This Is What The Pioneer Woman Really Eats

You probably know her as The Pioneer Woman, but at home, the television star, cookbook author, restaurateur, and blogger is Ree Drummond (well, technically, her first name is Anne-Marie). Her on-screen persona is that of a down-home, comfort food cook, but what does she eat in real life? Does her family really enjoy the meals she makes on television? Has becoming a fancy Food Network celebrity changed the way she eats? Not really!

It turns out that Drummond really does eat the dishes featured on her show, blog, and in her cookbooks. In fact, she stands by some of her recipes so firmly, she even added them to the menu at her Pawhuska, Oklahoma, restaurant, Mercantile.

While Drummond does eat a lot of stick-to-your-ribs, hearty comfort food, that's not all she likes. The former city girl has an urbanite's taste for sushi and good coffee, and though she may live in Oklahoma, her favorite breakfast has a Tex-Mex twist. Read on to find out about The Pioneer Woman's favorite foods — and the one thing she never eats.

The Pioneer Woman eats cheese

Drummond may be a huge television celebrity, but one of the reasons why her fans love her so much is that her culinary tastes are simple and totally relatable. Case in point? Drummond has gone on the record saying that her absolute favorite food is cheese. She eats cheese in some form every single day and even has more than 800 recipes on The Pioneer Woman blog that contain "cheese" in the title.

As for how she gets her daily allotment of cheese, she's not picky. Drummond has stated that she loves macaroni and cheese (it was a staple when she was growing up), craved cheesy quesadillas when she was pregnant with all of her children, adds goat cheese and feta cheese to salads, loves the way Swiss cheese melts, and will snack on cubes of white cheddar straight up.

If you're a cheese lover like Drummond, you'll probably enjoy recipes on The Pioneer Woman website like fried goat cheese with marinara, fancy mac and cheese, and cheese straws. If these cheesy recipes can quell Drummond's daily craving, they should be good enough for you too.

The Pioneer Woman can't get enough meatballs

There's comfort food, there's meatballs, and then there's The Pioneer Woman's comfort meatballs. Drummond has said, "I've loved them since I first sunk my teeth into them years ago," which is as ringing an endorsement as they get. She was first introduced to these meatballs when a friend brought them over after Drummond had just had a baby, and it was love at first taste.

Drummond's meatballs are seasoned simply, with just salt, black pepper, and onion adding flavor to a mixture of ground beef that's held together with oats and milk. Then, they're browned on the stovetop and baked in a homemade barbecue sauce that's equal parts sweet and tangy. A side of mashed potatoes is a must. 

These aren't the only meatballs in Drummond's life. She also has a recipe for spaghetti and meatballs on her website. They're more classically Italian, made with ground beef and ground pork with fresh herbs and cheese added for extra flavor. Though Drummond says she almost can't tell if she likes making or eating spaghetti and meatballs more, at the end of the day she says that, "Never eating spaghetti and meatballs again in my life would be pretty [devastating]."

Sushi is another favorite of The Pioneer Woman

Oklahoma is landlocked, and when most people think of a pioneer in the historical sense, most folks are probably thinking about buffalo, not sushi. But Drummond says that sushi is actually on her list of her favorite foods.

It helps to know that Drummond hasn't always lived on the ranch in Pawhuska, Oklahoma. She went to college in Southern California, and now that she's a big star, she travels quite a bit too, so she's been exposed to food from all over the country — and the world.

Luckily, just because Drummond lives out in the middle of nowhere doesn't mean that she can't get her sushi fix. Her husband (affectionately referred to as the Marlboro Man) had a sushi chef come out to the ranch one year for Drummond's birthday to teach her how to make perfect sushi at home. She says it's the one thing other than a pug he figured she'd want.

Now, what if you like the idea of sushi (rolled-up food, bite-sized, summery), but you aren't a fan of fish? The Pioneer Woman has a recipe for prairie sushi, which is much more like what you might expect coming out of Oklahoma. It's basically a turkey, cream cheese, and veggie wrap that uses flour tortillas instead of dried seaweed to keep the rolls together.

Meat and potatoes are high on The Pioneer Woman's list

The Pioneer Woman lives on a cattle ranch, and her husband wakes up at the crack of dawn to do his back-breaking farm chores. In the meantime, Drummond is busy writing cookbooks, filming episodes of her television show, and wrangling her kids. Needless to say, at the end of the day, everyone's famished, and nothing hits the spot like meat and potatoes. Drummond has said, "I cook the way I eat," meaning hearty comfort foods that contain meat and potatoes are often on the menu both on her show and at home.  

The potato component of this duo might be Drummond's specialty — her potato recipes are famous. In fact, when she went up against Bobby Flay during a Thanksgiving-themed episode of Throwdown with Bobby Flay, she beat the famous chef thanks to her creamy mashed potato recipe. Drummond's secret ingredients make for mashed potatoes that are extra-creamy and full of flavor. She mashes her spuds with cream cheese and Lawry's Seasoned Salt.

As for meat, Drummond's recipes like Sunday night stew are rich, satisfying, and hearty enough to satisfy any carnivore. Served with a side of mashed potatoes, not a single drop of that meaty broth goes to waste. 

The Pioneer Woman doesn't like bananas

The Pioneer Woman is on the record saying that she loves all kinds of food, but if you pay close attention in interviews or even just do a quick scan of the recipes on her website, you may notice one ingredient she doesn't give the love to: bananas. "I don't like bananas. I like to drive that point home," Drummond has said in interviews.

She's not alone. Apparently, her dad and one of her brothers also loathe bananas, leading her to wonder if it's a genetic preference. Drummond says that she's hated bananas since she was a kid and that she's never eaten a whole banana in her life, just had bites here and there that she ended up spitting out in disgust.

That being said, she does have two delicious-sounding banana recipes on her website: banana bread and bananas foster. The banana bread is her mother's recipe, which Drummond did once eat after coming off of a low-carb diet, but apparently, she was just in a carb frenzy and hasn't enjoyed bananas before or since. She also says she tried some of the salted caramel in her bananas foster dessert, but even that wasn't enough to convince her that bananas were worth her time.

The Pioneer Woman eats cinnamon rolls

If Drummond had to name one of her recipes as better than all the rest, it would be her cinnamon rolls. "I can say that my cinnamon rolls are the best in the world," she's proudly stated, saying that the recipe came from her mom.

In fact, the rolls are so iconic that they've even made it onto the menu of Mercantile, The Pioneer Woman's restaurant in Pawhuska. You can snag one for just $4, which is not a bad deal if you consider that you're tasting what a famous celebrity chef says is her best recipe. We'll take a dozen!

If you can't make the trip out to Oklahoma, Drummond also shares the recipe, which she says she's made "approximately 89,745 times in my life, give or take 89,000," on her website. Though the recipe started out as something Drummond and her mom made to share with loved ones around Christmas, you can make them any time of year you please. The combination of soft and flaky dough, buttery cinnamon sugar filling, and pour-on maple icing make for a sweet treat that's just as good as dessert as it is a morning accompaniment to a hot cup of coffee. 

Chicken parmesan is a fave of The Pioneer Woman

Ree Drummond isn't just a television star, cookbook author, and business owner. She's also a mom, and she's the one in charge of making food for her family most nights. So, what does an international culinary celebrity feed her family on a regular basis? According to Drummond, one of her family's favorite meals is chicken parmesan.

"It's not the best, authentic Italian version. It's very Americanized," Drummond explains, but the recipe still sounds plenty tasty to us. And let's be honest, with that busy schedule, it's impressive that she's whipping up a meal from scratch to begin with.

As promised, there's "nothing complicated or fussy about" The Pioneer Woman's chicken parmesan recipe. Chicken breasts are dredged in flour and fried until crispy and are then added to a skillet of homemade tomato sauce and topped with parmesan cheese. The dish is cooked until the cheese is gooey and melted and the chicken is warmed through. Serve it over linguine, and you've got a Drummond family favorite on your plate. "We all love it, including my big, strapping cowboy of a husband," Drummond says on her website. If it's good enough for the Marlboro Man and The Pioneer Woman, surely it's good enough for us.

The Pioneer Woman loves her migas

Breakfast is the most important meal of the day. In fact, The Pioneer Woman loves breakfast so much that she often makes breakfast for dinner for her family. And while you may envision her table loaded up with steak and eggs or her signature cinnamon rolls, her favorite breakfast food is actually migas.

Migas is a Tex-Mex dish that's basically like all of the best parts of a breakfast burrito turned into a breakfast scramble. But you can forget about the flour tortilla. According to Drummond, "fried, chopped corn tortillas" are essential to the dish. She says that though some people will just serve migas with warmed or grilled tortillas, she likes it best when the tortillas are fried in oil until they get a bit crispy and are then are chopped up and added to the eggs. The egg mixture softens them up a bit, but thanks to the fry, they still retain some texture.

The result is a dish in which each mouthful contains a combination of creamy eggs, peppers and onions, melted cheese, and those satisfying fried corn tortillas. If you want to taste what makes migas so special, you can even order it from the menu at Drummond's restaurant Mercantile. She loves it so much she added it to the menu.

The Pioneer Woman eats flat strawberry pie

The Pioneer Woman often talks about her cowboy husband, whom she affectionately calls "Marlboro Man." He comes from a long line of cattle ranchers, and he's running the family cattle ranch now. Some people think that running a farm requires more brawn than brain, but it's a business like any other, and it turns out that cattle rancher Ladd Drummond (the Marlboro Man's real name) has quite a brain for business in addition to the brawn needed to keep the farm operating.

Though Ree Drummond is usually the one behind the wheel when it comes to the kitchen, Ladd has also made his culinary influence known. It was under his insistence that their restaurant Mercantile started selling a family favorite, a flat strawberry rhubarb pie.

Ladd worked closely with Merc's executive chef to put the pie on the menu. Unlike a traditional double-crust pie, the flat strawberry rhubarb pie is made on a single round of dough, with the crust folded over the edge of the pie, like a galette. The family likes this style of pie so much that they even served it at the Drummond family reunion hosted at Mercantile in 2017.

Steak is a go-to choice for The Pioneer Woman

The Pioneer Woman's husband, Ladd Drummond, comes from a family that's been ranching cattle since the late 1800s, so it shouldn't come as a surprise that one of the most-requested foods in the Drummond household is steak. After all, when you raise cows for a living, beef is on the menu fairly often. In fact, the Drummonds are so devoted to steak that the very first recipe on Ree's blog was entitled "How to Cook a Steak" — it's that foundational to The Pioneer Woman's empire. 

For the best steak, Drummond recommends choosing well-marbled boneless ribeyes. She cooks the steaks on a buttered cast iron grill pan (so they get that classic grill-mark look) and seasons them with Lawry's Seasoned Salt and McCormick Lemon & Pepper Seasoning Salt. Drummond, who likes her steak medium-rare, tells her readers to remember that you can always add a rare steak back to the pan to cook a little longer, but once it's overcooked, it's overcooked for good. Better to err on the side of caution and take the meat off a little early if you're not sure. 

Now, that simply cooked ribeye sounds delicious, but The Pioneer Woman doesn't just stick to plain steaks. Another Drummond family favorite is The Marlboro Man Sandwich, which is made with pan-fried cube steak, and you can find variations on a standard juicy steak (like Cajun T-Bone Steaks) on The Pioneer Woman website.

The Pioneer Woman needs her coffee

When you're as busy as Ree Drummond, you need a little something every now and then to keep you going throughout the day. After all, with a busy filming schedule, lots of travel, and her family obligations, The Pioneer Woman's schedule is stretched seriously thin. Luckily, reprieve for Drummond comes in a very tasty form: coffee.

Drummond has gone on the record saying "Coffee is my life" (she even wrote a blog post about it). Safe to say, she's very passionate about her daily brew. Drummond prefers her coffee iced, but she has plenty of other coffee recipes on her blog too, including Dulce de Leche Coffee and Homemade Frappuccinos.

But The Pioneer Woman doesn't only deal with coffee at home. She also sells it at her restaurant Mercantile. In fact, she was so committed to making sure that the Merc sold quality coffee that she worked with Topeka Coffee Roasters in Tulsa, Oklahoma, to come up with a custom-blended, custom-roasted coffee to serve guests. In fact, Drummond says that the real motivation for launching such a sophisticated espresso and coffee menu at the restaurant was "just so that I could have a good cup of coffee every day."

The Pioneer Woman loves barbecue chicken

Chicken is a staple in most households. It's mild so even picky eaters like it, and it's versatile enough that even the most creative cooks can have fun with it. One of The Pioneer Woman's favorite ways to enjoy this pleasing poultry? Barbecued, baby.

The complexity of barbecue sauce turns chicken from something that can be a little bland and boring into a showstopper. Drummond loves barbecue chicken so much that she has several different versions of the recipe on her blog, from classic baked Barbecue Chicken with homemade sauce to versions made with peach preserves and recipes that can use the leftovers, like Barbecue Chicken Salad.

She also says that she thinks she could win a baking contest with barbecue chicken and pineapple hand pies, which sounds like a totally tasty combo of sweet, tangy, and salty flavors.

Barbecue chicken as a dish reminds us of what makes Drummond's style of cooking so resonant for her fans. She's taking a staple (chicken), making it into a familiar dish (barbecue chicken), but adding a twist that sets it apart from the run-of-the-mill fare a lot of families have gotten used to. Her recipes are accessible but adventurous in a way that most people can pull off, even without a Viking range or access to a Whole Foods.