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 20 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.

Materials

  • 6 medium potatoes
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • ½ cup milk
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 cup flour
  • Shortening

Method

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 mix 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.

Materials

  • 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 and syrup, garnish

Method

Simmer under medium to low heat a 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, but pioneers also had their way of cooking equally sweet chocolate caramels.

Materials

  • 2 c. white sugar
  •  1-1/2 c. corn syrup
  •  1-1/2 c. heavy cream
  •  1 c. unsalted butter, plus more for buttering the pan
  •  4 oz. unsweetened chocolate
  •  1-1/2 c. chopped nuts, optional
  •  2 tsp. pure vanilla extract

Method

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.

McCormick All Natural Pure Vanilla Extract


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.

Materials

  • ½ pound bacon, cut into small pieces
  • 1 onion, cut into small pieces
  • 2 (15 ounces) cans of kidney beans, rinsed and drained
  • ½ cup ketchup
  • ½ teaspoon dry mustard
  • 2 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 dash hot pepper sauce (such as Tabasco®)
  • 1 pinch salt
  • 1 pinch ground black pepper

Method

Cook bacon until soft

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

Add about 3 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.

Materials

  • 1 1/2 cups water
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • flavorings of your choice: 2 teaspoon parmesan cheese

Method

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.

Materials

  • 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

Method

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 2 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.

Materials

  • 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 pound barbecued pork, chopped
  • 1 cup chopped cooked chicken
  • 14 1/2-ounce diced tomatoes, undrained
  • 15-ounce tomato sauce
  • 15 1/4-ounces whole kernel corn with 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

Method

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.

Materials

  • 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
  • Zest from 1 lemon
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice

Method

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:

Materials

  • 3 cups vegetable oil or shortening
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup milk

Method

Heat about 1 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 about 3-4 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 1-2 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.

Materials

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 tbsp Oil
  • 3 cloves Garlic minced
  • 1 tsp Oregano
  • 1 tsp thyme
  • 2 Bay Leaves
  • 1 teaspoon Black Pepper
  • 1 tablespoon Cajun Seasoning (Tony Chachere’s)
  • 3 Chicken Bullion Cubes
  • Hot Sauce

Rice:

  • 2 cups White Rice
  • 3.5 cups Water
  • 1 teaspoon salt

Method

Beans:

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 Cajun. Cook for 5-8 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 2 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 2-3 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.

Rice:

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 a further 5 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:

Materials

  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 cups white sugar
  • 6 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • ⅔ cup vegetable oil
  • 2 cups water
  • 2 tablespoons distilled white vinegar
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract

Method

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.

Materials

  • 1 large egg
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup chopped peeled tart apple
  • 1/2 cup chopped walnuts

Method

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 9-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.

Materials

  • 2 ½ cups sifted all-purpose flour
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup shortening
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tablespoon distilled white vinegar
  • 1 ½ cups cold water

Method

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 and 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:

Materials

  • 3 cups warm water (110 degrees F/45 degrees C)
  • 2 (.25 ounce) packages of active dry yeast
  • ⅓ cup honey
  • 5 cups bread flour
  • 3 tablespoons butter, melted
  • ⅓ cup honey
  • 1 tablespoon salt
  • 3 ½ cups whole wheat flour
  • 2 tablespoons butter, melted

Method

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

Materials

  • 1/2 cup cornmeal (or polenta)
  • 2 cups water
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • maple syrup
  • butter

Method

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

Materials

  • 2 cups cooked white rice
  • 1 1/3 cups whole milk
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon soft butter or margarine
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • 1/2 cup raisins

Method

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-together or game day.

Materials

  • 2½ cups yellow cornmeal, plus 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
  • 3 tablespoons chopped onion
  • Peanut oil for deep-frying

Method

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 2 inches deep and heat to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.

Drop heaps of batter into the heated oil and fry for about 4 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

Materials

  • Salt 1/2 Teaspoon
  • Baking soda 1/2 Teaspoon
  • White cornmeal 
  • 1 Cup of water
  • 1 Egg
  • 1 1/4 Cup of buttermilk

Method

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

Materials

  • ¾ cup shortening
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 cup molasses
  • 3 eggs
  • 4 cups plain flour
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp ginger
  • 1 cup milk

Method

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

Materials

  • 4 large apples
  • 1 bucket of mud

Method

Coat all apples with about 1 inch thick of mud

Scoop coal from the fire and set 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

Materials

  • 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 (aka Prague Powder #1)
  • apple or cherry wood chunks/chips

Method

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.

Materials

  • 1 lb. buffalo flank steak
  • 1/4 cup Worcestershire sauce
  • 1/4 low sodium soy sauce
  • 1.5 tsp. natural honey or agave nectar
  • A few shakes of onion powder
  • A few shakes of garlic powder
  • A few shakes of chili powder
  • A few grinds of black pepper

Method

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 3-6 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.

Materials

  • 8 Pieces Side Pork or Bacon; Sliced
  • 1 Cup Fat Drippings
  • 1 cup Flour
  • 1 Cup Milk

Method

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

Materials

  • 3 cups water
  • 1 cup yellow cornmeal
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt to taste

Method

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.

Materials

The following are needed for 24 dumplings:

  • 4 cups all-purpose flour (500 g)
  • 2 teaspoons salt, divided
  • 1 ¼ cups warm water (300 mL)
  • 2 cups red cabbage (200 g)
  • 2 cups green onion (300 g), sliced
  • 6 cloves garlic, minced
  • 4 tablespoons ginger, minced
  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 2 tablespoons sesame oil
  • ½ lb ground pork (225 g)
  • ½ teaspoon pepper
  • ¾ cup mushroom (55 g), diced
  • ¾ cup carrot (90 g), diced
  • ½ lb shrimp (225 g), peeled and deveined

Dipping Sauce:

  • ¼ cup soy sauce (60 mL)
  • ¼ cup rice wine vinegar (60 mL)
  • 1 teaspoon sesame oil
  • 1 teaspoon crushed red pepper flake

Method

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.

Materials

  • 2 cans kidney beans
  • 10-12 slices of bacon (optional)
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 1 clove of garlic, chopped
  • 1 tsp yellow mustard
  • 1/8 cup balsamic vinegar
  • 1 cup brown sugar

Method

Boil beans for 30 minutes. Drain.

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

FAQs

What did pioneers eat in the winter?

Winter has been harsh weather for everyone, including the pioneers. However, they never lacked something to eat. They depended on their root cellars to store foods, such as potatoes, carrots, beans, oat, rice, fruits, etc.

What did pioneers drink out of?

For water, pioneers simply scooped it into their canteen or drank directly from the source, which could be the river, lake, etc. Other drinks such as wine, wine, beer, cider, and others were drunk from the calabash.

What kind of bread did the pioneers eat?

Women could make bread dough, which they timed while riding in the wagons. By evening, the dough could be ready for baking.

And out of it, the bread came. Some of them also ate hardtack, a crunchy biscuit made from flour, water, and salt.

Why didn’t most pioneers ride in their wagons?

Pioneers had a long weary journey to cover that was hard on both humans and animals. Oxen or mules pulled the wagon, and pioneers walked alongside them. They never wanted to wear out the animals.

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.