12 Of Audrey Hepburn's Favorite Foods

Audrey Hepburn and her favorite foods
Audrey Hepburn and her favorite foods - Static Media / Shutterstock / Getty

Audrey Hepburn, the iconic actress of Hollywood's Golden Age, captivated audiences with her timeless elegance and grace, but also with her great passion for food. Off the silver screen, she cultivated a reputation as a fervent food lover, a facet of her personality that endeared her to fans and lived on in her son Luca Dotti. Dotti published "Audrey at Home: Memories of My Mother's Kitchen" in 2015, a book about his mother in which he recounts their family life with particular attention to dining and recipes.

It's only fair that she should have indulged in satisfying her palate in her later years given what she'd had to endure in the Nazi-occupied Netherlands as a child. There she and her family subsisted on tulip bulbs and boiled grass during a famine induced by Nazi policies. Since then, Hepburn showcased a hearty appetite for the finer foods in life, including hefty pasta dishes and sushi. Indeed, she was known for having an adventurous palate and embracing different cuisines and flavors with gusto, which she did both in restaurants and in her home cooking. Let's look at which dishes struck her fancy and perhaps learn a tip or two about how to prepare good, simple meals worthy of an international movie star.

Read more: Ina Garten's 12 Best Cleaning Tips For A Mess-Free Kitchen


Row of salmon sushi
Row of salmon sushi - xarng phomjampa/Shutterstock

When sushi started to become popular in America approximately 50 years ago, few people knew what it was or what to expect. Luckily, according to the Michelin Guide, it took root in Los Angeles with a restaurant known as Kawafuku. The area was home to a number of celebrities and tastemakers able to influence the popular imagination in the right direction, and it's probably not an exaggeration to say that since they liked sushi then, we can like sushi now.

Indeed, Audrey Hepburn was one of the first sushi appreciators, along with actor Rock Hudson. One might even say that her palate was instrumental in the sushi boom that took place starting in the 1960s. TikTok influences weren't around then, so people had to make do with tastemakers like Hepburn. Although the dish had existed in America country as far back as the early 1900s, at which point it enjoyed some degree of popularity until World War II severed Japanese-American ties for a while, it wasn't until the 1960s that it really took off. Sushi restaurants proliferated, attracting celebrities with their novel dining style and offerings.

Chocolate Cake

Chocolate cake on a cake stand
Chocolate cake on a cake stand - Erhan Inga/Shutterstock

A nice, rich slice of chocolate cake is one of those things few people can turn down. There is something incredibly appealing about its rich flavor and creamy texture, even for people who might not normally favor chocolate. So it should come as no surprise that chocolate cake was a favorite food of our heroine.

Indeed, she liked it so much that she even had a favored recipe for chocolate cake, fine-tuned to suit her preferences. The recipe for the flourless cake served with whipped cream and ice cream and topped with powdered sugar was published in her son's book about the actress. What's special about this cake, other than that it comes from Hepburn, is that it contains no flour and plenty of chocolate. So in addition to being gluten-free, it also provides a more intense chocolate taste than a regular chocolate cake. For this reason, we recommend using very high-quality chocolate to make her recipe.

Stuffed Baked Potatoes

Two stuffed baked potatoes
Two stuffed baked potatoes - Brent Hofacker/Shutterstock

The book Hepburn's son published of her recipes notes that she had a few signature dishes up her sleeve, one of which was her baked stuffed potatoes. According to Bon Appetit, "The recipe that really got Hepburn excited was also one of her easiest recipes." That is good news for us, especially if we have large families with conflicting tastes.

In fact, these famous baked potatoes don't seem to follow a recipe at all. According to Luca Dotti, "She would cook them in the oven and everybody would fill them up the way they want." So if you're at a loss for what to cook for your large family one night, take a page from Hepburn's book, literally, and bake a bunch of potatoes. As for the toppings, you can get your inspiration from our ranking of popular baked potato toppings (hint: finely chopped chives are the best option).


Ketchup bottles on a shelf
Ketchup bottles on a shelf - Brandon Bell/Getty Images

One would think that someone as sophisticated as Audrey Hepburn would disdain common American condiments, but there was one she was willing to use in copious amounts, including as a topping for her pasta — ketchup. She loved it so much, she even gave it to her son, according to an interview he gave to the Associated Press.

While many of us food snobs might look down on pasta with ketchup, the dish is a testament to Hepburn's approachability and down-to-earth style, which was something not a lot of Golden Age celebrities could claim for themselves. Indeed, this was part of what allowed her to cement her reputation as a warm host, consummate home entertainer, and as her son described her in that same Associated Press article, someone who "simply liked food as a way to get her family together."


Plate of madeleines
Plate of madeleines - nelea33/Shutterstock

According to "Audrey at Home," madeleines were among Hepburn's signature recipes, and hers were particularly muffin-like. But if you can't get hold of her particular recipe, don't worry, we can help you with your foray into the world of madeleines, a typical French sponge cake, cooked in small pockets to create a signature shelled shape.

These are ideal cakes to serve at afternoon tea or as a simple snack when craving something sweet. And although it may look complicated to make madeleines because of their shape, they're quite easy. Be sure to let the batter rest for at least 30 minutes so that the madeleines will rise evenly in the oven and create a fluffy interior and golden brown exterior. A bit of honey can also help to keep the madeleines from drying out. Serve them with some whipped cream and strawberries and don't be shy about combining all that with a glass of Champagne. Hepburn probably wouldn't.


Plate of plain spaghetti
Plate of plain spaghetti - Jaromila/Getty Images

It may be hard to believe, but Audrey Hepburn loved pasta and ate it almost daily. While sometimes this did involve nothing but ketchup as a topping, she also elevated many of her pasta dishes with ingredients she grew in her garden, like basil, a prime ingredient in pesto. Not unsurprisingly, she also had a reliable pesto recipe.

Her pasta passion was so complete that she even packed it in her suitcase when she went on vacation, as the story goes. While that may seem extreme, we must remember that even up until 1993, when the actress passed away, it wasn't always possible to get good quality pasta everywhere in the world. Even parts of the United States were sadly bereft, at least in good quality form. This was especially true of good olive oil and cheese, which she reportedly also packed in her suitcase.

Soy Sauce Chicken

Chicken with soy sauce and rice
Chicken with soy sauce and rice - 4kodiak/Getty Images

Bon Appétit reports that soy sauce chicken was one of Audrey Hepburn's favorite foods. The recipe itself is a little more up in the air though, because as her son Luca Dotti told Bon Appétit, "She collected the cardboard recipe tabs from Elle magazine," but didn't necessarily follow them to the letter.

But if you are a recipe follower and want to dine as this Hollywood star might have in her home, give this soy chicken and broccoli recipe a try. While it's anyone's guess whether Hepburn would have liked it, the important thing is that you like it, and we think you will. It's also a fairly simple process. Just marinate the chicken in a mixture of soy sauce, baking soda, and sherry, then cook the chicken in a combination of more soy sauce, water, brown sugar, cornstarch, black pepper, oyster sauce, ginger, and garlic. Be sure to cook the broccoli in the same pan as everything else, allowing it to absorb all the intense flavors.


Hutspot on a plate
Hutspot on a plate - academianeerlandesa/Instagram

Hutspot may sound more like a modern-day co-working space than something you'd eat, but it's actually a traditional Dutch food, and Hepburn loved it.  While she's more known as a British subject and a Hollywood movie star, she was born in Belgium to a Dutch mother, so it's natural she would have sampled some of her motherland's cuisine.

And once you get to know hutspot, you might come to think of it as a favorite, too. The dish is essentially mashed potatoes with carrots and onions, which are also mashed and mixed in with the main ingredient. It is often served with beef, pork, or sausage. So next time you go to make mashed potatoes, why not turn it into hutspot? At the very least, it'll mean you won't have to make a separate vegetable, as the carrots and onions will have already taken care of that part.

Spaghetti Al Pomodoro

Plate of spaghetti with tomato sauce
Plate of spaghetti with tomato sauce - NatalyaBond/Shutterstock

Audrey Hepburn's love for pasta has been established, but it appears that the one recipe she favored above all was her spaghetti al pomodoro. Her recipe calls for fresh tomatoes off the vine rather than canned tomatoes, which are the typical ingredient in homemade tomato sauce recipes.

Another version of this recipe is mentioned in a book published by her other son, Sean Hepburn Ferrer, who wrote "Audrey Hepburn, An Elegant Spirit," which specifically calls for Roma tomatoes to be cooked along with a mirepoix base. Either way, we know that the sauce must be simmered with good olive oil and fresh basil leaves. Hepburn then served it atop a pile of spaghetti with some freshly grated Parmesan cheese. In a tasty variation, Hepburn also made this sauce into her version of Amatriciana, using thin slices of prosciutto crudo rather than the usual guanciale or bacon, which is much fattier.

Venetian-Style Liver

Liver and onions in a skillet
Liver and onions in a skillet - Susan Olayinka/Tasting Table

Liver is often synonymous with unpleasant or insignificant, as in, "What am I, chopped liver?" so it's no wonder it has gained a notorious reputation over the years. Hepburn might have disagreed, though, since she was a fan of Venetian-style liver, which is made with an abundance of onions and is known in Italy as "fegato alla Veneziana."

To make it, Hepburn's son Luca offers a few tips in his book, as reported in Gulf News: "Timing is everything with fegato alla Veneziana. Cook it just a moment too long and the meat becomes tough and inedible." Aside from being a great tip, the information may explain why many people hate liver: It often gets overcooked. But if you get it right, be sure to serve it with mashed potatoes or polenta –- something to soak up the delicious juices created by the liver and onions. Follow this classic liver and onions recipe by our recipe developer Susan Olayinka if you want to try cooking liver.

Vanilla Ice Cream

Scoops of vanilla ice cream in a bowl
Scoops of vanilla ice cream in a bowl - WS-Studio/Shutterstock

With so many ice cream flavors available these days it hardly seems worth ordering vanilla. But that's probably because most vanilla ice creams are pretty bland. When you get a high-quality one, made with real vanilla beans, the story changes. This is likely the type of vanilla ice cream Audrey Hepburn partook in, as she reportedly served it with many of her desserts, including her famous chocolate cake and pears in wine. She also wasn't above eating it on its own with her friends.

To get hold of an exceptional vanilla ice cream, you can make it yourself, or you can look to Ina Garten's favorite ice cream brands with the best vanilla flavor. What's available today may differ from what Hepburn may have been tasting in the 1980s and 1990s, but anything Garten recommends is probably going to be just as good. Enjoy the ice cream on its own to savor the vanilla burst, serve it with cake or pears as Hepburn did, or embellish it with any ice cream topping of your choosing.


Glass of scotch
Glass of scotch - Lucentius/Getty Images

While scotch is not technically a food, it can certainly be used as an ingredient, and most of all, it can take pride of place in a meal by lending itself to the closing act. Finishing a big, hearty meal with a nice neat scotch, as Hepburn took it, always seems to hit the spot. She preferred that drink to be a smoky J&B Rare Blended Scotch, and she'd enjoy a finger or two each night as she smoked a Kent cigarette.

If you're inclined to take up the same habit, there is no need to include the cigarette, and luckily, Hepburn's favorite scotch can be purchased for little more than $20 from most retailers. But if you want to take it a notch further, several other types of whiskeys might be better suited to a sophisticated palate. The best place to start is by perusing our list of best whiskeys for beginners.

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