Succotash (from Narragansett sahquttahhash, "broken corn kernels"[1][2]) is a vegetable dish consisting primarily of sweet corn with lima beans or other shell beans.

A simple succotash prepared with kidney instead of lima beans
CourseMain course
Place of originUnited States and Canada
Serving temperatureHot
Main ingredientsSweet corn, lima beans, butter, salt

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. An invention of the Indigenous peoples in what’s now known as New England, foreign 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[7][8] and is a traditional dish of many Thanksgiving celebrations in the region,[9] 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. It was sometimes cooked in a casserole form, often with a light pie crust on top as in a traditional pot pie.


A "kitchen sink" succotash made with corn, lima beans, okra, andouille, shrimp, tomato, onion, garlic, & basil

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 2 parts corn to 1 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."[10]

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

See also


  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.) '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". Retrieved April 28, 2022.
  7. "Yes, Succotash Has a Luxurious Side". Retrieved 28 April 2022.
  8. "Succotash: Recipe with a History". 28 July 2015. Retrieved 28 April 2022.
  9. Morgan, Diane and John Rizzo. The Thanksgiving Table: Recipes and Ideas to Create Your Own Holiday Tradition. Pg. 122.
  10. Scharnhorst, Gary. Literary Eats. McFarland. p. 19.

Further reading

  • The dictionary definition of succotash at Wiktionary
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