17 Beloved Southern Potluck Recipes Just Like Grandma Used to Make

Down home baked beans in a casserole dish with a plate of hot dogs in the background
Photo: Meredith Food Studios

We all know grandmas are the best cooks. It's part of the job description. Under "Grandmother," the line item reads "must make everything that is delicious and comforting." But a grandmother's knack for making delicious food is only increased when they just so happen to be Southern. A Southern cook that is also a grandmother? You've hit the food lottery.

For your next potluck, take a page from a Southern grandmother's recipe book and create one of these wow-worthy dishes inspired by the land of pulled pork and sweet tea. We've got all the classics in our collection, from slaw to baked beans, with a few regional favorites thrown in too, like corn pudding and pound cake.

01 of 18

Nana's Southern Coleslaw

Nana's Southern Coleslaw

Described as being reminiscent of the slaw served at a popular fast food chicken chain, this recipe won't last long at your next potluck. The secret? A dash of buttermilk to add extra creaminess and tanginess.

02 of 18

Apple Pie by Grandma Ople

a beautiful lattice-topped apple pie with a slice taken out of it
Holiday Baker

We don't know if Grandma Ople was Southern, but we have a feeling she was. With tart apples and sweet brown sugar, it's hard to go wrong with this potluck classic. "This was my grandmother's apple pie recipe," says MOSHASMAMA. "It will always be my favorite and has won me several first place prizes in local competitions."

03 of 18

Grandma's Five Cup Salad

Grandma's Five Cup Salad in foil containers

Southerners have a different definition for "salad," but you won't give it a second thought after one bite of this sweet treat. Canned mandarin oranges and pineapple are tossed with marshmallows, flaked coconut, and a dollop of sour cream to create a sweet and tangy taste.

04 of 18

Grandma's Corn Pudding

a white ceramic casserole dish of baked corn casserole with appealingly brown crusted edges
Debi Clark Bickmore

Rich and buttery, this savory casserole is the best way to enjoy summertime corn. Reviewer KYCATHY shares, "This is one of those trick recipes that makes people believe you are an old country cook who really knows your way around the kitchen."

05 of 18

Mamaw's Southern Buttermilk Chicken

close up of Mamaw's Southern Buttermilk Chicken
Amanda Cantrell

Marinated in the trio of buttermilk, hot sauce, and fresh garlic, this chicken is bursting with flavor from the inside out. Each piece is briefly fried, then baked until cooked through, giving you plenty of time to work on other potluck sides.

06 of 18

Grandmother's Pound Cake

Grandmother's Pound Cake II
wannabe chefette

"This recipe is over 100 years old and is the original kind of pound cake: it contains 1 pound each of butter, sugar, eggs and flour and contains no salt, baking powder or flavoring," says WholeGrainWoman. Though if you do want to deviate from Grandmother's version a bit, she suggests a few drops of vanilla or almond extract for extra flavor.

07 of 18

Grandma's Southern Mac and Cheese

scoop of mac and cheese casserole

If you don't want to hassle with leftovers from the potluck, just bring this dish. It's guaranteed to be licked clean. The macaroni is coated in a rich Cheddar sauce before getting baked to golden brown perfection.

08 of 18

Grandma's Chocolate Texas Sheet Cake

closeup of a square of chocolate cake with a chocolate-walnut frosting on a plate
Bekah Miller

Described as "quick, easy, and fun to make" you'll have a sure hit on your hands with this chocolate Texas sheet cake. Only requiring basic ingredients and a cake pan, it's the prime example of sometimes simpler is better.

09 of 18

Better Baked Beans

Down home baked beans in a casserole dish with a plate of hot dogs in the background
Meredith Food Studios

Start with a a few cans of pre-made baked beans, and all you need to worry about is amping up the flavor with additional ingredients. "This is my grandma's favorite semi home-made recipe," says Diane Carman-Young. "She makes it every Thanksgiving, and we usually end up scraping the pan clean!"

10 of 18

Grandma's Brisket

Grandma's Brisket

JodyVTPT shares, "My grandmother used to make this every year for get-togethers. Who would've known that it was this easy?" The trio of ketchup, dry onion soup mix, and ginger ale make up the sweet and tangy sauce that this brisket is cooked in until fall apart tender.

11 of 18

Granny's Strawberry Preserves-Filled Cookies

Granny's Strawberry Preserves-Filled Cookies on a white plate
Julie Holden

Put last year's preserves to good use with these tender cookies. They're stuffed with a dollop of strawberry preserves, keeping each cookie moist and flavorful.

12 of 18

Grandma's Creamy Potato Salad

Grandma's Creamy Potato Salad in a white bowl
Frank David

A bit like a hybrid between potato and egg salad, this decadent dish features both red potatoes and hard boiled eggs. The mayo-based dressing is amped up with a splash of vinegar and dash of mustard, giving it an irresistible tanginess.

13 of 18

Grandmother's Punch

Grandmother's Punch in a dispenser

Socializing around the punch bowl is a potluck pastime. Contribute to the tradition with this grandmother-approved punch recipe. It's sweet, tart, and eye-catching.

14 of 18

Grandmother's Sour Cream Cucumber Salad

Grandmother's Sour Cream Cucumber Salad in a white bowl
Coty Bare

With sweet onions and refreshing cucumbers, this salad is a highlight of summer's best produce. Plus it's perfect for making ahead. "This tastes better the next day as the sweet and sour permeate the cucumbers," advises Johanna Rouba.

15 of 18

Tatertot Casserole

Tatertot Casserole
Jimmy Bahnsen

Creamy, crunchy, and cheesy, you can't ask for much more when it comes to Southern casseroles. "My grandma made this for me growing up and [I] still love it to this day," says reviewer Kara Kastner.

16 of 18

Grandma Mac's Green Beans

Grandma Mac's Green Beans

Green beans are one of those foods that can be delicious cooked quickly and simply (blanched or roasted with a bit of salt), but also one that's delicious after a long simmer. Here, we channel Grandma Mac's slow-cooked green beans (they only require 45 minutes), and they'll turn into the tender, flavor-loaded green beans you remember from childhood picnics.

17 of 18

Simple Deviled Eggs

Never been able to recreate your grandmother's deviled eggs? That's probably because she never wrote down the recipe and just wings it every time she makes a dozen or two. But with this recipe, reviewers say it's as close to grandmother's as you can get.

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