26 Delicious Recipes From The Pioneers

Pioneers had simple recipes that made them survive the hardship as they were on the move. However, the meals or diet significantly changed once they settled.

They could keep livestock to supplement hunted meat and could get fresh vegetables and cereals from the garden.

Some people might see basic recipes from the pioneers as cheap and less delicious. That is not the case since their meals looked yummy.

In fact, you might even consider incorporating these recipes into your daily plan. When you live off-grid, you will find all these recipes useful.

In this article, we will look at the best recipes from the pioneers. They are what you need to switch to such a lifestyle and reduce the impact on the environment. Keep reading to find out more!

26 Basic Recipes From The Pioneers

26 Basic Recipes From The Pioneers

Pioneer recipes are simple and easy to follow. You do not need to think of complicated cooking equipment we usually need for modern recipes.

Also, pioneer recipes were a healthy diet with few junk foods. They are what you need to make a lifestyle change.

The following are the 26 best pioneer recipes you should consider when moving off the grid or for any lifestyle change:

Recipes Of Potato Cakes

Potatoes were some of the crops that pioneers could depend on in hardships. So, they refined their recipe to come up with a delicious potato cake.

This recipe originated from Europe and is one of the few pioneer dishes you will find on the table in some homes today.


  • 6 Medium Potatoes
  • 2 Teaspoons Salt
  • ½ Cup Milk
  • 2 Eggs
  • 1 Cup Flower
  • Shortening


Wash and peel the potatoes.

Grate the potatoes using a fine grater.

Mix the grated potatoes with milk, eggs, and flour and add salt to taste.

Heat the shortening in a skillet until it melts and add potato mixture to it.

Fry the resulting mixture until a golden-brown cake is formed.

Recipes of Johnnycake

Johnny Cakes are made from cornmeal, resulting in a thicker and denser texture than cornmeal pancakes.

It is a simple recipe that you can rely on to make a quick meal to save you from occasional munches in between the meals. Pioneers used molasses and buttermilk instead of sugar and milk, respectively.


  • 1 1/2 Cups Milk
  • 1 Tablespoon Unsalted Butter
  • 1/2 Cup All-Purpose Flour
  • 1 Cup Cornmeal
  • 2 Tablespoons Granulated Sugar
  • 1 Teaspoon Baking Powder
  • 1 Teaspoon Kosher Salt
  • 1 Large Egg, Lightly Beaten
  • Cooking Spray for Greasing Pan
  • Butter/Syrup/Garnish


Simmer under medium to low heat. This is the mixture of milk and butter in a small cooking pot.

Blend flour, cornmeal, sugar, baking powder, and salt in another medium-sized bowl. Stir thoroughly to obtain a uniform mixture.

Add the simmered milk and butter to the mixture of ingredients and whisk to blend.

Add a beaten egg and whisk and then let it settle for about 10 minutes for hydration to take place.

Coat a medium-size nonstick or cast-iron griddle or skillet with cooking oil and place it over medium heat to make it hot.

Put the preferred sizes of Johnny Cakes onto the pan and spread it over to an appropriate thickness.

Let cook for about 10-12 minutes or until the cake turns golden brown. You can do multiple cakes at a go depending on the sizes of your cakes and griddle or skillet.

Serve while hot as bread and butter

Recipes Of Chocolate Caramels

Everyone loves chocolates. Hearing of this recipe can make you start craving for one, but that is just what it is. Chocolate caramels are sweet and were considered special by the pioneers.

Modern recipes for chocolate might be more complicated, however, pioneers also had their way of cooking equally sweet chocolate caramels.


  • 2 Cups White Chocolate
  •  1-1/2 Cup Corn Syrup
  •  1-1/2 Cup Heavy Cream
  •  1 Cup Unstalted Butter( Keep Extra for Buttering Pan)
  •  4 Ounces Unsweetened Chocolate
  •  1-1/2 Cup Chopped Nuts (Optional)
  •  2 Teaspoons Pure Vanilla Extract


Spread butter in a medium-sized pan and set aside.

Put all other ingredients in a heavy saucepan apart from nuts and vanilla, to be used later.

Put the saucepan and its content over medium to high heat and continuously stir the mixture until it attains a temperature of about 240 degrees Fahrenheit.

Remove the saucepan from the heat. You can use a thermometer to carefully monitor the temperature.

Add vanilla or nuts into the saucepan while out of the heat and stir well and then pour onto the buttered pan you had set aside. Allow it to cool to room temperature and then put in a refrigerator.

Invert the pan with caramel over a waxed wooden chopping board to remove the content. Allow the caramel to warm for about 20-60 minutes or until it is soft enough to be sliced into smaller blocks.

Serve your chocolate as snacks.

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Recipes Of Chuckwagon Beans

This recipe is centuries old and always produces a sweet and spicy meal. To people who enjoy beans sauce, this recipe should be at the back of your mind. Fortunately, the steps are pretty much direct and can be done by anyone.


  • ½ Pound Bacon (Cut Into Small Pieces)
  • 1 Onion (Cut Into Small Pieces)
  • 2 (15 Ounce) Cans of Kidney Beans (Rinse and Drained)
  • ½ Cup Ketchup
  • ½ Teaspoon Dry Mustard
  • 2 Tablespoons Brown Sugar
  • 1 Tablespoon Worcestershire Sauce
  • 1 Dash Hot Pepper Sauce (Tabasco is an Option)
  • 1 Pinch Salt
  • 1 Pinch Ground Black Pepper


Cook bacon until soft.

Brown ground beef with the sliced onion and place over a large oven roaster.

Add about three cans of beans.

Prepare a mixture of the remaining ingredients in a medium-sized bowl, pour over the meat, and stir well to mix.

Bake at 350 degrees Fahrenheit for about an hour and remove the lid or foil. Continue baking for another 20 minutes.

Recipes Of Rice Cakes

Recipes Of Rice Cakes

Rice cakes are very easy to make and look delicious. If you are looking for something to add to your kid’s lunchbox as a snack, then try out this rice cake recipe.


  • 1 1/2 Cups Water
  • 2 Eggs
  • 2 Tablespoons All-Purpose Flour
  • 2 Teaspoon Parmesan Cheese (Or Other Flavoring of Choice)


Preheat Oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.

Ground the uncooked rice using a food processor or blender.

Ground the remaining ingredients using a food processor or high-speed blender.

Transfer the mixture into a buttered donut pan, muffin tin, or any other appropriate pan.

Bake for about 40-50 minutes or until the tops of the cake turn brown and crispy on all sides.

Recipes Of Hoecakes

This strangely named recipe results in a crispy cake that can be used for breakfast or snacks.

It used to be a staple food for pioneers who liked them because they were easy to make and not many ingredients were needed.


  • 1 Cup Self-Rising Flour
  • 1 Cup Self-Rising Cornmeal Mix
  • 1 Tablespoon Sugar
  • 1/4 Teaspoon Salt
  • 3/4 Cup Buttermilk
  • 2 Large Eggs
  • 1/2 Cup Water
  • 1/4 Cup Vegetable Oil
  • 1/4 Cup Bacon Drippings
  • Butter


Mix sugar, flour, cornmeal, and salt in a medium-sized bowl.

Whisk buttermilk and egg together in a measuring glass and pour into the bowl with the mixture from the previous step.

Add water and vegetable oil into the same bowl and thoroughly mix.

Heat a cast iron, griddle, or nonstick skillet over medium to high heat and add bacon grease.

Pour about two tablespoonfuls or any preferred unit of batter into the skillet or griddle to form hoecakes. You can also use a ¼ cup measuring cup but fill it halfway.

Cook until bubbles begin to form on top and then flip them over. Continue cooking until they turn golden-brown.

Serve with butter.

Recipes Of Brunswick Stew

Recipes Of Brunswick Stew

This is one of the tastiest pioneer recipes that will make your mouth water even when you are still halfway through the process.

It has lots of satisfying flavors to stimulate your taste buds. The good news is that you can make more than enough and keep the rest in a freezer.


  • 1 Large Onion (Chopped)
  • 1 Celery Rib (Chopped)
  • 1 Large Green Bell Pepper (Chopped)
  • 1 Cup Frozen Sliced Okra (Thawed)
  • 4 Cups Frozen Cubed Hash Browns (Thawed)
  • ¾ Pounds Barbecued Pork (Chopped)
  • 1 Cup Chopped Chicken (Cooked)
  • 14 1/2-Ounce Diced Tomatoes (Undrained)
  • 15-Ounce Tomato Sauce
  • 15 1/4-Ounces Whole Kernel Corn w/ Red and Green Peppers (Drained)
  • 15 1/4-Ounce Lima Beans (Drained)
  • 2 Cups Chicken Broth
  • ½ Teaspoon Salt
  • ½ Teaspoon Pepper
  • ¼ Teaspoon Worcestershire Sauce


Mix all the listed ingredients in a 5-quart slow cooker.

Cover and cook for about 6 hours and 30 minutes.

Recipes Of Soda Biscuits

Recipes Of Soda Biscuits

As the name suggests, they are biscuits baked with soda instead of using baking powder. They are easy to make and can be made with varying tastes. The most common ones are the savory flavor and sweet flavor.


  • 5 Cups Water
  • 1/4 Cup Large Pearl Tapioca
  • 1 Cup Chopped Prunes
  • 1/2 Cup Raisins
  • 1 Cup Mixed Dried Fruit (Chopped)
  • 3/4 Cup Sugar
  • 1 Teaspoon Cinnamon
  • 1 Lemon (Zest)
  • 1 Tablespoon Lemon Juice


Submerge tapioca in water and let it soak overnight.

Add fruit, lemon zest, cinnamon, and sugar to it.

Cook the mixture over medium to high heat in a large and thick-bottomed saucepan for about 10 minutes or until tapioca is clear and the fruit is soft.

Remove heat and add lemon juice and allow to cool.

Store in a refrigerator for one week.

Recipes Of Native American Fry Bread

This is a deep-fried bread that can be eaten on its own or paired with honey, jam, or any other topping of choice. Making it is easy following the steps outline below:


  • 3 Cups Vegetable Oil/Shortening
  • 1 Cup All-Purpose Flour (Keep Extra for Dusting)
  • 1 1/2 Teaspoons Baking Powder
  • 1/4 Teaspoon Salt
  • 1/2 Cup Milk


Heat about one inch of oil to 350 F in a deep nonstick skillet or heavy-bottomed saucepan over medium to high heat.

As the oil temperature rises, mix flour, baking powder, and salt in a medium-sized bowl. Ensure you have a uniform mixture.

Add milk to the mixture and stir to form a hard-enough dough. Turn it on a floured table or any surface roughly three or four times.

Cut the dough into four equal pieces and mold them into round balls.

Use a rolling pin to individually spread the balls on the floured surface to obtain about ¼ to ½ inch thickness. Make a slight circular depression at the center of each dough.

Slide one or two of the prepared dough into the hot oil in the pan. Ensure your oil has attained the right temperature.

Fry for about one to two minutes on each side or until lightly browned on both sides.

Remove and dry the fried dough between the paper towels to remove excess oil.

King Arthur Flour, Organic All-Purpose Flour

Recipes Of Red Beans and Rice

Red beans and rice are common meals to many people even today. It is a two-part meal that is rich in protein and carbohydrates.

Some people prefer to supplement it with a few pieces of meat, but our recipe will stick to rice and beans.



  • 1 lb Light Red Kidney Beans
  • 1 Finely Chopped Medium Yellow Onion
  • 1 Finely Chopped Green Bell Pepper
  • 3 Finely Chopped Stalks of Celery
  • 1 Tablespoon Oil
  • 3 Cloves Garlic (Minced)
  • 1 Teaspoon Oregano
  • 1 Teaspoon Thyme
  • 2 Bay Leaves
  • 1 Teaspoon Black Pepper
  • 1 Tablespoon Cajun Seasoning (Tony Chachere’s)
  • 3 Chicken Bullion Cubes
  • Hot Sauce


  • 2 Cups White Rice
  • 3.5 Cups Water
  • 1 Teaspoon Salt



Soak beans in clean water and let them stay overnight.

Add oil, bell pepper, onion, and celery in a heavy-bottomed pot and season with salt, pepper, and half of the cajun. Cook for five to eight minutes or until brown and soft.

Add garlic and continue cooking for another one minute or until you smell the garlic fragrance.

Add soaked beans and top up with water to about two inches.

Add oregano, thyme, bay leaves, bouillon cubes, and the remaining portion of cajun and stir the mixture.

Heat until it starts to boil, and then reduce heat. Cover and let it cook for about two to three hours or until the beans are soft.

Set aside about one cup of cooked beans and continue to heat to reduce water and to thicken. Take bay leaves out and discard them.

Use a potato masher or any appropriate toolset to crush the removed beans, and then add the paste back into the port. Stir to uniformly mix.

Remove from heat and let it cool as it thickens further.


Boil about 3.5 cups of water in a saucepan and add a teaspoon of salt.

Add rice to the water and slightly stir to set free the individual grains.

Cover with a lid fitting, reduce heat, and cook rice for about 19 minutes or until water is drained up.

With the lid on, remove from the heat and let it stay for another five minutes.

Uncover the rice and fluff it with a fork.

Serve the beans over rice with any desired sauce.

Recipes Of Butterless, Eggless, Milkless Cake

It is possible to make cakes without butter, egg, and milk. Here is the recipe:


  • 3 Cups All-Purpose Flour
  • 2 Cups White Sugar
  • 6 Tablespoons Unsweetened Cocoa Powder
  • 2 Teaspoons Baking Soda
  • 2 Teaspoons Baking Powder
  • 2/3 Cup Vegetable Oil
  • 2 Cups Water
  • 2 Tablespoons Distilled White Vinegar
  • 2 Teaspoons Vanilla Extract


Mix all the dry ingredients in a large bowl and all wet ingredients in another bowl.

Add all the wet ingredients into the bowl with dry ingredients and thoroughly beat to obtain a smooth mixture.

Pour the batter into a large greased pan and bake under 350 degrees Fahrenheit for about 20-25 minutes. Let it cool while still in the pan. Sprinkle confectioners’ sugar and serve.

Recipes Of Swiss Apple Cherry Pie

This recipe mixes apple, cherry, and pie for a great taste.


  • 1 Large Egg
  • 3/4 Cup Sugar
  • 1/2 Teaspoons Vanilla Extract
  • 1/2 Cup All-Purpose Flour
  • 1 Teaspoon Baking Powder
  • 1/8 Teaspoon Salt
  • 1 Cup Peeled Tart Apple (Chopped)
  • 1/2 Cup Walnuts (Chopped)


Mix egg, sugar, and vanilla in one large bowl.

Mix flour, baking powder, and salt, and then add to the previous egg mixture. Continue mixing until moistened.

Fold in apples and walnuts and then transfer to a greased nine-inch pie plate.

Bake under 350 degrees Fahrenheit for about 30 minutes or until the mixture turns golden brown.

Cool on a wire rack and serve.

Recipes Of 101-Year-Old Pastry

This recipe requires egg and vinegar to make a pie crust snack.


  • 2 ½ Cups Sifted All-Purpose Flour
  • 1/2 Teaspoon Salt
  • 1 Cup Shortening
  • 1 Egg
  • 1 Tablespoon Distilled White Vinegar
  • 1 1/2 Cups Cold Water


Mix flour and salt in a large bowl and cut shortening to the size of peas and add to the flour.

Beat egg lightly and add vinegar. Also, add one and a half cups of cold water.

Add enough liquid into the flour mixture to hold the dough together and keep the rest for the next round.

Roll out and use as desired

Recipes Of Brown Bread

Pioneers also made the famous brown bread. Follow this simple recipe for result:


  • 3 Cups Warm Water (110 degrees F/45 degrees C)
  • 2 (.25 ounce) Packages of Active Dry Yeast
  • 1/3 Cup honey
  • 5 Cups Bread Flour
  • 3 Tablespoons Butter (Melted)
  • 3 1/2 Cups Whole Wheat Flour


This recipe can be a bit challenging to pull out if it is your first of this kind. Find the step-by-step instructions to try it yourself.

Recipes Of Hasty Pudding


  • 1/2 Cup Cornmeal/Polenta
  • 2 Cups Water
  • 1/2 Teaspoon Salt
  • Maple Syrup
  • Butter


Boil water in a bowl and add salt and stir to dissolve.

Add cornmeal while constantly stirring. Ensure to do it slowly to prevent the mixture from turning lumpy.

Reduce the heat once all cornmeal is added to the boiling water. Continue cooking for a further 15 minutes, stirring from time to time.

Serve while warm.

Recipes Of Spotted Pup


  • 2 Cups White Rice (Cooked)
  • 1 1/3 Cups Whole Milk
  • 1/2 Cup Brown Sugar
  • 1 Tablespoon Butter/Margarine (Softened)
  • 1 Teaspoon Vanilla Extract
  • 2 Eggs (Beaten)
  • 1/2 Cup Raisins


Heat an oven to 325 degrees Fahrenheit and cook rice. Let it cool.

Mix all the other ingredients in a bowl apart from raisins.

Perfectly blend rice and raisins by stirring.

Pour the mixture into a greased baking dish, cover, and then place in a pan over hot water.

Bake for 60 minutes and serve when hot.

Recipes Of Corn Dodgers

Corn dodgers have a crispy and savory taste, ideal for a family get-togethers or game day.


  • 2½ Cups Yellow Cornmeal (Keep More if Needed)
  • 2 Tablespoons Sugar
  • 2 Tablespoons All-Purpose Flour
  • 1 Teaspoon Baking Soda
  • 1 Teaspoon Salt
  • 1 Tablespoon Baking Powder
  • 2 Cups Buttermilk
  • 1 Egg (Beaten)
  • 2 Tablespoons Onion (Chopped)
  • Peanut Oil (For Frying)


Combine cornmeal, sugar, flour, baking soda, salt, and baking powder in a bowl.

Beat buttermilk and egg together and then mix with all dry ingredients.

Pour the peanut oil in a frying pan about two inches deep and heat to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.

Drop heaps of batter into the heated oil and fry for about four minutes or until it turns golden brown. Do the same until you clear all the batter, always maintaining the oil temperature.

Dry between paper towels and keep in a warm oven until all the hush puppies disappear. Serve when hot.

Recipes Of Lacey-edged Corn Pancakes


  • 1/2 Teaspoon Salt
  • 1/2 Teaspoon Baking Soda
  • White Cornmeal 
  • 1 Cup Water
  • 1 Egg
  • 1 1/4 Cup Buttermilk


Mix salt and baking soda, mix egg with the buttermilk and combine the mixtures. Beat to obtain a smooth batter.

Pour one tablespoonful of batter into a hot, greased griddle and bake until the underside turns brown. Turn and bake the other side. Stir the batter before scooping the next batch with a spoon.

Recipes Of Molasses Stack Cake


  • ¾ Cup Shortening
  • 1 Cup Sugar
  • 1 Cup Molasses
  • 3 Eggs
  • 5 Cups Flour (Plain)
  • 1/2 Teaspoon Baking Powder
  • 1 Teaspoon Salt
  • 1 Teaspoon Ginger
  • 1 Cup Milk


Cream shortening, sugar, and molasses.

Add one egg at a time and cream.

Combine everything with milk and combine slowly.

Bake at 375 degrees Fahrenheit for about 18-20 minutes.

Recipes Of Mud Apples


  • 4 Large Apples
  • 1 Bucket of Mud


Coat all apples with about one inch thick of mud.

Scoop coal from the fire and set it aside.

Burry apples in the coal and leave them there for about 45 minutes.

Remove the apples and uncover them from mud. Discard the skins.

Recipes Of Cured Bacon


  • 3lb Skinless/Boneless Pork Belly
  • 3 Tablespoons Kosher Salt
  • 1/3 Cup White Sugar
  • 2 Tablespoons Pepper
  • 2 Teaspoons Paprika
  • 1 Teaspoon Pink Curing Salt (Also Known as Prague Powder #1)
  • Apple/Cherry Wood Chunks or Chips


Curing your own bacon at least once is a great experience. It takes time, but you can make it by following the step-by-step instructions provided. 

Recipes Of Buffalo Jerky

This recipe results in a high-protein, low-fat meal that you and your family can enjoy for dinner.


  • 1 Pound Buffallo Plank Steak
  • 1/4 Cup Worcestershire Sauce
  • 1/4 Low Sodium Soy Sauce
  • 1 1/2 Teaspoons Honey/Agave Nectar
  • Onion Powder
  • Garlic Powder
  • Chili Powder
  • Black Pepper


Put the buffalo steak in a freezer to harden and slice into ¼ thick pieces. Slice across the meat pieces again to make them smaller.

Place the pieces in an airtight plastic bag with soy sauce, Worcestershire sauce, chili powder, onion powder, garlic powder, pepper, and honey and marinate for about three to six hours.

Remove the meat pieces and part dry with a paper towel and place on a dehydrator rack. Dry the meat pieces at about 160 degrees Fahrenheit for another 6-12 hours.

Cool the jerky on a paper towel and keep it in a glass jar.

Recipes Of Side Pork And Mormon Gravy

Pioneers cooked the bacon a little instead of just frying them. It resulted in a tasty dish that can be served with potatoes and cornbread.


  • 8 Pieces Side Pork or Bacon (Sliced)
  • 1 Cup Fat Drippings
  • 1 Cup Flour
  • 1 Cup Milk


Fry the thick slices of side pork or bacon in a pan until crisp.

Set aside but keep it warm.

Measure four tablespoons of the fat drippings and pour them back into the pan.

Add flour and let it brown a bit.

Take it out of the heat and add milk.

Stir well to blend and scrape the savory bits.

Return to low heat and stir until the gravy is smooth and creamy.

Recipes Of Breakfast Cornmeal Mush


  • 3 Cups Water
  • 1 Cup Yellow Cornmeal
  • 1 Cup Milk
  • 1/2 Teaspoon Salt (Optional)


Boil water in a large saucepan.

Mix cornmeal, milk, and salt in a small bowl.

Slowly pour the mixture into the boiling water while stirring.

Boil it again and constantly stir to avoid lump formation. Do this for about 15 minutes or until the mixture thickens.

Serve while warm with cream and maple syrup.

Dumplings For Dinner

Use this recipe to make dumplings to bulk up your dinner.


The following are needed for 24 dumplings:

  • 4 Cups All-Purpose Flour (500 Grams)
  • 2 Teaspoons of Salt (Divided)
  • 1 1/4 Cups Warm Water (300 Milliliters)
  • 2 Cups Red Cabbage (200 Grams)
  • 2 Cups Green Onion- Sliced (300 Grams)
  • 6 Cloves Garlic (Minced)
  • 4 Tablespoons Ginger (Minced)
  • 2 Tablespoons Soy Sauce
  • 2 Tablespoons Sesame Oiol
  • 1/2 Pound Ground Pork (225 Grams)
  • 1/2 Teaspoon Pepper
  • 3/4 Cup Mushrooms- Diced (55 Grams)
  • 3.4 Cup Carrots – Diced (90 Grams)
  • 1/2 Pound Shrimp – Peeled/Deveined (225 Grams)

Dipping Sauce:

  • 1/4 Cup Soy Sauce (60 Milliliters)
  • 1/4 Cup Rice Wine Vinegar (60 Milliliters)
  • 1 Teaspoon Sesame Oil
  • 1 Teaspoon Crushed Red Pepper Flakes


Making dumplings can be intimidating, but not with this step-by-step method of making them. Follow the provided instructions to make delicious dumplings to spruce up your dinner.

Recipes Of Fart And Dart Beans

This is one of the pioneer recipes you can try out at home. It is a simple meal yet delicious and nutritious.


  • 2 Cans Kidney Beans
  • 10-12 Slices of Bacon (Optional)
  • 1 Onion (Chopped)
  • 1 Clove Garlic (Chopped)
  • 1 Teaspoon Yellow Mustard
  • 1/8 Cup Balsamic Vinegar
  • 1 Cup Brown Sugar


Boil beans for 30 minutes. Drain.

Put all of the ingredients into a slow cooker and cook on low heat for three hours.

In Conclusion

Pioneer recipes

Pioneer recipes still remain the healthiest. When living off the grid, you can choose your best pioneer recipes listed in this article for a healthy meal and a healthy living.

They are not really for hardships because they lead to yummy and delicious meals. Break food monotony with these recipes from the pioneers.

Let us know if you have managed to try any of the recipes and what the outcome is.

Also, you can explore other topics for a veteran off-gridder. But above all, we thank you for the time you took to read this article at the Em Offgrid.