New Orleans is arguably the culinary capital of the United States. With influences from Europe, Africa, and America, the city has a vibrant, unique food culture. Long-standing Cajun and Creole restaurants like Brennan’s, Brigtsen’s, Bon Ton Cafe, Commander’s Palace, and Galatoire’s are keeping the city’s cuisine alive. Whether you’re putting together a Cajun seafood boil with crawfish and corn or making a classic gumbo, we’ve rounded up all the New Orleans recipes you need for a Big Easy feast.
There are a million ways to make gumbo. Every cook has their own recipe for this thick, hearty meat stew. What remains relatively constant is the base: the trinity of celery, bell peppers, and onions, and a dark flour-based roux for thickening. From there you can experiment—try our versions with smoked turkey, duck, or fried chicken, Andouille is a traditional addition to any gumbo. For an elegant twist on the dish, try using smoking goose and foie gras.
Crawfish are a New Orleans staple. The simplest way to eat them is in a big seafood boil with shrimp, corn, and potatoes. For something cooler, try our cajun crawfish salad creamy with mayonnaise. Maybe the most classic way to prepare crawfish is to make etouffee, a creamy stew of crawfish tails, tomato, and paprika. Served with white rice, it’s an unbeatable comfort food.
While we’re talking shellfish, oysters are another iconic New Orleans food. It’s hard to beat them raw on the half shell, but oysters Rockefeller comes close. To make the dish, invented at Antoine’s in 1889, oysters are topped with chopped vegetables and bread crumbs and boiled.
Get a taste of the Big Easy with these New Orleans recipes.
In 1805, Meriwether Lewis ate buffalo boudin blanc cooked by Toussaint Charbonneau, Sacagawea’s husband, deeming it “one of the greatest delicacies of the forest.” Russell Moore of Camino in Oakland, California, substitutes pork and chicken for buffalo in his modern version, whipping the mixture to yield a smooth, light stuffing.
To make this Louisiana classic, a savory filling of crawfish, aromatics, and tomatoes is baked in a flaky pastry dough.
Brennan’s Turtle Soup
A touch of sherry heightens the flavor of a rich, silky turtle soup thick with tomatoes—a throwback dish in most other places, but not in New Orleans.
Brennan’s Bananas Foster
Banana liqueur heightens the flavor of the bananas in this flambeed dessert from the New Orleans restaurant Brennan’s.
LeRuth’s Red Shrimp Rémoulade
Spicy paprika and whole-grain mustard sauce coats plump shrimp in this classic New Orleans red rémoulade from the late chef Warren Leruth.
Galatoire’s Rémoulade Blanc
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.
Cajun Seafood Boil
This spicy boil is inspired by one served at Charlie’s Seafood in Harahan, Louisiana.
Brigtsen’s Jalapeño Shrimp Cornbread
Baked and served in individual ramekins, this spicy seafood cornbread has a spoonably soft, luscious texture. Get the recipe for Brigtsen’s Jalapeño Shrimp Cornbread
Fried Chicken and Andouille Gumbo
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.
Versions of this satisfying, cream-laced crawfish pasta are served at restaurants throughout Louisiana and Mississippi. The level of heat from hot sauce is left up to the cook.
Chef Justin Girouard of the French Press restaurant in Lafayette, Louisiana, replaces the Canadian bacon and hollandaise with boudin and gumbo in this bayou-based twist on the classic breakfast dish.