25 Quick and Easy Southern Comfort Food Classics for Dinner Tonight

Shrimp and Okra Gumbo
Photo: Southern Living

When we think of Southern food, we think of comfort food and the classics. Fried chicken, shrimp and grits, casseroles packed full of whatever leftovers you've got on hand. These Southern dinner recipes, steadfast and soul-warming, bring the tastes of the South to your table. But on some nights, you simply don't have time to put together an opulent Southern feast. These recipes deliver the authentic Southern flavor of their labor-intensive counterparts with super short prep time.

From crunchy Southern Fried Catfish to slow-cooker Red Beans and Rice, these quick Southern recipes make fixing delicious meals a breeze. So if you're in the mood for Shrimp and Grits, think you might like a Skillet Chicken Pot Pie, or know it's time to dig into a sandwich slathered with Homemade Pimiento Cheese, these easy Southern recipes will have you sitting down and filling your plate faster than you can say lickety-split. Just be sure to have some Banana Pudding or Easy Peach Cobbler ready for dessert.

01 of 25

Classic Fried Catfish

Southern Living Recipe: Classic Fried Catfish
Photo: Beth Dreiling Hontzas

Recipe: Classic Fried Catfish

This simple seafood supper comes together in just 20 minutes. For an extra-crispy crust, use stone-ground yellow cornmeal.

02 of 25

Chicken and Dumplings

Chicken and Dumplings

Recipe: Chicken and Dumplings

If you've got leftover rotisserie chicken, feel free to use that instead of freshly-cooked chicken in this warming soup.

03 of 25

Shrimp and Grits Casserole

Shrimp and Grits Casserole
Antonis Achilleo; Prop Styling: Christine Keely; Food Styling: Tina Bell Stamos

Recipe: Shrimp and Grits Casserole

This hearty Lowcountry-inspired dish feeds 6, and it can be served for breakfast or dinner.

04 of 25

Smoky Mountain Brunswick Stew

Smoky Mountain Brunswick Stew
Southern Living

Recipe: Smoky Mountain Brunswick Stew

Nothing is more comforting than a big bowl of hearty Brunswick stew. Sop up every flavorful last bit with crusty bread or crispy cornbread crackers.

05 of 25

Fried Pork Chops with Potatoes and Peas

Simple Suppers Challenge: Fried Pork Chops with Peas and Potatoes
Greg DuPree

Recipe: Fried Pork Chops with Potatoes and Peas

Meat, peas, and potatoes, all ready in 30 minutes. If you're looking for a square meal, this simple pork chop supper checks all the boxes.

06 of 25

King Ranch Chicken Casserole

King Ranch Chicken Casserole
William Dickey

Recipe: King Ranch Chicken Casserole

All hail king ranch. With corn tortillas and two kinds of canned soups, this casserole is built on pantry staples.

07 of 25

Easy Southern Fried Chicken

Easy Southern Fried Chicken
Southern Living

Recipe: Easy Southern Fried Chicken

No deep fryer? No buttermilk? No problem. Our Test Kitchen calls this Easy Southern Fried Chicken "a hurried cook's dream."

08 of 25

Basic Pimiento Cheese

Basic Pimiento Cheese
Jennifer Causey; Prop Styling: Christine Keely; Food Styling: Torie Cox

Recipe: Basic Pimiento Cheese

Spread homemade Pimiento Cheese on whole wheat bread with bacon, lettuce, and tomato. Use leftover spread on crackers or celery for a snack.

09 of 25

Oven-Baked BBQ Chicken

Oven-Baked BBQ Chicken

Recipe: Oven-Baked BBQ Chicken

This delectable chicken dish comes together with barely any effort, thanks to an oven-roasting technique that keeps the chicken juicy and saucy.

10 of 25

Skillet Chicken Pot Pie with Puff Pastry

Skillet Pot Pie with Chicken and Spring Vegetables
Antonis Achilleos; Prop Styling: Lydia Pursell; Food Styling: Chelsea Zimmer

Recipe: Skillet Chicken Pot Pie with Puff Pastry

Your family will never guess that this pot pie is actually made with rotisserie chicken and frozen peas.

11 of 25

New Orleans Red Beans and Rice

New Orleans Red Beans And Rice
Southern Living

Recipe: New Orleans Red Beans and Rice

Smoked turkey sausage, bell peppers, and red beans come together in this classic, easy slow-cooker recipe. Serve over long-grain rice for an amazing meal.

12 of 25

Classic Baked Macaroni and Cheese

Classic Baked Macaroni and Cheese
Beth Dreiling Hontzas; Food Styling: Angella Sellers and Vanessa McNiel Rocchio; Prop Styling: Melanie J. Clarke and Sissy Lamerton

Recipe: Classic Baked Macaroni and Cheese

It doesn't get more comforting than a big pot of Southern-style mac and cheese.

13 of 25

Turkey-Noodle-Poppyseed Casserole

Turkey-Noodle-Poppyseed Casserole Recipe
Hector Manuel Sanchez

Recipe: Turkey-Noodle-Poppyseed Casserole

Every Southerner grew up with some variation of a poppyseed casserole—this is the perfect one to pass down to the next generation.

14 of 25

Ham Biscuits

Buttermilk Biscuits with Ham
Victor Protasio; Food Styling: Torie Cox; Prop Styling: Heather Chadduck Hillegas

Recipe: Ham Biscuits

We've never met a ham biscuit we didn't like. This is our go-to dish when we just can't bring ourselves to spend more than 30 minutes in the kitchen.

15 of 25

Homestyle Ground Beef Casserole

Homestyle Ground Beef Casserole
Southern Living

Recipe: Homestyle Ground Beef Casserole

Egg noodles, ground beef, and plenty of cheese work together in the most delightful way in this Homestyle Ground Beef Casserole.

16 of 25

Southern Tomato Gravy

Southern Tomato Gravy
Alison Miksch; Prop Styling: Heather Chadduck Hillegas; Food Styling: Erin Merhar

Recipe: Southern Tomato Gravy

Pour this tomato gravy over fried chicken, biscuits, chicken-fried steak, or just about anything you'd like.

17 of 25

Easy Chicken Spaghetti

Easy Chicken Spaghetti
Antonis Achilleos; Prop Styling: Lydia Pursell; Food Styling: Chelsea Zimmer

Recipe: Easy Chicken Spaghetti

Cook and shred the chicken the day before to help this meal come together even faster.

18 of 25

Meatloaf Casserole

Meatloaf Casserole
Micah A. Leal

Recipe: Meatloaf Casserole

Southerners will take Mama's meatloaf in casserole form, thank you very much.

19 of 25

Squash Casserole

Old-School Squash Casserole
Greg DuPree; Prop Styling: Kay E. Clarke; Food Styling: Torie Cox

Recipe: Squash Casserole

This summertime BBQ staple is substantial enough to serve as a whole meal (especially if you add in some bacon).

20 of 25

Chicken-and-Biscuit Cobbler

Chicken-and-Biscuit Cobbler
Alison Miksch

Recipe: Chicken-and-Biscuit Cobbler

You've had a sweet cobbler, but this recipe will have you singing the praises of the savory, biscuit-topped cobbler. Use pre-made biscuit dough for added ease.

21 of 25

Chicken-and-Wild Rice Casserole

Chicken and Wild Rice Casserole
Photo: Becky Luigart-Stayner; Styling: Buffy Hargett

Recipe: Chicken-and-Wild Rice Casserole

You can make this casserole with leftover rice and rotisserie for a chicken for an easiest-ever family meal.

22 of 25

Broccoli Cheese Casserole

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

Recipe: Broccoli Cheese Casserole

You can swap fresh broccoli for frozen in this simple, cheesy casserole—just don't forget the crushed cracker topping.

23 of 25

King Ranch Chicken Mac and Cheese

King Ranch Chicken Mac and Cheese
Becky Luigart-Stayner

Recipe: King Ranch Chicken Mac and Cheese

If you thought mac and cheese couldn't get any better, try mixing it with cream of chicken soup.

24 of 25

Easy Chili

Easy Chili
Lee Harrelson

Recipe: Easy Chili

We're always looking for new uses for that pack of ground beef in the back of the fridge, and this Easy Chili fits the bill.

25 of 25

Shrimp and Okra Gumbo

Shrimp and Okra Gumbo
Southern Living

Recipe: Shrimp and Okra Gumbo

Although most gumbo recipes call for hours of time for all the flavors to simmer together on the stove, this Cajun seafood gumbo comes together in just an hour and a half.

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