25 classic American recipes

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From the hearty comfort foods of the Midwest to the bold and spicy dishes of the South, American cuisine is as diverse and vibrant as the nation itself. In this collection of 25 classic American recipes, we’ll embark on a mouthwatering journey across the country, exploring the dishes that have become beloved staples in households and restaurants alike.

Imagine the tantalizing aroma of a perfectly smoked brisket, slow-cooked to tender perfection, wafting through the air. Or envision the golden-brown crust of a buttery apple pie, fresh from the oven, beckoning you to indulge in its sweet, fruity filling. These are just a few of the iconic dishes that have become woven into the fabric of American food culture.

But there’s so much more to discover! Prepare to roll up your sleeves, tie on an apron, and immerse yourself in the warmth and comfort of these timeless recipes, each one a testament to the enduring spirit of American food.

1. Cheeseburger

American Cheeseburger

  • The quintessential American burger – a juicy beef patty that’s nice and pink in the middle with melty cheese just oozing over the sides. You’ve got to load it up with all the fixings too – crisp lettuce, ripe tomato slices, tangy pickle chips, sweet onion, and don’t forget that special sauce bringing it all together. One bite and you’re in cookout heaven.
  • Get that grill fired up and form the beef into patties about ½ inch thick, making a dimple in the middle so they cook up nice and even
  • Season those babies with salt and pepper then cook them until they’ve got an amazing sear
  • Lightly toast those buns so they get a bit crispy on the inside to hold up to all those tasty juices
  • Then just stack it all together – patty, cheese, veggie toppings, sauce – and grab a pile of napkins before diving in!

2. Mac and Cheese

American Mac And Cheese

  • Is there anything more soul-satisfying than amazing mac and cheese? The gooey goodness of that velvety cheese sauce clinging to those perfect al dente noodles is just heavenly.
  • Start by cooking those little elbows or cavatappi noodles in salted water until they’ve got the perfect bite
  • While that’s going, make a béchamel first by melting butter and whisking in flour to make a roux
  • Slowly whisk in warm milk and cook until it bubbles up into a creamy sauce
  • Remove it from the heat and mix in shredded cheeses like sharp cheddar, gruyere, and parmesan – go crazy!
  • Combine the cheesy sauce with the drained noodles and you’ve got mac and cheese perfection
  • For an extra crispy top, transfer it to a baking dish and broil for a few minutes until it’s bubbling and browned on top.

3. Pot RoastClassic Pot Roast


  • When you want that stick-to-your-ribs, home-cooked comfort, nothing beats an amazing pot roast dinner. You’ve got meltingly-tender beef swimming in a rich gravy with potatoes, carrots, and aromatics.
  • Start by generously salting and searing that big hunk of beef in a hot pot or Dutch oven to get an amazing crust on the outside
  • Remove beef and sauté some onions, garlic, and maybe celery in the pot with the beef fat until softened
  • Add the seared beef back along with beef broth, red wine if you’d like, bay leaves, and a few pats of butter, and let it simmer low and slow for hours
  • About 45 minutes before serving, add in your potato, carrot, and celery chunks to soak up all those amazing juices as they finish cooking
  • When beef is fork-tender, remove it and let it rest while you thicken up that pot liquor into a luscious gravy
  • Plate up the veggies and roast, smother with gravy, and get ready to loosen that belt buckle!

4. Fried Chicken

Fried Chicken

  • You just can’t beat a plate of hot, crispy, crunchy fried chicken fresh out of the fryer. That beautiful golden brown crust shattering with each bite to reveal the juiciest, perfectly seasoned interior? Absolute perfection.
  • Soak your chicken pieces in some buttermilk with a touch of hot sauce – this helps the chicken stay super moist while adding a subtle tang
  • Set up a dredging station with trays of seasoned flour and breadcrumbs or crushed cornflakes
  • Dredge the soaked chicken first in the flour, letting excess drip off, then the breadcrumb/crumb mixture, pressing to adhere
  • Get that oil nice and hot, around 325°F, and fry those chicken pieces in batches until deep golden brown and crispy
  • Drain them on a wire rack set over a baking sheet and capture any stragglers with a quick trip through the oven to stay crispy
  • Sprinkle with a touch more salt and prepare for fried chicken bliss!

5. Meatloaf

Classic Meatloaf

  • You can’t go wrong with a good ol’ meatloaf for the ultimate comfort food dinner. It’s like the best parts of a burger and meatballs combined into one hearty, sliceable loaf. And that sweet ketchup glaze takes it over the top!
  • In a big bowl, combine your beef (and pork if using) with breadcrumbs soaked in milk, eggs, finely chopped onions and bell peppers, ketchup, Worcestershire, and whatever seasonings you fancy
  • Don’t be afraid to get in there with your hands and really mix everything together
  • Form it all into your ideal loaf shape on a foil-lined baking sheet and slather the top with a mixture of ketchup and brown sugar
  • Bake until the center is cooked through then let it rest for a few minutes
  • Slice into thick slabs with crispy edges and a juicy center – mmm meatloaf!

6. Chocolate Chip Cookies

Chocolate Chip Cookies

  • Is there anything better than the sweet aroma of warm, gooey, fresh-baked chocolate chip cookies? This classic never goes out of style for a reason – it’s pure nostalgia and deliciousness in each bite.
  • Start by creaming together room temp butter and both brown and white sugars until light and fluffy
  • Beat in some vanilla and eggs one at a time, scraping the bowl as needed
  • In a separate bowl, whisk together the dry goods like flour, baking soda, salt – maybe add a touch of cornstarch for extra chew
  • Slowly mix the dry ingredients into the wet until just combined, being careful not to overmix
  • Finally, fold in those glorious chocolate chips using a combo of milk and semisweet
  • Scoop big rounds of dough onto parchment-lined baking sheets, leaving room to spread
  • Bake until just set in the middle with those signature gorgeous crinkly edges

7. Apple Pie

Classic apple pie

  • Warm apple pie, fresh out of the oven, that flaky buttery crust just begging for a scoop of melty vanilla ice cream on top. Now that’s the taste of Americana!
  • Make your perfect pie dough, giving it a quick chill before rolling it out into rounds for the bottom and decorative top crust
  • Peel and slice up a bunch of fresh apples – a mix of varieties adds layers of flavor
  • Toss the apple slices with cinnamon, sugar, flour, lemon juice, maybe hit it with a splash of booze
  • Arrange the apples in the bottom crust, top with pats of cold butter and get artistic with your top crust
  • Brush with an egg wash, sprinkle with coarse sugar, and bake until golden and bubbling
  • Let it cool slightly and get ready for apple pie euphoria

8. Clam Chowder

Classic clam chowder

  • When you need something rich, warm and comforting, nothing beats a thick, creamy bowl of authentic New England clam chowder.
  • Start by crisping up some smoky salt pork or bacon in your soup pot to build that base layer of flavor
  • Sauté onions, celery, maybe some fennel in those luscious pork drippings until softened
  • Add in tender potatoes along with clam broth, cream or milk, fresh thyme, bay leaf and simmer away
  • Once the potatoes are fork tender, stir in those gorgeous chopped clams along with a knob of butter to finish it off
  • Garnish each bowl with crispy pork or bacon bits, fresh parsley and maybe a shake of paprika
  • Dunk in a hunk of crusty bread and slurp away that chowdah goodness!

9. Beef Stew

American classic beef stew

  • Hearty, stick-to-your-ribs beef stew is the epitome of cold weather comfort food. You get tender beef in a thick, rich gravy loaded up with chunks of potato, carrot and aromatic veggies.
  • Start by dredging your cubes of beef in seasoned flour and giving them a good sear to create a flavorful crust
  • Remove beef and sauté onions, garlic, maybe celery and mushrooms in the pot to get those flavors going
  • Deglaze the pot with a big glug of red wine, scraping up any tasty browned bits
  • Add back the beef along with broth, tomato paste, thyme, bay leaf and let it simmer until beef is super tender
  • In the last hour of cooking, add in your potato, carrot and any other veggie chunks to soak up all that incredible gravy
  • Finish it off with Worcestershire sauce, chopped parsley and a pat of butter for extra richness

10. Mashed Potatoes

Classic Mashed Potatoes

  • You just can’t have a true American feast without a fluffy mountain of buttery, creamy mashed potatoes ready to soak up all those tasty juices.
  • Start with russet or Yukon gold potatoes – peel if you want a smoother texture
  • Cut them into chunks and add to a pot of cold, salted water. Bring to a boil and cook until fork tender
  • Drain the spuds and return to the hot pot for a minute to steam off any extra moisture
  • Use a potato ricer or masher and slowly mix in warm milk, melted butter and seasonings
  • Go in with a hand mixer if you want them extra smooth and fluffy. Just be careful not to overbeat
  • Finish with more butter on top because you can never have too much butter!

11. Biscuits and Gravy

Classic biscuit gravy

  • There’s just something magical about fluffy, buttered biscuits smothered in a thick, creamy gravy loaded with crispy pork sausage. It’s downhome Southern comfort on a plate.
  • For the biscuits: Whisk together flour, baking powder, sugar and salt. Cut in very cold butter with a pastry cutter until it looks like coarse crumbs. Make a well and pour in buttermilk, bring it together into a shaggy dough. Pat it into a round, cut out biscuits and bake until golden brown.
  • For the gravy: Cook crumbled pork sausage in a skillet over medium heat until browned and crispy. Leave those tasty sausage bits in there!
  • Make a roux with some butter and flour, whisk in warm milk and keep cooking until it thickens into a gravy.
  • Season the gravy generously with salt, pepper and a hint of cayenne for kick.
  • Split those piping hot biscuits in half and pour that sausage gravy river right over the top. Sop up every last drop!

12. Jambalaya

Classic Jambalaya

  • This Louisiana classic is like a big ol’ spicy party on the plate! You’ve got andouille sausage, shrimp, chicken and ham all mingling together with the holy trinity of veggies in a rich, smoky Cajun rice.
  • Get started by browning those proteins – sausage first, then chicken, then shrimp. Transfer proteins to a plate as you go.
  • Make your flavor base by sautéing the holy trinity of bell pepper, onion and celery in the sausage drippings until softened.
  • Add in diced tomatoes, Cajun seasoning, broth and let it simmer for a few minutes.
  • Stir in your long grain rice, proteins and hot sauce if desired. Cover and bake until rice is tender and liquid absorbed.
  • Remove the lid and give it a final stir to incorporate all those amazing flavors into the rice. Scoop it up while it’s steaming hot and enjoy that taste of Louisiana!

14. Pulled Pork SandwichesClassic Pulled Pork Sandwiches


  • Is there anything more mouth-wateringly fragrant than a big pork butt smoking away on the backyard grill or smoker? Pile up that tender, saucy pulled pork on a soft buttered bun and you’ve got a taste of smoky, tangy heaven.
  • Season a pork shoulder liberally with a sweet and savory dry rub. Get that grill/smoker going with wood chips for maximum smoky flavor.
  • Keep the pork smoking at around 250°F for hours and hours, basting with a spritz every so often, until it reaches 195-205°F internally.
  • Transfer that beauty to a pan and let it rest for a bit before digging in with tongs and forks to shred all that succulent smoked pork.
  • In a saucepan, warm up your favorite barbecue sauce – maybe enrich it with a little drippings from the smoking pan.
  • Give the pulled pork a good toss in that sauce until it’s thoroughly coated and saucy.
  • Pile high on soft buttered buns, maybe add a simple slaw for crunch and get ready for sticky, smoky, saucy bliss!

14. Buffalo Wings

Classic Buffalo Wings

  • Crispy-crunchy and burnin’ hot or cool and tangy, buffalo wings are the ultimate crowd pleasing party food and game day snack.
  • Pat chicken wings and drumettes dry and toss in a mixture of flour and spices like cayenne, paprika, garlic powder and black pepper.
  • Get a pot or Dutch oven filled with oil nice and hot over medium heat – around 350°F.
  • In batches, fry those wings for 13-15 minutes, carefully flipping halfway until they’re crispy and golden brown. Drain on a wire rack.
  • For the sauce: In a saucepan, melt butter then whisk in your desired ratio of hot sauce (like Frank’s) and vinegar for tang. Add spices as desired.
  • Toss the hot wings in that fiery sauce until fully coated. Serve right away with carrots, celery and blue cheese or ranch dip!

15. Chicken Noodle Soup

American Chicken Noodle Soup

  • Is there any other soup that screams “comfort food” quite like a classic chicken noodle? It’s like a warm, nourishing hug in a bowl.
  • Start by making your rich chicken broth – simmer a whole chicken or just bones with aromatics like onion, carrot, celery, bay leaf and peppercorns.
  • Skim off any scum, strain out the solids, and add your chicken meat back to the clear golden broth.
  • In goes chopped onion, carrots, celery, seasonings, and noodles. Go with short twisted egg noodles or wide flat no-yolk noodles.
  • Let everything simmer together until those veggies are tender and the noodles are perfectly cooked.
  • Add a touch of lemon juice to brighten it up at the end, maybe some fresh dill or parsley for color.
  • Scoop it into big bowls, grab a chunk of crusty bread for dunking and let the cozy feelings wash over you.

16. Tuna Noodle Casserole

Tuna Noodle Casserole

  • This retro casserole is the epitome of mid-century Americana, showing up at every church potluck and neighborhood get-together back in the day. But folks come back to it for that nostalgic, creamy, crunchy comfort.
  • Cook egg noodles al dente according to package, drain and set aside
  • Make a basic béchamel white sauce: melt butter, whisk in flour, then slowly add warm milk while whisking constantly until thick and smooth
  • Fold in drained canned tuna, frozen peas, sliced mushrooms or other veggies you like
  • Season the mixture with salt, pepper, a dash of Worcestershire sauce and maybe a sprinkle of dried dill or curry powder
  • Transfer the tuna noodle mixture to a baking dish and top with buttery breadcrumbs, crushed potato chips or fried onion crisps
  • Bake until hot, bubbling and the topping is nice and browned
  • Let it cool briefly before dishing out big scoops of that creamy, crunchy family-friendly comfort food

17. Sloppy Joes

American classic Sloppy Joes

  • These messy, zesty sandwiches are pure nostalgic fun! Just lean over your plate and go to town on that sweet and tangy ground beef mixture that’s practically dripping off the buns.
  • In a skillet, cook ground beef with diced onions, green bell pepper and garlic over medium-high heat until browned and crumbled
  • Drain excess fat, leaving a bit behind for flavor
  • Add ketchup, mustard, brown sugar, Worcestershire sauce, vinegar, chili powder and a sprinkle of red pepper flakes
  • Let the mixture simmer for 10-15 minutes so the flavors can meld, adding a little broth if it gets too dry
  • Lightly toast some soft white sandwich buns to avoid total sogginess
  • Pile that saucy beef onto the buns and get ready to lick your fingers when you’re done!

18. Cornbread

American Cornbread

  • There’s just nothing like freshly-baked cornbread – those slightly crispy, golden brown edges giving way to an ultra-moist, slightly sweet and grainy interior. A steaming slab is the perfect partner for a bowl of chili or piece of fried chicken.
  • Preheat a cast iron skillet in the oven while you make the batter – get it screamin’ hot for that perfect crunchy crust
  • In one bowl, whisk together cornmeal, flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda and salt
  • In another, beat together eggs, buttermilk and melted butter
  • Fold the wet into the dry just until combined, being careful not to overmix
  • Remove the hot skillet and coat it with vegetable oil or bacon grease
  • Pour in the batter and pop it back in the oven to bake until golden brown on top
  • Let it cool for a few minutes, then cut yourself a big old slab and slather it in butter, honey, or whatever toppings you fancy

19. Pumpkin Pie

Classic pumpkin pie

  • Bright orange pumpkin pie is about as iconically American as desserts come. One slice of this creamy, spice-tinged autumnal treat can transport you right to the New England woods.
  • Blind bake your pie crust first until just lightly golden to avoid a soggy bottom
  • In a bowl, beat together pumpkin puree, eggs, cream or evaporated milk, brown sugar, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, allspice and salt
  • Pour the velvety pumpkin filling into the pre-baked pie shell
  • Bake at a fairly high temp first to set the filling, then lower the heat until the center is nearly set with just a slight jiggle remaining
  • Let it cool completely before slicing to allow it to finish setting
  • Serve up big wedges with pillowy dollops of fresh whipped cream or a la mode with vanilla ice cream

20. Twice Baked Potatoes

Classic Twice Baked Potatoes

  • Why have a regular baked potato when you could have one that’s doubly decadent? These creamy, cheesy, bacon-loaded spuds are heaped with toppings and extra crispy exterior.
  • Bake russet potatoes at 400°F until easily pierced with a fork, about 1 hour
  • Allow to cool slightly, then slice off the top third. Scoop out the fluffy insides, leaving a 1/4 inch shell
  • Mix the scooped potato flesh with sour cream, milk/cream, butter, shredded cheddar, crumbled bacon, green onions, salt and pepper
  • Mash with a potato masher, keeping it slightly chunky with some texture
  • Stuff the cheesy, bacony potato mixture back into the shells, leaving it nice and mounded over the top
  • Sprinkle over more cheddar and bake again until tops are crispy and browned
  • Get ready to dig into these ultimate twice-baked potato volcanoes!

21. Deviled Eggs

American Deviled Eggs

  • These zesty, velvety deviled eggs are the ultimate retro appetizer – a staple at every picnic, potluck and holiday gathering for generations. Plus they’re just so doggone cute and poppable!
  • Start with a batch of hard boiled eggs – cooking them perfectly is an art form, but starting with older eggs helps
  • Peel the shells off and slice each egg in half lengthwise
  • Pop the yolks out into a bowl and arrange the whites on a platter
  • To the yolks, add mayo, Dijon mustard, a dash of vinegar, salt, pepper and any other fun mix-ins you like (pickle relish, hot sauce, bacon, fresh herbs)
  • Mash it all together until smooth and creamy, with just a few little yolk chunks remaining
  • Scoop or pipe the yolk mixture into a zipper bag and neatly pipe it back into the egg white halves
  • Sprinkle with a bit of paprika or fresh herbs over the top to make them extra snazzy-looking

22. Green Bean Casserole

Classic Green Bean Casserole

  • No Thanksgiving spread would be complete without this iconic casserole of tender-crisp green beans smothered in a luscious mushroom sauce and topped with crispy fried onions. It’s about as retro as it gets, baby!
  • Trim the stem ends off a pound of fresh green beans and blanch briefly in salted boiling water until bright green
  • Transfer the beans to an ice bath to stop the cooking, then drain and pat dry
  • Make the creamy mushroom sauce by sautéing mushrooms in butter, then whisking in flour to make a roux
  • Cook the roux for a couple minutes before slowly streaming in broth and milk or cream, whisking constantly until thickened to a gravy-like consistency
  • Season the mushroom sauce with salt, pepper, soy sauce or Worcestershire sauce for depth of flavor
  • Transfer the green beans to a baking dish and pour the mushroom sauce evenly over top
  • Top generously with those crispy fried onion pieces and bake until bubbling hot throughout
  • If the onions start browning too quickly, tent loosely with foil so they don’t burn

23. Pecan Pie

American Pecan Pie

  • This is a true Southern classic – an ultra-thick, sinfully rich, sticky-sweet filling chock full of crunchy toasted pecans, all nestled in a flaky buttery crust. One slice is utterly decadent and indulgent.
  • Partially blind bake your pie crust first to ensure a crispy bottom later
  • In a bowl, whisk together eggs, corn syrup, brown sugar, melted butter, vanilla, salt and a splash of bourbon or rum if desired
  • Fold in the pecan halves and pour the filling into the pre-baked pie crust
  • Give the pie a tap on the counter to release any air bubbles
  • Bake at a fairly high temp first, then lower it down for the remainder, removing when the center is mostly set with just a slight jiggle
  • Allow to cool completely before slicing so that dense, sweet filling can set up properly

24. Grilled Cheese Sandwich

American Grilled Cheese Sandwich

  • Ah, the grilled cheese – so simple yet so immensely satisfying. Crispy buttery bread giving way to a molten river of melty cheese at the first bite…heavenly!
  • Use hearty white bread or a nice bakery loaf and grate a blend of cheeses like cheddar, monterey jack, gruyere or whatever melters you fancy
  • Give the outside of the bread a generous butter or mayo smear
  • Layer up half the slices with cheese, top with the other bread halves and get those babies on a hot griddle, skillet or panini press
  • Cook over medium heat until the bottom side is golden brown, then flip and repeat
  • Keep flipping and pressing down so the cheese gets deliciously melty and evenly distributed
  • Any extras like tomatoes, bacon, pesto etc can be added in the middle too!
  • Serve immediately while the cheese is still flowing for that ultimate gooey bite

25. Chicken Pot Pie

American classic Chicken Pot Pie

  • Is there anything more homely and comforting than a chicken pot pie – that rich creamy gravy brimming with tender chicken and mixed veg under a flaky buttery crust? It’s like a warm hug on a cold night.
  • Make the filling first by sautéing a mix of veggies like onion, celery, carrots and peas in butter or olive oil
  • Whisk together a roux with butter and flour, then slowly stream in warm chicken broth while whisking to form a velvety gravy
  • Add in shredded chicken (leftovers or rotisserie works great), season with salt, pepper, herbs like thyme or parsley
  • For the crust, you can make your pie dough or use store-bought to make it easy
  • Roll out the bottom crust and transfer to a pie plate, then pour in that gorgeous creamy chicken filling
  • Top with the second crust and crimp the edges to seal, cutting vents to allow steam to escape
  • Brush the top crust with an egg wash and bake until golden brown and bubbly
  • Dive in while it’s piping hot and get ready for comfort food ecstasy!


As we come to the end of this delectable journey through 25 classic American recipes, it’s hard not to feel a sense of nostalgia and pride for the incredible culinary heritage that our nation has cultivated over generations.

From the crispy, golden-brown fried chicken of the South to the hearty, savory meatloaf that has graced countless family dinner tables, each recipe we’ve explored is a testament to the ingenuity, creativity, and perseverance of the diverse communities that have shaped American cuisine.

So, let us raise our forks and glasses in a toast to the enduring spirit of American cuisine, a culinary tradition that continues to evolve and captivate palates around the world. May these 25 classic recipes serve as a reminder of the incredible diversity, creativity, and resilience that define our nation’s culinary landscape, inspiring us to continue exploring, experimenting, and celebrating the flavors that bring us together.

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