The Improvement Era (1897–1970), the official publication of the Young Men’s Mutual Improvement Association, was the primary adult periodical of the Church for a time. With General Authority sponsorship, the magazine’s content focused on theology, history, contemporary affairs, and life in the Church. In addition, recipes were often included.1
Relief Society Magazine
The Relief Society Magazine (1914–70) served to unite women throughout the Church, to educate and enlighten them, and to serve as an outlet for Mormon women’s personal writing. The magazine provides a valuable resource for studying Mormon women’s history and culture.
After 57 years as the official publication of the Relief Society, the Relief Society Magazine ceased in 1970, when the Church consolidated its periodicals into the three current magazines (Ensign, New Era, Friend) for different age-groups.2
Young Woman’s Journal
The monthly Young Woman’s Journal (1889–1929), written for the female youth of the Church and their leaders, featured articles on theology, fashion, literature, marriage, housekeeping, hygiene, gardening, and ethics. The Young Woman’s Journal also printed recipes, patterns for sewing and handiwork, short stories, poems, lesson guides, and talks by General Authorities and Young Women leaders. In 1929 Church leaders combined the Young Woman’s Journal and the Young Men’s Improvement Era into one publication.3 Here are some recipes from the Young Woman’s Journal and the Relief Society Magazine:
In January 1971 the Friend replaced the Children’s Friend (1902–70) as the Church’s magazine for children up to age 12. Its goal is to reach the children of the Church by presenting the gospel in an engaging and understandable way and by reinforcing the values of home and family. The magazine accomplishes this by printing brightly illustrated stories; recipes and crafts; games and activities such as hidden pictures, matching games, and connect-the-dots drawings; calendars; ideas for family home evening; stories of Church leaders and other inspiring people; suggestions for reading; special editions for holidays; and messages from the First Presidency or other Church leaders.4 To find recipes in the Friend, search the online periodical index, or use the printed index to Church periodicals on-site at the Church History Library.
Since 1971 the Ensign magazine has been the Church’s publication for English-speaking, adult members. Officially known as the Ensign of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, it replaced the Improvement Era, the Instructor, and the Relief Society Magazine. Printed in ten regular issues and two general conference issues (May and November) each year, the Ensign connects members with Church headquarters through faith-promoting stories, the writings of Church leaders, gospel-in-action stories, doctrinal summaries, provident living articles, music, poetry, and more. Although recipes are not heavily featured in the Ensign, some recipes are found in older issues. For example, several favorite recipes of past Church Presidents were published in the Ensign in 1976. You can see the recipe for Brigham Young’s doughnuts here or the recipe for Joseph Fielding Smith’s sherbet here. To find other recipes, search the online periodical index, or use the printed index to Church periodicals on-site at the Church History Library.
The Nauvoo Neighbor was a weekly newspaper published in Nauvoo from May 1843 to October 1845. The newspaper focused on nondoctrinal topics (the Times and Seasons covered spiritual topics) and provided snapshots of everyday life in Nauvoo. The paper included recipes and often printed remedies for treating medical ailments and concoctions for making cleaning products. The October 11, 1843, issue featured several recipes for preserving produce (tomatoes and corn) in preparation for winter. While there is no single authoritative index for the Neighbor, issues are available online through the Church History Catalog.
On June 15, 1850, less than three years after the pioneers first entered the Salt Lake Valley, the Church established a weekly newspaper named the Deseret News. From that time to the present, the newspaper has enjoyed uninterrupted publication. On November 21, 1867, it became a daily paper.5 Portions of the Deseret News have been digitized and are now available online. To find recipes printed in the Deseret News, try searching the online periodical index, or try a word search through Utah Digital Newspapers online.
The Lehi Banner (1891–1914) was started as the official newspaper for the new sugar factory in Lehi. The newspaper covered local and world news as well as sugar-industry analyses. In 1915 the paper moved its operations to American Fork. Here is an example of a recipe published in the Banner in 1907. You can find the newspaper on microfilm at the Church History Library (call number 071.9224 L552b v. 1-23 1891–1914), or you can read issues online. To find recipes printed in the paper, try the online search tools located on the Digital Utah Newspapers site.
Other Utah newspapers are available online and can be searched at digitalnewspapers.org.
Different missions of the Church have created mission cookbooks that include recipes of missionaries, mission leaders, and local members. Some of these cookbooks are housed at the Church History Library. These cookbooks can sometimes be hard to locate, so try searching the catalog first (see some initial search results here). You may also want to search using the mission name. If you have any problems locating these cookbooks, please ask a member of the reference staff for help.
The Deseret Recipes cookbooks were created in part by the Church Welfare Department. They contain economical recipes, many of which use products from the bishops’ storehouse. You can find Deseret Recipes in the online catalog here.
If you still have questions about finding recipes or cookbooks, please submit them to the reference staff using this Ask Us form.
 “The Improvement Era,” accessed Nov. 8, 2017, archive.org.
 “Relief Society Magazine Digital Project,” Harold B. Lee Library, accessed Nov. 8, 2017, archive.org.
 Petrea Gillespie Kelly, “Young Woman’s Journal,” in Encyclopedia of Mormonism, ed. Daniel H. Ludlow, 4 vols. (New York: Macmillan, 1992), 4:1615–16.
 Elizabeth Wahlquist, “The Friend,” in Encyclopedia of Mormonism, 2:529–30.
 Wendell J. Ashton, “Deseret News,” in Encyclopedia of Mormonism, 1:377–78.