Beloved '80s Recipes That Are Like, Way Cool

Pizza Bite on French Bread with Pepperoni, Mushrooms, Red and Green Peppers with Fresh Basil and Oregano on a Wooden Cutting Board


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Pizza Bite on French Bread with Pepperoni, Mushrooms, Red and Green Peppers with Fresh Basil and Oregano on a Wooden Cutting Board

A Decade’s Delights

The ’80s were known for a lot of things (can you say The Brat Pack, Madonna, and shoulder pads, for starters?), but we bet you didn’t know its cuisine was also something memorable. Hop back in time for some classic recipes of the decade (some new introductions, some retro revivals) that made their way from restaurant menu to dinner table to party fare, and remain tasty to this day.

Related: Jell-O Salad and Other Old-School Summer Recipes We Secretly Love

Pork Tenderloin Medallions in a Creamy Mushroom Sauce

Classic Beef Stroganoff

A nod to tradition, with a tip of the hat to the ’80s love of decadent meals, beef Stroganoff seemed destined for popularity. This version is no exception, with chunks of beef enrobed in a creamy sauce and served over buttery noodles. The fact that it’s easier than you think is just another reason the dish’s popularity has never waned.

Recipe: Betty Crocker

Related: 25 Betty Crocker-Era Holiday Recipes That We Secretly Love

Loaded Potato Skins

Baked Potato Skins

From bars to kitchens, potato skins were rarely skipped when it was time for a comforting appetizer or light entrée. This version is a nod to the classic incarnation, featuring sharp cheddar and Monterey jack cheeses along with bacon and green onions. Sour cream, of course, adds that finishing touch.

Recipe: Small Town Woman

Chicken a la King in Puff Pastry Shell

Creamy Chicken Vol-au-Vent

Oh, how the ’80s loved fancy – fancy clothes, fancy cars and fancy dishes. This dish features light-and-airy, hollowed-out puff pastry “vessels,” that are filled with a rich blend of rotisserie chicken, cream cheese, bacon and more.

Recipe: Taste of Home

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Toasted Ravioli with Marinara Sauce, The Hill, St. Louis, Missouri, USA
Kevin Lipiec/istockphoto

St. Louis Toasted Ravioli

This classic ’80s appetizer took the classic ravioli and brought it to the forefront, a bar snack that was gobbled up the moment it hit the table. Here, frozen cheese raviolis are breaded and fried before being sprinkled with Parmesan cheese and served alongside hot marinara sauce for a quirky appetizer or tailgate snack.

Recipe: Allrecipes

spinach and artichoke dip

Spinach Dip in Bread Bowl

This is a love or hate one… the ubiquitous spinach dip served in a bread bowl. It’s a creamy dip served in an edible container, a staple at ’80s parties and holiday tables that remains often requested today.

Recipe: Tablespoon

Homemade Baked Brie in Puff Pastry

Easy Baked Brie in Puff Pastry

Things got classed up when the baked Brie made an appearance. Here, raspberry jam and a drizzle of maple syrup take things to another level.

Recipe: Simply Recipes

Sloppy Joe Sandwich

The Best Homemade Sloppy Joes

Sloppy Joes had a bit of an ’80s revival, one that lingers to this day. After all, the messy-but-delicious childhood favorite is comfort food of the ultimate order. This recipe skips the powdered mixes and kits in favor of a homemade sauce that gets its flavor not only from tomato paste, ketchup, and brown sugar but also a number of vegetables, spices, and sauces.

Recipe: The Chunky Chef

American food stewed chicken a la King in a creamy sauce with mushrooms served with pasta close-up in a plate. horizontal

Classic Chicken a la King

This traditional dish, a creamy and decadent entrée, offers versatility, as you can serve it over rice, pasta, toast, or biscuits.

Recipe: The Stay @ Home Chef

A plate of fried chicken, mashed potatoes and asparagus

Chicken Fried Steak with Gravy

Ree Drummond, better known as The Pioneer Woman, shares her spin on this longtime favorite with a well-reviewed incarnation featuring skillet-fried, breaded cube steak topped with a creamy gravy. Just add mashed potatoes to create a memorable plate.

Recipe: Food Network

Healthy Fusilli Pasta Salad White Background

Classic Pasta Salad (For a Crowd)

The pasta salad pleased many, from those attending a weekend picnic to a potluck supper. Tri-colored rotini, vegetables, cheeses and a vinaigrette made from scratch offer the traditional elements for this dish that has endured. It’s designed to serve 24 or more but can be adjusted for smaller groups.

Recipe: The Toasty Kitchen

Homemade Blackened Mahimahi White Fish

Perfect Blackened Fish

Blackened, well, everything was the way of the 1980s. It was rare to find a restaurant menu that didn’t feature some form of blackened or Cajun-spiced entrée, from fish to chicken. This recipe offers the home cook the choice of fish, from tilapia to snapper, cod to catfish (and plenty more) with a spice mix that features garlic and onion powders, paprika, Italian and Old Bay seasonings, and cayenne pepper.

Recipe: Easy Family Recipes

Pizza Bite on French Bread with Pepperoni, Mushrooms, Red and Green Peppers with Fresh Basil and Oregano on a Wooden Cutting Board

French Bread Pizza

Pizza’s been pleasing palates for decades, but French bread pizza put a new spin on the classic fave during the 1980s. This ultra-simple version features readily available ingredients and the option to customize with ease.

Recipe: Cooking Classy

Roasted Garlic Cloves

Roasted Garlic

Roasted garlic can be added to mashed potatoes, sauces, or soups, with this version offering a heady option. We remember simply roasting the garlic to slather on bread for a classic ’80s appetizer or side, with countless ceramic “garlic roasters” suddenly all the rage.

Recipe: Love & Lemons

Vodka Sauce

Penne a la Vodka

If you were dining out in the ’80s, it’s likely at least someone at your table was splurging on this rich pasta dish. Here the vodka sauce boasts tomato flavor with the richness of heavy cream. Need we say more?

Recipe: Serious Eats

Spaghetti with homemade pesto sauce on gray background

Pesto Sauce

If it was the ’80s, you were eating pesto on pasta, on pizza, or swirled into macaroni salads. This 15-minute version of a walnut-infused pesto sauce (a spin on the traditional recipe featuring pine nuts) comes together in a food processor, combining classic — and quality — ingredients ranging from fresh basil leaves to Parmigiano-Reggiano to extra virgin olive oil.

Recipe: Once Upon a Chef with Jenn Segal

Cold Asian Salad with Ramen Noodles

Asian Ramen Salad

Those who lived on ramen during their college days might have expanded their horizons to integrate the wildly inexpensive noodle into more than just a bowl of soup. This recipe is a burst of flavor featuring coleslaw mix, Mandarin oranges, almonds, sesame seeds, and a sweet-and-salty dressing, popular then and making occasional appearances now.

Recipe: Well Plated by Erin

Hostess Twinkies Are Back!
Italian tiramisu of ladyfingers, espresso and mascarpone cheese

Easy Tiramisu

When you want the excess of the 1980s without the excess work, this recipe brings a favorite dessert of the era to the table with ease. It’s a tasty, no-bake version featuring coffee-soaked ladyfingers, creamy mascarpone cheese, and a dusting of cocoa powder. 

Recipe: Tastes Better From Scratch

strawberry ice cream and scooper

Easy Frozen Yogurt

For a time, frozen yogurt gave ice cream a run for its money – and this version allows you to create the light treat at home without the need for an ice-cream maker. Whole milk Greek yogurt gives this version a depth of flavor, and while strawberries and bananas are featured, you can substitute with your fruit(s) of choice.

Recipe: The Mediterranean Dish

Homemade Chocolate Dirt Pudding

Dirt Cake

This classic Midwestern dessert is something that made kids laugh in the ‘80s, as they got to eat “worms” and “dirt.” Cue the shrieks of delight. This ultra-simple version that delights kids to this day features crushed sandwich cookies and pudding, topped with, of course, the signature gummy worms.

Recipe: Iowa Girl Eats

Chocolate mousse

Chocolate Mousse

Chocolate mousse went from a fine-dining dessert or chic patisserie selection to the home kitchen thanks to recipes such as this one, where four ingredients and three steps create a sweet finish to any meal.

Recipe: Celebrating Sweets

cookies and cream cheesecake
Premyuda Yospim/istockphoto

Classic Mud Pie

Calling all chocoholics. This recipe is billed as an easy-to-make desert when something a little more special is required. It features a chocolate cookie crust, dense ice cream filling, and is topped with fudge, whipped cream, and cookie crumbs. It pleased in the ’80s and remains pleasing today.

Recipe: A Bountiful Kitchen

Related: 18 Cheap Recipes That Celebrate Chocolate