Top 10 Traditional Mardi Gras Foods

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jambalaya with a slice of cornbread
Photo: sanzoe

Of all the traditions that make Mardi Gras special, king cake may be the most anticipated. But if you were to visit Louisiana for its Fat Tuesday festivities, you'd likely find the state's wealth of Cajun and Creole dishes just as exciting as king cake. Our list of traditional Mardi Gras foods includes jambalaya, shrimp po' boys, and beignets — plus the Mardi Gras treat you'll only find two hours east of New Orleans in Mobile, Alabama.

01 of 10

Mardi Gras King Cake

Mardi Gras King Cake with purple, green, and gold icing

Come Mardi Gras, king cake reigns above all else. "Better than bakeries! Living and eating in New Orleans for my entire life I was a bit skeptical if I could actually pull off a king cake," writes New Orleans local and home cook Laur5270, who recommends omitting the raisins to make the recipe more traditional.

02 of 10

Shrimp Po' Boys

Shrimp Po' Boys with sauce and lettuce on top
Alicia Rodriguez

The New Orleans version of a sub, the po' boy typically stuffs deli meat or fried seafood between two slices of crusty French bread. Finish off this five-star recipe with lettuce and remoulade sauce.

03 of 10


jambalaya with a slice of cornbread

Rice, vegetables, and meat (often andouille sausage and chicken, like this recipe calls for) combine in this one-pot dish, which resembles paella. "My husband is a New Orleans native and constantly complains about people attempting to make 'their cuisine.' This one passed the test with flying colors," reviewer AVARNEY says.

04 of 10


stack of beignets topped with powdered sugar

Topped with powdered sugar, these fried pastries taste like donuts but — dare we say — better. Make them at home with this five-star recipe.

05 of 10

Muffuletta Sandwich

muffuletta sandwich quartered and served on two dishes

Italian immigrants to New Orleans created the muffuletta, stuffing salami, ham, cheese, and marinated olive salad between dense slices of Sicilian sesame bread. Be sure to use Italian-style bread to make your own!

06 of 10

Copycat Moon Pies

stack of homemade moon pies

Did you know Mardi Gras in the United States began in Mobile, Alabama? Throwing packaged moon pies from floats has been the city's signature Mardi Gras tradition since the 1960s. Make your own with this copycat recipe.

07 of 10

Good New Orleans Creole Gumbo

gumbo with rice in a white bowl
Jooyoung Lee

With a dark roux, okra, tomatoes, and filé, this crab and andouille sausage gumbo reflects gumbo's African, French, and Native American origins. "I learned to cook from my mother and grandmother who were born and raised in New Orleans and really knew how to cook," recipe submitter Mddoccook says.

08 of 10

Heather's Crawfish Etouffee

crawfish etouffee on a blue plate

Reviewers recommend seasoning this thick, buttery crawfish stew with Tony Chachere's seasoning, a Louisiana staple, instead of cayenne pepper.

09 of 10

Authentic New Orleans Red Beans and Rice

Authentic New Orleans Red Beans and Rice in a white bowl with cornbread
Sheila LaLonde

"Just like Mom makes," recipe submitter Matt says. "I recommend cooking the day before you want to eat it. It is a time-consuming recipe and the taste gets even better after 24 hours in the refrigerator. For extra spice, add a splash of hot sauce." Louisiana-made Tabasco sauce will do the trick!

10 of 10

New Orleans Barbeque Shrimp

New Orleans style barbeque shrimp in sauce with two slices of bread on a blue and white dish

New Orleans Barbeque Shrimp never touch a barbeque pit. Instead, these shrimp cook in a skillet with butter, Worcestershire, beer, and herbs and spices. Sop up the fragrant sauce with slices of French bread.

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