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60 Iconic Southern Comfort Foods

Our best belly-stuffin', soul warmin' southern recipes. Think chicken-fried steak, biscuits and gravy and plenty of pie.

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Buttermilk Lemon Meringue Pie

For lemon lovers everywhere, this wonderful pie with a little tang beats lemon meringue every time, no contest. Compliments roll in whenever I serve it. —Ellen Riley, Murfreesboro, Tennessee

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Southern Hoppin' JohnTaste of Home

Southern Hoppin' John

This is a quick and easy side dish that will become a favorite of your family.—Anne Creech, Kinston, North Carolina

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Mini Hot BrownsTaste of Home

Mini Hot Browns

Here's my take on the famous Hot Brown sandwich. Guests quickly saddle up for juicy turkey slices and crispy bacon piled on toasted rye bread and then topped with a rich cheese sauce. —Annette Grahl, Midway, Kentucky

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Taste of Home's Southern Shrimp and Grits recipe served in a bowlTaste of Home

Southern Shrimp and Grits

A southern specialty, sometimes called breakfast shrimp, this dish tastes great for brunch or dinner, and anytime company’s coming. It’s down-home comfort food at its finest. —Mandy Rivers, Lexington, South Carolina

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Southern Buttermilk BiscuitsTaste of Home

Southern Buttermilk Biscuits

The recipe for these four-ingredient biscuits has been handed down for many generations. —Fran Thompson, Tarboro, North Carolina

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Springtime Beignets & Berries

I've always loved beignets, but never thought I could make them myself. Turns out they're easy! Sometimes I'll even make a quick berry whipped cream and pipe it inside for a fun surprise. —Kathi Hemmer, Grand Junction, Colorado

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Southern Potato Salad

This potato salad with a southern twist is perfect for a church supper or potluck. The pickles add extra sweetness. —Gene Pitts, Wilsonville, Alabama

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Southern Seafood GumboTaste of Home

Southern Seafood Gumbo

I tasted a similar dish at a local restaurant and later duplicated it pretty closely. I trimmed it down a bit and no one in my family seemed to mind. —Susan Wright, Champaign, Illinois

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Southern Lane CakeTaste of Home

Southern Lane Cake

I just love this southern-style dessert, and so do dinner guests. With pecans, cherries and raisins in the filling and topping, this version reminds me of a fruitcake—only so much better! —Mabel Parvi, Ridgefield, Washington

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Cajun Shrimp SkilletTaste of Home

Cajun Shrimp Skillet

There’s plenty of sauce with these shrimp—I always have some bread on the side to soak it up. Make it your own by using your favorite amber beer or flavorful broth. —Mark Oppe, North Pole, Alaska

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Southern  Fried BLTTaste of Home

Southern Fried BLT

I’m really not big on tomatoes—but I do like them green and fried, so I decided to try them in a sandwich. It was a smash! If you’ve gotta have cheese, add sharp cheddar to this indulgent twist on the traditional BLT. —Stacy King, Rome, Georgia

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Honey Pecan Pie

Looking for a sweet ending to a special meal? This attractive pecan pie is bound to please with its traditional filling and honey-glazed pecans. —Cathy Hudak, Wadsworth, Ohio

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Shredded Barbecue Chicken over GritsTaste of Home

Shredded Barbecue Chicken over Grits

There’s nothing like juicy meat over steaming grits. And the pumpkin in these grits makes them taste like a spicy, comforting bowl of fall flavors. Your family will come running to the table for this one. —Erin Renouf Mylroie, Santa Clara, Utah

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Buttermilk Pound CakeTaste of Home

Buttermilk Pound Cake

Now that I've retired from teaching, I have more time to bake. This buttermilk pound cake is the one I make most often. It is a truly southern recipe, and one I think can't be topped—once people taste it, they won't go back to their other recipes with buttermilk. —Gracie Hanchey, De Ridder, Louisiana

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Southern Fried Chicken with Gravy

Southern Fried Chicken with Gravy

Fried chicken may have been perfected in the South, but it is loved everywhere! Seasonings add a little something extra to this recipe, as does a rich gravy. —Taste of Home Test Kitchen

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Chocolate Pecan TorteTaste of Home

Chocolate Pecan Torte

This impressive dessert looks lovely on a buffet table. It takes some time to prepare, but it’s worth the effort. —Lois Schlickau, Haven, Kansas

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Slow-Cooked Pork BarbecueTaste of Home

Slow-Cooked Pork Barbecue

You need only five ingredients to fix this sweet and tender pork for sandwiches. Feel free to adjust the sauce ingredients to suit your family's tastes. —Connie Johnson, Springfield, Missouri

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Corn PuddingTaste of Home

Corn Pudding

Cornbread mix and canned corn make this southern corn pudding casserole a snap to prepare. Now this is real comfort food! —P. Lauren Fay-Neri, Syracuse, New York

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Biscuits and Sausage GravyTaste of Home

Biscuits and Sausage Gravy

This is an old Southern biscuits and gravy recipe that I've adapted. Homemade sausage gravy is a classic, hearty breakfast that takes you on a trip to the South every time it's served. —Sue Baker, Jonesboro, Arkansas

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Cajun Shrimp Lasagna Roll-UpsTaste of Home

Cajun Shrimp Lasagna Roll-Ups

If you enjoy Creole and Cajun dishes, you'll love this one. The seasoning and andouille sausage give it a nice kick, and seafood fans will appreciate the shrimp. —Mary Beth Harris-Murphree, Tyler, Texas

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Bread Pudding with Bourbon SauceTaste of Home

Bread Pudding with Bourbon Sauce

There's nothing better than this comforting bread pudding recipe on a cold, wintry day. The bourbon sauce makes the dessert taste special, but it's so easy to prepare—the slow cooker does most of the work! —Hope Johnson, Youngwood, Pennsylvania

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Gulf Coast Jambalaya Rice

As the stew of the South, jambalaya is a definite staple. For ages, home cooks have been making their own tweaks on the traditional recipe. This rendition is my favorite. —Judy Batson, Tampa, Florida

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Sausage Johnnycake

Sausage Johnnycake

Here’s a nice hearty breakfast with plenty of old-fashioned flavor. I serve it to my bed-and-breakfast guests. They love the cake’s savory middle and maple syrup topping. It’s a fine way to start the day! —Lorraine Guyn, Calgary, Alberta

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Andouille-Stuffed Pork LoinTaste of Home

Andouille-Stuffed Pork Loin

This andouille-stuffed and bacon-wrapped pork loin is full of bold flavors and simple to prepare. It is a faculty potluck favorite. This recipe may be prepared ahead, covered, refrigerated and baked before the faculty meeting or potluck to provide a wonderful, warm entree.—Judy Armstrong, Prairieville, Louisiana

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Southern Pimiento Cheese SpreadTaste of Home

Southern Pimiento Cheese Spread

A classic southern comfort food, this spread is used as an appetizer with crackers, corn chips or celery. It is also smeared between two slices of white bread for sandwiches and as a topping for hamburgers and hot dogs. —Eileen Balmer, South Bend, Indiana.

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Bourbon SlushTaste of Home

Bourbon Slush

At our holiday parties, Bourbon Slush is definitely a favorite. Have fun experimenting with different teas when you make it. We like black tea, green tea and orange spice. —Darcene Sigler, Louisville, Ohio

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Seasoned Crab CakesTaste of Home

Seasoned Crab Cakes

At the National Hard Crab Derby in Crisfield, Maryland, these scrumptious crab cakes won me first place. I entered them on a whim after trying many crab cake recipes for my family. —Betsy Hedeman, Timonium, Maryland

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The Best Chicken & DumplingsTaste of Home

The Best Chicken & Dumplings

 Homemade chicken and dumplings from scratch harken back to my childhood and chilly days when we devoured those cute little balls of dough swimming in hot, rich broth. It's one of those types of soup you'll want to eat again and again. —Erika Monroe-Williams, Scottsdale, Arizona

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Grandma's Collard GreensTaste of Home

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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Grits PieTaste of Home

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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Banana PuddingTaste of Home

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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Homey Mac & CheeseTaste of Home

Homey Mac & Cheese

I also call this "my grandson's mac and cheese." Zachary has been to Iraq and Afghanistan with both the Marines and Navy, and I've been privileged to make his favorite casserole for him for over 20 years. —Alice Beardsell, Osprey, Florida

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Southern Shredded BBQ ChickenTaste of Home

Southern Shredded BBQ Chicken

My family loves traditional pork barbecue served over mashed potatoes. I swapped the pork for chicken in honor of the delicious chicken barbecue my childhood church used to serve at its annual fundraiser. I also love cornbread and think that this yummy chicken is even better when served with a slice.—Angela Spengler, Clovis, New Mexico

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Sweet Tea Barbecued Chicken

Sweet Tea Barbecued Chicken

Marinades sometimes use coffee or espresso, and that inspired me to add tea to perk up a barbecue sauce.—Kelly Williams, Forked River, New Jersey

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Pickled Green Tomato Relish

When I'm left with green tomatoes at the end of summer, I reach for this recipe. Friends and family are so happy to receive the sweet-sour relish that they often return the empty jar and ask for a refill! —Mary Gill, Florence, Oregon

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Secret Ingredient Fried Catfish

Secret Ingredient Fried Catfish

Pancake mix and carbonated water are the surprising secrets to these beautifully browned catfish fillets. Serve with coleslaw or sweet potato fries, and get ready for smiles. —Taste of Home Test Kitchen

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Chicken-Fried Steak & GravyTaste of Home

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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Cheddar Corn Biscuits

Skip standard bake-and-serve dinner rolls this year and try my fast-to-fix biscuits studded with cheddar and corn. It's almost impossible to resist eating one right from the oven! —Susan Braun, Swift Current, Saskatchewan

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Iva's Peach CobblerTaste of Home

Iva's Peach Cobbler

My mother received this peach cobbler recipe from a friend of hers many years ago, and fortunately she shared it with me. Boise is situated right between two large fruit-producing areas in our state, so peaches are plentiful in the summer. —Ruby Ewart, Boise, Idaho

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Carolina Shrimp & Cheddar Grits

Carolina Shrimp & Cheddar Grits

Shrimp and grits were a house favorite—if only we could agree on how to make them. I stirred up a winner for the whole family with some cheddar and Cajun seasoning. —Charlotte Price, Raleigh, North Carolina

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Quick Buttermilk Cornbread

The tattered recipe card for this cornbread proves it's been a family favorite for years. It's my daughter's top request. —Judy Sellgren, Grand Rapids, Michigan

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Roasted Fresh OkraTaste of Home

Roasted Fresh Okra

If you have picky eaters who worry about texture, roasted okra is marvelous. It's OK to crowd the pan. Okra shrinks as it cooks. —Anna Katsoulis, Greenville, North Carolina

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Red Beans and SausageTaste of Home

Red Beans and Sausage

Turkey sausage, beans and a zesty blend of spices make this a deliciously unique meal.—Cathy Webster, Morris, Illinois

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Cajun Boil on the GrillTaste of Home

Cajun Boil on the Grill

I came up with these everything-in-one seafood packets for a family reunion, since the recipe can be increased to feed a bunch. The foil steams up inside, so open carefully. —Allison Brooks, Fort Collins, Colorado

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Skillet Pineapple Upside-Down CakeTaste of Home

Skillet Pineapple Upside-Down Cake

For a change of pace, you can substitute fresh or frozen peach slices for the pineapple in this old-fashioned recipe. —Bernardine Melton, Paola, Kansas

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Derby Hot BrownsTaste of Home

Derby Hot Browns

This classic open-faced sandwich created at the Brown Hotel in Louisville is easy to do with deli or leftover turkey, toast and a quick cheese sauce. —Taste of Home Test Kitchen

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Creole JambalayaTaste of Home

Creole Jambalaya

Jambalaya is a traditional Louisiana dish, coming from our Spanish and French culture. Rice is the main ingredient, with different meats or seafood mixed in. I particularly like this variation with shrimp and ham. —Ruby Williams, Bogalusa, Louisiana

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Southern Loaded Sweet PotatoesTaste of Home

Southern Loaded Sweet Potatoes

For a taste of a southern classic, we make sweet potatoes stuffed with pulled pork and coleslaw and manage to sidestep the calorie overload. —Amy Burton, Cary, North Carolina

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Carolina Crab BoilTaste of Home

Carolina Crab Boil

This pot is a fun way to feed a crowd for a tailgate. You can serve it two ways: Drain the cooking liquid and pour out the pot on a paper-lined table so folks can dig in, or serve it as a stew in its liquid over hot rice. —Melissa Pelkey Hass, Waleska, Georgia

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Praline Sweet Potato PieTaste of Home

Praline Sweet Potato Pie

Adding a pleasant crunch, praline crumbles contrast perfectly with the smooth sweet potato filling in this recipe. It’s a fun, festive update on a classic Southern dessert. —Carol Gillespie, Chambersburg, Pennsylvania

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Pan-Fried Catfish with Spicy Pecan GremolataTaste of Home

Pan-Fried Catfish with Spicy Pecan Gremolata

Gremolata, a citrusy minced herb mix, makes a flavorful garnish. This well-seasoned version, with pecans added, gives an unexpected nutty flavor to the catfish.— Laureen Pittman, Riverside, California

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Marina's Golden Corn Fritters

Just one bite of these fritters takes me back to when my kids were young. Nowadays for our get-togethers, I sometimes triple the recipe. Serve fritters with maple syrup or agave nectar. —Marina Castle Kelley, Canyon Country, California

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Raisin Pecan PieTaste of Home

Raisin Pecan Pie

I remember my Grandmother Voltie and Great-Aunt Ophelia making this southern-style pie for Thanksgiving. It was always one of the many cakes and pies lined up for dessert. —Angie Price, Bradford, Tennessee

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Real Southern Fried Chicken

Real Southern Fried Chicken

As a Yankee originally from Vermont, I didn't know one fried chicken from another. They all seemed pretty much the same to me. Tasting the Southern version opened my eyes! A side of hot biscuits served with butter and honey is practically mandatory. —Lily Julow, Lawrenceville, Georgia

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Key Lime CupcakesTaste of Home

Key Lime Cupcakes

I made these light, tangy cupcakes on a chilly day to remind me of our vacation in southern Florida, where Key lime pies are star attractions. —Jennifer Gilbert, Brighton, Michigan

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Country Chicken with GravyTaste of Home

Country Chicken with Gravy

Here's a lightened-up take on classic southern comfort food. This chicken gravy recipe has been a hit at our house since the first time we tried it! —Ruth Helmuth, Abbeville, South Carolina

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Benedictine DipTaste of Home

Benedictine Dip

Benedictine is a creamy spread studded with chopped cucumbers. It was named in honor of Jennie Carter Benedict, a chef and restaurateur from Louisville, Kentucky, who created the condiment at the turn of the 20th century. Originally used for cucumber sandwiches, Benedictine is now commonly enjoyed as a cold dip for chips or spread on crackers. —Taste of Home Test Kitchen

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Bananas Foster SundaesTaste of Home

Bananas Foster Sundaes

I have wonderful memories of eating bananas Foster in New Orleans, and as a dietitian, wanted to find a healthier version. I combined the best of two recipes and added my own tweaks to create this southern treat. —Lisa Varner, Charleston, South Carolina

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Sweet Potato Crisp

My not-too-sweet potato crisp features a wonderful buttery crumb topping. This is a welcome change from candied sweet potatoes.—Kathy Hamsher, Moon Township, Pennsylvania

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Creole Cornbread

Cornbread is a staple of Cajun and Creole cuisine. This version is an old favorite, and it really tastes wonderful. I found the recipe in the bottom of my recipe drawer. —Enid Hebert, Lafayette, Louisiana

Nicole Doster
Nicole is a writer, editor and lover of Italian food. In her spare time, you’ll find her thumbing through vintage cookbooks or testing out recipes in her tiny kitchen.