Southern lunches have a few telltale signs.

By Southern Living
Banana Pudding
Credit: Jennifer Davick

Whether it's a Saturday picnic or a weekday lunch, there are a few distinctive foods that, when present, are telltale signs of a Southern lunch box. Sure, Southerners appreciate a PB&J as much as the next person, but there are a few foods that make us jump for joy when we pack them in our lunch boxes and unwrap them come noontime. If one or more of these region-favorite foods are present, you can bet a Southerner packed that lunch box. Hummingbird cake, anyone?

Banana Pudding

When a Southerner's lunch box needs something sweet, banana pudding is a simple and delicious go-to dessert.
Make it: Caramelized Banana Pudding


Whether drop, angel, or cat-head, a good biscuit is the make-ahead base of any number of lunchtime meals. Add a protein or pack one alongside a tossed salad. Yum.
Make it: Our Best-Ever Buttermilk Biscuit

Brunswick Stew

Cook up a batch of Brunswick on Sunday afternoon, and you'll have lunches sorted for the whole week, and maybe some dinners too.
Make it: Chicken-and-Brisket Brunswick Stew Recipe


Southerners know that a batch of good cornbread goes with everything. Whether you take your cornbread savory or sweet, it's always a welcome addition to a lunch spread.
Make it: Skillet Cornbread

Fried Green Tomatoes

Is there a more Southern dish? We don't think so. A fried green tomato or two is bound to sneak into Southerners' lunchboxes whenever they're on hand.
Make it: Fried Green Tomatoes Recipe

Ham Salad

It's not just for showers and teas. Ham salad is a delicious spread that's easy to make for lunchtime. Put a dollop on a green salad or spread a spoonful onto a croissant for an easy-as-can-be lunch.
Make it: Ham Salad


When it's in season, there's nothing nicer than a crunchy fried okra side. A bite of okra can turn your whole afternoon around, just try it and see.
Make it: Pan-Fried Okra with Cornmeal

Pimiento Cheese

Open up a Southerner's lunch box and there's a 75% chance it will contain pimiento cheese. We can't help ourselves: It's a perfect combo and it's a reliable lunch, too.
Make it: Our Favorite Pimiento Cheese Video

Squash Casserole

A big-batch squash casserole keeps giving and giving—it's the MVP of the leftovers roster year-round, not just the week after Thanksgiving, though we love it then too.
Make it: Old-School Squash Casserole

WATCH: Skillet Chicken Pot Pie

What Southern foods do you love to eat for lunch? What are the go-to packable dishes you always reach for?