Best Fat Tuesday Recipes

Posted: March 1, 2022 11:12 am

There’s a whole day of festivity to prepare for, and most people start their celebrations right at home. Fat Tuesday is the final day of Mardi Gras, which means it’s just about time to make sure that your favorite dishes for this Cajun-inspired celebration are ready.

While you can enjoy food and drink any day of the year, this is one day you might want to hold off on some of your favorite indulgences. However, everyone loves a good nibble with friends and a glass of wine with dinner, so we’ve gathered our favorite eats and drinks for Fat Tuesday below.

For those who aren’t familiar, Mardi Gras, or Fat Tuesday, marks the final day before Lent. It is a time for celebration before the fasting and common sacrifices during this holy season. Mardi Gras is typically celebrated on a different date every year, depending on when Easter falls. Fat Tuesday itself, however, has always been set at the day before Ash Wednesday.

Most of the Fat Tuesday traditions that you’ll see in Louisiana involve desserts like beignets, King Cake, or Pralines.

Here are some of our favorites:

King Cakes

This egg-based dessert has its roots in New Orleans and is made with a sweet yellow cake with cream cheese icing, traditionally served on Ash Wednesday.


  • 5 cups all-purpose flour
  • One teaspoon baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup butter, softened
  • 2 cups sugar
  • ½ cup vegetable oil
  • One egg
  • ¼ cup sour cream


1. Preheat the oven to 350°F. Grease a 12-cup bundt pan or line with parchment paper.
2. Sift the flour, baking powder, and salt into a large mixing bowl. Set aside.
3. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, cream the butter and sugar and whisk for about 5 minutes until light and fluffy, ensure no lumps remain.
4. Add oil, then add the egg and mix well until just combined. Pour the flour mixture into the batter, alternating with the sour cream, until just combined.
5. Spoon the batter into the prepared pan and bake for about 1 hour or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.
6. Cool in pan for 10 minutes, then run a knife around the edge of the cake to loosen it from the pan and invert onto a wire rack to cool completely before frosting.
7. To make the icing, beat the sour cream and sugar together in a small bowl until smooth. Add the shortening and whisk to combine. Add enough milk for a creamy consistency, about 1 cup of milk.
If needed, add more milk in small amounts to get the desired thickness. Spread on the cooled cake as desired.

And you will have made it through Mardi Gras with a delicious treat that is both sweet and savory.

Crawfish Bisque

This dish is one of the most famous Cajun recipes and consistently appears on Fat Tuesday tables. Crawfish bisque is a very spicy cream soup made with pieces of crawfish that are local to southern Louisiana. It’s traditionally served as an appetizer but can be a light meal in its own right.


  • Three tablespoons butter
  • ¾ cup chopped onion
  • One tablespoon minced garlic
  • One tablespoon all-purpose flour
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 2 cups water, or more to taste
  • 2 pounds crawfish tails and shells
  • ½ cup heavy cream, optional
  • Chopped parsley for garnish


1. In a large saucepan, melt the butter over medium heat. Add the onions and garlic, and sauté for about 5 minutes.
2. Stir in flour, salt, and pepper, then gradually add the water until you get a smooth paste.
3. Add crawfish tails to boil for about 3 minutes, frequently stirring to avoid sticking to the pan bottom. Then reduce heat and simmer, frequently stirring to avoid sticking, until tails are tender and meat is white.
4. Add cream and simmer for a few more minutes, optional. Serve immediately with oyster crackers for dipping if desired. Sprinkle with parsley if desired.
5. Enjoy!

Tip: This dish can be made without the cream for a lower fat option that’s just as delicious.

The Spanish Platter

When the carnival season starts in New Orleans, some people get ready for it with a special meal that is amazing appetizers. The Spanish Platter is a plate of grilled bread, olives, and peppers; it’s perfect for enjoying while you’re waiting for the festivities to begin.


  • One Italian loaf of bread, 1/2 pound
  • ½ cup olive oil
  • One tablespoon red pepper flakes, if desired.


1. Cut the bread into 3-inch slices. Cut the olive oil into the bread and place it in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the red pepper flakes if desired, but be sure to cook the bread quickly, or it will be soggy.
2. Cook for about 4 minutes until lightly brown and crisp on each side. Place on a plate and serve with your favorite salsa or dressing.
3. This is an excellent dish for parties and should be served with plenty of olives because this is the Spanish way.


Beignets are a New Orleans classic that has taken the country by storm. Beignets are fried donuts that come with powdered sugar. They are traditionally served with coffee, hot chocolate, or cold milk in the morning on Fat Tuesday and at Mardi Gras Parties throughout the city.
A popular misconception is that they should be large and thick, but you should make beignet with a cake or pastry fashioned into small rounds.


  • Warm water, 120ºF
  • One tablespoon yeast
  • Two teaspoons sugar
  • 3/4 cup butter, melted and cooled slightly
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • Vegetable oil for frying


1. Combine warm water, yeast, and sugar in a small bowl and stand for 10 minutes until foamy. If not foamy, repeat using new yeast. Leave the mixture covered at room temperature until ready to use.
2. Melt the butter in a large bowl. Add the salt and flour, and stir to combine. Knead in the dough for about 10 minutes. If you do not have a stand mixer, you can use your hands. If the water becomes too warm, place it in the refrigerator for 30 minutes to cool it slightly before continuing.
3. Turn the dough out onto a floured surface and knead for about 1 minute.
4. Place into a greased bowl, cover with a damp towel and let rise until doubled, about 1 hour.
5. Punch down the dough, fold it over on itself, and return to the bowl. Cover again with the damp towel and let rise until doubled again about 30 minutes.
6. Roll the dough out on a lightly floured surface to 1/4 inch thickness. Cut out dough rounds with a 2 1/2 to 3-inch round cutter and place onto two non-stick baking sheets.
7. Cover the dough rounds with a damp towel, and let rest for 10 minutes.
8. Heat 2 inches of oil in a large, heavy saucepan over medium heat until temperature reaches 375ºF on an instant-read thermometer.
9. Carefully place the dough rounds in the oil, being careful not to crowd. Cook for 1 minute on each side until they are golden brown. Remove with a slotted spoon and drain on paper towels. Repeat with the remaining dough circles, allowing them to cool before serving hot.

Turtle Soup

Turtle soup is a traditional dish served at Mardi Gras parties long before it became popular outside of Louisiana. It is often called Turtle Soup a la Kreole because it’s Kreole’s version of the soup found in New Orleans.


  • 1. 5-pound turtle meat, chopped
  • 1/3 cup olive oil
  • 1/3 cup flour
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • Two bay leaves
  • Two stalks celery, chopped
  • One small onion, chopped
  • 3 cups chicken stock, or seafood stock
  • One can diced tomatoes or tomato sauce of your choice
  • ¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon Rosemary
  • 1/2 teaspoon Thyme
  • ½ cup green onions, sliced finely


1. Season the turtle meat with salt and bay leaves and sit for 1 hour.
2. Combine flour and oil, and coat the turtle meat in the mixture.
3. Heat olive oil in a large saucepan over medium heat; add flour-coated turtle meat and sauté for about 5 minutes or until browned on all sides.
4. Add celery, onion, and remaining ingredients. Slowly add the chicken stock and bring it to a boil. Lower heat and simmer for about 1½ hours, covered. Serve in bowls.
5. It can be made in advance and reheated if desired before serving on Mardi Gras or any day you want to serve it.

Cornbread Muffins

Made with moist cornbread, these muffins are a traditional yeast-raised recipe from New Orleans, another Fat Tuesday delicacy.


  • 1 cup yellow cornmeal
  • One teaspoon baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon baking soda
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • One egg, lightly beaten
  • ½ cup butter, melted and cooled slightly
  • ¼ cup sour cream or plain yogurt


1. preheat oven to 400°F. Spray a muffin tin with cooking spray or use paper liners.
2. Combine the dry ingredients in a bowl and stir well to combine.
3. Add the batter to a small bowl and add the wet ingredients; stir until smooth.
4. Tip the mixture into a muffin pan and bake for 15 minutes or until golden brown.
5. Remove from pan, cool on racks, then serve.

Woodcock or Woodcock Hen

It is a whole roasted bird stuffed with rice and herbs, stuffed with a head or tail of corn on the cob, and flavored with peppers and onions. You commonly see it served whole on Fat Tuesday at the city’s bars and restaurants. The bird is rolled in wood chips which gives it its name.


  • 4 to 6 Woodcock or Woodcock Hens, 1-1½ lbs each, whole
  • 2 cups water
  • ½ cup butter or olive oil
  • 2 cups uncooked brown rice, cooked and cooled
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon pepper


1. preheat oven to 375°F.
2. Place birds in a large roasting pan, breast side up.
3. Fill the cavity with 1 cup water and place the lid on top, turning the pan to create a tight seal.
4. Place in oven to cook for 1 hour. Let rest 10 minutes before serving warm or at room temperature.
5. Make a sauce by heating butter or oil in a large saucepan over medium heat until the foam subsides, then add scallions and peppers. Cook for 3 minutes, stirring frequently. Add the rice and cook for two more minutes or until the rice is golden brown, taste to check for seasoning.
6. If you want to make this gluten-free, use rice flour, or potato starch, instead of brown rice flour.
7. Serve with a sauce made from the pan drippings.

Red Velvet Cake

Red velvet cake is a famous New Orleans dessert that has been around since the late 1950s. It has no red food coloring, unlike the cakes you see in many bakeries around the country that have made it fashionable. It is a chocolate cake with a hint of coffee flavoring and vanilla frosting, which rises to the top, creating that iconic look.


  • 1½ cups sifted cake flour
  • 1½ teaspoons baking soda
  • Three tablespoons cocoa, unsweetened, natural
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • Two tablespoons instant coffee granules, decaffeinated
  • 2/3 cup boiling water
  • ¾ cup butter or margarine softened
  • One cup sugar; divided in half and one-half set aside for frosting
  • One teaspoon vanilla extract
  • Five egg whites; set aside 2 for frosting
  • One tablespoon white vinegar
  • Two tablespoons cold water


1. preheat oven to 350°F. Grease and flour two 9-inch round layer cake pans or three 8-inch round layer cake pans, and set aside.
Sift the flour, cocoa, salt, and baking powder into a large bowl and mix well. Stir in the coffee granules until blended. Set aside.
2. Combine the boiling water and butter in a small bowl and set aside to cool slightly.
3. Add 3/4 cup sugar to the flour mixture, stir in the butter mixture, and vanilla extract until smooth. Beat egg whites with an electric mixer on high until soft peaks form; gradually add unbeaten egg whites, vinegar, and cold water together with the remaining 1/4 cup sugar, then beat on high for 10 minutes or until thick.
4. Fold the egg white mixture into the batter until blended.
5. Pour batter into prepared pans, dividing it evenly and smoothing it with a spatula. Bake in the preheated oven for 20 to 25 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center of the cake comes out clean.
6. Cool for 10 minutes before removing pans; cool entirely on wire racks before frosting.
7. To make vanilla frosting, beat cream cheese and butter in a medium bowl until smooth. Add the 1/2 cup sugar, vinegar, and vanilla and beat until creamy.
8. Add the remaining frosting ingredients together in the bowl of an electric mixer and beat on high for 10 minutes or until thick and spreadable. Spread evenly over cooled cake layers and refrigerate for about 1 hour to set.
9. The cake is good at room temperature or refrigerated but should be served within a few days of baking to avoid spoilage.

Cinnamon Creme Brulee

With the tang of citrus, this creamy dessert gets its sweetness from vanilla bean and is topped with a sprinkling of fresh cinnamon with lemon zest.


  • ½ cup granulated sugar
  • 1/3 cup fresh lemon juice
  • ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 cups heavy cream
  • Freshly grated cinnamon and lemon zest for garnish


1. preheat oven to 300°F. Set out six 4-ounce ramekins, or small shallow bowls, and fit with custard cups.
2. Combine sugar, lemon zest and juice, and vanilla in a small bowl. Gradually whisk in the cream until well combined and set aside.
3. Fill each cup two-thirds full with the citrus cream, then transfer to a baking pan and place in oven. The water bath will keep the ramekins from cracking. Bake for about 30 minutes, or until the custard has set and is not wobbly in the center; cool for 1 hour at room temperature, then refrigerate overnight. Cooling makes it easier to unmold.
4. When ready to serve, top the chilled custard with a sprinkle of cinnamon and a grating of lemon zest.
5. The dish can be made in advance and served chilled or at room temperature.
6. It can be made vegan by substituting margarine for the butter, adding a tablespoon or two of vanilla extract, and instead of cream, using soy milk



Get a daily dose of cooking inspiration! Be the first to see newly added recipes and holiday ideas.