28 Surprisingly Delicious Great Depression Recipes You Should Try (2024)

Do you love old-school recipes? Are you working with a food budget that is very tight, and need some frugal ideas to keep your family fed?

Well, there is no greater era to look to than the Great Depression when looking for both frugal and old-school delicious recipes.

Which is why I’m going to bring you some of the best recipes I can find across the internet to one easy location—here on our blog so you can easily scroll through them to see which ones you would like to try.

So without any further delay, here are some of the internet’s best Great Depression Era recipes:

28 Surprisingly Delicious Great Depression Recipes You Should Try (1)

1. Hot Milk Cake

28 Surprisingly Delicious Great Depression Recipes You Should Try (2)

Through my research of Depression Era recipes, I realized that dessert was a big deal to them during this time, and did they ever know how to make some delicious desserts out of very few ingredients.

Take this dessert for example. It is just eggs, milk, vanilla extract, flour, salt, and baking powder. Yet it turns into a deliciously moist and sweet cake. You’ve got to try it.

Try this Depression Era recipe

2. Granny’s Cocoa Cream Pie

28 Surprisingly Delicious Great Depression Recipes You Should Try (3)

My husband loves chocolate pies. His mother made a great version of this pie and just like the woman who created this recipe, she too was very resourceful.

So if you have some eggs, cocoa powder, salt, flour, milk, and vanilla, then you can easily have this pie in no time flat.

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3. Dandelion Salad

I love this woman’s site. She is in her mid 90’s and has her own Youtube channel to share her Depression Era meals that she ate as a child.

Naturally, this dandelion salad is one of those meals. It is basically cooked dandelion greens, but with this video, hopefully, it will help you to figure out how to cook it a little easier.

Try this Depression Era recipe

4. Depression Era Breakfast

This is another video of Ms. Clara’s that recounts her childhood during the Great Depression. She shares what they ate for breakfast.

But she also shares with you how to make this typical breakfast. She makes these easy breakfast scones, simple coffee, and enjoys some wafer cookies too.

Try this Depression Era recipe

5. Great Depression Pizza

Ms. Clara shared a few videos, lots of knowledge, and many great stories with the internet before her passing in 2013.

But one of her greatest videos (in my opinion) is this Depression Era pizza. It doesn’t look like today’s pizza, but it still looks really good.

Try this Depression Era recipe

6. Grape Pie

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As we all know, the Great Depression was a time of necessary resourcefulness. You had to use what you had available in order to simply survive on a day to day basis.

However, many wonderful recipes were birthed out of sheer necessity. This deliciouslysweet grape pie was one of those recipes.

Try this Depression Era recipe

7. Potato Casserole

28 Surprisingly Delicious Great Depression Recipes You Should Try (5)

Potatoes were a staple ingredient during the Depression because they were cheap, and you could grow them yourself.

So it should come as no surprise that someone figured out how to take a few basic ingredients (cream of chicken soup, onion, butter, etc.) and made a delicious casserole from them.

Try this Depression Era recipe

8. 9 Depression Era Meals

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This site is a great Depression Era recipe resource. They literally give you 9 recipes from the Depression that you can still enjoy today.

But don’t think that these are just frumpy old recipes. Oh no! They are delicious like chocolate cake, sponge cake, creamed peas over toast, beans, and ham hocks, and so much more.

Try this Depression Era recipe

9. Pan Bread

28 Surprisingly Delicious Great Depression Recipes You Should Try (7)

I’ve eaten this many a time with my mother-in-law. When we wanted a bread to go with supper but didn’t have enough time to make a fresh loaf, then we’d make this bread together.

Basically, you make an easy bread dough, but instead of letting it rise and bake, you just put it in a skillet with oil and fry it up.

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10. Shoo Fly Pie

28 Surprisingly Delicious Great Depression Recipes You Should Try (8)

This pie not only has a great name, but it looks delicious as well. You use pretzels to make a graham cracker like crust.

Then you fill the pie crust with a brown sugar and molasses filling. It certainly still sounds good to me!

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11. W.P.A. Soup

28 Surprisingly Delicious Great Depression Recipes You Should Try (9)

If you’ve eaten potato soup before, then you’ll probably like this simplified version of it. They begin by cooking potatoes down.

Then they add celery, onion, butter, cream, and some chopped salami to the equation to have a very filling and inexpensive potato soup.

Try this Depression Era recipe

12. War Cake

28 Surprisingly Delicious Great Depression Recipes You Should Try (10)

This recipe goes back to World War II when people were facing food rationings. Could you imagine how resourceful you’d have to be during such a time?

Well, they were, and they created a delicious cake recipe in the process! You’ll need only some hot water, lard, salt, sugar, cinnamon, cloves, and seedless grapes to make this delicious cake.

Try this Depression Era recipe

13. Rice Pudding

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Rice pudding is still one of my favorite frugal desserts to this day. It is a great way to use last night’s left over rice.

So if you have any left over rice, don’t toss it. Instead, add some cinnamon, evaporated milk, raisins, and other tasty ingredients to make it a delicious breakfast or dessert.

Try this Depression Era recipe

14. Southern Hoe Cake

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Again, this is another recipe that I’ve raised my children on thus far. I discovered it in my early days of marriage and have stuck with it because my husband was raised on these and loves them.

So if you are thinking, “What in the world is a hoe cake?” Well, it is another version of fried bread that requires very few ingredients. You must try it at least once to see what you think.

Try this Depression Era recipe

15. Green Tomato Pie

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I love green tomatoes, and I’m not sure who first ate one and thought that they would make a great ingredient in any dish, but certainly a pie.

But whoever it was, I’m thankful, because they are good. So if you enjoy green tomatoes and pies, then you’ll definitely want to check out this combo.

Try this Depression Era recipe

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