30 Classic Southern Recipes Everyone Needs to Make This Summer
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.
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.
Tomato, Cheddar, and Bacon Pie
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.
Shout Hallelujah Potato Salad
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.
Fried Green Tomatoes
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.
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.
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.
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.
Southern Pimiento Mac and Cheese
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.
Summer Squash Casserole
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.
Picnic Egg Salad
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.
Fried Pecan Okra
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.
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.
Farmers' Market Pasta Salad
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).
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.
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.
The SL BLT
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.
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.
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.
Lady Pea-and-Corn Patties
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.
Southern-Style Collard Greens
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.
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.
Classic Sweet Tea
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.
Strawberry-Pretzel Icebox Pie
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!)
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.
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.
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.
Peach Fried Pies
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.
Luscious Lemon Bars
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.
Chocolate Mayonnaise Cake
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.
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.