Betty Crocker-Era Holiday Recipes

25 Betty Crocker-Era Holiday Recipes That We Secretly Love

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Betty Crocker-Era Holiday Recipes


Food and tradition are two of the most important elements of the holidays, so what better way to celebrate than by breaking out some of the most classic recipes of the '50s, '60s, and '70s? From deviled eggs to chiffon cake, chances are you grew up eating several of these dishes. Best of all, most are easy and cheap to make, too. Here are 25 tried-and-true favorites that it's time to introduce to the next generation.

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Classic Green Bean Casserole


One of the most enduring recipes on this list, green bean casserole has been a polarizing staple at family gatherings since its birth in a Campbell's Soup Co. test kitchen in 1955. Whether you love it or hate it — and count us among the former camp — this unlikely mashup of canned green beans, cream of mushroom soup, and fried onions is the ultimate holiday comfort food.

Recipe: Classic Green Bean Casserole, Campbell's Kitchen

Classic Spritz Cookies


Buttery, sugar-dusted Spritz cookies in the shapes of trees, snowflakes and stars used to be a staple at almost every Christmas cookie exchange, but these Scandinavian imports have been largely supplanted by easier drop-cookie recipes. Well, we're going to blow the dust off our cookie presses, because this is one tradition that's worth a little extra effort.

Recipe: Classic Spritz Cookies, Betty Crocker

Deviled Eggs


Was it even a holiday party in the '50s or '60s if deviled eggs weren't available as an appetizer? Sometimes they were fancied up with smoked salmon or bacon, but they were usually served more simply with a dusting of paprika. Bonus points if you pipe the yolks into the whites to make them gorgeously uniform.

Recipe: Retro Deviled Eggs, Nielsen Massey

Rainbow Sherbet Punch
Kristy Still/


A punch bowl used to anchor the drink table at most festivities, and if you were lucky, there was some form of alcohol hiding inside. For a slightly more innocent treat, sherbet punch — usually a simple mix of sherbet, lime soda or ginger ale, and sometimes juice or juice concentrate — was as tasty as it was pretty. Use rainbow sherbet and you may even be able to pass it off as unicorn punch, earning instant approval from any pre-teen girl.

Recipe: Rainbow Sherbet Punch, Mommy Hates Cooking

Stuffed Crown Roast


To be clear, we're not talking about a "crown roast of frankfurters," which was really a thing some 60 years ago (don't look — you've been warned). We're talking about a sumptuous, show-stopping stuffed crown roast of pork that will make your house smell amazing, plus make you feel like a character from "Mad Men" as you bustle around the kitchen. Bonus points if you serve it with a martini.

Recipe: Crown Roast of Pork with Onion and Bread-Crumb Stuffing, Epicurious

Cheese Fondue


The fondue sets you can find littering thrift stores, or even in the Smithsonian, are a testament to a food fad long past, but what better way to fill hungry bellies while it's cold out than a big bubbling pot of melted cheese or chocolate? We say it's time to bring this much-loved party centerpiece of the '60s and '70s back in a big way.

Recipe: Cheese Fondue, Betty Crocker

Traditional Popcorn Balls


You used to be able to count on these sweet treats as soon as the leaves started to fall, sometimes even in your trick-or-treat bag. Whether you made them with corn syrup or molasses, they were ooey-gooey and easy to dress up with food coloring, M&Ms, marshmallows, or a drizzle of chocolate. Sorry, dentists: Some things are just worth a filling or two.

Recipe: Traditional Popcorn Balls, Taste of Home

Classic Sweet Potato Casserole


There are modern-day sweet potato casseroles, often simply dusted with brown sugar or topped with crunchy pecans. Then there's the sweet potato casserole you remember, festooned with a thick layer of marshmallows. Why? Apparently, it was the evil genius of the marshmallow lobby. No matter. Put us on Team Marshmallow any day.

Recipe: Classic Sweet Potato Casserole, A Sassy Spoon

Cran-Raspberry Jell-O Salad


If you lived through the '60s, chances are you ate a lot of Jell-O. Now synonymous with retro food, glossy Jell-O salads were everywhere, and whether you actually liked the taste was beside the point: They were simple to make and a ton of fun to look at. Grab a gelatin mold, because we're ready to go full-on kitsch and bring this icon back.

Recipe: Cran-Raspberry Jell-O Salad, Joy in Every Season

Cherry and Chocolate Buche de Noel


If you want to feel a little fancier, you can also call this rolled sponge cake the Buche de Noel. Like so many staples of '50s and '60s holiday gatherings, this traditional French dessert was popular precisely because it looked so dazzling on the table. We're willing to bet it still tastes as good as it looks.

Recipe: Cherry and Chocolate Buche de Noel, Food & Wine

Dried Beef Cheese Ball


Full disclosure: Cheese ball may have peaked as an appetizer several decades ago, but it never actually went away in our house — in fact, it's a mandatory part of any holiday gathering, and you can expect an uprising if it doesn't make an appearance. A couple of the reasons we love it, aside from pure deliciousness: It's easy to make ahead, and the leftovers keep for a long time.

Recipe: Dried Beef Cheese Ball, Allrecipes

Old Fashioned Glazed Ham


Ham is still as popular as ever at the holiday dinner table — witness the seasonal "ham jam" traffic at Honey Baked Ham locations if you need any proof — but it's rare to see one of these shiny, diamond-scored beauties anymore. Topped with rings of pineapples and maraschino cherries, this is a glazed ham that was as tasty as it was pretty.

Recipe: Old Fashioned Glazed Ham, Food Network

Chiffon Cake with Sugared Cranberries


General Mills single-handedly made chiffon cake into one of the most ubiquitous desserts of the 1950s, buying the recipe and even sponsoring contests devoted solely to this light and airy favorite. It's a welcome change from the heavy food so common during holiday gatherings, and you can trade in the traditional lemon or orange flavoring for peppermint or chocolate.

Recipe: Chiffon Cake with Sugared Cranberries, The Foodie Affair

Slow-Cooker Swedish Meatballs


In the '60s, satisfying your craving for Swedish meatballs didn't require a trip to Ikea. Instead, these savory appetizers were a party standard, typically served on toothpicks and smothered in a creamy dill sauce. If you're searching for easy, make-ahead crockpot nibbles for your next gathering, they definitely deserve a second look.

Recipe: Slow-Cooker Swedish Meatballs, Pillsbury

Classic Beef Stroganoff


This beef and mushroom stew served over fluffy egg noodles became an instant classic in the post-war era because it felt like such a treat after wartime meat rationing. Though this hearty crowd-pleaser may seem like a throwback today, we think it's a great casserole alternative for any wintertime gathering.

Recipe: Classic Beef Stroganoff, Betty Crocker

Tunnel of Fudge Cake


Tunnel of Fudge Cake may have been a runner-up in the 1966 Pillsbury Bake-Off, but it remains one of the all-time most popular recipes from the contest and even spurred intense new demand for bundt pans. Dust this classic recipe off and fancy it up for the holidays by sprinkling some crushed peppermint on top of the chocolate glaze.

Recipe: Tunnel of Fudge Cake, Pillsbury

Original Chex Mix


We can trace the roots of Chex Mix back to the '50s, when Ralston Purina published an official party mix recipe on boxes of the fledgling cereal. Ever since, it's been easy to find a version at every tailgate, holiday shindig, and potluck. Go traditional by sticking to cereal, nuts, pretzels, and bagel chips coated with spices, or sweeten things up for the holidays by adding M&Ms, melted caramel, and marshmallows.

Recipe: Original Chex Mix, Chex

Scalloped Potatoes


We're not sure why no one seems to make scalloped potatoes anymore, because the only thing better than thin-sliced layers of potatoes is potatoes smothered in cheese, butter, garlic, and whatever other herbs you have on hand. This is the perfect potluck-friendly comfort food to accompany that Christmas ham.

Recipe: Scalloped Potatoes, Gimme Some Oven

Chicken Kiev


The 1970s called, and they want their dinner-party favorite back. Except we're not going to give it to them, because the only way we want to eat chicken is when it's stuffed with garlic butter and coated in a crunchy layer of breadcrumbs. Even the pickiest kid at your holiday table is likely to gobble it up if you pass Chicken Kiev off as what it really is — a big, fancy chicken tender.

Recipe: Chicken Kiev, Food Network

Holiday Baked Alaska


There just aren't enough desserts that make people say "oooooooh," anymore. Baked Alaska, in all of its 1960s glory, is definitely one of those desserts. When's the last time you put ice cream in the oven, or ate anything involving a perfectly browned meringue? The good news is that it sounds a lot more complicated than it actually is, plus it can be made ahead of any big gathering.

Recipe: Holiday Baked Alaska, Betty Crocker

Mincemeat Pie
john shepherd/istockphoto


Sweet but savory, this traditional British favorite just screams Christmas, and while it has ebbed and flowed in popularity for decades, it earned a spot on Bon Appetit's "Throwback Thanksgiving" menu of late '60s and early '70s favorites. Reassure any skeptics by noting that, despite the name, there's no actual meat (though some very traditional recipes do call for beef suet). At most tables, it will pass for dessert.

Recipe: Mincemeat Pie, Pillsbury

Shrimp Cocktail


Anyone with a soft spot for vintage food knows shrimp cocktail has to make an appearance on this list. This oh-so-retro appetizer is also ultra-convenient, since you can poach your shrimp a day ahead of any get-together. Serve it up on a platter of ice, or for a truly classic presentation, balance the shrimp on the rim of a martini glass. Cocktail sauce is easy to make ahead, too, or you can buy pre-made. (We won't tell.)

Recipe: Shrimp Cocktail, Bon Appetit

Grasshopper Pie


This no-bake '60s favorite is a no-brainer for the holidays. With its minty green color, it will hold its own next to even the most tricked-out Christmas cookies, and since it's flavored with booze, having a second helping could make things even more, er, festive. (Too many kiddos at your party? Try a version that doesn't use alcohol.)

Recipe: Grasshopper Pie, Brown-Eyed Baker

Christmas Meatloaf


Fun fact: The 1958 Betty Crocker cookbook "365 Ways to Cook Hamburger" had a whopping 70 recipes for meatloaf. So it's no surprise that you probably grew up in a household where this comfort-food classic was on heavy rotation. The addition of some cranberries and cranberry sauce will elevate it from everyday favorite to holiday centerpiece.

Recipe: Christmas Meatloaf, Hallmark Channel

Red and Green Holiday Poke Cake


They may be "kitschy and dated," but poke cake remains a family tradition in our house — it's perfect for any holiday, it tastes best when it's been smothered in Cool Whip, and using store-bought cake mix makes it super quick and easy. So go grab some more Jell-O (red and green works best for a Christmas party, of course) and prepare to travel back in time to the '70s.

Recipe: Red and Green Holiday Poke Cake, Kraft