41 Recipes We Learned from Our Mother-in-Law (2024)

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41 Recipes We Learned from Our Mother-in-Law (1)

ByEmily Racette Parulski

Taste of Home's Editorial Process

Updated: Jan. 31, 2022

    She knew her way around the kitchen and we couldn’t be happier she shared her recipes with us.


    Slow-Simmered Burgundy Beef Stew

    My mother-in-law shared this recipe with me many years ago. Ever since then, it’s been a go-to whenever I need good food without a lot of fussing. —Mary Lou Timpson, Colorado City, Arizona

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    Old-World Puff Pancake

    My mom told me her mother-in-law showed her how to make this dish, which became popular during the Depression, on their "get acquainted" visit in 1927. At that time, cooks measured ingredients in pinches, dashes and dibs. But through the years, accurate amounts were noted. My wife and I continue to enjoy this dish today, particularly for brunch. —Auton Miller, Piney Flats, Tennessee

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    Southwestern Sauteed Corn

    My mother-in-law came up with this corn skillet dish one night for dinner. Everyone who tries it absolutely loves it! —Chandy Ward, Aumsville, Oregon

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    Blueberry-Lemon Upside-Down Cake

    I was young when I married, so I watched my mother-in-law to learn baking. This cake with fresh blueberries is one of her beauties. —Bonnie Roberts, Newaygo, Michigan

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    Beef Tenderloin in Mushroom Sauce

    When our kids are visiting Grandma, I make this recipe for just my husband and myself. It's a recipe my mother-in-law has been using for more than 30 years. I especially look forward to preparing it as part of a special Valentine's Day menu. —Denise McNab, Warminster, Pennsylvania

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    Chocolate Angel Cake

    When I was married in 1944, I could barely boil water. My dear mother-in-law taught me her specialty—making the lightest angel food cakes ever. This chocolate version is an easy, impressive treat. —Joyce Shiffler, Colorado Springs, Colorado

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    Big Batch Cheeseburger Soup

    When my mother-in-law gave me her recipe for cheeseburger soup, I changed it a little to make it my own. It's the perfect comfort food to enjoy on a cold winter evening. —Christina Addison, Blanchester, Ohio

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    Pumpkin Charlotte

    My mother-in-law gave me this recipe a while back and I just love it! I make it for my husband and his friends during hunting season and it's a big hit. —Lorelle Edgcomb, Granville, Illinois

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    Tomato Juice co*cktail

    This recipe came from my mother-in-law and many say it’s the best tomato juice they’ve ever tasted. It has a little eye-opening kick to it that’s wonderful! —Beverly Cottrell, Ipswich, Maine

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    Shortcake with Fresh Rhubarb Sauce

    Every spring when her rhubarb was ready, my mother-in-law chopped it up for this moist cake. If your rhubarb is too tart for the sauce, just add in some strawberries. —Rena McCalment, Sharpsville, Indiana

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    Sweet and Golden Easter Bread

    It is an Italian tradition to make this sweet, golden braid at Easter. This family heirloom recipe came from my mother-in-law and was passed down to her from her mother. If you're not a fan of raisins, the bread is just as wonderful without them. —Kathi West, Canton, Michigan

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    Mama's Million-Dollar Fudge

    No other fudge I've tasted comes close to the smooth, chocolate taste of this million-dollar fudge recipe, which my mother-in-law introduced me to one Christmas (I've never been able to make it as good as she does, though). Since it makes such a large batch, I always save some for last-minute gifts. —Gloria Heidner, Elk River, Minnesota

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    Mexican Lasagna

    I collect cookbooks and recipes (this one is from my son's mother-in-law). My husband teases me that I won't live long enough to try half of the recipes in my files! He loves this easy Mexican lasagna. —Rose Ann Buhle, Minooka, Illinois

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    White Texas Sheet Cake

    This cake gets better the longer it sits, so I try to make it a day ahead. My mother-in-law introduced this deliciously rich sheet cake to me. With its creamy frosting and light almond flavor, no one can stop at just one piece! —Joanie Ward, Brownsburg, Indiana

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    Freezer Sweet Corn

    People ask me how to freeze corn on the cob because my frozen corn tastes as good as fresh! This way it stays crisp-tender and now I can have "fresh" corn any time of the year. —Judy Oudekerk, St. Michael, Minnesota

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    Spinach Turkey Meatballs

    Our children call these "Gramby Meatballs" because the recipe came from my dear mother-in-law. It's a great way to make spinach palatable. I usually make a triple batch, bake them all and freeze the extras for a quick meal later. —Mimi Blanco, Bronxville, New York

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    Bohemian Kolaches

    This kolache recipe was given to me by my mother-in-law, who received it from her mother! It was a standard treat in their family, made nearly every week. Now I make these kolaches for my own family for special occasions. —Maxine Hron, Quincy, Illinois

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    Iced Cinnamon Potato Rolls

    This recipe comes from my mother-in-law, who remembers making these rolls often. Now I make them often. Maybe they'll be a hit with your family, too! —Jonas Schwartz, Berne, Indiana

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    My Italian mother-in-law taught me to make this omelet years ago—she would make it for breakfast, lunch or dinner and eat it on Italian bread. This is one of my favorite ways to use up leftover broccoli. —Mary Licata, Pembroke Pines, Florida

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    Pork Medallions with Brandy Cream Sauce

    I adapted this easy, elegant main dish from a recipe my mother-in-law cooked for our family. Cayenne lends a bit of heat to its rich, creamy sauce. —Judy Armstrong, Prairieville, Louisiana

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    Gingerbread Cookies with Buttercream Icing

    When it’s time to start the cookie-baking season, this recipe always kicks off the festivities. My mother-in-law first shared it with me, but it’s too good to keep to myself! You can tint the buttery gingerbread cookie icing a cheery pink or green and pipe it on with a decorating tip. —Ann Scherzer, Anacortes, Washington

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    Blueberry Slump

    My mother-in-law used to make slump with wild blueberries and serve it warm with a pitcher of farm cream on the table. My husband and I have been eating it for 58 years, but the recipe is even older! —Eleanore Ebeling, Brewster, Minnesota

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    Gran's Granola Parfaits

    When my mother-in-law (Gran to our kids) had us over for brunch, I especially enjoyed her yogurt parfaits. They were refreshing, light and wholesome. I made a few changes to her recipe and came up with this sweet, crunchy and nutty variation. Yum! —Angela Keller, Newburgh, Indiana

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    My mother-in-law gave me this recipe years ago, and I have used it ever since. My family loves the sweetness with a little kick.—Hilary Rigo, Wickenburg, Arizona

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    Cinnamon-Pear Rustic Tart

    I was lucky enough to spend the holidays with my husband's family in Montana. I loved the rustic simplicity of each dish we tasted, especially this rustic pear tart my mother-in-law made. —Leah Waldo, Jamaica Plain, Massachusetts

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    Christmas Sandwich Cookies

    My mother-in-law gave me the recipe for these lovely melt-in-your-mouth cookies. They're a Christmas tradition at our house. —Elizabeth Klager, St. Catharines, Ontario

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    Zucchini Crust Pizza

    My mother-in-law shared the recipe for this unique pizza with me. It's just right for brunch, lunch or a light supper. Loosen the nutritious zucchini crust from the pan with a metal spatula. —Ruth Denomme, Englehart, Ontario

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    Raspberry Swirls

    My mother-in-law shared the recipe for these old-fashioned cookies. Swirls of raspberry jam give them a yummy Yuletide twist. —Marcia Hostetter, Canton, New York

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    Gingered Pepper Steak

    This wonderfully tender steak is a treat even for folks not watching their diet. When my mother-in-law shared the recipe, she said it cooks up in no time—and she was right! —Susan Adair, Somerset, Kentucky

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    Heavenly Surprise Cupcakes

    The recipe for these filled and frosted cupcakes was handed down by my mother-in-law, who taught this fledgling cook what to do in the kitchen. She's no longer with us, but baking these treats reminds me of our good times together. —Judie Heiderscheit, Holy Cross, Iowa

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    Gnocchi with Meat Sauce

    This dish from my mother-in-law is the Italian version of a meat-and-potatoes meal. I recently served it to friends who immediately wanted the recipe. —Karin Nolton, Ortonville, Michigan

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    Baked Elephant Ears

    My mother-in-law handed down this recipe from her mother. These are a special treat—even better, I think, than those at a carnival or festival. —Delores Baeten, Downers Grove, Illinois

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    Cheesecake Pumpkin Muffins

    My mother-in-law came up with these tender treats by combining a few of her favorite muffin recipes. Chock-full of pumpkin, they feature both a sweet cream cheese filling and crunchy praline topping. —Lisa Powelson, Scott City, Kansas

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    Contest-Winning Gingerbread with Lemon Sauce

    I asked my mother-in-law for this recipe once I learned it's my husband's favorite. Now I bake it whenever he needs an extra-special treat. Spice cake topped with lemony sauce makes us both smile. —Kristen Oak, Pocatello, Idaho

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    Nana's Rocky Road Fudge

    We make rocky road-style fudge every Christmas, but why wait until the holidays for a recipe this good? —Ashley Berry, Montgomery Village, Maryland

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    Turkey Enchilada Stack

    As a child, my husband was one of the pickiest kids around, but my mother-in-law could always get him to dig in to this enchilada dish. —Ashley Wolf, Alabaster, Alabama

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    Brownie Torte

    My mother-in-law first shared this recipe, and now it's often requested for birthdays and other special occasions. I like to serve it at Christmastime on an antique platter surrounded by ornaments for decoration. —Candace McClure, Brookville, Indiana

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    Skillet Blueberry Slump

    My mother-in-law made a slump of wild blueberries with dumplings and served it warm with a pitcher of farm cream. We’ve been enjoying slump desserts for 60 years. —Eleanore Ebeling, Brewster, Minnesota

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    Grilled Honey-Balsamic Glazed Fruit

    One summer my mother-in-law made us grilled peaches basted with a sweet and tangy sauce. These are so good I'm always tempted to eat the whole batch. —Kristin Van Dyken, West Richland, Washington

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    Double-Chocolate Toffee Icebox Cake

    My mother-in-law taught me that anything tastes good if you use enough chocolate or cream. This no-bake dessert proves she was right. Sometimes I use chocolate graham crackers and stack up the layers in a 9-inch square pan. —Bee Engelhart, Bloomfield Township, Michigan

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    Originally Published: June 19, 2019


    Emily Racette Parulski

    As a senior editor, Emily manages Taste of Home’s newsletter and promotions team and edits digital content. She has been writing and editing food and lifestyle content professionally for more than a decade. When she’s not working, Emily can be found in her kitchen baking something sweet or enjoying a scoop of frozen custard somewhere in Milwauk...

    Read More

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    Read the recipe before you start.

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    Not lasagne or fish pie as MIL is already cooking those on other days. If it's someone else's home I would try and keep it simple. Something like Roast Chicken, Salad and new potatoes. Some kind of casserole/stew so it just sits in the oven getting delicious.

    What is the most important step when following a recipe? ›

    1: READ THE RECIPE COMPLETELY BEFORE BEGINNING. The first step in following a recipe is to be sure to read through the ingredients needed as well as the instructions for what you will be doing before you ever begin mixing your batters or doughs.

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    What should I take to my in laws house? ›

    If your in laws have invited you over, it's often considered polite to bring food, a drink, or a small gift with you. Ask your partner what they think is appropriate, and give it to your in laws yourself when you arrive. Things like a bottle of chocolates, or some flowers can do wonders.

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    Don't you know what they might like? Flowers, wine or some nice fruit would be nice. Ask your inlaws what they would like you to bring. If they say nothing, take a small plant or flowers.

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    Gather all the ingredients before you start to make sure you have everything you need. Nothing is more upsetting than to get halfway through a recipe and realize you are missing a key ingredient. You can even measure them all out before you start cooking.

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