Guide to Traditional Southern Appetizers

I grew up on a farm in Mississippi. I’ve been to hundreds of family reunions, 4th of July celebrations (one of the biggest holidays in the south besides Thanksgiving and Christmas) and A LOT of BBQ’s and Potlucks. There probably isn’t an appetizer I haven’t come across down here. But instead of listing them all out (and there are hundreds) I’ll put down the foods you’ll find at every southern function, without fail.

Deviled Eggs

– I have never been to a get together that didn’t have deviled eggs. Everyone has their own recipe. My family makes them by hard boiling eggs. Peeling them, cutting them in half, and scooping out the yolks. In another bowl the yolks are mashed and mixed with miracle whip, pickle relish, salt and pepper. The yolk mix is then scooped back into the egg whites and each egg half is sprinkled with paprika.


-Slow cooked in BBQ sauce or Bacon Fat, and served with 5-10 different sauces. These are always the first things to get eaten up at a get-together, and I have to admit they are one of my favorites. Everyone has their own recipes for this as well. I would suggest cooking them with your favorite BBQ and spices, and serving with a mustard sauce. Many people serve these with little plastic toothpicks shaped like tridents or swords. If you make them…make sure to make a lot.

Cheese Puffs, Bacon Puffs, Shrimp Puffs, Sausage Puffs, Corn Puffs…OH MY!

-Pick some ingredients, (cook any meat before using) mix them with some biscuit mix and eggs, beat it up into a froth, and fry or bake them. There are millions of different kinds of puffs you can make. Choose your favorite spices and ingredients, and see what you can come up with.


-Yes, watermelon. Its simple, delicious, and ALWAYS at a southern cookout. If you want to be really authentic, you could have a seed spitting contest too!

Potato Salad, Egg salad, Macaroni Salad and Tuna salad

-While just one can be served, often all four are. Everyone has their own family recipes, but basically you mix the main ingredient (potato, hard boiled egg, macaroni or tuna) with miracle whip, mustard, onions, celery and seasoning.

Besides all these appetizers, people in the south often serve things like mini-chicken wings, brisket, cheese logs with crackers and meat slices, vegetable platters, ham roll-ups, pigs in a blanket, chips and dip, blooming onions, and crawdad boils.

Now I’m going to go head to the kitchen for something to eat. This done made me hungry.


  1. List of foods of the Southern United States – Wikipedia, the free …
  2. Healthy Eating for Night Shift
  3. 14 Festive Mini Appetizers – Southern Living

Image Credit

  • southernliving.com