11 Best Back-Of-The-Box Recipes You Should Try

boxes of Bisquick, rice Krispies, and Ocean Spray cranberries
boxes of Bisquick, rice Krispies, and Ocean Spray cranberries - Static Media / Getty

Basic recipes are pretty easy to come by. Your grandmother, cousins, and next-door neighbors all likely have a box of favorites they'd be happy to share. You can also find recipes on social media and blogs, and in the pages of countless cookbooks that are maybe even lining your own kitchen. Of course, every chef with a TV show has some sort of recipe they want you to try, too.

But amongst all those different recipes — and there really are millions of them — are some that are so close at hand, they may seem too obvious. That is, the recipes literally printed on the packages of food we buy. More than just a promotional tool or a way to encourage consumers to try cooking something new, these back-of-the-box recipes epitomize some of the most popular and well-known ways to use the ingredient. Some are relatively new, others date back decades, but the one thing they all have in common is that they are delicious.

We rounded up 11 of our favorites, including beloved family comfort foods, holiday staples, and party essentials. Each is the gold standard within its category, and can make your next mealtime truly special.

Read more: 21 Delicious Ways To Use Up Leftover Rice

Bisquick Strawberry Shortcakes

strawberry shortcakes with whipped cream
strawberry shortcakes with whipped cream - Angelika Heine/Shutterstock

Bisquick baking mix is a breakfast must-have. Whether you're in the mood for pancakes, waffles, or tender and flaky biscuits, it can help you whip up something tasty and golden brown in a hurry. But the real way Bisquick shines — and one of the absolute best dishes you can make with this blend of flour, corn starch, and leavening agents — is crumbly scone-like shortcake. It's ideal for pairing with fresh strawberries and loads of light and fluffy whipped cream for the ultimate dessert.

The back-of-the-box recipe for this Betty Crocker classic couldn't be simpler or more concise. Just mix Bisquick with milk, eggs, sugar, and butter to form a thick and creamy batter. Drop the batter into mounds on a baking sheet, and 10 minutes later, you have warm and toasty, perfectly formed shortcakes.

While many other recipes exist, the cakes they produce can often be dry, dense, or tough (or they're overly sweet or off in some other way, with a weird consistency or an aftertaste you can't quite identify). But the Bisquick back-of-the-box recipe doesn't have these problems. The shortcakes are wonderfully moist and buttery. They raise well. And, they always have that spot-on flavor profile you crave. They're not too sweet and not too bland — the ideal "Goldilocks" of homemade shortcakes. For the best-tasting dessert possible, toss your strawberries with citrus juice — the same way you macerate a fruit salad — and serve the treat with a garnish of fresh mint or orange zest.

Toll House Chocolate Chip Cookies

closeup of chocolate chip cookies
closeup of chocolate chip cookies - Boblin/Getty Images

In 1939, Massachusetts baker Ruth Wakefield threw some crumbled Nestlé semi-sweet chocolate chunks into a cookie recipe, expecting the chocolate to melt as everything baked. It didn't. Instead, that chocolate turned into tiny pockets of gooey bittersweet goodness tucked inside the treat. Wakefield had inadvertently created the first-ever batch of chocolate chip cookies! Today, her recipe — named after the Toll House restaurant she ran — remains the most popular, and beloved, cookie recipe around.

While many have tried to take that crown over the years, there's reason why this classic back-of-the-box dessert favorite remains one of the most popular ever published. In addition to the historical significance, these cookies are simply the epitome of a great snack or treat. They have a mouthwatering flavor profile that combines the sweetness of chocolate chips with the richness of butter and a slight hint of vanilla. The cookies also have a near-perfect texture — crisp around the edges, yet chewy and soft in the center.

Baking these fantastic treats is also not hard — even novice cooks can easily follow the directions. Simply combine flour, baking soda, salt, butter, sugar, vanilla, eggs, and (of course) lots of chocolate chip morsels. And, perhaps best of all, this recipe is wonderfully versatile. From the addition of nuts to dried fruits or marshmallows, there are so many delicious ways to upgrade chocolate chip cookies, and this classic recipe can handle them all.

Jiffy Cornbread

sliced cornbread on wood platter with butter
sliced cornbread on wood platter with butter - Debbismirnoff/Getty Images

It's the perfect accompaniment to a bowl of warm, savory homemade chili. It pairs fabulously with barbecued ribs, fried chicken, or a platter of roast turkey and collard greens. And from delicate soups to hearty stews, nothing's better for soaking up those flavorful broths. Of course, we're talking about cornbread, a Southern comfort food classic.

Well-made cornbread is fantastically moist, tender, and crumbly. It has a subtle sweetness that tickles the tongue without being overpowering or cloying. There's pronounced corn flavor, for sure, but also the taste of butter and just a tiny hint of earthiness and spice come through. It's a truly delightful dish, and you don't have to go scouring through cookbooks or spend time interviewing all sorts of distant relatives to track down directions on how to make it. The only recipe you need is printed right there on the back of the Jiffy Corn Muffin Mix box.

To make it, simply combine the muffin mix with eggs and milk. Mix everything together and then bake until golden. Like the mix-ins you add to Toll House chocolate chip cookies, there are also dozens of ways you can elevate this already delicious recipe: Stir in grated cheese or diced peppers; add slices of pepperoni, hot dogs, or cooked bacon or sausage crumbles. You can also pour the batter into a waffle maker or spread it in a casserole dish for a textured finish.

Hellmann's Parmesan-Crusted Chicken

parmesan-crusted chicken breast pieces
parmesan-crusted chicken breast pieces - from my point of view/Shutterstock

You probably have a jar of Hellmann's mayonnaise in your fridge right now. But did you know this blend of oil, egg yolks, salt, sugar, and lemon juice could be good for more than just making sandwiches or whipping up a tart and refreshing cranberry and pecan chicken salad or equally dreamy dill potato salad?

Surprise! It turns out that one of the best uses for Hellmann's — and one of the tastiest back-of-the-package recipes you'll ever run across — is for parmesan-crusted chicken, an entree that includes mayo as one of its secret and most essential ingredients. To make this fantastic yet easy dish, just combine mayonnaise with Parmesan cheese. Then, spread the cheese and mayo mixture on top of whatever chicken you'd like to bake. To complete the entree, sprinkle on some breadcrumbs (Italian-seasoned, ideally), and bake until crispy, golden, and delicious.

Mayo may seem like a bizarre addition to baked chicken, but it's a wonderful way to help keep the poultry tender and juicy while it bakes. The mayonnaise not only provides an even basting of fat for the chicken to cook in, but also helps the cheese and breadcrumbs adhere to the surface, creating a crisp, crunchy crust. To elevate this classic back-of-the-box recipe further, consider tossing your breadcrumbs with diced herbs like parsley, basil, or thyme before spreading them on. Or, mix those breadcrumbs with citrus zest, toasted nuts, crumbled bacon, or red pepper flakes for a flavor explosion.

Lipton Classic Onion Dip

onion dip in bowl with veggies and chips
onion dip in bowl with veggies and chips - Bhofack2/Getty Images

Whether you're entertaining a house full of guests or just getting cozy and loading up on snacks for a good binge of a favorite show, few things are more satisfying — or delicious — than a bag of chips and a creamy dip. There are many great party-friendly dips you can make from scratch, but one of the tastiest (and most renowned) is the recipe for classic onion dip found on the back of the Lipton Recipe Secrets Onion Soup package.

The recipe for this savory, tangy, velvety dip couldn't be easier or more straightforward to prepare. Just combine an entire envelope of the soup mix with a container of sour cream, stir well, then chill until ready to serve. While it may sound basic, don't let the simplicity of the dish fool you. Many store-bought and homemade onion dips can be a serious disappointment — too thick, weirdly gloopy, or just bursting with an overpowering onion bite. But with Lipton's back-of-the-box dip recipe, most of those problems disappear. I

The packaged soup mix contains the ideal blend of dried onions, spices, and flavor to create a near-perfect dip. The mixture sings on chips and crackers, but is just as yummy on carrots, celery, and broccoli florets. Plus, since you BYOD — Bring Your Own Dairy — you can create a fresh, flavorful option that works for everyone. Follow the recipe as is or swap in higher protein Greek yogurt or nix the dairy entirely for vegan-friendly silken tofu or coconut cream.

Baker's German Chocolate Cake

German chocolate cake on yellow platter
German chocolate cake on yellow platter - Brent Hofacker/Shutterstock

Few desserts are more scrumptious than lush chocolate cake. But sadly, whether you prep it from a box or make it from scratch, many of these rich confections can be a major disappointment. Some are too sweet, others are dry or dense, and some just don't possess enough crucial chocolate flavor.

The recipe for German chocolate cake on the back of the Baker's Sweet German Chocolate bar package, however, doesn't have any of these issues. It's an exceptional blend of moistness, perfect crumb, and the rich and sweet yet bitter taste we all want in an out-of-this-world baked good. (German chocolate cake, by the way, didn't originate in the European country. Instead, the name comes from baker Samuel German who used a blend of sweet baking chocolate plus buttermilk to create this fantastic and flavorful indulgence.)

A typical Baker's German chocolate cake is a multi-layer delicacy offering a mouthwatering crumbly chocolate cake topped with ooey, gooey coconut-pecan frosting. The cake includes typical ingredients like butter, sugar, eggs, and flour, but it's the Baker's German sweet chocolate that really sets it apart and makes this back-of-the-box recipe so special. The chocolate is melted and then mixed into the base layer of butter and sugar. This ensures a bold and rich flavor that's mixed all the way through from the start, instead of added in later. It's a tiny difference, but one that makes a world of difference.

Ocean Spray Cranberry Sauce

cranberry sauce in bowl with spoon
cranberry sauce in bowl with spoon - Skhoward/Getty Images

Beyond the occasional vodka cranberry cocktail or cranberry muffins at a festive holiday gathering, you may not include cranberries on your menu that often. And that's a shame since these tart, flavor-packed berries are exceedingly good for us, loaded with vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants.

But, beyond nutritional benefits, cranberries are also an ideal partner for countless foods (way more than just turkey). You can enjoy a cranberry sauce with ham, pork chops, meatballs, beef tenderloin, and all varieties of chicken. Cranberries are also fantastic with bold cheeses, yogurt, and pancakes and waffles. You can even drizzle cranberry sauce on salads or smear it on almost any sandwich — grilled cheeses are an especially delectable option.

To make a delightful cranberry sauce, there's no better recipe than the one you'll find on the back of the package of fresh cranberries (or their canned counterpart, depending on the season). In both cases, just combine the fruit with water and a sweetener and then let the sauce simmer until it yields your preferred consistency. From this basic recipe, you can also add citrus zest or even swap water for your favorite brand of fresh orange juice. You can also add a cinnamon stick to the sauce as it simmers, or toss in a few cloves, a pinch of fresh ginger, or even a splash of red wine.

Campbell's Chicken And Rice Casserole

chicken and rice casserole in white baking pan
chicken and rice casserole in white baking pan - From_my_point_of_view/Getty Images

From pot pies and meatloaf to pasta dishes and stews, countless Cream of Veggie soup recipes have been printed on the back of those iconic Campbell's soup cans over the years. But few of these recipes have stood the test of time — or are quite as satisfying and delicious — as the classic Campbell's chicken and rice casserole.

A staple in many family kitchens for years, Campbell's chicken and rice casserole has earned its iconic back-of-the-box, superstar status for a variety of reasons. For starters, it's incredibly easy to prepare, making it a super convenient option for anybody juggling tasks while also trying to get a meal on the table. This hearty and creamy dish is also kid-friendly, economical, and has a truly timeless quality. You might feel just as comfortable serving it to friends or family today as your mom or even grandmother did decades ago. And even if you never grew up eating the dish, it's the kind of nostalgic and charming meal you can easily envision you might have clamored for as a kid.

To prepare this acclaimed one-dish meal, simply combine water, uncooked rice, Campbell's Cream Soup (mushroom is the go-to flavor, but any variety will work well), some frozen veggies, and uncooked chicken. Add some seasonings, cover, and bake until the chicken is cooked through and the rice is tender.

Knorr Spinach Dip

spinach dip in bowl with crackers
spinach dip in bowl with crackers - DeliriumTrigger/Shutterstock

There are countless recipes for making simple spinach dip, but be on the lookout: Many DIY spinach dips can be grainy, watery, way too salty, or just bland and boring. After all, you can't just mix some spinach and sour cream together and think you're going to make a fantastic dip — you need flavor and spice as well. And that's why the recipe for spinach dip on the back of the Knorr Vegetable recipe mix packet is so special and unique.

In addition to that spice mixture and sour cream, the recipe also includes mayo, crunchy water chestnuts (to give the dip its texture and crunch) plus sweet yet pungent chopped green onions. It's an ideal blend of ingredients that makes the dip not just creamy and luxurious but also tangy, balanced, and perfectly seasoned with an earthy blend of garlic, onions, and herbs.

Serve your dip with chips, crackers, or any favorite fresh veggies. You can also tweak this already exceptional back-of-the-box recipe by swapping the sour cream for plain Greek yogurt to amp up its protein content, or light mayo to make it a bit lower calorie. You can also make it crunchier and even more flavorful by stirring in chopped or canned artichoke hearts, crumbled bacon, feta cheese, diced sun-dried tomatoes, or roasted red peppers, and an optional splash of Sriracha or hot sauce. Then, dig in!

Rice Krispies Treats

Rice Krispies treats on plate with marshmallow toppers
Rice Krispies treats on plate with marshmallow toppers - Elena Veselova/Shutterstock

There are all kinds of creative ways to use cereal in the kitchen. You might find recipes for trail mix, crusted fish, cookies, parfaits, and more on your favorite box of toasties or fruit rings. But when it comes to the very best back-of-the-box recipes of all time, nothing you'll find in the cereal aisle compares to classic Rice Krispies treats.

On their own, Rice Krispies are a relatively simple cereal. They're mild and sweet, with just a hint of malt flavor. But it's the light, airy texture of the crisped rice and its delicate, crispy crunch that really sets it apart from other cereals. That's also a big part of what makes Rice Krispies treats so special as well. Like all great back-of-the-box recipes, Rice Krispies treats are remarkably simple and don't require a lot of ingredients — which is likely why they're so popular. You just need the cereal, some butter, and a hefty helping of marshmallows.

From there, you can mix all sorts of additions inside. Chocolate chips, peanut butter, nuts, coconut flakes, sprinkles, pretzel pieces, and dried fruit are all fantastic ways to level up the treat. Still, the traditional recipe remains the best — and is the one you really need to try if you haven't made it before. They have a timeless flavor that appeals to both kids and adults alike, and they're quick, nostalgic, portable, and budget-friendly. What could be better?

French's Green Bean Casserole

green bean casserole in metal pan
green bean casserole in metal pan - from my point of view/Shutterstock

Finally, no collection of the best back-of-the-box recipes of all time would be complete without French's green bean casserole. This dish was invented in 1955 by Dorcas Reilly, a member of the Campbell's Soup test kitchen. Her original recipe included Worcestershire sauce, celery salt, and ham. However, those ingredients were ultimately removed, leaving just six key staples: green beans, cream of mushroom soup, soy sauce, black pepper, milk, and french-fried onions.

While the recipe was kicked around for years, it didn't become a cultural touchstone until Campbell's decided to put it on the back of their cream of mushroom soup can label. The rest, as they say, is history. Today, millions dine on green bean casserole at least once a year (of course, with a status as a holiday favorite). But this nostalgic dish is also widely loved because of its unique texture and flavor. You get crunchiness and creaminess along with a fresh veggie punch from the beans. There's also deep, rich earthiness from the onions and savory, umami goodness from the mushroom soup.

If you haven't made green bean casserole before, it's quick and easy and satisfyingly delicious, regardless of the time of year. And if you have already perfected the dish, switch it up. You can alternate in different soups or swap those beans for broccoli, cauliflower, or even Brussels sprouts. Use that back-of-the-box recipe for inspiration, and then create your own delicious variation.

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