From the small farms of Cajun Country to the elegant Creole restaurants of New Orleans, Louisiana is home to one of the world’s most colorful cuisines. Here, our favorite recipes from the state, from gumbo to bananas Foster to the classic Sazerac.
This is a traditional dish served at many a boucherie (cajun pig party) in southern Louisiana.
See the Boudin Recipe
This New Orleans po’boy is piled high with fried oysters.
The spicy sauce in this New Orleans recipe marinates for a full 2-7 days before the shrimp are cooked in it, allowing it to develop a delightful intensity.
See the recipe for Shrimp Uggie »
A Cajun-inspired dessert comes from the home of Marcia Ball, blues singer and piano player.
Along with the bloody mary, this creamy cocktail is a New Orleans brunch mainstay. It features an aromatic cognac named for the French emperor Napoleon Bonaparte that’s aged at least five years.
Get the recipe for Brennan’s Brandy Milk Punch »
Acadian Syrup Cake »
Fried oysters are paired with a garlicky sauce in a toothsome appetizer served at Upperline, a restaurant in New Orleans’ Uptown neighborhood.
Get the recipe for Upperline’s Oysters St. Claude »
“I’ve labored many times through the archaic lingo and typos in
The Picayune’s Creole Cookbook version of this Cajun classic. But SAVEUR’s Crawfish Étouffee is similarly authentic, was written for 21st century kitchens, and has no typos. Also, I love Psilakis’ Ladolemono– a very tart, lightly emulsified sauce from the Greek issue. But I’m partial: I used to suck on lemons as a child.” _ –Marne Setton, Assistant Editor_ See the recipe for Crawfish Étouffee »
See the recipe for Lemon and Olive Oil Sauce (Ladolemono) »
This recipe was given to us by Lonnee Hamilton, who recommends spooning some bacon grease into the frying oil to give the fish a smokier flavor.
“We wanted to design a drink around this terrific violet liqueur, but we didn’t want it to be too flowery and too soapy tasting, which could have happened if it was on its own. We started adding various things, and fine-tuned it to this particular drink. As you pour the ingredients, the purple of the creme de violette floats around in the glass and settles in the bottom like a dark cloud — like a stormy morning.”
See the recipe for the Stormy Morning »
These crunchy fritters are typically eaten for breakfast or as an afternoon snack with a cup of cafe au lait.
Get the recipe for Pigs’ Ears (Oreilles de Cochon) »
This traditional cake, made here with a rich brioche dough and stuffed with a decadent cream cheese filling, is drizzled with a buttermilk glaze and sprinkled with crunchy green, gold, and purple sanding sugars.
Whisking the roux constantly is the key to evenly browning it for this hearty stew served over rice.
See the recipe for Chicken and Andouille Étoufee »
Known for its irresistibly crunchy crust and sparse crumb, French bread is the ideal po’boy canvas, or cut it into quarters and serve with crab maison.
Get the recipe for New Orleans French Bread »
This anise-perfumed cocktail is a New Orleans classic.
Oysters are fried in a spicy cornmeal breading for this classic New Orleans sandwich.
This boozy, buttery concoction of caramelized bananas flambéed in rum sauce is a dining-out classic invented at legendary New Orleans restaurant, Brennan’s.
Henry C. Ramos’s Gin Fizz
A mix of orange flower water and gin gives this venerable New Orleans cocktail a floral character with hints of juniper, while an egg white and heavy cream give it frothy body. The longer you shake the cocktail, the frothier it gets.
See the recipe for Henry C. Ramos’s Gin Fizz »
See the Recipe
Our simplified version of the flaming coffee cocktail served at Arnaud’s in New Orleans uses strong black coffee spiced with whole cloves and citrus peels. Orange curaçao and brandy give it a sweet, boozy kick.
Get the recipe for Arnaud’s Café Brûlot Diabolique »
Inspired by a rémoulade served in New Orleans’ Galatoire’s, this white, mayonnaise-y blend of Creole mustard, horseradish, cayenne, and white pepper is rooted in the classic French recipe.
Spicy paprika and whole-grain mustard sauce coats plump shrimp in this classic New Orleans red rémoulade from the late chef Warren Leruth.
New Orleans chef Donald Link was born and raised in the Cajun town of Lake Charles, Louisiana, and this rustic gumbo, which is often served at his St. Charles Avenue restaurant Herbsaint, always reminds him of home. To give the gumbo added flavor, Link makes his roux with the same oil he uses to fry the chicken, which he later shreds and adds to the pot, along with his homemade andouille sausage. The result is a dark, thick, rustic stew with just the right amount of heat.
One of the best things about gumbo is that it’s a truly imaginative dish—one that can be made with whatever happens to be in your kitchen at any given time. This recipe—based on a hand-written version given to us by Barbara Sias, a cook at the
Rice Palace restaurant, in Crowley, Louisiana—combines inexpensive cuts of meat, including oxtail, ground sausage, and turkey necks, yielding a rich, hearty gumbo that, despite its humble ingredients, is nothing short of extraordinary.
Abbeville, Louisiana native Janice Macomber, who teaches Cajun-style cooking at the New Orleans Food Experience, gave us the recipe for this seafood-laden, subtly spicy gumbo made from the bounty of Louisiana’s waters. Into the pot go blue crabs, shrimp, and delicious chunks of lump crabmeat, resulting in a dish that’s reminiscent of the bayous of south Louisiana. No matter where you live, be sure to use the freshest seafood available.
Smoked Goose and Foie Gras Gumbo
Located in a Lafayette, Louisiana farmhouse from the 1830s that has served as both a Confederate Army headquarters and, during the city’s 1980s oil boom, a singles bar,
Café Vermilionville smokes the turkey for this luxurious gumbo right out back in a makeshift smoker. The resulting dish embodies the rich flavors of dark roux and barbecued meat.
This dish is sort of a gumbo in reverse: quail, roasted to a deep golden brown, is stuffed with dirty rice and smothered in a chocolate-colored purée of roux, andouille, duck, and vegetables. As you slice the quail, the dirty rice falls out, spilling into the bowl and mixing with the sauce.
Okra is a prized ingredient in Louisiana, particularly for gumbo, where it lends an earthy flavor and serves as a natural thickening agent. Since the fuzzy green pod’s growing season is limited to the spring through the fall, resourceful home cooks preserve the vegetable in a variety of ways. Tina Hensgens, who works at the
Falcon Rice Mill in Crowley, Louisiana, smothers her freshly picked okra with tomatoes in the summer, and freezes large batches of it so she and her husband can enjoy it year-round.
See the recipe for Smothered Okra »
If you order one of the spectacular gumbos served at Prejean’s restaurant in Lafayette, Louisiana, the wait staff will likely ask: “Would you like potato salad with that?” The version they serve isn’t simply meant to be a side; here, it is common for diners to stir the salad right into the gumbo. Doing so cools the gumbo down to room temperature and adds a creaminess that’s akin to melting ice cream.
Prejean’s restaurant in Lafayette, Louisiana, dishes up this rich gumbo chock full of smoked duck and andouille sausage. Get the recipe for Smoked Duck Gumbo »