Food & Drink

Holidays in the South: 32 Festive Recipes

Celebrate the season with friends, family, and these timeless holiday favorites
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OYSTERS BIENVILLE
New Orleans chef Justin Devillier shares his favorite recipe for baked oysters.

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photo: PETER FRANK EDWARDS

SHRIMP ON THE ROCKS
Forgo the fry basket in favor of salt-baked shellfish dipped in tangy comeback sauce.

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photo: JOHNNY AUTRY

VIVIAN HOWARD’S PARTY MAGNET
“Cheese balls are so clichéd they’ve actually become cool,” Howard says. “Socially acceptable or not, when this thing is put out at a party of any kind, people hover over it like it’s a crystal ball.”

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photo: REX MILLER

CHEESE GRITS CAKES

A savory treat for breakfast and beyond.

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photo: THE VOORHES

SOUTHERN SOUL BARBEQUE’S SMOKED OYSTER SPREAD

This winter recipe is a party favorite, especially paired with a big stack of Saltines and a cold can of your favorite beer.

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photo: COURTESY OF SOUTHERN SOUL

DEVILED HAM & BISCUIT CRACKERS
James Beard Award–nominated Virginia chef Ian Boden spins two Southern classics into one tasty appetizer.

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photo: BRENNAN WESLEY

PIMENTO CHEESE STRAWS
For Georgia chef Mimi Maumus, the only thing better than a cheese straw is one stuffed with pimento cheese.

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photo: JOHNNY AUTRY

A PERFECT POT OF GREENS
A Southern soul food classic rediscovered.

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photo: MARGARET HOUSTON

THE POOLE’S DINER MAC AND CHEESE
Chef Ashley Christensen shares the recipe for the most requested dish at Poole’s Downtown Diner in Raleigh, North Carolina.

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photo: JOHNNY AUTRY

SWEET POTATO CASSEROLE WITH SORGHUM

Tandy Wilson of City House, in Nashville, Tennessee, shares his recipe for sweet potato casserole, a dish inherited from his grandmother.

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photo: PETER FRANK EDWARDS

CHEESY GRITS CASSEROLE

One day a year, enjoy the most decadent grits ever, courtesy of Charleston chef Kevin Johnson.

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photo: PHILLIP RHODES

PEAR SALAD
“You got pears out of a deviled egg tray with cheese and mayo or you didn’t get pears at all,” says chef Justin Burdett of Local Provisions in Asheville, North Carolina.  Here’s his elevated version of the Southern classic.

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photo: JOHNNY AUTRY

CANDIED SWEET POTATOES WITH PECAN BACON SYRUP

A seasonal recipe from Vivian Howard of Chef & the Farmer in Kinston, North Carolina.

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photo: SQUIRE FOX

CORNBREAD OYSTER DRESSING
Chef Edward Lee of 610 Magnolia in Louisville, Kentucky, shares his recipe for oyster dressing—a complex balance of salt and sweet that will stand up to all the other flavors at the holiday table.

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photo: PETER FRANK EDWARDS

EASY ROAST DUCK LEGS WITH PRESERVED LEMON AND HONEY

Bright flavors punch up a classic game dish for a brag-worthy weeknight dinner.

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photo: RICK POON

SWEET TEA-BRINED COUNTRY HAM
A holiday ham recipe rooted in Southern tradition.

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photo: PETER FRANK EDWARDS

GLAZED HAM WITH BUTTERMILK DROP BISCUITS
Billy Allin, chef-owner of Cakes and Ale in Decatur, Georgia, shares his tangy-sweet upgrade to traditional holiday ham.

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photo: JOHNNY AUTRY

SPICED QUAIL WITH CHOCOLATE GRAVY

A sweet secret from the Ozarks.

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photo: JOHNNY AUTRY

DUCK WITH SATSUMA SAUCE
Duck and sweet satsumas combine in a centerpiece dish that can upstage any Thanksgiving turkey.

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photo: PETER FRANK EDWARDS

OYSTER SPAGHETTI

Turn one of the season’s best ingredients into a warming winter meal.

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photo: ANDREW CEBULKA

BARBECUE DOVES

A simple, highly adaptable recipe for adding some wild game flavor to your holiday table.

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photo: T. EDWARD NICKENS

DAY-AFTER GUMBO
Turn your Thursday bird into a Friday feast.

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photo: PETER FRANK EDWARDS

BOURBON PECAN PIE
It’s hard to beat a fresh pecan pie, unless you add a little bourbon.

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photo: JOHNNY AUTRY

APPLE JACK STACK CAKE
Originally, each layer was baked at home by individual cooks, likely in cast-iron skillets, then brought together and assembled for church suppers and gatherings. This rustic Appalachian Apple Stack Cake is communal cooking at its finest.

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photo: PETER FRANK EDWARDS

ROSETTES
A sweet West Virginia tradition, these melt-in-your mouth fried pastries are like a cross between donuts and funnel cakes.

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photo: EMILY HILLIARD

BENNE SEED PEANUT BUTTER BALLS
Benne seeds and chocolate kicked up with chile raise the bar on a traditional party-time treat.

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photo: JOHNNY AUTRY

BOURBON BALLS
What’s not to love about bourbon, chocolate, and pecans?

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photo: MARGARET HOUSTON

PECAN-PRALINE ROLLS
Sugary, nut-studded rolls with European influences and Texas roots.

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photo: SANDY WILSON

CARAMEL CAKE WITH PECANS
A decadent treat from a heralded Virginia bakery features layers of rich caramel. 

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photo: JOHNNY AUTRY

LOUISIANA PILLOWCASE COOKIES
A sweet delight with a great Southern backstory.

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photo: DENNY CULBERT

SPICED DARK CHOCOLATE CHERRY SALTINE TOFFEE

Virginia Willis transforms a basic cracker into a classic holiday treat.

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photo: HÉLENE DUJARDIN

PUMPKIN BUTTER ICE CREAM CAKE

Not a fan of pumpkin pie? Make this easy layered beauty your sweet of the season.

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photo: JONATHAN BONCEK

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