Delicious Mardi Gras Recipes to Celebrate Carnival Season

Shrimp and Sausage Boil
Photo: Alison Miksch

Vibrant, cultural, and full of delicious food, there's no place quite like New Orleans. The Southern Louisiana city is perhaps most famous for its Carnival celebrations. To help you celebrate Mardi Gras (and Fat Tuesday) wherever you are, we've gathered some of our best Mardi Gras recipes. There are traditional New Orleans dishes enjoyed during the season such as gumbos, jambalayas, and the famous King Cake. But we'll also share some twists on classic fare featuring the beloved spicy Cajun flavors. You'll also find delicious recipes to celebrate Mardi Gras inspired by Louisiana restaurants.

01 of 31

Chicken and Shrimp Jambalaya

Slow Cooker Chicken Shrimp Jambalaya
Kritsada Panichgul

A New Orleans feast isn't complete without a bowl of steaming hot jambalaya. The traditional dish features meat, rice, and veggies along with a blend of Creole spices. Here we used shrimp and chicken for a slow cooker ($40, Target) version that will have you shouting "yum!" after every bite. In a hurry? Try our one-pot jambalaya recipe that's ready in 30 minutes.

02 of 31

New Orleans-Style Muffuletta

New Orleans-Style Muffuletta
Blaine Moats

Piled with Italian meats and cheese, a muffuletta is the ultimate deli sandwich to serve at your Mardi Gras gathering. What sets this sandwich apart from the rest is the homemade olive salad, which is the staple ingredient that defines this New Orleans classic.

03 of 31

Shrimp and Sausage Boil

Shrimp and Sausage Boil
Alison Miksch

To really pay tribute to the Cajun south on your Mardi Gras menu, put on a delicious seafood boil. Here shrimp, sausage, potatoes, and corn get amazing flavor thanks to concentrated shrimp boil and Old Bay Seasoning ($5, Target). Line the table with butcher paper and simply throw your seafood on the table so everyone can grab and eat with ease. (The cleanup is a breeze, too!)

04 of 31

French Market Beignets

French Market Beignets
Kritsada Panichgul

These fried dough pastries are a New Orleans tradition commonly enjoyed with a café au lait (coffee with hot milk). While they may not be quite like Café Du Monde's famous beignets, our homemade dough fries to perfection before getting topped with powdered sugar. They're best eaten fresh, so come get 'em while they're hot!

05 of 31

Red Beans and Rice Soup with Cajun Chicken

Red Beans and Rice Soup with Cajun Chicken and corn muffins
Brie Passano

Red beans and rice get the soup treatment here. The chicken and smoked sausage as the protein become one of the most delicious one-pot meals you'll ever taste. Make it in a dutch oven ($38, Bed Bath & Beyond) and serve with a side of corn bread for a bit of sweetness to accompany the Cajun spices.

06 of 31

Cajun-Seasoned Vegetarian Gumbo

Cajun-Seasoned Vegetarian Gumbo
Jason Donnelly

Gumbo is usually chock-full of seafood and/or meat, but this Mardi Gras vegetarian recipe of the thick, heavily-spiced soup is a BH&G favorite. Thanks to the tons of black beans, stir-fry veggies, and okra, you won't even notice there's no meat. Bonus: This gumbo's flavor develops beautifully in your slow cooker ($60, Crate & Barrel).

07 of 31

Red Beans Creole

Red Beans Creole
Blaine Moats

Red beans and rice is a New Orleans staple dish any time of the year, but it's especially comforting on cool days. After simmering all day in the slow cooker, the beans and rice combo get a spicy Cajun kick.

08 of 31

Baked Cajun Seafood and Rice

Baked Cajun Seafood and Rice
Blaine Moats

Shrimp, crab, green bell pepper, onion, rice, and classic Cajun flavors all combine into one dish for an easy and delicious dinner you can make in one glass casserole dish ($23, OXO). To keep your meal budget-friendly, use refrigerated lump crabmeat. It's delicious and cheaper than fresh crab. Look for it at the meat and seafood counter of your supermarket.

09 of 31

Shrimp Po' Boy

Shrimp Po' Boy
Andy Lyons

A po' boy is a traditional sandwich of meat or fried seafood. It's served on New Orleans-style French bread, which is known for its crusty exterior and chewy interior. Our fresh take on the sandwich features shrimp and a hint of tropical flair including lime, papaya or mango, and coconut.

10 of 31

King Cake

King's Cake

Decorated in traditional Mardi Gras colors of purple, green, and yellow, king cake is first served on January 6, the Twelfth Night. If you want to follow the Carnival tradition, whoever gets the hidden token (usually a mini plastic baby, but in this case a pecan) in their piece becomes the king or queen for the week and bakes another king cake. This festive ritual continues each week until Mardi Gras, the day before Lent.

11 of 31

Black-Eyed Pea Relish

Black-Eyed Pea Relish
Andy Lyons

If you haven't had your lucky black-eyed peas to celebrate the new year yet, make this hearty relish. The delicious appetizer is perfect for any gathering—whether you are watching a game or celebrating Fat Tuesday. Serve it with tortilla chips, grilled bread, or pita chips for a satisfying starter. It even works as a side salad or as a topping for grilled meats.

12 of 31

Lemon Icebox Pie

Lemon Icebox Pie
Andy Lyons

New Orleans restaurant Clancy's is known for its signature lemon icebox pie. So if you can't make it to Louisiana, make your own. The tangy citrus-infused custard pie will help cool you down after eating all that spicy Mardi Gras food.

13 of 31

Jambalaya

Jambalaya with shrimp in green bowl
Andy Lyons

Here's a more traditional take on jambalaya for your Mardi Gras meal. Add more of the red pepper or chili pepper (or both) if you like your food extra spicy. Luckily the easy Mardi Gras recipe only requires a handful of ingredients and less than an hour of your time.

14 of 31

Cajun Sausage-Potato Soup

Cajun Sausage-Potato Soup
Blaine Moats

Looking for an easy Mardi Gras soup idea? Look no further. This six-ingredient soup features andouille sausage and Cajun seasoning, and it takes 30 minutes from start to finish.

15 of 31

Cajun Snapper with Red Beans and Rice

Cajun Snapper with Red Beans and Rice
Andy Lyons

Cajun seasoning, lemon peel, and parsley spice up fresh snapper for a slightly more sophisticated Mardi Gras meal. Red beans and long grain rice complete the dish. The quick-cooking fish and pre-cooked rice allow this dinner to come together in a flash.

16 of 31

White Chocolate Bread Pudding with Hard Sauce

White Chocolate Bread Pudding with Hard Sauce
Blaine Moats

Bread pudding served with a smooth, rich whiskey sauce is a New Orleans classic and therefore a great Mardi Gras dessert option. Prepare this indulgent bread pudding recipe up to a day in advance to allow the bread to soak up all that delicious vanilla and white chocolate flavor.

17 of 31

Chick Andouille-Stuffed Peppers with Roasted Green Beans

Chicken Andouille-Stuffed Peppers with Roasted Green Beans

Stuffed peppers get a spicy boost from Cajun seasoning and andouille sausage with this easy one-pan recipe. Voila! Traditional Mardi Gras flavors served in a nontraditional way.

18 of 31

Pralines

pralines on white plate with pink background
Blaine Moats

Pralines are a rich, sugary confection made from cream, pecans, and butter popular in the South. The sweet treats are the perfect way to end your seafood meal. Work quickly to drop the pralines onto parchment or wax paper once the mixture is at the correct temperature because it tends to harden fast.

19 of 31

Cajun Crawfish Étouffée

Cajun Crawfish Étouffée
Scott Little

Étouffée means "smothered" in French, which is a Cajun and Creole technique of cooking veggies or meat in a small amount of liquid in a covered pan. So this crawfish Étouffée is not just delicious, but also a traditional Mardi Gras food recipe.

20 of 31

Bananas Foster Crisp

Bananas Foster Crisp
Carson Downing

Back in the 1950s, bananas Foster was first created in New Orleans. Now the dish inspires all sorts of recipes, like this rich crisp. Split the recipe into two ramekins, a crème brulee dish set, or one pie dish to suit your serving preference.

21 of 31

Cajun Shrimp and Corn Bread Casserole

Cajun Shrimp and Corn Bread Casserole
Jason Donnelly

Shrimp and corn bread combine in this simple, yet delicious Mardi Gras recipe you can make in a cast iron skillet ($25, Target). The casserole recipe must be a keeper because it's currently set at 5 out of 5 stars in our ratings. Black-eyed peas hold the dish together and add an extra boost of fiber.

22 of 31

Cajun Chicken Lasagna

Andouille-Chicken Lasagna
Andy Lyons

If a classic lasagna frequents your regular family dinner menu, just wait until you try our Cajun version. This comforting dish is a perfect way to celebrate Mardi Gras while getting creative with those boneless chicken breasts sitting in the fridge.

23 of 31

Chicken and Sausage Gumbo

Chicken and Sausage Gumbo
Scott Little

This jazzy gumbo is great for any Mardi Gras menu. A deep, coppery-brown roux and slices of okra are the secret to the dish's rich flavors and its signature thick texture.

24 of 31

Gluten Free Creole-Style Shrimp and Grits

Gluten Free Creole-Style Shrimp and Grits
Jason Donnelly

This gluten-free version of shrimp and grits is an excellent Mardi Gras recipe for anyone with allergy restrictions. If you don't have gluten-free flour on hand, try our unbeatable homemade mix.

25 of 31

Hurricane

Hurricane cocktail with umbrella
Matt Clark

Whether you're at home or in the French Quarter, you can't celebrate Mardi Gras without this classic cocktail. The fruity drink features both dark and light rum along with orange juice, passion fruit juice, and grenadine. Once Carnival season is over, plan on this becoming a new go-to summer drink as well.

26 of 31

Cajun Chicken Salad with Cornbread Croutons

Cajun Chicken Salad with Cornbread Croutons
Carson Downing

Yesterday's cornbread gets a new life with this flavor-packed salad recipe that is a satisfying switch from otherwise heavy winter dishes. It also takes only 35 minutes to prepare, so it's a great option for a weeknight dinner or a quick potluck side.

27 of 31

Creamy Cajun Shrimp and Sausage Dumpling Pie

Creamy Cajun Shrimp and Sausage Dumpling Pie
Jacob Fox

For a quality Mardi Gras meal made in one-pot, this Cajun-infused dumpling pie is hard to beat. If you're out of Cajun seasoning, swap it out for Creole seasoning or mix up your own batch using our Test Kitchen's recipe at the bottom of the recipe.

28 of 31

Doberge Cake

Doberge Cake
Mike Dieter

Ingenious New Orleans bakers took the famous European dobos torte and fashioned this super-rich dessert. The doberge (pronounced DO-bash) cake is a tall confection constructed of many thin layers of moist cake separated by creamy custard and iced with any number of different frostings. The traditional homemade cake makes a perfect Mardi Gras recipe to finish your meal.

29 of 31

Southern-Style Veggie Sliders

southern-style veggie sliders
Blaine Moats

Lighten up your Mardi Gras menu with these delicious (and adorable) sliders. Black-eyed peas and a smear of Cajun-spiced mayo add a little Southern flair to these mini veggie burgers, which you can easily make vegetarian by using an egg replacer in place of the egg as a binder.

30 of 31

Sausage and Egg Po' Boys

Sausage and Egg Po'Boys
Andy Lyons

The classic New Orleans sandwich gets an early-morning twist with this hearty po' boy made from a spicy remoulade, breakfast sausage, hard-cooked eggs, and (of course) lots of your favorite hot sauce. If you have any remoulade leftover, it makes a great accompaniment to hash brown potato cakes or oven-roasted potatoes.

31 of 31

Salted Almond Praline Tart

Salted Almond Praline Tart

Talk about a stunning dessert! Part cheesecake and part tart, this pretty pastry with a straight-from-Louisiana spin can be topped with whatever seasonal fruits you like—such as berries, sliced citrus, or fresh stone fruits. Just don't skimp on the sweet and crunchy salted almond praline topping. It's a game-changer!

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