30 Classic Southern Recipes Everyone Needs to Make This Summer

Tomato, Cheddar, and Bacon Pie
Photo: Hector Sanchez

In the South, summertime is best spent with classic Southern comfort food that makes the most of the bountiful harvest housed at the farmers' market. Tomatoes, peas, corn, squash, berries, and peaches—we're packing them into any casserole dish or cast-iron skillet we can get our hands on. These summer dishes cure our cravings for fresh and bright produce by pouring them into old-fashioned Southern favorites like creamy casseroles, fried delicacies, and gooey cobblers. Here are the classic Southern recipes we're making all summer long.

01 of 30

Zucchini, Squash, and Corn Casserole

Zucchini, Squash, and Corn Casserole
Hector Sanchez

Recipe: Zucchini, Squash, and Corn Casserole

Bound together with a creamy filling and topped with breadcrumbs and Asiago cheese, this fresh trio of zucchini, squash, and corn makes for an all-star summer dish.

02 of 30

Tomato, Cheddar, and Bacon Pie

Tomato, Cheddar, and Bacon Pie
Hector Sanchez

Recipe: Tomato, Cheddar, and Bacon Pie

You've never had tomato pie like this. It's not often that an update really sees a classic dish how it should be, but this version with a sour cream crust studded with bacon, layers of colorful tomatoes, and plenty of cheese and herbs does just that.

03 of 30

Shout Hallelujah Potato Salad

Shout Hallelujah Potato Salad
Hector Manuel Sanchez

Recipe: Shout Hallelujah Potato Salad

What summer picnic is complete without classic yellow potato salad? The traditional recipe always pleases a Southern crowd, especially when paired with some burgers or honey-baked ham.

04 of 30

Fried Green Tomatoes

Fried Green Tomatoes
Jennifer Davick

Recipe: Fried Green Tomatoes

Fried green tomatoes aren't just a Southern classic—these perfectly crispy slices are THE Southern classic. There are few ways we wouldn't eat them, whether on sandwiches, on top of salads, or just dipped into a tangy sauce. This recipe's not-too-heavy batter is the key to getting this dish right.

05 of 30

Creamed Corn

Creamed Corn
Hector Manuel Sanchez

Recipe: Creamed Corn

There's nothing like sitting on the porch and shucking some corn during the summertime. This recipe is simple, but never fails to deliver the perfect pot of creamy corn. Top with a sprinkling of chopped bacon for an extra punch.

06 of 30

Memphis Dry-Rubbed Baby Back Ribs

Memphis Dry-Rubbed Baby Back Ribs
Hector Manuel Sanchez; Prop Styling: MindI Shapiro Levine; Food Styling: Torie Cox

Recipe: Memphis Dry-Rubbed Baby Back Ribs

Using a Memphis-style dry rub makes for a delicious crisp around the meat, leaving the ribs both savory and tender. Finishing with a vinegar wash at the end of the barbecuing process gives even more mouthwatering flavor.

07 of 30

Zucchini Lasagna

Zucchini Lasagna
Antonis Achilleos; Prop Styling: Kay E. Clarke; Food Styling: Tina Stamos

Recipe: Zucchini Lasagna

This one-pan crowd-pleaser offers a perfect summery take on classic lasagna. It uses thin, woven strips of zucchini to make it deliciously fresh.

08 of 30

Southern Pimiento Mac and Cheese

Southern Pimiento Mac and Cheese
Hector Sanchez

Recipe: Southern Pimiento Mac and Cheese

We're putting two of our favorite cheesy Southern things together: pimiento cheese and classic baked macaroni and cheese. A little pimiento, Worcestershire, bacon, and hot sauce later—get ready for the most flavorful mac-and-cheese you've ever tasted.

09 of 30

Summer Squash Casserole

Summer Squash Casserole
Laurey W. Glenn

Recipe: Summer Squash Casserole

The key to making the best classic squash casserole is adding plenty of sharp Cheddar cheese and topping with fresh breadcrumbs. The creamy and crunchy notes make the fresh summer vegetable even better.

10 of 30

Picnic Egg Salad

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

Recipe: Picnic Egg Salad

Every Southerner needs to have a go-to egg salad recipe. It's an essential for a summer season full of no-fuss, cold lunches. Whether served with crostinis or on sandwiches, classic egg salad provides a quick, delicious fix.

11 of 30

Fried Pecan Okra

Fried Pecan Okra
Beth Dreiling Hontzas

Recipe: Fried Pecan Okra

Any way you slice it, you can't beat okra when it's fried—and we mean when it's fried perfectly crisp with fresh summer okra in the middle. (No soggy, slimy okra allowed here!) This pecan-studded recipe makes sure you get every ounce of extra crunch you could want.

12 of 30

Best-Ever Crab Cakes with Green Tomato Slaw

Best-Ever Crab Cakes with Green Tomato Slaw
Victor Protasio; Prop Styling: Claire Spollen; Food Styling: Torie Cox

Recipe: Best-Ever Crab Cakes with Green Tomato Slaw

These best-ever crab cakes need to be on your lineup when you want something that feels deliciously indulgent, but isn't too fancy or complicated. Paired with a tangy slaw, crab cakes make a perfect summer dinner.

13 of 30

Farmers' Market Pasta Salad

Farmers' Market Pasta Salad
Hector Manuel Sanchez

Recipe: Farmers' Market Pasta Salad

Any recipe that lets us incorporate all of our farmers' market finds in one fell swoop is a no-brainer. A fresh, satisfying summer dinner is made from veggies, pasta, vinaigrette, and shredded smoked chicken (from your local barbecue joint).

14 of 30

Classic Succotash

Classic Succotash
Hector Sanchez

Recipe: Classic Succotash

You can't go wrong with this perfect potluck side. Loaded with some of summer's best produce, including tomatoes, corn, and lima beans, this traditional Southern dish gets the perfect finish with salty thick-cut bacon.

15 of 30

Shrimp Perloo

Shrimp Perloo
Linda Pugliese; Prop Styling: Kay E. Clarke; Food Styling: Anna Hampton

Recipe: Shrimp Perloo

This seafood rice dinner gives fresh flavor for summer using shrimp, fire-roasted tomatoes, and bell pepper. It's time to get in the Low-Country state of mind.

16 of 30

The SL BLT

The SL BLT
Alison Miksch

Recipe: The SL BLT

The trick to a next-level BLT? Punch up the store-bought mayonnaise. For extra tang and heat, zest a small lemon and grind lots of black pepper into the mayo. For a hint of green, chop a small handful of tender herbs—parsley, basil, tarragon, or dill—and fold them into the mayo.

17 of 30

Big Daddy's Grilled Blue Cheese-and-Bacon Potato Salad

Big Daddy’s Grilled Blue Cheese and Bacon Potato Salad
Photo: Jennifer Davick; Styling: Missie Neville Crawford

Recipe: Big Daddy's Grilled Blue Cheese-and-Bacon Potato Salad

This less-classic potato salad gives a tangy, warm side dish perfect for when you're grilling out this season. If you love the flavorful duo of bacon and blue cheese, this tasty recipe won't disappoint.

18 of 30

Chile-Rubbed Chops with Sweet Potatoes and Grilled Okra

Chile-Rubbed Chops with Sweet Potatoes and Grilled Okra
Alison Miksch

Recipe: Chile-Rubbed Chops with Sweet Potatoes and Grilled Okra

For a simple summer dinner, these dry-rubbed pork chops with savory grilled vegetables cover all the bases. When you're in the mood to grill, switch out your burgers and Bratwursts for these flavorful chops.

19 of 30

Lady Pea-and-Corn Patties

Lady Pea and Corn Patties
Alison Miksch

Recipe: Lady Pea-and-Corn Patties

You'll never go back after tasting these perfectly browned, crispy patties filled with summer peas, corn, and herbs that are coated in panko and pan-fried. A tangy sauce is begging to be paired with these veggie cakes.

20 of 30

Southern-Style Collard Greens

The Ultimate Classic Collards
Alison Miksch

Recipe: Southern-Style Collard Greens

A big pot of classic bacon-flavored, ham hock-essenced collard greens makes pretty much anything better. Serve these up with any supper and expect a hearty success.

21 of 30

Skillet Cornbread

Skillet Cornbread
Jennifer Causey

Recipe: Skillet Cornbread

Can you ever really pass up the crispy bottom and edges of skillet cornbread? This recipe tops off any supper with a buttery, bacon drippings-enhanced slice.

22 of 30

Classic Sweet Tea

Southern Sweet Tea
Beth Dreiling Hontzas

Recipe: Classic Southern Sweet Tea

Down here, we don't even need to ask how you like your tea—and this recipe masters the sweet, ice-cold beverage. In this hot and humid weather, we expect sweet tea to be flowing all season long.

23 of 30

Strawberry-Pretzel Icebox Pie

Strawberry-Pretzel Icebox Pie
Jennifer Davick

Recipe: Strawberry-Pretzel Icebox Pie

This summer dessert is as cool and refreshing as a dip into the pool, and the pretty pink strawberry filling looks right at home on the cookout table. (Just keep it chilled!)

24 of 30

Cherry-Nectarine Pandowdy

Cherry-Nectarine Pandowdy
Victor Protasio; Food Styling: Chelsea Zimmer; Prop Styling: Mary Clayton Carl Jones

Recipe: Cherry-Nectarine Pandowdy

Popular in the South throughout the 1800s and early 1900s, this gooey dessert is essentially cooked fruit under a pastry crust. In our favorite version, plump nectarines and cherries topped with a pretty patchwork-style crust steal the show.

25 of 30

Strawberry-Banana Pudding Icebox Cake

Strawberry-Banana Pudding Icebox Cake
Iain Bagwell; Prop Styling: Mindi Shapiro Levine; Food Styling: Hadas Smirnoff

Recipe: Strawberry-Banana Pudding Icebox Cake

This fun take on banana pudding will be an instant hit with your family and guests. The recipe makes delicious use of the fresh strawberries you pick up at the local farmers' market.

26 of 30

Berry Cobbler with Pecan Sandie Streusel

Berry Cobbler with Pecan Sandie Streusel
Alison Miksch

Recipe: Berry Cobbler with Pecan Sandie Streusel

This cobbler is packed to the brim with any fresh combination of berries you can get your hands on. Top with nutty streusel and cook in a cast-iron skillet for a crowd-pleasing dessert.

27 of 30

Peach Fried Pies

Peach Fried Pies
Iain Bagwell; Prop Styling: Mindi Shapiro Levine; Food Styling: Torie Cox

Recipe: Peach Fried Pies

If you want to make a festive statement—Fourth of July, anyone?—these hand-held fried desserts will wow the crowd. Use canned biscuits to make easy work of the dessert, and sprinkle powdered sugar on top for an added sweet touch.

28 of 30

Luscious Lemon Bars

Luscious Lemon Bars
Southern Living

Recipe: Luscious Lemon Bars

What makes this classic confection a forever favorite at Southern luncheons, showers, and even barbecues is the refreshing, zingy taste and easy portability of the bright yellow bar. Make this recipe up to one month ahead and freeze.

29 of 30

Chocolate Mayonnaise Cake

Chocolate Mayonnaise Cake
Hector Manuel Sanchez

Recipe: Chocolate Mayonnaise Cake

Every bite of this old-fashioned Southern cake will confirm it's the fluffiest, most moist sheet cake ever. A little Duke's goes a long way, after all.

30 of 30

Banana Pudding

Banana Pudding
Jennifer Davick

Recipe: Banana Pudding

This decadent dessert earns points for being both deliciously cool and creamy, as well as incredibly easy to throw together for any occasion. Four ingredients, and you're in business.

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