What Are Some Soul Food Main Courses?

Are you ready to tantalize your taste buds with the rich and flavorful world of soul food? Look no further as we take you on a delicious journey through some of the most mouthwatering soul food main courses. From tender and juicy fried chicken to succulent BBQ ribs, and savory collard greens paired with perfectly seasoned fried catfish, we’ve got your cravings covered. Get ready to savor the flavors and embrace the warmth and love infused into each and every soulful dish.

Fried Chicken

Fried chicken is a beloved deep-fried dish that is a staple in soul food cuisine. It is known for its crispy and flavorful outer coating, while the meat inside remains succulent and juicy. The key to making the perfect fried chicken lies in the batter or the coating used. The variations are endless, but one of the most popular styles is Southern fried chicken. In this style, the chicken is marinated in buttermilk or seasoned brine before being coated in flour or a combination of flour and spices. The chicken is then fried to golden perfection, resulting in a deliciously crispy exterior and a tender interior.

When it comes to serving fried chicken, it is often paired with classic side-dishes such as mashed potatoes and coleslaw. The creamy and buttery mashed potatoes complement the crispy chicken perfectly, while the tangy and refreshing coleslaw adds a nice contrast to the richness of the dish. These side-dishes enhance the overall dining experience and create a harmonious balance of flavors and textures.

Collard Greens

Collard greens are a popular and traditional braised green vegetable dish that is often associated with soul food. These leafy greens are rich in vitamins and fiber, making them a nutritious addition to any meal. Collard greens are typically cooked with ham hock, onions, and a touch of vinegar for added flavor. The ham hock infuses the greens with a smoky and savory taste, while the onions and vinegar provide a hint of tanginess.

Apart from their delicious taste, collard greens also offer numerous health benefits. They are packed with vitamins A, C, and K, as well as minerals like calcium and iron. Additionally, they are high in fiber, which aids in digestion and promotes a healthy gut. Including collard greens in your soul food main course not only adds a vibrant burst of flavor but also contributes to your overall well-being.

What Are Some Soul Food Main Courses?


Cornbread is a traditional bread made from cornmeal that has been enjoyed for generations in soul food cuisine. It is a versatile and beloved side-dish that can also stand alone as a main course. Cornbread comes in various forms, including baked, fried, or steamed, each with its own unique taste and texture. Baked cornbread is the most common and is characterized by its golden-brown crust and fluffy interior.

There are endless possibilities when it comes to serving cornbread. It can be enjoyed on its own with a pat of butter, drizzled with honey for a touch of sweetness, or smothered in savory gravy for a comforting and flavorful experience. Whatever way you choose to serve it, cornbread brings a comforting and nostalgic element to any soul food spread.

Sweet Potatoes

Sweet potatoes are a versatile root vegetable that is widely used in soul food cooking. They can be prepared in a variety of ways, including boiled, baked, or candied, depending on your preferences. Boiled sweet potatoes are tender and can be easily mashed, making them a perfect side dish. Baked sweet potatoes develop a caramelized outer layer and a soft and sweet interior, making them a delicious main course option. Candied sweet potatoes, also known as “sweet potato casserole,” are a popular side dish during holidays and special occasions, featuring a sweet and buttery coating often topped with marshmallows.

In addition to their delicious taste, sweet potatoes offer a range of health benefits. They are rich in vitamins A and C, which support immune function and promote healthy skin. They are also a good source of dietary fiber, which aids in digestion and helps maintain a healthy weight. Incorporating sweet potatoes into your soul food main course not only adds a burst of flavor but also contributes to a well-rounded and nutritious meal.

What Are Some Soul Food Main Courses?

Hoppin’ John

Hoppin’ John is a classic soul food dish made with black-eyed peas, rice, and a combination of additional ingredients. This hearty dish is often served on New Year’s Day to bring good luck and prosperity for the coming year. The black-eyed peas symbolize coins, while the rice represents wealth. Hoppin’ John is traditionally made by cooking the black-eyed peas and rice together with bacon, onion, and a blend of spices until they are tender and flavorful.

The additions of bacon, onion, and spices elevate the flavors of Hoppin’ John, creating a dish that is savory, smoky, and satisfying. The bacon adds a rich and meaty element, while the onion and spices provide depth and complexity. Beyond its delicious taste, Hoppin’ John holds cultural significance in African American cuisine, highlighting the traditions and history embedded in soul food.

BBQ Ribs

BBQ Ribs are a mouthwatering and flavorful main course that is often associated with soul food. These tender and succulent cuts of meat can be grilled or slow-cooked to perfection, resulting in a smoky and delicious dish. The key to achieving fall-off-the-bone ribs lies in the cooking method and the sauce used. Each region in the South has its own take on BBQ sauce, ranging from sweet to spicy to tangy. Regardless of the sauce variation, it adds a delectable glaze and enhances the overall taste of the ribs.

When it comes to pairings, BBQ ribs are often served with classic soul food sides such as coleslaw and baked beans. The creamy and tangy coleslaw balances out the richness of the ribs, while the sweet and savory baked beans contribute to a satisfying and well-rounded meal. Whether you’re hosting a summer cookout or craving a comforting meal, BBQ ribs are sure to be a crowd-pleaser.

What Are Some Soul Food Main Courses?


Catfish is a popular southern-style fish dish that is often enjoyed in soul food cuisine. This versatile and flavorful fish can be prepared in various ways, including fried, blackened, or stewed, each offering a unique taste and texture. Fried catfish is a classic preparation method, resulting in a crispy outer layer and tender flesh inside. Blackened catfish is coated in a blend of spices and seared to create a rich and flavorful crust. Stewed catfish is cooked in a savory broth, allowing the flavors to meld together and create a comforting and hearty dish.

When it comes to serving catfish, it is often accompanied by condiments such as hot sauce or tartar sauce. These condiments add an extra kick of flavor and complement the taste of the fish. Whether you prefer it fried, blackened, or stewed, catfish is a delicious and satisfying addition to any soul food main course.

Macaroni and Cheese

Macaroni and Cheese is a classic and comforting dish that is loved by people of all ages. This creamy pasta dish can be served as a main course or as a side dish, depending on the occasion. Macaroni and cheese come in various forms, including baked or stovetop, each with its own unique characteristics. Baked macaroni and cheese is often made with a combination of cheeses, resulting in a golden and bubbly top layer. Stovetop macaroni and cheese has a creamy and velvety texture, making it a quick and easy option for a soul food spread.

To elevate the flavors of macaroni and cheese, there are several possible additions. Bacon bits add a salty and smoky element, breadcrumbs provide a crunchy topping, and veggies such as broccoli or spinach add a nutritious twist. Regardless of the variations, macaroni and cheese is a quintessential soul food dish that brings comfort and nostalgia to any meal.


Jambalaya is a flavorful rice dish with roots in Spanish, French, and African cuisine. It combines a mix of meats like chicken, sausage, and shrimp with a variety of vegetables such as peppers and tomatoes. The ingredients are cooked together with rice, allowing the flavors to meld and create a delicious one-pot meal. Jambalaya is known for its bold and spicy flavors, making it a popular main course in soul food cuisine.

The origins and influences of Jambalaya reflect the diverse culinary heritage of the South, highlighting the blending of cultures and traditions. The Spanish brought rice and the idea of cooking meats with it, the French introduced the concept of adding the “holy trinity” of onion, celery, and bell pepper, and the African influence can be seen in the use of spices and seasonings. Jambalaya’s rich history and flavorful taste make it a must-try dish for anyone looking to explore soul food.


Grits are a corn-based dish that is often served at breakfast but can also be enjoyed as a main course in soul food cuisine. They are made from coarsely ground cornmeal and can be prepared in various ways, including cheese grits and shrimp and grits. Cheese grits are made by adding grated cheese to the cooked grits, resulting in a creamy and savory dish. Shrimp and grits combine sautéed shrimp with a flavorful sauce, served over a bed of cooked grits.

In addition to their delicious taste, grits offer several mental and physical health benefits. They are a good source of carbohydrates, providing steady energy throughout the day. Grits also contain essential vitamins and minerals, including iron, which supports oxygen transportation in the body. Incorporating grits into your soul food main course not only adds a comforting and filling element but also contributes to your overall well-being.