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55 Recipes We Stole from the Family Reunion

These family favorites deserve a spot at your next potluck.

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Jim’s Secret Family Recipe Ribs

For more than 30 years, my brother-in-law Jim kept his famous ribs recipe a secret, much to the chagrin of my husband, Dennis. When he finally came around to sharing it, we loved it so much we just had to pass it along. This one’s for you, Jim! —Vicki Young, Brighton, Colorado

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Vermicelli Pasta Salad

I started making this salad because it's loaded with peppers, my husband's favorite. Don't be surprised when there are no leftovers to take home after the family reunion, picnic or church potluck. —Janie Colle, Hutchinson, Kansas
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Caramel Chocolate Trifle

A highlight of our annual family reunion is the dessert competition. The judges take their jobs very seriously! Last year's first-place winner was this tempting trifle.—Barb Hausey, Independence, Missouri
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Mom's Italian Beef Sandwiches

My mom made the best Italian beef. I’ve added to it over the years, but it’s still her recipe. She made these sandwiches for family reunions, and there were never leftovers. —Mary McVey, Colfax, North Carolina
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Three-Bean Baked Beans

I got this recipe from an aunt and made a couple of changes to suit our tastes. With ground beef and bacon mixed in, these satisfying beans are a big hit at backyard barbecues and church picnics. I'm always asked to bring my special beans. —Julie Currington, Gahanna, Ohio
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Favorite Barbecued Chicken

What better place to find a fantastic barbecue chicken than Texas, and that’s where this one is from—it’s my father-in-law’s own recipe. We’ve served it at many family reunions and think it’s the best! —Bobbie Morgan, Woodstock, Georgia
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Cornflake-Coated Crispy Bacon

I've loved my aunt's crispy-coated bacon ever since I was a child. Now I've shared the super simple recipe with my own children. We still enjoy a big panful every Christmas morning—and on many other days throughout the year! —Brenda Severson, Norman, Oklahoma
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Peach Cake

Peach Cake

I first tasted this cake about 15 years ago when a dear aunt brought it to a family reunion. I knew I had to have the recipe...and I was thrilled to discover how easy it is to make.—Donna Britsch, Tega Cay, South Carolina
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Aunt Ione's Icebox Cookies

Whenever we went to visit my Aunt Ione in south Georgia, her icebox cookies were our favorite treat. My mother later make these cookies, and I remember begging for a slice of the raw dough—I thought the unbaked cookies tasted just as great as the baked! —Jenny Hill, Meridianville, Alabama
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Haystack Supper

Served as the main dish at our family reunion buffet, this flavorful layered taco-style dish was a true crowd-pleaser. Folks were pleasantly surprised to find a rice layer, and everyone enjoys the creamy cheese sauce. —Jill Steiner, Hancock, Minnesota
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Aunt Margaret's Sweet Potato Casserole

My great-aunt made an incredible sweet potato casserole for our holiday dinners. I’ve lightened it up a bit, but we love it just the same. —Beth Britton, Fairlawn, Ohio
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Nana's Chocolate Cupcakes with Mint Frosting

Even though she is no longer with us, Nana’s treats bring me so much joy every time I bake them. For a more indulgent version, double the frosting and pile it on high! —Chekota Hunter, Cassville, Missouri
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Cottage Potatoes

I often make this crunchy and colorful potato dish for our family reunions. It's my cousin's recipe, and we always know we'll never have any leftovers. —Mary C. Sholtis, Ashtabula, Ohio
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Luscious Almond Cheesecake

I received this recipe along with a set of springform pans from a cousin at my wedding shower 11 years ago. It makes a heavenly cheesecake. My son Tommy has already told me he wants it again for his birthday cake this year. —Brenda Clifford, Overland Park, Kansas
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Slow-Cooked Golden Mashed Potatoes

Making a grand meal can be a little daunting, even for the most experienced cook. The convenience of a slow cooker for these classic spuds makes it one step easier and allows you to spend more time with family. —Samantha Six, Fredricksburg, Indiana
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German Chocolate Brownies

German Chocolate Brownies

Even as a young girl, I was always going through recipe books in search of something new to make. That’s how I came across these brownies, a favorite for our family reunions and other get-togethers. They capture the rich flavor of a favorite cake with a few easy steps. Broiling the sweet coconut topping makes it gooey and good. —Karen Grimes, Stephens City, Virginia
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Raspberry Ice Cream Delight

This gorgeous make-ahead dessert is a light, refreshing ending to a summer meal. I first made it for my aunt's 85th birthday dinner and everyone loved it! —Nancy Whitford, Edwards, New York
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Best-Ever Fried Chicken

Crispy, juicy and perfectly seasoned, this really is the best fried chicken recipe, ever. Summer reunions and neighborly gatherings will never be the same. When I was growing up, my parents had a farm, and every year, Dad would hire teenage boys to help by haying time. They looked forward to coming because they knew they would be treated to some of Mom's deep fryer recipes, including this delicious fried chicken. —Lola Clifton, Vinton, Virginia
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Red Velvet White Chip Cookies

These cookies are soft, chewy and taste as good as they sound. The first time I baked them, I took them to an aunt's yard sale. Now they’re my go-to for any special event. —Samantha Gstalder, Montoursville, Pennsylvania
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Chili for a Crowd

This chili for a crowd was handed down to me by my aunt, who said she got it from a "grizzled Montana mountain man." I added some zesty ingredients to come up with the final version. Hot food is something that my husband's family isn't accustomed to, so I adjust the spices for them. In fact, with a few simple alterations to the "heat" index, I can serve this chili to anyone. —Lisa Humphreys, Wasilla, Alaska
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Golden Honey Pan Rolls

A cousin in North Carolina gave me the recipe for these delicious honey-glazed rolls. Using my bread machine to make the dough saves me about 2 hours compared to the traditional method. The rich buttery taste of these rolls is so popular with family and friends that I usually make two batches so I have enough! —Sara Wing, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
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Oat-Rageous Chocolate Chip Cookies

My aunt gave me this recipe, and my family thinks these cookies are delicious. We enjoy all different kinds of cookies, and with this recipe, we can combine three of our favorite kinds—oatmeal, peanut butter and chocolate chip—in one! —Jaymie Noble, Kalamazoo, Michigan
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Summertime Slaw

As a change from mayonnaise-laden slaw, I created this refreshing alternative. It uses many of the garden vegetables I grow, so it's also economical. I serve it at our family reunion each Fourth of July, and it's always a big hit at get-togethers. —Sharon Payne, Mayfield, Kentucky
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Strawberry Rhubarb Coffee Cake

Although my coffee cake makes a large pan, it never lasts very long! It's great for a Sunday brunch after church and nice to bring to family reunions, too. —Dorothy Morehouse, Massena, New York
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German Red Cabbage

Sunday afternoons were a time for family gatherings when I was a kid. While the uncles played cards, the aunts made treats such as this traditional German red cabbage recipe. —Jeannette Heim, Dunlap, Tennessee
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Aunt Betty's Blueberry Muffins

Aunt Betty's Blueberry Muffins

My Aunt Betty is quite a baker, but I look forward to these mouthwatering blueberry muffin recipe the most. She gives me enough so that I can freeze and enjoy them for weeks. —Sheila Raleigh, Kechi, Kansas
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Aunt Marion's Fruit Salad Dessert

Aunt Marion's Fruit Salad Dessert

Aunt Marion, my namesake, is like a grandma to me. She gave me this luscious salad recipe, which goes to all our family reunions, hunt club suppers and snowmobile club picnics...and I go home with no leftovers! —Marion LaTourette, Honesdale, Pennsylvania
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Surprise Carrot Cake

A cousin gave me this carrot cake recipe. It's a wonderful potluck pleaser with its "surprise" cream cheese center. My husband and our two young children love it, too! —Lisa Bowen, Little Britian, Ontario
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Glazed Chicken Wings

I received this easy wing recipe from a cousin on Vancouver Island during a visit there a few years ago. They're an appealing appetizer, but also a favorite for Sunday lunch with rice and a salad. —Joan Airey, Rivers, Manitoba
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Bake-Sale Lemon Bars

The recipe for these tangy lemon bars comes from my cousin Bernice, a farmer's wife famous for cooking up feasts. — Mildred Keller, Rockford, Illinois
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Cupcake Cones

Children love this treat, which is not as messy as a piece of cake. —Mina Dyck, Boissevain, Manitoba
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Blueberry/Rhubarb Breakfast Sauce

My husband's aunt gave me this recipe, and it's become our family's favorite breakfast topping. Sometimes I'll substitute cherry pie filling (which I put through the blender) for the blueberry pie filling—it's tasty, too! —Rita Wagenmann, Grangeville, Idaho
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Sweet Macaroni Salad

A sweet out-of-the-ordinary dressing makes this macaroni salad special. My aunt gave me the recipe and it has become one of my favorites. I occasionally leave out the green pepper if I know that people don't like it, and it still tastes great. —Idalee Scholz, Cocoa Beach, Florida
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Aunt Murna's Jam Cake

I remember Aunt Murna telling me that she created her jam cake recipe as a young girl. She made improvements over the years, such as soaking the raisins in crushed pineapple. This cake is a favorite at our annual family reunions. —Mrs. Eddie Robinson, Lawrenceburg, Kentucky
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Spinach Beef Macaroni Bake

Spinach Beef Macaroni Bake

This hearty casserole is great for a family reunion or church supper. I've also made half the recipe for family gatherings. It's become a special favorite of my grandson-in-law and great-grandson, who often ask me to serve it when they're visiting. —Lois Lauppe, Lahoma, Oklahoma
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Honey Cinnamon Rollups

This cinnamony treat reminds me of baklava, but with only a few easy ingredients, it's a fraction of the work. My Aunt Adele shared the recipe with me, and I think of her whenever I make it. —Sue Falk, Warren, Michigan
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Party Franks

These tiny, tangy appetizers have broad appeal. I prepare them often for holiday gatherings, weddings and family reunions. They're convenient to serve at parties since the sauce can be made ahead and then reheated with the franks before serving. —Lucille Howell, Portland, Oregon
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Veggie Chopped Salad

My husband's aunt gave me this recipe back in the '80s, and it's been a staple at our house ever since. I like to make it a day ahead because some time in the fridge makes it even better. Be sure to save yourself some leftovers, too. —Madeline Etzkorn, Burien, Washington
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Sour Cream Potatoes

One of the great things about these creamy potatoes is they turn out even better if you make them a couple days ahead and bake them on the day you serve them till they're golden brown on top.—Krista Smith Kliebensteain, Broomfield, Colorado
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Cheddar-Ham Oven Omelet

We had a family reunion for 50 relatives from the U.S. and Canada, and it took four pans of this hearty, five-ingredient omelet to feed the crowd. Fresh fruit and an assortment of muffins helped round out our brunch menu.—Betty Abrey, Imperial, Saskatchewan
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Fresh Cucumber Salad

Crisp, garden-fresh cukes are always in season when we hold our family reunion, and they really shine in this simple salad. The recipe can easily be expanded to make large quantities, too. —Betsy Carlson, Rockford, Illinois
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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. At lunchtime, my mom and aunts delivered the formed rolls. —Charlotte Hendershot, Hudson, Pennsylvania
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Glorified Hash Browns

You'll be surprised at how quick and easy it is to put together this dressed-up potato casserole! When a friend made it for a church supper, I had to have the recipe. It's great for parties, potlucks and family reunions. —Betty Sitzman, Wray, Colorado
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Mexican Cinnamon Cookies

My extended family shares a meal every Sunday. The aunts and uncles take turns bringing everything from main dishes to desserts like this traditional Mexican cinnamon cookie called reganadas. —Adan Franco, Milwaukee, Wisconsin
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Aunt Lou's Fresh Apple Cake

My Great-Aunt Lou made a luscious fresh apple cake recipe that became a family tradition. My mom makes it for our annual beach trip to the Outer Banks. —Cristy King, Scott Depot, West Virginia
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Almond Tea Bread

My aunt brought her tea bread recipe with her from Scotland, and enjoying a fresh-baked loaf has become a family tradition during the holidays. Each slice is loaded with red cherries. —Kathleen Showers, Briggsdale, Colorado
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Apricot Upside-Down Cake

My Aunt Anne, who is a great cook, gave me a taste of this golden upside-down cake and I couldn't believe how delicious it was. Apricots give it an elegant twist from traditional pineapple versions. —Ruth Ann Stelfox, Raymond, Alberta
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Skillet Herb Bread

We had a lot of family get-togethers when I was growing up. My grandmother, aunts and mom were all good cooks, and each had her own specialty when it came to bread. But Mom's was my favorite—she started making it 40 years ago. The flavors call to mind the taste of cornbread stuffing! —Shirley Smith, Yorba Linda, California
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Honey Cinnamon Bars

My Aunt Ellie gave us the recipe for these sweet bar cookies with cinnamon and walnuts. Drizzle with icing, and serve with coffee or tea. —Diane Myers, Star, Idaho
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Anise Biscotti

My aunt would make anise recipes all the time for dessert and these biscotti were my favorite. I can remember walking into the house and I'd almost swoon when I smelled them baking—the aroma seemed to fill every room. —Esther Perea, Van Nuys, California
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Mandarin Turkey Pinwheels

Curry, smoked turkey and mandarin oranges give these pinwheels their unique flavor. My cousin and I made them for an open house and people came back for seconds...and then thirds! —Lorie Miner, Kamas, Utah
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Soft Sugar Cookie Puffs

My husband's Aunt Laurel always made these cake-like cookies with her own farm-fresh eggs, cream and butter. Now I prepare batches for Christmas each year. We like them because they're not overly sweet. —D. Elaine Rutschke, Spruce View, Alberta
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Cranberry Pudding

This recipe was given to me years ago by my Aunt Lena, who lived on Cape Cod where cranberries are grown. The combination of warm tart cranberries and a smooth sweet brown sugar sauce is the perfect ending to any holiday meal!
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Apple Quinoa Spoon Bread

My cousin is a strict vegetarian, so creating satisfying veggie dishes is my yearly challenge. This spoon bread can act as an amazing Thanksgiving side, but the addition of hearty, healthy quinoa and vegetables make it a well-rounded casserole. Pair it with a seasonal salad to make a filling vegetarian meal. —Christine Wendland, Browns Mills, New Jersey
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Ham and Broccoli Cornbread

Leftovers haunt me. Often nobody wants to eat them, and I hate to see them go to waste. A cornbread casserole is an excellent way to leverage many combinations of leftover meat and veggies into exciting new meals that everyone will love. —Fay Moreland, Wichita Falls, Texas

Laurie Dixon
Having a passion for writing her whole life, Laurie joined the Taste of Home team to bring together her two favorite things—creative writing and food. She spends most of her time playing with her dog, drafting up short stories and, of course, trying out new recipes.
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