The Best Southern Living Recipes for Savory Comfort Food

Hello there, fellow foodies! Are you looking for a delicious and satisfying meal that will warm your heart and soul? Look no further than Southern comfort food! With its rich and flavorful dishes, Southern cuisine is the epitome of comfort food. And, lucky for us, Southern Living has compiled a list of the best recipes that will satisfy any craving.

The Best Southern Living Recipes for Savory Comfort Food

From creamy mac and cheese to spicy chicken and waffles, these recipes are sure to make your taste buds dance with joy. Whether you’re cooking for your family, hosting a dinner party, or just looking for some soul food to get you through the day, these recipes are easy to follow and will not disappoint. So, grab your apron and let’s get cooking!

Southern Living Recipes: An Overview

Southern cooking is more than just a style of food, it’s a way of life. The cuisine is rooted in tradition and influenced by history, geography, and culture. Southern cooking is known for its comforting, flavorful dishes that bring people together. In this article, we will explore the unique aspects of Southern living recipes and what sets them apart from other regional cuisines.

What Makes Southern Cooking Unique

Southern cooking is heavily influenced by the region’s history. The cuisine evolved from a blend of African, Native American, European, and Caribbean flavors and techniques. The land and climate of the South also played a significant role in shaping Southern cuisine. The region’s warm climate allowed for the cultivation of ingredients like cotton, tobacco, rice, and sugar cane, which were used in both savory and sweet dishes.

Another factor that makes Southern cooking unique is the emphasis on family, hospitality, and tradition. Many Southern dishes have been passed down from generation to generation and are celebrated during holidays and special occasions. Meals are often shared with friends and family, and there is a focus on making guests feel welcome and well-fed. As a result, Southern cooking is known for its generous portions and indulgent ingredients.

Ingredients Commonly Used in Southern Cooking

Several staple ingredients are used in Southern living recipes, creating a distinct flavor profile. Some of the most common ingredients include:

  • Cornmeal: Used in dishes like cornbread, hush puppies, and fried green tomatoes.
  • Buttermilk: A key component in Southern baking, used in biscuits, cakes, and pancakes.
  • Black-eyed peas: Popular in soul food, black-eyed peas are often served on New Year’s Day for good luck.
  • Pecans: A Southern favorite, pecans feature prominently in pies and cookies.
  • Collard greens: A staple in Southern cuisine and often served as a side dish with smoked meat.

Of course, there are many more ingredients that are commonly used in Southern cooking, but these are just a few that help to define the cuisine.

The Evolution of Southern Cuisine

Southern cuisine has evolved over time, influenced by regional and global trends as well as individual creative expression. The cuisine once associated with hearty fare has been elevated in recent years, thanks to modern Southern chefs who have brought new flavors and techniques to traditional dishes.

In the 1980s and 90s, chefs like Emeril Lagasse helped to popularize a style of cooking that melded Southern and French cuisines, which came to be known as “New Southern.” Today’s chefs are continuing to push the boundaries of Southern cuisine, incorporating diverse ingredients and techniques from around the world while still honoring the region’s culinary traditions.

From humble beginnings to a food culture that has gained worldwide recognition, Southern living recipes have evolved and adapted to reflect the changing times and shifting tastes. But at its core, Southern cuisine remains a celebration of rich, comforting, and flavorful food shared with loved ones.

Classic Southern Dishes

When it comes to Southern cuisine, there are a few dishes that truly embody the region’s culinary legacy. From perfectly seasoned fried chicken to creamy shrimp and grits, these iconic meals are a must-try for anyone looking to experience the flavors and traditions of the South. Here are a few classic Southern dishes and tips for mastering them in your own kitchen.

Fried Chicken

No Southern kitchen is complete without a trusty cast-iron skillet and a recipe for perfectly crispy fried chicken. While there are countless variations on this beloved dish, the key to truly great fried chicken lies in the seasoning and the frying process. To make your own Southern-style fried chicken, start with a mixture of flour, salt, pepper, and any other seasonings you like, such as cayenne pepper or garlic powder. Dip your chicken pieces in buttermilk or beaten eggs, then dredge them in the seasoned flour mixture. Make sure to shake off any excess before frying in hot oil until golden brown and cooked through. Serve with sides like mashed potatoes and gravy, collard greens, or mac and cheese for the ultimate Southern feast.

Shrimp and Grits

If you’re looking for the quintessential Southern brunch dish, look no further than shrimp and grits. This simple but satisfying meal features creamy stone-ground grits topped with plump shrimp and a flavorful sauce. To make your own shrimp and grits, start by cooking your grits according to package directions, then stir in butter, cream, and shredded cheese for extra richness. Season your shrimp with spices like paprika, cumin, and garlic powder, then sauté until pink and cooked through. For the sauce, mix together chicken broth, cream, and a touch of hot sauce, then pour over the cooked shrimp and grits. Top with chopped scallions and crispy bacon for a true Southern touch.

Peach Cobbler

When it comes to Southern desserts, few are as beloved as peach cobbler. This classic dish combines fresh peaches with a sweet, buttery topping for a treat that’s as comforting as it is delicious. To make your own peach cobbler, start by peeling and slicing fresh peaches, then toss them with sugar, lemon juice, and a pinch of cinnamon. Pour the peaches into a baking dish, then top with a mixture of flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt. Cut in butter until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs, then stir in milk until a dough forms. Drop spoonfuls of the dough on top of the peaches, then bake until golden and bubbly. Serve with a scoop of vanilla ice cream for the ultimate Southern indulgence.

With these classic Southern dishes in your repertoire, you’ll be able to bring the flavors and traditions of the South to your own kitchen. Whether you’re hosting a brunch, a dinner party, or just whipping up a comforting family meal, these dishes are sure to satisfy.

Healthy Southern Recipes

The South has a rich culinary heritage, but it’s not always known for its healthy cuisine. But that’s changing as more Southern chefs embrace lighter, fresher ingredients. Here are three delicious and healthy Southern recipes to try in your kitchen.

Grilled Watermelon Salad

Watermelon is a Southern summer staple, and this refreshing and light salad is a creative way to enjoy it. Grilling the watermelon caramelizes its natural sugars, adding depth to its juicy sweetness. Combine it with peppery arugula, tangy feta cheese, and a drizzle of balsamic glaze for a dish that’s both savory and sweet.

To make this salad, cut a seedless watermelon into 1-inch-thick wedges and brush with olive oil. Grill the watermelon over medium-high heat for 2-3 minutes per side, until lightly charred. Remove from the grill and cut into bite-size pieces. In a large bowl, combine the watermelon with arugula, crumbled feta cheese, and a pinch of salt. Toss with a dressing of balsamic glaze and olive oil and serve immediately.

Blackened Catfish Tacos

Seafood is a staple of Southern coastal cuisine, and catfish is a beloved fish of the region. This recipe for blackened catfish tacos puts a healthy spin on traditional Southern flavors. The catfish is coated in a homemade spice rub of smoked paprika, cumin, and cayenne, then grilled to perfection. Serve it in soft corn tortillas with a crunchy slaw of cabbage, carrots, and jalapeño peppers, tossed in a lime vinaigrette.

To make this dish, mix together smoked paprika, cumin, cayenne pepper, and salt in a small bowl. Coat the catfish fillets in the spice rub and grill for 4-5 minutes per side or until cooked through. While the catfish is grilling, mix together shredded cabbage, carrots, jalapeño peppers, lime juice, and honey in a bowl to make the slaw. Warm the tortillas on the grill or in a warm oven, and assemble the tacos by placing a piece of catfish on each tortilla, topping it with slaw, and adding a sprinkle of cilantro.

Buttermilk Ranch Chicken Skewers

Chicken is a versatile and healthy protein that’s widely used in Southern cuisine. These buttermilk ranch chicken skewers are marinated in a tangy buttermilk dressing and grilled to juicy perfection. Serve them with a side of grilled vegetables for a well-rounded and satisfying meal.

Start by marinating chicken breast chunks in a mixture of buttermilk, ranch seasoning, garlic, and lemon juice for at least an hour. Thread the chicken onto skewers and grill for 12-15 minutes or until cooked through. Serve the skewers with grilled vegetables like zucchini, squash, and bell peppers, and garnish with fresh herbs like parsley or basil.

These three recipes showcase how Southern cuisine can be both flavorful and healthy. By using fresh, seasonal ingredients and adding bold spices and marinades, you can recreate the tastes of the South in your own kitchen.

Savor the Flavors of Southern Living Recipes

Thank you for taking the time to read our article about the best Southern Living recipes for savory comfort food! We hope that we’ve given you some great ideas for delicious and satisfying meals that you can enjoy with your family and friends. Whether you’re a born-and-raised Southerner or just appreciate bold and hearty flavors, these dishes are sure to hit the spot.

Be sure to check back with us soon for more mouth-watering recipes, helpful cooking tips, and interesting food-related content. We’re always working hard to bring you the best of the best when it comes to Southern Living recipes and other culinary delights. Until next time, happy cooking and bon appétit!


1. How do I find more Southern Living recipes?

You can find more Southern Living recipes by visiting the official Southern Living website or checking out the many cookbooks and magazines that they offer. You can also search for specific recipes and ingredients online or on social media.

2. Are Southern Living recipes only for Southerners?

No, Southern Living recipes are for anyone who enjoys bold and flavorful dishes that are full of heart and soul. While many of these recipes may be rooted in Southern cuisine and culture, they can be enjoyed by anyone, anywhere in the world.

3. What types of dishes are featured in Southern Living recipes?

Southern Living recipes feature a wide range of dishes, from classic comfort foods like mac and cheese and fried chicken to more elevated and sophisticated fare like shrimp and grits and bourbon-glazed pork tenderloin. There’s something for everyone!

4. Can I modify Southern Living recipes to suit my dietary restrictions?

Yes, many Southern Living recipes can be modified to suit different dietary restrictions or preferences. For example, you could use gluten-free flour or dairy-free milk in a recipe that calls for wheat flour or regular milk.

5. Do I have to use expensive ingredients for Southern Living recipes?

No, you don’t have to use expensive ingredients to make delicious Southern Living recipes. Many of these recipes feature affordable and accessible ingredients that you can find at your local grocery store or farmers’ market.

6. Can I make Southern Living recipes for a crowd?

Yes, many Southern Living recipes are perfect for feeding a crowd, whether you’re hosting a holiday meal, a family reunion, or a neighborhood barbecue. Just be sure to adjust the ingredients and cooking times accordingly.

7. Are Southern Living recipes easy to follow?

Yes, many Southern Living recipes are designed with home cooks in mind and are easy to follow, with step-by-step instructions and helpful tips and tricks. Some recipes may be more challenging than others, but most are accessible to cooks of all skill levels.

8. Can I make Southern Living recipes ahead of time?

Yes, many Southern Living recipes can be made ahead of time and stored in the fridge or freezer until you’re ready to serve them. Just be sure to follow the storage instructions carefully and reheat or thaw the dish thoroughly before serving.

9. What types of ingredients are used in Southern Living recipes?

Southern Living recipes feature a wide range of ingredients, from basic staples like flour, sugar, and butter to more unique and flavorful items like smoked sausage, okra, and cornmeal. Many recipes also feature fresh herbs and spices for added depth and complexity.

10. What makes Southern Living recipes so special?

Southern Living recipes are special because they embody the rich and diverse culinary traditions of the American South, from classic soul food to more modern and inventive fare. These dishes are made with love and care, and they’re designed to bring people together around the table.

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About the Author: David Dunlap

Worked in restaurants for years before turning to food writing and has won multiple awards for the work, including more than a dozen awards.

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