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Martin Luther King Jr.’s Favorite Foods

Ever wonder what this Nobel Peace Prize winner wanted for dinner?

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American civil rights activists Andrew Young and Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.Everett/Shutterstock

In addition to being an essential part of the civil rights movement in the United States, Martin Luther King Jr. was a minister, father, husband and proud Southerner. Here are the foods he loved to eat and share, according to his family and friends. Many are classic Southern foods we all love.

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Fried ChickenTaste of Home

Fried Chicken

It’s not surprising that a native of the South was a big fan of fried chicken. Those who knew MLK Jr. claimed he particularly enjoyed it as part of a big Sunday meal. Read our fried chicken guide before you start frying.

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Pecan PieTaste of Home

Pecan Pie

Dr. King’s dessert of choice was pecan pie, holding him true to those Georgia roots. Many folks celebrate his life by eating this Southern treat on his birthday each year.

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QuillyTaste of Home


This light dessert with a made-up name comes from King’s mother’s recipe box. It consists of gelatin, whipped cream, marshmallows and fruit salad all molded together. Sounds just like our beloved retro dessert salads.

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Pickled EggsTaste of Home

Pickled Eggs

One of MLK Jr.’s favorite travel snacks was pickled pigs feet, and he never shied away from pickled eggs, either. The list of things that can be pickled goes on and on!

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Smothered SteakTaste of Home

Smothered Steak

Dr. King reportedly loved smothered steak as prepared by a woman also involved in the civil rights movement. He might have liked these Salisbury steak recipes, too.

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Macaroni and CheeseTaste of Home

Macaroni and Cheese

As Southern comfort foods go, nothing can top homemade macaroni and cheese. It was definitely a King favorite.

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Peach CobblerTaste of Home

Peach Cobbler

Peach cobbler was a runner-up to pecan pie on Dr. King’s list of top desserts, and he loved his mama’s version most of all. How many of these Southern desserts have you tried?

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Collard GreensTaste of Home

Collard Greens

King would’ve undoubtedly enjoyed this classic recipe for collards as part of a big family meal. Pair this dish with a piece of warm buttermilk cornbread.

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.

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