101 Best Comfort Food Classics
Lose the centerpiece to your table. This impressive pot pie is enough dazzle guests.
Recipe: Double-Crust Chicken Pot Pie
As the name suggests, this is a classic that will be sure to satisfy the whole family. Thyme, garlic powder, poultry seasoning, and bacon drippings are used to flavor this dish.
Recipe: Classic Chicken and Dumplings
For a richer flavor, try using dark corn syrup. Both variations received high marks in our Test Kitchens.
- Recipe: Mom's Pecan Pie
This dish mixes flavor-packed shrimp, bacon, mushrooms, green onion, and garlic with creamy cheese grits. It’s perfect for brunch or for dinner. The original recipe for this hearty shrimp and grits dish is from Bill Smith, executive chef at Crook's Corner, the landmark Southern restaurant in Chapel Hill, North Carolina.
Recipe: Shrimp and Grits
Nothing is more comforting than a big bowl of hearty Brunswick stew. For extremely tender meat that's easy to shred, try cooking on low heat for a long time. High heat yields a less tender product.
- Recipe: Easy Brunswick Stew
Showcase two of the South’s most beloved products—peaches and pecans—in this old-fashioned peach cobbler recipe.
- Recipe: Pecan-Peach Cobbler
Make this iconic Southern chicken-fried steak recipe and savor every bite of this simple and delicious dish. Serve with green beans, mashed potatoes, and plenty of gravy.
- Recipe: Chicken-fried Steak
Freshly-grated Parmesan adds the cheesy flavor to this casserole. This recipe is great for making ahead and freezing.
Recipe: Classic Chicken Tetrazzini
A thick and creamy baked potato soup is ideal for cold winter days. Pile on your favorite baked potato toppings: bacon, Cheddar cheese, and sliced green onions. Try with an easy shrimp-and-pesto baguette.
- Recipe: Baked Potato Soup
You can't go wrong with this classic Southern dish to fill you up on chilly nights. We made it even heartier by adding roasted potatoes to the traditional mix of andouille sausage, Cajun seasonings, and veggies.
With juicy strawberries spooned over sweet and tender biscuits, old-fashioned strawberry shortcakes are the perfect dessert. If the berries are very sweet, decrease the sugar to suit your taste. Drop the dough easily by using a lightly greased 1/3-cup dry measure.
- Recipe: Classic Strawberry Shortcake
No Southern breakfast is complete without flaky, buttery biscuits.
- Recipe: Buttermilk Biscuits
This Southern meatloaf recipe features Creole and Greek seasonings and a hint of garlic. A few tablespoons of Worcestershire sauce spice up the traditional ketchup topping.
Recipe: Old-fashioned Meatloaf
Any way you serve it―warm or cold, with or without ice cream―pecan pie is always a favorite. To prevent the filling from seeping under the crust, we suggest using two crusts and stacking them.
- Recipe: Mom's Pecan Pie
Pork, cabbage, and apples are a classic combination. With plenty of spices and even a beer to add flavor this one-dish meal will become a staple in your household.
- Recipe: Pork Chops, Cabbage, and Apples
You can almost hear the dinner bell calling you in for this comforting meat-and-potatoes meal. To make a Cola Pot Roast, substitute 1 (12-oz.) can cola soft drink for beer.
- Recipe: Mom's Signature Roast Beef
This old-fashioned cake will seal your reputation as a baker.
Recipe: Caramel Cake
This classic lasagna recipe perfectly matches traditional Italian ingredients with a homemade sauce. Layers of cheese, meat, and pasta will satisfy any crowd.
- Recipe: Classic Lasagna
Crispy bacon, sautéed onion, ham, and garlic perfect these collard greens, making them an essential part of your traditional Southern feast.
Recipe: Southern-Style Collard Greens
Truly our best-ever carrot cake recipe, make this classic favorite for a crowd and you might not have any leftovers to bring home. Layers of delicious carrot cake are moistened with a Buttermilk Glaze and topped off with a sweet Cream Cheese Frosting.
Recipe: Best Carrot Cake
Cooking Video: Best Carrot Cake Ever
Any dish with gravy is bound to be delicious and comforting, and these pork chops are no exception.
Catfish is an extremely popular meal in restaurants throughout the country, especially when fried. Our fried catfish presents a fresh variation on the traditional recipe with the addition of rosemary and lemon.
- Recipe: Fried Lemon-Rosemary Catfish
This recipe is so easy you may start serving this classic dessert with every meal. Top with ice cream or seasonal fruits for a tasty combination.
Recipe: Two-Step Pound Cake
This eggs, cheese, and grits combination is simple but absolutely delicious, and a true Southern favorite.
Recipe: Cheddar Cheese Grits Casserole
Dress up your ordinary French toast breakfast recipe with a sweet praline mixture and a hint of cinnamon and vanilla.
Recipe: Praline-Pecan French Toast
This beef stew recipe is pure comfort but it takes a while to prepare, so make it on a day when you have some time to spare. Serve it with crusty bread or over rice to capture every drop of the rich gravy.
- Recipe: Red Wine Beef Stew
For these Cajun-flavored fried shrimp, peel the shrimp but leave the tails on and coat the shrimp in fish fry mix to get a crispy brown coating.
Recipe: Bayou Fried Shrimp
This sweet bread has less oil than most traditional recipes, but you won't miss it. Extra bananas keep it moist.
- Recipe: Banana-nut Bread
Crab lovers will devour this creamy she-crab soup. Serve with flaky, buttery crackers.
Recipe: She-Crab Soup
Summer squash casserole is the most versatile Southern side dish. It pairs well with everything from fried chicken at a summertime Sunday lunch to roast turkey at Thanksgiving.
- Recipe: Summer Squash Casserole
Brunswick stew is always a crowd-pleaser in the South. We combine chicken and tender beef brisket in this hearty version. You won't be able to get enough.
If chocolate chip cookies are your favorite, whip up a batch of these all-time favorite cookies. They're the best of the best.
Can't decide between waffles or eggs for breakfast? Have both! You can substitute deli ham or country ham for the prosciutto.
- Recipe: Waffles Benedict
This green bean casserole gets a much-needed makeover from fresh veggies and a lightened (but super-rich!) homemade sauce. And the best part: It's under 200 calories per serving!
- Recipe: Home-style Green Bean Casserole
Red pepper and garlic seal the flavor of the cornbread mixture that coats these catfish fillets. For an extra-crispy crust, use stone-ground yellow cornmeal.
Recipe: Classic Fried Catfish
Add a little zing to canned tomato soup by blending with canned Italian-style diced tomatoes, chicken broth, and fresh ground pepper. If desired, top with a dollop of sour cream and chopped fresh parsley before serving.
- Recipe: Dressed-up Tomato Soup
These fluffly buttermilk pancakes are named after their creator, Test Kitchen Pro Pam Lolley. Drench them in honey syrup and top off the meal with bacon and fresh fruit.
When it comes to chicken and dumplings recipes, it's hard to pick a favorite. We adore both the tried-and-true version that our grandmothers spoon-fed us, and the more innovative versions with additions like gnocchi, sweet potato, and cornbread.
In our first recipe, deli-roasted chicken, cream of chicken soup, and canned biscuits make a quick-and-tasty version of classic chicken and dumplings.
Recipe: Easy Chicken and Dumplings
Step-by-Step Video: Our Easiest Chicken and Dumplings
Smoked sausage, ham, and red pepper add bold flavor in this classic Creole recipe.
Recipe: Creole Jambalaya
Just seven ingredients—and all of them common pantry staples—are all you need for this rich classic. Top with ice cream or seasonal fruits for a tasty combination.
- Recipe: Million Dollar Pound Cake
Bacon, onion, and brown sugar pack these beans with amazing flavor.
- Recipe: Home-Style Butterbeans
This casserole combines true breakfast favorites—sausage, eggs, Cheddar cheese, and hash browns—in one filling and delicious dish.
This versatile recipe can be used in lots of innovative ways. Shred the cooked chicken, and toss with hot cooked pasta. Create a casserole, or jump-start a fililng for easy enchiladas or a fast pot pie.
- Recipe: Creamy Slow-cooker Chicken
Fresh corn, mozzarella cheese, and chives make up the base of this classic side dish.
- Recipe: Fresh Corn Cakes
This indulgent bread tastes as good as it looks. Don't skip the quick step of whipping the cream before stirring in the brown sugar—that's the secret to the smooth texture of the caramel-flavored sauce.
- Recipe: Praline Pull-Apart Bread
We've streamlined this favorite creamy shrimp chowder by using canned soup as the base.
- Recipe: Quick Shrimp Chowder
Your family will ask for this chilly treat over and over again. Best of all, the six-ingredient mixture requires no cooking, just stirring.
- Recipe: Summertime Peach Ice Cream
These aren't ordinary blueberry muffins! The tart-and-sugary glaze turns plain blueberry muffins extraordinary blueberry muffins.
The addition of mint and orange really brightens this often underrated veggie, while the bacon lends a smoky flavor.
- Recipe: Green Peas with Crispy Bacon
This hearty pot roast is perfect for a busy weeknight. Just put the ingredients in your slow cooker and let it do all the work.
Recipe: Italian Pot Roast
This beef recipe makes the most of your busy weeknights. You can make the patties ahead, then simply thaw in the fridge overnight before using.
Make a simple one-dish dinner that's sure to wow your guests. This beef recipe, flavored with gravy and mushrooms, is a hearty, filling dish. Pair with a salad or bread, for sopping up the sauce, and you're ready to eat.
- Recipe: Beef With Red Wine Sauce
Take pleasure in eating well without a lot of fuss. This vitamin-packed stew is light on calories and will have you out of the kitchen in no time (prep time is only about 10 minutes).
Recipe: Chicken-and-Vegetable Stew
Okra thrives in the scorching heat of humid summers, soaring skyward in its semitropical glory. Originally from Africa, it is as overtly Southern as sweet tea and kudzu. Luckily for us, we have the inside secret when it comes to the delectable pods—no other people embrace okra as Southerners do.
Crushed pecans and baking mix form the crisp breading for this classic Southern-style side.
Recipe: Fried Pecan Okra
This classic recipe has a rich, soufflé-like texture without the hassle. The result is an impressive side dish the entire family will love.
- Recipe: Tee's Corn Pudding
A feta cheese, breadcrumb, and fresh herb mixture fills these large tomatoes for a tasty side.
- Recipe: Feta-Stuffed Tomatoes
Use fresh corn and okra in this Maque Choux dish for best results. If you don't like spicy food you can easily sub the hot sausage for a milder version to fit your tastes.
Recipe: Okra-and-Corn Maque Choux
This hearty seafood casserole is filled with shrimp, cheese and rice and gets its Cajun flair from the addition of okra, bell peppers, and cayenne pepper. It's a great choice for a special occasion meal. If you're not a fan of okra, you can leave it out of this dish.
- Recipe: Cajun Shrimp Casserole
Using a long-grain and wild rice mix and toasted almonds in chicken casserole makes it a little bit dressier and fit for company.
Recipe: Chicken-and-Wild Rice Casserole
We preferred turkey pepperoni, so you don't get a greasy appearance. Freeze the unbaked casserole up to one month. Thaw overnight in the refrigerator; let stand 30 minutes at room temperature, and bake as directed.
Recipe: Pizza Spaghetti Casserole
This moist chocolate red velvet cake is filled with layer upon layer of sweet cream cheese frosting.
- Recipe: Chocolate-Red Velvet Layer Cake
This delicious mac and cheese is light on butter and cheese yet still melts in your mouth. Change the flavor profile of the recipe with combinations such as sweet peas and proscuitto or ham and broccoli.
Recipe: Baked Smokin' Macaroni and Cheese
This delicious variation on traditional macaroni and cheese is easy to prepare and perfect for weeknight family dinners and weekend entertaining alike. Add cooked chicken, shrimp, or sausage to the pasta bake and serve with a green salad and fresh vegetables for a hearty, well-rounded meal.
Recipe: Three-Cheese Pasta Bake
Step-by-Step Video: Over-the-Top Three-Cheese Pasta Bake
Serve shredded brisket on top of tortillas with your choice of toppings for a creative taco night.
Recipe: Slow-Cooker Beef Brisket
This top-rated spinach-ravioli lasagna uses convenience items, like store-bought pesto sauce, jarred Alfredo sauce, and frozen cheese-filled ravioli, to deliver a delicious main dish with little time and effort on your part.
- Recipe: Spinach Ravioli Lasagna
Reinvent "breakfast for supper" with this easy casserole. Country-style hash browns, ham, and Cheddar cheese resemble a breakfast casserole, but plenty of veggies make it a more substantial meal for dinner.
Recipe: Ham-Hash Brown Casserole
Starting with a boxed cake mix makes this cake both easy and delicious. Kids and adults alike will love the creamy peanut butter mousse between layers of chocolate cake. Garnish with chopped roasted peanuts and serve with a scoop of ice cream.
Fluffy marshmallows, chopped pecans and chocolate frosting—who knew mud could be so delicious?
- Recipe: Mississippi Mud Brownies
Make your favorite creamy coleslaw to serve with or on this barbecue sandwich. Freeze any leftover meat for up to one month.
Upgrade your classic Pineapple Upside-Down Cake by adding this unique twist: Carrot Cake. Our users loved the easy prep and the huge hit the dessert was with their families.
Recipe: Pineapple Upside-Down Carrot Cake
Frozen vegetables provide a shortcut to making this savory stew. Sautéed ham and chicken broth give the greens plenty of flavor.
- Recipe: Turnip Greens Stew
You only need five ingredients to make these old-fashioned fried pork chops. Serve with turnip greens, mashed potatoes or grits and biscuits for a down-home dinner.
- Recipe: Pan-Fried Pork Chops
Cream, bacon, and sweet peppers take this dish from down-home to top shelf.
Recipe: Fried Confetti Corn
The sweet and spicy pepper jelly sauce creates a beautiful glaze on the pork chop and keeps the meat moist and tender.
Recipe: Pork Chops with Pepper Jelly Sauce
In need of a little comfort? Tuck into the classic knife-and-fork sandwich smothered in Mornay sauce for a decadent Southern dish.
Recipe: Kentucky Hot Browns
Ready in only 30 minutes, this quick, meatless chili is made with black beans, meatless burger crumbles, and canned tomatoes. You can substitute ground beef for the meatless burger crumbles, if desired. Top with a dollop of sour cream, corn chips, and chopped fresh cilantro just before serving.
- Recipe: Black Bean Chili
This bread pudding is from New Orleans chef Leah Chase, the queen of Creole cuisine. And yes, it does call for 5 tablespoons of vanilla extract!
Recipe: Creole Bread Pudding with Bourbon Sauce
This sweet-and-nutty granola is great as cereal, with yogurt, or as just a snack.
- Recipe: Pecan-Coconut Granola
All the flavors of a favorite casserole come together in the comfort of mac and cheese. Serve this dish to your family, and it will become a quick favorite.
Recipe: King Ranch Chicken Mac and Cheese
Show your culinary skill with this recipe for savory Roast Chicken. Roasted with lemon, dried rosemary, and seasoned pepper, the taste of this chicken will speak for itself.
- Recipe: Roast Chicken