Mardi Gras

17 Mardi Gras Recipes to Celebrate Carnival in Style

Big, easy ideas for a Big Easy celebration.

February  8, 2022
Photo by Julia Gartland

Holidays based around eating are ones we would never dream of skipping. Number one on our list this month is Mardi Gras. Here is an updated version of last year's celebratory round-up, with a few tantalizing additions that will really make you hungry:

You wouldn't know it from the sloppy tourists hurling beads from French Quarter balconies, but Mardi Gras is, fundamentally, a religious holiday. Indeed, it is the best kind of religious holiday: one based on divinely sanctioned binge eating. Mardi Gras, or Fat Tuesday, is so called because it's the last day before Lent—in other words, a last hoorah to have the meats, booze, and sweets that are verboten during the following 40 days of penitence.

If we can't be in New Orleans—dancing in the streets, competing with strangers for plastic beads, skipping a week of work in favor of public drinking and weird costumes—we can, at least, feast like we are. Put on some music, pour yourself a drink, and invite some friends over. We're gonna party like Catholics before Lent. —Remy Robert


Our Best Mardi Gras Recipes

1. Alton Brown's Shrimp Gumbo

This gumbo has everything you could ever want—a duo of shrimp and andouille sausage, plus the Holy Trinity of Creole cooking (celery, onions, and bell peppers).

2. King Cake With Cream Cheese Dough

“Think of it as a giant cinnamon roll housing a tiny, plastic baby Jesus—stay with me—that’s twisted or braided into a circle, covered in icing, and liberally sprinkled with purple, green, and gold sugar,” explains recipe developer Kaitlin Bray. This Mardi Gras staple is rich and decadent, with plenty of room to customize it with different fillings.

3. Puffy Pillow Beignets

A perfect night’s sleep would involve me falling asleep on a beignet, cuddling another beignet like a prized childhood stuffed animal. For now, I’ll have to settle with snacking on several of these sweet treats and getting powdered sugar all over every surface in sight.

4. Sazerac

Drinking the official cocktail of New Orleans is a must during Mardi Gras. And…every other Tuesday.

5. Crock-Pot Jambalaya

Unlike gumbo, in which the shrimp and sausage are served over rice, jambalaya is a rice-based dish with chicken breast, andouille sausage, large shrimp, diced tomatoes, and Creole seasoning.

6. Brown Rice Jambalaya-ish

We’re not going to come out and call this a jambalaya, as it doesn’t contain a few traditional ingredients (namely bell peppers or long-grain white rice). But it’s still ridiculously flavorful and satisfying, thanks to homemade Cajun spice mix.

7. Shrimp & Sausage Creole

Recipe developer Rosalynn Daniels grew up eating her grandmother’s version of this spicy Creole dish during Mardi Gras and now we can all enjoy the fruits of her labor, thanks to this recreated recipe.

8. Red Snapper Fillets in Creole Court Bouillon

Traditionally redfish court bouillon is served during Christmas, but we’re giving you full permission to serve it during Mardi Gras.

9. Shrimp Po’ Boys

Celebrate Mardi Gras with this legendary sandwich—a miles-high stack of crispy fried shrimp is piled into a remoulade-smeared toasted baguette. Shredded iceberg lettuce and thick tomato slices quite literally burst at the seams.

10. Crawfish Pie

If you can swing it, this cozy double-crusted pie is best made with Louisiana crawfish tails. It’s particularly popular in southern Louisiana, but you can (and should!) make it no matter where you are in the country.

11. Slab Muffuletta

Instead of making individual sandwiches, make one giant crowd-friendly muffuletta for all of the Mardi Gras. It’s stuffed with all the in-your-face flavors that you want: two types of olives, capers, capicola, soppressata, mortadella, a little red wine vinegar, and roasted bell peppers.

12. Spicy Oven-Roasted Okra

When roasted and tossed with olive oil, salt, pepper, and red pepper flakes, okra transforms from a slightly slimy plant to a crisp, dare we say addictive snack.

13. Sean Brock’s Southern Grits

We can’t talk about classic southern cooking without delivering our very best recipe for grits made with water, butter, a little bit of lemon, and hot sauce if you’re feeling spicy.

14. The Kitchn's Lofty Buttermilk Pancakes

Pancakes are one of the most popular foods to eat on Shrove Tuesday (aka Fat Tuesday) before Lent begins because they use up “rich” such as eggs, milk, and sugar before Lent begins, which is a time of fasting for some Catholics.

15. Cajun-Spiced Skirt Steak From Matt Fisher

Homemade Cajun seasoning (paprika, garlic powder, two kinds of ground pepper, onion powder, and dried oregano) gives skirt steak a bold flavor in no time at all.

16. Mom's New Orleans Red Beans & Rice

Former Food52 staffer Katie MacDonald shares her recipe for her mom’s simple, nourishing red beans and rice, a Lundi Gras staple.

17. Plantains Foster

“Plantains Foster is a remix of the iconic Bananas Foster dessert that was made famous for its tableside performance at Brennan’s in New Orleans. Although plantains are typically fried and served alongside Caribbean, South American, and African dishes, here the fruit is cooked in a caramel that’s gently spiced with orange zest and cinnamon sticks,” writes recipe developer Briana Riddock.

How are you celebrating Mardi Gras? Let us know your most festive ideas in the comments below!

See what other Food52 readers are saying.

  • Bevi
    Bevi
  • GurkhaResturant
    GurkhaResturant
  • lois
    lois
  • DLanthrum
    DLanthrum
  • Alice
    Alice

6 Comments

Bevi March 2, 2022
Sorry, but I gotta add this classic from Drbabs. I make it all the time! https://food52.com/recipes/3528-shrimp-gumbo
 
GurkhaResturant March 2, 2022
Just say thanks for the information and it will be really useful. Be safe and happy.
https://www.thegurkhakitchenmaidstone.com/
 
lois February 27, 2022
You forgot this: https://food52.com/recipes/25919-one-pot-pastalaya
Because jambalaya with pasta is as good as jambalaya with rice!
 
DLanthrum February 27, 2022
I try to find any reason to celebrate any day or event with food! That was a family tradition. Any time or event to gather, and celebrate being together. And, often it was not Holidays. I live in Illinois, so not really a hub of NOLA foods or traditions, but I love Mardi Gras, and other traditions around the beginning of Lent. My maternal Grandmother was Polish, and was born shortly after her parents immigrated to this country. So, this morning I visited a local bakery that has been around for a few generations, and bought a few Paczkis, which are a filled "donut", and a traditional pre Ash Wednesday Polish way to use up eggs and fats before Lent.

Since I will be working on Fat Tuesday, I am doing my Mardi Gras feast this weekend. It will basically be a seafood etouffee, including shrimp. crawfish, and mussels, and I will do Dirty Rice as a side. Not sure what else as another side.

And, I already have a beef brisket in brine for my home made Corned Beef for St. Patty's Day!
 
Alice February 27, 2022
I think you need cornmeal-crusted-and-pan-fried okra for a side
 
Sharon February 28, 2022
You GO!!!