When you think of Alabama…football, southern hospitality and, hopefully, FOOD come to mind. Because let’s be clear, we love to eat! Indulgent desserts such as peach cobbler, Southern staples like shrimp and grits and exclusive snacks (think boiled peanuts and fried dill pickles), are only some of the foods in Alabama that people enjoy.
Try not to drool as you feast on this list while learning all about the culinary wonders Alabama has to offer!
Foods in Alabama
Wherever you’re from and whatever your tastes, you will surely find foods on this list that make your tastebuds tingle. From sweet and savory foods, to even a cult-classic drink that this list would be incomplete without (any guesses?), this list of foods in Alabama has you covered!
Before making your trip to visit these spectacular eateries, be sure to visit their websites to verify their seasonal and/or daily hours of operations, dining options, and item availabilities.
White Barbecue Sauce
When most people think barbecue, they think barbecue sauce. The same applies for Alabamians except that it might be the white kind that comes to mind instead of red. With its balanced mix of mayonnaise, vinegar, salt, and pepper, many even swear white tastes better!
The first-ever Mardi Gras celebration might have been held in Mobile in 1703 but it wasn’t until 1917 that the MoonPie was invented. In 1974, the MoonPie, a chocolate-covered, marshmallow filled, graham cracker confection was introduced as a “throw” in the parade.
Today MoonPies come in a variety of different flavors including vanilla, banana, strawberry, and even salted caramel. Don’t miss seasonal flavors such as orange and coconut that make an appearance during Mardi Gras.
It might be hard to imagine but there was a time when bananas were considered a luxury. That changed when Mobile and other Southern port towns started importing them in the 1800s. It was no coincidence this was around the same time that the delectable banana pudding was born.
Today’s version of the Southern classic is made with custard, bananas, and vanilla wafers in a variety of different ways. Some like their banana pudding baked while others like it chilled. There are those who prefer meringue and some who like it with whipped cream and toppings.
Alabama’s ribs are characterized by their delicious, slightly-charred flavor and chewy texture. No fancy spice rubs here, just a liberal sprinkling of salt to accentuate the full-flavored, sweet hickory smoke.
Visit the famous Dreamland Bar-B-Que in Birmingham to have them serve you a rack of smokey ribs straight from their custom brick pit. Of all the foods in Alabama, there’s none more Alabamian than a generous rack of barbecued ribs.
A scrumptious Southern summer staple, the tomato pie consists of a delectable tomato filling in a soft, melt-in-your-mouth pie shell, topped with cheese and baked to perfection. People made this food in Alabama during the 1800s to use up extra tomatoes from the summer harvest.
Wildflower Cafe’s tomato pie has earned a spot on the Alabama Tourism Department’s list of “100 dishes to eat in Alabama” for good reason. You will just have to visit to find out why! Hint: The fusion of the crust with marinated tomatoes, and cheddar cheese is enchanting, to say the least…
Fried Green Tomatoes
Tangy green tomatoes covered in savory batter and deep fried to golden perfection. If you aren’t salivating already it’s probably because you haven’t tasted Alabama’s famous fried green tomatoes yet! It’s so popular that some people even consider this Alabama food to be the state dish.
The mellowed down tartness of a green tomato paired with a salty, crunchy, fried batter exterior makes for the best snack and the folks at Irondale Cafe know it well! Visit the original cafe that inspired the 1991 film “Fried Green Tomatoes” – it’s responsible for the dish’s mainstream popularity!
Alabama takes peaches very seriously. What does that mean? Lots of peaches for lots of peachy desserts, of course! Peach Park off I-65 is one must-visit farmers’ market to see for yourself all the treats that peaches can make!
Their selection has it all, from cobbler pies and salads to cider – all of the peach variety. However, the signature specialty is definitely their peach ice cream. The fruit is a seasonal one, so make sure to confirm Peach Park’s months of operation and plan your trip accordingly.
The famous cheese biscuits at Jim ‘N Nick’s Bar Bar-B-Q started out as a food experiment and were originally served along with the food. We are so glad that these sweet, cheesy mini-muffins ended up taking on a life of their own because now Jim ‘N Nick’s serves a complimentary basket of them with every meal.
For those looking to make them at home, Jim ‘N Nick’s does sell their cheese biscuit mix on their website and in supermarkets. The best way to enjoy them, however, is freshly made by the experts themselves at the restaurant – so stop in and give them a try!
Few foods in Alabama have a history and heritage as long-standing as this one. Grits, the king of comfort breakfast food hailing from the South, has its origins in the “gritty” porridge the Muskogee Native Americans used to make. Today the creamy, homely dish is made out of cornmeal in all types of different ways throughout Alabama.
At Highlands Bar & Grill, the signature staple is served as an elevated appetizer with a bit of finesse. Stop by Highlands to taste their baked grits served in a luscious parmesan sauce, with mushrooms and strips of country ham.
With about 6 million pounds of the buttery nut produced each year, it’s easy to see why Alabama goes nuts over all things pecan, especially pecan pie!
Priester’s Pecans in Fort Deposit, for instance, is Alabama’s largest handmade candy company, offering the tastiest old fashioned pecan candies, pecan desserts, pies and cakes.
Pecans also make for great toppings, and don’t we know it! Crushed or whole, you can never have too many. If what you’re looking for is the perfect pecan pie, head to Uncle Mick’s Cajun Market & Café in Prattville. Their pecan pie is an Alabama food to die for.
Boiled peanuts might be an acquired taste, but once acquired they are downright addictive! The best time to try them is during green peanut season between late July and November when they are made using “green” or freshly harvested peanuts.
The peanuts are boiled in salted water for up to seven hours before serving. While preference is hot and fresh, they are fantastic out of the refrigerator as well. They usually come in the classic salt and Cajun flavors but some outlets like to get creative!
For those looking to try, I’d suggest taking a trip to Dothan, the “Peanut Capital of the World.” Another place to drop by is Peanut Point on Lake Martin for a taste of the Dunham family’s famous boiled peanuts.
Of all the fried foods in Alabama, this one has to have the most unique flavor and texture combination. You can never just stop at one and I’m sure no proud Alabamian ever has.
If you’re looking for a place to try them, check out Top O’ The River in Anniston. Order a drink and a plate of fried pickles to nibble on while you wait for your main meal. Despite their seafood being out of this world, I can’t guarantee you won’t come away liking your appetizer the most – that’s just what fried pickles do to you!
Sweet tea is the Southern elixir you’ll find sitting on the table at every family dinner, cafe, church gathering and get together in the state! Made of sugar, water, fresh-brewed tea and ice, it’s the super simple, sweet drink no Alabamian can go without.
Some sweet tea lovers add freshly squeezed lemon, lime or orange juice for extra flavor. Milo’s Sweet Tea, however, has stuck to their classic recipe for decades and is loved for it. So much so that in some parts of the country, the Alabama-born, family-owned business has become synonymous with sweet tea itself.
Visit Milo’s in Birmingham, the city where the chain began, and try their sweet tea for yourself. If a trip to the restaurant isn’t doable, Milo’s Sweet Tea can be found in grocery stores around the state. However, if you do visit the restaurant, don’t forget to order one of their famous hamburgers while you’re at it. There will be no regrets!
Alabama’s coastal waters, with bays and grass beds, are the ideal place for shrimp to breed and grow. Because they are harvested directly from the coast and not imported using harmful chemicals, Alabama’s gulf shrimp are fresh and hold the best flavor.
There are three main types of shrimp (brown, white and pink), all of which, are available year-round during different months. This means you can visit Alabama’s coast whenever it suits you and expect top-notch shrimp each time!
Saw’s Sweet Tea Chicken Sandwich
Most people choose this intriguing dish at Saw’s Soul Kitchen for the novelty factor, only to end up being surprised by the flavor it packs. After all, at the center of the Sweet Tea Chicken Sandwich is a succulent chicken breast marinated in – yep, you guessed it, sweet tea!
The sweet white meat is covered in a crusty coating, dressed in a creamy ranch-like dressing with dill pickles on top and then sandwiched between two pillowy white buns. Crispy, tangy, well-seasoned and unique. What’s not to love! Saw’s Soul Kitchen is a must-visit to taste the famous sandwich for yourself.
The Chocolate Biscuit Tea Room is arguably Trussville’s best kept secret. And the bestseller? Their chocolate biscuit, of course! With luscious chocolate sauce dolloped over a fluffy, fresh southern biscuit, it’s no wonder why!
If you’re looking for a quaint, small-town dining experience for a girl’s day out or even a family brunch, this precious tea room will meet your needs and exceed your expectations. In typical tea room fashion, the food comes in modest portions, but is priced affordably and simply tastes divine.
High demand for their chocolate biscuits make them subject to availability which is why it’s best to call ahead if this delicacy is what you’re after.
I am sure this list of foods in Alabama has given you a few stops to add to your bucket list! If you can’t wait, you can always try and make some of these yourself right at home. Either way, I hope your inner foodie has been awakened and you’re getting ready for your next Alabama food fix!
What are your favorite Alabama foods? Let me know if you think I’ve missed any important ones!