Home Appetizers 25 Best Southern Appetizers (+ Easy Recipes)

25 Best Southern Appetizers (+ Easy Recipes)

Fixin’ to entertain some company? Extend your hospitality with these Southern appetizers

Southern cuisine is known for its comforting bites and legendary soul food.

And these appetizers embrace some of the best down-home cooking. 

Homemade Cowboy Caviar with Beans and Corn
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From simple nibbles to impressive centerpieces, there are plenty of scrumptious offerings.

Classics like hushpuppies and fried green tomatoes will make everyone happy.

Then there are tantalizing smokies and fried chicken to devour. 

Cookouts, tailgates, holidays, or potlucks, you’ll find a Southern appetizer fit for any occasion.

1. Southern Appetizer Board

Want a little of this and a little of that? Make your appetizer a smorgasbord of Southern goodies.  

This board takes the concept of charcuterie and gives it a Southern theme.

It comes with pimento cheese, Ritz, bread and butter pickles, sausage, and more. Yes, it even has pickled okra!

The only thing I’d do is swap out roasted peanuts for boiled peanuts.

2. Mini Shrimp and Grits

Shrimp and grits usually come as a meal. These, however, are the perfect amuse-bouche. 

Each cup has a small serving of cheesy grits and Old Bay seasoned shrimp. 

It’s just enough to tide you over without ruining the main course. That is, as long as you don’t go back for seconds and thirds. 

Although, I won’t say anything. I’d sneak another one, too.

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3. Fried Green Tomatoes

It would be a sin to not talk about fried green tomatoes. They’re a quintessential Southern staple!

Firm unripe tomatoes get coated in a crispy batter, then fried until golden brown. 

A generous amount of Cajun seasoning amps up the flavor. Whereas white cornmeal provides the perfect texture. 

For a dipping sauce, it’s all about remoulade. 

4. Crispy Onion Rings

Crispy onion rings? Don’t mind if I do!

Crunchy on the outside and tender on the inside, Southerners do it right.  

And this is the one time that everyone’s happy about double dipping. The double coating of batter makes them extra crispy.  

Serve them up with a creamy spicy sauce. 

Perhaps include a spoon too. So the double dippers can indulge by scooping it onto their own plate. 

5. Southern Fried Chicken Strips with Honey Mustard

Now, this is how you do a proper Southern chicken fry.

The meat is so juicy and the breading is so crunchy. 

The trick is to trim the chicken fat and marinate the meat. Also, add spices to the flour before dredging. 

For the sauce, you have options, but honey mustard is quite possibly the best for dipping.

6. Cracker Barrel Fried Okra

Love it or hate it, fried okra is a Southern staple. So if you’re looking for a legit Southern appetizer, it’s a must.

And I’ve got just the copycat recipe for you! 

With the cornmeal batter and a quick fry, it will make an okra believer out of you. 

It magically eliminates that slimy texture. Instead, it turns okra into crunchy morsels you’ll want to devour. 

7. Bisquick Drop Biscuits

Bisquick drop biscuits are one of those things that have all the comforts of home. 

Buttery, fluffy, and comforting, they’ll send you right to your happy place. 

Thanks to the box mix, they’re also easy to make. Bake a batch for brunch and enjoy it with some friends.

I like to smear homemade apple butter on them as well.

8. Jiffy Cornbread Muffins

Cornbread is another Southern staple. And Jiffy is a classic!

There are tons of ways to doctor up Jiffy. However, this cornbread recipe is my favorite. 

The key is to use plenty of butter and sour cream. With a good squeeze of honey, it makes some of the best cornbread ever.

Bake them in a mini-muffin pan for serving a crowd. They’re the perfect size. 

9. Southern Cheese Straws

These cheese straws are great for entertaining. They require very few ingredients and everyone loves them. 

You form a dough with flour, cheddar cheese, cayenne, and butter. Then, form them using a cookie press, then bake them. 

Don’t own a cookie press? No problem. Simply roll them into a log shape and slice. 

10. Velveeta Sausage Dip

Now we’re talking! This hot three-ingredient dip will be the life of the party. 

It’s so cheesy, meaty, and bold, nobody can resist. 

And it’s totally hassle-free. You just need Velveeta, Rotel, and sausage.

This 10-minute party dip is worth reliving. So jot down the recipe and get ready to serve it at all your parties.

11. Southern Hush Puppies

Hush puppies are a Southern delicacy. From fried catfish to barbecue, they’re served with everything. 

You can also serve them as an appetizer. 

Mix up a quick batter with flour, cornmeal, baking soda, eggs, buttermilk, and spices. Then fry those puppies until golden brown. 

These scrumptious finger foods are a crowd-pleaser!

12. Paula Deen Potato Salad

Do you know what else is a crowd-pleaser? This Paula Deen copycat recipe. 

It’s a classic creamy potato salad. It’s got mayo, bacon, dill, hard-boiled eggs, and everything! 

Potlucks, picnics, and barbecues would be nothing without it. 

Okay, they’d probably still be good, but everyone would miss this dish.

13. Paula Deen Pimento Cheese

Share a little bit of Southern hospitality with pimento cheese. 

It’s an easy dip you can throw together in just 20 minutes. 

Pair it with a side of crackers and let everyone help themselves.

Whether you’re planning a big spread or need something last minute, it’s a prime addition. 

14. Southern Fried Pickles

The South knows a thing or two about fried food. Just take it from these fried pickles. 

The Cajun batter is not only flavorsome, but it also has the best crunch. For pickles, it’s all about those dill slices. 

There’s no need to get fancy with the dipping sauce. A quick mix of mayo and ketchup is all you need.

15. Southern Deviled Eggs

You can’t entertain the Southern way without a platter of deviled eggs. And these little devils are the best!

They use real mayo, Dijon, and dill relish. The ingredients may be few, but they are mighty.

Holidays, brunches, potlucks, or family get-togethers, these deviled eggs are a universal appetizer. 

16. Mac and Cheese Bites

Ya’ll, these mac and cheese bites are to die for!

The outside is so crisp and crunchy. While the inside is oozing with molten hot mac and cheese. 

I warn you now, make these once, and you’ll have to make them all the time. 

They’re so scrumptious, everyone will rave about them.

17. Rotel Dip

This three-ingredient Rotel dip is a lifesaver! It’s the very reason I always keep Rotel on hand.

It turns that can into a mess of cheesy savory goodness.

It’s the perfect dip when you need an appetizer fast or when a few surprise guests show up. 

18. Alabama Fire Crackers

Alabama fire crackers are so good, they don’t even need a dip. 

Although, one cannot resist dunking them in pimento cheese or Rotel dip for that matter.

Despite what you might pair them with, they’re great. They have the best crunch and the perfect seasoning. 

Plus, they’re ridiculously easy to make.

19. Cowboy Caviar

I love serving this cowboy caviar at cookouts. 

The medley of beans and fresh flavors goes excellent with grilled proteins. Fish, chicken, beef, you name it. 

It’s terrific as a side dish. For an appetizer, I serve it with tortilla chips. 

If you’ve got a big meal, you can fix it the night before. Then, you’ll be ready when your guests arrive. 

20. Perfectly Toasted Pecans

Need something extra? Add toasted pecans to the spread. 

These salted nuts are the perfect little bites. They don’t require plates and won’t ruin your meal. 

And they’re so simple! You toss pecans with butter, bake, and salt. 

These pecans work well with other appetizers, like the Southern board. 

21. Pepper Jelly Cream Cheese Appetizer

If you’re fixing to make a feast, you might want to start off on an easy note. If so, you can’t beat this easy appetizer.

Come the holiday season, I guarantee you’ll find it on my table. 

The cream cheese with the sweet and spicy jelly creates the best contrast of flavors. 

The whole thing takes 10 minutes tops. Plus, it’s foolproof. 

22. Brown Sugar Bacon-Wrapped Smokies

Once your friends see these, there won’t be a bite left in sight.

Sweet, savory, spicy, and fatty, bacon-wrapped smokies are sure to please. 

What’s crazy is how simple they are to make. 

You wrap the smokies in bacon, then roll in brown sugar and cayenne. As they bake, the sugar caramelizes the meat. 

For easy eating, pierce each one with a toothpick.

23. Bisquick Sausage Balls

These cheddar cheese and sausage balls are so universal. 

It doesn’t matter if it’s a holiday or Sunday brunch. They work for pretty much any occasion. 

They yield many servings, so you have more than enough to feed a crowd. 

And you only need five easy ingredients, too. 

24. Buffalo Chicken Wings

I’ll tell you what, these are some of the most finger-licking good wings around!

Buffalo chicken wings are a classic American appetizer, so you simply can’t go wrong. 

If you want the best wings ever, though, follow my recipe. Not to brag, but the sauce is the best!

25. Mini Fried Chicken and Waffles

Chicken and waffles are the ultimate soul food. 

It’s usually served as a filling meal. But this hack shows you how to make them into nosh-worthy bites. 

What’s the secret? Mini frozen waffles!

Combined with the crispy fried chicken and maple honey butter, they’re mouthwatering. 

Assemble these with a toothpick, then drizzle maple syrup on top.

For the hot sauce lovers, be sure to leave some options on the side. 

25 Best Southern Appetizers (+ Easy Recipes)

These Southern appetizers are bound to be the hit of any party! From fried green tomatoes to okra to cornbread muffins, nobody does finger food like the South.


  • Southern Appetizer Board

  • Fried Green Tomatoes

  • Crispy Onion Rings

  • Southern Fried Chicken Strips with Honey Mustard

  • Cracker Barrel Fried Okra

  • Bisquick Drop Biscuits

  • Jiffy Cornbread Muffins

  • Southern Cheese Straws

  • Velveeta Sausage Dip

  • Southern Hush Puppies

  • Paula Deen Potato Salad

  • Paula Deen Pimento Cheese

  • Southern Fried Pickles

  • Southern Deviled Eggs

  • Mac and Cheese Bites

  • Rotel Dip

  • Alabama Fire Crackers

  • Cowboy Caviar

  • Perfectly Toasted Pecans

  • Pepper Jelly Cream Cheese Appetizer

  • Bisquick Sausage Balls

  • Buffalo Chicken Wings

  • Mini Fried Chicken and Waffles


  • Select your favorite recipe.
  • Organize all the required ingredients.
  • Prep a Southern appetizer in 30 minutes or less!
Southern Appetizers

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author avatar
Kim - InsanelyGood
Hey there! I'm Kim. I love running, cooking, and curling up with a good book! I share recipes for people who LOVE good food, but want to keep things simple :)

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