What Is Succotash and How Do You Make It?

It’s been around for a long time.

closeup of succotash

If you watched Looney Tunes as kid (or this morning, no judgment here), you’ve likely heard the phrase “sufferin’ succotash!” But what is succotash—and was it really served at the first Thanksgiving?

What Is Succotash?

Al's Sufferin' Succotash
Renee Paj

Succotash is a corn and lima bean dish that often includes tomatoes, peppers, and okra. Its name comes from the Narragansett (a Native American language that was once spoken in the area that is now Rhode Island) word “sohquttahhash,” which roughly translates to "broken corn kernels."

Long before the one-pot meal was Sylvester the Cat’s catchphrase, it was a staple in 17th-century America. The dish, which features easily accessible grains and legumes, is packed with nutrients, making it a practical choice for native people and the English settlers who adopted the recipe.

Succotash History

Many experts believe succotash was likely served at the first Thanksgiving in 1621.

Succotash remained a popular meal for New Englanders for centuries, but experienced its second heyday during the Great Depression for two reasons: Its ingredients were relatively cheap, and exhausted workers were easily able to whip up a batch after a long day.

Though it is certainly a New England invention, succotash is also a fixture in the American South. True to form, the Southern version is often served as a casserole or with butter.

How to Make Succotash

Making succotash is incredibly simple: All you have to do is toss a bunch of ingredients in a pot and let the flavors work their magic. It’s typically prepared on the stovetop in a skillet, but most recipes can easily be adapted for the Crock-pot.

Does all this succotash talk have you craving the hearty meal? We’ve got you covered. Check the Chef John's Succotash recipe right here.

Was this page helpful?
You’ll Also Love