United States: Recipes and Cuisine

Country | United States Golden Gate Bridge Image

The cooking and cuisine of the United States defies easy categorization. While well known for the mass production and global uniformity of fast food outlets, America is actually home to wide-ranging regional cuisine and the influence of immigrant groups past and present. From New England clam chowder to Texas barbecue to cioppino in the City by the Bay, the cuisine of the United States has thrills around every corner.

American Recipes

Apple Cake

Ingredients | Apples Image

(United States apple cake)

Apple cake is popular throughout the United States, especially during the fall when the new apple harvest is coming in. This simple, moist, rich cake really hits the spot. Read more »

Baked Country Ham

Meats | Country Ham Image

(American Southern roasted ham)

Country hams are an old tradition in the American South. Fresh pork legs are salt-cured, sometimes smoked, and then dry aged for several months. Because the meat can be very salty, country hams must be soaked in water for a time to remove excess salt. Baked country ham is the perfect centerpiece for any family celebration. Leftovers are great for breakfast with red-eye gravy or served as a sandwich in buttermilk biscuits. Read more »

Baking Powder Biscuits

Breads | Baking Powder Biscuits

(American breakfast quickbread)

Here is an easy, quick recipe for basic American breakfast biscuits. Spread with jam or serve topped with a generous portion of sausage gravy. Baking powder biscuits make a great addition to any Sunday morning breakfast. Read more »


Desserts | Beignets

(American Southern powdered sugar fritters)

Pillowy puffs of fried dough dusted with snowy powdered sugar, beignets (bane-YAY) are most famously served at the Café du Monde on the banks of the Mississippi River in the French Quarter of New Orleans. Beignets are best enjoyed for breakfast with a hot cup of chicory coffee. Read more »

Blueberry Pie

Desserts | Blueberry Pie Image

(American blueberry-filled double-crust tart)

True blue American blueberry pie. Simple, sweet, rich, delicious and chock full of antioxidants. Blueberry pie is the perfect finish to a meal during the summer blueberry season. Try the star-studded crust variation for your next Memorial Day, Fourth of July or Labor Day celebration. Read more »

Boston Baked Beans

Vegetables | Boston Baked Beans

(American white beans baked with molasses)

The earliest colonists in North America learned how to slow cook beans with maple syrup from Native Americans. Molasses was a common sweetener in the United States throughout the 19th century, and Boston was a center of production. One tasty result of this abundance was Boston baked beans. It's not called Beantown for nothing! Read more »

Boston Brown Bread

Breads | Boston Brown Bread

(American steamed wholegrain molasses bread)

What goes best with Boston baked beans? Why, Boston brown bread, of course! Lightly sweet, with a deep, rich color, brown bread is a scrumptious, whole-grain treat made from a batter that is steamed, sliced and spread with butter. Most New Englanders are familiar with a version that is sold in cans, but it's so easy to throw together, there's no reason not to make your own. Read more »

Buffalo Wings

Appetizers | Buffalo Wings

(American chicken wings in spicy sauce)

A classic bar food, Buffalo wings came to us from Teresa Bellissimo, owner of the Anchor Bar in Buffalo, New York. Chicken wings are deep fried and tossed with a spicy, vinegary butter and hot pepper sauce. Read more »

Cajun and Creole Seasoning

Sauces | Cajun and Creole Seasoning

(American Louisiana herb and spice blend)

Whether you call it Cajun or Creole, this spicy seasoning mix has a booyah kick. Use Cajun and Creole seasoning to kick up the flavor quotient in everything from soups, stews, rice and beans to fish, chicken and gumbo. Commerical varieties of this blend of herbs and spices are available, but they are often mostly salt. It's easy and cheaper to make your own. Read more »

Candied Sweet Potatoes

Vegetables | Candied Sweet Potatoes Image

(American sugar-baked sweet potatoes)

Also called sweet potato casserole, candied sweet potatoes are a favorite dish in many American households at Thanksgiving and Easter, especially children. They are an extra treat when a layer of marshmallows is baked and browned on top. At Easter, chick- or rabbit-shaped and colored marshmallows called "Peeps" are sometimes used. Read more »

Caramel Apples

Desserts | Caramel Apples Image

(American caramel-covered apples)

Caramel apples are a traditional autumn treat in the United States, especially popular with children around Halloween. Fresh apples are impaled on wooden sticks and dipped in sticky, sweet caramel. The caramel-coated apples are often rolled in nuts or candies for the ultimate flourish. Read more »

Chicken Luau

(American Hawaiian chicken with taro leaves; see Poulet Fafa recipe)

Chicken Pot Pie

Poultry | Chicken Pot Pie

(American savory chicken stew in pastry)

Chicken pot pie is a hearty American wintertime dish that uses produce in season during the cold months of fall and winter. Classic recipes have the chicken stew encased entirely in flaky pastry. This simpler version uses a tasty biscuit topping instead. Read more »

Chicken-Fried Steak

Meats | Chicken-Fried Steak

(American Midwest breaded steak cutlet)

Chicken-fried steak, or country-fried steak, is an old farm recipe designed for cheaper, tougher cuts of beef, primarily round, Swiss or cube steak. It is particularly popular in Texas, where it originates. But it is found north into the upper Midwest and east into the old South. A popular truck-stop menu item, chicken-fried steak is most often served with mashed potatoes and a simple vegetable, often green beans. Read more »

Chili con Carne

Ingredients | Peppers, Chile, Dried Image

(American Tex-Mex spicy beef stew)

It's a little unclear where chili originated. The combination of powdered chiles and meat is likely an ancient one, familiar to the Aztecs and the Maya. But in its current form, chili seems to have started somewhere along the U.S.-Mexico border. Mexicans generally shun it as American. Most Americans are fine with that and regard it as their own. Read more »


Fish | Cioppino

(American fish and seafood stew)

This tomatoey fish stew is perhaps the iconic San Francisco dish. Italian fishmongers in North Beach developed a flavorful broth studded with the best of the day's catch. The name most likely comes from the Italian dialect word ciuppin, for "to chop." But at Fisherman's Wharf, a favorite story you hear is that Italian cooks would ask fishermen to "chip in" to that day's pot. Read more »


Fish | Clambake

(American seafood and vegetable beach barbecue)

A clambake on the beach is a longstanding summer tradition along the New England coast of the northeastern United States. Fresh seafood, potatoes and vegetables are steamed in a seaweed-lined firepit and served with lots of melted butter. Read more »

Club Sandwich

Sandwiches | Club Sandwich Image

(American chicken and bacon sandwich)

It is speculated that the club sandwich — with its layers of chicken, tomatoes and bacon — was originally made at the Saratoga Club House in Saratoga Springs, New York, the same place that invented potato chips. The original version had only two pieces of bread. Read more »

Coca-Cola Cake

Desserts | Coca-Cola Cake

(American cocoa-cola cake)

This fun cake originated in the Southern United States. Bake one up when you find yourself stuck with some flat leftover soda. A favorite for birthday parties. Read more »

Corn Dogs

Meats | Corn Dogs Image

(American hot dog and cornbread on a stick)

Corn dogs are American carnival, fair, and amusement park food. They are one of many "foods-on-a-stick" found at such celebrations and venues. A favorite of children, corn dogs are best served with a good amount of ketchup. Read more »

Corn Maque Choux

(Cajun-Creole corn and peppers simmered in cream; see Creamed Corn recipe variations)


Breads | Cornbread Image

(American cornmeal bread)

This recipe is for Southern cornbread, a drier, crunchier cornbread than its more cake-like Northern counterpart. It is best eaten same day it is baked. Stale leftovers can be used to make cornbread dressing. See the variations to make the Northern version. Read more »

Cornbread Dressing

Breads | Cornbread Dressing Image

(American cornmeal bread dressing)

Cornbread dressing is the only dressing there is for many Southerners. It's a favorite for Thanksgiving. The recipe below is a basic foundation for innumerable variations. Each cook has his or her favorite version. Read more »

Corned Beef and Cabbage

Meats | Corned Beef and Cabbage Image

(Irish-American braised brisket with vegetables)

Corned beef and cabbage is a traditional St. Patricks Day dish for Irish Americans, but not for the Irish themselves. The meal became popular with immigrants to the United States from Ireland in the 19th century. Read more »

Cranberry Pudding

Desserts | Cranberry Pudding Image

(American steamed Christmas pudding)

This steamed pudding is popular on the American Christmas table. Flame it with rum and serve it with eggnog sauce for an extra treat. Read more »

Cranberry Sauce

Sauces | Cranberry Sauce

(American cranberry condiment)

Cranberry sauce is an essential part of any American Thanksgiving meal. Many families serve it for Christmas dinner too. Some people have to have cranberry sauce in the shape of a tin can. Others prefer this more naturalistic version. A less sweet cranberry sauce is served with game birds in northern Europe. Read more »

Creamed Corn

Ingredients | Corn on the Cob Image

(American corn simmered with cream)

Cream-style corn is an old-fashioned midwestern American dish that deserves to be rediscovered. Given a bad name by mushy canned versions, this dish is amazingly simple to make yourself. And the use of fresh corn, not frozen, yields a delicious side dish for summertime meals. Read more »

Creole Barbecue Shrimp

Country | United States | Louisiana Shrimping Boats

(American Southern spicy sauteed shrimp)

Spice up your dinner plans with this winning recipe for Creole barbecue shrimp. In New Orleans, the word "barbecue" doesn't mean that the shrimp is grilled. This shrimp dish is sauteed in lots of spices, garlic and butter with a splash of beer for extra flavor. Aieee! "Suck da heads" for all the flavor. Read more »


Beverages | Eggnog

(American egg and cream Christmas beverage)

Although descended from European winter restorative beverages, or "noggins," eggnog is an American invention that appeared in the late 1700s. Over the years, this rich and creamy drink, spiked with rum, has become an American Christmas tradition. Read more »

Glazed Pumpkin Spice Cookies

Desserts | Glazed Pumpkin Spice Cookies

(American cinnamon-scented baked treat)

Fall is pumpkin season, and these pumpkin cookies are perfect for Halloween, Thanksgiving or after raking up leaves on a crisp fall day. Enjoy their cakelike texture, subtle spice and sweet glaze with a cup of hot tea or fresh apple cider. Read more »


Sauces | Guacamole Image

(Mexican avocado sauce)

Guacamole is a popular condiment made of mashed and seasoned avocados. Guacamole originated in Mexico, but it is enjoyed throughout Central America, as well as in the American Southwest and in Tex-Mex cuisine. The name comes from the Aztec words for avocado (ahuacatl) and sauce (molli). Read more »


Soups | Gumbo Image

(American Cajun-Creole meat and shellfish stew)

Gumbo, one of the most famous of Cajun-Creole dishes, acquired its name from quingombo, a Congolese word for okra. It came about through a fusion of French, African, Native American and Spanish influences in early Louisiana cuisine. Read more »

Hangtown Fry

Breakfast | Hangtown Fry Image

(American oyster and bacon omelet)

Hangtown fry originated in Placerville, California, during the Gold Rush. The town was known as Hangtown in recognition of the harsh justice often meted out there. The story goes that a prospector struck it rich, walked into a restaurant in town and ordered the best meal that money could buy. In that place, at that time, Hangtown fry was it. Read more »


Desserts | Haupia Image

(American-Hawaiian coconut pudding)

Haupia is a popular Hawaiian dessert, often served on a ti leaf at luaus. A thick, sliceable coconut pudding, it is also used to cover cakes and as a top layer on pies. Read more »

Hoppin' John

Vegetables | Hoppin John Image

(American rice and black-eyed peas)

Hoppin' John is an old Southern dish, especially popular in South Carolina. No one really knows how it came by its name, but its culinary roots seem to stretch back to Africa. It is traditionally eaten as part of a New Year's Day meal, as black-eyed peas supposedly bring good luck. For maximum luck, eat Hoppin' John immediately after midnight along with a side of greens. Read more »


Grains | Jambalaya

(American Cajun-Creole rice with chicken, shrimp and andouille sausage)

A classic of Cajun-Creole cuisine, jambalaya got its start in the French Quarter of New Orleans when Spanish immigrants cooked up a dish similar to their beloved paella from home. The name probably comes from a French Provencal word meaning "mix up" or "mash up." Read more »

Kansas City-Style Barbecue Sauce

Country | United States | Kansas City Barbecue Joint

(American Midwest tomato-based grilling sauce)

Tomatoey and sweet, this barbecue sauce comes from the great Midwestern barbecue tradition of Kansas City, Missouri. It is also the sauce most Americans think of when they hear "barbecue." Slow simmer the sauce for best flavor, then slather it over beef, chicken, pork and ribs. Read more »


Beverages | Lemonade

(American lemon beverage)

Lemonade and its basic theme of lemon juice, sugar and water is a popular drink around the world. It is a summertime favorite in the United States, where ramshackle stands selling glasses of the sweet-tart beverage are a favorite way for children to earn a little spending money. Read more »

Macaroni and Cheese

Pastas | Macaroni and Cheese Image

(American pasta with cheese)

Macaroni and cheese is an old American favorite dating back almost to the time of the American Revolution. Always a Southern favorite, its popularity really took off after Kraft® introduced a boxed version in the 1930s. Kraft's version became so popular that some people now prefer their packaged to the homemade. We still think homemade is best. Read more »

Maine Lobster Rolls

Sandwiches | Lobster Roll Image

(American New England lobster salad sandwiches)

Lobster rolls are a favorite sandwich in sandwich shacks all up and down the coast of Maine. This longstanding symbol of summertime fun is a simple mixture of fresh cooked lobster meat and mayonnaise. In Maine this seafood salad is served in special buns that are split down the top. But you can use regular hot dog buns. Read more »

Mashed Potatoes

Vegetables | Mashed Potatoes Image

(Irish and American potato puree)

Mashed potatoes are popular on both Irish and American dinner tables, particularly with meals of roast beef or fried chicken. The basic recipe arrived on American shores with Irish immigrants in the 1800s. Mashed potatoes are often served topped with a dollop of butter or a richly flavored pan gravy. Read more »

Mint Julep

Beverages | Mint Julep

(American, Southern bourbon cocktail)

The mint julep is a long-standing favorite beverage in much of the Southern United States. Traditionally served in silver or pewter cups, this lightly sweet, minty, boozy concoction is the perfect foil for a hot, humid Southern evening. The mint julep is the traditional beverage of Kentucky's famous Derby in the spring. Read more »

New England Boiled Dinner

(American braised brisket with vegetables; see Corned Beef and Cabbage recipe variations)

New England Clam Chowder

Soups | New England Clam Chowder

(American clam and potato stew)

Dating from the 18th century, New England clam chowder is a thick milk or cream-based stew originally made with fresh clams dug out of the sand on the shore. The name "chowder" is thought to have originated with the French word chaudière, a kind of large pot it was originally made in. Unlike Manhattan clam chowder, the New England sort has no tomatoes. Read more »

North Carolina Pulled Pork Recipe

Meats | Pulled Pork Image

(American Southern barbecue pork sandwich)

A certain type of barbecue, using vinegar and sugar as a baste and seasoning for the slow-cooked meat, is unique to the eastern part of North Carolina. The best eastern NC-style barbecue is made at a old-fashioned barbecue joint, with a whole pig roasted over a slow hickory fire. Read more »

Oyster Stew

Soups | Oyster Stew Image

(American shellfish stew)

Delicious in its simplicity, oyster stew is a traditional Christmas Eve dish in some American households, a custom said to have originated with Irish immigrants. Read more »

Oysters Rockefeller

Appetizers | Oysters Rockefeller

(American oysters with green sauce appetizer)

This luxurious shellfish creation was first served at Antoine's Restaurant in New Orleans in 1899. The appetizer is so rich it was named after John D. Rockefeller, the richest man in America at the time. Creator Jules Alciatore took the exact recipe to the grave with him, but poseurs everywhere have been trying to replicate it since. Here is our version. Read more »


Breakfast | Pancakes Image

(American skillet cakes)

Also known as flapjacks, hotcakes or griddlecakes, pancakes are a traditional breakfast food in the United States. Variations of the pancake, sweet and savory, are found around the world, from the French crèpe to Indian dosas. Read more »

Peach Cobbler

Desserts | Peach Cobbler

(American peaches baked with pastry)

Cobbler is a traditional American dessert that uses the freshest fruits of the season. The fruit is baked with a sweetened batter that rises up and around it to form a crispy crust. Peach, apple, berry and cherry cobbler are all popular variations. Read more »

Peach Ice Cream

Desserts | Peach Ice Cream

(American Southern frozen fruit and dairy dessert)

There's nothing like a big scoop of Georgia peach ice cream to cool down a hot summer's day. If you have an electric ice cream maker, you'll be astounded at how easy it is to make. Use fresh peaches at the peak of the season. This recipe makes enough for a crowd. For smaller batches, just scale the recipe down. Read more »