How to Make the Best Ever New Year’s Day Meal with These Four Recipes


You can make the best New Year’s Day meal for your family with these 4 recipes~all easy, delicious, and (mostly) make ahead!!!!

New Year's Day Meal Made Easy


This New Year’s Day Meal is Traditional (and Delicious)

Each year on January 1, I serve this New Year’s Day meal. It consists of black eyed peas, a “mess of greens,” pimento cheese cornbread and baby back ribs. I start buying and prepping for these recipes a day or two ahead. On the morning of New Year’s Day, most of the food prep is done, and all that is left to do is to cook or reheat.

Before I share my recipes, I thought it would be fun to look at the tradition behind the foods that many of traditionally eat on the first day of the year. Even though we who aren’t superstitious don’t put stock into these claims, it is fun to know the why behind them.

What is a traditional New Year’s Day meal?

The traditional New Year’s Day meal, especially in the South, is black-eyed peas, greens, cornbread and pork ribs. Tradition has it that eating these foods on New Year’s Day will bring luck the entire year.  Although my family enjoys this meal at the start of every year, we don’t do it for “luck” but rather for the sake of tradition. Below is a photo of this meal that we enjoyed in 2016. We will have the same on this year to ring in 2020!!!

New Year's Day Meal Made Easy
New Year’s Day Meal 2016

Why are black eyed peas and greens eaten on New Year’s Day?  

Tradition likens dried peas to coins. Also, since dried peas expand when soaked in water, they are said to represent growing wealth.  Leafy greens represent the U.S. currency. Eating these at the beginning of the year supposedly will usher in prosperity for the rest of the year.

Why is pork a traditional food for New Year’s Day?

Pork and sauerkraut is commonly eaten for New Years Day in Pennsylvania-Dutch country. Pork ribs or ham are the more traditional choice for those of us in the South.

How are baby back ribs and St. Louis style spareribs different?

Pork ribs come in 2 common cuts~baby back ribs (smaller, tender, lean and more expensive) and St. Louis style spareribs (larger, fattier, less expensive). Baby back ribs are the only ribs I buy/make. I buy a slab for every two people being served (so 3 slabs for my family of 5 and more if we have guests).

Why is cornbread a traditional New Year’s Day food?

Cornbread represents pocket money or spending money, according to tradition. Again, Southerners will likely always pair greens with cornbread (and pepper sauce) because they just go together. I share an absolutely yummy pimento cheese cornbread recipe below that uses a specific box mix along with store bought pimento cheese. Trust me, this is a cornbread that is crazy easy and always a hit.

For those of you who may have received an Instant Pot for Christmas this year, you absolutely must try my super easy recipe (below) for collard or turnip greens in the Instant Pot. They are as good as any greens you’ll ever eat. For those of you who don’t have an Instant Pot, I link to an old fashioned recipe as well.

Dessert is a toss up; just serve whatever your family likes. Many of my friends serve banana pudding with this type of down home meal, one even orders a pan of Dreamland banana pudding to pick up. My easy recipe is below.

Family Savvy Favorite Recipes for New Year’s Day

Fall-off-the-Bone Baby Back Ribs 

Collard or Turnip Greens (Instant Pot) or this old fashioned method for Collard or Turnip Greens

Perfect Black Eyed Peas

Pimento Cheese Cornbread

The Queen’s Chessmen Banana Pudding (the Queen would be Paula Deen, and this pudding is FAB)!

Tips & Tools for Making this Meal (and Cleanup) Easier

  • Use a large sheet pan for ribs. I love this commercial big sheet (have two; store on top of fridge). BEST sheet pan ever!
  • Have lots of heavy duty aluminum foil. Line all sheet pans for easier cleanup.
  • Use oven liners. If BBQ sauce drips or anything overflows, just toss and add another. I’ve used these oven liners for years.
  • Buy pepper sauce early! One year, ALL stores were sold out; it was awful! I now keep 2-3 bottles on hand year round.
  • Buy a bag or two of frozen chopped onion. You’ll thank me. Greens and peas will be so much easier (and just as delish).
  • Rise EARLY if you serve the ribs for lunch. They need long, low and slow in the oven. I’ll have mine in by 5:00 a.m. Remember~they will be find sitting (wrapped in foil) for several hours after baking. Early is always better!

I SO hope you make and enjoy one of these recipes for your family. If so, please leave your thoughts in the comments below. I try to reply quickly to everyone who writes!

And please visit our Family Savvy storefront to see my amazon faves and must-haves for you, your home and your loved ones.

As always, thanks so much for visiting Family Savvy. Wishing you a joyful and blessed New Year!!!

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  1. Jamie – I made your Instant Pot Collard Greens today (with black-eyed peas and cornbread, of course) and, honestly, they’re the best collard greens we’ve ever eaten. Even my traditional husband, who thinks the old-fashioned ways are the best ways, loved them… absolutely loved them! They passed his test. They’re so good that I think they’ll become a regular vegetable at our house. Thank you for your wonderful recipes, and everything else you post that makes life more delicious and easier and more!

  2. Hi Anita! I am so sorry you had trouble with ads. I’ve forwarded the info to my team to take a look. Thank you so much for your kind words, and I am happy you like the recipes. I’ll try to put some great new ones out for 2020!!! Blessings to you!!!! XoXo

  3. Hi Nancy! Thank you for sharing the Pennsylvania Dutch tradition…I should not assume that everyone reading the blog prefers “Southern” fare LOL:-) Your description is so colorful~the rooting pig word picture is spot on. I had farm animals as a child, and you are correct!!! LOVE the Beale Street Beans and Boursin potatoes; I am so glad you enjoyed them!!! Happy New Year to you and blessings for 2020!!! XoXo

  4. Hi Jamie,
    I’m from Pennsylvania/NE Ohio and we always have pork and sauerkraut for New Years Day, from the Pennsylvania Dutch traditions. Sauerkraut for luck and pork from rooting as a pig always roots forward and we want to go forward in the new year. Although I now live in Arizona, I still will be making it on Wednesday.
    The reason I checked the blog this morning was to thank you for the Boursin potato gratin recipe, it was a big hit with the Christmas ham and then when we had ham sandwiches a few days later the Beale St baked beans were completely gobbled up! So thanks again for your recipes and info for making ahead!

  5. I loved your recipes. Only problem was I had trouble printing them without ads blocking some of the text. Finally got a good copy though.

    Glad to get great recipes from a Birmingham girl. I look forward to more. I live in Hoover.

    Anita Dutton Murphy

  6. As Jamie’s (FamSav’s) husband, I can attest that this meal is a FAN FAVORITE. This gets the year off right! Thanks Babe for being a cook. As you know this is my love language.

  7. Hi Shelley! Thank you so much for your sweet comment!I am woefully ignorant in the category of non-diary, but I will keep your request in mind if I run across a great recipe without dairy. If you have any to share, please post them in the comments. I am sure you aren’t the only one who is looking for this option. Happy 2017 to you and yours!!!

  8. Jamie,
    Love your recipes, keep them coming. Have you considered posting non-dairy recipes? I usually try to substitute ingredients, but it is not always possible. Thanks.

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