Prison food is all the rage nowadays. Not the food offered on the state prison trays; rather, recipes inmates use in prison. Books have been written containing prison recipes and a restaurant featuring "jail decor and food" even opened in Egypt. But most of the so-called "prison recipes" available on the Internet and in print seem to contain a lot of food items that would be extremely difficult to obtain in prison, if not impossible.
The prison recipes below contain no fancy ingredients, nor are they very nutritional, but they are legitimate. All ingredients can be purchased from commissary or are items that frequently appear on state food trays, like condiments. The only exception to this is onions, which seem to be fairly easy to get, no matter what prison you're in.
Depending on your custody status, items that need to be cooked are done so in a variety of ways. In general population and death row, inmates usually have access to a microwave and/or a "hot pot." If you're unfortunate enough to be in administrative segregation, you must get a little more creative and make your own version of an easy bake oven. If you ever wondered what inmates are really eating or how prisoners make alcohol, then continue reading.
Prison Lock Down Brownies
This recipe was submitted by an inmate serving life in prison in Alabama. He has stated he cannot eat this too often or he'll go into a sugar coma, but he enjoys it every once in a while.
- 1 large pack of soft batch chocolate chip cookies
- 3 Hershey bars (with almonds if you like) or chocolate bar of your choice
- 5 oz. of milk
- 4 instant cocoa packs
- 2 Three Musketeers bars
Crumble up all the cookies into a large container. Crumble up all the Hershey bars on top of cookies. Microwave this mixture for 30-50 seconds or until the chocolate is kind of melted and can be mixed up.
Microwave 4 oz. of milk for 60 seconds and add the 4 packs of hot cocoa to milk. Stir briskly and pour on top of your cookie mixture.
Mash ingredients until malleable.
Transfer mixture into a pan, smooth out, and bake at 350 degrees for 15 minutes (in prison, they make their own easy-bake ovens).
Add remainder of milk to a glass or container and squish the two Three Musketeers into the container. Place in microwave and cook for 30 seconds or until melted. Stir until fluffy.
Pour Three Musketeers mixture on top of finished brownies.
Prison No-Bake Cookies
This recipe came from an inmate currently serving time in Texas. He said, "Sometimes you just get a hankering for some home-made cookies. Without access to an oven, these are the next best thing."
- 2 packets of instant oatmeal with raisins
- 3/4 cup of peanut butter
- 1/4 cup of water
- 2 packets of sugar
Mix all ingredients together. Shape into 1/2 inch thick cookies. Let sit for 3 hours. Makes 5 cookies.
Chocolate Cherry Vanilla Prison Pie
This recipe was devised by William Heirens, who was serving a life sentence in Illinois. Heirens stated that this was his favorite dessert before discovering he had diabetes and that he had cravings for it pretty often. Heirens was the longest-serving inmate in the United States until his death in 2012.
Pie Crust Ingredients:
- 1 bag of vanilla wafers
- 5 oatmeal cream pies
- 1/4 cup water
- 2 tablespoons of butter
Pie Filling Ingredients:
- 2 packages of powdered milk
- 1 package of cherry Kool-Aid
- 2 packets of sugar
- 1/4 can of Sprite
- 2 packets of vanilla cappuccino
- Hershey bar
Break vanilla wafers into little pieces while still in the bag. Crush up the oatmeal cream pies, then add to the vanilla wafer bag. Mix the water in with the vanilla wafers and the oatmeal cream pies. Add butter. Shape into a ball, press into pan or a bowl, shaping up the sides to resemble a pie crust.
In a large bowl, mix all filling ingredients with a spoon and stir for 5 minutes. Pour into pie crust and allow to set until pie is firm. After the pie is firm, melt the Hershey bar in the microwave and pour over pie.
(Also known as hooch or wine).
This recipe is attributed to a death row inmate at San Quentin State Prison. There are many variations of this recipe using various types of fruit and other ingredients. Many prisoners make a larger portion of this in trash bags instead of Ziploc bags so they can sell it to other prisoners.
- 1 gallon-sized Ziploc bag
- 5-10 oranges
- 8 ounces of fruit cocktail
- 16 oz. water
- 300 sugar cubes
- 6 teaspoons of ketchup
Peel all of the oranges and place them in the plastic bag along with the fruit cocktail. Next, mash up the oranges as much as possible and add 16 ounces of water to the mixture in the bag. Seal the bag and let it run under hot water for 10-15 minutes. Wrap the bag in a towel and let it sit for at least two days.
After two days, the bag should smell rotten and look like it's about to explode. If it doesn't, let it sit another day. Add the sugar cubes and ketchup to the mixture and re-seal the bag. Place your mixture under hot running water for 30 minutes, then wrap the towel around it again.
Each day, for the next three days, open the bag to let the gasses out and run the bag under hot water for 15 minutes. On the third day, the alcohol should be ready. Separate the fruit mash from the liquid.