Recipes We Stole From the Family Reunion
Family reunions are about getting together with the family members you don’t see every day and catching up on old times and new. As with most Southern events, however, family reunions quickly become about something more. Kinship? Gratitude? Love? Well, yes, but we were thinking of another word—food. Like any good Southern potluck, family reunions are full of incredible homemade dishes, many of which are nostalgic for attendees. You look forward to Maw Maw’s batch of decadent fudge cut into thick squares. Everyone knows they have to take a bite of Aunt Nancy’s congealed salad to save her feelings. And Cousin Sarah who isn’t the best chef of the bunch will always have the drinks covered. Family reunion recipes are part of what make those gatherings special. As they’re passed down, tweaked, reused, and loved, family reunion recipes bring generations closer together. Even 99-year-old Grandpa and 2-year-old Baby Mae can find common ground around a batch of homemade baked mac and cheese. And we hear that a fresh peach cobbler can soften even the most heated sibling arguments. Trust us: These all-time favorite family reunion recipes will please even your pickiest relatives.
Basic Deviled Eggs
Recipe: Basic Deviled Eggs
Is it even a family gathering without a plate of deviled eggs? Never.
Recipe: Sausage Balls
There always seems to be a basket of sausage balls at the family reunion, and it always seems to be empty by the end of it.
Recipe: Cocktail Meatballs
Even if the family reunion is planned for the middle of summer, there’s always a batch of cocktail meatballs sitting in a slow cooker to stay warm.
Make-Ahead Yeast Rolls
Recipe: Make-Ahead Yeast Rolls
We bet you can’t find a family reunion in the South that doesn’t have a basket of warm rolls on the buffet.
New Tuna Casserole
Recipe: New Tuna Casserole
Tuna noodle casserole has been gracing Southern tables for decades. This recipe has all the comforting flavors you love with a lighter calorie count.
Tee's Corn Pudding
Recipe: Tee’s Corn Pudding
Corn pudding is a classic Southern side that will always have a spot on Thanksgiving and potluck tables.
Mama's Fried Chicken
Recipe: Mama’s Fried Chicken
When Mama makes fried chicken, you better believe she does it well.
Potato Salad with Sweet Pickles
Herbed Breadcrumb-Topped Macaroni and Cheese
No one would ever dare show up to the family reunion with boxed mac and cheese in tow—only a cheesy, creamy, baked version will do.
Poppy Seed Chicken
Recipe: Poppy Seed Chicken
Poppy seed casseroles are a staple of Southern potlucks, whether filled with turkey, chicken, or ham.
Recipe: Squash Casserole
Fresh summer squash, butter, cheddar cheese, and buttery crackers on top taste like summer nostalgia to us.
Old-Fashioned Chicken Salad
Recipe: Old-Fashioned Chicken Salad
People get heated about what does and doesn’t belong in chicken salad (Grapes, apples, nuts? None of the above? All of the above?), but this simple, old-school recipe will keep everyone at the reunion happy.
Recipe: Skillet Cornbread
Southerners know the best homemade cornbread comes straight from a cast-iron skillet.
Tuna Pasta Salad
Recipe: Tuna Pasta Salad
This lightened up, brightened up version of old-school tuna pasta salad will still delight Maw Maw, we promise.
Classic Buttermilk Mashed Potatoes
If someone is bringing fried chicken (which they will), then someone has to bring mashed potatoes to go with it.
Home-style Green Bean Casserole
Recipe: Baked Beans
Backyard family reunions require a piping hot dish of baked beans with bacon.
Recipe: Hashbrown Casserole
Even novice cooks are expected to show up to the family reunion with a homemade dish in tow, and this classic is the easiest way to get a crowd-pleasing result.
Recipe: Pineapple Casserole
To those outside the South, “pineapple casserole” might sound bizarre, but to many, it’s just as much a potluck staple as fried chicken.
Classic Macaroni Salad with Ham
Recipe: Classic Macaroni Salad with Ham
Pasta salad is a must at family reunions, and this recipe will taste like pure nostalgia.
Recipe: Permanent Slaw
A heaping bowl of coleslaw belongs right alongside the baked beans at a Southern cookout.
Recipe: Turkey Tetrazzini
Mama has had this recipe for years, and no one ever complains when it shows up to the family reunion.
Classic Fresh Field Peas
Recipe: Classic Fresh Field Peas
Summer brings an abundance of fresh veggies, including field peas. We love to prep them old-school style with smoked ham hocks for rich flavor.
Old-Fashioned Tomato Pie
Recipe: Old-Fashioned Tomato Pie
Old-Fashioned Tomato Pie is summer perfection thanks to garden fresh tomatoes and herbs.
Chubba Bubba's Broccoli Salad
Recipe: Chubba Bubba’s Broccoli Salad
Southerners know that “salad” is a fluid term, and this is one of our favorite iterations of it.
Au Gratin Potato Casserole
Pan-Fried Okra with Cornmeal
Recipe: Pan-Fried Okra with Cornmeal
Although you usually receive deep-fried okra in restaurants, Southern grandmothers have been pan-frying it like this for years.
Strawberry Pretzel Salad
Recipe: Strawberry-Pretzel Salad
Is it a dessert? Is it a side dish? The beauty of this classic gelatin salad is that no one really knows, but we enjoy it nonetheless.
Recipe: Banana Pudding
One of the South’s most beloved desserts, banana pudding is a cookout staple.
Kitchen Sink Cookies
Recipe: Kitchen Sink Cookies
Why bring plain chocolate chip cookies when you can offer wow-worthy cookies full of sweet and salty goodness?
Recipe: Coca-Cola Cake
Southerners have been cooking with Coca-Cola for years, and it’s one of the most popular ways to make chocolate cake even more delicious.
Heavenly Key Lime Pie
Recipe: Heavenly Key Lime Pie
Your relatives will insist that this key lime pie was sent straight from heaven.
Hello Dolly Bars
Recipe: Hello Dolly Bars
Southern grandmothers know there’s much to be done with a can of sweetened condensed milk, including this favorite bar recipe.
Recipe: Easy Peach Cobbler
Even beginner cooks can pull of a classic peach cobbler recipe, just don’t forget the vanilla ice cream.
Mamie Eisenhower’s Chocolate Fudge
Easy to make and easier to pick up at parties, indulgent chocolate fudge will never last long.
Recipe: Pecan Pie
Pecan pie is basically the queen bee of the dessert table.
Luscious Lemon Bars
Recipe: Luscious Lemon Bars
There always needs to be an option for non-chocolate lovers, and more often than not, it’s a plate full of beautifully bright lemon bars.
Recipe: Chocolate Lasagna
Who else’s grandmother had a layered chocolate-and-whipped cream dessert? All hands should go up.
Recipe: Cheesecake Cookies
No one will hesitate to add one of these bite-size cookies to their already-full plate.
Cream Cheese Brownies
Recipe: Cream Cheese Brownies
If you’re wary of making a complicated layer cake or homemade piecrust, warm, gooey brownies will always satisfy a crowd.