20 Things You'll Only Find at a Southern Supermarket
There are usually a few different jars of pickles rattling around in a Southerner's refrigerator, from sweet bread and butter chips to tangy okra spears. If you like your pickles with a little kick, Wickles Pickles are brined with hot peppers and other spices. Born in Dadeville, Alabama, like any good recipe, Wickles came from a grandmother's kitchen. Read more about the brand here.
2. Pimiento Cheese
Homemade pimiento cheese is always best, of course, but sometimes a craving strikes and there's no cheese grater in sight. Southern supermarkets stock all sorts of regional brands, and we encourage you to find a local favorite. When drop-in guests show up at your door, you can relax knowing there's store-bought pimiento cheese in the fridge and crackers in the pantry.
We know you can find mayonnaise anywhere, but we're picky about our mayo, y'all. Southern mayonnaise brands like Duke's tend to be a little tangier and looser in consistency than national brands like Hellmann's and Miracle Whip. Whether you're a fan of Bama, Blue Plate, or Duke's, mayonnaise is a key component of many essential Southern recipes including pimiento cheese and Deviled eggs, and yes, the best chocolate cake ever.
4. Creole Mustard
This coarsely ground, spicy mustard is a New Orleans sandwich staple. Also used to make Creole-style remoulade and mustard sauce, it packs a stronger punch than a traditional grainy mustard.
5. Barber's Buttermilk
The Southern Living Test Kitchen swears by Barber's for any recipe that calls for buttermilk, including baked goods, marinades, and salad dressings. Our cooks say it has the best consistency and flavor, whether you're using whole buttermilk or low-fat.
6. Blue Bell Ice Cream
This Texas-based ice cream company has earned a spot in freezers across the South for its rich and creamy texture and outrageously good flavors like Pecan Pralines n' Cream and Coconut Fudge. Classic flavors have earned a devoted following as well. Once you've tried Blue Bell's Homemade Vanilla, you'll never go back.
7. Wright Brand Bacon
There are lots of bacon brands out there, but Texas-founded Wright's bacon has a good meat-to-fat ratio, just the right amount of smokiness, and cooks up nice and straight, thanks to the even, thick-cut slices. It's a certified Test Kitchen favorite around here.
8. White Lily Flour
Since 1883, Southern bakers, including those in the Southern Living Test Kitchen, have trusted White Lily to help biscuits rise, keep cake layers light, and perfect tender piecrusts. The company, which started in Knoxville, uses soft, low-protein red winter wheat to make all-purpose and self-rising flours that are specially milled for a fine texture. Here are some ways to use the all-purpose flour beyond baking: Breading fried chicken, vegetables, and seafood; thickening gravies, stews, gumbos, and sauces; making chicken and dumplings.
9. Sorghum Syrup
Whether drizzled on a biscuit, mixed in a cocktail, or whisked into a salad dressing, this rich, golden syrup has made a comeback throughout the U.S. (Although, to Southerners, it never went out of fashion.) Regional varieties, which are worth seeking out, are available online and at farmers' markets and better grocery stores. We like Muddy Pond, which is made in Tennessee.
10. Conecuh Sausage
Made in a small Alabama town since 1947, this smoked sausage is delicious grilled, tossed into hot pasta, or baked in an eggy breakfast casserole. According to Alabama Farmers Federation, the company "produces 30,000-40,000 pounds of sausage a day at the facility," and demand continues to rise.
11. Topo Chico Agua Mineral
Yes, we know this sparkling water is produced in Mexico. But it has a cult-like following in Texas that has slowly spread throughout the South. Fans love Topo Chico's bracingly crisp bubbles, which are so refreshing on a hot day. Our favorite way to enjoy Topo Chico? Mixed into a classic Texas Ranch Water, of course.
12. Durkee Famous Sandwich & Salad Sauce
Invented in 1857 by E.R. Durkee, this creamy yet tangy blend of mayonnaise and mustard still has devoted fans in certain parts of the South. Here are a few of our favorite ways to Durkee Sauce: Replace raw eggs when breading pork chops or chicken; serve as a dip with shrimp or crudités; spice up potato salad or deviled eggs; spread over bread (instead of butter) when making grilled cheese sandwiches.
13. Pickapeppa Sauce
Mildly spicy and sweet yet sour, Pickapeppa Sauce has been a Southern pantry mainstay since its arrival in the U.S. through the port of New Orleans in 1982. Created in 1921 by Norman Nash in the village of Shooters Hill in Jamaica, this condiment blends onions, cane vinegar, sugar, tomatoes, mangoes, raisins, and aromatic spices. Here are a few ways to use it: Season deviled eggs and potato salad; pour over cream cheese, and serve with crackers; top burgers, hot dogs, and French fries.
14. Sister Schubert's Dinner Yeast Rolls
These puffy, golden, bake-and-serve rolls are the next best thing to homemade. Back in 1989, Alabama native Patricia "Sister" Barnes (formerly Patricia Schubert) sold frozen pans of her grandmother's dinner rolls at a church fair. They were such a hit that she started a business to keep up with demand. Little did she know that her family recipe would become a mainstay on tables across the South, especially during the holidays. Here are more ways to use Sister Schubert's rolls beyond the bread basket: Bake a savory bread pudding; make a French toast casserole; use for leftover turkey sandwiches; cube and toast to make croutons.
15. Tony Chachere's Original Creole Seasoning
If there's an all-purpose flavoring blend in your pantry, it's probably Tony Chachere's (pronounced "SA-shur-ees"). Made with salt, chili powder, dried garlic, and other spices, a little Tony's can liven up just about any savory recipe. Here are a few of our favorite ways to use it: Sprinkle on hot buttered popcorn or french fries; add some kick to any egg-based dish; jazz up avocado toast; stir into ground meat for burgers.
16. Golden Eagle Syrup
Almost 100 years later, this uniquely delicious syrup is still being made in the tiny town of Fayette, Alabama, where it was invented by Victor Patterson in his backyard in 1928. Golden Eagle Syrup is beloved by pecan pie bakers for its simple, honey-forward sweetness. Each jar is still hand-tightened to this day.
This sweet Southern soft drink was born in North Carolina more than 100 years ago, and it was the first bottled cherry soda by decades. Run by the same family since its beginning, Cheerwine has a cult following and its own festival. Southern chefs continue to find creative ways to use Cheerwine in their kitchens, including this cupcake recipe from the Southern Living Test Kitchen.
18. Camellia Brand
Did you know the oldest dried bean company in the country is based in New Orleans? Meet Camellia Brand, the pantry staple that homesick Southerners stock up on when they visit. No other brand is more trusted to make iconic Southern recipes like Hoppin' John or red beans and rice. Now in its fourth generation of family leadership, Vince Hayward leads L.H. Hayward & Company, founded by his great-grandfather Lucius H. Hayward Jr., who created the brand behind the beloved beans in 1923. Hayward Jr.'s son, Gordon, named the bean brand after his mother's favorite flower, the speckled variety of camellias, which are also the oldest type of camellias in the South.
19. Martha White Corn Meal Mix
When it comes to cornbread, Southerners are particular (just ask, "sugar or no sugar?" and they'll know exactly what you're talking about—and will answer passionately). Southern cooks have been trusting Martha White brand with their cornbread since its Nashville founding in the 1890s.
20. Zapp's Potato Chips
The beloved Louisiana potato chips have quite the interesting backstory. Born from a Houston entrepreneur who was once bankrupt with four previously closed businesses, the Zapp's brand almost never made it into our grocery stores. Thankfully, we're snacking on uniquely Southern chip flavors like Voodoo and Spicy Cajun Crawtators to this day.