18 Comforting Classics Your Southern Grandma Used to Make
Southern food is all about comfort—hello, baskets of fried chicken, crocks of creamy mac and cheese and casseroles straight from the oven. If you were lucky enough to grow up with a Southern meemaw, you know that no one can make a biscuit quite as flaky as she does. But it’s worth a try, right? We’re pouring ourselves a mason jar of sweet tea and getting to work on these 18 Southern classics.
One-Pot Mac and Cheese
We bet that even Grandma didn’t know how to make a pot of extra gooey mac and cheese without having to do a pile of dishes afterwards. The secret? Boil the pasta in milk, then stir in the butter and cheese at the end.
Coconut Bacon Collard Greens
Who needs kale when you can have collards? They’re just as healthy and packed with vitamins, and hearty enough to stand up to a slow braise. And swap in coconut bacon for the real stuff—you’ll get the same smoky flavor with none of the guilt.
Oven Fried Southern Chicken with Sweet Honey Bourbon Sauce
This isn’t fried in a cast-iron pan of lard like Grandma used to do it…but grandma probably also doesn’t want us to have a heart attack anytime soon. This baked version is a little healthier than traditional fried chicken (and with a generous drizzle of honey bourbon sauce, you’ll never miss the oil).
Sweet Potato Casserole
Southern grandmas will make a casserole out of just about anything if you let them. But we like sticking to the classics—creamy sweet potatoes and crunchy pecan topping forevermore.
There’s truly nothing like a real Southern peach. We love them over yogurt, in salads, or just plain, with juice running down our arms. But our very favorite is cobbler—topped with fresh biscuits and a scoop of vanilla ice cream, of course.
Shrimp and Grits
The secret to this savory stew from Coterie member Heidi Larsen is getting the absolute freshest shrimp you can find. Southerners eat it for breakfast or brunch, but we’re pretty happy to see it on the dinner table, too.
Buttermilk Skillet Cornbread with Tomatoes and Green Onions
Every Southern grandma has an opinion about how sweet cornbread should be. We always respect our elders, but find ourselves turning to this not-too-sweet version topped with tomatoes and green onions most of the time.
Sheet-Pan Crispy Cheddar Pork Chops
The best way to make a classic Southern dinner on a busy weeknight? Your trusty sheet pan. Crispy, cheesy pork chops cook together with potatoes and veggies, so you have a square meal without all the hassle.
Southern Cornbread Dressing
Grandma always used to make this classic dressing at Thanksgiving, but we love it all year round. Serve it with pork chops or a roast chicken on a Sunday night for an easy dinner that feels as special as a holiday.
Bacon Wrapped Brussels Sprouts
Bacon-wrapped anything is a go in the South, but it works particularly well with Brussels sprouts. Serve these on toothpicks as an appetizer, or as a side.
Fried Chicken Sandwiches with Tangy Slaw
With a fluffy brioche bun, crispy fried chicken breast, crunchy pickles and slaw, and a drizzle of dijonaise, these are absolute sandwich masterpieces.
Cheddar Biscuits with CARAMELIZED Onion Gravy
Sure, Grandma probably would have used sausage in her gravy. But we’re obsessed with this vegetarian take on the classic comfort food.
Instant Pot Pulled BBQ Pork
Making real, smoky pulled pork used to be an all-day affair. But thanks to the Instant Pot, it’s almost easy enough for a weeknight. Top with some slaw and call it a day.
Slow-Cooker Black Eyed Peas
Fun fact: Eating black eyed peas on New Year’s Day is said to bring good luck and fortune. But we don’t like to limit ourselves—we love this protein-packed set-it-and-forget-it dinner all year long.
Bacon Pepper jack Hushpuppies
Hushpuppies are basically just little balls of fried cornbread. And the only thing that could possibly make that better? Stuffing them with bacon and pepper jack, natch.
Spicy Orange-Honey Glazed Ham
Glazed ham will always make us think of holiday dinners around Grandma’s table, but it’s actually super easy to make anytime. (Tip: Roll out some biscuits at the same time for sandwiches the next day.)
Think carrot cake without the carrots (but with bananas, pineapple and plenty of cream cheese frosting and toasted pecans). There’s no better cake, hands down.