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Traditional Recipes from Milton Hershey School

Our founder, Milton Hershey, grew up eating traditional Pennsylvania Dutch dishes. Some of his favorites included chicken and waffles, Schnitz un’ Knepp (ham with apples and dumplings), and chicken pot pie. For dessert, he often favored fresh apple pie, shoo fly pie, and sugar cookies.

Mr. Hershey also loved gathering with others around a table to eat. According to a woman who worked in the early school kitchen, she said, “Sometimes when we would come to the school, [Mr. Hershey] would eat in the dining room with the boys and [it was clear] he enjoyed it a lot.”

Milk pie at Milton Hershey School is traditionally served in the dining halls.In keeping with Mr. Hershey’s traditions, at Milton Hershey School, the love of gathering around a table and eating Pennsylvania Dutch comfort food is passed down to our students. One of the most iconic meals in the dining hall is sheppards pie (the original spelling of the MHS recipe), creamed corn, and milk pie. It’s a meal that unites generations of MHS alumni, staff, and students, bringing them together around a shared experience—an experience that is similar to the way Mr. Hershey would gather with early generations of students around the dining table.

For those who crave this certain comfort food, the culinary staff at the Hartman Supply Center were generous enough to compile these iconic recipes for our staff, students, alumni, and MHS community members to enjoy.


Traditional MHS Milk Pie Recipe – Serving Size: One Pie

1 tablespoon flour

1/4 cup sugar

1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

1 1/3 cups milk

1/2 tablespoon butter

1 – 8-inch unbaked pie crust

Mix flour, sugar, and cinnamon together. Add bottom of pie shell. Add butter, then milk. Bake at 350 degrees for approximately 45 to 55 minutes or until crust is brown.

View the recipe card

Traditional MHS Sheppard’s Pie Recipe – Serving Size: One Cafeteria Sized Pan

9 pounds ground beef

1 large onion, diced

1 cup shredded carrots, chopped

1 tablespoon white pepper

2 quarts beef gravy

3 quarts potatoes

In a pan, cook the ground beef until brown. Strain all grease from the pan and add onions and carrots and cook for few minutes on low until onions are transparent. Season with salt and pepper and add beef gravy, stir and place in a pan. Top with whipped potatoes and drizzle butter on top. Bake in oven at 350 degrees for about 45 minutes or until the potatoes start to brown.

View the recipe card

Traditional MHS Beef Gravy Recipe – Serving Size: One Cafeteria Sized Pan

1 pound beef base

5 gallons of water

1/2 cup chopped garlic

1 cup cornstarch – thicken with cornstarch slurry


Traditional MHS Potato Recipe – Serving Size: One Cafeteria Sized Pan

1 gallon of water

1 pack whipped potatoes

3/4 cup margarine

2 tablespoon white pepper

1 tablespoon salt


Similar Shepard’s Pie Recipe – Serving Size: One 9×13 Casserole Dish

1 1/2 to 2 pounds potatoes (about 3 large potatoes), peeled and quartered

8 tablespoons (1 stick) butter

1 medium onion, chopped (about 1 1/2 cups)

1 cup shredded carrots, chopped

1 1/2 pounds ground beef

1/2 cup beef broth

1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce

Salt, pepper, other seasonings of choice

  1. Boil the potatoes: Place the peeled and quartered potatoes in medium sized pot. Cover with at least an inch of cold water. Add a teaspoon of salt. Bring to a boil, reduce to a simmer, and cook until tender (about 20 minutes).
  2. Sauté vegetables: Melt 4 tablespoons of butter in a large sauté pan on medium heat. Add the chopped onions and carrots and cook until tender, about 6 to 10 minutes.
  3. Add the ground beef, then Worcestershire sauce and broth: Add ground beef to the pan with the onions and vegetables. Cook until no longer pink. Season with salt and pepper. Add the Worcestershire sauce and beef broth. Bring the broth to a simmer and reduce heat to low. Cook uncovered for 10 minutes, adding more beef broth if necessary to keep the meat from drying out.
  4. Mash the cooked potatoes: When the potatoes are done cooking (a fork can easily pierce), remove them from the pot and place them in a bowl with the remaining 4 tablespoons of butter. Mash with a fork or potato masher, and season with salt and pepper to taste.
  5. Layer the meat mixture and mashed potatoes in a casserole dish: Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Spread the beef and vegetables in an even layer in a large baking dish (9×13 casserole). Spread the mashed potatoes over the top of the ground beef. Rough up the surface of the mashed potatoes with a fork so there are peaks that will get well browned. You can even use a fork to make creative designs in the mashed potatoes.
  6. Bake: Place in a 400-degree oven and cook until browned and bubbling, about 30 minutes.

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