40 Special Southern Recipes To Make With Your Mama For Mother’s Day

Being together in the kitchen is the best gift.

Southern Living Coconut Chiffon Cake on a platter with a serving cut out beside it

Caitlin Bensel; Food Stylist: Torie Cox

No matter how old we get, there are certain recipes that just don't taste the same when we make them ourselves in the kitchen as they did when our mothers or grandmothers used to make them when we were young. Anyone who has ever tried to master her grandmother's perfectly smooth and sweet caramel cake icing knows the struggle. Some of it is undoubtedly due to nostalgia. Of course it can't taste as good; a memory can't be mimicked. However, what you can do is make new memories surrounding yourself, your loved one, and good food by cooking a classic Southern recipe together in honor of Mother's Day.

We've rounded up our favorite Southern recipes with a unique twist to ensure it's a memorable experience for both of you, whether you try a long-forgotten wacky cake, perfect peach cake, or authentic tomato pie for the very first time. Here are 40 mother-daughter recipes to make this Mother's Day.

01 of 40

Heirloom Tomato Pie

Heirloom Tomato Pie Recipe
Victor Protasio; Prop Styling: Heather Chadduck Hillegas; Food Styling: Chelsea Zimmer

This is the only tomato pie recipe worth making with your treasured haul from the farmers' market. Trust us, the parmesan-buttermilk crust is worth skipping the store-bought stuff.

02 of 40

Jalapeno Cornbread Sticks

Jalapeno Cornbread Sticks
Greg DuPree

Cornbread is always welcome on the table, but make it feel new by using an old-fashioned cast-iron corn stick pan and adding a major flavor kick with jalapeños and cheese.

03 of 40

Fresh Peach Coffee Cake with Pecan Streusel

Fresh Peach Coffee Cake with Pecan Streusel
Photo: Iain Bagwell; Prop Styling: Mindi Shapiro Levine; Food Styling: Torie Cox

This coffee cake uses fresh peaches and pecans to create delicious streusel-topped harmony that you'll both love to snack on all day long.

04 of 40

Tomato Gravy

Tomato Gravy
Greg Dupree; Food Styling: Anna Hampton; Prop Styling: Ginny Branch

There's a chance that neither of you have made this old-school Southern classic, and you'll be happy to have the experience together. It's usually served over biscuits, pork chops, or grits.

05 of 40

Shrimp Étouffée

Shrimp Étouffée
Jennifer Causey; Food Stylist: Emily Nabors Hall; Prop Stylist: Heather Chadduck Hillegas

Step outside your recipe box with this traditional Louisiana recipe that is basically a Cajun dream complete with fresh shrimp and a brothy sauce that'll make your mouth water from the smell alone.

06 of 40

Strawberry-Rhubarb Pretzel Pie

Strawberry-Rhubarb Pretzel Pie
Iain Bagwell; Prop Styling: Mindi Shapiro Levine; Food Styling: Hadas Smirnoff

Pretzel pie is an essential part of summertime, especially when it's topped with rhubarbs, which are a longtime-beloved raspberry-colored legume that pairs well with strawberries.

07 of 40

Wacky Cake

Wacky Cake
Antonis Achilleos; Prop Styling: Audrey Davis; Food Styling: Emily Nabors Hall

Also known as crazy cake, war cake, or depression cake, this quirky chocolate cake can be thrown together right there in the baking pan—no mixing bowl required!

08 of 40

Cream Cheese Sausage Balls

Southern Living Cream Cheese Sausage Balls in a bowl to serve

Victor Protasio; Food Stylist: Chelsea Zimmer; Prop Stylist: Christine Keely

If you're hosting a Mother's Day brunch, these updated sausage balls are sure to disappear quickly, so you might want to make a double batch. Cream cheese adds a moist fluffiness to the traditional bites.

09 of 40

Lemon Roast Chicken With Rainbow Carrots

Southern Living Lemon Roast Chicken With Rainbow Carrots in roasting pan

Victor Protasio; Food Stylist: Ruth Blackburn; Prop Stylist: Christine Keely

For a stunningly beautiful main dish for Mother's Day, look no further than this whole-roasted chicken that is simple and releases rich juices that can flavor vegetables (like these carrots) while the chicken roasts.

10 of 40

Blueberry Banana Bread

Southern Living Blueberry Banana Bread

Caitlin Bensel; Food Stylist: Torie Cox

There are few baked treats more beloved than a slice of fresh-from-the-oven banana bread, but we’ve kicked it up a notch and added juicy blueberries to the mix.

11 of 40

Krispie Cheese Wafers

How to Make Crispy Cheese Wafers

What makes these cheese straws stand out from the long list of slightly variated (but all very cheesy) recipes is the genius addition of rice cereal. It ensures that you turn out the most crispy, crunchy cheese straw batch.

12 of 40

Coconut Chiffon Cake

Southern Living Coconut Chiffon Cake on a platter with a serving cut out beside it

Caitlin Bensel; Food Stylist: Torie Cox

For those who like to take on a more show-stopping centerpiece for family celebrations, this cake is sure to succeed in both looks and taste. A luscious filling and fluffy frosting make this recipe stand out.

13 of 40


Photographer Victor Protasio, Food Stylist Margaret Dickey, Prop Stylist Christine Keely

It always comes in handy to have homemade chow-chow in the fridge. It's the most versatile of condiments, and we like to drop a heavy dollop of this perfect relish on everything from pork chops to collard greens.

14 of 40

Fried Green Tomatoes

Southern Living Fried Green Tomatoes on a board ready to serve

Victor Protasio; Food Stylist: Emily Nabors Hall; Prop Stylist: Christina Dailey

You'll never forget the first time you cook perfectly crisp, golden-fried green tomatoes. This simple recipe gets the job done. Pair with our Comeback Sauce.

15 of 40

Dr Pepper Texas Sheet Cake

Dr Pepper Texas Sheet Cake
Antonis Achilleos; Food Styling: Emily Nabors Hall; Prop Styling: Kathleen Varner

We took crowd-pleasing Texas sheet cake and gave it a cola cake twist. Dr Pepper has subtle flavoring of 23 spices, which is perfect for a sheet cake topped with chocolate frosting and pecans.

16 of 40

Deep-Dish Berry Cobbler

Deep-Dish Berry Cobbler
Antonis Achilleos; Prop Styling: Kay E. Clarke; Food Styling: Emily Nabors Hall

Everyone needs to try a new cobbler recipe every now and then. May we suggest our triple-berry cobbler made in a deep-dish for extra gooey fruitiness all around?

17 of 40

Jezebel Sauce

Southern Living Jezebel Sauce with some cream cheese and crackers on a plate

Caitlin Bensel; Food Stylist: Torie Cox

You'll want to trade in your usual pepper jelly for this sweet, tangy sauce that has a kick. It calls for pineapple preserves, apple jelly, dry mustard, and prepared horseradish. Make sure to pull out the cream cheese and crackers!

18 of 40

Beet Pickled Deviled Eggs

Beet Pickled Deviled Eggs
Victor Protasio; Food Styling: Melissa Gray; Prop Styling: Ginny Branch

You've both made dozens of classic deviled eggs, to be sure. Spruce up the Sunday lunch with these pickled deviled eggs that gets a pretty pink makeover from beet juice.

19 of 40

Peach Dump Cake

Peach Dump Cake - Southern Living

Victor Protasio; Food Stylist: Emily Nabors Hall; Prop Stylist: Christina Dailey

Somewhere between a buttery cake and a luscious cobbler, you needn't stress about this easy-to-make dump cake. It features two shortcut ingredients—canned peaches and yellow cake mix.

20 of 40

Mississippi Roast

Julie Yoste's Mississippi Roast
Alison Miksch

This best-ever pot roast will change dinnertime forever. The secret ingredient that takes it to the next level? Pepperoncini peppers.

21 of 40

Marinated Watermelon and Tomato Salad

Marinated Watermelon Tomato Salad
Antonis Achilleos; Prop Styling: Kay E. Clarke; Food Styling: Torie Cox

Watermelon has way more potential than just being sliced for the cookout, and seasonal tomatoes make the perfect accompaniment for a standout side dish. Fresh herbs like basil and mint come together with a honeyed lime dressing.

22 of 40

Angel Biscuits

angel biscuits
Emily Laurae/Southern Living

Maybe you've both perfected the buttermilk biscuit or want something decidedly lower maintenance. That's where mini, light, fluffy cast-iron angel biscuits come in.

23 of 40

Pecan Pralines

Pecan Pralines

Caitlin Bensel, Food Styling: Torie Cox

You'll both feel accomplished after making this classic confection. Be warned: These mouthwatering pralines will fall flat if made on a very humid day. Otherwise, go forth and get to caramelizing.

24 of 40

Old-Fashioned Chicken And Dumplings

Old-Fashioned Chicken and Dumplings

Antonis Achilleos; Prop Stylist: Christina Daley; Food Stylist: Emily Nabors Hall

We're just putting this here to remind you that this ultra-comforting classic is always waiting in the wings to make cooking together feel extra nostalgic.

25 of 40

Coconut-Banana Pudding

Coconut-Banana Pudding
Hector Manuel Sanchez

Put a twist on your favorite homemade banana pudding with just a tiny touch of coconut extract. It turns out that the flavors of vanilla pudding, bananas, and coconut go so well together.

26 of 40

Beef Tamale Pie

Beef Tamale Pie
Greg DuPree; Prop Styling: Heather Chadduck Hillegas; Food Styling: Emily Nabors Hall

This popular Tex-Mex dish gets an easy skillet makeover that's worth making on any night, especially when paired with homemade guacamole, Austin Diner-Style Queso, and a margarita!

27 of 40

Smoky Creamed Greens

 Smoky creamed greens on white plate

Victor Protasio; Food Stylist: Ruth Blackburn; Prop Stylist: Christine Keely

Greens without ham is like biscuits without butter—just not fully right! This recipe updates your typical smoky collard greens with the luscious texture of steakhouse creamed spinach.

28 of 40

Our Best Jambalaya

Our Best Jambalaya

Stacy K. Allen, Props: Josh Hoggle, Food Stylist: Melissa Gray

If you're not regularly a Cajun cook, get ready to wow the whole family with this authentic jambalaya recipe studded with spicy sausage, fresh shrimp, and chicken. Make sure you have extra hot sauce and cornbread for the table.

29 of 40

Kentucky Bourbon Pie

Kentucky Bourbon Pie
Antonis Achilleos

Fashioned after George Kern's Derby Pie, this recipe combines chocolate, bourbon, and pecans for a dressed-up version of pecan pie that's deliciously decadent and perfect for a special occasion.

30 of 40

Key Lime Pound Cake

Southern Living Key Lime Pound Cake sliced to serve

Dotdash Meredith

Get a taste of the tropics with this glazed masterpiece that's a cross between Key lime pie and Southern pound cake. Consider a festive cooking night with your mother made.

31 of 40

No-Bake Lemon Icebox Pie

No-Bake Lemon Icebox Pie
Photography: Caitlin Bensel, Food Styling: Margaret Monroe Dickey, Prop Styling: Heather Chadduck Hilegas

As far as we are concerned, May is the start of cool dessert season, and this icebox pie is wonderfully refreshing, creamy, and zesty.

32 of 40

Country Captain Chicken

Country Captain Chicken
Photo: Greg DuPree; Prop Styling: Mindi Shapiro Levine; Food Styling: Torie Cox

You might not have heard of this regional delicacy before, but it's been a Junior League cookbook staple for decades. You brown chicken in butter or bacon fat before braising in tomato sauce riddled with aromatic spices such as curry powder, nutmeg, and plenty of pepper.

33 of 40

Simple Oyster Stew

Two bowls of Simple Oyster Stew on a table with spoons, a napkin, and glasses of white wine.

Antonis Achilleos; Prop Stylist: Christine Keely; Food Stylist: Chelsea Zimmer

A favorite seafood stew of the South, oyster stew is meant to be enjoyed with the memories of salty beach breezes in mind. It's a warm, comforting dinner made for casual summer nights.

34 of 40

Hummingbird Sheet Cake

Southern Living Hummingbird Sheet Cake

Victor Protasio; Food Stylist: Emily Nabors Hall; Prop Stylist: Mary Clayton Carl Jones

Make your baking day even more fun with this fresh take on beloved Hummingbird Cake. It has all the pineappley, nutty flavor in a lower-maintenance sheet pan package topped with dried pineapple rings.

35 of 40

Pan-Fried Okra with Cornmeal

Pan-Fried Okra with Cornmeal Recipe
Alison Miksch; Prop Styling: Kay E. Clarke; Food Styling: Torie Cox

This simple, six-ingredient recipe gives the crispiest okra without feeling super greasy. As the okra fries in the skillet, you sprinkle it with cornmeal for ultimate crunch.

36 of 40

Pineapple-Ginger Upside-Down Cake

Pineapple-Ginger Upside-Down Cake
Antonis Achilleos

The caramelized bottom of an upside-down cake is enough to make us swoon. This rendition calls for zingy ginger and fresh pineapple, so basically this isn't just any pineapple upside-down cake.

37 of 40

Cornbread Salad

Southern Living Cornbread Salad in a trifle bowl ready to serve

Caitlin Bensel; Food Stylist: Torie Cox

One person can take responsibility for the make-ahead cornbread, and the other can start chopping up the other components of this layered salad. This recipe combines many delicious ingredients, including black-eyed peas, bacon, and a gussied-up ranch dressing.

38 of 40

Peanut Butter Bars

Southern Living Peanut Butter Bars cut on a plate to serve

Caitlin Bensel; Food Stylist: Torie Cox

It'll be hard to go back to any other peanut butter dessert after trying this recipe. The layer of peanut butter-coated cornflakes that sits on the bottom offers a satisfying crunch.

39 of 40

Stuffed Cabbage Soup

Stuffed cabbage soup in a dutch oven with a ladle on a table with a napkin, salt shaker, and lemon wedges.

Victor Protasio, Food Stylist Ruth Blackburn, Prop Stylist Lydia Pursell

This soup is a sleeper hit. Forget the stuffing and rolling: This recipe is much easier to prepare. It's a comforting stew with lots of broth, tomato sauce, carrots, rice, and, of course, cabbage. You can make a big batch and split it up.

40 of 40

Mini Coconut-Key Lime Pies

Mini Coconut-Key Lime Pies

Stacy K. Allen; Props: Josh Hoggle; Food Stylist: Melissa Gray

These bites of heaven are ideal for a family meal or holiday, since every person gets their own mini tart. The coconut crust is sticky and sweet.

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