New Orleans Food: 16 Traditional Dishes to Try in NOLA or at Home

New Orleans Food: 16 Traditional Dishes to Try in NOLA or at Home


New Orleans meals is one thing else. In reality, going out to eat in New Orleans is likely one of the greatest issues to do there. We have visited NOLA a number of instances and have all the time discovered that New Orleans delicacies has no boundaries with its out-of-the-box recipes creating an infectious and loveable high quality for adventurous eaters. New Orleans is thought for its scrumptious delicacies which is a mix of soul, creole, and cajun meals. When it comes to visiting the town, sampling the New Orleans culinary panorama deserves a prime spot on any itinerary.

Top 16 Must-Eat Foods In New Orleans

Top New Orleans Food

So, what’s the greatest conventional New Orleans meals to attempt? Whether you might be planning a go to to New Orleans or simply need the style of a New Orleans menu from the consolation of your house, we’ve bought loads of inspiration lined up. These New Orleans dishes are positive to get your mouth watering – let’s begin instantly.

These are the Top Food Tours that we Recommend in New Orleans

1. Gumbo

New Orleans Food gumbo

Gumbo is a scrumptious soup cooked throughout Louisiana and is a must-try when visiting New Orleans. Seriously, you can’t go to New Orleans and never eat gumbo – it’s akin to sacrilege. The dish comprises the ‘Holy Trinity’ of Creole cooking; bell peppers, celery, and onions. And the standard recipe is held along with thick meat or shellfish inventory. Apart from these fundamental necessities, gumbo can differ fairly a bit. There are numerous variations, together with massively standard seafood gumbo.

Gumbo is claimed to originate from West African delicacies. The West African sister dish usually comprises okra, known as ‘ki ngombo’. The title caught and transitioned to gumbo because the dish was launched into the New Orleans meals scene. Gumbo has a robust taste, and the inventory is probably the most distinguished taste of the dish.

Seafood Gumbo Traditional new orleans dishes

It is hearty and heat – supreme for a lightweight meal on a chilly day. It is ready very similar to a stew and is stirred over medium-low warmth for a chronic interval. Gumbo might take up to 45 minutes to cook dinner and requires actual endurance, which many say is the dish’s secret ingredient for achievement.

You shouldn’t have any points discovering someplace to attempt gumbo. It is offered throughout New Orleans. If you need to cook dinner it your self, you may head to any central grocery to decide up the mandatory components and comply with this recipe. Gumbo is low upkeep and a dream to cook dinner and eat – what extra might you ask for?

2. Po’ Boy

New Orleans Food Shrimp Po Boy

A po’ boy is a basic, conventional New Orleans meals. The sandwich is easy to look at but scrumptious, symbolizing Louisianan heritage. You’ll discover it all around the state, particularly in New Orleans. The sandwich is served on French bread and virtually all the time comprises some meat (usually roast beef or seafood).

A creamy remoulade sauce is generously drizzled over the meat. And, normally, you’ll get salad tossed in there as nicely, like shredded lettuce and tomato – however this varies relying on the place you get the po’ boy. One of the preferred New Orleans meals is the cochon de lait po’ boy, which makes use of the meat of a suckling pig and is taken into account a delicacy.

The sandwich will get its title from the phrase ‘poor boy’. The Martin Brothers opened a meals and low stand in 1922, and when the 1929 avenue automobile strikes hit, they started to supply free sandwiches to members of the strike unions. The po’ boy grew to become an emblem of solidarity and humanity, and phrase of this New Orleans meals unfold like wildfire. The brothers had been virtually an in a single day success.

Po'boy Restautant New Orleans

Taste-wise, what a po’boy tastes like is determined by the place you purchase it. Ingredients differ loads relying on particular person recipes. However, the feel all the time stays the identical, with a mix of crunchy fried meals and creamy sauce. A po’ boy is an actual deal with for the senses. The sandwich is cooked by frying the components first, stuffing it, and drizzling it with sauce afterward. You’ll find a way to discover it in every single place, and whereas it was as soon as often known as a avenue meals delicacy, many eating places and cafes now supply it too.

3. Jambalaya

Traditional New Orleans Food Jambalaya

Jambalaya is a one-pot dish that, at first look, seems very similar to a paella. In reality, the one issues that differentiate the 2 are the spices used in their recipes; jambalaya favors cayenne pepper over saffron, paella’s predominant spice of selection. You’ll normally discover at least one meat in a jambalaya – usually seafood, hen, or chorizo. Jambalaya comprises diced onion, crushed garlic, and many spices as nicely.

As you might have guessed from the paella similarities, jambalaya has influences from France and Spain. The recipe is an adaptation of paella, and its title comes from Jamalaia, a area of southern France. However, jambalaya combines creole, cajun, and European culinary influences. It could be traced again to at least 1885, and no person is aware of the place or when jambalaya was really created.

Either means, jambalaya tastes scrumptious. The dish is a spicy mixture of carbs and pungent flavors, a scrumptious addition to any household meal or dinner desk. The mixture of greens, rice, and meat is a basic one. If you go to New Orleans, you’ll don’t have any problem discovering this meals. It can also be a killer dish to grasp as a homecooked meal.

4. Boiled Crawfish

New Orleans Food Boiled Crawfish

Boiled crawfish is likely one of the most dramatic-looking New Orleans meals. The crawfish comes complete with all physique elements intact, so if you’re searching for one thing for fussy eaters to eat in New Orleans, boiled crawfish in all probability isn’t it. For the adventurous amongst you, boiled crawfish is an actual delicacy. It is normally served as a predominant alongside potatoes, corn, and garlic.

Boiled crawfish have an extended and illustrious historical past. The dish dates again to the early 1600s. It is believed to have been a well-liked dish in Louisiana’s Native American tribes. These individuals would fish for crawfish in the native rivers, and one tribe – the Houma Tribe – even adopted the fierce crawfish as their image. Cajun affect then took over the boiled crawfish dish, and it grew to become an adaptation of lobster dishes in Canada. In 1980, the crawfish was described as Louisiana’s state crustacean – a lofty, if area of interest, title.

Crawfish style barely salty and are a lot meatier than different crustaceans like crabs. Some individuals go so far as to declare that the meat tastes like a hybrid of shrimp and crab meat, however we’ll depart that for you to determine. When it comes to cooking methods, many cooks boil their crawfish alive. However, when you aren’t a fan of that observe, you may as well discover locations that don’t or purchase your personal crawfish which have already been killed. Cooking them is absolutely easy; you simply throw them into boiling scorching water till cooked and tender.

5. Oysters

New Orleans Food Oysters Rockefeller

Oysters are saltwater mollusks massively related to luxurious dinners and suave champagne consuming. They are served in shells on ice, normally with a lemon slice for further taste. Of course, in New Orleans, issues are completed barely otherwise. While you’ll nonetheless discover the basic uncooked oysters model of the dish, oysters are additionally cooked in many different methods. You can discover them chargrilled, deep-fired, and even in sandwiches and as an accompanying ingredient. If you suppose you know the way to eat oysters, put together to rediscover them totally on a visit to New Orleans.

New Orleans Food Oysters

While we’ve been consuming oysters since early human historical past, they outdate us. Scientists say that oysters first popped up in the Triassic interval alongside the dinosaurs, and there are fossil information courting again to 145 million years in the past – suggesting that this declare tracks. Oysters have a notoriously acquired style and are recognized for being fairly bland and slimy in texture. However, served proper, oysters are one of many tastiest New Orleans meals to attempt. And probably the greatest locations to attempt them is our suggestion; the legendary Casamentos Restaurant. Trust me, you gained’t be upset.

6. Fried Chicken

Food in New Orleans Fried Chicken at Willie Mae's Scotch House

Who doesn’t know and love fried hen? This is likely one of the hottest meals to eat in New Orleans, and whereas it’s famed worldwide, the town has its personal stamp on the dish. New Orleans is named a fried hen hotspot and has among the most choices in the world. Prepare your self for huge buckets of salt and pepper hen.

Fried hen’s leap to recognition is principally thanks to KFC. Kentucky Fried Chicken opened in 1930 as a easy enterprise working out of a roadside motel. By 1939, Colonel Harland Sanders had created a top-secret recipe and was increasing his commerce throughout the globe. Of course, earlier than that, people had been consuming hen for hundreds of years, with information exhibiting hen consumption in Babylon in 600 BC. Fried hen is an adaptation of basic meals in society.

Fried hen is beloved for its easy however scrumptious style. It is calmly salted and has the proper crunch from its gentle batter. You’ll discover fried hen throughout New Orleans – even at gasoline stations. One of the highest spots although is Willie Mae’s Scotch House. The French Quarter can also be recognized for its booming number of hen.

7. Beignets

Traditional Food in New Orleans Beignets

Beignets are a tasty little pastry generally praised as a French dish. Beignets come in parcels and are dusted in powdered sugar. They style like donuts, simply hyped up with a flaky texture. Beignets are one among our prime 4 suggestions if you’re searching for a dessert in New Orleans. They use all the standard cake and pastry components, together with yeast, eggs, sugar, and bread flour.

The dessert dates again to the seventeenth century, and the fried dough itself could be traced again even additional – with some claiming the Romans used to eat a type of an early donut. However, New Orleans beignets are believed to have a French affect.

Best New Orleans Food Cafe Du Monde

It in all probability doesn’t shock you to know that beignets are tremendous candy to style. The powdered sugar dusting offers them an added candy kick and is a superb selection for anybody wanting one thing tasty. The dessert is cooked by mixing all of the components in a big bowl (with heat water and yeast being the important thing mixture), then put aside to enable the combination to rise. The dough is then lower, deep fried as little parcels, dusted with sugar, after which eaten. You can discover beignets in every single place in New Orleans, however Cafe Du Monde makes a very tasty choice.

8. Turtle Soup

Traditional New Orleans Foods Turtle Soup

Turtle soup is fairly self-explanatory. The soup contains turtle meat, a hard-boiled egg or two, greens, and a roux. It has extra stew consistency than soup and is hailed as an excellent nutritious meal.

Turtle soup could be traced again to the 1720s and reached peak recognition by the center half of the century. Later, due to overhunting, the dish grew to become changed with ‘mock turtle’ soup. However, New Orleans stays one of many solely pockets the place you may nonetheless attempt turtle meat – so long as it isn’t from a turtle on the endangered listing. Rather than inexperienced turtle (which was historically most well-liked), terrapin is way more generally used.

Turtle meat has a pork-like taste and texture comparable to hen or crab. It is claimed to be fairly good on the style buds, so turtle soup could be on the playing cards when you really feel like a problem. Turtle meat is normally parboiled after which added to the soup. It is a delicacy, so don’t rule it out when visiting New Orleans.

9. Praline

New Orleans Food Pralines

What are pralines? Only the signature candy of New Orleans. This piece of confectionary is a pecan-based, brown sugar-covered sweet. Likened by many as a nuttier model of fudge, it’s a particular must-try when visiting New Orleans. And if you’re studying this for dwelling recipe inspiration, it’s value shopping for some on-line to attempt when you don’t fancy giving the recipe a go.

A praline is made up of a mixture of pecans, brown sugar, white sugar, cream, and butter. Rather than overly chewy, they’ve a barely creamy texture – which is completely melt-in-you-mouth, belief us. The candy deal with was launched to the town by the French in round 1727. Some counsel that pralines had been particularly purchased over by Ursuline nuns, though that is unconfirmed both means.

Pralines in New Orleans

Pralines are sugary and nutty tasting. Nothing you wouldn’t count on. You cook dinner pralines by decreasing the sugar over medium warmth right into a golden caramel, mixing it with the opposite components, after which leaving the pralines to harden. The New Orleans praline is a must-try meals; fortunately, that ought to be simple to tick off since you’ll discover praline in every single place.

10. Bananas Foster

New Orleans Food Bananas Foster

Get prepared for one more scrumptious dessert. Bananas foster is likely one of the hottest (and candy) New Orleans meals. The dish is a hurricane concoction of vanilla ice cream, butter, brown sugar, darkish rum, banana liqueur, and precise bananas. The bananas are cooked and served with vanilla ice cream on the facet and a drizzling of tremendous candy, mildly alcoholic sauce. Voila – bananas foster.

Bananas foster will get its title from Richard Foster. Richard Foster was a md of the New Orleans Crime Commission. He was a lot appreciated by the residents and enterprise house owners of the French Quarter as he tackled crime and improved life high quality. In recognition of his efforts, Chef Paul devoted a brand new dish (bananas foster) to him in 1951. The dessert has lived on since.

Because of its historical past, the very best place to attempt a bananas foster is in the French Quarter. If you might be visiting New Orleans, plan to pattern the very best banana fosters in this area. And if you would like to expertise among the darker histories of the town, the historical past that Richard Foster helped transfer firmly into the previous, then head on a New Orleans horror tour.

11. Barbecue Shrimp

Best New Orleans Food Barbeque Shrimp

Barbecued shrimp isn’t simply an Australian factor; barbecue shrimp is a New Orleans specialty. Of course, there is only one vital distinction, in New Orleans, ‘barbecue shrimp’ refers to the sauce used to cook dinner the shrimp, not the precise grilling course of. You’ll discover the shrimp coated in a yummy smoky sauce.

The unofficial story of the delivery of New Orleans’ barbecue shrimp is that the recipe was invented in Pascal’s Malae restaurant in the Nineteen Fifties. A buyer is claimed to have come in and advised the chef a couple of particular sort of shrimp they’d tried in Chicago. Not to be outdone, the chef whipped up an analogous dish for him – which the client proclaimed was even higher. And so, barbecue shrimp was born.

You’ll discover barbecued shrimp of all varieties, together with BBQ shrimp po boy. Gulf shrimp is normally the meat of selection and are discovered throughout the coast of the US and Mexico. The best-barbecued shrimp makes use of contemporary gulf shrimp, so maintain a watch out for the freshest deal.

12. Red beans and rice

New Orleans Food Red Beans and Rice

Red beans and rice could sound fundamental, however this dish is to die for. This dish is one among New Orleans’ creole dishes and is ultra-traditional – though it’s primarily eaten on Mondays. This custom comes from Mondays being usually laundry days, and beans could possibly be left to simmer comparatively unattended. Often ham bone uneaten from Sunday dinner was additionally used in the dish as leftovers. The beans are served alongside rice and combined with greens like bell peppers, onion, and celery. Spices like thyme, cayenne pepper, and bay leaf additionally give the dish a kick.

The meals dates again to the nineteenth century and was commonest amongst giant households with numerous leftovers and mouths to feed. It is believed that the meal was influenced by Spanish Caribbean migration. However, it’s unclear precisely how a lot of the recipe ought to be credited to the Spanish Caribbeans or New Orleans of the time.

The dish has an earthy, barely candy high quality, balanced by the salty meat of the ham. Red beans remind a lot of candy potatoes in style; the feel is easy because the beans are mashed right into a paste. The cooking course of is easy, with the rice boiled and the ham solely reheated. The beans are left to simmer for a chronic interval, typically up to 2.5 hours. The result’s a very thickened and creamy texture.

You could discover pink beans and rice at sure eating places in New Orleans. However, the dish is way more of a home-cooked meal. We counsel researching eating places in advance or making an attempt to recreate them your self.

13. King Cake

New Orleans Food King Cake

Let’s first simply set up that king cake is an absolute masterpiece. The cake is specifically cooked for Mardi Gras and comes coated in the three colours of the pageant – yellow, inexperienced, and purple. If you might be visiting New Orleans for Mardi Gras, it might be against the law not to attempt a slice or two of king cake. The cake is a novel however tasty combination of espresso cake and a cinnamon roll, and it comes served in a colossal doughnut form. Of course, the essential a part of the dessert is the tiny plastic child hidden in the combination. Traditionally, the one who finds the child in their slice has to deliver the king cake for the next yr.

The historical past of the king cake comes from the Biblical story of the presents from the three kings to child Jesus. Unsurprisingly, the dessert is believed to originate from Christian and predominantly Catholic nations. Many eat the cake as a part of the Epiphany celebrations. New Orleans chooses it as a staple dish of Mardi Gras.

The cake is nice and colourful to look at. The flavors of espresso and cinnamon stand out, as does the topping (normally icing sugar). King cake tears simply and has a cinnamon roll consistency however stays gentle and fluffy in texture. The cake is baked in the oven utilizing components like eggs, sugar, and flour. The ring form is important because it symbolizes the king’s crown, so a particular baking tray is usually used.

14. Chicory Coffee

Food in New Orleans Chicory Coffee

Chicory espresso is likely one of the most fascinating espresso options in the marketplace. The beans are floor from chicory root, not espresso beans, and are praised for his or her decrease ranges of caffeine and excessive quantities of insulin. Chicory espresso is even changing into a degree of analysis for intestine well being as a prebiotic.

Chicory espresso is claimed by many to originate in France throughout an 1800s espresso scarcity. However, the espresso different took a steep rise in recognition in New Orleans slightly later, in the Civil War and through Union naval blockades. While nowhere close to as standard as customary espresso, chicory espresso continues to be drifting round in New Orleans. If you’re feeling like making an attempt one thing new, it’s positively value a go.

While chicory root is bitter, the preparation of chicory espresso dispels that fully. The root is floor and roasted at excessive temperatures to obtain the proper style. The last result’s an intense nutty taste. It is known for a great purpose, so if you’re on the fence, we recommend giving it a go. Who is aware of, possibly will probably be your new signature drink? And if not, it’s actually one to your bucket listing.

15. Bread Pudding


Bread pudding is a brilliant candy basic and completely beloved New Orleans meals. This is likely one of the tastiest dishes to eat in New Orleans, and whereas it’s standard in the US, it’s considerably of a world dessert. Bread pudding consists of (initially stale) bread, milk, cream, eggs, and a sauce. It is an absolute responsible pleasure, and when you’ve by no means tried it earlier than, put together to fall head over heels for this meals.

The bread pudding was initially created as a means to keep away from losing stale bread. The dish dates again to the eleventh century and used the soaking cooking methodology to fight the dry, hardened texture of the bread. As you might have guessed, it was standard amongst the decrease lessons trying to save a few cents creatively. However, the love affair for bread pudding shortly unfold; these days, everybody loves a serving.

Bread pudding has a brilliant candy style and is soaked in a single day in eggs, sugar, and milk earlier than baking. As an additional contact, some individuals even add dashes of bourbon or raisins and spices for an added kick. The dessert is gentle, fluffy, and ideal for these with candy enamel. You’ll find a way to discover it in eating places throughout New Orleans. However, it’s a nice recipe to grasp at dwelling, too -super easy.

16. Andouille Sausage

New Orleans cuisine Andouille Sausage

Andouille sausages are a French meals; simply a big, smoked pork sausage. Visually, Andouille sausages look fairly comparable to chorizo sausages. However, Andouille is way bolder in taste and makes use of chopped or sliced meat as an alternative of minced meat. It is usually used as an ingredient in Cajun dishes like gumbo moderately than a standalone meal. However, it’s such an iconic a part of New Orleans delicacies that we had to embody it on our listing.

Where Andouille sausages come from is a little bit of a thriller – regardless of the dish’s French label. Some individuals question the French declare of this dish and counsel that it has German origins as an alternative. Others reassert that it’s certainly French and point out that it was created to cease losing meat by butchers in Brittany and Normandy. Either means, it was launched to New Orleans by European influences.

Andouille sausages are well-seasoned and have a particular smoky taste. You will discover them most simply by visiting a butcher or making an attempt an area dish like gumbo which has them as a predominant ingredient. If you might be courageous, you might attempt to make them your self, though that isn’t a mission for the faint-hearted.

To Conclude

Best New Orleans Dishes

Louisiana delicacies is spectacular, however New Orleans actually takes the biscuit. The ‘Crescent City’ (named after the sharp bend of the Mississippi River) is famed for its delicacies. The metropolis has many dishes to attempt, from the Jackson Square French-style doughnuts to fried oysters and turtle soup. New Orleans meals is a dream for foodies and those that love daring tastes and new dishes. And when you can recreate a few of these New Orleans dishes at dwelling, you’ll absolutely turn into the preferred host in your neighborhood.

Best NOLA Food

If you might be searching for further New Orleans inspiration, don’t fear; we’ve bought tons extra up our sleeves. Check out our information on the place to keep in New Orleans, or take a tour of the attractive backyard district when you’ve already determined. There’s a lot to expertise in New Orleans – you might be in for an actual deal with.

Plan Your Next Trip to New Orleans With these Resources


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