16 Most Popular Foods From the 1960s

The 1960s were a decade of change, with massive political, cultural, and social shifts. But they were also defined by lots of tasty, experimental, and slightly strange foods. In this article, we’ve compiled 16 of the most popular dishes that people raved about in the swinging sixties.


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No list of well-loved 1960s foods would be complete without mentioning Spam. Following World War II, more and more people were relying on tinned foods to create meals, and this included tinned meat. Spam is a food that many people recall eating well into the 1960s, and it is still around now.

Tunnel of Fudge Cake

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This delicious dessert was one of the most popular of the decade. It was first popularised in the United States when its creator, Ella Rita Helfrich, won second place in the 1966 Pillsbury Bake-Off. The Tunnel of Fudge Cake was a chocoholic’s dream, with fudge icing and a gooey fudge ‘tunnel’ through the cake’s center.


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According to research by Great British Chefs, Swiss fondue made it big in the United States and then the United Kingdom in the 1960s, with many households buying their own fondue sets. These sets helped revolutionize boring foods like stale bread, providing a tasty dipping sauce that could be made from a variety of cheeses.

Grape Jelly Meatballs

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It sounds like a bizarre combination, but meatballs tossed in a grape jelly sauce were actually very popular party appetizers in the 1960s. According to chefs Linda Rehberg and Lois Conway, these meatballs were “a classic from the early ‘60s”. The cream-based Swedish meatball sauce also rose in popularity, but grape jelly sauce was a favorite of the decade.


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Despite the rise in more adventurous foods in the ’60s, people still relied on staples like tinned goods for convenience. In 1965, SpaghettiOs hit the market. These circular pasta pieces were great for children because they were easy to eat and could be reheated, and they’ve certainly retained their popularity.


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This dish was an absolute 60s staple because it was a cheap and plentiful way to feed the entire family. Often, people would enjoy meatloaf for dinner and then use the leftover slices to make sandwiches the day after. One cut of this meat could go a long way, which explains why it was so popular with families.

Beef Stroganoff

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This meat-based dish was also a family favorite in the 1960s. Though it had been around since the 1800s, it enjoyed renewed popularity in the 50s and then the 60s, when this gourmet cuisine received the convenience treatment. Though you could still make it from scratch, supermarkets introduced beef stroganoff packets and tins.

Tuna Noodle Casserole

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Casseroles were another affordable dish that could feed the whole family at a low cost. Tuna and noodles were popular ingredients that could be bought in bulk, putting a fresh 60s spin on the traditional casserole. Tuna was a popular canned good in the 1950s, and people adapted it into various tasty dishes throughout the following decade.

Prawn Cocktail

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This is a starter fit for a fashionable event, which is probably why it was so well-liked in the 1960s. Prawns were served in a glass with shredded lettuce and a sauce, creating a simple but sophisticated hors d’oeuvre. Lovefood notes the consistent popularity of the prawn cocktail, which reigned supreme at dinner parties from the 1960s to the 1980s.

French Onion Dip

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This simple sour cream and minced onion dip was another swinging Sixties signature, typically served with potato chips as a snack or appetizer. Originally called ‘California dip,’ it was renamed ‘French onion dip’ in the 1960s because of the French onion soup mix used in it, though it is not actually French cuisine.

Aspic Jelly

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These gelatin-based foods may not look that appetizing, but they were all the rage in the 1960s and 70s. Made from a base of solidified meat or vegetable broth, aspic jelly could then be used to encase other ingredients. Despite this mid-century boom, aspic has now fallen out of popularity.

Salmon Mousse

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This spreadable appetizer is an example of a food enjoyed in the 1960s that made use of the gelatin mold. Canned salmon could be used, which made the dish much more affordable to make yourself, and then mixed with gelatin to form a jelly-like mousse that would retain its shape well.

Liver and Onions

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This traditional home-cooked meal was another family favourite in the 60s. Though it might not sound too tempting, liver is actually incredibly good for your health. Dubbed a ‘superfood’ by Healthline, liver and onions was an old-school dish that people could make easily at home in the 60s and reap the nutritional value of.

Pineapple Upside Down Cake

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This fun cake is an example of a more luxurious dish enjoyed back in the 1960s. Pineapples weren’t very affordable until they benefited from the tinned food trend that really took off in the 60s. After that, more people could experiment with pineapple upside down cakes, which were baked and then flipped over to reveal a pineapple-covered top.

Steak Diane

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Another classic meat-based dish, Steak Diane was first served in the 1930s but had another surge 30 years later. According to the LA Times Archives, Steak Diane was considered ‘Continental cuisine’, with steakhouses serving these seasoned, sauced cuts of meat to eager customers throughout the 60s.

Wacky Cake

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This dessert was named for its wacky recipe, which excluded eggs and dairy and the fact that it was mixed directly in the baking pan. As such, it was an easy cake for people to bake at home. Though it’s believed that wacky cake was invented before the 60s, its simplicity appealed to the busy households of that decade.

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