1942 Joy of Cooking’s Potato Volcano

Step back in time and relish a piece of culinary history with the 1942 Joy of Cooking’s Potato Volcano—a dish that encapsulates the nostalgia of wartime kitchens. A creation born out of simplicity yet bursting with flavor, this recipe showcases the resourcefulness of the era. Join us as we revive this classic, exploring the ingredients and techniques that made the 1942 Joy of Cooking a kitchen treasure and savoring a taste of the past.

Ingredients: For the Potato Volcano:

  • 4 large russet potatoes, peeled and grated
  • 1 small onion, finely chopped
  • 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter

For the Filling:

  • 1 cup ground beef
  • 1/2 cup diced carrots
  • 1/2 cup green peas (fresh or frozen)
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped onion
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tablespoon tomato paste
  • Salt and pepper to taste

For the Mashed Potato Topping:

  • 2 cups mashed potatoes (prepared separately)
  • 1/4 cup milk
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • Salt and pepper to taste


  1. Prepare the Potato Base: Grate peeled russet potatoes into a bowl. Squeeze out excess moisture and mix with chopped onions, flour, beaten eggs, salt, and pepper. Form this mixture into a crust at the bottom of a greased baking dish, creating a well in the center.
  2. Cook the Filling: In a skillet, brown ground beef. Add diced carrots, green peas, chopped onion, minced garlic, tomato paste, salt, and pepper. Cook until the vegetables are tender and the mixture is well combined. Spoon this filling into the well of the potato crust.
  3. Mashed Potato Crown: In a separate bowl, prepare mashed potatoes by combining cooked potatoes with milk, butter, salt, and pepper. Spread the mashed potatoes over the beef and vegetable filling, creating a crown-like appearance.
  4. Bake to Golden Glory: Bake in a preheated oven at 375°F (190°C) for 25-30 minutes or until the mashed potato topping turns golden brown.
  5. Butter Baste: During the last 10 minutes of baking, dot the mashed potato topping with butter for an extra layer of richness.
  6. Serve Warm: Allow the Potato Volcano to cool for a few minutes before serving. Cut into slices, revealing the layers of crust, savory filling, and crowned with golden mashed potatoes.

Cook Notes:

  • Crust Consistency: Squeezing out excess moisture from the grated potatoes ensures a crisp and flavorful crust.
  • Vegetable Variations: Feel free to incorporate seasonal vegetables or those available in your pantry for a personalized touch.
  • Butter Basting: Basting the mashed potato topping with butter adds a glossy finish and enhances the richness of the dish.


  1. Cheese Cascade: Sprinkle shredded cheddar or Parmesan over the mashed potato topping for a cheesy finish.
  2. Herb Infusion: Mix chopped fresh herbs like parsley, thyme, or rosemary into the mashed potatoes for an aromatic twist.

Keto Versions:

  1. Cauliflower Crust: Replace grated potatoes with cauliflower rice for a low-carb alternative.
  2. Keto-Friendly Filling: Use ground turkey or chicken in place of beef and opt for low-carb vegetables like broccoli or bell peppers.

Low-Carb Version: Modify the filling by choosing lower-carb vegetables and reducing the amount of potato in the crust while maintaining the essence of the dish.

The 1942 Joy of Cooking’s Potato Volcano is not just a recipe; it’s a culinary time capsule that brings the essence of wartime kitchens to your table. This dish speaks of resourcefulness, creativity, and the ability to create something delicious with simple ingredients. As you savor each bite, you’re transported to a different era, appreciating the ingenuity of cooks who made the most of what they had.

Whether you follow the traditional recipe or explore variations to suit modern tastes, the Potato Volcano invites you to celebrate the rich history of home cooking. It’s a reminder that great meals can be crafted from the heart, using humble ingredients and a touch of creativity.

So, embrace the legacy of the 1942 Joy of Cooking and relish the joy of a Potato Volcano—a dish that not only fills your stomach but also nourishes your soul with the warmth of culinary history. Share this timeless creation with family and friends, and let the flavors of the past ignite conversations and memories around your table

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