14 Mardi Gras Recipes for Fat Tuesday

This month, more than a million people will flock to the French Quarter in New Orleans to celebrate Mardi Gras, and chances are they’ll be washing their liquor down with some of the city’s legendary Cajun and Creole cuisine. We can’t all take the pilgrimage down to the Big Easy for the event, but the holiday’s a good excuse to celebrate New Orleans food no matter where you live. Need a little menu inspiration? We’ve got just the thing to whet your appetite.
Header photo and recipe from CHOW

1. Mardi Gras King Cake

It ain’t Mardi Gras without a king cake. Not only does the pastry have a storied history behind it, but tradition also dictates that a plastic toy baby be hidden inside the cake. The person who gets the slice with the baby will hold the next king cake party.
Photo and recipe from CHOW

2. Martha Hall Foose’s Cheese Grits

These baked cheese grits, which come from Southern cookbook author Martha Hall Foose, would be a nice addition to a boozy Mardi Gras brunch.
Photo and recipe from CHOW

3. Easy Chicken Gumbo

Thanks to a light golden roux and sliced okra, this gumbo thickens up in less than 45 minutes.
Photo and recipe from CHOW

4. Grilled Blackened Catfish with Creole Mustard Butter

Top blackened catfish with a dollop of spicy, hot Creole mustard butter, and you may never eat it any other way again.
Photo and recipe from CHOW

5. Classic Muffuletta

The muffuletta, with its medley of Italian cold cuts, cheese, and tangy olive salad, gets even better as it sits. Make the sandwich in advance and feel zero guilt about serving it a day later.
Photo and recipe from Serious Eats

6. Hurricane Cocktail

Bring Pat O’Brien’s and the rest of Bourbon Street to your home bar with a well-made version of the Hurricane cocktail.
Photo and recipe from CHOW

7. Crawfish Etouffée

If you’re lucky enough to be near a source for fresh crawfish, there’s only one way to celebrate Fat Tuesday: with creamy, brackish crawfish etouffée.
Photo and recipe from Saveur

8. Mardi Gras Jelly Shots

For some modern-day Mardi Gras fun, serve up a batch of Mardi Gras jelly shots. Hurricane-, Ramos gin fizz–, and Sazerac-flavored jelly cubes are sure to spark conversation.
Photo and recipe from CHOW

9. Boudin Balls

We have to agree with the Chowhound who described Chef Donald Link’s boudin sausage as “pure heaven.” But if you can’t make it to one of Link's New Orleans restaurants, his recipe for boudin balls is the next best thing.
Photo and recipe from CHOW

10. Natchitoches Meat Pies

The town of Natchitoches, Louisiana, is famous for its spicy beef and onion hand pies, fried until golden and puffy. They’re an ideal on-the-go snack for Mardi Gras revelers.
Photo and recipe from CHOW

11. Slow Cooker Shrimp Gumbo

Call this slow cooker dish the lazy man’s gumbo. Not only does it come together in a crockpot, but there’s no stirring of any roux whatsoever. The secret? Browning the flour in the oven first.
Photo and recipe from CHOW

12. Chicken and Smoked Andouille Jambalaya

This version of Cajun jambalaya, which includes chicken thighs, andouille sausage, and tasso ham, may be time-intensive, but it’s an impressive way to feed a crowd.
Photo and recipe from CHOW

13. Sazerac

There’s no New Orleans cocktail more timeless than the Sazerac. The rye and absinthe cocktail dates back to the 1850s.
Photo and recipe from CHOW

14. Cornmeal Fried Catfish with Rémoulade

Don’t knock catfish till you’ve tried it battered with spicy cornmeal flour, fried until crispy, and served with a squeeze of lemon and a dollop of homemade rémoulade.
Photo and recipe from CHOW

Susannah Chen is a San Francisco–based freelance writer. When she's not cooking or writing, she's on the hunt to find the world's best chilaquiles. Follow her on Twitter and Instagram.

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