Who doesn’t love the occasional indulgence in the comfort of a hearty meal? It warms your body all the way through, and you can almost taste the love in every bite.
That’s what Pennsylvania Dutch food is all about – it is wholesome, stick-to-your-ribs dishes, made from scratch with plenty of love and care.
Below is a list of some of our favorite traditional dishes to try and where to find them. Next time you visit Lancaster, be sure to come hungry and prepare to leave full.
Chicken Pot Pie- Now, most of you think you have tried this dish before, but here in Central PA it is prepared a little differently- there is no crust! Chicken Pot Pie in this area is a tasty, stew-like meal, complete with hearty broth, tender slow-cooked chicken, carrots, potatoes, and savory square noodles. It’s like a hug in a bowl.
Ham Balls- This PA Dutch delicacy is similar to meatballs, but prepared with ground pork and ground ham. To pair with the savory flavors of these meaty morsels, ham balls are commonly served with sweet pineapple glaze. You won’t be able to eat just one!
Pork & Sauerkraut- While this dish is traditionally served on New Year’s Day for good luck, it can still be found year-round at many PA Dutch restaurants and smorgasbords. Juicy pork is slow-roasted with tangy sauerkraut, creating the perfect meal for a fall or winter day.
Chicken Croquettes- Chicken croquettes or turkey croquettes are like gourmet, grown-up chicken nuggets. They’re fried to perfection, creating a crisp outer shell covering the rich, velvety inside. Commonly served with mashed potatoes and gravy, this meal will have you in carb heaven.
Brown Buttered Noodles- Some Lancaster County cuisine is rooted in simplicity – much like the tasty side, brown buttered noodles. Soft egg noodles are tossed in nutty browned butter for a scrumptious side enjoyed by diners young and old.
Chicken Corn Soup- Ask a Lancastrian what they think about chicken corn soup and their face will instantly light up- it’s that good. With every spoonful of this rich soup, you’ll find tender chicken, sweet corn, rivels (small dough balls, sort of like miniature dumplings), and sometimes hard boiled eggs, all swimming in savory broth.
Potato Filling- What do you get when you cross mashed potatoes and stuffing? PA Dutch Potato Filling. Classic filling is mixed into creamy potatoes, making one big, happy, side-dish. While it’s commonly served at Thanksgiving, you can also find it on smorgasbords year-round.
Whoopie Pies- This dessert makes everyone “whoop” with joy! Soft cream is sandwiched between two cake-like cookies – like an oreo but better. The traditional variation is chocolate with vanilla cream, but there are new combinations are popping up in bakeries and market stands.
Apple Dumplings- Simplicity is key with this dessert, featuring just a few staple ingredients. A cored apple is wrapped in buttery pastry dough and baked with brown sugar and cinnamon which creates a sweet, gooey sauce. It’s a great way to wrap up a PA Dutch meal – especially in the fall.
Shoofly Pie- Me oh my – it’s shoo-fly pie! This fluffy molasses dessert is a Lancaster tradition that got its name because the molasses attracts flies. It comes in two varieties – dry bottom with a cake-like consistency throughout, and wet bottom with a cake-like top and gooey custard underneath.