What to Make on New Year’s Day in the South

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A Traditional Southern New Year’s Meal

Living in the South, there are many New Year’s traditions I had never heard of, since I grew up in the Midwest. I remember my first New Year’s with my in-laws, and being amused by the things you had to have on New Year’s or the next year wouldn’t go well. I was amused simply because I had never heard of this and I am not a superstitious person. I didn’t realize at the time that this was a “thing” here in the South.

So traditionally here in the southern United States, you have certain things you are supposed to eat every New Year’s Day, but there’s also a couple things you aren’t supposed to eat…because they bring bad luck. You don’t want to curse the new year before it has even started.

What Southerners Eat for New Year’s Day

So according to tradition (superstition) you are supposed to eat a few things every New Year’s Day to bring about good luck and fortune for the year to come.

How to Cook a Traditional Southern New Year's Day Meal | Cosmopolitan Cornbread

Peas or Beans

Peas or beans look a little bit like a coin, and represent wealth. The most common dish is Black-eyed Peas, but some families will have split peas, pinto beans, lentils or something else along those lines.


Greens aren’t too hard to figure out. They represent money, specifically “folding money” or dollar bills. For this, things like turnip greens, collards, cabbage, Brussels sprouts, or some other sort of “greens” are served.


So the story behind pork, is that because a pig “roots forward,” it means that going forward into the year will be fortunate. But you should never eat chicken on New Year’s because a chicken scratches backwards. You also aren’t supposed to eat lobster, since it swims backwards. (Does that include shrimp or crawfish?) That’s bad luck.


Cornbread is the gold! Not only that, but you can’t hardly eat peas, beans or greens without cornbread. It just not done.

Menu Suggestions:

Hearty Split Pea Soup

This hearty soup is full of rich flavor from bacon and pork sausage. It is a thick, stick-to-your-ribs soup.

Hearty Split Pea Soup is a very thick and rich soup, great for cooler weather, and very "stick-to-your-ribs." It is wonderful served with a nice crusty bread.

This rich and tangy soup is filled with good veggies, including cabbage, leeks and more. The added bacon is a bonus for this slow cooker recipe.

German Potato Soup - a Slow Cooker recipe from Cosmopolitan Cornbread
German Potato Soup – Kartoffelsuppe

Slow Cooker Kielbasa Split Pea Soup

This chunky soup is another great one to combine both the peas and the pork in one dish.

Kielbasa Split Pea Soup from Cosmopolitan Cornbread
Slow Cooker Kielbasa Split Pea Soup

Cajun Red Beans and Rice

Seasoned with bacon and Andouille sausage, you will love the flavor packed into these beans!

How to make classic Cajun Red Beans & Rice from Cosmopolitan Cornbread
Classic Cajun Red Beans & Rice

If you’re looking for some Black-eyed Peas, I can’t help you there, but check out my friend Brandi’s recipe.

Smoked Sausage & Black-Eyed Pea Soup from Aunt Bee’s Recipes

Roasted Brussels Sprouts with Bacon

One of my favorite ways to serve “greens” is this Brussels sprouts recipe.

Roasted Brussels Sprouts with Bacon | This recipe is Low-Carb, Paleo and Keto friendly! Get the recipe from Cosmopolitan Cornbread
Roasted Brussels Sprouts with Bacon

Skillet Cornbread

My cornbread is the perfect cornbread if you ask me. It is moist and has just a touch of sweet.

Good old-fashioned Skillet Cornbread - get the recipe from Cosmopolitan Cornbread
Good old-fashioned Skillet Cornbread

Don’t Forget Dessert!

You can’t have a holiday meal and skip dessert. Here’s some of my favorite old-fashioned desserts to serve on New Year’s…or any occasion for that matter.

Old-Fashioned Blueberry Cornbread Cake

Enjoy the rustic flavor of this Old-fashioned Blueberry Cornbread Cake with crumb topping. Get this old-timey recipe from Cosmopolitan Cornbread.
Old-Fashioned Blueberry Cornbread Cake

Lemon & Blueberry Skillet Cake

Lemon & Blueberry Skillet Cake from Cosmopolitan Cornbread. Enjoy these beautiful, fresh flavors together in a simple cake with lemon glaze.
Lemon & Blueberry Skillet Cake

Blueberry Cobbler

Make this delicious Blueberry Cobbler for your summer festivities - Get the recipe from Cosmopolitan Cornbread
Blueberry Cobbler

Double Chocolate Fudge Cola Cake

Double Chocolate Fudge Coca-Cola Cake - a Cracker Barrel Copycat recipe from Cosmopolitan Cornbread
Double Chocolate Fudge Coca-Cola Cake

Mississippi Mud Slow Cooker Cake

Mississippi Mud Slow Cooker Cake

Do YOU have any New Year’s traditions?

How ever you start your year off,

I wish you a wonderful New Year filled with blessings!

How to Cook a Traditional Southern New Year's Day Meal | Cosmopolitan Cornbread

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