Wondering What to Serve with Jambalaya? 33 Appetizers, Sides and Desserts to Try

·9 min read

So you whipped up a big batch of jambalaya, complete with andouille, chicken and shrimp—we’re totally impressed. But a feast wouldn’t be complete without a few appetizers and sides, right? (And don’t forget dessert.) From side dishes like cornbread, collards and corn salad to sweet treats to end the night (mmm, banana pudding), these 33 delicious recipe ideas will help you finally stop wondering what to serve with jambalaya and get cooking. Plus, if you pick a couple sides and a dessert from our list, you’ll have a complete meal.

RELATED: 28 Soul Food Recipes That Southerners Swear By (and Northerners Need to Try)


Appetizers and Side Dishes

1. Sweet and Spicy Cornbread

  • Time Commitment: 1 hour, 20 minutes

  • Why We Love It: one pan, vegetarian, crowd-pleaser

We know Southerners might scoff at the addition of sugar, but we just can’t get enough of the swicy flavor combination. (That’s sweet + spicy, FYI.)

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2. Smoky Barbecued Corn

  • Time Commitment: 30 minutes

  • Why We Love It: <10 ingredients, ready in <30 minutes, vegetarian

Corn on the cob? Great. Grilled corn on the cob? Even better. And if you slather it in spices and cheese, we just might marry you.

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3. Creamy Oven Polenta

  • Time Commitment: 55 minutes

  • Why We Love It: <10 ingredients, vegetarian, gluten free, low sugar

It’s creamy, comforting and just the thing to soak up all that saucy goodness from your jambalaya. Use white cornmeal to make it more akin to grits.

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4. Marinated White Bean and Tomato Salad

  • Time Commitment: 1 hour, 5 minutes

  • Why We Love It: low sugar, make ahead, <10 ingredients

When you’re already sweating over a pot of stew, the last thing you need is a bunch of steamy sides to stress about. This marinated dish basically makes itself—that hour time commitment is mostly hands-off.

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5. Easy 5-Ingredient Corn Soup

  • Time Commitment: 55 minutes

  • Why We Love It: <10 ingredients, vegetarian, gluten free

There’s something about serving a cup of soup before a meal that feels fancy and restaurant-like. This corn soup calls for just a handful of ingredients but tastes like a summertime dream.

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6. Coconut Creamed Spinach

  • Time Commitment: 30 minutes

  • Why We Love It: one pan, dairy free, vegetarian, beginner-friendly

Switch up your usual greens with this dairy-free take on creamed spinach. Even better, it’s a one-skillet deal.

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7. Sprightly Biscuits

  • Time Commitment: 20 minutes

  • Why We Love It: ready in <30 minutes, kid-friendly, <10 ingredients

These fluffy biscuits get their irresistible texture (and name) from none other than a can of lemon-lime soda. Even if you’re not a baker, you can make ’em.

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8. Sweet Potato Biscuit Rolls with Honey Butter Glaze

  • Time Commitment: 2 hours, 30 minutes

  • Why We Love It: vegetarian, <500 calories, kid-friendly, crowd-pleaser

And if you are a baker, these biscuit-meets-bun rolls have your name on them. The sweetness will be the ideal foil to a spicy bowl of jambalaya.

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9. Fried Green Tomatoes

  • Time Commitment: 40 minutes

  • Why We Love It: vegetarian, crowd-pleaser

Gardeners, listen up: When faced with a plethora of unripe tomatoes, transform them into these crispy, juicy bites. One dip in the garlic aioli and you won’t be able to stop.

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10. Buttermilk Skillet Cornbread with Tomatoes and Scallions

  • Time Commitment: 50 minutes

  • Why We Love It: one pan, vegetarian, crowd-pleaser, special occasion–­worthy

This is a lesson in how to turn an otherwise simple side dish into something entertaining-worthy. You could easily swap in another favorite summer vegetable, like corn, zucchini or bell pepper, too.

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11. Corn and Tomato Salad with Feta and Lime

  • Time Commitment: 20 minutes

  • Why We Love It: <10 ingredients, ready in <30 minutes, beginner-friendly

Speaking of corn, we’re not afraid to admit we have a crush on this effortless salad. Skip the feta if you want a more Southern vibe, but don’t skimp on the lime.

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12. Cajun Oven-Roasted Okra Fries with Lemon-Garlic Aioli

  • Time Commitment: 35 minutes

  • Why We Love It: crowd-pleaser, beginner-friendly, vegetarian

Who needs potatoes when you have okra? When roasted in the oven, it becomes crispy and dippable.

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13. Succotash

  • Time Commitment: 40 minutes

  • Why We Love It: <500 calories, gluten free, dairy free

This savory mix of corn and beans is a Southern staple that celebrates the produce of summer, so you can bet it’s on our table.

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14. Southern Hushpuppies

  • Time Commitment: 20 minutes

  • Why We Love It: crowd-pleaser, ready in <30 minutes, <500 calories

These cornmeal cuties are crisp on the outside, tender on the inside and begging to be dipped in the condiment of your choice. (Remoulade—a mayo-based dressing that’s like tartar sauce—is a classic choice.)

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15. Cast Iron Cornbread

  • Time Commitment: 45 minutes

  • Why We Love It: one pan, vegetarian, kid-friendly, beginner-friendly, <10 ingredients

Whether you’re in the savory cornbread camp or you like it on the sweet side, we can all agree on one thing: It’s at its finest when baked in a cast iron skillet—the magic ingredient to a crisp, toothsome edge.

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16. Southern Collard Greens

  • Time Commitment: 3 hours, 15 minutes

  • Why We Love It: crowd-pleaser, one pot, dairy free

With a little TLC (OK, and a ham hock), you can transform a big bunch of greens into a tender, silky side dish.

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17. Zesty Chargrilled Broccolini

  • Time Commitment: 10 minutes

  • Why We Love It: ready in <15 minutes, <10 ingredients, vegan

If you’re short on time, skip the slow-braised sides in favor of this lightning-fast vegetable. It’s fresh, simple and never a bad idea.

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18. Brussels Sprouts Skillet with Crispy Pancetta-Garlic Breadcrumbs

  • Time Commitment: 30 minutes

  • Why We Love It: one pan, <10 ingredients, low sugar, <500 calories

It can be tricky to get Brussels sprouts crispy without the help of an air fryer or a long stint in the oven. Here, the aromatic topping brings that extra crunch we crave.

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19. Southern Baked Mac and Cheese

  • Time Commitment: 1 hour

  • Why We Love It: crowd-pleaser, vegetarian, kid-friendly

Step away from the boxed stuff. This homemade mac is richer, cheesier and worth the extra effort.

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20. Fresh Black Bean Salad

  • Time Commitment: 20 minutes

  • Why We Love It: no cook, ready in <30 minutes, vegetarian, make ahead

Aside from being light and quick to make, this salad keeps in the fridge for a few days, so you can make it ahead of time.

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21. Crisp Green Salad with Benne Seed Ginger Dressing

  • Time Commitment: 15 min

  • Why We Love It: no cook, ready in <15 minutes, vegetarian

Not tonight, bottled dressing. This homemade version comes together easily in a blender, and its bright, complex flavor pairs fabulously with the bitter salad greens.

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22. Dirty Rice

  • Time Commitment: 1 hour, 20 minutes

  • Why We Love It: crowd-pleaser, <500 calories

The sausage and chicken are key to the deeply smoky flavor of this dish, but you could swap in mushrooms to make it vegetarian.

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23. Cheddar Scallion Biscuits

  • Time Commitment: 25 minutes

  • Why We Love It: crowd-pleaser, ready in <30 minutes, <10 ingredients

Why have a plain biscuit when you could have one laced with cheese and savory herbs? Good thing this recipe makes a batch of 12.

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Desserts

24. Banana Pudding Cups

  • Time Commitment: 4 hours, 20 minutes

  • Why We Love It: kid-friendly, beginner-friendly, crowd-pleaser, <10 ingredients

There are a lot of ways to make banana pudding, but to keep things quick and easy (and to let the fresh fruit shine), this version starts with a cornstarch-thickened pudding instead of an egg-based custard. The hardest part is waiting for it to chill.

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25. Blackberry-Raspberry Skillet Cobbler

  • Time Commitment: 30 minutes

  • Why We Love It: one pan, ready in <30 minutes, <10 ingredients

You get all the summery-sweet perks of pie (juicy berries! perfectly sweet crust!) without so much effort—it’s ready in all of half an hour. Pass the vanilla ice cream.

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26. Mini Caramel Pecan Pies with Cinnamon Roll Pie Crust

  • Time Commitment: 45 minutes

  • Why We Love It: beginner-friendly, kid-friendly, crowd-pleaser

Everyone will ooh and ahh, but you don’t have to tell them these bites start with store-bought cinnamon rolls. Plus, we’re suckers for a mini dessert. (What can we say? They’re cute.)

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27. Mini Key Lime Pies

  • Time Commitment: 40 minutes (plus chilling time)

  • Why We Love It: crowd-pleaser, special occasion­–worthy, beginner-friendly

These minis come together in a muffin tin and are quicker to bake and chill than the original full-size recipe for key lime pie, which means they’re in your mouth in less time too.

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28. Hummingbird Cupcakes with Pineapple Flowers

  • Time Commitment: 4 hours

  • Why We Love It: crowd-pleaser, special occasion­–worthy, kid-friendly

As it turns out, a canned of crushed pineapple and the overripe bananas crying from your kitchen counter make one hell of a good cupcake. They’re sweet, moist and, best of all, topped with cream cheese frosting.

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29. Skillet Peach Cobbler

  • Time Commitment: 1 hour, 10 minutes

  • Why We Love It: one pan, beginner-friendly, <500 calories

With your handy-dandy cast iron skillet, a saucy peach dessert is a little over an hour away. (And without any kneading or rolling.)

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30. Magical Chocolate Chess Pie

  • Time Commitment: 7 hours (includes cooling time)

  • Why We Love It: crowd-pleaser, special occasion–worthy

Caramelly sweet cheese pie meets fudgy chocolate brownie. Even so-called chocolate haters (we see you) will have a hard time resisting this one.

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31. Pecan Pie Brownies

  • Time Commitment: 1 hour, 5 minutes

  • Why We Love It: kid-friendly, crowd-pleaser

Confession: We typically steer clear of nuts in cookies and brownies. But this batch has a gooey topping just like the pie, and gooey toppings are our weakness.

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32. Lemon Key Lime Pie Bars

  • Time Commitment: 2 hours

  • Why We Love It: crowd-pleaser, <500 calories, beginner-friendly, make ahead

A touch of lemon juice takes the custard to a new level of tanginess, with a generous swoop of whipped cream to balance everything out.

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33. Bourbon Sweet Potato Pie with Marshmallow Topping

  • Time Commitment: 7 hours (includes cooling time)

  • Why We Love It: crowd-pleaser, special occasion–worthy

If you’re going all out, you might as well do it with marshmallow topping. Bust out the blow torch.

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RELATED: 40 Quick and Easy Side Dishes for Fish

Katherine Gillen is a writer, recipe developer and food stylist with a degree in culinary arts and professional experience in New York City restaurants. She used to sling sugary desserts in a pastry kitchen, but now she's an avid home cook and fanatic baker.