36 Vintage-Inspired Recipes That'll Make You Nostalgic

Time-tested classic recipes

Snowball Cake

The Spruce/Kristina Vanni & Eric Kleinberg

Travel back in time with our retro recipes from decades past. Whether you're feeling nostalgic for your childhood days, looking for food and drink ideas for a 50s, 60s, or 70s theme party, or want to recreate holiday meals of days gone by, we've collected the best throwback recipes that deserve a comeback today. Many of these dishes never really went away (we're looking at you, French onion soup), and others are here to make your childhood dreams come true (hello, homemade Ho Ho cake).

  • 01 of 36

    Pecan Party Cheese Ball

    Celebration cheeseball with pecans

    The Spruce

    Throw a retro twist into your next shindig with a pecan cheese ball. A popular party appetizer dating back to the '70s, the party cheese ball has never gone out of style, probably because it's so easy and cheesy, and makes a great buffet centerpiece. Our classic, pecan-crusted version is a yummy spread for crackers, crudites, and crostini.

  • 02 of 36

    Grape Jelly Meatballs

    Grape Jelly Meatballs

    The Spruce

    Grape jelly meatballs may sound unusual, but this funky little dish delivers big-time flavor. The tasty morsels of seasoned lean ground beef slathered in a tangy jelly sauce are ideal for tailgating, holiday parties, and potluck lunches, and can be made in the slow cooker with tips included in the recipe.

  • 03 of 36

    Classic Oysters Rockefeller

    Classic Oysters Rockefeller

    Jules Alciatore, of Antoine's Restaurant in New Orleans, created oysters Rockefeller in 1899. His great-grandson, Roy F. Guste Jr., wrote in Antoine's Restaurant Since 1840 Cookbook (1979) that the dish was created as a replacement for snails, which were scarce at the time. Guste says that he named the dish after John D. Rockefeller—one of the country's richest men—because the sauce was so rich.

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    Keto Pigs in a Blanket

    Keto Pigs in a Blanket

    The Spruce/Leah Maroney

    Pigs in a blanket (aka miniature hot dogs wrapped in buttery pastry) are always a popular snack at potlucks and holiday parties, but are typically high in carbs. Now you can enjoy them and remain in ketosis with our genius recipe that swaddles lil' smokies in a keto-friendly dough made with almond flour and cheese, and tops them with an irresistible "everything bagel" seasoning mix.

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    Harvey Wallbanger Cocktail

    Harvey Wallbanger Cocktail

    The Spruce/Julia Hartbeck

    The Harvey Wallbanger is a rocking vintage cocktail from the 1950s with loads of visual appeal. It's essentially a screwdriver, with one special difference. The simple mixture of vodka and orange juice is topped with Galliano, a vivid yellow Italian herbal liqueur, and garnished with an orange slice and a maraschino cherry.

  • 06 of 36

    Ho Ho Cake

    Ho Ho Cake

    The Spruce/Kristina Vanni

    This is not your Hostess Ho Hos snack cake from the store. Our newfangled twist on the packaged chocolate treat that has delighted kids for decades is a homemade Swiss roll, filled with a wonderfully light and fluffy whipped cream filling, and topped with a rich chocolate ganache. Growing up can be good!

  • 07 of 36

    City Chicken (Mock Chicken Drumsticks)

    City Chicken (Mock Chicken Drumsticks)

    The Spruce Eats/Teena Agnel

    City chicken belongs to that category of "mock foods" that were born of necessity, and evolved into beloved comfort foods. The faux chicken drumsticks were originally made from pork scraps and fried, but we use ground veal or pork for our oven-baked version, breading them with buttery cracker crumbs.

  • 08 of 36

    Snowball Cake

    Snowball Cake

    The Spruce/Kristina Vanni & Eric Kleinberg

    If you get misty-eyed thinking of the snowball snack cakes from your childhood, you will adore this nostalgic treat. Instead of individually wrapped desserts, you get a wintry chocolate cake that's perfect for holiday celebrations. The fudgey sponge is filled with marshmallow creme, and topped with an epic pile of coconut-covered doughnut holes.

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  • 09 of 36

    Old-Fashioned Chow Mein Tuna Bake

    Old-Fashioned Chow Mein Tuna Bake

    Diana Rattray

    In the 1960s, the tuna casserole was a family staple, and a topping of crunchy chow mein noodles was considered the cat's meow. Recreate this nostalgic weeknight bake-up with just a few convenient ingredients, and 30 minutes of baking time. Feel free to add in canned water chestnuts for a truly throwback dinner.

  • 10 of 36

    Heinz 57 Meatloaf

    Heinz 57 Meatloaf

    The Spruce/Diana Rattray

    Heinz 57 steak sauce lends its signature flavor to this tasty vintage meatloaf. The budget-friendly combination of ground beef, seasoned breadcrumbs, onion, and bottled sauce is oh-so easy to mix up and bake in a loaf pan. Topped with more of the tangy sauce, it makes a filling family dinner with mashed potatoes, and great next-day sandwiches, too.

  • 11 of 36

    Pork Wellington

    pork wellington beauty

    The Spruce / Diana Chistruga

    A classic of British cuisine, beef Wellington takes its name after the Duke of Wellington and has graced global tables throughout the decades. Our recipe is a take on that famous dish, shaped likewise, equally tasty, but with flavorful and juicy pork tenderloin instead, salty and fatty prosciutto to wrap the pork, and a mixture of mushrooms and shallots to encase the loin.

  • 12 of 36

    Peppermint Patty Cocktail

    Peppermint Patty Cocktail

    The Spruce/S&C Design Studios

    Tantalize your sweet tooth with a creamy and cooling peppermint patty cocktail. Inspired by the popular movie candy treat, this shaken cocktail includes chocolate vodka, peppermint schnapps, and your choice of cream liqueur. It's the perfect spiked winter bevvie to get you into the holiday spirit.

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  • 13 of 36

    Spam Fried Rice

    Spam Fried Rice

    The Spruce/Leah Maroney

    Canned Spam is a cultural icon that gained popularity after its use during World War II. It inspired tons of throwback recipes and this family-friendly fried rice is up there with our favorites. Spam adds salty, meaty flavor, and a good amount of protein, to this inexpensive, one-pan, Asian-inspired dinner made with leftover cooked rice, fridge or freezer veggies, and a handful of chopped peanuts for crunch.

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    Banana Pudding Cheesecake

    Banana Pudding Cheesecake

    Kristina Vanni

    Move over, banana bread. When you've got overripe bananas on the counter, that's the time to make this insanely delicious and soul-soothing banana pudding cheesecake. With a classic banana pudding filling nestled into a vanilla cookie crust, all decorated with fresh banana slices, it's got a bit of nostalgia in every bite.

  • 15 of 36

    Old Fashioned Egg Cream

    Old Fashioned Egg Cream

    The Spruce/Kristina Vanni

    You don't have to travel back in time to a 1950s soda shop for this nostalgic, creamy, bubbly blended treat. Whip up a vintage-style egg cream that would delight the Riverdale gang with our easy recipe that needs just 3 simple ingredients — and weirdly, not a single egg in sight.

  • 16 of 36

    Homemade Hot Pockets

    Homemade Hot Pockets

    The Spruce/Pete Scherer

    Hot Pockets have been a frozen food classic for decades. Kids love their pizza flavor, and parents love their quick heating time. We've figured out the secret to making them at home, so you can stash them in your freezer for whenever a pizza craving strikes.

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    Easy French Onion Soup

    Easy French onion soup recipe

    The Spruce / Cara Cormack

    French Onion Soup is a timeless steakhouse favorite. This easy onion soup is a classic French recipe a crisp bread and ooey-gooey cheese topping. The original came from Paris, France in the 18th century, but landed in the New York in 1861 thanks to Henri Mouquin and his chef wife Marie Julie Grandjean Mouquin.

  • 18 of 36

    Low-Calorie Slow Cooker Pineapple Chicken

    Low-Calorie Slow Cooker Pineapple Chicken

    The Spruce/Julia Hartbeck

    In the '60s and '70s, America went crazy for tiki culture, and Hawaiian-style dishes. Fix a throwback chicken dinner that still pleases kids today with our easy pineapple chicken recipe. It's a snap to make in the slow cooker, and is an ideal, lower-calorie meal for busy weeknights.

  • 19 of 36

    Raspberry Cool Whip Jello Dessert

    Raspberry Cool Whip Jello Dessert

    The Spruce Eats/Teena Agnel

    When you're pressed for time, there's no dessert easier to whip up than a pink and pleasing bowl of raspberry Jello combined with whipped topping, and then layered with a mixture of cream cheese, sugar, and Cool Whip. Garnished with fresh red berries, it's even pretty enough to serve at baby or bridal showers.

  • 20 of 36

    Easy Beef Stroganoff

    Easy Beef Stroganoff

    The Spruce/Karen Hibbard

    Beef stroganoff has been a popular and budget-conscious American family meal for decades. We've perfected the recipe, with just 10 ingredients, starting with canned condensed mushroom soup, so you can make it for weeknight dinners anytime. Kids love its creamy, meaty taste over noodles, and adults will love how far it stretches cooked leftover beef.

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    Seafoam Candy

    Seafoam Candy

    The Spruce/Kristina Vanni

    Seafoam candy, sometimes called sponge candy or honeycomb, is a scrumptious vintage treat. You may be surprised at how quick and easy it is to create in your kitchen with 4 basic ingredients, and kids will love helping you out with the science experiment. Enjoy it solo, or as a sweet and crunchy topping for bowls of vanilla ice cream.

  • 22 of 36

    Thousand Island Dressing

    Thousand Island Dressing

    The Spruce/Pete Scherer

    Thousand Island dressing may rely on humble ingredients (as in mayo, ketchup, mustard, and spices), but don't let that fool you. In just 5 minutes, you can whip up this "secret sauce" for topping green salads, slathering on burgers, spreading in sandwiches and wraps, or as a tangy dip for raw veggies.

  • 23 of 36

    Chicken Tetrazzini

    Chicken Tetrazzini

    The Spruce/Victoria Heydt

    Creamy chicken tetrazzini is a great make-ahead dish for entertaining or taking to potlucks. It is a big, bubbly pasta bake with tender morsels of chicken, and spaghetti noodles, in a cheesy, buttery sauce. Feel free to fold in some canned or chopped fresh mushrooms for an extra boost of nutrition and savory flavor.

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    Ambrosia Fruit Salad

    Ambrosia Fruit Salad

    The Spruce/Diana Chistruga

    For many families, holidays would be incomplete without an ambrosia salad on the table. This is the classic, creamy fruit salad of your childhood memories, brimming with pineapple chunks, Mandarin orange segments, seedless grapes, maraschino cherries, coconut flakes, and the essential miniature marshmallows, dressed in a sour cream sauce.

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    Classic Root Beer Float

    Classic Root Beer Float

    Kristina Vanni

    The root beer float is a classic American treat from the days of drive-ins and ice cream parlors. They are so easy to prepare with 2 ingredients, even kids can assemble them on their own. To make them more special, chill the glasses in advance, and serve with colorful straws for sipping.

  • 26 of 36

    Rumaki Chicken Liver and Bacon Appetizer

    Rumaki Chicken Liver and Bacon Appetizer

    The Spruce/Victoria Heydt

    Rumaki is a popular party finger food from decades past, when Polynesian culture captured American imaginations. The crispy, savory little bundles of marinated chicken livers and canned water chestnuts wrapped in bacon may sound unusual, but are remarkably tasty. If you don't like liver, try them with cubed pineapple instead.

  • 27 of 36

    Vegan Cheese Fondue

    Vegan Cheese Fondue

    Lizcfc/flickr

    If your heart yearns for the days of sharing nibbles with friends, why not plan an old school fondue party? We've made it easy for vegan eaters to get in on the fun, with our '70s-inspired vegan fondue that uses nutritional yeast to bring a nutty, Gruyere-like flavor. Cube some bread or veggies, pass out the skewers, and get your fondue on.

  • 28 of 36

    Fruit Cocktail Upside Down Cake

    Old fashioned frozen fruit salad

    The Spruce Eats / Diana Chistruga

    This old-fashioned frozen fruit salad will remind you of your grandmother's salad. It is a very easy preparation and makes an excellent fruit salad for a holiday menu. Use canned fruit cocktail or dice a combination of pineapple chunks, peaches, maraschino cherries, pears, and apricots. This cool treat will appeal to adults and kids alike.

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    Chicken a la King Casserole With Noodles

    Chicken a la King Casserole With Noodles

    The Spruce

    Easy, creamy, chicken a la King is fuss-free family comfort food at its best. Our version of the vintage recipe combines combines tender chicken with egg noodles, cheddar cheese, pimientos, and slivered almonds in a creamy sauce that uses canned soup. Topped with a buttery breadcrumb crust, it is always a hit at dinnertime.

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    Green Goddess Salad Dressing

    Green Goddess Salad Dressing

    Laurel Randolph

    Once the queen of salad dressings in the 1970s, green goddess dressing still has plenty to offer today. Cool and creamy with fresh herbs and mayonnaise, and boosted by Caesar-style flavorings such as garlic and anchovy paste, it is a fabulous, grown-up dip you can serve on salads, with fresh vegetables, or in cold noodle bowls.

  • 31 of 36

    Black and White Cookies

    Black and White Cookies

    The Spruce/Kristina Vanni

    Black and white cookies have been a longtime popular treat at New York City bakeries and delis. With their lemony flavor, soft cake-like texture, and signature dramatic two-tone icing, they are a great addition to any buffet dessert table, bake sale, or holiday cookie swap.

  • 32 of 36

    Ritz Cracker Pecan Pie

    Ritz Cracker Pecan Pie

    The Spruce/Diana Rattray

    Putting on the Ritz has never been so yummy. Our "mock" pecan pie with a Ritz cracker crust (instead of fussy pastry) is a cinch to assemble and bake, and makes a great Thanksgiving dessert. Sprinkle it with grated chocolate while it's still warm from the oven, for the easiest pecan chocolate pie in history.

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    Homemade Dunkaroo Dip

    dunkraoo dip

    If you’re a child of the 90s, then you fondly remember Dunkaroos. They’re delicious little graham cracker cookies that you dip in a creamy, rainbow-filled frosting. Dunkaroos are making a comeback, but they are extremely hard to find. So, we kept it real and made it as close to the original as we could.

  • 34 of 36

    Deep Fried Twinkies

    Deep Fried Twinkies

    The Spruce / Julia Hartbeck

    The Twinkie was created by James Alexander Dewar, a baker for the Continental Baking Company, in Schiller Park, Ill. on April 6, 1930. It was later marketed as a "Golden Sponge Cake with Creamy Filling" by its long-time maker and distributor, Hostess Brands. If you can't resist the creamy filling of a moist Twinkie, think about indulging in one—but fried.

  • 35 of 36

    Strawberry Jelly or Jell-O Mold

    British Strawberry Jelly (Jello)

    The Spruce / Nyssa Tanner

    Jell-O molds were all the rage through the 60s and most often get a bad rap these days. This recipe for British strawberry jelly is a fruit-flavored gelatin dessert, similar to what is known in the United States as Jell-O. A budget-friendly dessert, this is a great dish for family affairs during hot days and is fun to eat.

  • 36 of 36

    Savory Beef Broth and Vodka Bull Shot

    bullshot

    The bull shot is a drink for acquired tastes—one that you will either love or hate—though it has many devoted fans. It was created in the early 1950s and is often attributed to the Caucus Club in Detroit. Though it was a big hit through '70s (even making an appearance in "A Clockwork Orange" in 1971), the bull shot's making a surprising comeback as it appeals to drinkers looking for that retro vibe.