Whether you call it Mardi Gras, Fat Tuesday or Carnival, one thing’s for certain: It’s party time. If you can’t get out to NOLA (as literally no one in Louisiana probably actually calls it), that doesn’t mean you can’t celebrate Mardi Gras at home with some festive foods, good friends and spirited cocktails.
But first, you’ll need a traditional Fat Tuesday menu. King cake is a must, and as an ode to the Mardi Gras tradition of going hog-wild with fatty foods before Lent, scarfing down some fried chicken has become something of a tradition. But what about gumbo, jambalaya and po’boys? They eat those too, though that’s because it’s Tuesday and that’s what people in The Big Easy eat. There really are no rules, though NOLA.com’s Ann Maloney, in her article on hosting a Mardi Gras party, suggests indulging in some dishes that invoke the spirit of Nawlins (which they probably also don’t say unless it’s just their accent). And don’t forget about big-batch foods that feed a crowd if you invited all the neighbors.
Pro tip: Many of the recipes ahead feature ingredients that might be tough to get your claws on in some areas of the country. If that’s the case, Maloney encourages you to check out CajunGrocer to get your Mardi Gras party started. Now, all you have to do is narrow down which of these recipes you’ll be making for the big day.
A version of this article was originally published February 2019.