Whether you need to cook for a crowd or whip up a meal for the family, nothing makes us happier than digging into a plate of nostalgia that taps into some true American flavors. Discovering classic dishes that can evoke this level of patriotism can prove challenging, especially if you want to break out of the standard fare of hamburgers, hot dogs, and ribs. One of the best sources of inspiration for these homeland meals stems from classic 1950s dishes, a time when American cooking really came into its own.
Those warm, homey feelings evoked in Norman Rockwell paintings of American families coming together around a roast is just within reach. With a full decade of retro recipes at your fingertips, there’s no time like the present to tap into the past to make every day feel like it’s the Fourth of July at your dinner table. Here are some of our favorite classic 1950s dishes.
Plus, don’t miss 50 Old-Fashioned Recipes You Should Make Now.
The rich and creamy combo of beef and noodles packs so much savory flavor in every bite, one taste will send your tongue on a trip down memory lane and can please anyone looking for a hearty meal. Indulge in this dish that has come to represent the cultural melting pot of American cuisine.
Get our recipe for Beef Stroganoff.
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If you walk into any diner across the heartland, you can guarantee that they have some variation of meatloaf on the menu. This all-American staple has imprinted on our collective consciousness for a reason—the beefy, robust flavors come together like nothing else and have become cherished by every American across the country. Dig into this classic recipe to feel like a patriot.
Get our recipe for Meatloaf.
Even if you have memories of this classic chip-and-dip combo exclusively making appearances at dinner parties, don’t assume it can’t get wrapped up into a full meal. This item traces its roots back to 1950s TV dinners—with a dip you could get at the store and some chips, you had a meal you didn’t even need to assemble in a kitchen. Take the next step and break out the original recipe for a homemade iconic dip that evokes the flavors of USA nostalgia in every bite.
Get our recipe for Artichoke Dip.
After World War II, American families could finally get more access to meat and with the advent of outdoor grilling, steaks became the hot item that continues to define American cuisine. Do this dish proud by continuing the great grilling tradition by whipping up a classic steak cut that your grandparents loved. With a minimum amount of skill required to cook and an easy-to-find cut of steak that every supermarket carries, tonight is the night to tap into the nation’s great culinary roots.
Get our recipe for Bloody-Mary Skirt Steak.
Chicken and Dumplings
Chicken and dumplings trace their roots back for centuries, but they made their national debut across U.S. tables in the 1950s, making them an iconic dish that has since become associated with American cuisine. If you have never tried cooking this standard classic but love eating them, have no fear, as any home cook can make this retro recipe happen. Take in some nostalgia that turns any taste buds red, white, and blue.
Get our recipe for Chicken and Dumplings.
Green Bean Casserole
Nothing feels as iconically Americana as celebrating Thanksgiving and breaking out recipes that evoke this holiday feels extra special. Green bean casseroles don’t pop up very often, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t include it on your weekly menu. With such a straightforward recipe, nothing feels as American and heartwarming like this decadent combo of flavors.
Get our recipe for Green Bean Casserole.
When you need to feed a crowd and dish out a spicy kick, this retro stew can please any crowd. With roots tracing back to cowboys and cattle drives, few classic 1950s dishes evoke a similar image of the hardworking spirit that defines the U.S. Serve up a hot bowl of chili to warm up any cold night with an easy recipe and deep combination of flavors can make any home cook happy.
Get our recipe for Chili.
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Sunday night has always been a great time for the whole family to come around the table and dig into a great culinary centerpiece. The glazed ham became the ultimate main course during the 1950s and everyone looked forward to grabbing a slice of this nostalgic favorite. Whether the flavor brings back a classic Easter meal or just a regular night in, this American staple can make anyone feel at home.
Get our recipe for Glazed Ham.
Nothing wraps us up with comfy flavor like a bowl of beef stew, and with the dish tracing its current incarnation back to mid-century America, every bite we indulge in mirrors the same tastes our grandparents loved. With a dish as tasty and simple to make, it would be a crime to not treat your loved ones to a bowl of this classic soup that defined post-war American home cooking.
Get our recipe for Beef Stew.
The Sunday roast has captured the imagination of anyone who wants to recreate the classic American meal, but how many of us take the time to try out this classic recipe? With slow-roasted flavors and a recipe anyone can easily tackle, taking a stab at these classic 1950s dishes should take a spot on any cook’s bucket list. Combine the roast with some sides of mashed potatoes and roasted carrots, and weekend meals are sure to transform forever.
Get our recipe for Roast Beef.
Chicken Pot Pie
When you take a stroll through the supermarket freezer aisle, nothing comes close to the flavors captured in a frozen chicken pot pie. Why not attempt the real deal and make this easy savory pie that captures the warmth and love of any American household in the 1950s? With a buttery, flakey crust and creamy goodness anyone could love, this retro favorite makes you proud to be an American.
Get our recipe for Chicken Pot Pie.
If you only have so many hours in a day to cook and still want to impress, roast chicken always does the trick. While many countries have a spin on the cooked fowl, America does it right and perfected the recipe 70 years ago. With a dish as easy to dig into as it is to cook, you’ll impress your family and yourself when you try this easy-to-make classic that makes you feel like you’re home.
Get our recipe for Roast Chicken.
Philly Cheesesteak Sandwich
While many of us think about retro recipes consisting of Jello molds and tuna noodle casseroles, some very American favorites emerged in the middle of the 20th century. Case in point—the Philly Cheesesteak sandwich. The dish took the country by storm and with a recipe that anyone can make, you’ll have mouthwatering flavors every time you chow down into one of these classic American sandwiches.
Get our recipe for Philly Cheesesteak Sandwich.
If you imagine the quintessential Fourth of July meal, you probably think of hot dogs, hamburgers, and corn on the cob. The 1950s saw a patriotic newcomer to this classic lineup of all-American favorites—the sloppy joe. This iconic sandwich has roots in barbecue, a tradition that originated in the American South, and evolved as a purely American culinary art. Don’t get scared of any memories of cafeteria sloppy joes, making them at home changes everything and guarantees that won’t be able to eat just one.
Get our recipe for Sloppy Joes.
Whether you need to bring a dish to a party or just whip up a side to go with a meal, deviled eggs always come to save the day. This 1950s favorite took the country by storm and hasn’t disappointed since. When you need to impress with a time-tested and easy recipe, this slice of nostalgia makes any picnic, barbecue or get-together feel perfect and all-American.
Get our recipe for Deviled Eggs.
Read more: 50 Old-Fashioned Foods We Still Love