5 classic Mardi Gras foods that you must eat


Even if you have never stepped food in New Orleans, Mardi Gras is celebrated everywhere. These five classic Mardi Gras foods must be eaten at least once.

While many cities celebrate Mardi Gras for several days, the biggest celebratory day is the Tuesday before Ash Wednesday. The day is often marked with celebrations, indulgences and lots of food. Since some people fast during the Lenten season, the day beforehand is filled with highly indulgent food. From sweet treats to delicious cocktails, everyone skips the diet for the Mardi Gras foods.

In the U.S., New Orleans has one of the most notable Mardi Gras celebrations. As people line the streets for the parades, the restaurants and bars serve all types of Mardi Gras foods. While some of these foods are available all year long, Mardi Gras is a great reason to try or rediscover them again.

King Cake, photo provided Universal Studios Florida

King Cake

The brightly colored cake is known for what’s inside more than anything else. Often a bready-cake, flavored with cinnamon, the cake has a colored, sugar topping. The circular cake is colored with yellows, greens and purples, which are common Mardi Gras colors. Usually, a plastic baby is hidden somewhere in the cake. The person who finds the baby needs to bring the King cake to next year’s celebration.

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Originated in Louisiana, jambalaya is a popular meat and rice dish. With a French and Spanish influence, this dish can be found all around New Orleans. Jambalaya can be made with or without tomatoes. Some people prefer one version over another. Usually, all the dishes ingredients are cooked together. Meat, vegetables, seafood and rice make this Mardi Gras food a very hearty dish.

Sparkling Ice, Hurricane Snow Cone, photo provided by Sparkling ice


With all types of delicious Mardi Gras foods, a potent drink is needed to wash it all down. The New Orleans’ style hurricane can be a very good, yet strong, cocktail. Pat O’Brien’s has one of the most famous hurricanes in New Orleans.

The combination of rum, fruit juice and grenadine can make for a very sweet cocktail. Depending on the specific ingredients, like the rum, the cocktail can become quite strong. What began as a way to use up non-popular rum, hurricanes are extremely popular. Whether drunk from a classic hurricane glass or drank from a plastic up on Bourbon Street, a Mardi Gras celebration isn’t complete without at least one hurricane.

For a simple, yet flavorful Hurricane recipe, Sparkling Ice has created a Hurricane Snow Cone. Here’s the recipe.

"Hurricane Snow Cone by Sparkling IceIngredients•Juice of half a lime•2 oz light rum•2 oz dark rum•2 oz passion fruit juice•2 oz Sparkling Ice Orange Mango•1 tablespoon grenadineDirections1. Squeeze juice from half a lime into cocktail shaker over ice.2. Pour the remaining ingredients into the shaker and shake gently.3. Strain into a hurricane glass filled with shaved ice, garnish with a cherry and orange slice."

Po Boy

Many regions have classic sandwiches. The Po Boy is a classic Louisiana sandwich. While the sandwich had been around for a while, the name po boy can from striking restaurant workers who enjoyed this type of sandwiches during the strike.

One of the keys to a delicious po boy is the classic French bread. The soft bread with a crisp crust absorbs all the flavor from the sandwich ingredients. Add some fried shrimp, fried oysters or even some roast beef and the sandwich becomes a hearty meal.

(Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)


Whether served for breakfast or as a dessert, beignets are a delicious warm pastry that can be quite addictive. Made from a choux pastry, these fried pastries are commonly served with copious amounts of powdered sugar. When eating them, it is assumed that powdered sugar will get all over you.

In New Orleans, Café du Monde is the quintessential locations to have a beignet. Often paired either with a café au lait or a chicory coffee, these delightful little pastries are popular any time of the day. Make sure to have lots of napkins.

What are some of your favorite Mardi Gras foods? Will you be eating some on Fat Tuesday?