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Survey Reveals Americans’ Confidence In Family Recipes As Potential Best-Sellers

Two-thirds of Americans believe their family recipes are worthy of best-selling cookbooks, with millennials leading the way.

Could you be the next Kardea Brown? A new survey has revealed two in three Americans have family recipes so good they believe they’re worthy of best-selling cookbooks.

 A new survey has revealed two in three Americans have family recipes so good they believe they’re worthy of best-selling cookbooks. AUGUST DE RICHEILEU/PEXELS 

A recent poll of 2,000 U.S. adults found that millennials are leading the way as the generation most likely to use family recipes in meals. Three-quarters of Americans swear these passed-down recipes are “excellent” and that they plan to pass them down to future generations.

The study showed that family recipes are important to most Americans’ family heritage (77%), but Gen X was found to be the most likely holder of family recipes (77%), followed by baby boomers (76%), millennials (68%) and Gen Z (53%).

Overall, 71% of people have a family recipe that was handed down to them either by their parents (54%) or grandparents (40%). And 24% of respondents said they have recipes dating back to their great-grandparents’ generation.

Commissioned by Bob Evans and conducted by OnePoll, the study showed that family recipes are more likely to be served at family gatherings (40%), winter holidays (39%), Thanksgiving (34%), Sunday dinners (28%) and family nights in (21%).

 A new survey has revealed two in three Americans have family recipes so good they believe they’re worthy of best-selling cookbooks. AUGUST DE RICHEILEU/PEXELS 

Overall, 62% are likely to bring out family recipes for holiday gatherings this year and three in four agreed incorporating family recipes into the holidays makes them feel more meaningful.

Some respondents recalled their own favorite recipes and why they’re special to them: Swedish meatballs made by first-generation Swedish immigrant grandparents, hand-written recipes for enchiladas and sausage gravy over biscuits that their grandmother taught them to make.

“We can all agree, family recipes are special and shared with a sense of pride,” said Ciare James, vice president of brand marketing, Bob Evans Farms. “These recipes can be powerful. They evoke treasured memories, honor traditions and reflect country, culture and community— like our own sausage recipe that’s been handed down for 75 years and is still savored today.”

Even though we live in a digital-first age, the study unveiled a case to be made for preserving printed recipes.

Many still store their family recipes on physical note cards (46%), in a physical recipe book (40%) or purely by memory (25%) compared to digital scans (13%). Unfortunately, 15% admit they have lost or damaged a treasured recipe that has been handed down to them.

Recipes tend to bring on a strong sense of connection for people, evoking feelings of joy (48%), love (46%), nostalgia (35%) and satisfaction (24%).

More than one in four (27%) have created their own recipes with the intention of starting their own family tradition of passing it down. Of these, 75% have plans to hand their recipes down to their children and 25% to their grandchildren, while 25% plan to share with their spouse.

Yet there’s an equal division on whether recipes will be seen as important to future generations as they are now.

Interestingly, out of all generations, millennials were especially keen to continue their family’s heritage through cooking (80%), compared to Gen Z (67%), Gen X (75%) and baby boomers (76%).

“Writing and sharing recipes is still a large part of our daily life, even in the digital age,” said Sarah Lohman, a culinary historian and best-selling author. “The immense, collaborative recipes that exist today and our desire for seeking out food and ingredients that have a story and a legacy speaks to our need to savor the culinary histories of generations.”  


  • Family gatherings/reunions – 40%
  • Winter holidays – 39%
  • Thanksgiving – 34%
  • Sunday dinners – 28%
  • Family nights in – 21%
  • New Year’s Eve/Day – 8%
  • When it comes up in conversation – 8%
  • A milestone birthday – 8%
  • Housewarmings – 7%
  • Graduations – 4%
  • Weddings – 4%

Survey methodology:

This random double-opt-in survey of 2,000 general population Americans was commissioned by Bob Evans. It was conducted between Sept. 25 and Oct. 2, 2023 by market research company OnePoll, whose team members are members of the Market Research Society and have corporate membership to the American Association for Public Opinion Research (AAPOR) and the European Society for Opinion and Marketing Research (ESOMAR).

Produced in association with SWNS Research

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