The New Old West: Ranch Recipes Inspired by the Hit Series ‘Yellowstone’

In the Season 4 finale of 'Yellowstone', the bunkhouse gets into a heated debate over whether or not chili has beans. We have a recipe for each, so you can decide for yourself. Photo: Jackie Alpers

The popular Paramount+ series Yellowstone has everything for the wanna-be cowboy or cowgirl — the wide open spaces and famous big skies of Montana, ranches, wranglers, rodeos and, of course, plenty of drama around the show’s landowner Dutton family, whose patriarch is played by Kevin Costner. But also taking centre stage is the food served in ranch-sized portions for the (largely dysfunctional) family and bunkhouse dinners, which goes well beyond the ubiquitous cowboy fare of barbecue and beer.

Recipe creator and award-winning food photographer Jackie Alpers would undoubtedly agree. Her new cookbook, The Unofficial Yellowstone Cookbook: Recipes Inspired by the Dutton Family Ranch, includes more than 85 recipes influenced by people and places in the show. Alpers, who watched every episode of the series, which premièred in 2018, told Zoomer the cookbook is “a meticulously researched love-letter to the Yellowstone universe — its fan art inspired by all the food and drinks I saw on Yellowstone and the two prequels 1883 and 1923.”

The dishes, perfect for show bingeing (or anytime, really), range from hearty comfort food fare to open-fire cooking to soups and stews. Alper’s favourite? “Train Station” Funeral Potatoes (darkly named for a reason), which is a creamy concoction of potatoes and cheese.

We serve up this recipe, as well as a few others from the book, including Chili Two Ways and Chicken Fried Steak — but first, some culinary tips from Alpers.


Insider Tips: Can you share your favourite flavour boosters — and any other secret weapons?

My favourite flavour boosters are Red Boat fish sauce, Lea & Perrins Worcestershire sauce and liquid smoke. Liquid smoke makes everything taste like it was cooked over a campfire.

Cooking for a Crowd: What is your go-to dish for entertaining without the stress?

My go-to dish for entertaining is a big pot of chili served family-style, with all the fixings served on the side so everyone can add whatever toppings they choose. I even serve the beans on the side so that guests can make their own decision as to whether chili should have beans or not. In the cookbook, I feature two chili recipes, one with beans and one Texas-style without beans. (See below for recipes.)

Must-Haves: What items do you keep stocked in your pantry or fridge?

I always have dried onion flakes, a hundred varieties of hot sauce, red wine vinegar, Mexican oregano and non-fat Greek yogurt on hand.

 Finding Comfort: What is your go-to comfort food dish?

My go-to comfort food dish is chicken parmesan because it incorporates two of my favourite things: crispy chicken and pasta. I can eat a ridiculous amount of pasta, which is why I save it for times when I really need it.

 Snack Attack: What is your favourite snack, healthy and otherwise?

Tortilla chips in any form, which of course includes nachos. There is a recipe for homemade Doritos in the cookbook which has become a standard snack in my home.

This Q&A has been edited for length and clarity




“Train Station” Funeral Potatoes

Yellowstone cookbook
Photo: Jackie Alpers


Comfort foods that arrive in a casserole dish are so ubiquitous at somber gatherings they’re known as funeral potatoes in some parts of the country. This version is a cowboy inspired  spin, based on Yellowstone’s signature euphemism for when someone’s next stop is six feet under. 


Prep time: 10 minutes 

Cook time: 1 hour 

Yield: 8-10 servings 


1 (30-oz) package hash brown potatoes, defrosted if frozen
2 tbsp onion flakes
1 tsp garlic powder
½ tsp kosher salt
1 (10½-oz) can condensed cream of mushroom soup
2 cups shredded sharp cheddar cheese, divided
1 cup plain Greek yogurt or sour cream
1 tbsp butter
1 bag Baked Ruffles Cheddar and Sour Cream potato chips, crushed* 


  1. Preheat the oven to 350 F. 
  2. Combine the hashbrowns, onion flakes, garlic powder, salt, soup and yogurt or sour cream along with 1½ cups of cheddar cheese in a large mixing bowl. 
  3. Grease a 13 x 9-inch baking pan with butter. Pour the potato mixture into the pan and bake for 40 to 45 minutes or until the top is bubbling and starting to brown. 
  4. Remove from the oven, top with the remaining ½ cup of cheese then the crushed potato chips and bake for 15 minutes more. Let cool for 10 minutes before serving. 


Chili Two Ways

Photo: Jackie Alpers


In the season 4 finale, the bunkhouse gets into a heated debate over whether or not chili has beans. Here’s a recipe for each, so you can decide for yourself.


Bunkhouse chili (with beans)

Prep time: 5 minutes
Cook time: 15-20 minutes
Yield: 4 servings


32 oz beef broth or stock
1 lb lean ground beef
1 large white onion, chopped
1 tbsp unsweetened dark chocolate powder, such as King Arthur Baking Company Black Cocoa
1 tbsp cinnamon
1 Tbsp turmeric
2–3 Tbsp red chile powder
1 tsp ground cloves
1 tsp smoked paprika
1 (151⁄2-oz) can dark red kidney beans with liquid
1 (28-oz) can tomato puree
1⁄4 cup apple cider vinegar
1–2 tsp liquid smoke.
2 tbsp Louisiana-style hot sauce, such as
Frank’s or Crystal, plus more for serving



  1. Bring the broth or stock to a boil in a large soup pot, stir in the ground beef, onions, chocolate, cinnamon, turmeric, chile powder, cloves and paprika and boil until the liquid is reduced by half, scraping down to sides with a rubber spatula and breaking up any large pieces of meat, about 20 minutes.
  2. Reduce the heat to low. Stir in the beans with their liquid, tomato puree, apple cider vinegar, liquid smoke and hot sauce. Cover and cook for 1 hour, stirring occasionally.


Jimmy was right (a.k.a. Chili Colorado Con Carne)

Prep time: 5 minutes
Cook time: 30 minutes
Yield: 4 servings


1 (14-oz) container frozen red chile puree
2 tbsp olive oil
1 1⁄2 lb beef chuck, cut into 1-inch cubes
4 cloves garlic, minced
2–3 tbsp masa harina, use more for a thicker sauce
1 Tbsp dried Mexican oregano
1⁄2 tsp sea salt
1 tbsp red wine vinegar
1 tsp Worcestershire sauce
1 cup sour cream
1 cup shredded cheddar or jack cheese
1⁄2 cup chopped chives or scallions


  1. Run the container of chile puree under hot water to defrost slightly. Meanwhile, heat the olive oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Remove the partially frozen disc of chile puree and place it on one side of the pan. (It will defrost and cook while the beef is browning.)
  2. Add the beef and saute for 10 minutes or until cooked through and the chile is liquefied.
  3. Reduce the heat to low, stir in the garlic, masa harina, Mexican oregano, salt, red wine vinegar and Worcestershire sauce. Cover and simmer for 15 to 20 minutes.
  4. Add a dollop of sour cream and sprinkle with cheese and chives or scallions.


Chicken Fried Steak

Photo: Jackie Alpers


Jimmy’s big Texas dinner of chicken friend steak looked so good on the show, we decided to go out and get the exact plate it’s served on to recreate the look.


Prep time: 20 minutes
Cook time: 30 minutes
Yield: 4 servings


1 1⁄2 cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp kosher salt
1 tsp ground black pepper
1 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp onion powder
1 tsp paprika
2 cups buttermilk
1 egg
4 (4–5 oz) cube steaks
Sea salt
Mashed potatoes and gravy (see pg. 160)
Prepared green beans



  1. Whisk together the flour, salt, pepper, garlic powder, onion powder and paprika in a pie pan or other shallow, rimmed dish.
  2. Whisk together buttermilk and egg in a shallow, rimmed pan.
  3. Place a steak in the flour mixture and flip to coat. Shake any excess back into the dish. Dip into the buttermilk mixture to coat, then dip it back in the flour mixture. Place the steak on a wire rack to dry a bit. This will help the batter stay on while frying. Repeat with the other 3 steaks.
  4. Heat an inch of vegetable oil to 350 F in a Dutch oven.
  5. Place a steak in the oil and cook until the top begins to brown, about 5 to 7 minutes. Very carefully flip to avoid cracking the coating and cook for 4 to 5 minutes.
  6. Remove from the oil, sprinkle with sea salt and let dry on a clean wire rack. Repeat with the remaining steaks.
  7. Serve with peppered country gravy, mashed potatoes and green beans.


Excerpted from The Unofficial Yellowstone Cookbook by Jackie Alpers. Copyright © 2023 Jackie Alpers Published by Media Lab Books, a division of Topix Media Lab LLC. Reproduced by arrangement with the Publisher. All rights reserved.



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