New England cuisine is as varied as the geography from which it stems. It’s steeped in tradition, too, and, in kitchens across New England, the region’s most well-loved recipes have been passed down from one generation to the next. Below, we share a few of our own favorite classic New England recipes.
For a more exhaustive list of classic New England cuisine, from the humble Fluffernutter to B&M Brown Bread in a Can, check out 75 Classic New England Foods.
12 Classic New England Recipes
Can you envision a potluck or a ham supper without those beloved baked beans? This recipe is an old-fashioned New England favorite, containing salt pork and molasses.
SEE MORE: Best Vegetarian Baked Beans Recipe
Few sweet New England recipes are as beloved as Boston Cream Pie. This classic Boston cream pie recipe relies on the familiar combination of golden cake, sweet pastry cream, and smooth chocolate glaze.
This recipe from the Chatham Pier Fish Market includes all the traditional ingredients for true New England clam chowder — fresh shellfish, salt pork (or bacon), potatoes, and cream. It’s rich, thick, and delicious.
You don’t have to live on the coast to enjoy a good old-fashioned New England clambake — all you really need is a (clean) non-galvanized garbage can and a whole lot of seafood! This recipe involves everything from corn on the cob to lobster and is perfect for a summertime get-together.
No list of New England recipes would be complete without Boston Brown Bread! The traditional accompaniment to baked beans, Brown Bread is a true New England favorite, but the best homemade brown bread recipes involve steaming the loaf. This recipe calls for a metal coffee can or cylindrical baking mold to create that classic brown bread shape.
Bertha Nunan, who owned and operated Maine’s famous Nunan’s Lobster Hut for decades, shares her secrets for cooking the perfect lobster every time.
Chef Jasper White of Boston’s Summer Shack shares his method for making delicious, home-style lobster stew. For a simpler take on this classic, here’s another favorite lobster stew recipe.
Jonnycakes just might be the most Rhode Island of our many classic New England recipes. To welcome spring, residents of Rhode Island have traditionally taken part in a May feast, but no spring feast is complete without the cornmeal pancakes known as “jonnycakes (or johnnycakes),” served thick or thin depending on what part of the Ocean State you’re in. They might be old-fashioned, but these simple jonnycakes are a classic New England recipe you’ll want to pass on to your children.
This dish is inspired by the original Lobster Pie recipe from The Publick House in Sturbridge, Massachusetts, which ran in the October 1949 issue of Yankee Magazine. Unapologetically rich and unforgettably delicious, it’s a celebration food that every New Englander should make at least once.
This traditional Maine Wild Blueberry Pie recipe brings out the sweet and refreshing taste of blueberries and isn’t overpowered by the taste of lemon or the texture that can come from using too many thickeners. Serve with a tall glass of milk or a scoop of vanilla ice cream for the best results.
The Irish queen of New England recipes. You don’t have to be Irish to enjoy this staple. An easy meal that doesn’t sacrifice heartiness, New England Boiled Dinner is a blend of flavorful vegetables and salty corned beef that will be sure to gather a crowd around your table.
The New England seashore is known for its fresh seafood, and shellfish is an enticing treat for locals and vacationers alike. One of the region’s best dishes is steamed clams, and when prepared with this butter and broth combination, it’s all the more desirable.
SEE MORE: Guide to New England Steamed Clams
What are your favorite classic New England recipes? What would you add to the list? Let us know in the comments!
This post was first published in 2006 and has been updated.