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23 Best Southern Recipes to Try in 2021

Go the nontraditional route with these Southern recipes.
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If you're tired of serving the same old recipes year after year, why not switch things up a bit? Whether you're a Southern resident or just missing down-home cooking, you can liven up your dinner (or breakfast!) table with a few Southern-inspired dishes. Sure, they might not be "traditional," but who knows—you could end up starting your own traditions, too.

Here are 23 Southern recipes to try this year. And for more, don't miss these 15 Classic American Desserts That Deserve a Comeback.

Copycat Cracker Barrel Pancakes

Copycat cracker barrel pancake recipe for breakfast with butter and syrup
Kiersten Hickman/Eat This, Not That!

Start your day off the right way: with a stack of Southern-style pancakes. Fluffy flapjacks? Sign us up.

Get our recipe for Copycat Cracker Barrel Pancakes. 

And as you make your flapjacks, make sure to avoid these 13 Common Pancake Mistakes.

Smoky Deviled Eggs with Bacon

Healthy smokey deviled eggs
Mitch Mandel and Thomas MacDonald

Deviled eggs are a Southern delicacy, and there's no reason not to include them on your dinner table. They're the perfect appetizer to your main course, and they'd be just as tasty for breakfast, too.

Get our recipe for Smoky Deviled Eggs with Bacon. 

And for more ideas, check out these 12 New Twists on Deviled Eggs That Are Deliciously Different.

Smoked Paprika Potato Chips

smoked paprika potato chips on black plate with dipping sauce

Paprika is delicious atop deviled eggs, but it's also great in other appetizer recipes. Top some homemade potato chips with the seasoning for a tasty homemade appetizer.

Get our recipe for Smoked Paprika Potato Chips. 

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Smoky Baked Beans with Bacon

Baked beans

Serving a spiral ham for dinner? These baked beans would be a delicious side dish.

Get our recipe for Smoky Baked Beans with Bacon. 

Southern-Style Shrimp and Grits

Low-calorie shrimp and grits
Mitch Mandel and Thomas MacDonald

Southerners love grits, and if shrimp is included, that's even better. As an appetizer or a main course, this is a lively way to add some seafood to your dinner spread.

Get our recipe for Southern-Style Shrimp and Grits. 

And if you're from the South, shrimp and grits may be one of the 35 Classic Southern Dishes Your Grandmother Used to Make.

Southern-Style Cornmeal Catfish With Tomato Gravy

Low-calorie cornmeal tomato gravy catfish
Mitch Mandel and Thomas MacDonald

Sure, catfish isn't something everyone enjoys on a regular basis. But it's delicious, and your family might be happy about the change to the typical menu.

Get our recipe for Southern-Style Cornmeal Catfish With Tomato Gravy. 

Spicy Mashed Sweet Potatoes

mashed sweet potatoes

North Carolina's state vegetable is the sweet potato, and you can bring a taste of the Tar Heel state to your dinner table with this recipe. It's delicious as a side to ham, turkey, or whatever else you might be serving.

Get our recipe for Spicy Mashed Sweet Potatoes. 

Smoky Paprika Roast Chicken with Savory Green Beans

keto roast chicken on cooling rack with stringbeans
Waterbury Publications, Inc.

Paprika again! The spice is perfect on roast chicken, and this recipe isn't too complicated to make. Just season the chicken, put your roasting pan in the oven, and watch it crisp up to perfection.

Get our recipe for Smoky Paprika Roast Chicken with Savory Green Beans. 

Crispy Crumb-Topped Mac and Cheese Cups

Crispy crumb topped mac and cheese cups
Waterbury Publications, Inc.

Southerners know that mac and cheese comes from the oven, not a box. These individual mac and cheese cups put a fun spin on the classic side dish.

Get our recipe for Crispy Crumb-Topped Mac and Cheese. 

Boneless BBQ Ribs

boneless barbecue ribs and broccoli on plates on wooden background
Jason Donnelly

These aren't the ribs you'd find at a barbecue restaurant—they're baked "ribs" from boneless pork chops. Sure, they can't compare to slow-smoked meat, but we'd like to think they're pretty good for an at-home recipe without a smoker.

Get our recipe for Boneless BBQ Ribs. 

Southern-Style Biscuits

Low-calorie flaky southern biscuits
Mitch Mandel and Thomas MacDonald

Swap out dinner rolls for biscuits—we guarantee they'll be a hit. Who wouldn't love these buttery, doughy bread bites?

Get our recipe for Southern-Style Biscuits. 

Pickled Onions

pickled red onion in a light brown ceramic bowl

Add some Southern charm to your appetizer spread with these pickled onions. Atop meat or on their own, they're a memorable and tangy way to add some veggies to your meal.

Get our recipe for Pickled Onions. 

Pickled Jalapeños

pickled jalapeños in bowl

If pickled onions aren't enough, kick things up another notch with these pickled jalapeños. They'll add a kick to any dinner spread.

Get our recipe for Pickled Jalapeños.

Copycat Cracker Barrel Chicken and Dumplings

Chicken and dumplings with green beans and biscuit
Kiersten Hickman/Eat This, Not That!

Take a cue from the Southern-inspired chain restaurant with these tasty chicken and dumplings. Whether you serve this as a side dish or a main course, it's a nontraditional way to get in some Southern goodness.

Get our recipe for Copycat Cracker Barrel Chicken and Dumplings. 


Vegetarian cole slaw
Mitch Mandel and Thomas MacDonald

Whether atop a whole hog barbecue sandwich or a burger, coleslaw is a winning addition to any meal. It's just as delicious as a side dish in its own right, and there's no reason it can't grace your dinner table this year.

Get our recipe for Coleslaw. 

Potato Salad

Potato salad

Potato salad is one of the best ways to cook up a bag of spuds. It's perfect for any dinner spread, and it's sure to please even picky eaters.

Get our recipe for Potato Salad. 

The Crispiest Oven-Fried Chicken

Paleo oven fried chicken
Mitch Mandel and Thomas MacDonald

OK, so this isn't a box of Popeyes chicken—but it's still pretty darn delicious. You'll have everyone asking you to use this recipe again once they've tried this tasty bird.

Get our recipe for The Crispiest Oven-Fried Chicken.


Cup of homemade buttermilk on a marble counter
Eat This, Not That!

Whip up a batch of buttermilk to use on that oven-fried chicken. It works great in a stack of pancakes, too.

Get our recipe for Buttermilk. 

Chicken Pot Pie

Low-calorie chicken pot pie
Mitch Mandel and Thomas MacDonald

Why serve roast chicken when you could serve chicken pot pie instead? This comfort food would be delicious for your family to enjoy any time of year.

Get our recipe for Chicken Pot Pie. 

Iced Tea

iced tea in a mason jar with a green straw, lemon wheel, and a sprig of mint

No Southern table is complete without a pitcher of sweet tea! This iced tea recipe has just the right amount of sugar to please even the most Southern person at your table.

Get our recipe for Iced Tea. 

And if you can't get enough of Southern cooking, don't miss the 50 Foods You Can Only Find In the South.

Coca-Cola Cake

biting into a slice of coca cola cake on a grey plate
Kiersten Hickman/Eat This, Not That!

Northerners may scoff at the idea of chocolate cake made with soda. But Southerners know that the sweet, carbonated beverage is a delicious ingredient in desserts.

Get our recipe for Coca-Cola Cake. 

Banana Pudding

Low-calorie banana pudding
Mitch Mandel and Thomas MacDonald

Sure, banana pudding is delicious with a plate of slow-smoked barbecue. But that doesn't mean you can't enjoy it with other meals, too. This delectable recipe is sure to be a crowd-pleaser.

Get our recipe for Banana Pudding. 

The easy way to make healthier comfort foods.

Blueberry Peach Cobbler

Healthy blueberry-peach cobbler
Mitch Mandel and Thomas MacDonald

Is there anything sweeter than a Georgia peach? Wherever you live, bring a little bit of the South to your dinner table with this dessert.

Get our recipe for Blueberry Peach Cobbler. 

Whatever you decide to serve, you can't go wrong with these out-of-the-box Southern recipes.

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Meghan De Maria
Meghan De Maria is a senior editor at Eat This, Not That!, specializing in food, product, and restaurant coverage. Read more about Meghan
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