Flavors of the Lowcountry & the South
The American south contributes a flavorful blend of culture and culinary traditions to our American Pantry. You'll see African influences (brought by enslaved peoples and kept alive through generations), Caribbean flavors, West African heritage preserved by the Gullah, French culinary traditions (brought by Acadians) that birthed Cajun cuisines, and more.
The flavors, spices, and recipes of the south are a jambalaya of history, adaptation, heritage, preservation, and modernization. When it comes to the flavors of this rich cuisine, this is just the tip of the iceburg. We're not even going to touch on Southern BBQ, but don't worry. We have articles about Alabama & Georgia BBQ, Memphis BBQ, the BBQ of North & South Carolina,
Our Cajun Style Blackening Seasoning is blended with classic Cajun flavors of paprika, onion, salt, garlic, pepper, thyme, and cayenne. We add accents of bell pepper and celery seed, and round out the flavor with a few other ingredients. We have a salt-free version too, so there is something for everyone. When looking for ways to add Cajun flavor to your repertoire, think about any dish in which you would use garlic and cayenne. You can easily add it to stews and sauces, or even in barbeque, for a uniquely American twist. Try a pinch when making a Bloody Mary, for a slightly spicy drink.
Creole cuisine marries European roots with Caribbean and African traditions. The word "Creole" has roots in old Spanish, and means marriage or mixture of cultures. Just as the Ouachita, Tensas, and Little Rivers converge to form the Black River in Louisiana, many spices converge to make this Creole mix. The warmth from chile and paprika that is associated with Creole cuisine comes from the Spanish and Portuguese influences. The use garlic can be attributed to Italians.
For more about the difference and distinctions between Cajun and Creole cuisines, check out Cajun vs. Creole: A Brief History.
Gumbo filé is the powdered, dried leaves of the sassafras tree. This tree is native to the east coast from Maine to Florida and stretches west along the Gulf Coast to Mexico. The Choctaw Indians first used sassafras as a seasoning. When the French Canadians went south to Louisiana, they quickly adapted the Choctaw methods of using sassafras in cooking. Gumbo filé powder is the essential flavoring and thickening ingredient of gumbo and can also be used to perk up sauces and gravies. Gumbo file is generally added after the dish has been removed from the heat, but before it cools as it becomes stringy when cooked.
Hot fried chicken is a Nashville thing and what a tasty thing it is! This dish has its own lore, one veiled in revenge. They say revenge is a dish best served cold but in this case, the opposite is definitely true. Traditionally the seasoning for this dish is cayenne, but we made ours with a few other spices for depth of flavor.
We have a bunch of tasty recipes for the versatile seasonings. We can’t list them all here but we do have recipes featured on each spice's web page, so we encourage you to explore!
Blackening isn’t about burning the chicken surface to a crisp, but rather about creating a charred crust of spices. For a complete guide to blackening chicken, plus tips for blackening other proteins (like steak, salmon, catfish, shrimp, tofu, or seitan), check out our How to Blacken Chicken article by Savory Spice co-founder, Mike Johnston.
Crispy Rice Jambalaya
Our version of red jambalaya is enhanced with Cajun Blackening Seasoning to add a warm Louisiana flair to the perfectly crisped rice. We've included a vegan recipe modification so everyone can enjoy it.
Wow-this was extremely delicious. Crisping the rice took the dish to a new level. We're vegan, so subbed out the sausage with tofurkey sausages. I'm looking forward to making this again soon. - Laura
Cajun Fried Okra
A Southern menu wouldn't be complete without okra. These addictive fried bites were gobbled up quickly by tasters in our test kitchen. They have a mild kick of heat from both our Cajun seasoning and hot sauce. Their perfectly crunchy cornmeal coating makes them gluten-free.
Baked Fried Green Tomatoes
This take on a southern classic is crunchy and delicious–without having to fry them! (That means they are also a bit more heart healthy.) This recipe would also work well for coating pickle spears, pickle chips, or pickled jalapenos. Serve as an appetizer, snack, or even as a burger topping!
Queen City Pimento Cheese
If you haven't tried pimento cheese, stop what you're doing and make this recipe. One of our spice merchants from our Charlotte, NC (a.k.a. the Queen City) store submitted this recipe for everybody's favorite southern cheese spread. This recipe makes a smooth pimento cheese. If you want it to be a little more chunky, only use 1/2 cup mayonnaise and mash all the ingredients together with a fork instead of using a food processor. It makes a great addition to loaded cheese fries, brisket sandwiches, or stuffed peppers. Warm it up to make a cheese dip, or just serve it cold as a cracker spread.
We're leaving the gumbo recipes to the experts. Kenneth Temple, author of Southern Creole, has a fantastic recipe for Seafood Gumbo and will tell you exactly what does and does not belong in gumbo!
Nashville Hot Fried Chicken
No need to travel down to Nashville for Hot Fried Chicken. Try this recipe for your new favorite meal! Serve with white bread and dill pickles for a classic combo.
Outstanding recipe - everyone loves it. Comes out great -- very similar to Hattie B's. Do NOT skip the oil brush or it won't be hot chicken. Also used the recipe on wings and it was a huge hit. (And, as always...it's also good the next day!) - Dorothy
Cornmeal Crusted Catfish
This crispy catfish could not be more simple or more delicious. The recipe comes to us courtesy of customer and chef Rhonda Banks, who owns and operates Blazing Chicken Shack II in Denver, CO, and has been using Savory Spice blends in her kitchen for years. For a milder flavor, use Lake Barkley Fried Chicken Seasoning.
For even more classic flavors, check out our American Pantry or leave a comment with your favorite Southern flavors and dishes.