Cook your way through Little House (with a free printable plan)

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Written by Jamie of Simple Homeschool

Ya’ll, I can’t seem to escape Little House. Is this some kind of disorder or syndrome?!

After our year of Little House in 2013/2014, I honestly thought we were done with it.

We’d read the series twice start to finish (once when the kids were 6-8; once when they were 8-10), and even voyaged in crazy road trip fashion to see with our own eyes where the Ingalls lived and worked.

But then Christmas happened–and I read this book aloud. One of the kids, who tends to be my more reluctant reader, got all into it: giggling at the funny parts, engaging with thoughtful questions. This same child? Loves to cook.

So in my “inspire, not require” brain, a plan began to brew:

There’s a lot of good food in Little House. A lot of good life lessons, too. Why not cook our way through Little House in the Big Woods?

So we did. I’m here to invite you to do the same, and make it really easy for you, too!


It goes without saying that if you’re serious about the food in Little House, you need to invest in this cookbook. We’ve had our copy for years, and have learned so much from it! It not only describes recipes, but also includes historical notes, book excerpts, and illustrations.

For this post, though, I’ve also included links to a few online recipes so you can get started right away.

What I did first:

Back in January, I went through each chapter of Little House in the Big Woods and made a list of every food mentioned in its pages, so that afterwards I could create a specific menu plan for our family to follow.

IMG_1608Vinegar Pie?! Let’s just say the family was divided on this one. 

Here’s that list, so that you can come up with your own meal ideas (or just skip to the end of the post for the plan we used):

Chapter 1: Little House in the Big Woods

  • venison, fish, sausage, potatoes, carrots, cabbages, onions, pumpkins

Chapter 2: Winter Days and Winter Nights

  • butter, bread (made on Saturdays!), cookies

Chapter 3: The Long Rifle – none

Chapter 4: Christmas (yum!)

  • salt-rising bread, rye and Injun bread, baked beans, Swedish crackers, vinegar pies, dried apple pies, molasses snow candy, pancake men

Some of our pancake men looked like turtles and other sea creatures, but tasted good!

Chapter 5: Sundays – none

Chapter 6: Two Big Bears – none

Chapter 7: The Sugar Snow

Chapter 8: Dance at Grandpa’s

  • hasty pudding with syrup, pumpkin pies, dried berry pies, salt-rising bread, pickles, pancakes


Chapter 9: Going to Town

  • bread, butter, cheese, hardboiled eggs, cookies, candy hearts

Chapter 10: Summertime

  • cookies, honey, eggs, cheesemaking

Chapter 11: Harvest – none

Chapter 12: The Wonderful Machine

  • walnuts, hickory nuts, hazelnuts, boiled potatoes, carrots, turnips, stewed pumpkin with bread, baked Hubbard Squash, hulled corn and milk, cabbage and meat, beans, johnnycake, salt-rising bread, pumpkin pies, dried berry pies

Chapter 13: The Deer in the Wood

  • bread and butter

What I did next:

I knew it would take us around four weeks to reread the book, so I came up with a meal plan (one meal each week) to highlight the foods we wanted to try.

We’re not big meat eaters, but just check the chapter listings above to add a meat of your choice in if desired!

Cook your way through Little House

A 4 Week Meal Plan to Cook Your Way Through Little House in the Big Woods

Week 1:

Week 2:


Week 3:

Note: The first three bulletpoints below are from Chapter 9: Going to Town. The Ingalls ate this picnic lunch by the shore of Lake Pepin in Wisconsin–and so did we two years ago!

  • Bread & butter
  • Cheese (No, we didn’t make our own.)
  • Hard-boiled eggs
  • Pumpkin Pie

Week 4:

Johnnycake was one of my favorite Little House food experiments!

Wanna cook your way through Little House? Download a beautiful printable here to help you do exactly that–enjoy!

While we’re on the subject of cooking, I wanted to mention another favorite resource to check out this week: the Kids Cook Real Food e-course, (afflink) created by my friend Katie Kimball of Kitchen Stewardship.

Sometimes we want to involve our kids in the kitchen (and have them take over some of our duties!), but we don’t know how to get started. Katie’s course is stellar–highlighting simple recipes and basic skills, all in the context of engaging videos featuring other kids!

This self-paced course would be perfect if you’ve found your lazy summer days could use just a bit of gentle structure, or save it for the fall and add it to your homeschool year.

Check out the curriculum map here if you’d like to see all the course covers!

What Little House food have you always wanted to try?

Originally published on April 11, 2016


About Jamie Martin

Jamie is a mama to three cute kids born on three different continents. She is the co-founder and editor of Simple Homeschool, where she writes about mindful parenting, intentional education, and the joy found in a pile of books. Jamie is also the author of a handful of titles, including her newest release, Give Your Child the World.


  1. We also were inspired by so much of the cooking in Little House. Another great book with recipes and activities related to the series is The World Of Little House. That book was central to the unit study I wrote.
    Shelly’s latest post: Homeschooling in PA- It’s a Piece of Cake!

  2. This is fabulous, Jamie!! Thanks so much!

  3. I am so excited to see this post, and I just read through your old Little House posts. I’m reading this for the first time (for me) with my daughters. They love the Little House so much! This is perfect! Thank you! We have been interested in making a vinegar pie. I’m excited to try it. 🙂

  4. Lisa Maldonado says:

    Thank you for all this information. Just started reading Little House in the Big Woods. It’s been so awesome, I’m having a hard time not reading ahead… My little house cookbook just came in the mail last week, so excited to get cooking with my daughter!

  5. Not sure about the vinegar pie….But Johnnycake is a recipe I sure would like to try!
    Daisy’s latest post: Power Wheels Thomas the Train with Track

  6. Would you recommend waiting until my now 6 yo daughter is 8 to read the series? She loves readalouds and has a very good attention span but I’ve heard this is a series that can feel lenghthy & maybe too much for younger kids…would appreciate the feedback. I actually bought the books already 🙂

    • Just a fellow reader here. I say 6 is a great age to start with the series! Some of the descriptive parts that explain what Pa is doing in one process or another might get long for a six year old but you could easily adjust those sections. So much fun!! (I have seven kids, ages 2-13 and it’s definitely time for us to read this series together again!)

    • I agree that you can start at 6 and just edit as you read-aloud at any intense parts! It’s helpful to keep in mind, though, that they were originally intended for the 8-12 age group when written and I do think my kids got more out of it when we read them then. Why not do both?! 😉

      • Ellen Gale says:

        I want to start this Unit study with my 9 1/2 yr old this fall, but I also have a 5 yr old starting kindergarten this fall. I am wondering if I should incorporate her in, do a separate curriculum for her like Five In A Row or wait a year to do this? Suggestions?

        • I think you could easily do this with a 5 year old, too, Ellen! Just try it and see how it goes, you can modify it as you go along.

          • Ellen Gale says:

            Thanks Jamie! I’m so excited to use the Little House Books! I have the whole collection of them from when I was a kid!

  7. Farmer Boy describes lots of great food, too. I want to try stacked pancakes slathered with butter and maple sugar!

  8. Michelle says:

    I always wanted to try the Vanity Cakes from On the Banks of Plum Creek. I could never imagine what they would taste like. And cracklings. Just a taste to try it.

  9. Sara Lamp says:

    Wonderful! Do you have ones for the other Little House books?

  10. I cannot wait to try these recipes!!! Thank you for posting. I only wish that hulled corn had been included.

  11. This is such a great idea. One of the projects my students loved was bringing in food that related to the book they were reading. Sometimes we got foods the characters ate. Sometimes we got dioramas made out of food. Always so fun!
    Kelly Sage’s latest post: Reading Strategies- Online Classes- Give Children the Tools to Understand What They Read

  12. This is super- Thanks for sharing!!!
    We ate plums on the Banks of Plum Creek on our Laura Ingalls tour!!
    So much fun!!

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