18 Soul Food Recipes That Shaped Southern Cooking
Here's the list of comfort food recipes—many from Black creators—to add to your soul food recipe file.
When enslaved peoples from Africa were transported to an unfamiliar New World, these folks blended what they remembered of the foods of their homeland with local ingredients and European “recipes” they were taught to make. The result was a cuisine we know today as soul food. The comfort food recipes on this list incorporate all the flavors of down-home cooking.
Fried catfish was frequently requested by customers at Gladys’ Luncheonette, an eatery that hosted neighborhood folk as well as famous people during its 50+ years in business. If you don’t live in the South, follow this guide to make fried catfish at home.
To this day, we’re all still looking for a recipe that re-creates the sweet potatoes we grew up on.
Here’s one essential tip for cooking spareribs: Remove the membrane that runs along the back of the rib, so that all of the spice rub can get into the meat.
Taylor recently published her book Watermelon and Red Birds: A Cookbook for Juneteenth and Black Celebrations. She has celebrated Juneteenth for more than 10 years and her book celebrates Black freedom and classic food—including fried green tomatoes.
This is one versatile comfort soul food dish! You can make smothered chicken with fried chicken or lightly sauteed chicken, bone-in or boneless, dark meat or white meat plus the seasonings of your choice. Aaron Hutcherson, aka The Hungry Hutch, thinks of the dish as more technique than exact recipe.
Start with a recipe like this Apple Balsamic Chicken, then use the steps as a jumping off point to create your own smothered chicken.
“As I kid, I thought it was slimy and terrible. My first taste of okra fries didn’t do much to dispel my childhood aversion. But I kept thinking, how can I make okra fries good? You never get crispy okra fries.” This James Beard Award-winning chef updated the technique by using rice flour and cornstarch, and slicing the okra pod lengthwise, so the batter stays on the pod.
Cheryl Day—self-taught baker, author of Cheryl Day’s Treasury of Southern Baking and owner of Back in the Day Bakery in Savannah, Georgia—needs no cheat sheet when baking biscuits. “Anyone can become a biscuit master if they are willing to put in the practice,” she says. “Your hands and eyes are your best tools as you mix the dough.” Day advises that you don’t twist the biscuit cutter as you cut out the biscuits.
Look for dried hibiscus flowers in the supermarket produce section or at an international market.
Yes, banana pudding is delicious—but what makes it special is the nostalgia attached to every bite.
Serve this mac with other southern comfort foods, like fried chicken or pulled pork sandwiches.