9 Depression Era Recipes You Need to Try - Retro Housewife Goes Green (2024)

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By Lisa Sharp 6 Comments

The Great Depression isn’t known for food but there are some depression era recipes that while created out of desperation are still delicious!

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The 1930s was a tough time in the United States. It was a time of economic downturn and also of severe drought for part of the country.

I live in Oklahoma and it’s an area that was hit very hard by not only the Great Depression but also the Dust Bowl. My great-grandma was living in Oklahoma during this time and had a lot of stories to share about how difficult it was.

She talked about how you would clean up all the dust before going to bed and it would all be back by the morning. She was a very tidy person so I can only imagine how hard it was for her trying to care for a home and family during that time.

The economic struggles and food shortages had to have been demoralizing but they also brought out creativity in many, including homemakers.

I have no desire to bring back the squirrel dishes my great-grandma talked about eating but there are recipes that I would like to add to my rotation. We already eat a lot of onion burgers in my house which is an Oklahoma classic that was born in the Great Depression.

Today I’ve got nine delicious recipes to share from the Great Depression. They are a great way to be more in touch with that time in our history and also a way to save a little money on your grocery bill.

The Best Depression Era Recipes

These recipes may have started because they were frugal but they continue to be loved today because they are delicious.

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Oklahoma Onion Burgers

Onion burgers are an Oklahoma staple. They were created during the Depression to help diners overcome the rising beef costs. They are delicious!

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Photo Credit: www.twopinkpeonies.com

Old Fashioned Banana Bread

This is a delicious, old-fashion version of the classic banana bread.

This easy old-fashioned Chocolate Mayonnaise Cake uses mayonnaise in the batter to replace the eggs and oil for a rich and delicious chocolate cake. It's perfect for birthday parties or any celebration!

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Photo Credit: www.theanthonykitchen.com

The Best Buttermilk Pie Recipe

The best recipe for classic Southern Buttermilk Pie, with a sweet, and slightly tangy, custard filling baked atop a buttery, flaky pie crust.

These classic porcupine meatballs have the delicious tomato sauce and green pepper tastes from childhood.

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Photo Credit: www.amodernhomestead.com

Einkorn Chocolate Wacky Cake

This chocolate cake recipe originates from the Great Depression, when such things as eggs and milk were scarce. Unlike most chocolate cake recipes, it calls for neither! Also known as a Crazy Cake or Wacky Cake, this egg and milk free einkorn chocolate cake is perfect for those with allergies!

This Beef and Beans recipe is based upon one from a 1930s community cookbook and it is delicious!

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Photo Credit: www.southernplate.com

Water Pie

Water Pie is one of those magical recipes that came out of the depression era where cooks with little to nothing figured out how to make delicious dishes for those they love.

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Photo Credit: eatathomecooks.com

Depression Era Homemade Bread

This recipe comes from Clara of Depression Coooking with Clara. Clara shares recipes and stories from her own life during the Great Depression.

More Vintage Recipes

Looking for more vintage recipes? I have a lot of great ones for you to try out. Don’t forget to also sign up below for my FREE Vintage Desserts ebook.

The Best Vintage Gingerbread Brownies Recipe

Vintage Cranberry Glazed Ham Recipe

9 Best Vintage Cranberry Recipes

11 Delicious Vintage Soup Recipes

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Comments

  1. Christine Richards says

    Hi Lisa, I just discovered your website when I saw your recipe for peanut butter cookies. I remember these so well from my own childhood. I would like to follow your page/blog, however Im’ not sure how, as I can’t seem to find a ‘follow’ option. I’ve really enjoyed reading your blog so far, and definitely plan to make some of the recipes. I am also very much ‘into’ vintage homemaking, and love seeing old recipes, decorating ideas, and any vintage inspired ideas.

    Reply

    • Lisa Sharp says

      So glad you enjoyed it!

      There are many ways to follow, you can follow on social media, there are buttons in the side bar. You can also sign up to get emails from me. There is a form on the buttom of this page or you can find it on the bottom of my about page- https://retrohousewifegoesgreen.com/homemaking-green-living-vintage-blog/

      Reply

  2. Jackie says

    Since you do vintage recipes perhaps you have the one I have searched for many decades. I was about 1pm years old when my step dad took me into this bakery and I found the perfect cake. If was a loaf shaped cake and was a medium brown color. It also had tiny pieces of nuts mixed in the cake. It was sliced length way and separated into a top and bottom. The cake had a raspberry filling spread out on top of the lower portion and powdered sugar on the top portion. The cake was called a Jewish nut loaf. We moved away and I have never seen or heard of this cake since 1963. If you know of the cake I would love to have this recipe.

    Reply

    • Lisa Sharp says

      I’m sorry, this doesn’t sound like anything I’ve seen. I’m allergic to nuts so I don’t search out recipes that include them. Have you searched on Pinterest?

      Reply

    • Shea says

      Hello! I’m not sure if anyone will see this since I’m replying over 1 year later, but thought I’d give it a shot anyway. Try doing an internet search (or a search here on Pinterest) for “Israeli Halvah”. I think that may be what you’re looking for. There are various types of versions but the overall recipe concept sounds like what you’re looking for.

      Reply

  3. Jackie says

    I am sorry for the typo. I was 10 years old

    Reply

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9 Depression Era Recipes You Need to Try - Retro Housewife Goes Green (2024)
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