Favorite Amish Foods

While I was in the US in February, we had Amish visitors at my parents’ home in North Carolina. One morning one of our guests took it upon herself to whip up a truly scrumptious breakfast casserole.

It took about 15 minutes to do, she said. Wow. At the 15-minute mark I am still trying to find a clean pot and determine which ingredients in my fridge are safe to consume.

SMV Food Sign
Fast-Eating Englishman

Casseroles are mysterious things.  I don’t even know what was in there…eggs, cheese, some bread crumbs I think…no matter. I don’t know if anyone has joined the Amish because of the food, but a dish like that gives one pause.

Last year I asked about your favorite Amish restaurant and favorite Amish dessert. I thought I’d widen the question to just: what is your favorite Amish food?

“Amish food” I realize is a broad category–just because the Amish make it, doesn’t mean they came up with it.

But for the purposes of this post, we can say that if you ate it in an Amish home or it was made by Amish hands, it counts as “Amish food”.  So PA Dutch Pizza or Buggy Ride Burritos qualify as well.

Photo credit: Tom Magliery/flickr

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    53 Comments

    1. Al in Ky.

      There are so many it’s hard to choose, but my favorite food
      which I consider uniquely Amish is “haystack” which is sort of
      like a taco salad each person makes themselves. When I
      visit the northern Indiana communities, I often see a sign
      for a “haystack fundraiser” dinner sponsored by one or another
      Amish group. Last fall when I was there I saw a sign for a
      “breakfast haystack fundraiser” and regretted I didn’t have time
      to go. I asked an Amish woman what was in a “breakfast haystack”
      and she said it has things like biscuits, hash browns, scrambled
      eggs, shredded ham, cheese sauce, etc. which you stack up on your plate. Sounds delicious.

      1. Traci Banville

        Haystacks.

        That is so odd. My (former Dunkard) late grandmother used to mix shredded wheat cereal with melted chocolate chips and drop it by teaspoonfulls onto wax paper and refrigerate them and we ate them like candy and she called them haystacks.

    2. Esther

      I grew up Amish and one of my favorite meals my mother made was fried canned beef chunks, homemade noodles cooked in the broth, and mashed potatoes. We put the noodles on top of the potatoes instead of gravy.

    3. Fran Handrick

      Favourite Food

      I’ve never eaten anything in an Amish home that I didn’t like! One of my favourites though is a breakfast porridge, made with oats, brown sugar, maple syrup, butter and milk or cream. Mixed together and baked in the oven for about 25 minutes. My visitors love it!

    4. Karen Pollard

      Fran, isn’t that Baked Oatmeal??? We were served that in a B & B in Nappanee, IN one time. It was delicious.

      Here’s the recipe I have for it.

      Baked Oatmeal
      Ingredients

      3 cups Quick Oats
      1 cup Brown Sugar
      2 teas. Baking powder
      1 teas. Salt
      1 teas. Cinnamon
      2 t. Vanilla (optional)
      2 Eggs
      1 cup Milk
      1/2 cup Melted Butter

      Directions
      1. Combine 3 c quick oats; 1 c brown sugar; 2 t baking powder; 1 t salt; and 1 t cinnamon.
      2. Whisk together 2 eggs; 1 c milk; and 1/2 c melted butter. Add to dry ingredients.
      3. Transfer to greased 9 x 9 pan.
      4. Bake 40-45 min @ 350°.
      * you can add 2 t vanilla with liquids, and 3/4 c dried cranberries or other dried fruit just before putting in pan.

      1. tiffany rangier

        my favorit food

        karen thats a good reciepe

    5. Marilyn from NY

      Waht's your favorite Amish Food?

      My all time favorite are Whoopie Pies especially the chocolate ones. I also like Shoe fly pie. Also, I like a breakfast casserole an Old Order Mennonite friend of mine makes. What is funny is that an Amish lady that lives down the road from her makes the same thing. It has potatoes, eggs, sausage, cheese and I don’t know what else in it. They make it the night before, but it in the refrigerator over night and then pop in the oven in the morning. Oh, is that delicious !!!!!!
      Marilyn

    6. Betty Hamilton
    7. Theresa

      Fav Amish Food

      Now this is a tough one!!! I really don’t know. I like just about everything the Amish make. I guess Breakfast would be the home made granola cereal..lunch would be a cinnamon roll with milk….dinner would be the beef and noodles served over mashed potatoes. Dessert at any time would be any of the pies. Theresa

    8. Debbie W

      Sour cherry pie from Blue Gate Route 30 Lancaster]

    9. tlc slp

      yummmmmm

      Shoofly pie is a bit too sweet for me, and that’s saying something! Any dessert is usually fine with me!
      I do love chow-chow, esp. when it’s a bit sweet & sour.
      Chicken & dumplings is another fave when done the Amish way – so good!

    10. Tough choice - scrapple-fastnachts-shoo fly pie

      At first I thought, wow, what a no-brainer because scrapple shoots to the top of the list. If you say “Amish” my brain starts thinking “scrapple” before you ask any questions of before I even find out the subject matter of the discussion.
      The next thing that comes to mind is ketchup or molasses- I’m talking specifically Karo dark corn syrup, nothing else will do. There was a deli near Lyon Station where my dad used to buy scrapple on the way home from work. The owner used to ask if you were going to put ketchup or molasses on it. If you said ketchup he didn’t want to sell it to you!
      Saturday night diners were scrapple and wide egg noodles, always. When we moved we couldn’t get that near New York City. When I attended college at Loyola University in Maryland when I waited in the food line for my first breakfast I was astonished to see scrapple. I was excited while my roommates wondered “what’s THAT?”
      If you are talking desserts, then fastnachts win hands down on tradition alone. My aunt was known around Reading as “the fastnacht lady” and she made nearly 250 dozen every year for her church in Laureldale. I found out last year the specific place she went to near Fleetwood to buy her flour and that was one of the key ingredients that gave her fastnachts a special taste. Last year when I went to New Orleans and the famous Café du Monde I was introduced to the beignet. Everyone there gushed over them and I was laughing because they are just fastnachts and my aunt’s were much better!
      I am not sure what the rest of the Amish world does, this is what I experienced growing up before I moved to northern New Jersey. I moved in the mid-1960s and found out that there were regional foods, regional habits, and regional language dialects. Much of that is gone and America is now homogenized but it is pockets like Lancaster, Kutztown and Reading that keep my memories alive.
      I value that part of my life, growing up in Berks County, living in Laureldale between Reading and Kutztown. I always laugh when my “Pennsylvania Dutch word order” spills out of me in public. I’ve gradually lost most of that. I don’t “live the hill over” anymore but the other day when we were moving furniture, I asked my wife where the table-going-out-the-door was? She looked at me funny but understood. I felt a glow starting inside of me!
      When I started reading the other posts here I wondered how my brain could have completely skipped over shoo fly pie and the eternal arguments with my older brother over wet bottom or dry bottom. No offense to anyone but if that’s not the first question when someone offers you a piece maybe you’ve been missing out on something.

      Fastnacht League website: http://tinyurl.com/7lujrag

      Writing blog: http://tinyurl.com/cykarjy

      1. Greg since you mentioned scrapple you might enjoy this: https://amishamerica.com/the-riddle-of-amish-scrapple-and-other-mystery-meats/

        I happened to be in Lancaster for fastnachts in Feb, first time I’d had them. Not bad, but a little dry I thought.

        1. When I needed them for a photo shoot for the cover of my book, my friend in Lititz reserved some for me. The following week I drove down from NJ and we had lunch. When I opened the bag I was surprised that his were round. My aunt’s the only ones I had known my entire life, were square. There apparently are many different shapes to them. I have no idea why I was surprised because it would stand to reason that they would be different. Funny how the brain works.

        2. James Michener knew scrapple

          My favorite is when people ask me what is in scrapple, I tell them what my uncle told me- everything from the pig except the squeal.

          Anyone who read James Michener’s Centennial should know what scrapple is. If they don’t they missed out on one of the classic America tales of all time.

        3. Malissa

          Scrapple vs Puddin' Meat

          I was raised Mennonite in a small pocket of PA Dutch country, near Belleville, PA. We butchered every Thanksgiving, which was traditional in our area. We would boil the bones and then drain the meat and bones, preserving the broth. We would then add some of the broth to the meat and bones left in the large butchering kettle and boil it down. When it got thick, because of the marrow in the bones, we would place it in loaf pans where it would congeal into a gelled meat loaf. This was Puddin’ Meat, served up fried, people loved it. I hated it, as did most of my 5 siblings as well. So, Daddy would give it out to our neighbors and church family. The broth we had preserved, was put into another large butchering kettle, and we would add a mixture of water, cornmeal and spices to it, and bring it to a boil, let it cook for a time, then placed it in more loaf pans. This was Scrapple. Our Scrapple did not have scraps of meat in it, because that meat was put in the Puddin’ Meat. I recently found out that some call Puddin’ Meat, Liver Puddin’. However, for me, scrapple and puddin’ meat were two very different things.

        4. Dry Fastnachts?? You weren't doing it right!

          You absolutely have to eat Fastnachts with “Turkey Table Syruo” – if you don’t you are committing a sin!! haha

          Some people just eat them with powdered sugar and that is just wrong too!

          There was no way that we did not have plenty of Turkey Table Syrup on hand when my Nana, Mom and I made fastnachts a few days before Shrove Tuesday.

          Fastnachts happen to be one of my favorites.

          I can’t believe no one has mentioned REAL Chicken Pot Pie – not made in a pie crust but made with potato noodles, chicken, celery, potatoes, onion, parsley, salt and pepper. You had to have a side of pepper cabbage, chow chow or cole slaw with it!

          APPLE DUMPLINGS – it is what’s for dinner around here!

          Every day I have red beet eggs and red beets for lunch – I’ve lost about 10lbs doing that!

          No one has mentioned “CORN PIE” where are all my real PA Dutch people?? HA!

    11. I automatically think of Amish when I think of whoopie pies, so I’d have to say those – any flavor will do, but prob. chocolate with white cream filling is my favorite.

    12. Robin Miller

      Amish foods ...

      The ever-popular shoo-fly pie of course (I have several recipes but wet bottom is the best). Also baked oatmeal (my recipe uses honey instead of brown sugar) and homemade granola. Both of these were shared from a friend’s Amish friend. I also have a killer Amish meatloaf recipe, using oatmeal instead of bread crumbs.

      1. good choice

        Wet bottom rules! I didn’t want to give away my choice in my comments!

    13. Lance

      One time, in September, my Amish host family served sweet potatoes, pan fried like french fries. I could not stop eating them they were fantastic. They found out that little ones that english buyers did not want tasted the best, so they fry them up for themselves, a win – win situation.

      Otherwise, it would have to be the whole meal served to the threshing crew at dinnertime. Fried chicken from home grown chickens, homemade egg noodles, garden fresh green beans/peas/corn, homemade applesauce, homemade bread with homemade butter, jams, apple butter or honey, 3 deserts: fruit with milk, tapioca pudding with more fruit, cake, and a piece of pie to top it off! Good, clean, honest food! Don’t be shy, they cooked way more than enough. Despite the fact that you a monster meal, you still lost about a pound per work day, ie 30 pounds in a month. A ever so fun time was had while I was on the threshing ring, working hard with my best friends.

      1. Valerie

        Lance,
        You made me HUNGRY and made yourself homesick, so it seems-

        I too love the Sweet Potato french fries (But they look more like yams?)

        Favorite: Shoo-fly pie!
        Somewhere in PA we tried some creamed cabbage that was to die for!
        Maybe it’s a toss up

        1. Lattice

          I thought I detected homesickness, too…
          Lance, do you ever yet consider giving it another go?

          1. Lance

            Yes

            It is an everyday struggle to not go back….

            I truly did not want to leave, I thought I had to. During the first 20 or so months after I left, I had truly given up. Then in 2006, that all changed, and I have struggled ever since. It truly feels like a earthy home, if a Christian could ever have such a thing. I now feel that I will go back, and seem to be more and more resigned to doing so, soon.

            1. Lattice

              The “tug” became evident in your posts. You used to give just factual information, or else there was a hint of, dare I say, “hurt” in your responses; Now, the longing is apparent. Your story has been interesting to piece together.

              A little unsolicited advice: There will always be some who test you, but we’re not on this earth to gain the favor of men. You will always be a bit of an outsider, but remember what a powerful testimony your choice is for the youth of your community, and those who are wavering. For direction, remember Micah 6:8. For comfort, remember Psalm 121:2.

              Good luck…We’re rooting for you!

    14. Homemade Noodles

      I learned from my mother, who learned from her mother, who probably learned from her mother and back to the mists of time! Mix together one whole egg and three yolks, then add flour until it forms a dough. Put it onto a floured board and let it rest twenty minutes. Then roll it out very, very thin, using lots of flour on the board to prevent sticking. Cover with dishtowels and let stand to dry for several hours. Then cut into quarters, roll up each quarter jelly-roll style, and slice very, very thin. (My mother never used to let us kids cut them, because we couldn’t get them thin enough to suit her!) Add noodles to a quart of boiling chicken broth and simmer for about half an hour. Serve with chicken, on top of mashed potatoes for a double-starch-treat, or in a bowl. Wonderful!

    15. Nancy Consolo

      Noodles

      There is no doubt about it . . . . beef & noodles over mashed potatoes. Lots of broth. Even though I could get it close to Elkhart where I grew up , my mother’s was my favorite because she made the homemade noodles so thin and she made enough for an Army. Guess that is what intimidates me. Maybe I will make a few this week. Now I am hungry. By the way it was in Midlebury/Shiphewana area where all the food is good. I’s sure like to have that meatloaf recipe.

    16. Anne

      Yum! All these sound fabulous and I need to try them.

      When it comes to food, it’s funny that my son-turned-Amish craves the one dish he grew up on; Mexican food! We lived in New Mexico, where the sauces are made from freshly grown chilis ground into a fine powder. The flavor is amazing! So when we have a chance, we send him some powder so he can make some up for himself and his wife. He has made New Mexican enchiladas for his friends in the community and it’s always a big hit. So watch out! We think Mexican food will be catching on among the Amish 🙂

      1. Anne you and your son must have a fascinating story, I always enjoy these snippets from you. And I have to say Mexican food, I miss it!

        1. Anne

          Thanks Eric, I only wish I had time to write more. I enjoy reading the daily topic, but rarely have time to respond…just too busy in the central Va real estate market right now (yes, things are really looking up here!).

          One other comment I have on this topic is that it is honestly hard for me to connect with. My son has lived in poorer, less established communities: to have fried chicken is a luxury they rarely afford. Their meals consist mostly of sauces, which they call “casseroles”. This is normally a milk or cream based fluid with very little/no meat, some vegetables (always potatoes!) and simple spices. This is served as one of 2 or 3 dishes, like salad and bread, and is not a topping for anything else. I long for the day when he can really enjoy food again, and this post gives me hope that someday his community will be “wealthy” enough to afford this kind of thing. One year the only meat he had was venison he was given. He hung the carcass up all one Minnesota winter and carved off what he needed for each meal. When it began to warm up he canned the rest of it, and now it finds its way into these sauces, and provides his only source of meat. When he was living alone, he raised chickens for meat one year, and we had fried chicken with him when we went to visit. That was a treat! Just wish it could happen more often for him!

        2. Mexican in Poland

          Erik, I ate at a Mexican restaurant in Warsaw in December 1999. It was walking distance from Old Town. The food was good, but the chips served with salsa as an appetizer were wrong. The chips were like Taco Bell cinnamon twists without the cinnamon. I also ate at Pizza Hut in Warsaw and McDonald’s in Gdansk.

          1. In my experience Mexican food is a minefield in Poland. Everything will be going okay, and then suddnely you’re looking at a pile of pickled cabbage as a side dish. I’ve been to a few places but avoid them now…maybe there are a few that have gotten it right since.

    17. Graham Cracker Pie

      Always around the holidays Mom would prepare what we called graham cracker pie. Of course, a graham cracker crust with a creamy vanilla like middle with meringue on top. I’m sure it has a specific name but whenever us kids asked for graham cracker pie Mom would prepare this. Mom is gone now and I’ve tried to duplicate the same pie but nothing ever tastes the same or the best but MOM’s. I’m sure the recipe was handed down from our Mennonite heritage.

    18. Christina

      Peanutbutter whip…church spread…whatever you call it, it’s crazy amazing!

      1. Christina here is my ode to APB: https://amishamerica.com/amish-peanut-butter/

    19. Wm Justice

      Ham Loaf

      I have enjoyed this twice at Stoltzfus in Intercourse, PA. The first time I ate there I asked for the recipe telling them I am from the deep south and not in the restaurant business since I knew restaurants don’t like to give out their recipes. The young lady reached under the counter and handed me a copy saying they got so many requests that they made copies for all the folks that asked. I have made it many, many times and served it to many, many of our dinner guests. It is by far and away the biggest culinary hit I have ever scored except perhaps for my mother’s lasagna recipe. I would say bon appétit in Amlish but I don’t know how.

      Stoltzfus Farm Restaurant Ham Loaf

      1 pound fresh ground pork
      1 pound ground cured ham
      2 eggs
      3/4 to 1 cup milk
      ½ teaspoon salt (variable)
      3/4 tablespoon pepper (variable)

      Mix all ingredients and shape into a loaf. Place in roasting pan and bake at 350 degrees for ½ hour then pour the following mixture over loaf .

      3/4 light brown sugar
      1 teaspoon dry mustard
      ½ cup water
      ½ cup red wine vinegar

      Bring this mix to a boil before pouring over the loaf. Continue to bake for 1 hour at 350 degrees. This amount serves about 8.

      1. Carol

        ham loaf recipe

        3/4 TABLESPOON of pepper for 2 pounds of meat?

    20. Sweet Treat Mom Made

      Date Nut Pudding
      Boil together 3 minutes & put in bottom of pan
      1 1/2 C. boiling water
      1/2 C. b. sugar
      1 T. butter
      Batter, mix together
      1/2 C. Br. sugar 1 C. flour
      1 T. butter 1 t. baking powder
      1/2 C. milk 1/2 C. walnuts, med pieces
      Pinch of salt 1/2 C. dates
      Put batter by spoonful on top of the juice mixture.
      Bake in 350 degree oven till batter seems baked through.
      Serve cold with whipped cream on top or I use cool whip.
      This is the way Aunt Laura told mom to make it.
      We had it for Christmas almost every year when I was young. We love it.

    21. marie b

      I guess the best food in amish country besides the fried chicken and dressing, would be the pumpkin jellyroll cake (the pumpkin cake with the cream cheese filling) Also, the frozen custard ice cream at walnut creek cheese, in walnut creek ohio, they have a different featured flavor daily, the only place I see people eating ice cream for breakfast..mb

    22. Julie Turner

      Peanut butter pie

      We had some conservative Amish Mennonites come and stay with us in Australia many years ago.
      The Amish/mennonite ladies made a fabulous peanut butter pie and the crust of the pie was sweet and crumbly and soooo delicious.
      They crimped the edges of the pie so it looked like a shop bought pastry. It was perfect. These ladies took such care in every part of making this pie. It tasted incredible. I’ll never forget it.
      Julie (Australia)

    23. Elizabeth Snoke

      In the past when I could find it there wasn’t any Amish dish that I didn’t like. I was especially partial to chicken and noodles type dishes/beef and noodles etc.

      When I was a small child (during WWII period), I HATED vegetables. In that period and to mid 1950s, my family in Goshen, IN, always had young Amish women to clean house. My mother began buying chow-chow through these girls–obviously made by their mothers. I loved anything pickley-ish and scarfed down my veggies in the chow-chow.

      Miss all those things so much!!

    24. Ann

      favorite amish food

      Date Pudding by a long shot!! Around here it is a rich moist date nut cake cut into pieces, piled into a bowl, layered with a carmel sauce and whipped topping. YUM! I also love the homemade noodles cooked in chicken broth with beef broth a close second.

    25. Debbie Welsh

      Where to start…..creamed celery, creamed cucumbers and onions, chow-chow, zucchini relish, chicken corn soup/chowder, baked lima beans, pepper cabbage, corn fritters, hot bacon dressing, chicken and dumplings, ham loaf, potatoe filling, scrapple, apple butter, etc., etc., and almost every kind of cake and pie you can think of …….except for – sorry – shoo-fly pie!

      Just to get off the topic a little, we’re getting ready for our 3rd trip to Ohio the week of May 7th and wondered if anyone knows where some good Amish roadside stands are in Holmes, Wayne, Ashland, Knox, and Geauga Counties? Thanks for any help!

    26. Kathie

      Favorite Amish food.

      The Amish always fascinated me. I love their food, I even has a Pinterest board called Amish food. My favorite is called Stoltzfus Wedding Chicken. Sort of like chicken and dumplings but instead of noodles/dumplings is had pastry squares in it. Yummy!

      1. Kathie

        Oops sorry for the typos! I should proofread before I hit the send button!

    27. Theresa

      Date nut pudding is a favorite! Cheese tarts from Millers bakery in Charm, Ohio are a must have as well. Craving them lately. Never figured out how to replicate them at home. Broasted chicken is another favorite with brown butter noodles. Yum!

    28. yonie wondernose
    29. Maggie Austen

      Favorite Amish Food(s)

      Just like many other regional foods – Texas BBQ is different from SC BBQ; Chicago Pizza; Philly Cheese Steaks or Hogies – so is “Amish” food different from one settlement to the next. I grew up Yorker Brethern and some of our favorites were Chicken Corn Soup, Soft Pretzels, and of course Fastnachts. When I moved near an Old Order Swartzentrube settlement in Ethridge and asked about Fastnachts nobody had ever heard of them – can you imagine! So I made some and one person said they were good but what was the big deal, same with soft pretzels. One of the community members traveled to PA and upon return we had a food discussion. He had ponhoss while there and wanted my receipe. So if I want my favorites, I have to make them because they are not found down here in the South.

    30. Malissa

      Potpie

      One of my favorite meals is potpie, not to be confused with a meat pie. Potpie, for us, was made with any given meat, broth, veggies, IE potatoes, corn, carrots, onions… and a home made noodle. However, we did not put eggs in the noodle. The only place I have ever found a written recipe for how we made potpie was in an Old Order Mennonite/Amish cookbook. We simple took about 1 tablespoon of lard or vegetable shortening, and added enough flour (sifted with salt and pepper)until it was worked into pea sized crumbs. Then added water or skim milk a bit at a time, until a workable dough was formed. Then, we’d roll it out thin and cut it into squares, added it to the boiling broth and let it cook till the pasta was tender. It was, basically, a meat pie, but it was cooked in a pot. Served with home baked bread and butter… it was and is yummy.

      1. Oyster pot pie?

        Not sure how PA Dutch or Amish it is, but had one of these purchased at an Amish market stand yesterday.

        Malissa you might enjoy a new book by William Woys Weaver, I believe there are a number of recipes included: https://amishamerica.com/william-woys-weaver-pennsylvania-dutch-cuisine/

    31. kathy peil

      Favorite Amish Food?

      Snickerdoodles! Or actually any one of their delicious cookies

    32. Ken Tibbetts

      Amish Foods

      My many good Amish friends have allowed me to share so many of their meals with them that I’ve lost count. Probably highest on the list of favorites is the casserole, of which most contain a protein and a starch. One of the last meals my wife and I shared with our very good friends – before coming down to Florida for the winter – Bill and Rosetta Bontrager, highlighted a ground beef casserole prepared by their second eldest daughter, Edna. It was absolutely delicious. Dessert was apple pie and ice cream; a great favorite with the Amish because the don’t very often have it.

      Believe it or not another favorite on the Amish menu is pizza. Rosetta makes – and cans dozens of jars sauce. We brought several jars of pizza sauce and will enjoy pizza down here throughout the winter using Rosetta’s recipe for the crust and the pie itself.

      Another delicious favorite would be smoked (free range) chicken. Samuel Shrock’s being unsurpassed. And, any meal which includes Ida’s bread – any of the dozens of different kind – is totally enhanced by it.

      Our Amish friends serve us such a large variety of foods it’s really hard to say exactly what their favorites are. I believe one of their favorites is Chinese food. When Bill and Rosetta invited us to eat “out” as their guests, we went to a Chinese buffet.

      On the rare occasion we’re able to have them all at our house I try to serve “English” fare that they rarely serve in their own homes.

      That I miss them for several months every year is very much understatement.

      Ken Tibbetts

    33. Ring Baloney, Sweet Baloney, Lebanon Baloney!

      That is all! My son would go through withdrawal if he didn’t have a Lebanon baloney sandwich for lunch or have ring boloney to snack on!!