Happy New Year, y’all! Celebrate the coming year with a Southern New Year’s Day dinner—a traditional meal chock full of good-luck foods the whole family will love!
🗝️ Key takeaways
- This traditional New Year’s Day meal is jam-packed with delicious Southern favorites you’ll have a craving for the rest of the year.
- According to Southern lore, these New Year’s food traditions bring good health, long life, fortune, and prosperity!
- The best thing about New Year’s Day staples is that they’re great make-ahead dishes to feed a hungry crowd.
In the South, we take food seriously. Learn a little about traditional meals to enjoy on January 1st so you can ring in the New Year with luck—and loads of flavor!
Coca Cola glazed ham
Pork is said to inspire progress and prosperity in the New Year, and which of us doesn't need a little more of that?
This Coca Cola glazed ham is simple to make but it sure brings a lot of flavor to the table! It's sweet, salty, and spicy so each delicious bite is a parade of flavor.
Black eyed pea soup
Black Eyed Pea Soup has been a classic dish in the southern United States for generations—with roots in West Africa, where black-eyed peas are native.
Black-eyed peas, red beans, field peas (cow peas), and lentils symbolize coins, so eating them on New Year’s Eve is believed to bring wealth.
A simple and rustic dish, black-eyed pea soup gets its earthy flavors from black-eyed peas, smoky bacon, spicy tomatoes, and green chiles. This hearty, budget-friendly meal is ready in 30 minutes and tastes even better the next day!
A Southern meal just isn’t complete without cornbread, and New Year’s Day dinner is no exception! Corn kernels represent gold coins—combine cornbread with black-eyed pea soup for an extra prosperous new year!
My Easy Buttermilk Cornbread is made according to Southern family tradition with no added sugar. It’s the perfect side dish for soups, stews, and saucy main dishes.
Slow cooker collard greens
Leafy greens like turnip greens, mustard greens, collard greens, kale, chard, and cabbage resemble paper money—that's right, cold hard cash! Enjoy Southern-style collard greens on New Year’s Day with the hope of extra spending money and a lucky New Year!
Easy Crock Pot Southern Collard Greens with Bacon are tender and flavorful every time! Bacon grease makes this savory collard greens recipe extra rich and delicious.
Finish off your tasty meal of Southern New Year’s Day foods with an old-fashioned dessert like Banana Pudding From Scratch. The layers of creamy vanilla custard, sweet bananas, and crunchy vanilla wafers make banana pudding a comforting treat for all special occasions!
Cranberry whiskey sour
This Cranberry Whiskey Sour puts a festive twist on the classic American cocktail that’s a perfect end to the holiday season!
The mouthwatering cranberry citrus flavor pairs well with bourbon—just don’t forget the foamy egg white topper!
More traditional Southern recipes for New Year's Day
- Pork is a sign of success in certain countries. Southern Fried Pork Chops and Gravy is country comfort food at its finest!
- Coin-like lentils usher in wealth in this Spicy Crockpot Lentil Soup. It's soup-er easy to prepare after a busy holiday season.
- Not a fan of collards? Opt for spinach—Steakhouse Creamed Spinach is an easy copycat of the famous New Orleans Ruth's Chris recipe.
- With a crispy crust and cheesy, creamy texture, Cornbread Casserole is a traditional Thanksgiving side dish that’s delicious all year round!
- If you're looking for something lighter after the holiday indulging, this Southern Cornbread Salad hits the spot and promises prosperity. Yum!
💭 Things to know
Expert Tip: Use frozen or pre-cut veggies (like diced onions) and leafy greens for faster meal prep. You (usually) don't even have to thaw them!
- Make double or triple batches of traditional New Year’s Day foods to feed a hungry crowd. Just use the "Servings" slider on the recipe card!
- Spoon your black-eyed pea soup over rice to create a dish similar to the South Carolina favorite, Hoppin’ John (another classic NYD dish.)
- I don’t recommend freezing collard greens because they get mushy after they thaw.
- However, Southern-style collard greens keep well in the fridge for up to five days, so you can still make them in advance!
- Pork is traditionally a sign of prosperity. Be sure to incorporate bacon, ham hock, hog jowl, pork chops, pork ribs, pork tenderloin, or pork roast into your Southern New Year’s Day dinner!
- Superstitious folk avoid seafood and poultry on New Year’s Eve—eating anything that swims or flies is bad luck!
- Make large batches of cocktails days in advance for your 21-and-older New Year’s party guests! Store the cocktail mixes in sealed glass pitchers—freeze ‘em to give your drinks a more luscious texture!
📞 The last word
And there you have it, folks – a Southern New Year's Day menu that's sure to start your year off right!
From the hearty goodness of black-eyed peas and collard greens, promising prosperity and luck, to the comforting flavors of cornbread and ham, these recipes are steeped in tradition and flavor.
Whether you're hosting a big family gathering or enjoying a quiet day at home, these dishes will fill your home with warmth and your belly with satisfaction. So, as we say goodbye to the old and welcome the new, let's do it with full hearts and full plates.
Here's to a deliciously Southern New Year! Remember, good food is not just about taste; it's about sharing, tradition, and starting the year with the best of intentions.
Happy cooking, and even happier eating!