The Most Popular Recipes of the 1960s (2024)

Travel through time with us as we explore the most popular recipes of the 1960s. The world's news was dominated by wars, protests, and marches. Fashion focused on ponchos, bell-bottomed jeans, and tie-dye, with the culminating fashion and music event Woodstock in 1969.

But at home, whether it was whipping up a quick weeknight meal or organizing a menu for a dinner party, food preparation in the 1960s was all about convenience. Finger foods were simple to eat and prepare, and many popular hors d'oeuvre, like French onion dip and co*cktail meatballs, started with flavorful, shelf-stable ingredients. Take a look at the 1960s' top recipes, from easy weeknight fare to showstopping mains and desserts.

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Tunnel of Fudge Cake II

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The Most Popular Recipes of the 1960s (1)

The tunnel of fudge cake rapidly gained popularity in the mid-1960s, following Pillsbury's 17th annual bake-off, where Ella Rita Helfrich's recipe won second place. Despite not taking the top spot, the tunnel of fudge cake became the basis for one of Pillsbury's major ad campaigns. But this cake didn't just help Pillsbury. It also helped popularize another recent invention — the Bundt pan.

  • The Most Popular Recipes of the 1950s

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Swedish Meatballs I

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The Most Popular Recipes of the 1960s (2)

Although the origin of Swedish meatballs likely isn't Sweden (the recipe probably came from Turkey), we do know that mid-century cooks had a love fair with all things Nordic — think of it as a precursor to the 2010s obsession with all things hygge. In the kitchen, that translated as Bundt pans, Dansk cookware, and Swedish meatballs. However, admiration wasn't the only reason this recipe became ubiquitous. The streamlined version of Swedish meatballs that swept American households was aided by a life-changing ingredient: cream of mushroom soup.

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The Most Popular Recipes of the 1960s (3)

The Sidecar's origin is said to be based in London or Paris at the end of World War I, and the recipe was first printed in two mixology books in 1922. However, the co*cktail is a variation of the Brandy Crusta, which emerged in New Orleans during the 19th century. Mad Men stereotypes aside, co*cktail hours were plentiful this decade, both in and outside the workplace, and classic mixed drinks like the Sidecar rapidly gained popularity.

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Wedge Salad with Elegant Blue Cheese Dressing

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The Most Popular Recipes of the 1960s (4)

The concept of salad has existed for centuries, of course, but the name "salad" (which, as you can see in vintage recipes, was a loose term) didn't exist in American English until the 1960s. Iceberg lettuce, which was formerly known as crisphead lettuce, was developed in the 1940s, and became the most widely grown lettuce in the United States by the end of the decade. Combined with mass refrigeration, the wedge salad was a staple both at restaurants and in homes.

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Beef Wellington

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The Most Popular Recipes of the 1960s (5)

Beef Wellington may be named after the Duke of Wellington, but it owes its mid-century popularity to Julia Child, who prepared it on The French Chef in 1965. The dish also appears in Child's cookbook Mastering the Art of French Cooking. As a result, Beef Wellington became a huge trend and was even served in the Kennedy White House.

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Cheese Straws

The Most Popular Recipes of the 1960s (6)

Although cheese straws are considered a classic recipe, they were likely inspired by British biscuits. These cheese straws only require five ingredients and come together in half an hour. For best results, use a cookie press, and let the butter and cheese reach room temperature before mixing.

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Porcupine Meatballs II

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The Most Popular Recipes of the 1960s (7)

Porcupine meatballs emerged during the Great Depression and quickly became a staple thanks to their budget-stretching abilities. The rice "spines" supplemented the meat, which was hard to come by at that time. They remained popular for several more decades, including the 1960s, which was marked by a bit of a meatball craze.

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Sazerac co*cktail

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The Most Popular Recipes of the 1960s (8)

"There's a lot to love about this classic whiskey and bitters beverage," says creator Home Happy Hour. "The official drink of New Orleans, the Sazerac is every bit as aromatic and flavorful as most anything else from down on the bayou."

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Easy Swedish Pancakes

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The Most Popular Recipes of the 1960s (9)

Swedish pancakes have existed for centuries in Europe, but much of their popularity here during the 1960s is linked to the Stockholm Inn and its restaurant in Rockford, Illinois. Their popularity was also linked to mid-century America's obsession with Scandinavian culture.

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Grandma's Stuffed Celery

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The Most Popular Recipes of the 1960s (10)

In a decade that was all about appetizers, celery wasn't known as a healthy snack, but instead, a vessel for dips and spreadables. Make-ahead appetizers, including stuffed celery, became a dinner party staple, in part thanks to the advent of mass refrigeration.

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Swedish Meatballs (From a Swede!)

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The Most Popular Recipes of the 1960s (11)

"This is the real deal! This is the same recipe I have been cooking for years," says user ILUVMYVOLVO. "I found it in my grandmother's Swedish-English cookbook decades ago. I had sworn myself to secrecy about divluging it but it really is too good not to share!"

Chicken Kiev

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The Most Popular Recipes of the 1960s (12)

Chicken kiev recipes hit American cookbooks after World War II, but the dish most likely came here with Russian, Polish, and other East European immigrants.

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Outrageously Good Holiday Salad

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The Most Popular Recipes of the 1960s (13)

"Simple and exceptional! Took to a gathering of incredible cooks," says reviewer Marie L. "It wowed! I used butter lettuce and eliminated the onion since one person was allergic to it. I used a fine grater for the cheese which helped it float throughout the salad rather than sinking to the bottom. Used the recommended Marie s poppyseed dressing. It was the hit of the party."

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Easy Skillet Chicken a la King

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The Most Popular Recipes of the 1960s (14)

Chicken a la king, which translates as "king-style chicken," emerged at the end of the 19th century. Printed recipes hit mass media outlets such as the New York Times and the Fannie Farmer Cookbook around the same time. Thanks to the dish's simplicity, it remained popular until the late 20th century.

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Steak Diane

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The Most Popular Recipes of the 1960s (15)

Steak Diane hit New York restaurants in the 1940s, and remained popular throughout the 1960s. Pounding or slicing the steak thin beforehand makes for a short cooking time.

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Lemon Chiffon Cake

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The Most Popular Recipes of the 1960s (16)

For a while, chiffon cake was one of the dessert world's best-kept secrets. Creator Harry Baker kept the recipe to himself for 20 years before selling it to General Mills, who gave the airy cake its name. We're thankful to Baker, as chiffon cake is still popular to this day.

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Sarah's Ambrosia Fruit Salad

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The Most Popular Recipes of the 1960s (17)

"This recipe has been in my family for years and years," says creator smviolante. "We make it at every holiday family get together and everyone loves it. It's a great refreshing fruit salad for every occasion, especially summer months and hot days."

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Louise's Lasagna

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The Most Popular Recipes of the 1960s (18)

Italian immigrants, specifically Neopolitans, brought lasagna to the states at the turn of the century. But lasagna didn't become a household dish until the 1950s. Some say this was influenced by soldiers who were stationed in Italy during WWII, but lasagna (or what has become of it) clearly hit mid-century American values. It comes together relatively easily and quickly, and it feeds a lot of people — sounds like comfort food to us.

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Snakes in a Blanket

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The Most Popular Recipes of the 1960s (19)

Snakes in a blanket are a variation of pigs in a blanket, which first appeared in Betty Crocker's Cooking for Kids in 1957. Like their porcine counterpart, snakes in a blanket were easy to consume, making them a popular hors d'oeuvre.

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French Onion Dip

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The Most Popular Recipes of the 1960s (20)

One of the biggest food fads at this time was inspired by a life-changing ingredient: Lipton Onion Soup Mix. Made with sour cream or cream cheese and the dehydrated soup mix, onion dip was the ultimate easy appetizer and a hit at co*cktail parties.

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Smoked Salmon Mousse

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The Most Popular Recipes of the 1960s (21)

Like dips, spreadable appetizers were ubiquitous during the 1960s. Once again, mass refrigeration plays a role in the popularity of a key ingredient — cream cheese.

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co*cktail Meatballs I

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The Most Popular Recipes of the 1960s (22)

The idea of combining grape jelly and meatballs sounds unusual, but somehow, the combination works — and it worked very well in the late 1960s. "Brim your chafing dish high with these hearty hors d'ouevres," says a 1969 printing of Betty Crocker's Cookbook. "And ton't forget to supply picks — and plenty of them — for easy eating."

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Baked Alaska

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The Most Popular Recipes of the 1960s (23)

Baked Alaska was — and honestly still may be — the impressive dessert to make in the 1960s. Part of this stems from Alaska itself. The dessert was originally created in 1876, soon after the Alaska territory was acquired). In 1959, Alaska was granted statehood, and as a result, the homage dessert experienced a revival. "Be sure to try other cake and ice-cream combos," says Betty Crocker's Cookbook.

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The Most Popular Recipes of the 1960s (2024)


What are 5 foods eaten in the 1960's that are generally not eaten today? ›

10 Forgotten Dishes from the '60s and '70s You Won't Find Today
  • Aspics.
  • Spam.
  • Creamed Vegetables.
  • The Ladies' Special.
  • Canned Chinese Food.
  • Liver and Onions.
  • Cheese Logs.
  • Ambrosia Salad.
Nov 21, 2023

What did people eat for dinner in 1969? ›

We weren't well off so we ate a lot of Hamburger Helper, hot dogs, fried baloney and Spam. Chicken chow mein (from a can) over those crispy noodles (also from a can).

What food was popular in 1963? ›

Chicken and dumplings, pot roast, casseroles, fried chicken and biscuits were just a few of readers' favorite dishes that are as popular now as they were in 1963, but few of us are killing the chickens we eat.

What food came out in the 1960s? ›

Sprite, Gatorade, pop tarts, and tang were all new to the 1960s market. Tang became incredibly popular when astronauts took it to space! Metrecal was the fad diet of the 1960's. THey sold meal replacement shakes, cookies and soups.

What was food like in the 60s? ›

Gelatin molds and bright foods were popular. Quality: There was a boom in processed and convenience foods, but the late '60s saw the beginning of the health food movement. Taste: International flavors, especially French and Italian, gained popularity. Comfort foods like casseroles were common.

What was junk food in the 1960s? ›

Pringles, Pop-Tarts, Doritos, Starburst, Chips Ahoy!, Gatorade, Sprite, and Ruffles all debuted during the decade, and fast food came into its own with McDonald's. New kid-friendly (read: super-sugary) breakfast cereals abounded, like Froot Loops, Honeycomb, Cap'n Crunch, and Lucky Charms.

What was the most popular food in 1965? ›

1965: Onion Dip

The advent of packaged soup mixes made easy, entertaining-friendly dips a popular '60s go-to.

What food came out in 1966? ›

One of the biggest snacks of the 1960s that we still enjoy today are Doritos, which were invented in 1966 at a Frito Lay restaurant in Disneyland, according to Insider. Other treats invented in the 60s include Oatmeal Creme Pies, Starburst, Sprite and Pop-Tarts.

What food was popular in the year 1964? ›

1964: Pop-Tarts

Pop-Tarts were a big hit with busy kids—and parents. The name was inspired by Andy Warhol's pop art movement of the 1960s.

What food was invented in 1965? ›

SpaghettiOs. This kid-friendly food was invented in 1965 when Donald Goerke, who worked for Campbell's Franco-American brand, was challenged to create a pasta dish for children that could be eaten with a spoon.

What snack came out in 1962? ›

Pepperidge Farm founder Margaret Rudkin introduced Goldfish crackers to the United States in 1962 after having tried them while on vacation in Switzerland.

What food was invented in 1962? ›

#didyouknow the Hawaiian pizza was invented in. 1962 by Sam Panopoulos, a native of Greece who ran. a pizza place in Canada.

What was the most popular snack in 1962? ›

Probably a universal favorite snack of all time, Goldfish were (and still are) the cheesy, fish-shaped cracker that every kid had in their lunch box. 1962: Chips Ahoy!

What was the most popular thing in the 60s? ›

Our Ten Favorite Trends from the 60s
  • Lava Lamps. ...
  • Black Light. ...
  • Tie Dye Clothing. ...
  • Surfing. ...
  • Troll Dolls. ...
  • Mood Rings. ...
  • Bellbottoms. ...
  • Hairstyles – Pixie, Bouffant and Afro. Like every decade, the 60s had their own variety of popular hair styles.

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