55 Vintage Recipes from the ’30s Worth Trying Today

Updated: Jun. 19, 2024

With hearty breads, filling soups and simple desserts, these vintage recipes will give you the perfect taste of the 1930s.

1 / 55

Hearty Navy Bean Soup

My family loves navy bean soup! Beans were a commodity you did not survive without in the ’30s. This excellent navy beans and ham soup is a real family favorite of ours and I make it often. —Mildred Lewis, Temple, Texas

Go to Recipe

2 / 55

Bacon Roll-Ups

This family recipe dates back to the 1930s, when my grandmother started making these hearty breakfast rolls. —Janet Abate, North Brunswick, New Jersey
3 / 55

Skillet Cabbage

I use this dish often when the schedule gets tight and I need a hurry-up vegetable to cook. It adds plenty of substance to a simple meal. —Charmaine Fricke, St. Charles, Illinois
4 / 55

Spiedis

This is our favorite cookout dish, and it's very good served with a salad. This recipe originated here in my hometown in the 1930s. Our meat preference for speidis is venison, but we use chicken and beef when it's not available. —Gertrude Skinner, Binghamton, New York
5 / 55

Irish Spiced Beef

The story goes that my Irish ancestors brought this recipe along when they immigrated to the U.S. Start it at least five days ahead to spice and tenderize the meat; the flavors are worth it. —Mary Shenk, Dekalb, Illinois
6 / 55

Grandma Davidson's Baked Apple Pudding

My savvy grandmother whipped up recipes like this homey cinnamon-scented apple pudding in the Depression years. Many of us still make them today. —Holly Sharp, Warren, Ontario

No money? No problem! Try this vintage cake recipe, appropriately named poor man’s cake.

7 / 55

Beans, Bacon & Tomato Bake

Bacon, tomatoes and lima beans combine for a nutrient-packed side dish that makes the perfect accompaniment to turkey. —Karen Kumpulainen, Forest City, North Carolina
8 / 55

Spinach Souffle Side Dish

You just can't make an easier, more delicious side dish than this. It's great with beef, pork and lamb, and I especially like serving it for a festive occasion like New Year's Eve. —Bette Duffy, Kenmore, Washington
9 / 55

Crunchy Tuna Salad with Tomatoes

On a hot summer day, there's nothing more refreshing than this salad. I grow a few tomato plants in my garden and the fresh-picked taste makes the dish even more of a treat. —Diane Selich, Vassar, Michigan
10 / 55

Grilled Sweet Corn

Since we have plenty of fresh sweet corn available in our area, we use this recipe often in summer. Parsley, chili powder and cumin accent the corn's just-picked flavor. —Connie Lou Hollister, Lake Odessa, Michigan
11 / 55

Truly Tasty Turnips with Greens

These savory greens are a hit at every church dinner I take them to. Adjust the seasonings as you please to make this recipe your own. —Amy Inman, Hiddenite, North Carolina
12 / 55

O'Brien Sausage Skillet

Inspiration hit one night when I was in a time crunch. This was so satisfying and easy to make, many friends now serve it, too. —Linda Harris, Wichita, Kansas
13 / 55

Old-Fashioned Rice Pudding

This comforting dessert is a wonderful way to end any meal. As a girl, I always waited eagerly for the first heavenly bite. Today, my husband likes to top his with a scoop of ice cream. —Sandra Melnychenko, Grandview, Manitoba
14 / 55

Potato Salad

This homemade potato salad recipe doesn't have many ingredients, so it isn't as colorful as many that you find nowadays. But Mama made it the way her mother did, and that's the way I still make it today. Try it and see if it isn't one of the best-tasting potato salads you have ever eaten! —Sandra Anderson, New York, New York
15 / 55

Mom's Meat Loaf

Mom made the best meat loaf, and now I do too. When I first met my husband, he wasn't a meat loaf guy, but this recipe won him over. —Michelle Beran, Claflin, Kansas
16 / 55

Apple Brandy

I spend a lot of time developing recipes for the many fruits and vegetables we grow on our farm. In this creation, apple brandy is enhanced with spices for a delightful drink.—Deanna Seippel, Lancaster, Wisconsin
17 / 55

The Best Chicken & Dumplings

 Homemade chicken and dumplings from scratch harken back to my childhood and chilly days when we devoured those cute little balls of dough swimming in hot, rich broth. It's one of those types of soup you'll want to eat again and again. —Erika Monroe-Williams, Scottsdale, Arizona
18 / 55

Cinnamon Peanut Brittle

I made this sweet, peanut-packed candy for Christmas and sent some with my husband to work. His co-workers liked it so much they asked for more. It has a lovely glossy look and the cinnamon is a delightful surprise. You've got to try this peanut butter brittle recipe. —Grace Miller, Mansfield, Ohio
19 / 55

Scalloped Potatoes with Mushrooms

Potatoes and mushrooms make a one-dish meal I love – it’s the calories you have to watch. Swap out dairy products with lower fat options. —Courtney Stultz, Columbus, Kansas
20 / 55

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
21 / 55

Hearty Vegetable Soup

A friend gave me the idea to use V8 juice in vegetable soup because it provides more flavor. My best vegetable soup recipe is perfect to prepare on a crisp autumn afternoon. —Janice Steinmetz, Somers, Connecticut
22 / 55

Easy Homemade Pickles

My husband grows cucumbers, garlic and dill in the garden and eagerly waits for me to make these homemade pickles. The recipe comes from my grandmother.—Angela Lienhard, Blossburg, Pennsylvania
23 / 55

Three-Bean Baked Beans

I got this recipe from my aunt and made a couple of changes to suit my taste. 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
24 / 55

Grandma's Potato Salad

This salad is a must for the Fourth of July feast. The red potatoes hold their shape and texture even after they are boiled. —Sue Gronholz, Beaver Dam, Wisconsin
25 / 55

Tuna Cheese Spread

The flavor of tuna is very subtle in this thick and creamy spread. It's terrific on crackers or carrot and celery sticks, stuffed in a tomato or used for a sandwich. —Dorothy Anderson, Ottawa, Kansas
26 / 55

Molded Strawberry Salad

This refreshing salad has two layers – a pretty pink bottom that includes sour cream, and a ruby red top with strawberries and pineapple. For years, Mom has included this salad in meals she prepares for our family.
-Gloria Grant, Sterling, Illinois
27 / 55

Simple Lemon Parsley Potatoes

For a simply delicious side dish, I often prepare these potatoes. I like the fact that there are few ingredients and they take such little time to prepare.—Dorothy Pritchett, Wills Point, Texas
28 / 55

Dark Chocolate Pudding

Life is too short to pass on dessert. This old-fashioned treat is so creamy and comforting! —Lily Julow, Lawrenceville, Georgia
29 / 55

Vegetable Lentil Soup

Here’s a healthy slow-cooker soup that's ideal for vegetarians and those watching their weight. Butternut squash and lentils make it hearty, while herbs and other veggies round out the flavor. —Mark Morgan, Waterford, Wisconsin
30 / 55

Easy Lemon Pie

I’ve had this one-bowl lemon pie recipe for years. It’s my twist on chocolate French silk pie, and it's uber easy to do with refrigerated pie pastry. —Glenna Tooman, Boise, Idaho
31 / 55

Pennsylvania Dutch Apple Butter

You can spread this apple butter on thick and still enjoy a breakfast that’s thin on calories. For a smoother texture, use tender varieties such as McIntosh or Cortland apples. —Diane Widmer, Blue Island, Illinois. If you like this, then you must check out our favorite retro breakfast recipes.
32 / 55

Potato Pan Rolls

My family loves these rolls and requests them often. They don't take long to make because you use quick-rise yeast. —Connie Storckman, Evanston, Wyoming
33 / 55

Roasted Asparagus Salad

Now that our six children are grown, they've started sharing recipes with me—and I love it. This tasty way to prepare fresh asparagus —by roasting the spears, then serving them with a Dijon dressing at room temperature—came from our daughter. —Anna Kreymborg, Louisville, Kentucky
34 / 55

Rosemary Lemonade

A friend suggested I add a sprig of rosemary to lemonade. The herb makes the drink taste fresh and light, and it's a pretty garnish. —Dixie Graham, Rancho Cucamonga, California
35 / 55

Hominy Beef Chili

Hunker down for the night and get cozy with this filling chili. Loaded with beef chuck roast and convenient staples, such as diced tomatoes, green chiles and seasonings, it’s a satisfying supper that would be yummy served with a side of warm tortillas or tortilla chips for dipping. —Steve Westphal, Wind Lake, Wisconsin
36 / 55

Tillie's Ginger Crumb Cake

This recipe goes back at least as far as my grandmother, who was born in the early 1900s. Our sons and I enjoy eating it in a bowl with milk poured on it—much to the dismay of my husband, who prefers it plain! —Kathy Nienow Clark, Byron, Michigan
37 / 55

Tomato-Poached Halibut

My halibut with a burst of lemon comes together in one pan and stays super moist. Try it with polenta, angel hair pasta or crusty bread. —Danna Rogers, Westport, Connecticut
38 / 55

Homemade Buttermilk Biscuits

The recipe for these four-ingredient homemade buttermilk biscuits has been handed down for many generations. —Fran Thompson, Tarboro, North Carolina
39 / 55

Tomato Juice Cocktail

This recipe came from my mother-in-law and many say it’s the best tomato juice they’ve ever tasted. It has a little eye-opening kick to it that’s wonderful! —Beverly Cottrell, Ipswich, Maine
40 / 55

Lima Bean Soup

A yearly Lima Bean Festival in nearby West Cape May honors the many growers there and showcases different recipes using their crops. This comforting chowder was a contest winner at the festival several years ago. —Kathleen Olsack, North Cape May, New Jersey
41 / 55

Homemade Strawberry Ice Cream

This creamy, luscious ice cream will remind you of the signature treat served at church ice cream socials. What dessert could be better? —Esther Johnson, Merrill, Wisconsin—Esther Johnson, Merrill, Wisconsin
42 / 55

Roasted Cabbage & Onions

I roast veggies to bring out their sweetness, and it works wonders with onions and cabbage. The piquant vinegar-mustard sauce makes this dish similar to a slaw. —Ann Sheehy, Lawrence, Massachusetts
43 / 55

Country White Bread

Anytime is the right time for a comforting slice of homemade bread. These loaves are especially nice since the crust stays so tender. This white bread recipe is my husband Nick's favorite. He makes most of the bread at our house. —Joanne Shew Chuk, St. Benedict, Saskatchewan
44 / 55

Asian Corn Succotash

Since I’m not a fan of lima beans, I use edamame (green soybeans) in this colorful corn succotash instead. The Asian-inspired dressing alone is addictive. —Dierdre Callaway, Parkville, Missouri
45 / 55

Vanilla Wafer Cookies

These buttery cookies bake up chewy and crispy at the same time. Sprinkle these vanilla wafers with colored sugar or leave them as-is. Their simplicity is beauty enough! —Edith MacBeath, Gaines, Pennsylvania
46 / 55

Broiled Parmesan and Swiss Tomatoes

Planning to serve steak or tenderloin? These cheesy tomatoes make the ideal accompaniment. Plus, the recipe is simple to double for guests. —Mary Price, Youngstown, Ohio
47 / 55

Easy Homemade Chunky Applesauce

Here's a comforting, home-style treat that never loses its appeal. Dish up big bowlfuls and wait for the smiles! —Marilee Cardinal, Burlington, New Jersey
48 / 55

Brandy Old-Fashioned Sweet

The concept of an old-fashioned dates back to the early 1800s and includes whiskey, bitters, cherry juice, sugar and water. This old-fashioned recipe, which is extremely popular in Wisconsin, uses brandy in place of whiskey and lemon-lime soda instead of water for a milder cocktail. —Taste of Home Test Kitchen
49 / 55

Washington State Apple Pie

This pie won grand champion in the Apple Pie category at the 1992 Okanogan County Fair. The pie looks traditional, but homemade filling gives it a different flair and a terrific taste. —Dolores Scholz, Tonasket, Washington
50 / 55

Gimlet

For the light drinker, suggest a Gimlet. The blend of slightly sweet and tart flavors is appealing, but not overwhelming.—Taste of Home Test Kitchen
51 / 55

Simply Delicious Roast Beef Sandwiches

Mushrooms add a different touch to these comforting roast beef sandwiches. I like to pile the shredded beef high on Kaiser rolls.—Scott Powell, Phillipsburg, New Jersey
52 / 55

Marinated Almond-Stuffed Olives

Marinated stuffed olives go over so well with company that I try to keep a batch of them in the fridge at all times. —Larissa Delk, Columbia, Tennessee
53 / 55

Candied Pecans

I pack these easy candied pecans in jars tied with pretty ribbon for family and friends. My granddaughter gave some to a doctor at the hospital where she works, and he said they were too good to be true! —Opal Turner, Hughes Springs, Texas
54 / 55
55 / 55

Fresh Fruit Bowl

The glorious colors of the fruit make this a festive salad. Slightly sweet and chilled, it makes a nice accompaniment to a grilled entree. —Marlon Kirst, Troy, Michigan