15 Recipes for the Best Mardi Gras Dinner Menu Ever

Celebrate with these Southern dishes.


Hector Manuel Sanchez

Mardi Gras is an annual holiday that is traditionally celebrated on Fat Tuesday to mark the culmination of the feasting period that falls before Christian Lent. Religious history aside, the holiday has come to be associated with street parties and parades, colorful masks, general debauchery, and, of course, plenty of rich, fatty foods.

So when you’re planning your Mardi Gras dinner menu, look for dishes that are comforting, satiating, and packed with more than enough flavor. Speaking of flavor, it wouldn’t be a Mardi Gras feast without plenty of Cajun and Creole influence, whether you’re spicing up grits or transforming an otherwise bland piece of fish into a drool-worthy meal. While you might not make it to Bourbon Street this year, we promise you’ll find everything you’re looking for with this Mardi Gras spread that includes sides, drinks, desserts, and more!

01 of 15

Old Bay Cheddar Grits With Andouille and Tomatoes

Old Bay Cheddar Grits With Andouille and Tomatoes
Jennifer Causey

Andouille is a smoked meat made using pork, pepper, onions, and seasonings. While it is French in origin, it’s also a staple of New Orleans cuisine thanks to French immigrants who brought it to Louisiana. Here, the spicy sausage is paired with blistered grape tomatoes and grits that have been flavored with Cheddar cheese and Old Bay seasoning.

02 of 15

Gochujang Gumbo

Gochujang Gumbo
Hector Manuel Sanchez

Gumbo is a Creole soup from Louisiana, and this untraditional variation includes gochujang—a spicy-sweet Korean chili paste. However, the inclusion of andouille sausage, sliced okra, and shrimp are a nod to the soup's Southern roots. Top with sliced scallions and minced red Fresno chiles for even more flavor.

03 of 15

Blackened Salmon and Rice

Blackened Salmon and Rice
Anna Williams

This blackened fish is flavored with paprika, cayenne pepper, dried thyme, and garlic powder, which gives it plenty of spice and flavor. The side of corn and parsley-studded rice helps to balance the heat. 

04 of 15

Passion Fruit Hurricane

Courtesy of Bacardí

The hurricane is one of the most popular drinks served in New Orleans, and it’s surprisingly easy to make at home. This version of the NoLa classic is especially citrus-forward thanks to the inclusion of orange juice, lime juice, and passion fruit syrup.

05 of 15

Corn Spoon Bread

overhead view of cornbread in an iron skillet with one piece removed
Lynne Mitchell/Getty Images

Cornbread is a quintessential Southern side, and this version, which is technically corn spoon bread, is more like a soufflé, with texture similar to that of British Yorkshire pudding. This dish, which pairs well with spicy foods, is ready in just 45 minutes.

06 of 15

BBQ Remoulade

BBQ Remoulade Recipe
Jennifer Causey

Remoulade is a cold sauce that’s popular in New Orleans. While this version isn’t a typical remoulade that you might find at a restaurant on Bourbon Street because it uses barbecue sauce instead of the standard hot sauce and Worcestershire, feel free to use this homemade condiment on crab cakes, shrimp, and French fries. 

07 of 15

Shrimp and Brown Butter Grits

Shrimp and Brown Butter Grits
Antonis Achilleos

The Southern classic that is shrimp-and-grits gets an upgrade in the form of brown butter. Just be sure to watch the butter carefully to make sure it doesn't burn, and don't skip transferring it to a bowl—it will continue to brown even after it's off the heat. You’ll be surprised to find out how well the rich butter pairs with the smoked paprika-seasoned shrimp and juicy grape tomatoes also found in this dish.

08 of 15

One-Pot Chicken Sausage and Beans

Sausage and beans layer on the flavors in this simple one-pot recipe, which is inspired by the classic cassoulet.
Caitlin Bensel

Smoky andouille chicken sausage is the star here, and its flavorful drippings coat the crunchy breadcrumb topping to tie everything together. In this dish you’ll also find ground pork, crushed tomatoes, and plenty of cannellini beans. If you like spice, add a dash of Cajun seasoning to amp up the flavor.

09 of 15

Shrimp and Sausage With Saffron Rice

Shrimp and Sausage With Saffron Rice
John Kernick

While shrimp and sausage is a classic New Orleans combo, this recipe pairs the proteins with saffron rice. A cup of frozen peas adds some veggies to this hearty meal.

10 of 15

Turkey Burgers With Cajun Grilled Onions

Cajun grilled onions on a turkey burger
Christopher Baker

For a recipe that’s familiar but has some NoLa flavor, give these turkey burgers a try. Each patty is made with grated Gruyère, minced garlic, and chili powder, in addition to dark meat turkey. Then, once the burgers are done, you'll top each one with grilled sliced onions that have been sprinkled with Cajun seasoning.

11 of 15

Easy Stovetop Shrimp Boil

Easy Stovetop Shrimp Boil
Greg DuPree

A shrimp boil might sound like a tricky undertaking, but we promise that this recipe can easily be executed at home. In fact, all you really need to do is throw onions, lemon, garlic, potatoes, sausage, artichoke, shrimp, and corn into a large stockpot and bring everything to a boil with some dry seasoning. For that spicy New Orleans flavor, we suggest using Slap Ya Mama Cajun Seafood Boil seasoning. You won’t regret it!

12 of 15

Kidney Beans and Rice

Red Beans and Rice
Con Poulos

Red beans and rice has been a traditional dish in New Orleans for decades, and is typically eaten on Mondays because it was originally made with the ham bone left over from Sunday dinner. Thanks to the ease of this recipe, which requires just 10 minutes of hands-on work, you can enjoy this tasty side on Mardi Gras and beyond.

13 of 15



If you can’t make it to Café Du Monde for the restaurant’s famous beignets, go ahead and make them yourself. This recipe is surprisingly easy to follow, and yields 24 decadent fritters so you can share with friends.

14 of 15

Lemon-Thyme Rhubarb Bread Pudding

Lemon-Thyme Rhubarb Bread Pudding Recipe
Victor Protasio

For a delicious dessert that will compliment your Mardi Gras feast, opt for this tart, sweet, rich, and custardy bread pudding. Rhubarb, which is in season as spring begins, is paired with lemon zest and thyme to bring out the stalky vegetable’s herbaceous notes. Serve it with whipped cream or vanilla ice cream for a decadent upgrade.

15 of 15

Traditional King Cake

Traditional King Cake

It wouldn’t be a Mardi Gras meal without a king cake. This recipe actually makes two king cakes, and each one is topped with a creamy glaze as well as festive gold, purple, and green sugar sprinkles. Just remember, if you find the trinket baked inside the cake, it means luck and prosperity is headed your way!

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