Wine Pairing Ideas for Your Southern Food Favorites

If you’ve never experienced the deliciousness of real southern food you are seriously missing out! Many of these dishes are rooted in history and traditions making them rich and flavorful. This means that they can be paired successfully with an equally robust wine. Continue reading to discover a wide variety of food and wine pairing ideas for southern food delicacies.

When pairing wine with southern dishes, I consider how flavors like spices and cheese interact. Several types of cuisine fall under the broad category of southern cooking, including Cajun, Creole, Lowcountry, and others. I will focus primarily on Southern American cuisine here.

Dry Wines

For starters, I’ll consider pairing dry wines with southern dishes. A full-bodied red wine like Malbec or Zinfandel will be bold enough to stand up to traditional southern flavors while not overpowering lighter fare. Dry white wines are also an option for pairing. Sauvignon Blanc is the most versatile choice in this category. It can be paired with southern dishes like fried green tomatoes, shrimp and grits, and chicken and waffles.

Sweet Wines

Not into dry wines? Sweet white wines can also pair well with southern comfort food; however, they must be selected wisely. Moscato or Riesling, in particular, is a good bet for pairing ideas. These sweet whites are best served alongside dishes like fried chicken, peach cobbler, and banana pudding.


Southern food often features an abundance of spices. These types of cuisine are heavily seasoned with cayenne, paprika, garlic powder, black pepper, chili powder, and red pepper flakes among others.

The best wines to pair with heavy spiced southern dishes are full-bodied reds like Cabernet Sauvignon and Zinfandel. These types of wine have been known to stand up to bold flavors from coffee, chocolate, peppers, and herbs. Tannins in these wines will also help to cut the heat from spices, making them a great choice for pairing with southern spicy dishes.

Southern Comfort Food and Wine Pairings

Not sure what types of wines to pair with popular southern comfort food dishes like fried green tomatoes and Carolina pulled pork? Consider Riesling and Pinot Noir pairs. Light-bodied reds like Pinot Noir and Grenache can be a bit too subtle for pairing with heavy southern dishes, so try pairing them with lighter fare.

Southern comfort food is known as some of the best in the country. Southern blue cheese dressing and fried green tomatoes come to mind immediately when thinking about what types of food from this cuisine pair well with wine. Regardless of which type of southern dish, there is a wine out there that can pair well with it.

I will also outline a breakdown of how southern food can be paired with the right wine-by-meal basis.

Side Dishes

There are so many side dishes that go well with southern meals. Everything from roasted veggies to cornbread, sugary baked beans to crunchy slaw all go well with wine. To pair with these southern staples, I use a fruit-forward Rose of Shiraz or an earthy Zinfandel. I find that Rose’ and Shiraz’s have a nice fruity flavor that is great for sweeter side dishes.


If a southern-style dinner has salty or rich foods like fried chicken, gooey macaroni and cheese, or creamy mashed potatoes, I pair the meal with a dry Riesling from Germany, Austria, or France. I also try to pair the southern-style meals with a bottle of exquisite American wine, the Cabernet Sauvignon.


To pair with desserts, I use a Pineau des Charentes, either red or white. It is great for pairing with sweet southern dishes like bread pudding, key lime pie, or pecan pie. It’s also great served alongside chocolate fudge cake or spicy gingerbread.

Meaty Entrees

For a meaty meal like slow-roasted beef, lamb, or pork, aged Red Wine like the Côtes du Rhone Villages by Bordelet is a great choice that I consider all the time. This wine has a freshness with a hint of black raspberry and plum, along with a soft earthiness to complement the juiciness of the meat.

Wine and southern food is always a good idea. Pairing the best of these two worlds will be unquestionably, the best dinners you’ve eaten all year long. Happy pairing!

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