6 Pioneer Recipes to Make with Your Teen

The food that the American Pioneers knew was simple and hearty. Often, dishes were cooked in one pot over the fire, using whatever was available. Since they didn’t like to waste anything, women often prepared soups and stews for the family because it was an easy way to use up scraps.

Days were long and full of hard physical labor, so meals also had to be filling to keep everyone going.

6 Pioneer Recipes to Make with Your Teen @Education PossibleThis post contains affiliate links.

Cooking methods may have changed over the years, but you can still bring history to life in the kitchen by recreating some dishes from the American frontier.

Bacon Johnnycakes

Both bacon and corn cakes were eaten by the settlers, so why not combine the two?


  • Bacon (as much as you’d like in the johnnycakes)
  • 1 ¼ cups cornmeal
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • ½-1 teaspoon salt
  • 1½ cups boiling water
  • 2 TBSP bacon drippings


  • Cook the bacon until crispy. Reserve the grease to use for cooking. Once the bacon has cooled a bit, crumble it up so you can add it to the johnnycake batter.
  • Combine all of the dry ingredients. Gradually add the boiling water to the dry ingredients, mixing with a spoon until moistened. The consistency should be thick (instead of runny) but should still be able to slide off the spoon. You may need more or less boiling water to achieve this consistency.
  • Add the crumbled bacon and mix well.
  • Heat bacon drippings in a cast iron skillet or non-stick pan. You don’t want the cakes to stick.
  • Spoon the batter into the pan, using one large spoonful for each cake. Once the edges begin to brown and become firm, flip over to cook the other side. If needed, you can add a couple of
    drops of oil to the top of the cake before turning it over. Cook until the other side is done. You can press them down a bit to keep an even thickness. Move them to a platter.
  • Top with butter and syrup (if you’d like) and enjoy!

5 Additional Pioneer Recipes

Apple Butter

Apple butter was made by cooking apples in a large pot outside. Today, use your slow cooker to make your own.

Beef Jerky

For years, people have been salting and curing meat to make it last longer. To get a sense of how they did this, make your own beef jerky. You can dry it in a food dehydrator or right in your oven.

Blackberry Cobbler

When in season, fruit was picked and either preserved or used in a variety of recipes. One fruit dish was cobbler, which could be made out of many types of fruit. Try this blackberry one.

Buttermilk Ricotta Cheese

The settlers made all their own cheese and butter. See what the process was like by making this ricotta cheese.

Old Fashioned Popcorn Balls

Pop some popcorn on the stove and use some molasses to turn it in to a delicious, sweet treat.

Pioneer Cookbooks

The Little House Cookbook: Frontier Foods from Laura Ingalls Wilder’s Classic Stories by Barbara M. Walker

Log Cabin Cooking: Pioneer Recipes & Food Lore by Barbara Swell

Pioneer Recipes by Bobbie Kalman

6 Pioneer Recipes to Make with Your Teen @Education Possible

Looking for more American Pioneer learning activities?

What is your teen’s favorite Pioneer recipe?

Megan Zechman
I love homeschooling! Learning is a way of life for our family. Most days you will find us exploring our Central Florida community, having fun while learning. I am constantly looking for new and interactive ways to engage my older children.
Megan Zechman
Megan Zechman