Delish editors handpick every product we feature. We may earn commission from the links on this page.

15 Of The Best Southern Cookbooks You Can Buy Right Now

Time to learn...and eat.

best southern cookbooks
Alyssa Gray

Traditional cooking is about more than just making a meal. When you make a dish that's important to your family or even the families in your region, you honor your history and can form an emotional connection to the food. Though no region is a monolith, there is perhaps no more region that has had more of an impact on American culinary history than the south. And whether you grew up making biscuits or have never traveled below the Mason-Dixon line, there is still plenty to learn about southern cooking and all of its important history.

The cookbooks we've outlined below are by no means exhaustive but aim to show some of the best of historical southern cooking. While they all don't solely traffic in "traditional" southern cooking, all give us a greater reverence for the dishes that are so important to the region. You'll be sure to learn a lot about historical ingredients and techniques by picking up any of these books, and learn to make a lot of amazing dishes too. From the delicious fresh blackberry cobbler of Edna Lewis, to the Appalachian favorites of Sean Brock (like his pickled shrimp and chocolate Alabama stack cakes), this list is meant to cover a lot of different approaches to southern cooking. So grab your cast iron skillet and make sure you're hungry, because after reading any of these books, you'll certainly want to cook just about all of the recipes in them for your next meal.

Advertisement - Continue Reading Below
1 The Taste of Country Cooking: The 30th Anniversary Edition of a Great Southern Classic Cookbook
Now 32% off

While we certainly hope you stick around for all the books on this list, if you have to pick just one, it should probably be this one. This widely beloved cookbook by iconic chef Edna Lewis outlines some of her favorite recipes, which she learned while growing up in a small Virginia farming community that had been settled by freed enslaved people.

Prepare to take in recipes for sage-flavored pork tenderloin, corn pudding, and fresh blackberry cobbler, as well Edna's wise words on her love of country cooking.

2 For the Love of the South: Recipes and Stories from My Southern Kitchen

Named after her blog, Amber Wilson’s first cookbook will make you see traditional southern cooking in a whole new light. She teaches the basics of southern cooking until you're ready to become an expert. These recipes are easy to follow along, and the resulting food always turn out tasting totally delicious, even if the dishes don't come out quite as pretty as the breathtaking photographs in this book did. Come for the Nashville hot chicken, and stay for the bacon-latticedapple pie.

3 Southern Food: At Home, on the Road, in History
Now 21% off

This book belongs on your coffee table as much as it does in your kitchen. You'll certainly learn more than 100 regional southern recipes; John Egerton also teaches just what makes them work so well and why they're so beloved.

4 Sweet Home Café Cookbook: A Celebration of African American Cooking
Now 10% off

If you have been lucky enough to visit the National Museum of African American History and Culture in Washington D.C. and its Sweet Home Café, chances are you haven't stopped raving about the food you ate there. This cookbook not only teaches you how to make delicious recipes, many of which have roots in the American south, but it will also give you an even deeper reverence for the endless cultural contributions African-Americans have made to America's culinary history.

5 Heritage

Chef Sean Brock grew up in Appalachia and now calls Charleston home, meaning he lives and breathes southern cooking. This book explains how to make flavorful dishes like pickled shrimp, chocolate Alabama stack cakes, and baked Sea Island red peas, alongside essays from Sean explaining what the dishes mean to him.

6 SOUL: A Chef's Culinary Evolution in 150 Recipes

Todd Richards certainly loves soul food, but believes that "cooks can honor tradition yet be liberated to explore." In this cookbook, you'll find traditional recipes as well as those that are uniquely Todd's. Recipes are organized by ingredient, highlighting those that are the tenants of traditional Southern cooking, but as the book progresses, he expands upon traditional dishes to add his own unique and delicious flair.

7 Southern from Scratch: Pantry Essentials and Down-Home Recipes
Now 30% off

If you're aiming to get creative with what you have on hand, this cookbook is a great place to start. Ashley English explains how to make the most of the fresh ingredients in your kitchen, along with anything hanging out in your pantry. Her book is packed with bright, vibrant, and flavorful dishes—the grit cakes with country ham and applesauce are a must-try.

8 Appalachian Cooking: New & Traditional Recipes
Now 26% off

Anyone who has visited the southern Appalachian Mountains region knows the food there has a certain richness and history, often using bright ingredients like corn and berries to pair with rich dishes like biscuits. John Tullock took what he learned on an east Tennessee farm, then passed down family recipes and created new ones in the form of this cookbook. It comes with gorgeous watercolor illustrations, and yes, fried green tomatoes are included.

9 Jubilee: Recipes from Two Centuries of African American Cooking: A Cookbook

This recipe book by Toni Tipton-Martin, packed with years of historical research, puts forward the incredible recipes of enslaved chefs and allows us to learn their takes on classic recipes. While the book does not focus only on southern cooking, much of the recipes (such as pecan pie with bourbon, spoon bread, and sweet potato biscuits) are southern staples. Even if you grew up eating them all, this book teaches whom to thank for that.

10 Old Southern Cookery: Mary Randolph's Recipes from America’s First Regional Cookbook Adapted for Today’s Kitchen

The Virginia House-Wife or Methodical Cook is considered America's first regional cookbook, and by some, America's first cookbook. In this adapted version, authors take Mary Randolph's traditional southern recipes and adapt the cooking styles and ingredients to today's kitchens.

11 Cheryl Day's Treasury of Southern Baking
Now 50% off

Cheryl Day, who owns Savannah’s Back in the Day Bakery, is one of the most well-respected bakers in the biz. This cookbook dives into her family's past, particularly that of her great-great-grandmother, who was an enslaved pastry cook. It also chronicles her conversations with her relatives, her experience and passion for baking, and of course, loads of amazing southern pastries.

12 The Cooking Gene: A Journey Through African American Culinary History in the Old South

This book by culinary historian Michael W. Twitty certainly features some delicious recipes, but what you'll really want to sink your teeth into is his fascinating journey though American culinary history in the south. Michael explores his own family saga, which leads him to Ghana, and discusses who "owns" soul food, barbecue, and southern cuisine in general. The book can be painful to read, but it also has a message of healing through knowledge of one's own history.

13 The Southern Foodways Alliance Guide to Cocktails
Now 33% off

We all love southern cooking but we cannot forget about the cocktails of the area, either. This book demonstrates how to make classics like the Michelada and bigger batch cocktails like watermelon sangria, all while exploring the south's occasionally complicated history with alcohol. Through it all, the book is fun, informative, and best read with a drink in hand.

14 Son of a Southern Chef: Cook with Soul

Chances are you know Lazarus Lynch. Among many other accolades, he's a two-time Chopped champion, an internet personality, and the genius behind the Son of a Southern Chef social media accounts. In his cookbook of the same name, Lazarus puts a unique spin on tons of traditional southern recipes. If he doesn't already have you hooked with the words dulce de leche banana pudding, the gorgeous photography and design of this book will certainly draw you in.

15 Grandbaby Cakes: Modern Recipes, Vintage Charm, Soulful Memories

Jocelyn Delk Adams is the dessert genius behind the blog "Grandbaby Cakes," which is all about taking vintage recipes she learned while visiting her grandmother in the south and bringing them into the modern era. You'll find everything from simple yellow cake recipes to one for pineapple upside-down hummingbird pound cake in this beautiful book.

This content is created and maintained by a third party, and imported onto this page to help users provide their email addresses. You may be able to find more information about this and similar content at
Advertisement - Continue Reading Below
More From Food News