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26 Unforgettable Recipes That Have Been Handed Down Through Generations

There's a reason these heirloom recipes have been passed down the generations. Check out these ageless family recipes from readers just like you.

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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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Oma's Apfelkuchen (Grandma's Apple Cake)

My husband’s German family calls this Oma’s apfelkuchen, which translates to "Grandma’s apple cake." They’ve been sharing the recipe for more than 150 years. I use Granny Smith apples, but any variety works. —Amy Kirchen, Loveland, Ohio
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Jim's Secret Family Recipe Ribs

For more than 30 years, my brother-in-law Jim kept his famous rib recipe a secret. When he finally shared it, we just had to pass it along because we loved it so much. This one's for you, Jim! —Vicki Young, Brighton, Colorado
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Green Tomato Pie

When frost nips our garden, I quickly gather all the green tomatoes still on the vine and make this old family favorite. It's been handed down from my grandmother, and now my granddaughters are asking for the recipe.—Violet Thompson, Port Ludlow, Washington
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Grandma Pietz's Cranberry Cake Pudding

For generations, our family has handed down this cake recipe starring cranberries. Simple and unusual, it remains a treasured family heirloom. —Lisa Potter, Camp Douglas, Wisconsin
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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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Triple Ginger Cookies

My dad loved ginger cookies. I've tinkered with the recipe my grandma handed down by using fresh, ground and crystallized ginger for more pizzazz. —Trisha Kruse, Eagle, Idaho
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Lemony Cream Cheese Bars

Anytime I can take a recipe that has been handed down two generations and lighten it up while keeping the delicious flavor memories intact, I’m a happy girl. —Patti Lavell, Islamorada, Florida
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Wine-Braised Chicken with Pearl Onions

This is a family favorite handed down from my grandmother in London. She made it for every family gathering. It was always the first food to go on the table and the first one to disappear. —Wayne Barnes, Montgomery, Alabama
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Baked Elephant Ears

My mother-in-law handed down this recipe from her mother. They’re a special treat—even better, I think, than those at a carnival or festival. And (shh!) they're baked, not fried. —Delores Baeten, Downers Grove, Illinois
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Sloppy Ottos

My version of sloppy joes comes from an old family recipe. Make these sandwiches even more German by stacking everything on a pretzel bun. —Jason Koren, Milwaukee, Wisconsin
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Turkey Sausage Cabbage Rolls

I practically grew up in my Polish grandmother's kitchen, watching Babci cook and listening to her stories. I made her cabbage roll recipe healthier with whole grains and turkey, but kept the same rich flavors I remember. —Fay Moreland, Wichita Falls, Texas
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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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Turkey Sausage Bean Soup

This recipe is from my great-grandmother, though I've added a few ingredients to make it my own. Serve it with a side salad and some artisan bread for a wonderful, hearty family dinner. —Terrel Porter-Smith, Los Osos, California
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Triple Berry Shortcake

My great-great-grandmother handed down her shortcake recipe. I’m sharing it because it’s way too fabulous to keep it a secret! —Sara Kingsmore, Vadnais Heights, Minnesota
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Best-Ever Sweet Potato Pie

My grandmother handed down this recipe and it’s amazing! The flavor, with a hint of maple and great spices, totally lives up to its name. —Erin Gibbons, Downingtown, Pennsylvania
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Cranberry Ketchup

This recipe was handed down to me from my mother. It may sound like a strange combination of flavors, but once you try it, you won’t want to go back to regular ketchup. —Jerome Wiese, Bemidji, Minnesota
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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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Grilled Three-Potato Salad

Everyone in our extended family loves to cook, so I put together all of our favorite recipes in a cookbook to be handed down from generation to generation. This recipe comes from that cookbook. It's a delicious twist on traditional potato salad. —Suzette Jury, Keene, California
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Lebkuchen

It's tradition for my family to make these German treats together. The recipe came from my great-grandmother's cookbook, and judging from the amount of requests I get, it has certainly stood the test of time. —Esther Kempker, Jefferson City, Missouri
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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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Zucchini Hamburger Pie

This hamburger pie is a family favorite handed down from my dear aunt. It is so hearty that it satisfies the appetite well. And my family has always enjoyed the idea of having pie for supper! —Eloise Swisher, Roseville, Illinois
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Frosted Spice Cookies

This recipe has been handed down through many generations of my husband's family. The cookies were always in his grandmother's cookie jar when he'd visit. Today, he enjoys them more than ever—and so do I. —Debbie Hurlbert, Howard, Ohio
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Layered Orange Sponge Cake

This recipe's been handed down in my family for 40 years, from a relative who was a French baker. It's light, delicate and delicious, just like a great cake should be. —Joyce Speerbrecher, Grafton, Wisconsin
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Pumpkin Walnut Squares

My mother-in-law handed this pumpkin bar recipe down as a surefire way to keep my husband happy during the holidays. It's his favorite childhood dessert. —Melissa Conchieri, Northport, New York

Kristin Sutter
A big fan of homegrown cooking, Kristin has been a writer and editor for nearly 20 years. She has mastered the art of learning from her inexpert riffs on other people's truly good recipes.

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