Celebrate MLK Day with Some of the Historic Leader’s Favorite Dishes

Posted: January 17, 2022 11:53 am

When we think of the work of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., the concepts of freedom and equality for all come to mind. Dr. King was also a Southern man and indulged in many delicious dishes that are popular in this region of the country as he traveled and spread his message of non-violence throughout the country. As we celebrate this MLK day, here are some of the delicious dishes the late Civil Rights leader enjoyed.

Macaroni and Cheese

Most Southerners love baked macaroni and cheese, and Dr. King was no exception. This comfort food is filled with cheesy goodness and often graces the family table on Sunday evenings. You can prepare a pan of this delicious casserole to go with other soul food dishes like cornbread dressing, fried fish or chicken, and smothered green beans.

Collard Greens

Dr. King likely had his share of collard greens at memorable family gatherings. This soul food staple goes great with cornbread or dressing, but you can also enjoy it with fried or smothered chicken. Collard greens are often prepared with cured pork for flavor, but you can also use smoked turkey to make a delicious pot of greens.

Peach Cobbler

Few Southern desserts are as popular as peach cobbler. This sweet treat is a favorite in Georgia, where peaches are plentiful. Dr. King enjoyed this dessert as often as he could, and particularly enjoyed his mother’s version of the dish. This fruity dessert tastes even better with a scoop of vanilla ice cream on top.

Pickled Eggs

This delicious Southern side dish is easy to prepare and was one of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s favorite snacks. This snack also paired nicely with pickled pigs feet, which was another one of the snacks King took with him on the road. Pickled eggs are often enjoyed with beets for an extra boost of iron and protein.

Smothered Steak

When King was craving a hearty meal, he often opted for smothered steak. Steak with a savory gravy filled with onions and peppers makes a filling meal, especially if you pair the steak with rice or egg noodles. This dish can make a memorable dinner your family will likely enjoy as well.


Dr. King’s mother perfected this recipe, which was a combination of gelatin, whipped cream, fruit salad, and marshmallows molded together. This dish is often featured at Southern picnics and is a lighter alternative to a cake or pie. Quilly can also be served with sliced peaches, which is a fitting tribute to King’s Georgia roots.

Pecan Pie

King’s favorite dessert was pecan pie. The freedom fighter loved this sweet Southern treat so much that he requested it in place of cake for his birthday every year. You can enhance the recipe by adding bourbon to the filling, which goes great with the sweet syrup and hearty pecans.

Fried Chicken

Dr. King was from Atlanta, so it’s no surprise that he loved a fried chicken dinner. This delicious chicken is a staple for Sunday meals in the South, and the crispy seasoned coating or juicy chicken brings back pleasant family memories for many Southerners. Fried chicken goes great with soul food side dishes like collard greens, candied yams, and cornbread.



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