Jackie Alpers

‘The Unofficial Yellowstone Cookbook’ Lets You Dine Like a Dutton — Without the Drama

Nearly 100 thoughtfully crafted recipes inspired by 'Yellowstone' and its prequel series

Fans of Yellowstone can't get enough of the Dutton family and their rugged ranch lifestyle. For four and half seasons, millions have tuned in to watch the dramatic family dynamics of John, Beth, Kayce, Rip and all of their favorite bunkhouse characters, much of which plays out over hearty breakfasts and fire-grilled dinners. As the days tick down to the release of the series' final episodes, you can relive some of your favorite moments — and flavors — from the show by whipping up a Yellowstone-inspired meal courtesy of The Unofficial Yellowstone Cookbook: Recipes Inspired by the Dutton Family Ranch, on sale October 24.

Written by award-winning food photographer and recipe developer Jackie Alpers, author of Sprinkles!: Recipes and Ideas for Rainbowlicious Desserts and Taste of Tucson: Sonoran-Style Recipes Inspired by the Rich Culture of Southern Arizona, the cookbook contains almost 100 recipes that capture the spirit of the people and places of the popular TV show, as well as its prequels 1883 and 1923.

Alpers spent about nine months watching, rewatching and studying every episode of Yellowstone. "I researched this book meticulously," she explained. "I would take photos whenever I saw anyone eat food, and then I would study every detail.

"The Dutton family are cattle ranchers, and the sacrifice and perils of feeding people is a central theme on Yellowstone. Yet ironically, they can't finish a meal together. This has become a metaphor for the complexity of their beliefs," she continued.

portrait of The Unofficial Yellowstone Cookbook author Jackie Alpers

Jackie Alpers

Included are Alpers' interpretations of Dutton favorites, including Beth's Restorative Smoothie — "two scoops of ice cream, three shots of vodka" — and her Gourmet Hamburger Helper. There's also Jamie's Grilled Octopus, Dr. Safford's Prostate-Friendly Salad With Fruit, and Chili Two Ways, a nod to Season 4's bunkhouse debate about beans. And the Jefferson River Grilled Trout recalls a tender family moment. "John Dutton appears to enjoy meals spent camping with his grandson, Tate. In Season 3, Episode 2, we see John teaching Tate how to prepare campfire-grilled trout," Alpers noted.

Classic cowboy fare is complemented by traditional Native American dishes. The Fry Bread With Thick-Cut Bacon and Scrambled Eggs pays homage not only to Rip's culinary prowess but also to the region's Native American heritage. Corn Cakes are another iconic Native American dish seen on the show. And beef shares the spotlight with wild game such as elk, bison, doves and even rattlesnake. According to Alpers, "The way that indigenous cultures have merged with that of the European settlers, and how it has evolved over the centuries, is a big part of it, especially when it comes to wheat, beef and farming in the West."

One time-honored dish that would be right at home on the Dutton family table is Cara Dutton's Irish Stout Pot Roast. "Irish immigrants such as John Dutton's great-great aunt Cara, whose story is told in 1923, brought family recipes with them from the old country that were passed down from generation to generation," Alpers said. "The Dutton family truly appreciates their heritage, so this would be a meal that honors their roots."

Beth's Hamburger Helper Two Ways_ Recipe photo from the Unofficial Yellowstone Cookbook by Jackie Alpers

Beth's Hamburger Helper: This is not your typical Hamburger Helper out of the box. Beth uses her big brain to analyze and elevate boxed Hamburger Helper into a gourmet casserole, a trick you can now replicate.

The author suggested, however, that if it was up to John, he would choose The Best Salisbury Steak in Montana. "His favorite meal, however, is probably one he can quietly enjoy without all of the family drama," she said.

In addition to her own recipes, Alpers includes dishes from other chefs, farmers and restaurants, including James Beard Award-winning Oglala Lakota Sioux chef Sean Sherman; Obie Hindman, executive chef of the Mountain Oyster Club in Tucson; and the Roosevelt Lodge in Yellowstone National Park.

Each recipe is accompanied by mouthwatering full-color images. And no attention to detail was spared. "I really wanted things to be visual references to the show — and in ways that would hopefully be charming to readers," Alpers said.

Remember when Carter wanted to eat cake with his steak and scooped a giant portion from the center of the dessert? Alpers' photograph of her Triple Chocolate Flourless Cake With Fudge Frosting re-enacts the scene, complete with a center spoonful of gooey, chocolatey goodness. And the cornmeal mush, a grits-like dish that was a mainstay of wagon trains, is shown being ladled from a cast iron kettle — a preferred cooking method of early pioneers such as James and Margaret Dutton.

"Train Station" Funeral Potatoes: 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.

Dishes are displayed in cast iron skillets, on vintage tin plates and even on wood stakes set against an open campfire. Eagle-eyed fans will spot the distinctive cattle brand-and-rodeo-patterned dinnerware that decorates the Dutton family table. The mugs and plates featuring the paintings of legendary cowboy artist Till Goodan are made by Tucson-based HF Coors. Some items, such as the Ralph Lauren rocks glasses favored by John Dutton, came from Alpers' personal collection, while others were sourced to match specific scenes and locations. "There's a ranch on the show called the 6666 Ranch, which is a real ranch in Texas that [series creator and writer] Tyler Sheridan owns," Alpers said. She found a plate from the ranch at HF Coors.

But The Unofficial Yellowstone Cookbook is more than just a collection of recipes. It celebrates the show and the ranching lifestyle it portrays. There's information about creating a more sustainable kitchen. "One of the cornerstones of the show is the stewardship of the land and how ranching has evolved in keeping the region," Alpers explained. She also includes tips on throwing the perfect Yellowstone-themed gathering and looks back at some of the series' best food moments. And woven throughout the pages are fun trivia notes about the history and culture behind some of the dishes and cooking tips.

The final episodes of Yellowstone are expected to premiere in November. They promise to bring with them more drama, more breathtaking scenery — and more family get-togethers around the massive dining table.

"I think the meals in the final half of Season 5 will be increasingly chaotic and aggressive as the show reaches its finale," Alpers said. "Chef Gator will continue to prepare incredible meals featuring perfectly grilled meat, potatoes and fresh vegetables that remain un-eaten, and these meals will continue to be a central catalyst for the show's themes revolving around life and death."

The Unofficial Yellowstone Cookbook: Recipes Inspired by the Dutton Family Ranch goes on sale October 24 and is available for pre-order. Alpers provided a sneak peek of what's to come with the following recipes:

Maggie Dutton's Old-Fashioned Blackberry and Buttermilk Cobbler

blackberry cobler recipe photo from the Unofficial Yellowstone cookbook by Jackie Alpers

Jackie Alpers

Pie's less frilly but just as delicious cousin, cobbler is a classic dessert that's practically made for your family's heirloom cast iron casserole pan.

Prep time: 15 minutes

Cook time: 30 minutes

Yield: 8 servings


36 oz   blackberries, defrosted if frozen

¼ cup   granulated sugar, divided

½ cup   tsp kosher salt

Juice from 1 medium lemon, about 2-3 tbsp

2 tbsp  Canadian whiskey, such as Black Label

2 tsp    arrowroot powder

8  raw 1 ½-inch buttermilk biscuits (see recipe below)


  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. Toss the berries with 3 tbsp of the sugar, salt, lemon juice, whiskey and arrowroot powder. Transfer to a 9-by-13-inch or 3-quart casserole dish. Lay the raw biscuits on top, then dust with the remaining 1 tbsp sugar.
  3. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes or until the biscuits are browned and cooked through and the berries are syrupy and bubbling. Let cool for 5 minutes before serving.

"Mmmm, That's How You Make Biscuits" Biscuits

Mmmm, That's How You Make Biscuits by Jackie Alpers

Jackie Alpers

This dense but pillowy breakfast staple made it out West via Southerners settling its vast acres, and boy are we glad they did.

Prep time: 20 minutes

Cook time: 15 minutes

Yield: 12-15 servings


2 cups  all-purpose flour, plus more for rolling out the dough

4 tsp    baking powder

½ tsp    baking soda

1 tsp    salt

4 tbsp  butter, cut into ¼-inch cubes*

1/3 cup  Greek yogurt

1 cup   buttermilk

1 egg


  1. Preheat the oven to 450 degrees F. Mix the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt together.
  2. Add the butter, then squish and pinch the butter into the mixture. Place the bowl in the freezer.
  3. In another bowl, whisk together the yogurt, buttermilk and egg.
  4. Remove the flour mixture from the freezer, make a small well in the middle and pour in the wet mixture. Mix with a rubber spatula.
  5. Roll out the dough on a well-floured work surface using a floured rolling pin to a ¼-to-½-inch-thick rectangle. Sprinkle it with flour, then fold it into thirds like a letter. Pat the dough down to make another rectangle the same size, sprinkle it with a bit of flour, then fold it like a letter again. Repeat the pat, sprinkle and fold a third time.
  6. Cut the dough with a 2-inch cookie or biscuit cutter. Place on an ungreased 18-by-13-inch rimmed half-sheet baking pan and cook until browned, about 15 minutes.

*Tips from the trail: Make sure to use cold butter to produce the flaky layers that mark a true Southern-style biscuit.

READ MORE: 3 'Yellowstone' Fan Theories That Predict Who Will - and Won't - Survive the End of Season 5