These Mardi Gras recipes are just the thing to celebrate Fat Tuesday in style. Historically, Mardi Gras (which is the same thing as Fat Tuesday) is the last official chance for Catholics, especially those in Louisiana, to live it up before Lent begins—but even if you don’t plan on giving anything up afterward, it’s a great excuse for a party, particularly one that features some of New Orleans’ best food and drinks. Even if you can’t join the million or so people who will flock to the French Quarter to celebrate, you can still cook up some of the city’s legendary Cajun and Creole cuisine at home. Mix up a Sazerac while you’re at it—but take it easy if you plan to follow up with bananas Foster.
Wherever you are, join the parade of good times, Dixieland jazz, dancing, or at least the drinking, and eating a whole mess of gumbo and jambalaya, and partake in the edible revelry of Mardi Gras with these Fat Tuesday recipes!
If you can get your hands on some fresh crawfish, you gotta go with this classic Louisiana bayou crawfish boil recipe. You might want to make sure they’re clean by soaking them in a chest of ice water for 10 minutes, and then you poach the crawfish in water with onion, lemon, bay leaf, and garlic. Get our Crawfish Boil recipe.
Seriously, how Mardi Gras-esque is it to have a milkshake with banana, dark rum, and dulche de leche ice cream? So in the spirit of Fat Tuesday. (The original solid-dessert version originated in New Orleans in 1951; get even more bananas Foster recipes to satisfy your sweet tooth…and your rum tooth, for that matter.) Get our Bananas Foster Milkshake recipe.
Big, fresh Gulf shrimp and strong booze plus a dash of heavenly cream is a festive trio fit for Bourbon Street celebrations. Get our Cognac Shrimp Bisque recipe.
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. Get our Mardi Gras King Cake recipe.
These baked cheese grits, which come from Southern cookbook author Martha Hall Foose, would be a nice addition to a boozy Mardi Gras brunch. Get Martha Hall Foose’s Cheese Grits recipe.
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Get more of Martha's recipes.
Top blackened catfish with a dollop of spicy, hot Creole mustard butter, and you may never eat it any other way again. Get our Grilled Blackened Catfish with Creole Mustard Butter recipe.
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. Get the Classic Muffuletta recipe.
Bring Pat O’Brien’s and the rest of Bourbon Street to your home bar with a well-made version of the Hurricane cocktail. Get our Hurricane Cocktail recipe.
For some modern-day Mardi Gras fun, serve up a batch of Mardi Gras jelly shots—the classy adult version of Jell-O shots. Hurricane-, Ramos gin fizz–, and Sazerac-flavored jelly cubes are sure to spark conversation. Get our Mardi Gras Jelly Shots recipes.
12. 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. Get our Boudin Balls recipe.
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. Get our Natchitoches Meat Pies recipe.
Call this slow cooker dish the lazy man’s gumbo. Not only does it come together in a Crock-Pot, but there’s no stirring of any roux whatsoever. The secret? Browning the flour in the oven first. Get our Slow Cooker Shrimp Gumbo recipe.
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. Get our Chicken and Smoked Andouille Jambalaya recipe.
There’s no New Orleans cocktail more timeless than the Sazerac. The rye and absinthe cocktail dates back to the 1850s. Get our Sazerac recipe.
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. Get our Cornmeal Fried Catfish with Rémoulade recipe.
If you’re in need of some quicker fixes, check out our round-up of easy Mardi Gras recipes for nearly-effortless Fat Tuesday dinner options, and get lots more NOLA-inspired recipes and party tips and tricks at our Mardi Gras headquarters!
Related Video: Get the Party Started with These Mardi Gras Cocktails
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— Head photo: Chowhound/Slow Cooker Shrimp Gumbo; Amy Sowder updated this article on Feb. 24, 2017.