A Collection of 19th-Century Pumpkin Recipes

To celebrate Autumn and the upcoming holiday season, I decided to put my digital library research skills to the test and compile another collection of historic recipes for your reading pleasure.

These lists can get out of hand pretty quickly so, for my sake, I limited my search to 19th-century American and Canadian resources containing recipes that use PUMPKIN!

This is obviously not an all-inclusive list, but I tried to get a nice variety of recipes representing different decades, regions and lifestyles. I noticed that the later cookbooks (1890’s) are much more likely to to have pumpkin recipes. As expected, the most popular use of pumpkin was for making pie so I’ve included a few of those below.

I will be making one of these recipes within the next week. I don’t know which one yet, so if you feel strongly about any of them let me know!


Pumpkin recipes

Pumpkin Pudding
The Virginia Housewife, Or, Methodical Cook by Mary Randolph, 1836

Mary Randolph died in 1828, apparently working on a third revision of this book. It’s possible the first edition was written as early as 1824, making this one of the first published American cookbooks! She is buried in Arlington National Cemetery.

Pumpkin Butter
The Western Farmer and Gardener Horticultural Magazine, Vol. 5. 1845

Western Farmer was published in Ohio, which was considered “Western” at the time. At first glance it doesn’t look like a recipe, but it is. The image on the left is “philosophising” and the one on the right contains the instructions.

Dried Pumpkin and Pumpkin Molasses
The Canadian Settler’s Guide by C.P. Traill, 1857

This is much more than a cookbook! It’s a fascinating guide to emigrating and settling in rural Canada, including details about Canadian railway policy, climate, agricultural grants, and instructions for food preservation, gardening and other important skills like soap-making and calculating currency.

Pumpkin Butter
The Prairie Farmer, Volume 19. Weekly Periodical, 1859

This rural Illinois newspaper was published weekly beginning in 1841 and is the oldest continually published magazine in the United States. It was originally called The Union Agriculturist and Western Prairie Farmer, then later shortened the name to “Prairie Farmer.” It featured articles about everything related to agriculture, livestock, farming and daily life. In fact, it still does.

Pumpkin bread
The People’s Own Book of Recipes and Information for the Million by S.S. Schoff, 1867.

This book is very bizarre. And be sure to read the preface, because the author demands it. Nobody reads prefaces anymore, apparently.

It was very unclear which “brown bread” recipe was being referred to, if any. There’s a lot of going on about bread in this book (a good bread brings as much joy as a quiet baby and playing the piano) but no recipes are clearly marked as brown bread. So the one below is my best guess.

It’s also worth sharing the pumpkin pie recipe in this book because a “chapter on pies with a pumpkin pie left out would be worse than the play of Hamlet with the character of Hamlet left out…”

Pumpkin Seed Tea for Children and “Real Yankee” Pumpkin Pie
The Artizan’s Guide and Everybody’s Assistant by R. Moore, 1873.

This one was published in Montreal, Canada. It contains over 1,000 recipes for bakers, chefs and druggists as well as a guide for artisans like cabinet makers and machinists.

Pumpkin Pie and Pumpkin Seed Uses
The Everyday Cookbook and Encyclopedia of Practical Recipes by Miss E. Neill, 1889

This one was published in San Francisco, California. The book suggests baiting mouse traps with pumpkin seeds, and claims that eating 200 minced seeds chased with castor oil will get rid of tapeworms.

Pumpkin Soup and Fried Pumpkin
Meals for the Million, the People’s Cookbook by Juliet Corson, 1882

This book was published by the New York School of Cookery. School founder and author Juliet Corson was a renowned cooking instructor and food writer who also ran a weekly column in the New York Times. She was also dedicated to making nutritious meals available to the poor.

Vegetable Soup, Pumpkin or Squash Pies, Pumpkin Butter for Tarts
Cooking for profit : a new American cookbook adapted for the use of all who serve meals for a price by Jessup Whitehead, 1893

Cooking for Profit was published in Chicago and was intended for use in hotels and the service industry. There are a lot of great recipes in there, including an unpictured Vermicelli Soup that calls for pumpkin.

Pumpkin Pie
Common Sense Recipe Book, 1895

This is another Canadian book, but no publisher or author information is available. The only things of note are that it includes “very valuable” medicinal recipes and contains logos on every page for a number of companies including Eagle Baking Powder, Montesserat, and McCale’s.

Squash/Pumpkin Pie
The Original Fannie Farmer 1896 Cookbook, 1896

Last but not least is good old Fannie Farmer of the Boston Cooking School. No Victorian-era cookbook collection is complete without this book. It is notable for many reasons, one being the clear and concise step-by-step directions often missing from other 19th-century cooking resources. Fannie Farmer greatly influenced how our modern cookbooks are written and formatted.


Featured Image: 19th-century illustration of a pumpkin, Public Domain.

  • Corson, Juliet, 1842-1897. Meals for the Million: the People’s Cook-book. 3d ed. New York: N.Y. school of cooking, 1882.
  • Moore, R. (Richard), active 1871-1907. The Artizans’ Guide And Everybody’s Assistant: Containing Over Two Thousand New And Valuable Receipts And Tables In Almost Every Branch of Business Connected With Civilized Life, From the Household to the Manufactory. Montreal: J. Lovell, 1873.
  • Schoff, S. S., [from old catalog], and B. S. Caswell. The People’s Own Book of Recipes: And Information for the Million. Kenosha, Wis.: Schoff & Winegar, 1867.
  • The Western Farmer And Gardener: Devoted to Agriculture, Horticulture, And Rural Economy. Cincinnati: E.J. Hooper [etc.],
  • Traill, Catherine Parr Strickland, 1802-1899. The Canadian Settler’s Guide. 7th ed., considerably enl. Toronto: Printed at the office of the Toronto Times, 1857.
  • Union Agricultural Society (Chicago, Ill.). Prairie Farmer. Chicago: [Union Agricultural Society, 1843

16 Comments Add yours

  1. Squash pie sounds interesting and different!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Sarah B says:

      I was thinking that too! Butternut or acorn squash could work…

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Im interested what the texture will look like for pie!

        Liked by 1 person

  2. mama_shively says:

    My sister would love this! I sent her the link. She loves anything pumpkin! ….lol. Love the blog in general tho. Following!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Sarah B says:

      Thank you! I’m happy that you stopped by!

      If you and your sister want to make pumpkin molasses or cure tapeworm, you now know how! πŸ˜‰


  3. Maurodigital says:

    Really interesting post!!! Nice✌🏻✌🏻

    Liked by 1 person

  4. There is SO much to love about what you do! Thank you again “Sarah B.”

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Sarah B says:

      Aww, thank you so much! That means a lot. πŸ™‚


  5. I love this post thank you Sarah, so many delicious recipes and love all of the history behind them πŸ™‚

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Sarah B says:

      Thank you! It represents hours of poring through old forgotten books, but I had a lot of fun doing it!


  6. Victoria Averbukh says:

    Thank you, very interesting! Shared with my friends!

    Liked by 1 person

  7. New To Nordic says:

    How interesting. It’s hot and mid summer but after reading this I really want some warm pumpkin pie!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Sarah B says:

      Every day is a pumpkin pie day!


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