The Most Popular Recipes of the 1950s
Feeling nostalgic? Us too. That's why we rounded up our best 1950s-era recipes that have been handed down over generations. Even if you didn't grow up eating these dishes, you can learn a lot about history from food trends. As you can see from the decade's top recipes, the 1950s were all about the intersection of comfort food and convenience — casseroles and quick dishes like Chicken a la King and Welsh rarebit reigned supreme. Simple sides, classic cocktails, and unforgettable desserts were also huge and set the scene at dinner parties, which were all the rage. Get to know the go-to recipes from the decade that changed food forever.
Kelly's Ham Jell-O® Salad
During World War II, Jell-O became a popular sugar substitute. The Postwar era, however, took Jell-O to new, and often savory heights, best exemplified by aspics and salads.
"As a new younger cook I was a bit nervous to make these but have made these the past two christmas eves," says reviewer Sarsie. "My family enjoys them so much that I've created a new christmas eve tradition and a good cooking reputation for myself!"
Cherry Angel Food Cake
"I have never made an angel food cake in my life because I thought they would be too difficult," says reviewer CHARLOTTE. "This was delicious. I took it to a church function and it was gone in ten minutes. I am going to try this with different fruit. Thanks for sharing this recipe. "
Creamed Onions and Peas
This veggie-forward side comes together quickly and can be made with either fresh or frozen peas. Several reviewers also report success with canned peas. Feel free to double the spices to amp up the flavor.
Cream of Celery Soup
"This is so delicious, you won't be able to go back to the canned stuff," says reviewer CATHY. "I needed a recipe for cream of celery, that I could convert to gluten free, and this fit the bill perfectly! The taste is wonderful, and like others, I left the veggies in, and just whizzed the soup with my immersion blender. Fantastic results."
Best Easy Chicken Croquettes
"I have always loved chicken croquettes but found them cumbersome to prepare," says review CTL314. "This recipe was quite easy and very quick. Instead of chicken, I substituted the leftover turkey from Thanksgiving.
Chicken Pot Pie VIII
It doesn't get more comforting and classic than chicken pot pie. This pot pie comes together in just over an hour, but you can use a pre-made crust to cut down on time.
Secret Recipe Chicken Fricassee
"This was my Grandma's secret family recipe from her French ancestors," says creator jodielmayer. "I have never seen a recipe like this on any site. It's a rich creamy sauce over chicken...great with mashed potatoes. A great dish for Easter or Christmas. "
Chicken Thigh Fricassee with Mushrooms and Rosemary
When chicken thighs meet mushrooms, garlic, rosemary, olives, tomatoes, and white wine, good things happen. This recipe is simple to prepare and delicious, even as leftovers.
Mid-century drinkers were all about cocktails, and the Manhattan is no exception. This particular recipe shakes things up a bit, especially if you don't have bitters on hand.
Rockin' Oysters Rockefeller
"The BEST!!! We have been making Oysters Rockefeller as a 'traditional appetizer' for Christmas Eve for years," says reviewer Rhonda. "We have tried recipe after recipe ... This is now "THE RECIPE" we will use...the search is over."
Salmon Casserole Surprise
"This was [surprisingly] DELICIOUS," says reviewer SubtleButStrong. "The photo doesn't look appetizing but trust me it's a brilliant idea to combine salmon potatoes and a cream sauce."
Real Welsh Rarebit
"Real Welsh Rarebit is pure comfort food," says reviewer Cookie Momster. "This would be good dish for lunch with the family on a rainy day. Since this recipe comes together so quickly and my entire family enjoys it it may become part of our regular roster."
Lemon Chiffon Pie
"This pie is fabulous," says reviewer larkspur. "I can't even begin to describe how absolutely delicious it is...or was. I made it for a church dinner and it was the first dessert to be eaten up."
Best Tuna Casserole
"This casserole is very good and quite possibly the best one of it's type that I've tasted so far," says reviewer Michelle Roth-Kiva. "It reminds me of the tuna casserole that my grandma and mom made when I was a child but even better!!! This is perfect for kids!!! I omitted the mushrooms since I don't like them. This goes well with a tall cold glass of milk and oreos for dessert or if time allows a Jell-O salad (i.e. cherry cola Jell-O salad) & homemade brownies. Yum! Yum!"
Seven Layer Gelatin Salad
"This recipe is a lot of fun! My children ask for it constantly and look forward to times when we have to bring a dessert to make it," says reviewer AMBERSACHS. "It's also a good idea to add fruit to some of the layers."
Old Fashioned Cocktail
You just can't go wrong with this classic drink. Don't forget the extra-large ice cubes, which will melt slowly and keep the integrity of the cocktail longer.
Orange Sherbet Salad I
"This recipe is so easy to make and my kids loved it," says reviewer ELLENR. "It is so good it could pass as dessert."
Retro Ground Beef Casserole with Biscuits
Casserole is already comforting, but add biscuits and that cozy feeling goes to new heights. This old-school dish only takes a little over an hour to prepare and will taste even better the next day.
Chicken a la King III
Chicken a la King is a classic for a reason. It's easy to prepare but seems super indulgent, and a foolproof 30-minute meal.
"This is an excellent, easy recipe! The filling is simple yet flavorful, and you can easily create variations by adding cheese, meat, or other vegetables," says reviewer ginger. "The pastry was easy to handle, cooked well, and tasted delicious."
The gimlet, another classic cocktail, is a perfect combination of gin and lime.
Cream of Tomato
Creator Lisa P. says this timeless soup is "best done with fresh ripe tomatoes, but also very good with canned tomatoes. If you use fresh herbs, you will need more than dried (in proportion, 3 times more). I ate this soup for the first time when I visited an aunt. She made this just for me. Over the years, I made my own version to match the taste I remembered."
Honey Ginger Carrots
This healthy side is a cinch to make and packed with flavor. For best results, use fresh ginger instead of powder. Be sure the carrots are cut thin enough to absorb the flavors and cook quickly.
Peppermint Chiffon Cake
"This was absolutely delicious," says reviewer JINGRUM. "Everyone wanted the recipe. Looks more complicated than it really is. Very easy to make. I frosted it with cool whip and put some holiday sprinkles on top. Rave reviews!!"
Creamed Tuna on Toast
If you're looking for a quick, easy, and warm kid-friendly meal, this is it. Reviewers recommend halfing the amount of milk for a less runny texture.
Give your daily dose of vitamin C a bit of extra sweetness with some broiled grapefruit. The simple side pairs well with both sweet and savory breakfasts.
Old-Time Penny Candy Buttons
"While using royal icing, I saw how it peeled off parchment paper just like the candy buttons from the 1950's," says creator SHORECOOK. "This inspired me to give candy buttons a try. As a child it was a good buy for a penny, and quantity was important."
Raspberry Chiffon Pie II
"I had totally forgotten all about this wonderful refreshing summer dessert my mother used to fix this often when I was a child in the 40's and 50's," says reviewer Elizabeth Duckworth. "it's funny how recipes go away and return and they're new all over again! I made this last week and I thank a few of you who mentioned the large amount of filling this recipe makes so I did mine in an 8 inch springform pan and let it sit in the refrigerator over night it was tall and pretty especially with a few blueberries on top. I like to beat an egg white roll the berries in it then sprinkle them with sugar."
Carrot Gelatin Salad
"This was a holiday favorite at Grandma's house," says reviewer KeepMeAwake. "Grandma also sometimes added some shredded cabbage if she had some. Great way to get the kids to eat their veggies. Please pass the lemon jello:). "