Mardi Gras, aka "Fat Tuesday," is like any other highly-anticipated holiday of the year — only better. Not everyone can say they love the gift-giving spirit of Christmas, spooky air of Halloween, or eat-till-you-drop traditions of Thanksgiving. The chances of meeting someone who doesn't crack an all-teeth smile at the thought of booze buckets, fried foods, and hot weather in New Orleans, Louisiana, are slim to none — and these 23 Louisiana-style Mardi Gras recipes are sure to be crowd-pleasers no matter what crowd you run with this year.
Originating as far back as 1699, Mardi Gras began as a small celebration marked by lavish dinners, which quickly evolved into street parties, masked balls, colorful costumes, and dancing. Despite its many evolutions over the decades, however, the one true tradition of the holiday remains: epic feasts.
Sure, every holiday is celebrated with classic spreads of a roasted bird and endless sides of vegetables, starches, and a finale of delectable desserts. When you take the spirit of a holiday, though, and you marry it to the wealth of French-, Spanish-, and West African-inspired cuisines in New Orleans, Louisiana, nothing compares. Southern comfort food could be considered timeless cuisine, never failing those with a craving or need to eat their feelings, and the culinary culture of Louisiana encapsulates just that.
So, whether you're hosting a traditional Mardi Gras feast, or you're inspired to throw down in the kitchen for a party of one this Fat Tuesday, here are 23 Louisiana-inspired recipes.
Mardi Gras Munchies
This recipe from Bake Love Give makes for the ideal treat to munch on throughout the day with its spot-on sweet-to-salty ratio.
Creamy Crawfish Pasta
Anything with crawfish screams New Orleans. With cream and chewy pasta, this recipe from The Kitchn won't do you wrong.
Creole Shrimp & Grits
This recipe from Brown Eyed Baker is a true southern comfort classic. Buttery, smooth grits topped with a spicy blend of tomato and perfectly-cooked shrimp would almost be best eaten in bed.
Masquerade Sugar Cookies
These cookies from Bake Love Give are so easy to bake, they'd be a great treat to bring in for an office happy hour.
Shrimp & Sausage Jambalaya
Another Louisiana staple, jambalaya can be made a number of ways, with the seafood and sausage combo being the most common. Try this one from Brown Eyed Baker.
New Orleans Beignets
This deep-friend French pastry is a sinfully-delicious must-have, and this recipe from Brown Eyed Baker gets it right.
Classic Southern Coleslaw
No southern meal is complete without the crunchy, buttermilk, tangy taste of a good coleslaw, like this one from The Kitchn.
Marshmallow cream, sandwiched by graham cracker cookies, smothered in chocolate, moon pies are another New Orleans classic confection. Give this recipe from Brown Eyed Baker a try.
Buttery Southern Biscuits
Make these bad boys from The Kitchn and respond to everything with, "Well butter my butt, and call me a biscuit!"
Southern Fried Catfish
A recipe that uses cornmeal, buttermilk, and crab boil seasoning is the one you want, like this one from The Kitchn.
Cajun Popcorn Shrimp & Hushpuppies
Anything cajun, seafood, and served with cornbread screams Louisiana cuisine. Try these popcorn shrimp and hushpuppies from Cooking For Keeps.
Top salty oysters on the half shell with breadcrumbs, spices, and hot sauce for a quick, deep-south classic using this recipe from Closet Cooking.
Creole Bread Pudding With Bourbon Whiskey Sauce
Creole bread pudding is a sweet, rich dessert made better with whiskey in this recipe from Pass The Sushi.
Louisiana-Style Crawfish Boil
Best served to big crowds, this crawfish boil from Steamy Kitchen combines shellfish with potatoes, corn, sausage, and spices for an ultimate messy feast. Add a couple cases of beer, and this is the perfect early spring dinner party.
Rich Crawfish Dip With Toasted Bread
Because everyone loves dip ... and bread to dip into said dip. Crawfish is traditional to New Orleans, but you can also make it easier on yourself by using shrimp. Just follow this recipe from The Kitchn.
Louisiana Shrimp Creole
Creole pairs perfectly with any starch — rice, pasta, potatoes — which means you can go heavy or light for your Mardi Gras main course in this recipe from Closet Cooking.
Southern Fried Summer Okra
Okra is a famously southern, summer ingredient incorporated into gumbos, jambalayas, and eaten alone. It's delicious pickled, resembling the taste of a pickle or olive, or fried with a crunchy exterior, served with creamy dipping sauce, like this recipe from The Kitchn.
Buttermilk Fried Chicken
A southern staple, fried chicken is loved by anyone and everyone with a soul. This recipe from Steamy Kitchen is next level.
Chicken & Andouille Sausage Gumbo
At some point, gumbo and jambalaya will start to look the same, but with the proper recipes and best ingredients, like this one from The Kitchn, you'll notice the defining differences.
Bananas Foster Crêpes
Bananas foster is a popular dessert in New Orleans. Served with crêpes for an added French feel, this recipe from The Kitchn is the ultimate Mardi Gras treat.
Shrimp Po' Boy With Fried Green Tomato
Another classic Louisiana sandwich, this shrimp po' boy from Closet Cooking joins spicy shrimp on toasty bread with creamy remoulade contrasted by juicy fried green tomatoes.
New Orleans BBQ Shrimp
Notice the shrimp pattern here? Seafood is huge in New Orleans, and there are endless ways to make it right. Try out these BBQ shrimp from Closet Cooking.
New Orleans Bacon Pralines
Candied bacon? Say no more. Ask no questions. Just copy this recipe from Pass The Sushi, and you're all set.