Southern Holiday Dishes Everyone Should Know How to Make
Being able to eat and cook Southern food is a blessing that Southerners should never take for granted. You don’t need Mama to remind you—there really is nothing like classic Southern fare. There are some comforting dishes that every Southern cook should know how to make and others that only seasoned Southern cooks can master. The holiday season is a time when experienced and inexperienced Southern cooks come together to make culinary magic. There aren’t many things that bring a family together quite like a roasted turkey, some classic cornbread dressing, or a green bean casserole. These Christmas and Thanksgiving recipes are the most classic of all time. From desserts like pecan pie and pound cake, to side dishes like collard greens and mashed potatoes, these recipes are timeless. We doubt we’ll live to see the day that these classic Southern holiday recipes aren’t making appearances on tables during the season. Gather around and take notes—these dishes will ensure your Southern holiday meal is done right.
Southern Pumpkin Pie
Don't shy away from this tastey Southern Pumpkin Pie and serve it up for any special occasion this fall.
Recipe: Perfect Beef Tenderloin
Beef tenderloin is a holiday mainstay because there are endless marinating, rubbing, and dipping options.
Lamb is a protein that’s often saved for special occasions, so it’s a shoe-in holiday man dish. This version has festive roasted grapes and cranberries that add to its beautiful presentation.
Pork has a spot on as many holiday tables as beef tenderloin or lamb, and this classic recipe from the December 1989 issue of Southern Living will never get old.
Shrimp and Grits
Lasagna is a Christmas Eve tradition for many families, and this make-ahead version can help you check it off your to-do list early.
Green Bean Casserole
Recipe: Classic Cornbread Dressing
Whether you call it dressing or stuffing, it’s going to be present at holidays in the South.
Mac and Cheese
Sweet Potato Casserole
Au Gratin Potato Casserole
You know it’s true: Homemade cranberry sauce is better than the canned stuff, hands down. Cranberry salad is a Southern go-to as well, and we think you’ll like our updated version much better than the congealed recipes of the past.
Recipe: Praline Bread Pudding
This decadent winter dessert is topped with a rich praline sauce. Our Test Kitchen recommends using stale, day-old bread—better for soaking up the sweet custard.
Recipe: Caramel Cake
This recipe might be old-fashioned, but it will never go out of style.
Red Velvet Cake
Recipe: Red Velvet Layer Cake
What’s more festive than a cake the color of Santa’s famous suit?
Recipe: Sweet Tea Tiramisù
Southerners take a tip from Italy with this classic dessert that’s a holiday hit.
Sweet Potato Pie
Bûche de Noël
Recipe: Eggnog Pound Cake
Video: Eggnog Pound Cake
Pound cakes are a Southern dessert that you can make for any holiday, but festive recipes like our Eggnog Pound Cake and Coconut-Macadamia Nut Pound Cake, made in a Bundt pan and garnished with pretty toppings, are just as welcome at Christmas as a Yule Log.
Homemade Cookies for Santa
Recipe: Basic Butter Cookie Dough
Video: Basic Butter Cookie Dough
There are countless cookie recipes for Santa that he would be happy with, but this Basic Butter Cookie Dough, which is from our December 1995 issue and was sent to us by Ellender Mills of Raleigh, North Carolina, is the most classic cookie recipe that you and your little ones can decorate any way you please.