50 Classic Southern Side Dishes Everyone Should Know By Heart

Southern-Style Collard Greens in a white bowl with a bowl of cornbread beside it
Photo: Photographer: Fred Hardy II, Food Stylist: Emily Nabors Hall, Props Stylist: Christina Brockman

Round out your meal with a little comfort food on the side. Each of these classic side dishes has its own Southern twist, from adding crispy bacon or cheese to deep-frying. From favorites like collard greens and sweet potato casserole to updates on classics like three-bean salad and dirty rice, these side dishes are like scooping up a bite of nostalgia. Whether for the potluck, the cookout, or a Wednesday night dinner with your family, these Southern side dishes are comforting, easy, and crowd-pleasing. In Southern cuisine, a main dish is best complemented by a host of incredible side dishes.

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Tee's Corn Pudding

50 Best Thanksgiving Tee's Corn Pudding
Jennifer Davick

Recipe: Tee's Corn Pudding

This classic recipe has a rich, soufflé-like texture without the hassle. The result is an impressive side dish the entire family will love.

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Fried Green Tomatoes

Fried Green Tomatoes
Jennifer Davick

Recipe: Fried Green Tomatoes

It doesn't get much more Southern than a plate of Fried Green Tomatoes. Great on sandwiches, in salads, or plain, this is a recipe every Southern cook should master.

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Home-Style Butterbeans

Home-Style Butterbeans
William Dickey

Recipe: Home-Style Butterbeans

Bacon, onion, and brown sugar pack these beans with amazing flavor. Frozen butterbeans are slow-cooked until tender on the stovetop and aside from an occasional stir, this is a low-maintenance recipe is hands-off.

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Southern-Style Collard Greens

Southern-Style Collard Greens in a white bowl with a bowl of cornbread beside it
Photographer: Fred Hardy II, Food Stylist: Emily Nabors Hall, Props Stylist: Christina Brockman

Recipe: Southern-Style Collard Greens

Crispy bacon, sautéed onion, ham, and garlic perfect these collard greens, making them an essential part of your traditional Southern feast.

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Fried Pecan Okra

Fried Pecan Okra
Beth Dreiling Hontzas

Recipe: Fried Pecan Okra

Crushed pecans and baking mix form the crisp breading for this classic Southern-style side. Don't skip toasting the pecans, this tiny step is the reason the breading is so flavorful.

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Rob McDaniel's Baked Tomatoes with Goat Cheese and Breadcrumbs

Rob McDaniel Baked Tomatoes with Goat Cheese and Breadcrumbs
Southern Living

Recipe: Rob McDaniel's Baked Tomatoes with Goat Cheese and Breadcrumbs

These tomatoes look just as impressive as they taste. The tomatoes are marinated in sherry vinegar, garlic, and anchovies, roasted, topped with goat cheese, and finished with homemade breadcrumbs for the ultimate savory side.

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Maque Choux with Sausage

Maque Choux with Sausage
Johnny Autry; Prop and Food Styling: Charlotte L. Autry

Recipe: Maque Choux with Sausage

This classic Louisiana dish has both Native American and Creole-French roots. This version includes a Louisiana favorite, spicy andouille sausage, along with okra, red bell pepper, thyme, and a nice amount of heavy cream for richness.

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Creamy Fried Confetti Corn

Creamy Fried Confetti Corn

Recipe: Creamy Fried Confetti Corn

Flecked with bits of bell pepper and crispy bacon, this is an anything but boring corn side. Creamy from a generous amount of half and half as well as cream cheese, it's a hearty complement to chicken, pork, or beef.

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Balsamic Green Beans with Pearl Onions

Balsamic Green Beans with Pearl Onions Recipe
Photo: Hector Manuel Sanchez; Prop Styling: Buffy Hargett Miller; Food Styling: William Smith

Recipe: Balsamic Green Beans with Pearl Onions

Tender blanched green beans and pearl onions are lightly caramelized in butter, garlic, tangy balsamic vinegar, and a touch of sugar in this recipe. This fragrant, syrupy mixture forms a glaze that coats the beans and works well with just about any main dish.

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Twice-Baked Potatoes

Twice Baked Potatoes
Antonis Achilleos

Recipe: Twice-Baked Potatoes

There's nothing like a classic twice-baked potato loaded with cheddar cheese, sour cream, bacon, and green onions. These potatoes are so rich, pair them with a hearty green salad, and they're a meal all by themselves.

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Best-Ever Succotash

a skillet filled with succotash
Photographer: Jen Causey, Prop Stylist: Josh Hoggle, Food Stylist: Ruth Blackburn

Recipe: Best-Ever Succotash

Colorful, fresh, and bountiful during Southern summers, succotash is a staple on our tables. Want to add a bit of spice? Sprinkle the finished dish with a little bit of smoked paprika.

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Old-School Green Bean Casserole

Old-School Green Bean Casserole
Victor Protasio; Prop Styling: Ginny Branch Stelling; Food Styling: Emily Nabors Hall

Recipe: Old-School Green Bean Casserole

We're not sure if we've ever attended a Southern holiday that didn't have a green bean casserole on the menu. While many versions of this classic start with a can of cream of mushroom soup, this recipe uses fresh Cremini mushrooms to recreate that flavor from scratch.

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Homemade Baked Beans

a casserole dish of baked beans
Photographer: Fred Hardy II, Food Stylist: Emily Nabors Hall, Props Stylist: Christina Brockman

Recipe: Homemade Baked Beans

If you don't have the time to start from dried beans, this recipe allows you to turn out a savory and tasty dish based on canned beans. Since most things taste better with bacon, we start these beans by frying up some and then later crumbled on top of the beans for the perfect finishing touch.

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Southern-Style Potato Salad

_Southern-Style Potato Salad
Southern Living

Recipe: Southern-Style Potato Salad

If your potato salad isn't Duke's mayo-laden, it might not be well-received at the church potluck. For the perfect texture, be sure to let the potatoes cool before adding them into the recipe.

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Broccoli-Cheese Casserole

Broccoli Cheese Casserole
Linda Pugliese; Prop Styling: Kay E. Clarke; Food Styling: Torie Cox

Recipe: Broccoli Cheese Casserole

If you don't prefer your veggies covered in melty cheese and crushed buttery crackers, are you even Southern? The healthy-dose of cheese in this recipe will convert even the most ardent broccoli hater.

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Southern Cornbread Dressing

Southern Cornbread Dressing
Lee Harrelson

Recipe: Southern Cornbread Dressing

If you ask most Southerners, they'll stand by "dressing" over "stuffing." Regardless what you call it, it sure is delicious. This dressing is topped with our Cornbread Crumble, specifically developed to complement the dressing with nuggets of crumbled sweet and buttery cornbread.

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Field Pea and Pasta Salad

Roasted Asparagus and Baby Artichokes
Kelsey Hansen; Prop Styling: Audrey Davis; Food Styling: Julia Levy

Recipe: Field Pea and Pasta Salad

Pasta salads are ideal for Southern gatherings because they're filling and can be served cold or at room temp. This salad uses red, orange, and yellow bell peppers, a trio of fresh herbs, and field peas, to make a summer side full of flavor and texture.

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Classic Sweet Potato Casserole

Classic Sweet Potato Casserole
Beth Dreiling Hontzas

Recipe: Classic Sweet Potato Casserole

At Thanksgiving dinners in the South, sweet potato casserole is as essential as the turkey. But don't limit this recipe to just the holidays, this casserole's cornflake crunchy topping is so good, you'll want to enjoy year-round.

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Black-Eyed Pea and Grain Salad

Black-Eyed Pea and Grain Salad
Alison Miksch; Prop Styling: Kaye E. Clarke; Food Styling: Torie Cox

Recipe: Black-Eyed Pea and Grain Salad

Black-eyed peas are an essential part of a Southern diet, and this fresh salad is a beautiful summer side dish. It comes together in only 30 minutes and thanks to the hearty bulgar wheat, is super filling and also vegetarian.

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Fresh Corn Spoonbread

Cranberry-Pecan Pilau
Photo: Iain Bagwell

Recipe: Fresh Corn Spoonbread

Surprise Mama with this fun twist on old-fashioned recipe she'll love. Kernels of fresh corn add a touch of sweetness to the bread, while yogurt instead of buttermilk, keeps the bread moist and tender.

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Chubba Bubba's Broccoli Salad

Chubba Bubba's Broccoli Salad
Photo: Beth Dreiling Hontzas

Recipe: Chubba Bubba's Broccoli Salad

Crunchy, fresh, and with a little bacon and cheese, this broccoli salad recipe is our favorite. The salad also keeps well in the refrigerator, making it a great make-ahead side to have on hand, as also goes with variety of Southern dishes.

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Classic Parmesan Scalloped Potatoes

Classic Parmesan Scalloped Potatoes
Beth Dreiling Hontzas

Recipe: Classic Parmesan Scalloped Potatoes

You don't have to worry about taking home leftovers of this creamy, five-ingredient potato dish. A short ingredient list and little hands-on cooking time make it a great side to throw together even when short on time.

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Old-School Squash Casserole

Old-School Squash Casserole in a green casserole dish
Photographer: Fred Hardy II, Food Stylist: Emily Nabors Hall, Props Stylist: Christina Brockman

Recipe: Old-School Squash Casserole

Creamy, cheesy, buttery, and go-back-for-seconds good, squash casserole is a classic favorite Southern side. The key to this classic is making sure cook off all the liquid in the summer squash, because no one wants a watery casserole.

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Classic Okra and Tomatoes

Classic Okra And Tomatoes
Southern Living

Recipe: Classic Okra and Tomatoes

This essential summer side combines two of the best of late-season produce. To minimize okra's infamous textural issues, take care not to cut the stem end so closely that the pod is severed.

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Pineapple Casserole

pineapple casserole in a white square casserole dish
Photographer: Jen Causey, Prop Stylist: Josh Hoggle,Food Stylist: Ruth Blackburn

Recipe: Pineapple Casserole

For many Southern families, the holidays just wouldn't be the same without a pineapple casserole on the table. The combination of canned pineapple chunks, Cheddar cheese, and crispy Ritz cracker crust may sound a little bizarre, but it's surprisingly tasty mix of sweet and salty.

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Brussels Sprouts with Bacon and Shallots

Broccoli Cheese Casserole
Linda Pugliese; Prop Styling: Kay E. Clarke; Food Styling: Torie Cox

Recipe: Brussels Sprouts with Bacon and Shallots

Brussels sprouts and bacon are a match made in side-dish heaven. Thick-cut bacon, Panko breadcrumbs, and a touch of sherry vinegar transform Brussels sprouts into a salty and crunchy treat.

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Hashbrown Casserole

Hashbrown Casserole
Southern Living

Recipe: Hashbrown Casserole

There aren't many side dishes quite as easy and delicious as a cheesy hashbrown casserole. This rich side dish is so warm and comforting, it's also known as "Funeral Casserole," its creamy goodness helping soothe the bereaved for decades.

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Hot Water Cornbread

Robby Melvin's Turnip Greens with Hot Water Cornbread
Hector Manuel Sanchez

Recipe: Hot Water Cornbread

Although many prefer cornbread straight from the cast-iron skillet, hot water cornbread is an old-school method we love. It's a particularly great side for anything saucy, or soups and stews, as it sops up every last bit of delicious goodness.

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Creamed-Corn Grits

Creamed Corn
Hector Manuel Sanchez

Recipe: Creamed-Corn Grits

So few ingredients, so much creamy goodness. Classic creamed corn is truly nostalgic for many Southerners and combined with grits, it doesn't get any better.

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Classic Buttermilk Mashed Potatoes

Rustic Mashed Red Potatoes with Parmesan
Victor Protasio; Prop Styling: Ginny Branch Stelling; Food Styling: Emily Nabors Hall

Recipe: Classic Buttermilk Mashed Potatoes

There's nothing more reminiscent of Mama's cooking than a steaming hot pot of mashed potatoes. These potatoes are so rich and buttery, gravy isn't necessary.

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Best-Ever Macaroni and Cheese

Roasted Broccoli Macaroni and Cheese
Victor Protasio; Prop Styling: Ginny Branch Stelling; Food Styling: Emily Nabors Hall

Recipe: Best-Ever Macaroni and Cheese

If you're eating macaroni and cheese out of a box, you're doing it wrong. What makes this the best-ever version? Cubes of Cheddar cheese that melt as the pasta bakes, creating pockets of gooey goodness in every bite.

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Classic Candied Yams

Classic Candied Yams
Photo: Victor Protasio; Prop Styling: Ginny Branch Stelling; Food Styling: Emily Nabors Hall

Recipe: Classic Candied Yams

Although sweet potato casserole reigns supreme, candied yams are a true Southern classic at Thanksgiving. Lightly spiced and sweet, it only takes 20 minutes of cooking to turn out this instant family-favorite.

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Basic Deviled Eggs

Basic Deviled Eggs
Southern Living

Recipe: Basic Deviled Eggs

No one was ever mad at the person who showed up with a tray of deviled eggs. Our filling is made with just the basics, the yolks, a little sweet pickle relish, mustard, and mayo, for a simple but satisfying side.

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Wild Rice with Mushrooms

Wild Rice with Mushrooms
Iain Bagwell

Recipe: Wild Rice with Mushrooms

Budget-friendly and delicious, wild rice is a longtime favorite for Southern casseroles and side dishes. Just six ingredients transform wild rice mix into a hearty rice side for chicken, pork chops, or even fish.

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Ben Mims' Perfect Cornbread

Ben Mim's Perfect Cornbread Recipe
Brian Woodcock

Recipe: Ben Mims' Perfect Cornbread

We call it perfect, and we stand by it. This cornbread recipe doesn't call for even a teaspoon of sugar—savory cornbread enthusiasts will be happy to know. Baked in a screaming hot skillet, this cornbread has the brown, crispy edge of our dreams.

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Bacon-Wrapped Asparagus

Bacon-Wrapped Asparagus
Jennifer Causey

Recipe: Bacon-Wrapped Asparagus

Pretty enough for company but easy enough for weeknights, bacon-wrapped is our favorite way to eat asparagus. The bacon not only adds smoky, savory, salty flavor, but it holds the asparagus together in cute little bundles.

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Tomato Aspic

Tomato Aspic
Southern Living

Recipe: Tomato Aspic

This vintage gelatin salad was formerly the star of ladies' luncheons across the South. No need to dust off Grandma's cookbooks, use our recipe seasoned with Worcestershire, onion, celery seed, and cloves for the perfect savory dinner salad side.

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Hush Puppies

Hush Puppies
Iain Bagwell; Prop Styling: Annette Joseph; Food Styling: Cynthia Grose

Recipe: Hush Puppies

What plate of food isn't made better by the addition of a few hush puppies? Not a single one. So, grab your dutch oven and fry up these six ingredient wonders up in just about 30 minutes.

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Permanent Slaw

Permanent Slaw
Photo: Hector Manuel Sanchez; Prop Styling: Lydia Pursell; Food Styling: Toni Brogan

Recipe: Permanent Slaw

In a lineup of smoked meats, baked beans, mac and cheese, and other hearty barbecue dishes, a crisp, tangy cole slaw is the perfect side to add a little acid and freshness. The salad got its name because of its reputation for only getting better the longer it sits.

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Classic Macaroni Salad with Ham

Classic Macaroni Salad with Ham
Jen Causey

Recipe: Classic Macaroni Salad with Ham

Reminiscent of cold layered salads you used to see at every Southern potluck, this macaroni salad tastes like a nostalgic cookout. A little bit of prep work and a short chill in the fridge makes this recipe perfect for easy summer cooking.

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Slow-Cooker Collard Greens with Ham Hocks

Slow-Cooker Collard Greens with Ham Hocks Recipe
Victor Protasio; Prop Styling: Ginny Branch Stelling; Food Styling: Emily Nabors Hall

Recipe: Slow-Cooker Collard Greens with Ham Hocks

We can't turn down a mess of greens, especially when they're made with ham hocks for comforting depths of flavor. Made in a slow-cooker, this side frees up the stove top for the main dish or other sides.

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Perfect Pot of Grits

Perfect Pot of Grits
Photo: Hector Sanchez

Recipe: Perfect Pot of Grits

The perfect pot of grits is a Southern staple, although we're always obliged to add cheese. Even if skipping the cheese, remember to stir in a few tablespoons of butter at the end.

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Creamed Spinach

Creamed Spinach
Antonis Achilleos

Recipe: Creamed Spinach

Eating your greens is easy with this creamy, cheesy, comforting recipe. The toasted pine nuts in this recipe add just the right amount of crunch and nuttiness to the dish, and also cut through some of the richness of the cream and cheese.

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Classic Cranberry Salad

Classic Cranberry Salad
Victor Protasio; Prop Styling: Ginny Branch Stelling; Food Styling: Emily Nabors Hall

Recipe: Classic Cranberry Salad

For some Southerners, canned cranberry sauce is the tradition, but we prefer it from scratch. You'll be wowed by the complexity of this salad that's both sweet and tart, and peppered with crunch from chopped celery and pecans. It hits all the right notes.

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Potato-Bacon Hash

Potato-Bacon Hash
Stephen DeVries, Prop Styling: Missie Neville Crawford; Food Styling: Torie Cox

Recipe: Potato-Bacon Hash

Every Southern cook has an easy, versatile hash recipe in his or her back pocket. This one, full of bell pepper and spinach, sneaks the veggies in alongside crispy potatoes and bacon.

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Picnic Egg Salad

Picnic Egg Salad
Greg DuPree; Prop Styling: Kay E. Clarke; Food Styling: Cat Steele

Recipe: Picnic Egg Salad

This no-fuss recipe has been a potluck party starter for years. Tailor this recipe to your tastes, swap dill for chives, or add a bit of spice with paprika, cayenne, or black pepper.

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Collard Green Creole Dirty Rice

Collard Green Creole Dirty Rice
Alison Miksch; Prop Styling: Kay E. Clarke; Food Styling: Mary-Claire Britton

Recipe: Collard Green Creole Dirty Rice

Collard greens add some good-for-you benefits to Creole classic dirty rice. This side is so hearty, with a wedge of cornbread it could be a meal on its own.

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Three-Bean Pasta Salad

Three-Bean Pasta Salad
Photo: Hector Manuel Sanchez; Prop Styling: Lydia Pursell; Food Styling: Toni Brogan

Recipe: Three-Bean Pasta Salad

Old-school favorite three-bean salad meets pasta salad in this potluck-perfect side dish. Don't skip celery in this salad, it lends the salad a great crunch and bright green pop of color.

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Southern-Style Green Beans

Southern Green Beans
Southern Living

Recipe: Southern-Style Green Beans

Green beans are best when cooked with a ham hock, in our humble opinion. Cooked low and slow, this isn't the crunchy, bright green type of green bean side, but it more than makes up for it with a deep, smokey, meaty flavor.

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Our Favorite Buttermilk Biscuit

Our Favorite Buttermilk Biscuit on a plate with jam and butter
Will Dickey

Recipe: Our Favorite Buttermilk Biscuit

Any meal is better with a biscuit. This no-fail biscuit recipe will make you look like a pro, even if this is your first attempt at biscuit-making. A little hard work in this recipe is greatly rewarded with layer upon layer of flakey, buttery biscuit goodness.

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