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A serving of succotash, prepared with corn, lima beans, and bell peppers.
A "kitchen sink" succotash made with corn, lima beans, okra, andouille, shrimp, tomato, onion, garlic, and basil
Alternative namesSohquttahhash
TypeVegetable dish
CourseMain course
Place of originUnited States and Canada
Region or stateNew England
Created byNarragansett
Serving temperatureHot
Main ingredientsSweet corn, lima beans, butter, salt, tomatoes, bell peppers, black pepper
VariationsCan also be served with kidney beans
Food energy
(per serving)
~100 kcal

Succotash is a North American vegetable dish consisting primarily of sweet corn with lima beans or other shell beans. The name succotash is derived from the Narragansett word sahquttahhash, which means "broken corn kernels".[1][2] Other ingredients may be added, such as onions, potatoes, turnips, tomatoes, bell peppers, corned beef, salt pork, or okra.[3][4] Combining a grain with a legume provides a dish that is high in all essential amino acids.[5][6]


Succotash has a long history. It is believed to have been an invention of indigenous peoples in what is now known as New England, though English soldier and explorer Jonathan Carver attributed it to numerous tribes of eastern North America:

One dish however, which answers nearly the same purpose as bread, is in use among the Ottagaumies, the Saukies, and the more eastern nations, where Indian corn grows, which is not only much esteemed by them, but it is reckoned extremely palatable by all the Europeans who enter their dominions. This is composed of their unripe corn as before described, and beans in the same state, boiled together with bears flesh, the fat of which moistens the pulse, and renders it beyond comparison delicious. They call this food Succatosh.[7]

British colonists adapted the dish as a stew in the 17th century. Composed of ingredients unknown in Europe at the time, it gradually became a standard meal in the cuisine of New England[8][9] and is a traditional dish of many Thanksgiving celebrations in the region,[10] as well as in Pennsylvania and other states.

Because of the relatively inexpensive and more readily available ingredients, the dish was popular during the Great Depression in the United States.[citation needed] It was sometimes cooked in a casserole form, often with a light pie crust on top as in a traditional pot pie.[citation needed]

After the abolition of slavery in the United States, freed slaves in the American South returned to Africa and introduced the dish to the region.


Succotash made with kidney beans, instead of lima beans

Sweet corn (a form of maize), American beans, tomatoes, and peppers (all New World foods) are the usual ingredients.

Catherine Beecher's 19th-century recipe includes beans boiled with corn cobs from which the kernels have been removed. The kernels are added later, after the beans have boiled for several hours. The corn cobs are removed and the finished stew, in proportions of two parts corn to one part beans, is thickened with flour.

Henry Ward Beecher's recipe, published in an 1846 issue of Western Farmer and Gardner, adds salt pork, which he says is "an essential part of the affair."[11]

In some parts of the American South, any mixture of vegetables prepared with lima beans and topped with lard or butter is considered succotash.

In popular culture[edit]

  • Sylvester the Cat's trademark exclamation is "Thufferin' thuccotash!" Daffy Duck has also been known to use the line on occasion.
  • Professional wrestler Roman Reigns infamously used the phrase "suffering succotash" during a promo on a 2015 episode of SmackDown [1].

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Trumbull, James Hammond (1903). Natick Dictionary (PDF). Bulletin 25. Washington: Smithsonian Institution, Bureau of American Ethnology. Entry for sohquttahham (page=152). v.t. he breaks (it) in small pieces, pounds (it) or beats (it) small. The formative tahum according to Howse (Cree Gr. 86), 'implies he beats or batters the object, after the manner of the root.' Inan. pl. sohquttahhamunash, they (grains of corn, Is. 28,28) are broken; otherwise s?hq-, sukq-. Adj. and adv. sohquttahhae, pounded; pl. sohquttahhash, whence the adopted name, succotash. Cf. pohqunnum. [Cree séekwa-tahúm, he beats it into smaller pieces.]
  2. ^ Trumbull (1903). Entry for *msickquatash (p. 67; archive p. n194): (Narr.) n.pl. 'boiled corn whole' (i.e. mo-soquttahhash, not broken small or pounded?). See soh-quttahham. When broken, soquttahhash without the prefix. Hence the common name succotash, improperly applied, however, to the unbroken corn.
  3. ^ "succotash". The American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language (4 ed.). Houghton Mifflin Company. 2004. Retrieved April 28, 2022.
  4. ^ Bowles, Ella Shannon (1947). Secrets of New England Cooking. Barrows.
  5. ^ Annigan, Jan. "Nutritional Sources of Essential Amino Acids". Retrieved April 28, 2022.
  6. ^ "Essential Amino Acids". hyperphysics.phy-astr.gsu.edu. Retrieved April 28, 2022.
  7. ^ Jonathan Carver, Travels Through the Interior Parts of North America, in the Years 1766, 1767 and 1768 (John Coakley Lettsom, ed.), p.263, (3d ed., London, 1781) (retrieved May 5, 2024).
  8. ^ (Paywall) Tanis, David (14 August 2015). "Yes, Succotash Has a Luxurious Side". The New York Times. Retrieved 28 April 2022.
  9. ^ "Succotash: Recipe with a History". 28 July 2015. Retrieved 28 April 2022.
  10. ^ Morgan, Diane and John Rizzo. The Thanksgiving Table: Recipes and Ideas to Create Your Own Holiday Tradition. Pg. 122.
  11. ^ Scharnhorst, Gary. Literary Eats. McFarland. p. 19.

Further reading[edit]

External links[edit]

  • The dictionary definition of succotash at Wiktionary