Food & Drink

Cracker Salad: A Georgia Original

Serves 4-6 as a side

The time to make it is now, with the best tomatoes you can find

Photo: Margaret Houston

Never heard of cracker salad? You’re probably not from southeast Georgia. Even if you are, that’s no guarantee. “I got introduced to it at a family reunion in Nahunta, which is a little tiny town between here and Waycross,” says Lance Williams, who runs the Mallery Street Café in St. Simons. Cracker salad is an honest-to-goodness Peach State tradition, though. It’s a signature side at small-town spots like Jones Kitchen in Jesup, and Paula Deen published a recipe for it in the original Lady & Sons Savannah Country Cookbook. Some cooks use Ritz and others Saltines, but the concept is the same either way: Crumbled crackers, chopped tomatoes, salt, pepper, and sometimes other seasonings and vegetables, all folded into a mayonnaise base. Williams calls for just four simple ingredients in a recipe that brings to mind another Southern summer favorite. “Cracker salad is basically a tomato sandwich in salad form,” he says. The time to make it is now, with the best tomatoes you can find. Just don’t let it sit in the fridge. “This salad is a make-it-right-before-you-serve-it kind of thing.” That way, the crackers retain some of their crispness. Feel free to add chopped fresh dill, mustard, or other extras to this surprisingly satisfying formula.



    • 3 medium tomatoes, seeded and chopped

    • 2 heaping tbsp. chopped parsley

    • 1 cup mayonnaise

    • 1 pinch garlic powder

    • Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste

    • 1 sleeve Saltine crackers, plus more if necessary


  1. Add tomatoes and parsley to a large mixing bowl, then fold in mayonnaise. Season with garlic powder, salt, and black pepper, keeping in mind that the crackers will add more salt. Crumble the crackers in their sleeve and then fold them in until the salad is the texture of thick mashed potatoes. Serve immediately.

Recipe from Lance Williams of Mallery Street Café in St. Simon’s, Georgia