The Top 10 Must-Try Native Recipes From Houston

Houston, Texas, is not only known for its bustling city life and diverse culture but also for its rich culinary heritage. With influences from Southern, Tex-Mex, and Creole cuisines, Houston offers a delightful array of native recipes that are a must-try for any food enthusiast. In this article, we’ll take you on a gastronomic journey through the top 10 native recipes from Houston that you absolutely cannot miss.

Texan Chili

Originating from the Lone Star State, Texan chili is a hearty and flavorful dish that packs a punch. Made with tender chunks of beef, spicy chili peppers, and a blend of aromatic spices, this dish is a staple in Houston cuisine. Whether served on its own or accompanied by freshly baked cornbread, Texan chili is sure to warm your soul and tantalize your taste buds.

Gulf Coast Seafood Gumbo

As a city situated near the Gulf of Mexico, Houston boasts an abundance of fresh seafood, which is expertly showcased in its Gulf Coast seafood gumbo. This traditional Creole dish features a rich and savory broth filled with shrimp, crab, oysters, and okra, all simmered to perfection. Served over a bed of steamed rice, Gulf Coast seafood gumbo is a true taste of the South.

Chicken Fried Steak

A quintessential Southern comfort food, chicken fried steak is a beloved dish in Houston and beyond. Tenderized beef steak is coated in seasoned flour, fried to a golden crisp, and smothered in creamy gravy. Served alongside mashed potatoes and buttery biscuits, this hearty meal is guaranteed to satisfy even the heartiest appetite.

Houston-Style Barbecue Ribs

No culinary tour of Houston would be complete without indulging in some mouthwatering barbecue ribs. Houston-style barbecue is characterized by its bold flavors and slow-cooked perfection. Whether slathered in a tangy sauce or dry-rubbed with spices, these succulent ribs are a true delicacy that will have you licking your fingers with delight.

Pecan Pie

For dessert lovers, pecan pie is a classic Southern treat that reigns supreme in Houston’s culinary scene. A flaky crust filled with a gooey mixture of pecans, sugar, and butter, pecan pie embodies the essence of comfort and indulgence. Served warm with a dollop of whipped cream or a scoop of vanilla ice cream, this decadent dessert is the perfect way to end any meal.

Houston-Style Breakfast Tacos

A popular morning ritual in Houston, breakfast tacos are a delicious fusion of Tex-Mex flavors. These handheld delights typically feature scrambled eggs, crispy bacon or chorizo, melted cheese, and fresh salsa, all wrapped in a warm flour tortilla. Whether enjoyed on the go or savored leisurely with a cup of coffee, Houston-style breakfast tacos are a morning must-have.

Crawfish Etouffee

Hailing from Cajun country, crawfish etouffee has found a loving home in Houston’s culinary landscape. This comforting dish features tender crawfish tails smothered in a rich and flavorful sauce made from butter, onions, bell peppers, and Cajun spices. Served over a bed of fluffy rice, crawfish etouffee is a true Southern delicacy that is sure to satisfy.


Originally brought to Texas by Czech immigrants, kolaches have become a beloved pastry in Houston’s culinary repertoire. These soft, pillowy buns are typically filled with sweet or savory fillings such as fruit preserves, cheese, sausage, or even jalapenos. Whether enjoyed as a breakfast treat or a midday snack, kolaches are a delightful indulgence that captures the essence of Houston’s cultural diversity.

Shrimp and Grits

A marriage of Southern and Creole flavors, shrimp and grits is a quintessential dish that holds a special place in Houston’s culinary tradition. Plump, juicy shrimp are sautéed to perfection and served atop a bed of creamy, buttery grits, creating a harmonious blend of flavors and textures that is simply irresistible.

Chicken and Waffles

Rounding out our list is the iconic dish of chicken and waffles, which has been embraced wholeheartedly by Houstonians. Crispy fried chicken paired with fluffy, golden waffles and drizzled with maple syrup creates a perfect symphony of sweet and savory flavors. Whether enjoyed for breakfast, brunch, or dinner, chicken and waffles are a timeless classic that never fails to delight.


In conclusion, Houston’s culinary landscape is a melting pot of flavors and influences, showcasing the city’s rich cultural heritage and diverse culinary traditions. From hearty Texan classics to soulful Creole creations, there’s something for every palate to enjoy in the Bayou City.


What makes Houston cuisine unique?

Houston cuisine is a fusion of Southern, Tex-Mex, and Creole influences, resulting in a diverse array of flavors and dishes.

Where can I find authentic Houston-style barbecue?

Authentic Houston-style barbecue can be found at renowned barbecue joints and smokehouses scattered throughout the city.

Are breakfast tacos a popular dish in Houston?

Yes, breakfast tacos are a staple of Houston’s culinary scene and can be found at many local eateries and food trucks.

What is the best time to enjoy crawfish etouffee in Houston?

Crawfish season typically runs from late winter to early summer, making it the perfect time to indulge in this Cajun delicacy.

Can I find kolaches outside of Houston?

While kolaches originated in Houston’s Czech community, they can now be found in bakeries and cafes across Texas and beyond.

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