12 Timeless Cooking Tips We Learned from Grandma


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Grandma (and Grandpa) know best with these 60 heirloom recipes.

Old-Fashioned Peanut Butter Cookies


Old-Fashioned Peanut Butter Cookies

My mother insisted that my grandmother write down one recipe for her when she got married in 1942. That was a real effort because Grandma was a traditional pioneer-type cook who used “a little of this or that ’til it feels right.” This treasured recipe is the only one she ever wrote down! —Janet Hall, Clinton, Wisconsin


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Deep-Dish Sausage Pizza


Deep-Dish Sausage Pizza

My Grandma made the tastiest snacks for us when we stayed the night at her farm. Her wonderful pizza, hot from the oven, was covered with cheese and had fragrant herbs in the crust. Now this pizza is frequently a meal for my husband and me and our two young daughters. —Michele Madden, Washington Court House, Ohio


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Grandma's Honey Muffins


Grandma’s Honey Muffins

I can remember my Grandma Wheeler making these delicious muffins—we’d eat them nice and warm, fresh from the oven! She was a “pinch of this” and “handful of that” kind of cook, so getting the ingredient amounts correct for the recipe was a challenge. Now it’s a family treasure! —Darlis A. Wilfer, West Bend, Wisconsin


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PB&J French Toast


PB&J French Toast

My grandpa made an awesome breakfast for us grandkids: French toast that started on the griddle as a peanut butter and jelly sandwich.—Lindsey Folsom, Dorsey, Illinois


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Scalloped Sweet Corn Casserole


Scalloped Sweet Corn Casserole

This is my Grandma Ostendorf’s corn recipe I grew up enjoying. Now a grandmother myself, I still serve this comfy, delicious side as a family classic. —Lonnie Hartstack, Clarinda, Iowa


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Italian Meatball Buns


Italian Meatball Buns

These soft little rolls come with a surprise inside—savory Italian meatballs. They’re wonderful dipped in marinara sauce, making them fun for my grandkids and adults, too. I love how easy they are to put together. —Trina Linder-Mobley, Clover, South Carolina


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Brown Sugar Cutout Cookies


Brown Sugar Cutout Cookies

Our neighbor made these for me when I was little, and now I make them for my kids, grandkids and for the children at school. Serve them with milk for the kids and tea for the grown-ups. —Nancy Lynch, Somerset, Pennsylvania


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Grandma's Rosemary Dinner Rolls


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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Pizza Macaroni & Cheese


Pizza Macaroni & Cheese

My grandma made this for us once when she came to visit and I never forgot just how good it was. Since my kids love anything with pepperoni and cheese, I thought they’d enjoy it just as much as I did. —Juli Meyers, Hinesville, Georgia


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Blueberry Ice Cream


Blueberry Ice Cream

The wild blueberries on our property spark recipe ideas. When my daughter and I made this ice cream at a Girl Guide meeting, it was well received. Even today, our 10 children, 19 grandkids and 4 great-grandchildren think it tastes great. —Alma Mosher, Mohannes, New Brunswick

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Grandma's Divinity


Grandma’s Divinity

Every Christmas my grandmother and I made divinity, just the two of us. I still make it every year. —Anne Clayborne, Walland, Tennessee


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Blue-Ribbon Doughnuts


Blue-Ribbon Doughnuts

What could be more delicious than a warm homemade doughnut? I’ve been making these tasty treats for my children and grandchildren for many years. —Kay McEwen, Sussex, New Brunswick


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Risotto Balls (Arancini)


Risotto Balls (Arancini)

My Italian Grandma made these for me. I still request them when I visit her. And so do my children. These can be made ahead of time and frozen. They are also delicous served as a vegetarian main course with a salad.


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Grandma Russell's Bread


Grandma Russell’s Bread

I remember as a child always smelling fresh homemade bread and rolls whenever I walked into Grandma’s house. The warm slices were delicious and melted in my mouth! —Janet Polito, Nampa, Idaho


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Contest-Winning Sugar 'n' Spice Nuts


Contest-Winning Sugar ‘n’ Spice Nuts

My daughters, grandkids and just about everyone who visits me look forward to this mix of crunchy spiced nuts recipe during the holidays. And tucked in colorful tins, it makes a handy last-minute gift idea for busy hostesses or drop-in visitors. —Joan Klinefelter, Utica, Illinois


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Grandma's Tandy Kake


Grandma’s Tandy Kake

My grandmother made this for all our family gatherings. Everyone loves it now I make it for every party we attend or host. —John Morgan III, Lebanon, Pennsylvania


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Chocolate Zucchini Cupcakes


Chocolate Zucchini Cupcakes

Our grandkids love these cupcakes and don’t believe us when we tell them there are veggies in them! I’m always asked for this recipe, which makes a tasty treat after school, packed in lunches or served as dessert after dinner. —Carole Fraser, North York, Ontario


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Peach Turkey Sandwiches


Peach Turkey Sandwiches

This is a delicious toasted sandwich with a sweet taste of peach and the zip of the vinegarette. I’ve made this sandwich for a lot of people and they all love it. Especially my grandchildren. —Donie Langston, Wathena, Kansas


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Grandma Schwartz's Rouladen


Grandma Schwartz’s Rouladen

This was one of my Grandma Schwartz’s recipes. Grandpa Schwartz was a German butcher and this was one of his (and our) favorite meals. It’s an extra-special beef entree when served with mashed potatoes made with butter and sour cream. —Lynda Sharai, Summer Lake, Oregon


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Grandma's Strawberry Shortcake


Grandma’s Strawberry Shortcake

I can still taste the sweet juicy berries piled over warm biscuits and topped with a huge dollop of fresh whipped cream. My father added even more indulgence to this strawberry dessert by first buttering his biscuits. —Shirley Joan Helfenbein, Lapeer, Michigan


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Pink Christmas Punch


Pink Christmas Punch

Here is a real family heirloom recipe. The first person in our family to serve this delicious fruit punch was Great-Grandma King. She used to set out a Christmas Eve spread at their house every year. Its pretty pink color is very festive as well.—Beth Dewese, Plano, Texas


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Great-Grandma's Italian Meatballs


Great-Grandma’s Italian Meatballs

My great-grandmother started this easy meatball recipe with our family. We use ground beef and turkey, and the flavor’s so good, you won’t miss the extra calories. —Audrey Colantino, Winchester, Massachusetts


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Cookie Jar Gingersnaps


Cookie Jar Gingersnaps

My grandma kept two cookie jars in her pantry. One of the jars, which I now have, always had these crisp and chewy gingersnaps in it. They’re still my favorite cookie recipe. My daughter, Becky, used this recipe for a 4-H fair and won a blue ribbon. —Deb Handy, Pomona, Kansas


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Pennsylvania Dutch Funny Cake


Pennsylvania Dutch Funny Cake

I can still remember my grandma serving this delicious cake on the big wooden table in her farm kitchen. Every time I bake this unusual cake, it takes me back to those special days at Grandma’s. —Diane Ganssle, Bethlehem, Pennsylvania


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Grandma's Lemon Poppy Seed Cake


Grandma’s Lemon Poppy Seed Cake

This is from a collection of family recipes. My granddaughter, Riley, likes that it tastes like lemons, but is sweet. It’s always moist and wonderful. —Phyllis Harmon, Nelson, Wisconsin


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Jam Biscuits


Jam Biscuits

My teenage granddaughter, Holly, and I have enjoyed cooking together since she was 4 years old. We like to make these golden biscuits for holiday gatherings. Fill the centers with homemade jam, orange marmalade or cheese. —Mary Lindsay, Dunrango, Colorado


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Classic French Onion Soup


Classic French Onion Soup

Enjoy my signature French onion soup the way my granddaughter Becky does. I make it for her in a crock bowl complete with garlic croutons and gobs of melted Swiss cheese on top. —Lou Sansevero, Ferron, Utah


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Sugar Cone Chocolate Chip Cookies


Sugar Cone Chocolate Chip Cookies

If I could make a batch of cookies a day, I’d be in baking heaven. I made these for my boys when they were growing up, and now I treat my grandkids, too. Everyone loves the tasty blend of chocolate chips, crumbled sugar cones and sprinkles. —Paula Marchesi, Lenhartsville, Pennsylvania


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Pirate Pasta Shells


Pirate Pasta Shells

Grandfather loved pirate stories and good pasta. When we make his stuffed shells, it reminds us of his favorite tropical places and adventures. —Kathy Noll, Laureldale, Pennsylvania


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Grandma Nardi's Italian Easter Bread


Grandma Nardi’s Italian Easter Bread

My Grandma Nardi’s bread with dyed Easter eggs represents family and tradition. I fondly remember how she taught me the recipe when I was a little girl. —Pat Merkovich, Milwaukee, Wisconsin


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Mushroom Pizza Loaf


Mushroom Pizza Loaf

This recipe came from my Grandma. It was always a favorite of mine as I was growing up and has now become a favorite with my husband and two kids! — Amanda Wiersema, Archer, Iowa


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Lemon Custard Cake


Lemon Custard Cake

This custard cake recipe comes from my grandma and is nice to whip up when unexpected company stops in. It’s a cool, creamy dessert that tastes like you fussed. —Sue Gronholz, Beaver Dam, Wisconsin


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Caraway Cheese Biscuits


Caraway Cheese Biscuits

My grandchildren are always happy when I pull a pan of my cheese biscuits from the oven. The golden-brown goodies are perfect for dipping into chili or stew. — Lorraine Caland, Shuniah, Ontario


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Grandma's Collard Greens


Grandma’s Collard Greens

My grandmother made the best collard greens in the world. Eating them with a slice of buttermilk corn bread is pure bliss. —Sherri Williams, Crestview, Florida


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Breakfast Buns


Breakfast Buns

My grandmother taught me to bake these breakfast buns 70 years ago. Now my granddaughter makes them! This batter is like a biscuit dough and can be made up in a short time. There’s no nicer way to wake up in the morning than to the aromas of biscuits baking and coffee perking! — Dorothy McGinnis, West Haven, Connecticut


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Chocolate Chip Red Velvet Whoopie Pies


Chocolate Chip Red Velvet Whoopie Pies

Baking a fun treat is a must when my four grandchildren come for “Grandma Camp.” This year I’ll recruit the oldest, Henry, to help pipe the cake batter. —Linda Schend, Kenosha, Wisconsin


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Hearty Sausage 'n' Beans


Hearty Sausage ‘n’ Beans

Our son, Will, is a brand new dad. He cooked this blend of sausage, beans, tomatoes and rice when we came to visit our newborn granddaughter, Jenna. The beauty of the dish is the simplicity: Toss the ingredients in one pan, simmer, and you’ve got dinner. Add corn bread and a tossed salad on the side. —Will Owen, Waco, Texas


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Grandmother's Corn Pudding


Grandmother’s Corn Pudding

My grandmother always served this pudding for holidays and family reunions. Everyone loves it. Corn pudding is a popular side dish on Maryland’s Eastern Shore. —Susan Brown Langenstein, Salisbury, Maryland


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Grandma's Favorite Hot Cross Buns


Grandma’s Favorite Hot Cross Buns

My husband’s Grandma used to make these every year for Good Friday, and I carry on the tradition with my own version of her recipe. I make 6 dozen every year, and they all disappear. —Jill Evely, Wilmore, Kentucky


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Icebox Honey Cookies


Icebox Honey Cookies

My Grandma Wruble always had a batch of these cookies in the cookie jar and another roll in the refrigerator ready to slice and bake. Their honey and lemon flavor is delicious! —Kristi Gleason, Flower Mound, Texas


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Black Bean Chip & Dip Burgers


Black Bean Chip & Dip Burgers

I finally invented a healthy veggie burger that wasn’t dry and crumbly or really boring. These fit the bill—even my grandkids prefer them over hamburgers. They taste like chips and dip in a burger! —KT Rehrig, Allentown, Pennsylvania


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Homey Mac & Cheese


Homey Mac & Cheese

I also call this “my grandson’s mac and cheese.” Zachary has been to Iraq and Afghanistan with both the Marines and Navy, and I’ve been privileged to make his favorite casserole for him for over 20 years. —Alice Beardsell, Osprey, Florida


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Wendy's Apple Pomegranate Salad


Wendy’s Apple Pomegranate Salad

My grandparents grew pomegranates, pecans and walnuts and would send us some each year. Some of my best memories are the days I used to spend with my grandmother learning how to cook with her. Whenever I make this it’s like having lunch with my grandmother again. —Wendy Ball, Battle Creek, Michigan


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Sweet & Salty Popcorn


Sweet & Salty Popcorn

There’s nothing like making memories with grandkids in the kitchen and seeing their excited, happy faces while they help. — Diane Smith, Pine Mountain, Georgia


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Grandma's Dill Pickles


Grandma’s Dill Pickles

This treasured dill pickle recipe is like an old friend. These crispy spears have a slightly salty, tart flavor with a good balance of dill, garlic and peppers. —Betty Sitzman, Wray, Colorado


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Grandma's Star Cookies


Grandma’s Star Cookies

My husband’s grandma would only make these butter cutouts with a star cookie cutter. I use various shapes for celebrations throughout the year. —Jenny Brown, West Lafayette, Indiana


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Fresh Tomato Relish


Fresh Tomato Relish

My two grown sons actually eat this as a salad, but that’s a bit too hot for me! The recipe’s from my late husband’s mother, and I haven’t varied it over the years. I usually make a batch as soon as the first tomatoes of the season are ready. —Lela Baskins, Windsor, Missouri


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Nanny's Parmesan Mashed Potatoes


Nanny’s Parmesan Mashed Potatoes

My grandsons rave over these creamy potatoes loaded with Parmesan. That’s all the endorsement I need. Sometimes I use golden or red potatoes, with skins on. —Kallee Krong-McCreery, Escondido, California


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Roasted Brussels Sprouts & Cauliflower


Roasted Brussels Sprouts & Cauliflower

My grandkids were never huge fans of cauliflower, but the bacon makes a big difference in this dish. They like it even more with golden cauliflower instead of white. — Patricia Hudson, Riverview, Florida


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Grilled Barbecued Chicken


Grilled Barbecued Chicken

It’s fun for me to have my family together so I can prepare their favorite foods, like this saucy barbecued chicken. The moist and plump pieces always bring enthusiastic compliments from our four grown children and three grandkids. —Barbara Blickens Derfer, Edgewater, Florida


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Turkey Sausage Soup with Fresh Vegetables


Turkey Sausage Soup with Fresh Vegetables

Our family is big on soup. This favorite is quick to make and very tasty, and it gives me plenty of time to have fun with my kids and grandkids while it slow-cooks. —Nancy Heishman, Las Vegas, Nevada


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Grandma's Cajun Chicken & Spaghetti


Grandma’s Cajun Chicken & Spaghetti

I’m originally from Louisiana, where my grandma spoke Cajun French as she taught me her spicy chicken spaghetti, lovingly made on an old woodstove. —Brenda Melancon, McComb, Mississippi


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Caramel-Apple Skillet Buckle


Caramel-Apple Skillet Buckle

My grandma used to make a version of this for me when I was a little girl. She would make it using fresh apples from her tree in the back yard. I’ve adapted her recipe because I love the combination of apple, pecans, and caramel. —Emily Hobbs, Springfield, Missouri


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Cheeseburger Pepper Cups


Cheeseburger Pepper Cups

I like to serve my grandkids something special, and this is one of their favorites. They like red or yellow peppers because they’re sweeter and look more appetizing. —Betty Winscher, Royalton, Minnesota


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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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Chicken-Fried Steak & Gravy


Chicken-Fried Steak & Gravy

As a child, my grandmother taught me how to make this chicken fried steak. I taught my daughters, and when my granddaughters are bigger, I’ll show them, too. —Donna Cater, Fort Ann, New York


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Grandpa's Party Potatoes


Grandpa’s Party Potatoes

My grandpa, who gave me this recipe, liked the way the cream cheese and onion dip created a wonderful velvety texture. I often assemble these potatoes the night before, then pop them in the oven the next day. —Mary Kay Elert, St. Paul Park, Minnesota


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Grandma's Pea Soup


Grandma’s Pea Soup

My grandma’s pea soup recipe was a family favorite. What makes it different from any other pea soups I have tried is the addition of whole peas, spaetzle-like “dumplings” and sausage. Try it once and you’ll be hooked. —Carole Talcott, Dahinda, Illinois


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Grandma's Poultry Dressing


Grandma’s Poultry Dressing

Every family seems to have its own favorite dressing recipe which becomes a tradition, and this is ours. It came from Grandma, who passed it down to my mother. Now our children have carried it into their kitchens. This is truly a good old-fashioned recipe! —Norma Howland, Joliet, Illinois


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Triple Berry Linzer Tart


Triple Berry Linzer Tart

My grandmother gave me her signature lattice-topped tart recipe. The bubbling raspberry preserves, citrus and nuts fill our home with aromas that bring back warm memories. —Michael Compean, Los Angeles, California


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