30 Authentic Soul Food Recipes
What is authentic soul food, and where did it come from?
Soul food is African American food derived from Black enslaved people’s take from often unwanted or unknown parts, scraps, or leftovers of American and British cuisine.
Combined with the soulful essence of West Africa for color, warmth, and flavor, it’s the preservation of Black people’s food traditions.
What is the difference between soul food and Southern food?
Soul food and Southern are often compared.
But enslaved African Americans developed soul food’s distinct and authentic character by creating outstanding meals from what was thought to be less-than-desirable cuts of meat and produce.
Southern food can be described as down South, home-cooked comfort food recipes where you can taste the hospitality.
What is a traditional soul food meal?
Feel like doing some real-deal Southern cooking?
How about Sunday dinner with fried chicken or Southern fried catfish with fried green tomatoes?
How about fried okra with shrimp and grits?
Or stewed okra and tomatoes, seafood gumbo, shepherd’s pie, biscuits and gravy, or hush puppies?
To create a traditional and authentic soul food meal, start with evergreen soul food side dishes like:
Then, move on to the main course to include soul food entrées like:
Finally, bring the meal to a standing ovation close with mouth-watering Southern dessert favorites such as:
What is Black culture food?
What is traditional Black history food?
African American food culture consists of hearty homecooked meals that you can point out as dishes with plenty of seasoning and rich flavor!
What are the most popular soul food dishes?
While authentic soul food recipes may be accredited to the Southern US states, it’s loved everywhere from coast to coast in an array of popular dishes, including the soul food dishes below:
Authentic soul food main dish recipes
Authentic soul food side dish recipes
Authentic soul food dessert recipes
Authentic soul food drinks
What is the official soul food drink?
Whether it’s strawberry, raspberry, cherry, hibiscus, or fruit punch.
Red is the official soul-food drink!
Red drink is rooted in West Africa (hibiscus flower tea) and still holds a special place on African American menus.
Authentic soul food recipes FAQs
What vegetables are used in soul food cooking?
Southern vegetable favorites include soul food seasoned collard greens, baked yams, sweet potato pie, and okra.
What is the difference between yams and sweet potatoes?
Are sweet potatoes and yams the same?
One of the most significant differences between sweet potatoes and yams is their appearance.
Yams are typically larger, while sweet potatoes come in smaller sizes.
Both vegetables have brownish-reddish skin ranging from light to dark color shades.
Sweet potato roots are tapered at one end, whereas yam roots are more circular or boxy shaped. Furthermore, yams contain more starch and are tougher than sweet potatoes.
What is the best meat to put in collard greens?
It’s not required. But highly encouraged that if you’re cooking with a Black folks soul food collard greens recipe, you season with the addition of meat.
A ham hock or a turkey leg are most common for richness and depth of flavor.
How did mac and cheese become soul food?
Black Southern mac and cheese became “a celebratory dish and a convenient Southern comfort food and a meal stretcher for families.”
We recognize this dish today as soul food!
Why is Southern baked mac and cheese important to Black culture?
Known initially as macaroni pie, baked mac and cheese was created by James Hemings, an African American enslaved person trained as a culinary chef.
This dish has been a staple of soul food cuisine since its inception, and it’s only gotten better with age!
Mac and cheese is just one of the many authentic soul food cuisines turned American dishes.
What is the secret to good fried chicken?
Chicken with a balance of tender meat on the inside and crispy skin seasoned to perfection on the outside is a recipe for success when making Southern fried chicken.
What cities have the best soul food restaurants?
In the 1940s, soul food restaurants appeared in every large American city with a sizeable Black population, attracting a diverse clientele with their flavorful and culturally rich foods.
Some of the most famous soul food restaurants are:
- St Louis, MO – Sweetie Pie’s restaurant
- Los Angeles, CA – Roscoe’s Chicken And Waffles
- Harlem, NY – Sylvia’s
- Las Vegas, NV – Yardbird
What cities have the best soul food scene?
New Orleans is famous for its iconic soul food gumbo, while Atlanta is recognized for anything peach.
What state is known for soul food?
Instead of just one best-known state, states are individually recognized as soul food advisors for their most famous soul food dishes.
- Alabama fried catfish
- Mississippi pot roast
- Tidewater Virginia yock
- Texas BBQ
- South Carolina low-country boil or Frogmore stew
- Carolina collard greens
- Georgia peach cobbler
- North Carolina sweet tea
- Louisiana shrimp and grits
What is a typical African American Thanksgiving dinner?
Check out the below roundup of the best soul food Thanksgiving menu recipes.
How can you get started making soul food at home?
So how do you make soul food? Thanks to Instant Pot, most of these recipes are made to order in a fraction of the traditional time without compromising the authentic soul food flavors or ingredients.
Love a thirty-minute investment for a soul food dinner idea?
And who doesn’t love a Southern soul food delicious meal?
Start with these quick and easy Instant Pot soul food recipes!
Did you enjoy this authentic soul food recipe guide?
Which of these delicious soul food recipes are you most excited to try?
Have you had authentic soul food Southern cooking?
Would you make it?
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- Fried chicken scissor tong
- 6-8 pieces chicken 6-8 pieces of chicken, or one 3-pound chicken cut into pieces
- 48 oz peanut oil or vegetable oil
- 2 cups all-purpose flour divided
- 1 ½ teaspoon garlic powder
- 1 ½ teaspoon onion powder
- 1 ½ teaspoon paprika
- ¾ teaspoon red pepper (chili pepper)
- 1 tablespoon poultry seasoning or all-purpose seasoning
- 1 ½ teaspoon salt
- ¾ teaspoon black pepper
- 1 egg
- ½ cup buttermilk ½ cup of buttermilk = ½ cup of milk & ½ tablespoon of apple cider vinegar
- Mix the poultry seasoning, salt, and pepper in a small bowl.
- Rub the seasoning mixture all over each piece of chicken.
- Pour the peanut oil (preferred) or vegetable oil into a deep fryer, 6-quart skillet, or Dutch oven until the oil is 1-inch deep.
- Heat the oil over medium heat or until it reaches 350 degrees F.
- While you’re waiting for the oil to heat up, place 1 cup of the divided flour, garlic powder, onion powder, paprika, and red pepper in a medium-size mixing bowl or 1-gallon resealable food storage bag.
- Shake (or mix) the sealed bag to combine the ingredients for a homemade poultry seasoning, and set the flour mixture aside.
- Pour the second cup of flour into a second resealable bag (or medium-sized mixing bowl) and set it aside.
- In another medium-sized bowl, whisk together the buttermilk and egg, and set that mixture aside too.
- The chicken will go through a 3-step process from here.
- First, place the chicken in the bag (or bowl) of seasoned flour and shake or toss to coat the chicken evenly.
- Second, shake off the excess flour and dip the chicken into the buttermilk mixture.
- Third, transfer the chicken to the last bag (or bowl) of flour and shake or toss until it’s very well coated.
- Place the coated chicken into the pre-heated oil, skin-side down, and be careful not to overcrowd the chicken in the oil.
- You can fry a second batch if need be to avoid overcrowding by frying all the chicken at once. Just make sure the hot oil remains at 350 degrees F.
- Cook the chicken pieces for 10 to 12 minutes, occasionally turning to prevent excessive browning.
- As the chicken batter turns golden brown, remove it from the hot oil, and allow it to drain in a closed container (to keep the fried chicken warm) with a paper towel under the chicken.
- Serve soul food Southern fried chicken right away, and enjoy!
- Some Southern cooks like using a baking sheet or a large bowl to separate the dark and white meat. They dredge the dark meat first, fry, and then dredge the remaining chicken (the white meat) and fry.
- What else can you use to season the flour? Other than a sprinkle of salt and pepper, some Southern fried chicken recipes even call for cornstarch to thicken the batter for extra crunch or hot sauce for more heat!
- You may also consider a buttermilk brine or marinade to tenderize the chicken before frying.