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99 Holiday Recipes Passed Down for Generations

Some of the best holiday recipes have long family histories. These are our favorite dishes from the kitchens that came before us.

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Grandma’s Red Velvet Cake

In our family no one thinks it’s Christmas without this Red Velvet Cake recipe. I baked the first one for Christmas in 1963 when I found the recipe in the newspaper and my Mother kept the tradition going into the ’80s. It’s different than other Red Velvet Cakes I’ve tasted over the years, since this one tastes only mildly chocolate and the icing is as light as snow. —Kathryn H. Davison, Charlotte, North Carolina

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Flaky Butterhorn Rolls

These dinner rolls, slightly sweet and so very flaky, were my mother’s recipe. They are simple to prepare because kneading skills are not required and the dough is easy to handle. My grandchildren have renamed them Grandma’s Croissants! —Bernice Smith, Sturgeon Lake, Minnesota
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Baki's Old-World Cookies

My uncles have always called these "cupcake cookies" because of the unique, pretty way they're baked. My maternal grandmother mixed many batches. —Marilyn Louise Riggenbach, Ravenna, Ohio
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Grandma’s Rice Dish

My grandmother often made rice dishes when I was young. I forgot about this casserole until I found myself one day adding the same ingredients to leftover rice. The memories came flooding back, and I’ve made this recipe regularly since then. —Lorna Moore, Glendora, California
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Old-World Puff Pancake

My mom told me her mother-in-law showed her how to make this dish, which became popular during the Depression, on their "get acquainted" visit in 1927. At that time, cooks measured ingredients in pinches, dashes and dibs. But through the years, accurate amounts were noted. My wife and I continue to enjoy this dish today, particularly for brunch. —Auton Miller, Piney Flats, Tennessee
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Leek Potato Pancakes

I received this recipe from my great-grandmother. She brought this over from England, where they enjoyed leeks immensely during the fall and winter. —Suzanne Kesel, Cohocton, New York
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Prime Rib with Fresh Herb Sauce

Nothing says “special occasion” like a perfectly seasoned prime rib. Savory, succulent, tender, it’s the perfect choice when you want to share something truly divine. —Tonya Burkhard, Palm Coast, Florida
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Baklava Cheesecake

With sugared cranberries and rosemary sprigs, my unique baklava cheesecake makes a grand display for office parties and other special events. —Aryanna Gamble, New Orleans, Louisiana
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Grandma's Cornbread Dressing

Growing up, we didn’t have turkey. We had chicken, chopped and baked in my grandmother’s dressing. Now we leave out the chicken and keep the cornbread dressing. —Suzanne Mohme, Bastrop, Texas
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Grandma's Christmas Spice Cutouts

My great-grandmother made these, and the tradition was passed down in the family—without a written recipe! My mother would always start them the day after Thanksgiving, which was exciting for us kids, as we knew Christmas wasn’t far off. They are easy to decorate with family; my grandchildren always look forward to them.—Elaine Phelps, Cornell, Wisconsin
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Grandma's Yeast Rolls

Grandma's Yeast Rolls

My grandmother use to make these rolls for family get-togethers and holidays. The applesauce adds so much flavor. —Nancy Spoth, Festus, Missouri
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Cranberry-Almond Apple Pie

My grandmother made this treat every year for Christmas. It’s much better than everyday apple pie. The recipe is a family treasure. —Maxine Theriauit, Nashua, New Hampshire
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Brown Sugar Pineapple Ham

This pineapple ham glaze is straightforward and simple—just what you're looking for in a holiday main dish. —Taste of Home Test Kitchen, Milwaukee, Wisconsin
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Honey Gingerbread Trifle

My husband's grandma made the most amazing honey gingerbread. It's wonderful all on its own, but when you add it to a trifle, your guests are sure to ask for the recipe. —Tami Kuehl, Loup City, Nebraska
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Italian Horn Cookies

My family has been making these delicate fruit-filled cookies for generations. They’re light and flaky, with the look of an elegant old-world pastry. —Gloria Siddiqui, Houston, Texas
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Great-Grandma's Italian Meatballs

My great-grandmother started this easy meatball recipe with our family. We use ground beef and turkey for these meatballs, and the flavor’s so good, you won’t miss the extra calories. —Audrey Colantino, Winchester, Massachusetts
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Hungarian Nut Rolls

It isn't officially the holidays until I've made this treasured nut roll recipe from my husband's grandmother. The apple-walnut filling is moist, subtly sweet and flavorful. —Donna Bardocz, Howell, Michigan
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Grandma's Molasses Fruitcake

This dense, dark, moist fruitcake was my grandmother's recipe. The flavor just gets better and better as it sits in the fridge, so be sure to make it ahead! —Debbie Harmon, Lavina, Montana
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Mince Pies

Most people use canned mincemeat, but this is the old-fashioned way to make a mince pie. It is a sweet holiday dish that will satisfy you and your loved ones. —Diane Selich, Vassar, Michigan
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Crown Roast with Apricot Dressing

I have been making crown roasts for many years but was only satisfied with the results when I combined a few recipes to come up with this guest-pleasing version. It’s beautifully roasted with an apricot glaze and a nicely browned stuffing. —Isabell Cooper, Cambridge, Nova Scotia
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Oma's Marzipan Stollen

My German grandma made this stollen for us when we were young. I love its homey taste and how it reminds me of her and the German food she made. I often freeze this sweet bread once it’s shaped into a braid. Then I can pull it out the night before, let it rise on the counter overnight, and bake it in the morning. —Abigail Leszczynski, Beauford, South Carolina
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Double-Duty Chicken with Olives & Artichokes

My grandmother came from the region around Seville, Spain, where olives are produced. They get a starring role in her scrumptious chicken. —Suzette Zara, Scottsdale, Arizona
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Cinnamon Coffee Cake

I love the excellent texture of this easy coffee cake recipe. Always a crowd-pleaser, its pleasing vanilla flavor enriched by sour cream may remind you of breakfast at Grandma's! Make it the night before a holiday to save time in the morning. —Eleanor Harris, Cape Coral, Florida
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Best Lasagna

Want to know how to make lasagna for a casual holiday meal? You can't go wrong with this deliciously rich meat lasagna recipe. My grown sons and daughter-in-law request it for their birthdays, too. —Pam Thompson, Girard, Illinois
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Mama's Spice Cake

Whenever I get a craving for a tasty old-fashioned treat, I make this cake. Great cooks in my family have been baking it for generations, and their families have been enjoying the wonderful spice flavor and rich frosting. —Nancy Duty, Jacksonville, Florida
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Grandma’s Cranberry Stuff

What could taste better than turkey and cranberry on Thanksgiving Day? My grandmother’s classic recipe makes the best cranberry stuff to share with your family and friends this holiday. —Catherine Cassidy, Milwaukee, Wisconsin
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Grandma's Poultry Dressing

Every family seems to have their own favorite dressing recipe that becomes a tradition, and this is ours. It came from Grandma, who passed it down to my mother. Now our children have carried it into their kitchens. This is truly a good old-fashioned recipe. —Norma Howland, Joliet, Illinois
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Chocolate & Coconut Cream Torte

My grandmother passed this recipe down to me years ago and now I make it for my own grandchildren. When preparing, make sure the chocolate layer is properly chilled before adding the next layer, or the coconut will sink into it. —Jason Purkey, Ocean City, Maryland
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Roast Pork with Apples & Onions

The sweetness of the apples and onions nicely complements the roast pork. With its crisp skin and melt-in-your-mouth flavor, this is my family's favorite weekend dinner. —Lily Julow, Lawrenceville, Georgia
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Gingerbread Meringue Bars

For the best of both worlds, I combined my grandmother's gingerbread recipe with my aunt's special brown sugar meringue. The result? These lovable holiday-perfect bars that have become a new family tradition. —Eden Dranger, Los Angeles, California
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Sicilian Meat Sauce

People have told me this is better than the gravy their Sicilian grandmothers used to make. But don’t tell the old generation that! —Emory Doty, Jasper, Georgia
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Calabrian Holiday Soup

My family is from the Italian region of Calabria; our version of Italian wedding soup has been handed down through the generations. We serve this soup with the Christmas meal as well as at weddings. —Gwen Keefer, Sylvania, Ohio
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Cran-Raspberry Gelatin Salad

Just like Grandma’s, this pretty gelatin salad has full berry flavor without being too tart. It’s perfect for any holiday dinner. —Rosemary Burch, Phoenix, Arizona
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Grandma's Rosemary Dinner Rolls

My grandma (I called her Baba) made these in her coal oven. How she regulated the temperature is beyond me! She always made extra rolls for the neighbors to bake in their own ovens. My mom and aunts would deliver the formed rolls at lunchtime. —Charlotte Hendershot, Hudson, Pennsylvania
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Christmas Jam

I have a passion for cooking, and I can probably thank my grandmother for it. She was a marvelous cook who could really stretch a food dollar. —Jo Talvacchia, Lanoka Harbor, New Jersey
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Scalloped Sweet Corn Casserole

This is my Grandma Ostendorf's corn recipe I grew up enjoying. Now a grandmother myself, I still serve this comfy, delicious side as a family classic. —Lonnie Hartstack, Clarinda, Iowa
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Hermits

Dress up a cookie plate with these old-fashioned spice bars full of raisins, molasses, cinnamon, ginger and nuts. Then dip the chewy treats in coffee or hot cocoa on frosty days. It's said the cookies are called "hermits" because you can hide them out of sight, just like hermits, for days. They'll be just as good—maybe even better as the flavors blend and develop! —Jeri Tirmenstein, Apache Junction, Arizona
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Peppermint Stick Dessert

With every spoonful of this cool, creamy concoction, my family goes back in time to when our Grandma Dagmar made it each Christmas. The minty, refreshing flavor can't be topped. —Dianne Oertel, Racine, Wisconsin
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Homemade Polish Pierogi

My mother made many dozens of these and measured ingredients using the palm of her hand. We've passed the recipe down over the years as the family has grown. —Veronica Weinkauf, South Bend, Indiana
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Grandma's Carrot Cake

My grandma was very special to me. She had a big country kitchen that was full of wonderful aromas any time we visited. This was one of her prized cake recipes, and it continues to be a favorite from generation to generation. —Denise Strasz, Detroit, Michigan
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Blueberry Crunch Breakfast Bake

Blueberries in season make this a very special breakfast, but I find that frozen berries can work just as well. My grandmother used to make this with strawberries and I always loved to eat it at her house.—Marsha Ketaner, Henderson, Nevada
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Meringue Snowballs In Custard

My family has passed down this elegant dessert generation by generation. It started with my Russian great-grandmother, who traveled to America more than 100 years ago. I love continuing the tradition with her recipe. —Tonya Burkhard, Palm Coast, Florida
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Nana's Italian Roulade

My great-aunt from Sicily taught my mother how to stuff and bake a steak in a jelly-roll style. It’s unique and really special in our family. —Roseanne McDonald, Days Creek, Oregon
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Grandma's Pecan Rum Bars

My grandmother handed down the recipe for these gooey bars that we all love. The candied cherries are a must. —Deborah Pennington, Falkville, Alabama
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Cherry-Coconut Chocolate Torte

This torte reminds me of two favorite treats: chocolate covered cherries and old-fashioned Cherry Mash candy bars. —Dian Hicks Carlson, Omaha, Nebraska
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Southern Buttermilk Biscuits

The recipe for these four-ingredient biscuits has been handed down for many generations. —Fran Thompson, Tarboro, North Carolina
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Bavarian Pot Roast

Since all my grandparents were German, it's no wonder that so many Bavarian recipes have been handed down to me. Because the Midwest has such a large German population, I feel this recipe represents the area well. —Susan Robertson, Hamilton, Ohio
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Jumbo Chocolate Cutouts

The recipe for these light cookies has been passed down from generation to generation. Have a little extra fun with frosting if you like. They freeze well, too!—Helen Brown, East Dover, Vermont
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Amaretto Ricotta Cheesecake

There's a good reason why this cherished recipe was handed down to me by a relative. It's a keeper! The amaretto and ricotta make for a truly unique dessert. —Isabel Neuman, Surprise, Arizona
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Sugar-Glazed Ham

This old-fashioned ham glaze gives a pretty, golden brown coating—just like Grandma used to make. The mustard and vinegar complement the brown sugar which adds a tangy flavor to this glazed ham recipe. Be prepared to serve seconds! —Carol Strong Battle, Heathville, Virginia
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Toffee Apple Cinnamon Buns

This recipe was my dad’s favorite growing up. He would sit and watch his mom sprinkle the dough with sweet filling, carefully roll it up and cut it into rounds. The anticipation waiting for them to come out of the oven was almost more than he could bear. —Jeanne Holt, Mendota Heights, Minnesota
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California Roast Lamb

This recipe is very easy to make and requires little attention. It goes well with any rice dish, and it's perfect for just about any occasion. —Ann Eastman, Santa Monica, California
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Cinnamon Star Cutouts

These cookies fill your home with an irresistible aroma as they bake. My grandmother made them every Christmas when I was a child. I have fond memories of helping her in the kitchen. —Jean Jones, Peachtree City, Georgia
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Chicken Paprikash

Some recipes for chicken paprikash include vegetables like bell peppers and celery, but not my Grandmother Alta’s. Hers was a simple combination of chicken, onions, garlic, paprika and sour cream. —Lily Julow, Lawrenceville, Georgia
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Chocolate Pear Hazelnut Tart

As a teenage foreign exchange student in the south of France, I was horribly homesick. Then my host family's Grandmother Miette arrived and asked if I'd like to help her bake this nutty tart from scratch. It turned my trip around and inspired my lifelong passion for baking. Weighing ingredients, roasting nuts, kneading dough—the art of baking transcends language. —Lexi McKeown, Los Angeles, California
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Roast Pork Loin with Thyme-Honey Mustard Sauce

A thyme, honey and mustard marinade lends special flair to this tender pork loin. My family looks forward to this roast for Christmas dinner. I even had a chef compliment me on it. —Kelly Williams, Forked River, New Jersey
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Chicken Tamales

I love making these homemade tamales. They take a little time to make but are so worth the effort. I usually make them for Christmas, but my family wants them more often, so I freeze a big batch. —Cindy Pruitt, Grove, Oklahoma
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Gingersnap Crumb Pear Pie

This basic recipe was one my grandmother used for making crumble pies from fresh fruit. She simply substituted oats, gingersnaps or vanilla wafers depending on the fruit. Pear was always my favorite, and I added the ginger and caramel to give it a new twist. —Fay Moreland, Wichita Falls, Texas
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Oat & Coconut Icebox Cookies

This recipe was passed down through my family from Grandma Irene and is a favorite of my dad and cousin Dennis. It's a true cookie lover's cookie: crispy on the outside, chewy on the inside and perfectly dunkable. —Lori Rowe, Tigerton, Wisconsin
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Folded Hazelnut Cookies

We first made these cookies when my boys were small, and they would always end up covered in flour and with Nutella on their faces. Such good memories! —Paula Marchesi, Lenhartsville, Pennsylvania
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Risotto Balls (Arancini)

My Italian grandma made these risotto balls for me. I still request them when I visit her, and so do my children. These can be made ahead of time and frozen. They are also delicious served as a vegetarian main course with a salad. —Gretchen Whelan, San Francisco
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Gingerbread

My grandmother first used this recipe for gingerbread over 100 years ago. I remember that the kitchen smelled like heaven when Grandmother baked her gingerbread. The only thing better was when she took it out of the oven and served it with a generous topping of fresh whipped cream! —Ellouise Halstead, Union Grove, Wisconsin
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Apple Cider Doughnuts

Apple doughnuts remind me of family trips to South Dakota. We’d stop at Wall Drug for a dozen or so before camping in the Badlands. Maple glaze was and still is my favorite. Share a batch with friends and family who appreciate a hot, fresh apple cider doughnut. —Melissa Hansen, Milwaukee, Wisconsin
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Sunday Pork Roast

Mom would prepare pork roast for our family, friends and customers at the three restaurants she and Dad owned. The herb rub and vegetables give it a remarkable flavor. It's one of my favorite pork roast recipes. —Sandi Pichon, Memphis, Tennessee
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Mom's Potato Pancakes

These old-fashioned pancakes are fluffy inside and crispy outside. Onion adds nice flavor. Mom got this recipe from Grandma, so we've enjoyed it for years. —Dianne Esposite, New Middletown, Ohio
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Sweet Potato Coconut Pie with Marshmallow Meringue

My grandmother's sweet potato casserole contains coconut and marshmallows. I thought it would be even better as a pie. —Simone Bazos, Baltimore, Maryland
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Old-Fashioned Stack Cakes

My grandmother has always fixed these at Christmas and they are the first thing everyone asks about. "Where is the stack cake?" The super thin layers are what make this recipe stand out...delicious! —Stephanie Gilbert, Whitesburg, Kentucky
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Cornbread Stuffing

At least 10 of us women made this old-fashioned dressing to feed over 1,500 people at our church's fall festival. Everyone thought it was wonderful. It's the best dressing I've ever made. —Patty Kierce, Weir, Texas
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Torcetti

Our Sicilian grandmother often had my sister and me roll out the dough for these tasty torcetti. Their melt-in-your-mouth goodness is delicious without being overly sweet.—Joy Quici, Upland, California
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Mom's Roast Beef

This well-seasoned roast is Mom’s specialty. Everyone loves slices of the fork-tender roast beef and its savory gravy, and people always ask what her secret ingredients are. Now you have the delicious recipe for our favorite dish! —Linda Gaido, New Brighton, Pennsylvania
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Bohemian Kolaches

This kolache recipe was given to me by my mother-in-law, who received it from her mother! It was a standard treat in their family, made nearly every week. Now I make these kolaches for my own family for special occasions. —Maxine Hron, Quincy, Illinois
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Candied Acorn Squash Slices

This acorn squash recipe was passed down to me from my grandma, who always served it at Thanksgiving. Now I make it whenever I'm feeling nostalgic. —Rita Addicks, Weimar, Texas
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Steamed Carrot Pudding

This recipe, passed down from my Canadian grandmother, has been in my family for at least three generations. It's been a favorite wintertime dessert for us and is always served for Easter and other holiday meals. —Ann Searcey, Kettering, Ohio
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Grandma's Sweet Potato Biscuits

The recipe for these mild-tasting biscuits was my grandmother's. They're a family favorite that we always serve at holidays. —Nancy Daugherty, Cortland, Ohio
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Aunt Rose's Fantastic Butter Toffee

I don't live in the country, but I love everything about it—especially good old-fashioned home cooking! Every year, you'll find me at our county fair, entering a different contest. This easy toffee recipe is a family favorite. —Kathy Dorman, Snover, Michigan
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Braised Dill Potatoes

Dill, chicken broth and a few other simple ingredients create a side dish your family will love. The braised potatoes are delicious with sour cream. —Amie Schmidt, San Diego, California
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Sweet Potato Mini Cakes

Whenever I make these cute desserts, I think of my grandmother. She always used extra sweet potatoes from her garden in pies, breads and cakes and added black walnuts from her trees for good measure. —Joyce Larson, New Market, Iowa
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Nanny's Fruitcake Cookies

My grandmother always made a holiday fruitcake. I turned her recipe into cookies that are perfect anytime, especially with a cup of tea. —Amanda Digges, South Windsor, Connecticut
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Egg Drop Soup

We often start our stir-fry meals with this fast egg drop soup recipe— it cooks in just minutes flat. There are many versions of the recipe, but we like the easy addition of cornstarch to thicken the soup and give it a rich, golden color. I got the recipe from my grandma’s old cookbook. —Amy Beth Corlew-Sherlock, Lapeer, Michigan
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Cranberry Amaretto Bread Pudding

This is an update to a recipe that's been in our family for three generations. The combination of white chocolate and amaretto mingled with seasonal cranberry is my favorite way to end any celebration's meal. —Jennifer Evans DaCastello, Virginia Beach, Virginia
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Apple Pie

I remember coming home sullen one day because we'd lost a softball game. Grandma, in her wisdom, suggested, "Maybe a slice of my homemade apple pie will make you feel better." One bite, and Grandma was right. If you want to learn how to make homemade apple pie filling, this is really the only recipe you need. —Maggie Greene, Granite Falls, Washington
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Butternut Goulash

We make this treasured family goulash recipe using squash from our own backyard. The chili powder and cayenne really warm you up! —Allison Wilmarth, Forest City, Pennsylvania
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Classic Tres Leches Cake

Tres leches means "three milks." This cake gets its name because it uses three kinds of milk—evaporated, condensed and cream. This cake's light and airy texture has made it a classic in Mexican kitchens for generations. —Taste of Home Test Kitchen
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Apple Butter Cake Roll

This is a new take on a pumpkin roll. Her spicy gingerbread cake might make you think back fondly to Christmas at Grandma's! —Debbie White, Williamson, West Virginia
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Grandma's Star Cookies

Grandma's Star Cookies

My husband's grandma would make these butter cutouts only with a star cookie cutter. I use various shapes for celebrations throughout the year. —Jenny Brown, West Lafayette, Indiana
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Tender Beef Brisket

A touch of sugar mellows the flavorful sauce that's drizzled over this brisket. The original recipe came to me from a friend. I revised it for the slow cooker. —Sondra Morrow, Mesa, Arizona.
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Honeyed Pears in Puff Pastry

A honey of a salute to late-summer pear season, this cozy dessert looks both elegant and decadent. Wrapped in puff pastry, the pears resemble little beehives. —Heather Baird, Knoxville, Tennessee
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Cape Cod Bay Brown Bread

This reminds me of the brown bread my grandmother made whenever we went out east to visit. The aroma evokes fond memories of her New England home during the peak of fall. I use blackstrap molasses and agave nectar to make mine a little different without sacrificing any of the flavor. Cranberries are another special touch, but this would also taste delicious with raisins. —Kellie Foglio, Salem, Wisconsin
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Grandma's Polish Cookies

This traditional khruchiki recipe has been handed down through my mother's side from my great-grandmother. As a child, it was my job to loop the end of each cookie through its hole. —Sherine Elise Gilmour, Brooklyn, New York
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Spiced Christmas Cookies

This delicious cookie recipe has been passed down through six generations and was brought to America from Germany in 1846! It's a holiday tradition in our house and we're proud to share this wonderful recipe with you. —Tanya Juhasz, Newberry, Florida
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Breakfast Apple Cake

Baked in a pretty tube pan and drizzled with icing, this breakfast cake will be a highlight of your holiday menu. I adapted the recipe from one of my grandmother's. —Shaunda Wenger, Nibley, Utah
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Hungarian Goulash

Talk about your heirloom recipes! My grandmother made this Hungarian goulash recipe for my mother when she was a child, and Mom made it for us to enjoy. Paprika and caraway add wonderful flavor and sour cream gives it a creamy richness. It’s simply scrumptious! —Marcia Doyle, Pompano, Florida
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Maple Carrot Cupcakes

I come from a line of family cooks and have liked to cook and bake since I was young. Mother and Grandmom were always in the kitchen cooking up something delicious. These carrot cupcakes were Grandmom's specialty, and we always have them at family gatherings. —Lisa Ann Panzino DiNunzio, Vineland, New Jersey
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Shortbread

I live in Missouri, but many family recipes come from New Zealand where I was born. My parents moved there when I was a year old, so I have a "Down Under" heritage. This easy shortbread recipe brings back warm memories of my childhood, and I'm going to make sure they're passed on to the next generation in my family…no matter where they live! —Allen Swenson, Camdenton, Missouri
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Contest-Winning Chocolate Potato Cake

I won grand champion honors in a potato festival baking contest with this moist chocolate cake. The icing recipe can be doubled for real sweet tooths. A great-grandma, I've spent over 85 years on the farm.
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Grossmutter's Peppernuts

Before Christmas, my grandmother would bake peppernuts and store them until the big day. When we came home from school, the whole house would smell like anise and we knew the holiday season was about to begin. —Marilyn Kutzli, Clinton, Iowa
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Holiday Snowflake Cake

The coconut sprinkled on this old-fashioned, fluffy white cake gives the impression of snow, without the cold. It's a beautiful dessert that is a fitting end to a delicious winter meal. It’s best to frost the cake just before serving as the frosting may soften over time. —Lynne Peterson, Salt Lake City, Utah
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Grandma's Collard Greens

My grandmother made the best collard greens recipe in the world. Eating them with a slice of buttermilk cornbread is pure bliss. —Sherri Williams, Crestview, Florida
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Norwegian Cookies Exps Thca19 3653 C10 16 4b 4

Norwegian Cookies

This recipe was passed down to me from my mother-in-law. The soft sugar cookies are a favorite with our four children. —Karen Skowronek, Minot, North Dakota

Lisa Kaminski
Lisa is an editor at Taste of Home where she gets to embrace her passion for baking. She pours this love of all things sweet (and sometimes savory) into Bakeable, Taste of Home's baking club. Lisa is also dedicated to finding and testing the best ingredients, kitchen gear and home products. At home, you'll find her working on embroidery and other crafts.

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