March 24, 2022
If you’re looking for New Orleans recipes you can make at home, you’ve come to the right place!
After living just 45 minutes from the Big Easy since 2000, I’ve accumulated a tasty collection of authentic New Orleans recipes from friends, family, and locals- all of which I am sharing with you today.
Below you will find quintessential New Orleans-style food and traditional Cajun and Creole recipes that are as much of the backbone of New Orleans as the Mississippi River.
All of them have been tested and adapted by me so that you can easily make them from the comfort of your kitchen while knowing you are getting the real deal.
Let’s get into it!
Can’t wait to skip ahead? Click below to jump straight to the recipes, by category of New Orleans flavor!
What are New Orleans Famous Foods
So what are the most famous New Orleans foods and ones you MUST try when visiting? Great question!
The most famous foods in New Orleans are known for their robust flavors from spices, seafood, rich sauces, and local ingredients. Gumbo, Jambalaya, and etouffee are perfect examples.
There are many restaurants and hole-in-the-wall eateries that dish out some of the best gumbos and creole dishes you’ll ever try.
There’s also the tradition of beignets and cafe au lait at Café du Monde, basically the New Orleans version of donuts and coffee.
Beignets are fried squares of dough that turn into pillowy-soft rectangles dusted with powdered sugar. One tip for eating them, don’t inhale when you take a bite. The powdered sugar will go everywhere.
A café au lait is a blend of coffee and chicory with plenty of milk. It’s rich, bold, and the perfect cup to start your day.
These are only a few examples of the most iconic New Orleans foods, and below you’ll find the recipes for some of them, along with other popular dishes.
Dying to skip ahead?
Authentic New Orleans recipes
These authentic New Orleans recipes are ones I’ve learned while living here. Most of them blend Cajun, Creole, and Southern cooking styles and are very popular during holidays like Mardi Gras and festivals.
Not all New Orleans recipes are Cajun or Creole-based; many are unique to the culture of New Orleans. Below is a list of the most notable dishes you can only get in New Orleans; I guess you’ll have to visit!
- Po’boys- fried shrimp and roast beef are the most popular
- BBQ Shrimp
- Oysters on the half shell
- Bananas foster- you can also try my Bananas Foster Overnights Oats recipe to get the idea.
Now, we have more recipes coming, but before we get into that, allow me briefly discuss the difference between Creole and Cajun cuisine.
Whether you’ve been to New Orleans or have heard plenty about its incredible food scene, you have probably heard the terms: “cajun” and “creole” tossed around. While many recipes (*ahem- unauthentic recipes) use the terms interchangeably, they are different.
Originally, Creole cooking originated in urban New Orleans from the blend of African, European, and even Native American cultures. Most traditional Creole ingredients like tomatoes, herbs, spices, and butter were popular and used because of their easy accessibility from the city’s ports.
On the other hand, Cajun dishes originate from rural Southern Louisiana regions and involve more simple ingredients like smoked meats, spices, and rice, a prominent part of Louisiana’s agriculture. It evolved from Canadian French and Southern cuisines, and it’s still going strong.
Today, both forms of cuisine are the most notable and delicious aspects of New Orleans and ones that I am happy to share with you.
Authentic Creole Recipes
As previously mentioned, Creole recipes are easily identified by their use of fragrant herbs, rich sauces, and seafood- basically the description of etouffee. Many recipes will use the “Holy Trinity,” or a blend of onions, celery, and bell peppers to add delicious flavor and aroma.
Ready to try a Creole recipe? These dishes will make a great start!
A quick note on the difference between Creole and Cajun seasoning; Creole seasoning uses a blend of spices and herbs like thyme, oregano, bay leaves, and paprika while Cajun seasoning is an array of ground black, white, and cayenne pepper with minimal herbs. They are similar in flavor but Cajun seasoning tends to be spicier.
While the recipes above are traditional Creole dishes, the ones below are more personal adaptations inspired by the same spices and ingredients. Nonetheless, I guarantee they are absolutely delicious and will be family favorites.
Authentic Cajun Recipes
Cajun recipes are known for their simplicity and hearty flavor. Cajun cooking can be done in one pot and feed a crowd, which is part of the reason why dishes like gumbo and Jambalaya are MAJOR during holidays and celebrations.
Below are some of the most amazing and drool-worthy Cajun recipes:
While there is a similarity in the use of spices in Cajun and Creole recipes, two major distinctions between a Creole and Cajun recipe is the presence or absence of butter and tomatoes.
As previously discussed, Creole recipes use butter and tomatoes, while Cajun recipes use oil and a more simple ingredient list. This sets apart the light Creole-based gumbos from dark and earthy Cajun gumbo.
The former will involve a butter-based roux and tomatoes, while the latter, a Cajun gumbo, uses an oil-based roux. A perfect and very tasty example is provided in the recipe card below.
Classic New Orleans Recipes
Authentic New Orleans Gumbo
- ½ cup vegetable oil
- ½ all-purpose flour
- ½ cup chopped onions
- ½ cup chopped celery
- ½ cup chopped green bell pepper
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 pound andouille or smoked sausage, sliced
- 1 ½ pounds boneless chicken meat, shredded
- 1 ½ tablespoons Cajun seasoning
- 2 quarts (64 oz) chicken broth or stock
- 3 bay leaves
- 1 tablespoon file powder, optional
- Rice for serving
- Combine the oil and flour in a large pot over medium heat (use a cast-iron one if you have it). Stirring slowly and constantly for 15 to 25 minutes, until the roux is a copper brown color, chocolate-like, and it has thickened.
- Add the onions, celery, and bell peppers and continue to stir for 4 to 5 minutes, until they’ve softened.
- Add the sausage and chicken, and stir to combine. Add the seasoning and continue to fold until everything is well combined.
- Add the broth or stock and the bay leaves and slowly mix to combine, making sure the roux incorporates itself into the liquid.
- Turn up the heat to medium-high, bring the gumbo to a boil, then reduce heat to low. Simmer, covered, stirring occasionally, for 2 hours.
- Before serving, turn off the heat. Skim off any fat that rises to the surface and discard it. Stir in file powder for flavor and thickening, if using. Remove the bay leaves and serve over rice.