Unlike celebrations like the Super Bowl and Halloween, where food associations have been given to them over time, Mardi Gras really is at its core about food. Mardi Gras, or Fat Tuesday, has its origins in Christianity, where the “Boeuf Gras” — French for fatted calf — was eaten to mark the coming of Lent, a fasting season that lasts 47 days before Easter. This tradition was popular within the French House of Bourbons, and then in 1699, French-Canadian settlers named an area right around New Orleans “Pointe du Mardi Gras” because they realized it was the eve of the holiday. This is why Mardi Gras is highly celebrated in New Orleans, and why we associate it with food you can find in the French Quarter.

Whether you’re French, Christian, or neither, this holiday is a hoot to celebrate. It’s all about savoring your indulgence and going all out for one epic day. If you’re throwing a last minute Mardi Gras party, here are some Mardi Gras finger foods that your guests are sure to indulge in.

Hush Puppies

This classic Southern dish is foolproof. A hush puppy is basically a fried cornmeal batter; soft and chewy on the inside, and crisp on the outside.

Fried Catfish

Make this on the stove or in the oven. New Orleans style catfish is typically made with a cornmeal breading, so hey, what better reasons to buy cornmeal than catfish and hush puppies?


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The powdered sugar mustache that a beignet gives you is so worth it. I can’t think of anything more indulgent than a flaky fried pastry stuffed with jelly and sprinkled with powdered sugar.

Dirty Rice

This is a simple and easy to make classic. It consists of your choice of protein — pork, beef, chicken, sausage, or a combination — bell peppers, celery, onion, and classic Louisiana seasoning like cayenne and black pepper.

Fried Okra

The saying “anything fried is good” certainly applies to okra. The okra pods are the edible part, and they’re sometimes tricky to work with because their flavor is mild and slightly bitter. But if you can’t beat ‘em, fry ‘em.


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The croquette has a pretty loose definition: it’s basically whatever ingredients you want binded by a béchamel sauce, rolled into a ball, and deep fried. My personal preference is potato croquettes with bacon and cheese, but you could add any fish or meat that you want.

King Cake

This isn’t necessarily easy to make, but you can’t have a Mardi Gras party without King Cake, so I recommend ordering one from your favorite local French bakery or restaurant. King Cake is made of brioche dough and can be filled with chocolate, cinnamon, or cream cheese filling, and is iced in purple, gold, and green.