Tasty Great Depression recipes that you can still make today

No one wants a repeat of the Great Depression, considered by most as one of the darkest times in U.S. history. However, given today’s political climate, a lot of people have started to draw similarities to that dark time and look at a world where food may be scarce, forcing us to make do with the things that we have. The stories, in particular, are harrowing: In Venezuela, there are reports of locals eating garbage just to survive, but there are informative in that we know what “the worst” will look like.

Here are some tasty recipes from the Great Depression that you can make during your own personal time of need. (h/t to PreppersWill.com.)

Depression Bread

This classic bread requires very little ingredients and can give you enough energy for a day.


  • 4 cups flour
  • 2 cups warm water
  • 2 tbsps. yeast


  1. Pour the flour into a large bowl.
  2. Create a hole in the center.
  3. Pour the yeast and warm water in the center.
  4. Combine until you form a ball.
  5. Cover with a towel and let the dough rise for 30 minutes (or until it has roughly doubled in size).
  6. Knead the dough and split this into two loaves.
  7. Bake at 300 degrees Fahrenheit.

Mock lemon pie

This tasty dessert uses vinegar instead of lemon. It may seem unappetizing at first, but the result is actually a great alternative to lemon pie. Done correctly, the pie tastes similar to your favorite dessert!


  • ½ cup (or 1 stick) butter, softened
  • 1 ¼ cups sugar
  • 2 tbsp. apple cider vinegar
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1 vanilla extract


  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
  2. Blend the butter and sugar in a large bowl until the mixture is light and fluffy. This is usually after two minutes of mixing.
  3. Add the vinegar, eggs, and vanilla.
  4. Whisk vigorously for one full minute, or until the mixture is creamy and smooth.
  5. Pour into an unbaked pie crust.
  6. Bake for around 45 minutes.

Hoover stew

Another Depression meal classic, Hoover stew was a general name given to any stew or soup made of thin broths. There are different types of Hoover stew — the main idea is just to put whatever you hand on hand into a soup — but here’s one that most people made during the Great Depression.


  • 16 oz. box of noodles (we recommend macaroni, if you have it)
  • 2 cans stewed tomatoes (do not drain)
  • 1 package hot dogs
  • 1 can of corn, peas, or beans (do not drain)


  1. Cook the pasta until it is almost done.
  2. Slice the hot dogs into round bits.
  3. Put the cooked pasta and hot dog bits in a pot with the remaining ingredients.
  4. Bring to a boil then simmer low until the pasta has finished cooking.

Hot chipped beef

This recipe utilizes whatever meat you may have. It works best with dried or salted beef.


  • 1 package chipped beef
  • 3 finely cut scallions
  • 2 tbsp. Chopped parsley
  • 1 package cream cheese (chopped)
  • 2 oz. softened blue cheese
  • 1 cup mushrooms (drained)
  • ½ cup sour cream


  1. Preheat the oven to 325 degrees Fahrenheit.
  2. Rinse the beef.
  3. Combine all ingredients in a shallow oven-proof dish.
  4. Bake for 20 minutes.

Feel free to replace some ingredients with whatever food items you have! The takeaway here is that you have to be creative when things go sour. The dish may not look appealing, but the taste may be great (and keeps you alive for the next day). (Related: Tips for eating on rations from the Great Depression: Recipes the Greatest Generation grew up on.)

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