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10 Classic Southern Comfort Food Recipes (Including Meatloaf)

Margie's been an online writer for several years. Her articles focus on great Southern-style recipes for any occasion.

Pecan pie bars—a classic Southern dessert

Pecan pie bars—a classic Southern dessert

Traditional Southern Food Recipes

My mother was such a wonderful cook. Everything she made was delicious! She loved trying new recipes, always to the family's delight!

I learned to cook as a young teen and carried it over into my adulthood. Cooking is a way I express my love to people. It delights me to share my favorite tried and true Southern recipes.

Have a relaxing day, and enjoy good old Southern cooking!

1. Hummingbird Cake Recipe

Hummingbird cake is a deliciously moist cake that has been in my recipe box for a long time. Of course, I love that is topped with cream cheese, I could eat the frosting with a spoon!

The cake is made moist by the bananas and pineapple added to it. It is made even more mouth-watering by adding coconut and pecans.

This is a very elegant cake for any occasion, such as birthday, anniversary or any special get together. My mom made this cake a lot, it is a winner every time!

No, it does not have hummingbirds in the cake!


  • 3 cups flour
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 8 ounces crushed pineapple, undrained
  • 1 ½ cups Canola oil
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 ½ teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 2 cups diced banana
  • 1 cup pecans, chopped
  • 1 cup coconut, shredded


  1. Add each of the ingredients in a big bowl.
  2. Do not use an electric mixer.
  3. Mix the ingredients using a large spoon; stir only until well blended.
  4. You can bake in a greased and floured tube pan at 325 degrees Fahrenheit for 1 hour and 20 minutes or in two 3 x 9-inch cake pans for about 25 minutes, do not over bake.
  5. Let the cake cool while making the cream cheese frosting.

Tip From Margie Lynn

  • Check the cake with a toothpick for doneness, do not over bake.

Cream Cheese Frosting Recipe

Cream cheese frosting is scrumptious on so many recipes such as cakes, cookies, and as a spread on sweet bread.


  • 8-ounces cream cheese, softened
  • 16 ounces boxed powdered sugar
  • ½ cup margarine
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract


  1. Mix the cream cheese and margarine in a large mixing bowl.
  2. Cream the mixture with an electric mixer until smooth.
  3. Add the powdered sugar gradually to the creamed mixture.
  4. Add the vanilla extract, mix until creamy.
  5. Frost cooled cake.

2. Easy Bacon Meatloaf Recipe

At our house, we have meatloaf frequently. This recipe is amazing, we love the delicious bacon flavor the meatloaf has by topping it with bacon slices, it cooks down into the loaf and is a favorite comfort food!

If watching fat use ground turkey and leave the delicious bacon slices off!


  • 2 pounds ground beef
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 1/2 cups bread crumbs
  • 3/4 cup ketchup
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1 package onion soup mix, dry
  • 2 slices bacon


  1. Mix all ingredients together except the bacon slices.
  2. Place in a loaf pan.
  3. Top with bacon slices.
  4. Bake at 350 degrees Fahrenheit for one hour.

3. Crock Pot Macaroni and Cheese Recipe

I am always looking for the easy way to cook! I found this crock pot macaroni and cheese recipe and thought it would be popular for a potluck dish or for a family get together. In 4 hours you have a crock pot full of creamy cheesy deliciousness! Macaroni and cheese is a side dish for just about any meal! The kids can make a meal out of macaroni and cheese!


  • 8 ounces macaroni, cooked and drained
  • 2 tablespoons oil
  • 1–13 ounces can evaporated milk
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 ½ cup milk
  • Dash of black pepper
  • 3 cups sharp cheddar cheese, shredded
  • 1 stick (½ cup) butter
  • 2 eggs, well beaten


  1. Get your crock pot out and spray well with non-stick cooking spray.
  2. Mix 2 ½ cups of sharp cheddar cheese and butter into the macaroni while hot.
  3. Add the oil, evaporated milk, salt, black pepper, milk, and eggs; mix well.
  4. Put all the ingredients in the greased crock pot.
  5. Sprinkle remaining ½ cup cheese over top of mixture
  6. Cook on low for 3 to 4 hours.

4. Mexican Chicken Corn Chowder Recipe

I love a big bowl of chowder or soup on a cold winter day; they just seem to be great comfort food for me.
In my search for a new recipe, I found Mexican chicken corn chowder. It is chicken taken to another level of comforting. This piping hot bowl of chowder is filled with chunks of chicken and a creamy spicy cheesy corn sauce. Now, how good does that sound!

Serve it with a slice of homemade bread or a chunk of cornbread. Finish the meal with a bowl of hot peach or apple cobbler with a dip of ice cream or dollop of whipped cream.


  • 1 ½ pounds boneless, skinless chicken breast
  • ½ cup onion, chopped
  • 1 to 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 3 tablespoons butter or margarine
  • 2 chicken bouillon cubes
  • 1 cup hot water
  • ½ to 1 teaspoon cumin, ground
  • 2 cups half-and-half cream
  • 2 cups, 8 ounces, Monterrey Jack Cheese, shredded
  • 1–16 ounces can cream-style corn
  • 1–4 ounces can chop green chilies, with juice
  • 1 medium tomato, chopped
  • 1/4 to 1 teaspoon hot pepper sauce
  • Fresh cilantro or parsley, optional


  1. Cut the chicken into 1-inch pieces.
  2. In a Dutch oven over medium-high heat, brown the chicken, onion, and garlic in butter until the chicken is no longer pink.
  3. Dissolve the bouillon cubes in 1 cup of hot water.
  4. Add dissolved bouillon and cumin; bring to a boil.
  5. Reduce the heat to simmer, cover and cook for 5 minutes.
  6. Cook and stir over low heat until the cheese is melted.
  7. Stir in the tomato.
  8. Serve immediately.
  9. Garnish with cilantro or parsley if desired.

This recipe serves 6–8 people. Makes 2 quarts.

Tips From Margie Lynn

  • Pork would also be a good replacement for the chicken.
  • If you do not like spicy, you may leave out the hot pepper sauce and cut back on the green chili.

5. Sweet Potato Fries Recipe

Sweet potato fries are really popular today! You see them in the stores and restaurants. So I thought we would make some at home today, they would be delicious with just about any meal. These are baked, making them a healthier version.

I have used my air-fryer to make these and they were amazing and healthy!


  • 2 large sweet potatoes (peeled or unpeeled)
  • ½ teaspoon ground cumin
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ ground red pepper(cayenne)
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil


  1. Preheat the oven to 450 degrees Fahrenheit.
  2. Wash and cut the potatoes into ¾-inch thick strips. You can peel or leave peeling on.
  3. Mix spices together in small bowl.
  4. Place the fries on cookies sheet pan; drizzle oil over the potatoes and coat well.
  5. Sprinkle the seasoning over potatoes making sure they are coated.
  6. Do not get the fries too close together, they will steam and not fry.
  7. Bake for 15 minutes at 450 degrees.
  8. Remove and turn each fry over.
  9. Bake another 10 minutes.
  10. Watch so they do not burn, may need to turn the pan during baking.
  11. You may serve them plain or dip in ketchup, ranch dip or whatever you like.

Okay now dive in!

Tips From Margie Lynn

  • Ground cinnamon is good on them also.
  • If you have an air fryer, they come out delicious too.

6. Buttermilk Cornbread Recipe

Buttermilk cornbread is a Southern staple at most meals! It pairs so well with many Southern main dishes. At our house, we like sugar in our cornbread, so yummy. I love the corner pieces and my husband likes the middle pieces so we are a perfect match.

We accompany cornbread with soup, pinto beans, pork, and many other foods. It is heavenly lather with real butter or crumbled in buttermilk, I do not like that, but my mother loved it!


  • 2 cups cornmeal
  • ½ cup flour
  • 2 cups buttermilk
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda


  1. Mix together the cornmeal and flour.
  2. Add the baking soda to the buttermilk, dissolve.
  3. Add to the cornmeal-flour mixture; oil, sugar, salt, beaten eggs and baking soda dissolve in buttermilk.
  4. Mix well.
  5. Place in a 9 x 12-inch pan.
  6. Bake at 400 degrees Fahrenheit for about 20 minutes or until golden brown.

Tip From Margie Lynn

  • For thicker cornbread use a smaller pan.

7. Chicken Pot Pie Recipe

Chicken pot pie has been a favorite comfort food of mine for many years. You have everything you need all in one dish, just add a tossed garden salad and you have a delicious meal with little effort.

You can also use canned mixed vegetable or frozen one, I prefer fresh vegetable in my pot pie.

If you need to save time buy store-bought pie crust, easy breezy!


  • 1 pound skinless, boneless chicken, cubed
  • 1 cup carrots, sliced
  • ½ cup celery, sliced
  • 1/3 cup onion, chopped
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon celery seed
  • 2/3 cup milk
  • 1 chicken bouillon cube
  • 1 cup potatoes, diced
  • 1/3 cup butter
  • 1/3 cup all-purpose flour
  • ¼ teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 ¾ cups chicken broth
  • 2 nine-inch unbaked pie crusts


  1. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees Fahrenheit
  2. Combine in a saucepan; the bouillon cube, chicken, carrots, potatoes, and celery.
  3. Add the water to cover and boil for 15 minutes.
  4. Remove from the heat; drain and set aside.
  5. Cook in a saucepan over medium heat; the onions and butter until soft and translucent.
  6. Stir into butter onion mixture the flour, salt, pepper, and celery seeds.
  7. Slowly stirring, add in the chicken broth and milk; simmer until thick.
  8. Remove from the heat and set aside.
  9. Place one pie crust in a deep dish pie pan and cook in preheated oven for 5 minutes.
  10. Remove pie crust from oven; place the chicken mixture in it.
  11. Pour the hot liquid mixture over the top.
  12. Cover with remaining pie crust and seal the edge of the two pie crusts together.
  13. Make several small slits in the top of the crust to let steam escape.
  14. Bake in preheated oven for 30–35 minutes or until pastry is golden brown and filling is bubbly.
  15. Cool for 10 minutes before serving.

Tip From Margie Lynn

  • I use store-bought pie crust to save time and I make a lousy pie crust!

8. Chicken Fried Venison Recipe

I was raised on venison or some of us country folks call it deer meat. Venison is a very lean meat and a staple in our diet. I have chicken fried many batches of this easy recipe, we prefer chicken frying our venison, it is moister and not so dry as other preparations.

Soaking the meat before cooking will take the wild game or wild taste of the meat. Some folks like the game taste, but not me!


  • venison steaks
  • 1 tablespoon salt
  • ¼ cup vinegar
  • 1 cup flour
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon black pepper
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • 1 cup milk
  • oil ( I like Crisco or Canola


  1. In a large bowl soak venison for about one hour or longer in a mixture of water, one tablespoon salt and ¼ cup vinegar. The longer you soak the meat the better.
  2. Tenderize steaks real good.
  3. Have two shallow dishes one with flour, salt, and black pepper mix. One for eggs and milk mix.
  4. First dip steaks into flour mixture, then dip in egg and milk mixture and back again into flour mixture.
  5. Fry in medium-high oil until golden brown on both sides.
  6. You can make gravy from the drippings.

Serve 4–6.

9. Southern Pecan Pie Bars Recipe

I discovered this recipe in my collection for Southern pecan bars. They are similar to pecan pie but in a bar cookie. It has a pecan crust filled with a pecan filling.

They are great for a potluck meal if you need to bring a dessert. The recipe makes 36 bars and they freeze well so you could make ahead. Pull out for your company or any occasion and you have your dessert.


For the crust:

  • 1 1/3 cups flour
  • ½ cup brown sugar, firmly packed
  • ½ teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/3 cup margarine, softened
  • ¼ cup pecans, chopped

For the filling:

  • ¾ cup dark corn syrup
  • ¼ cup brown sugar, firmly packed
  • 3 tablespoons flour
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • ¾ cups pecans, chopped


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
  2. Grease a 13 x 9-inch pan.
  3. In a large bowl, blend flour, brown sugar, baking powder and margarine until crumbly.
  4. Stir pecans into flour and sugar mixture.
  5. Press mixture into greased pan.
  6. For filling combine in a large mixing bowl; corn syrup, brown sugar, flour, salt, vanilla, and eggs.
  7. Blend all ingredients well.
  8. Pour filling evenly over crust.
  9. Sprinkle with pecans.
  10. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes or until golden brown.

Recipes make 36 bars.

Tips From Margie Lynn

  • Make sure you firmly pack the brown sugar.
  • Do not over bake the pecan bars.
  • Southern pecan bars freeze well.

10. Fresh Squeezed Homemade Lemonade Recipe

Fresh squeezed homemade lemonade is so refreshing on a hot summer day. This recipe is quick and easy to make with fresh squeezed lemons, sugar, lemon zest and iced water.

You may double or triple the recipe for more servings. It is a great refreshing beverage for a picnic or any outdoor occasion.

When my grand kids were little every summer they would set up a lemonade stand and call all the kinfolks to let them know so we would come buy some. They did pretty darn good with the kinfolks and neighbors!


  • 12 lemons, juiced
  • 2 cups sugar
  • grated zest of 2 lemons
  • 4 quarts of iced water


  1. Juice the lemons in an electric juicer or by hand. Remove seeds from lemon juice, but leave pulp.
  2. Put juice in a large pitcher. Add the sugar to lemon juice. Mix well. Add lemon zest to the lemon mixture. Mix well.
  3. Add 4 quarts of iced water to a pitcher, mix well.
  4. This recipe makes 4 1/2 quarts.

Tips From Margie Lynn

  • Add slices of lemons to each glass or to the pitcher.
  • Make sure there are no seeds in juice.
  • Sugar may be adjusted to your taste.
  • Pick juicy plump lemons.
  • Do not get the white part when zesting.
  • Recipe may be double or triple for more servings.
  • You can substitute lime and make limeade.

© 2018 Margie's Southern Kitchen