Got Some Time? These Are the Classic Southern Recipes You Should Teach Your Kids
Now is the perfect time to get in the kitchen for lessons that will last a lifetime. These recipes are all designed to kick-start their Southern cooking skills, beginning with the fundamentals: a good pound cake, go-to chocolate chip cookies, and baby’s first fried chicken (i.e. homemade chicken nuggets). Let your kids get their hands (and your kitchen) a little messy and we guarantee you’ll see the payoff for many years to come.
All-Time Favorite Chocolate Chip Cookies
Do you remember making chocolate chip cookies with your mom? Of course you do. Let’s keep the tradition going with one of our most popular cookies of all time. Let your little ones make it their own by giving them a choice of one of our flavorful riffs: Chocolate Chip-Pretzel, Cranberry-White Chocolate, White Chocolate-Covered Pretzel, Almond-Toffee, Caramel Turtle, or Nutty Peanut Butter-Chocolate Chip.
Recipe: Southern-Style Lemonade
Every Southern kid needs a good lemonade recipe for their summertime stand. This isn’t so much a recipe, as a suggestion of where to start—after all, the best kind of lemonade recipes are the ones that call for splashes and pinches, rather than tablespoons and measuring cups.
Homemade Chicken Nuggets
Recipe: Homemade Chicken Nuggets
Little ones love chicken nuggets, but you know what they’ll love even more? Making their own. This is a prep-ahead recipe—it requires soaking the chicken tenders overnight in a mixture of spices and buttermilk with a big-time flavor payoff. Pour the breading mixture into a gallon-size zip-top bag and add a few tenders at a time, letting them shake to coat. Just make sure you do the frying.
Mississippi Mud Cake
Recipe: Mississippi Mud Cake
Give your children the gift of never being at a loss for what to bring. If Mississippi Mud Cake is one thing, it’s always just the right accompaniment for whatever is on the menu. Let older kids coat the top in marshmallows, taking care not touch the hot pan.
Classic Baked Macaroni and Cheese
Another childhood favorite (that we never did quite outgrow) makes for a fun kitchen lesson. Bigger kids make the ideal cheese graters, and little ones are the perfect taste testers. This recipe is easy as can be—the ideal starter lesson for novice chefs. Skip the ground red pepper if your kids are averse to spice.
Birthday Cake Ice Cream
Recipe: Birthday Cake Ice Cream
Let little (clean) hands get a bit messy with this hands-on recipe. It’ll take just shy of 6 hours from start to finish, but when it’s finally ready for a dash of sprinkles on top, they’ll realize it was quite worth the effort.
Muddy Buddy Mix
Recipe: Muddy Buddy Mix
Grab your little buddy and toss up a batch of this crave-able chocolate and peanut butter snack mix. Chocolate chips, creamy peanut butter, rice cereal squares, powdered sugar, and cocoa are a match made in heaven.
Recipe: Wacky Cake
The best part about this cake is that it’s all made in one pan. No mixing bowls, no stand mixers. It comes together with just 15 minutes of hands-on time. It’s gooey, chocolatey goodness in every single bite. For burgeoning chefs, instant gratification will go a long way.
Meatball Sliders with Tomato Sauce
While not necessarily the first thing that comes to mind when mulling over the Southern classics, a good meatball recipe will go a long way—both in life and for morale. There’s something about those comforting ingredients all melded together to create something delicious that really stirs our souls. Give each child a pair of disposable kitchen gloves and let them roll out the meatballs one by one. We love that this recipe calls on a slow cooker for most of the heavy lifting.
Chocolate Monkey Bread
Recipe: Chocolate Monkey Bread
Let the kids roll the dough in the sugary mix and plop each piece in the Bundt pan. They’ll enjoy picking it apart just as much as they enjoyed putting it together.
Recipe: Fire Crackers
It doesn’t get any easier than this. Just make sure your kiddos like a little heat—these pop-able snacks aren’t for the faint of palate.
No-Bake Chocolate-Oatmeal Cookies
They’re a cross between oatmeal cookies and pralines—but way easier than they should be for that type of flavor payoff. They should have an oatmeal or grits-like consistency when you drop them on the wax paper. If they’re too thin, return to the pan and add a bit more oatmeal over low heat. Lesson: If at first you don’t succeed…
Southern Skillet Cornbread
Recipe: Southern Skillet Cornbread
Mamas, don’t let your babies grow up without teaching them how to make cornbread. This savory version is a good place to start.
Master Pickle Brine
Recipe: Master Pickle Brine
One of the easiest recipes you can teach your kids is a simple pickle brine. This one only calls on four ingredients and 20 minutes of hands-on time.
Lemon-Lime Pound Cake
Recipe: Lemon-Lime Pound Cake
A good pound cake is a must in every Southerner’s repertoire. This one uses zippy citrus flavors to take it over the top. Kids will get a kick out of using their favorite lemon-lime soft drink as the secret ingredient.
Recipe: Cowboy Casserole
Of course, we had to include a casserole. This one calls on a favorite finger food of the pint-sized set: tater tots.
Recipe: Banana Bread
Everyone needs a good banana bread to claim as their secret family recipe—this can be yours. And trust us, it’s worth passing down. Serve warm with a pat of butter.