Best “back of the box” recipes

Parmesan pine nut biscuits

Between the millions of recipes available in cookbooks and online, it’s a wonder that food companies continue to put recipes on cans and boxes. But check any can of condensed milk, bag of chocolate chips, or box of pasta, and you are likely to find a recipe or two. Indexed blog Food52 takes a look at the best of these “back of the box” recipes

Baking ingredients are prime sources to find these gems. There isn’t much other relevant information to put on a bag of flour, so why not include recipes for foods both savory and sweet? The Parmesan and pine nut biscuits pictured above were adapted from a recipe on the back of a King Arthur flour bag. Pasta boxes are likewise blank canvases for inventive recipes like Spaghetti with fantasy sauce, adapted from a recipe found on the back of a De Cecco box.

Breakfast cereal boxes are filled with games and puzzles, but they usually manage to squeeze in a recipe on the side panel. Cereal can be used in a variety of ways: in muffins, as breading for baked or fried goods, or as the base for treats like Scotcheroos. These elevate the Rice Krispies treat to new heights by adding peanut butter, butterscotch chips, and chocolate chips to create one of my favorite childhood goodies.

Favorites of this genre have been compiled and put into cookbooks like The Best Recipes from the Backs of Boxes, Bottles, Cans and Jars by Ceil Dyer. What are your favorite back of the box recipes?

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  • Aggie92  on  January 21, 2016

    My favorite back of the box recipe is for Ocean Spray's "Oatmeal Craisins white chocolate chunk cookies". I make these every year for my Christmas cookie packages. Best part, they don't need any high altitude adjustments. My cookies are just as nice here at 6200' as they were when we live at 175' above sea level.

  • ellabee  on  January 21, 2016

    In the U.S. at least, more than a few 'treasured family recipes' turn out to have originated on the side of a box. One piece of evidence is their appearance in community cookbooks from widely separated regions of the country.

  • darcie_b  on  January 21, 2016

    Good point, ellabee. My favorite recipe is the Key lime pie recipe on the sweetened condensed milk can.

  • hillsboroks  on  January 22, 2016

    It would not be Thanksgiving without pumpkin pie made using the recipe on the can of Libby's pumpkin. I still make bran muffins using a recipe I cut off a box of Kellog's All-Bran cereal more than 30 years ago. Finally, our family's favorite Key lime pie is made from the recipe on the bottle of Nellie and Joe's Key lime juice.

  • Waderu  on  January 22, 2016

    Tollhouse chocolate chip cookies on the Nestle semi-sweet chocolate chip package – this is still my go-to recipe for chocolate chip cookies/bars.

  • anniette  on  January 22, 2016

    Love that Libby's Pumpkin Pie Recipe, but switch dark brown sugar for the white, and heavy cream instead of evaporated milk. Always scrumptious.

  • taygete  on  January 22, 2016

    The cookie recipe on the lid of Quaker Oats canisters. I sometimes tweak the spices or additions, but the recipe is solid.

  • sbh2006  on  January 23, 2016

    Libby's pumpkin pie! And our go-to chocolate chip cookie recipe is the one off the back of the box of long-defunct Treasures large baking chips.

  • Clove  on  January 23, 2016

    All my childhood we would make the Toll House Cookies from the back of the Nestle Choc Bits box. They would have been one of the first things I learned to cook.

  • nicolthepickle  on  January 29, 2016

    My dad makes a pumpkin pie from the back of a can, and it is the best. It makes me wonder if it's the same recipe as the people above mentioned.

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