Midwestern food might hold a certain reputation—there are only so many casseroles (and brown food) one can eat. But if you were lucky enough to grow up with a Midwestern grammy, you also know the joys of homemade meatloaf, sauerkraut and decadent beer cheese soup. Lucky for you, we’ve rounded up 18 old-school Midwestern recipes so you can recreate the Great Plains at home.
1. Mini Bacon-Wrapped Meatloaf
Sure, Gram might have frosted her meatloaf in the more traditional ketchup glaze. But it’s 2019, and you can step it up a notch.
2. Homemade Tater Tots
If you grew up in the heartland, you know it’s tots over fries any time.
3. Deep Dish Pizza
Is it pizza or is it a casserole? Who cares? It’s delicious.
Photo: Liz Andrew/Styling: Erin McDowell
4. The Best Potatoes au Gratin Ever
The secret to making a Midwestern heart swoon is a heavy dose of potatoes and bubbling cheese.
Pinch of Yum
5. Beer Cheese Soup with Soft Pretzels
It’s velvety smooth with just a touch of spice (and don’t worry, there are some veggies in there). But who are we kidding? The name speaks for itself.
Yellow Bliss Road
6. Instant Pot Skyline Chili
If you grew up on Cincinnati-style chili, all others pale in comparison. It’s that hint of sweetness that gives it a certain je ne sais quoi. (Psst: It’s cinnamon.)
Half Baked Harvest
7. Five-Ingredient Buckeyes
They made an appearance at every tailgate and Christmas cookie exchange, because peanut butter and chocolate is never a bad idea.
How Sweet Eats
8. Veggie Supreme Detroit-Style Pizza
If you’re not team deep-dish, maybe you’re team Detroit: crispy-cheesy edges, a pillowy-soft inside and the sauce on top, of course.
Spoon Fork Bacon
9. Pork Tenderloin Sandwich
It’s just like going to Culver’s—but don’t forget the bread-and-butter pickles.
Feed Me Phoebe
10. Homemade Spicy Sauerkraut
The process is simple, but it’ll be a few days before you can enjoy your kraut. Serve it with grilled brats and spicy mustard to make it worth the wait.
Dinner at the Zoo
11. Toasted Ravioli
If you grew up around St. Louis, you’ll recognize the singular dish that is fried, cheese-filled pasta.
Mom on Timeout
12. Tuna Noodle Casserole
Visiting Grandma meant this casserole was always on the menu…or any casserole, for that matter.
13. Reuben Sandwich
Rumor has it, the Reuben actually holds its origins in Omaha, Nebraska. As long as it’s corned beef (not pastrami), we’ll eat it.
Pinch of Yum
14. Tater Tot Hotdish
Everyone knows a hotdish (er—casserole, for the uninitiated) deserves a tater tot topping.
15. Hot German Potato Salad
Aka our personal favorite at every childhood potluck.