25 Mardi Gras Food Ideas to Celebrate Fat Tuesday at Home
Mardi Gras, aka Fat Tuesday, is the last day of the Carnival season just before Lent. (Mark your cals—in 2021, it takes place on February 16.) It’s also an excuse to go hog wild with food and festivities…but you don’t have to hop a flight to the Big Easy or even leave your kitchen to do that. Here, 25 Mardi Gras food ideas—like gumbo, étouffée and, yes, king cake—that celebrate the flavors of the holiday.
1. New Orleans-Style Beignets
These pillowy bites are easier to make at home than you might think. Put on a strong pot of coffee to pair with them.
2. Shrimp Étouffée
Étouffée means “smothered” in French—as in, shrimp smothered in a rich, spicy creole-style gravy.
3. Seafood Gumbo
The secret to maximum flavor in this gumbo is the roux, a mix of flour and butter that gets cooked until it’s deeply browned and toasty. It thickens the broth and adds a ton of depth.
4. Shrimp and Andouille Jambalaya
Fun fact: Creole jambalaya (like this one) contains tomatoes, while Cajun jambalaya does not.
5. Shrimp Po’ Boys with Avocado-Mango Slaw
Traditionally, the shrimp in a po’ boy is breaded and fried. This version leans on pan-searing for a lighter take that’s no less tasty.
6. Easy Shrimp Creole
FYI, shrimp creole is kind of like étouffée, but the base is thinner and less spicy. Serve it over rice to soak up all that sauce.
7. Mardi Gras King Cake
Hello—it wouldn’t be Mardi Gras without this gooey, cinnamon-laced treat. The plastic baby is optional; the green, gold and purple sprinkles are not.
8. Red Beans and Rice
The andouille sausage is the key to adding smokiness to this dish.
9. New Orleans Gumbo
This classic Creole gumbo is packed with okra, tomatoes, sausage and shrimp. It takes a bit of time to cook, but the results are worth the wait.
11. New Orleans Barbecue Shrimp
In New Orleans, barbecue shrimp has nothing to do with a grill. The Worcestershire-based sauce gives the shrimp a reddish color, hence the name.
These cornmeal cuties are crisp on the outside, soft on the inside and begging to be dipped in the condiment of your choice.
13. Mardi Gras King Cake French Toast
Voilà, an excuse to eat dessert for breakfast. (It is Fat Tuesday, after all.)
14. Cajun Garlic Shrimp and Grits
You’re in luck, because this dish takes just 25 minutes to make.
15. Shrimp Boil Skewers with Corn, Sausage and Potatoes
We strongly encourage you to eschew plates and napkins in favor of lining the table with newspaper.
You can customize this recipe as you please, with more or less spice, swapping out the protein or by making it vegetarian.
17. Weekend Gumbo with Shrimp and Sausage
This one freezes well, so you can extend the benefits of your hard work.
18. Bananas Foster
Are you like a fancy restaurant chef or something?
19. Sheet-Pan Jambalaya
Another jambalaya recipe, but this one’s different. It all comes together on your trusty sheet pan for an *almost* no-cleanup meal.
20. Shrimp Po’ Boy with Remoulade
No need to get fancy; iceberg lettuce, tomato slices and remoulade are all this sandwich needs.
21. Southern Pralines
The most difficult part of making these candies is stopping yourself from eating them all at once.
22. Polish Paczki
OK, OK, these filled doughnuts aren’t a New Orleans tradition, but they are a Fat Tuesday treat. Plus, they’re delicious, so we couldn’t skip ’em.
23. Muffaletta Sandwich
This staple sammie is like a mashup of the best Creole and Italian flavors in one dish.
24. Chicken and Sausage Gumbo
If you’re not able to get your hands on fresh seafood, you could also opt for this chicken and sausage version of the Southern comfort food.
25. Dirty Rice
You might think of rice as a side, but this version is packed with enough protein that it holds its own as the star of the table.