a hit at every church dinner. Adjust the seasonings as you please to make the recipe your own. —Amy Inman, Hiddenite, North Carolina
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Deep-Fried Mac & Cheese Shells

I created this deep-fried mac and cheese recipe for my husband. He describes this recipe as "unbelievably delicious" because of the crispy deep-fried coating and the creamy richness on the inside. —Shirley Rickis, Lady Lake, Florida
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Fiesta Coleslaw

Coleslaw with a touch of heat makes a zesty side for barbecued chicken or pork. I also pile it on fish tacos and po'boys. —Fay Moreland, Wichita Falls, Texas
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BBQ Chicken Grits Bites

I love grits and barbecued chicken, so I decided to combine them into a jaunty appetizer. You can also use shredded pork instead of chicken. —Jamie Jones, Madison, Georgia
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Banana Pudding

I didn’t see my son, Lance Corporal Eric Harris, for more than two years after he enlisted in the Marines after high school. And when I saw him arrive at the airport, I just grabbed hold of him and burst out crying. When we got home, the first thing he ate was two bowls of my easy banana pudding recipe. He’s a true southern boy! It’s a dessert, but you can have it for breakfast, lunch or dinner. —Stephanie Harris, Montpelier, Virginia
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Grilled Shrimp with Spicy-Sweet Sauce

These finger-lickin' shrimp practically fly off the platter at my get-togethers. Play with the amount of sriracha to get the spice level just the way you like it. —Susan Harrison, Laurel, Maryland
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Southern Pineapple Casserole

When I make pineapple casserole, I double the amount —because guests frequently request a second helping for dessert! Sweet-tangy fruit is even better combined with savory cheddar cheese and buttery cracker crumb topping. —Catherine Ann Goza, Leland, North Carolina
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Shrimp Corn Cakes with Soy Mayo

Feel free to add hot sauce to the dip that accompanies these savory corn cakes. —Katty Chiong, Hoffman Estates, Illinois
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Lemon Blueberry Cornmeal Cake

Lemon Blueberry Cornmeal Cake

I lightened up this quick and easy dessert by making a few substitutions. Because the treat is so sweet, no one will know it's healthy, too.—Roxanne Chan, Albany, California.
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Quick & Easy Memphis-Style BBQ Ribs

A friend of mine who loves barbecue gave me her recipe for ribs. Use just enough of the spice mixture to rub over them before baking, and sprinkle on the rest later. —Jennifer Ross, Arlington, TN
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Potluck Candied Sweet Potatoes

To make it easier to bring this traditional southern staple to a potluck or gathering, I updated it so that it can be cooked in a slow cooker. It's hard to go wrong with candied sweet potatoes when it comes to pleasing a crowd. —Deirdre Dee Cox, Kansas City, Missouri
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Hot Collards and Artichoke Dip

Anyone can pull off spinach and artichoke dip—so brighten it up using collard greens for a southern twist. Serve this dish with warm garlic naan or tortilla chips. —Billie Williams-Henderson, Bowie, Maryland
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Easy Slow-Cooker Mac & Cheese

My sons always say I'm the best mom in the world when I make this creamy mac-and-cheese perfection. Does it get any better than that? —Heidi Fleek, Hamburg, Pennsylvania
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Mini Crab Cakes

Fresh crab is one of my all-time favorite foods so whenever I get the chance to cook with it I will often make this dish. It's great for appetizers but you can make larger ones for a fantastic dinner with a simple salad. —Ellen Riley, Murfreesboro, Tennessee
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Fried Dill Pickles

You may be surprised when you see how easy it is to make a batch of Fried Dill Pickels. Don't be surprised if they get snatched up in a flash! —Eloise Maynor, Scottsboro, AL
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Slow-Cooker Loaded Mashed Potatoes

Every year my Mom made cream cheese mashed potatoes for Thanksgiving. I tailored the recipe to my family's taste and carried on the tradition. I make them a day ahead and use my slow cooker to free up oven space for other dishes. —Ann Nolte, Tampa, Florida
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Mamaw Emily's Strawberry Cake

My husband loved his mamaw's strawberry cake recipe. He thought no one could duplicate it. I made it, and it’s just as scrumptious as he remembers. —Jennifer Bruce, Manitou, Kentucky
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Baked Two-Cheese & Bacon Grits

In the South, everyone loves three things: bacon, cheese and grits! After playing around with this recipe, I took it to my first family party as a newlywed, and it was a huge hit. This recipe has become a family tradition that I'm sure will be passed down for generations. —Melissa Rogers, Tuscaloosa, Alabama
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Creamy Make-Ahead Mashed Potatoes

With five different dairy products, you know this make-ahead mashed potato casserole is going to be super rich and, of course, delicious. It gets even better topped with onions and bacon! —JoAnn Koerkenmeier, Damiansville, Illinois
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Shrimp & Chicken Sausage with Grits

I’m originally from Tennessee and had never had shrimp and grits until I moved to South Carolina several years ago. I think my version is just as tasty but easier on the waistline.—Athena Russell, Florence, South Carolina
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Oven-Baked Brisket

Texans like brisket cooked on the smoker, but this recipe offers convenient prep in the oven. Sometimes I make extra sauce to serve on the side. Round out the meal with potato salad and slaw. —Katie Ferrier, Houston, TX
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Ambrosia Fruit Salad

My mom's ambrosia salad, with its tasty combination of fresh fruits and creamy yogurt, is a family favorite, and a great addition to a backyard barbecue. —Colleen Belbey, Warwick, Rhode Island
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Picnic Fried Chicken

For our family, it's not a picnic unless there's fried chicken! Chicken, deviled eggs and potato salad are all musts for a picnic as far as my husband is concerned. This is a "Golden Oldie" recipe for me—I've used it any number of times. —Edna Hoffman, Hebron, Indiana
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Mama Arnold's Honey Pie

This sweet, custardy pie could not be simpler to make, but it will have your guests asking for more. The boiled honey gives it a caramel-like flavor that's divine. —Ruth Arnold, Pearsall, Texas
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Spring Onion Pimiento Cheese Grits

Grits were a breakfast staple when I was growing up. Even today, we still have them about three times a week. The trick with grits is the more you whisk, the creamier they'll be. —Melissa Pelkey Hass, Waleska, Georgia

Christine Rukavena
Christine loves to read, curate, sample and develop new recipes as a book editor at Taste of Home. A CIA alumna with honors, she creates cookbooks and food-related content. A favorite part of the job is taste-testing dishes. Previous positions include pastry chef at a AAA Five Diamond property. Christine moonlights at a boutique wine shop, where she edits marketing pieces and samples wine far higher than her pay grade.
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