Pioneer Recipes Everyone Should Know How To Make (2024)

Have you made some pioneer recipes your ancestors made many years ago? They didn’t have the ingredients we have today, so they had to make do with what they had. And make do is what they did for sure. They had to fill the belly because they were traveling in covered wagons, in most cases, with limited access to the General Store, back in the day.

Whether it was the Oregon Trail, the Mormon Trail, or other destinations as a goal, times were tough when it came to meal planning.

Plus, even when they got to their destination, it could have been months or years before regular food supplies or merchant stores were readily available to them to purchase ingredients to make their favorite dish.

I sometimes think we’ll be making these recipes once again if and when we have a grid down, additional disasters, or whatever you believe will happen. And they will happen, trust me.

As an example, our power grid in the US is so outdated and will take years, actually several years to replace, if it can even be done. Power outages are reported almost daily somewhere in the US.

These pioneer recipes are pretty well known, but I want to put them in printable form so you, my readers, can print them now before you need them. This is a post I wrote some years ago, but I felt the need to update it now based on the challenges I’m reading on social media and hearing about on the TV.

Of course, if you cook from scratch you know several recipes to get you by if the grocery stores are shut down for days, weeks, or months.

Pioneer Recipes Everyone Should Know How To Make (2)

Table of Contents

Typical Ingredients:

  • Cornmeal
  • Salt
  • Baking Soda
  • Molasses
  • Buttermilk
  • Eggs
  • Rice
  • Raisins
  • Vanilla
  • Cinnamon
  • Baking Powder
  • Oil/Lard
  • Flour
  • Brown Sugar (1/4 cup molasses per one cup white sugar)
  • Potatoes
  • Milk or Cream

Pioneer Recipes

Mormon Johnny Cake

Bread is a staple in every era we read about. We all love bread as comfort food and something we know will fill us. If you have an iron pan or skillet you can cook a host of meal options at home, or out in the open.

The batter mixture for this recipe is pretty simple and easy to throw together if you have a small bowl to use, a spatula, and all the ingredients available.

5 from 18 votes

Pioneer Recipes Everyone Should Know How To Make (3)

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Mormon Johnny Cake

Prep Time

5 mins

Cook Time

20 mins

Total Time

25 mins

Course:Bread

Cuisine:American

Servings: 4 people

Author: Linda Loosli

Ingredients

  • 2cupscornmeal
  • 1/2cupflour
  • 1teaspoonbaking soda
  • 1teaspoonsalt
  • 2cupsbuttermilk
  • 2tablepoonsmolasses
  • 2eggs (optional for fluffy cake)

Instructions

  1. Combine the dry ingredients and add the buttermilk and molasses.

  2. Add eggs if desired. Cook in a hot greased cast iron pan for about 20 minutes on high heat.

Spotted Pup

Breakfast is an important meal no matter who you are and when you live. I really love using a Dutch oven to cook meals, and this is a great example. The ingredients in this recipe make for a flavorful and sweet meal option everyone will enjoy!

5 from 18 votes

Pioneer Recipes Everyone Should Know How To Make (4)

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Spotted Pup

Course:Breakfast

Cuisine:American

Servings: 4 people

Author: Linda Loosli

Ingredients

  • 2cupscooked rice
  • 1-1/3cupsmilk
  • 1/2cupbrown sugar
  • 1tablespoonbutter
  • 1teaspoonvanilla
  • 1teaspooncinnamon
  • 1/2cupraisins
  • 2eggs, slightly beaten
Read More of My Articles 20 Amazing Lentil Recipes

Instructions

  1. Preheat a seasoned Dutch oven and add ingredients as stated.

  2. Stir the eggs in quickly or you will have scrambled eggs. Cook until the eggs are cooked through.

  3. This was served for breakfast, lunch, or dinner. This recipe makes a bowl of sweet rice and fills the belly.

Soda Biscuits

My family made soda biscuits all the time. There is something awesome about making homemade biscuits. Did you grow up making them? I sure did. We would lather them with butter and homemade jam.

We would also make bacon gravy or chipped beef gravy to pour over biscuits a few times each week for dinner. As long as you have some flour available you can mix up a bread of your choice, and biscuits are generally liked by family members of all ages.

5 from 18 votes

Pioneer Recipes Everyone Should Know How To Make (5)

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Soda Biscuits

Prep Time

10 mins

Cook Time

12 mins

Total Time

22 mins

Course:Bread

Cuisine:American

Servings: 4 people

Author: Linda Loosli

Ingredients

  • 3/4cupmilk
  • 1/2teaspoonsalt
  • 1-1/2 teaspoonsbaking soda
  • 2cupsflour
  • 1/3cupoil

Instructions

  1. Combine the ingredients, and roll them out onto a floured board. Cut with anun-flouredbiscuit cutter.

  2. Bake in a Dutch oven or on an ungreased cookie sheet bake at 425 degrees for 10-12 minutes or until golden brown.

Honey Candy

My church group used to pull this honey candy all the time. Those were great times when people socialized with one another. I miss those days. Having something sweet to look forward to is always welcome after a hard day on the trail or in the office.

This recipe is fun to make as a family team whether around the kitchen table or the back of a covered wagon.

5 from 18 votes

Pioneer Recipes Everyone Should Know How To Make (6)

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Honey Candy

Cook Time

15 mins

Total Time

30 mins

Course:Dessert

Cuisine:American

Servings: 10 people

Author: Linda Loosli

Ingredients

  • 2cupshoney
  • 1cupsugar
  • 1cupcream

Instructions

  1. Combine the ingredients and cook to a hardball stage.

  2. You can test the syrup for a hardball stage by drizzling a small amount into a cold cup of water. If a ball forms quickly it's ready.

  3. Pour onto buttered platters.

  4. Let it cool until your greased hands can start pulling it in sections to a light golden color. Cut into pieces.

Potato Cakes

One of the recipes my family made all the time. It’s truly a cheap and filling meal. I grew up drizzling honey on mine. How did you eat yours? Life is so good with good friends and delicious food, isn’t it?

5 from 18 votes

Pioneer Recipes Everyone Should Know How To Make (7)

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Potato Cakes

Prep Time

15 mins

Cook Time

15 mins

Total Time

30 mins

Course:Main Course

Cuisine:American

Servings: 6 people

Author: Linda Loosli

Ingredients

  • 6potatoes, peeled and grated
  • 1/2cupmilk or cream
  • 2tablespoonssalt
  • 1cupflour
  • 2eggs, slightly beaten
Read More of My Articles 100 Low Budget Meals Anyone Will Love Every Day

Instructions

  1. Combine ingredients and scoop a 1/8 cup onto a greased hot griddle.

  2. Turn the potato cakes halfway through cooking so each side browns.

  3. Bake until light and golden brown in a greased cast iron pan. I grew up serving honey over my potato cakes.

Norwegian Lefse

Lefse is one of my favorite recipes made by my great-grandmother, Danny, one of my pioneer ancestors from Norway. I love my Lefse spread with butter and brown sugar. My family prefers white sugar. My mouth is watering right now.

It’s all about memories, right? My husband hadn’t heard of Lefse until I introduced him to this recipe. When our kids were young we’d make it on weekend mornings, and they loved it! My Lefse Post

5 from 18 votes

Pioneer Recipes Everyone Should Know How To Make (8)

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Norwegian Lefse

Prep Time

30 mins

Cook Time

5 mins

Total Time

35 mins

Course:Breakfast

Cuisine:Danish

Servings: 8 people

Author: Linda Loosli

Ingredients

  • 4cupsmashed potatoes
  • 3tablespoonsbutter
  • 2teaspoonssugar
  • 1/2cupsweet cream
  • 2teaspoonssalt
  • 1cupflour (approximately-enough to roll lefse thin)

Instructions

  1. Boil the peeled potatoes, and mash very fine and fluffy.

  2. Add the cream, butter, sugar, and salt. Beat again until light and fluffy. Add flour just before rolling out.

  3. Roll a piece of the dough as for pie crust, rolling as thin as possible.

  4. Bake in a fryingpan until light brown, flipping to cook both sides. When baked, place them on a plate with a cloth between them to keep them from drying out.

Bacon or Sausage Gravy

Biscuits and gravy are a personal favorite that I probably eat more than I should. This is a combination I grew up with because they were cheap to make and my mom could stretch a meal with more flour and milk.

I actually went to several restaurants with a friend when we lived in Southern Utah to see who made the best sausage and biscuits. We decided it was a restaurant called Black Bear Diner. They were awesome!

5 from 18 votes

Pioneer Recipes Everyone Should Know How To Make (9)

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Bacon or Sausage Gravy

Prep Time

20 mins

Cook Time

15 mins

Total Time

35 mins

Course:Main Course

Cuisine:American

Servings: 8 people

Author: Linda Loosli

Ingredients

  • 1/2cupbutter
  • 1cupflour
  • 1/2gallonof milk
  • 1poundbacon or sausage
  • sugar to taste (optional)
  • salt and pepper to taste

Instructions

  1. Grab a frying pan and brown the bacon or sausage. Set the meat aside.

  2. Add the butter to the same pan and let it melt.

  3. Add the flour to make a roux with the butter and bacon grease. When the roux is smooth, add the milk and stir until completely cooked through.

  4. Add the bacon bits or sausage pieces. Salt and pepper to taste. I add a little sugar which is optional.

Some other old-time recipes you may want to research and make are hasty pudding, cornmeal mush, hard tack, Mormon gravy, corn dodgers, beef jerky, pemmican (dried meat), and a US favorite, apple pie.

Final Word

I feel strongly about learning to cook inexpensive meals because I believe hard times are coming. Please teach your family how to cook from scratch. Learning how to cook these pioneer recipes would be a great start for any family wanting to be thrifty and self-reliant during tough times as all preppers do. Thanks for prepping. May God bless this world. Linda

Pioneer Recipes Everyone Should Know How To Make (2024)
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