10 Food Dishes That Are Absolute Symbols of Mississippi

Written by Maura Hoff
Published: November 14, 2023
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Mississippi is a unique state with natural beauty and southern charm. From its diverse wildlife to its coastal dunes and infamous Mississippi River, this state offers a lot to its locals and visitors. Many people, however, don’t know that Mississippi is also a culinary destination. With delicious pies, biscuits, and deep-fried chicken and seafood, the Magnolia State is a food lover’s dream. Read on to learn about the ten food dishes that are symbols of Mississippi.

Mississippi Mud Pie

Missisippi Mud Pie Slice on black background.

Mississippi Mud Pie is a popular dessert with many variations depending on where you eat in the state.

©Marta Ortiz/iStock via Getty Images

A beloved dish in the Magnolia State is Mississippi Mud Pie. While the origin is technically unknown, many believe it was created in the 1970s as a variation of the famous Mississippi Mud Cake. This rich Southern pie is layered with brownie cake, chocolate pudding or custard, a whipped topping, and a cookie crust.


Closeup of biscuits and creamy sausage gravy on a wooden plate

Biscuits are an essential part of the Mississippi diet. Eat them plain, with butter, or even gravy for a satisfying meal.

©Charles Brutlag/Shutterstock.com

If you’re searching for a Mississippi staple, look no further than the classic biscuit. In fact, Natchez, MS is the “Biscuit Capital of the World.”

Southern-style biscuits originated in the 1800s as a cheap, yet strong type of bread to dip in gravy or eat with butter. It is not uncommon to see biscuits and gravy on a Mississippi breakfast menu. Also, eating them with butter and jelly is a popular way to start the day.

Pressed Po’Boy

A Shrimp Po Boy Sandwich

A pressed shrimp po’boy sandwich is the Mississippi take on this classic Louisiana staple.

©Sean Davis/iStock via Getty Images

While the classic po’boy sandwich originated in Louisiana in the early 1900s, Mississippi natives put a spin on this southern meal. A classic po’boy is a sandwich using French bread and stuffed with fried shrimp. In Mississippi, they take it a step further by pressing it in a sandwich iron, similar to a panini press.

Many Mississippi locals refer to their version as “dressed and pressed.” They dress the sandwich with condiments, lettuce, tomato, and pickles, and press it for a warm, crispy exterior.

Fried Catfish

What do catfish eat - fried catfish

The Mississippi Delta is famous for authentic, fried seafood native to the Mississippi River.

©Elena Veselova/Shutterstock.com

If you’re visiting Mississippi, add fried catfish to your culinary bucket list. The Mississippi Delta is famous for authentic seafood like catfish, bass, and walleye caught from the Mississippi River. Shellfish such as crab and shrimp are also sourced from the Gulf of Mexico.

Catfish is the most popular fried fish in Mississippi, and catfish fries are common social gatherings throughout the state.

Comeback Sauce

Homemade Russian Thousand Island Dressing

Mississippi Comeback Sauce is a staple dipping sauce with a base of mayonnaise and chili sauce.

©bhofack2/iStock via Getty Images

Originating in Jackson, MS at the Mayflower Cafe, Mississippi Comeback Sauce is now a staple throughout the state. Visitors love this local dipping sauce with its unique base of mayonnaise and chili sauce. Many compare it to Louisiana remoulade sauce or Thousand Island dressing.

Fried Chicken

Baskets of American Southern deep-fried chicken at a fast food restaurant Fried Chicken (Unsplash) Brian Chan 2015

Fried chicken is a classic southern dish with a crispy, fried coating surrounding juicy chicken.

©Brian Chan tigerrulezzz, CC0, via Wikimedia Commons – License

A trip to the southern United States isn’t complete without fried chicken. This dish is a Southern classic that takes time and effort to make, but those living in the Mississippi Delta agree it’s worth the work. While Southerners all have their favorite recipe, this meal consists of pieces of chicken dipped in a homemade batter and deep-fried to a perfect golden exterior.

Mississippi Delta Hot Tamales

A woman holding a dish of tamales

Mississippi Delta hot tamales use ground cornmeal as opposed to masa harina flour in traditional Mexican tamales.

©Image Source/DigitalVision via Getty Images

Many people don’t know that Mexico isn’t the only place with hot tamales. Also referred to as Delta tamales, this dish is slightly different from the classic tamales South of the border. They consist of ground cornmeal instead of masa harina flour and simmered as opposed to steamed. Some claim they are spicier than the original Mexican staple.

Fried Pickles

Delicious Battered Fried Pickles

Fried dill pickles originated in Mississippi, and they are now a popular appetizer and snack across the country.

©bhofack2/iStock via Getty Images

The classic fried dill pickle was created in Mississippi and originally dipped and fried in catfish batter. Today, fried pickles are a popular snack across the United States, and many people developed their own variations over time.

Banana Pudding

Banana pudding for breakfast

Banana pudding is a southern staple that is easy to make and is a popular sweet treat at social gatherings.

©Boiarkina Marina/Shutterstock.com

Eating banana pudding at a Mississippi gathering is a common occurrence. Banana pudding is a sweet, yet simple dessert that is iconic to the South. Traditionally consisting of vanilla wafers, pudding, and bananas, don’t skip this dessert when traveling to Mississippi.

Southern Collard Greens

cooked collard greens in a white ceramic bowl on a wooden table.

Many people pair southern collard greens with sweet cornbread at the dinner table in Mississippi.

©Holly Rae Garcia/Shutterstock.com

Often paired with sweet cornbread, perfectly seasoned collard greens are a symbol of the South. Cooks prepare the greens by washing them in water, salt, and vinegar. From there, the greens are placed in a water bath with the stems removed. Once soaked, the greens simmer in broth with various spices until they become the tender greens famous in southern cuisine.

Summary of Food Dishes That Are Absolute Symbols of Mississippi

Food Dishes That Are Symbols of Mississippi
1Mississippi Mud Pie
3Pressed Po’ Boy
4Fried Catfish
5Comeback Sauce
6Fried Chicken
7Hot Tamales
8Mississippi Kool-Aid Pickles
9Banana Pudding
10Southern Collard Greens

The photo featured at the top of this post is © John_Brueske/iStock via Getty Images

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About the Author

Maura Hoff is a writer at A-Z Animals where her primary focus is dogs, travel, and hiking. She has been writing for over 10 years and earned a Bachelor’s Degree in Communications from Pennsylvania State University in 2016. When Maura isn't writing, she spends time with her husband and two Golden Retrievers, Basil and Sunny, in the Colorado mountains. Her passions are cooking, reading, music, and quoting her favorite show, The Office.

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