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10 Soul Food Recipes to Celebrate Black History


Staff member
Dec 13, 2023
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These delicious soul food recipes from authors Marrekus and Krysten Wilkes of Cooks with Soul honor the roots of Black American cuisine!

Soul food recipes

Hi, it’s Marrekus and Krysten, the husband and wife team from Cooks with Soul. We are excited to team up with A Couple Cooks to share with you our favorite soul food recipes and honor the roots of Black American cuisine!

As food bloggers, we must acknowledge the impact of Black Americans on our food heritage, from the African diaspora to the modern kitchen. Our goal is to preserve family recipes that have been passed down through multiple generations, many of which carry cultural and regional significance.

Follow Cooks with Soul on Instagram, sign up for their Substack newsletter, and find their recipes at CookswithSoul.com.

Cooks with Soul Marrekus and Krysten Wilkes

Our history

Both of us grew up with a parent who worked in the food industry as cooks and caterers. However, our connection, experiences, relationships, and cultural ties with food have roots that reach much further back in time.

During the Great Migration when six million Black Americans fled the South to escape racial segregation and discrimination to places like Chicago, New York, and Los Angeles, Black individuals not only created new foodways but also passed down food traditions.

My (Krysten) grandmother’s grandparents, for example, ran a boarding house during the movement. They provided Black travelers with shelter and food, and gave them homemade meals to carry on the rest of their journey.

Marrekus, who was raised in Memphis, spent his summers in Mississippi, raising chickens and hogs, and cultivating vegetables in his grandfather’s garden. Those hot days picking butter beans, purple hull peas, and collard greens shaped not only his connection to the land but also his approach to food. It’s where the journey from farm to table began for him – a concept rooted in Black American culture long before it became a trendy buzzword.

These early experiences have shaped not just our individual relationships with food but also our understanding of the importance of family meals. The essence of our history and connection to food is deeply ingrained, reflecting not only our parents’ influences but also the broader tapestry of our cultural and familial heritage with soul food.

Soul food

Soul food is more than just a menu; it’s a sense of familiarity that we share with our ancestors. It runs from taking what was once considered the less desirable cuts of meat, like oxtails, and turning them into culinary masterpieces, down to the alchemy of spices and cooking methods from countries in Africa.

In our kitchen, soul food is just as much fried chicken as it is collard greens and black-eyed peas. It’s also macaroni and cheese and cornbread and red beans and rice, all of which include African, European, and Native American contributions.

Each of these recipes tells stories – of survival, of joy, and a rich cultural heritage. So, as we embark on Black History Month, let’s not just cook; let’s create, celebrate, and remember.

Marrekus and Krysten Wilkes are the husband and wife duo behind Cooks with Soul. Marrekus, a Memphis native and retired Airman, creates soul food and barbecue recipes, and Krysten is a food photographer and writer. Together, they balance their roles as a blogging team and a blended family of eight. Currently, they reside in Maryland.

Follow Cooks with Soul on Instagram, and sign up for their Substack newsletter!

And now, for the soul food recipes!​


Photo Credit: cookswithsoul.com

Southern Mac and Cheese

Indulge in this Southern baked macaroni and cheese recipe featuring cheddar, Monterey jack, and mozzarella. This recipe uses no roux! It’s decadent and comforting, and an absolute must-try for anyone looking to savor a taste of the South.

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Photo Credit: cookswithsoul.com

Louisiana Red Beans and Rice

Taste the flavors of authentic Creole culture with this Louisiana Red Beans and Rice! Red kidney beans, smoked ham hock, andouille sausage, bay leaves, bell pepper, celery, and onion are cooked with Creole spices and served with white rice.

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Photo Credit: cookswithsoul.com

Collard Greens

This collard greens recipe features slow simmered greens with smoked ham hocks, onions, seasonings, and a dash of red pepper flakes. It’s a quintessential Southern comfort food dish that will transport you to a cozy Sunday dinner at grandma’s house.

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Photo Credit: cookswithsoul.com

Southern Fried Chicken

Discover the secret to perfect Southern fried chicken with our easy recipe—crispy, golden, and full of flavor! Skip the buttermilk soak and embrace a salt, sugar, and water brine for juiciness. Our blend of flour, cornstarch, and seasonings guarantees an irresistibly crispy coating every time.

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Photo Credit: cookswithsoul.com

Southern Cornbread Recipe

Our soul food cornbread is easy to follow and yields a moist, tender crumb. It combines the rich tang of buttermilk with classic ingredients like butter and sugar for a delightful side dish that complements any Southern meal.

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Photo Credit: cookswithsoul.com

Black Eyed Peas and Rice

These Black Eyed Peas feature smoked neck bones, onion, bell pepper, and celery. Whether you’re savoring it with a bowl of rice to invite prosperity in the new year or on a cozy winter evening for a bowl of pure comfort, this is your ticket to a world of flavor and good vibes.

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Photo Credit: cookswithsoul.com

Southern Fried Catfish

This southern fried catfish has a crispy golden brown cornmeal crust and is seasoned to perfection. It’s a real crowd-pleaser and the best recipe for your next fish fry or cookout! Serve it with red beans and rice, coleslaw, French fries, or bread slices for a tried and true down home southern meal.

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Photo Credit: cookswithsoul.com

Southern Oxtail Recipe

Smothered oxtail is a Southern recipe that evokes memories of Sunday soul food dinners and family gatherings. Cooked to tender perfection, these oxtails, are smothered in rich, velvety brown gravy with bell pepper and onion and served over rice.

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Photo Credit: cookswithsoul.com

Southern Cabbage

This Southern cabbage features boiled cabbage in a smoky, meaty broth with seasonings and spices. A savory and succulent Southern side dish that is a staple on our Sunday dinner table!

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Photo Credit: cookswithsoul.com

Southern Sweet Potato Pie

Southern sweet potato pie has a buttery smooth, silky texture and a harmonious blend of vanilla, cinnamon, and nutmeg. It’s an easy soul food dessert that uses a store-bought pie crust to save time. Serve it warm with a dollop of whipped cream!

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Soul food recipes

10 Soul Food Recipes to Celebrate Black History​

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  • Author: Sonja Overhiser
  • icon-clock.png
    Prep Time: 20 minutes
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    Cook Time: 40 minutes
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    Total Time: 1 hour
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    Yield: 1 hour
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These delicious soul food recipes from authors Marrekus and Krysten Wilkes of Cooks with Soul honor the roots of Black American cuisine!


  • 2 cups cavatappi (or elbow macaroni, shells, etc.)
  • 3 large eggs, room temperature
  • 1 12-ounce can evaporated milk, room temperature
  • 1 ½ cups half & half, room temperature
  • 4 tablespoons butter
  • 1 8-ounce block mild cheddar, shredded, room temperature
  • 1 8-ounce block Monterey jack, shredded, room temperature
  • 1 8-ounce block sharp cheddar, shredded, room temperature
  • 8 ounces whole milk shredded mozzarella cheese, room temperature
  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt (start with less and adjust to taste if using any other type of salt)
  • ½ teaspoon ground black pepper
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  1. Go to CookswithSoul.com.
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    Category: 8 to 10 servings
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    Method: Baked
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    Cuisine: American
  • Diet: Vegetarian

Keywords: Soul food, soul food recipes


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