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Though she might not look it, Betty Crocker is nearly 100 years old, and she’s still going strongLearn all about Betty’s history, plus today’s mission—here’s everything you ever wanted to know about America’s First Lady of Food!

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About Betty Crocker

For nearly a century, Betty Crocker has been America’s source for modern cooking instruction and trusted recipe development. That rich hertiage and culinary knowledge lives on in our commitment to celebrate the Betty in all of us — by sharing our passion for food, valuable test-kitchen wisdom and lifestyle expertise — straight from our kitchen to yours.

Our Mission

Since 1921 when Betty Crocker began answering questions about baking by letter, she’s been working to teach people to cook. From letters and radio to cookbooks and television to the establishment of, her aim has stayed true. Home cooks have come to rely on Betty for her helpfulness, trustworthiness and quality. From cooking fundamentals to clever shortcuts made possible thanks to her dependable products, Betty continues to inspire home cooks across the world.

Betty Crocker’s Connections with Home Cooks

The “Betty Crocker Picture Cook Book” put Betty on the map back in 1950 when it quickly became a best-seller. This classic, along with its subsequent editions, has been beloved for generations and is now in its 12th edition, “Betty Crocker Cookbook: Everything You Need to Know to Cook from Scratch.” To date, 63 million Betty Crocker cookbooks have been published — but books aren’t the only way Betty connects with home cooks.

Launched in 1997, continues the legacy of adapting, discovering and sharing the knowledge that home cooks crave. Today, the site receives more than 12 million visitors per month. Betty also reaches more than 7 million fans monthly on Facebook, Pinterest and Instagram — be sure to like and follow for all the latest recipes, videos and behind-the-scene looks at what we’re working on. A robust series of how-to videos exist on Betty’s YouTube channel and subscribers of the newsletter get regular inspiration delivered to their inboxes.

Betty’s actually been a pioneer of new media for her nearly 100-year history. Keep reading to learn about her journey from radio to books to television and the Internet.

How It All Began

Betty’s story began with a promotion run by Gold Medal Flour back in 1921. Home cooks could win a pincushion resembling a flour sack if they correctly completed a jigsaw puzzle of a milling scene. The Washburn Crosby Company, a flour milling concern and largest predecessor of General Mills, Inc., received thousands of responses and a flood of questions about baking. The name Betty Crocker was created to personalize responses to consumer inquires.

The surname Crocker was chosen to honor a popular, recently retired director of the company, William G. Crocker. Betty was chosen simply as a friendly-sounding name. Women employees were invited to submit sample Betty Crocker signatures; the one judged most distinctive is the basis for the one in use today.



Betty Finds Her Voice

In 1924, the Washburn Crosby Company saved a local radio station from bankruptcy, changed the station’s name to its acronym, WCCO, and presented Betty Crocker on daytime radio’s first cooking show. “Betty Crocker Cooking School of the Air” was an immediate success, and the next year was expanded to 13 regional stations. Each station had its own Betty Crocker voice, reading scripts written at the Home Service Department in Minneapolis. In 1927, the cooking school became a program on the fledgling NBC network, continuing for 24 years with more than one million listeners enrolled.

First Lady of Food

Betty’s story began with a promotion run by Gold Medal Flour back in 1921. Home cooks could win a pincushion resembling a flour sack if they correctly completed a jigsaw puzzle of a milling scene. The Washburn Crosby Company, a flour milling concern and largest predecessor of General Mills, Inc., received thousands of responses and a flood of questions about baking. The name Betty Crocker was created to personalize responses to consumer inquires.

The surname Crocker was chosen to honor a popular, recently retired director of the company, William G. Crocker. Betty was chosen simply as a friendly-sounding name. Women employees were invited to submit sample Betty Crocker signatures; the one judged most distinctive is the basis for the one in use today.



Betty's Changing Face

Just as food preferences, cooking methods and consumer interests have changed dramatically over the years, so has Betty Crocker. She has changed her looks seven times over the past century. Portraits were painted in 1936, 1955, 1965, 1969, 1972, 1980, 1986 and 1996. Over the years, her hairstyles and clothes have reflected the changing fashions of American women. Through it all, the goal has been to present an image of Betty Crocker to which modern women can related, an image that recalls the promise of thoroughly tested products and up-to-date recipes.

The Betty Crocker Kitchens: Then and Now

It could be said that Betty Crocker is the personification of General Mills’ commitment to consumer service and product quality. The work that takes place in the Betty Crocker Test Kitchens is one of the key ways that the company delivers on the commitment Betty represents. Since 1946, when the test kitchens were first established, through to today, the kitchens are where products and recipes are tested using the same tools and equipment as the average home cook so that the results are the same for you at home. To get a behind-the-scenes peek into Betty’s kitchen and meet the professional chefs, bakers, nutritionists and recipe testers who work there, read about our kitchen-tested recipe process.

The Betty Crocker Red Spoon

Believe it or not, the first food product with the Betty Crocker name was dried soup mix, introduced in 1942. Betty Crocker packaged cake mixes were introduced in 1947 with Ginger Cake, the precursor of today’s Betty Crocker Gingerbread Cake. It was quickly followed by Devil’s Food Cake Mix and Party Cake Mix, which could be made into yellow, white or spice cake by using water plus whole eggs, just the whites or by adding spices along with the eggs.

Betty’s trademark Red Spoon began appearing on packaging in 1954. Today, it’s a symbol of the quality associated with Betty Crocker and appears on more than 200 products, including Super Moist Cake Mixes, cookie mixes, Supreme Brownie Mixes, Rich & Creamy Frostings, Hamburger Helper, Bisquick Baking Mix, Betty Crocker Potatoes and Suddenly Salad.

International Betty Crocker

Betty’s popularity isn’t confined to her “birth” country, the United States. She arrived in Canada in mid-1950s and has swiftly made her way around the world. She enjoys a strong presence in the United Kingdom, Iceland, Saudi Arabia, Mexico, Australia and other countries throughout Europe, the Middle East and Asia. Betty’s products are specially adapted for the baking style and culture of each country.

Betty Today at (nearly) 100

Whether viewed as an icon of food expertise and reliable products or as a real person, Betty Crocker’s luminous career endures. At nearly 100, she can still be counted on to offer reliable and accessible recipes, sound cooking and baking advice and dependable products to this and future generations of home cooks and bakers. She — or rather, the multi-talented team behind Betty — is still dedicated to working for, “all of you who like to minister to your dear ones by serving them good food,” as she wrote in the preface of the “Betty Crocker Picture Cook Book” in 1950.

The Betty Crocker Experts

It takes a team of professional chefs and bakers, editors and many others to make Betty Crocker the rich resource it is today. Meet the experts who work behind the scenes to bring the food to life.

Betty's Kitchen Experts

Meet the creative cooks, bakers and dieticians who make the recipes, answer your cooking questions and carry on the tradition of creating kitchen-tested recipes reflecting the ever-changing tastes of America.

Meredith Deeds

Meredith Deeds is a recipe development consultant and an interim creative lead in the General Mills Kitchens. She’s an accomplished food writer, the author of seven cookbooks, and has been a working recipe developer and cooking instructor for over 20 years.

Meredith has been nominated for the prestigious James Beard award for The Big Book of Appetizers and has also written for various magazines and newspapers such as Bon Appétit, Cooking Light, Better Homes and Gardens, Chile Pepper Magazine, Prevention, Cleveland Plain Dealer and the Dallas Morning News. She is currently a weekly columnist for the Minneapolis Star Tribune and also writes frequently for

Meredith grew up in the food business, working at her mother’s diner beginning at age nine, doing everything from cooking, waiting tables, scooping ice cream and washing the dishes. She worked for her mom until she left for college, attending the Kellogg School of Hospitality at California Polytechnic University for two years, completing the culinary portion of the program before transferring to San Diego State University where she received a Bachelor of Science in Accounting. She was the CEO of the International Association of Culinary Professionals for four years until she left to spend more time cooking and less time budgeting.

She has lived all over the country and loves experiencing each place through its food culture. She has three grown boys and has enjoyed cooking on a large scale to satisfy three big appetites. Now, with the boys moved out of the house, she enjoys cooking meals for two now for just her and her husband. They love to travel all over the world and do it every chance they get.

Carrie Franzen

Carrie Franzen is a content and recipe development consultant in the Kitchens of General Mills where she develops and creates content for various brands including Pillsbury, Betty Crocker, Tablespoon, Gold Medal Flour, Old El Paso and Immaculate Baking. She also works on kitchen innovation projects to develop new on-trend content for the brands.

Carrie has been in the food industry for more than 25 years. She received her bachelor’s degree in journalism from the University of Wisconsin in Madison, Wisconsin and her culinary diploma in Eden Prairie, Minnesota. Her lengthy experience includes: a pastry chef and baker for several fine dining restaurants in the Midwest, a chef instructor at Le Cordon Blue School of Culinary Arts, a manager and instructor for a culinary school in the Twin Cities and she has been published in several cookbooks and magazines.

Carrie is the one you can count on to bring goodies to any gathering. From pies and breads to cakes and cookies, Carrie loves to bake. When she isn’t in the kitchen inventing new sweets, she is training for her next marathon (26 so far!), camping on the weekends or collecting classic cookbooks.

Maria Ingalls

Maria Ingalls is a recipe project check testing consultant in the Kitchens of General Mills where she tests and edits final recipes for accuracy before publishing for various General Mills brands—from cakes on Betty Crocker to crescent roll appetizers for Pillsbury, no day in the kitchen is the same! And that’s what she loves about her work the most.

Maria has over 25 years of recipe check testing experience at General Mills. Prior to her work at General Mills, she studied in the culinary arts program at Hennepin Technical College in Minnesota.

A Minnesota native, Maria loves cooking and baking meals for her family and traveling up to northern Minnesota to the family cabin on the weekends. In her own kitchen, Maria enjoys trying new recipes for her son, who is gluten free. Her latest favorite: gluten-free peanut butter chocolate chip cookies (made with only five ingredients!).

Jennifer Kalinowski

Jennifer Kalinowski is a consulting creative development lead in the Kitchens of General Mills. She works with brand teams and editors to align on recipe strategy and recipe concepts for Pillsbury, Betty Crocker, Tablespoon and various other General Mills brands. From the initial recipe ideas and recipe tastings to the recipe methods and copy reviews, Jennifer is involved in the creation of each recipe made in the kitchens from start to finish. In addition to her recipe work, Jennifer consults with brands on new products, product improvement projects and new food trends. Outside of her consulting work for General Mills, Jennifer is a freelance food content strategist, editor and recipe developer for health and wellness cookbooks and natural and organic food brands.

Jennifer has worked with the Kitchens of General Mills for 15 years. Prior to her current work, she specialized in the health and wellness space for 10 years for brands like Muir Glen, Cascadian Farm and Yoplait, assisting in the management of food content strategy, product innovation and food trend analysis. In addition to her work for General Mills, Jennifer has also worked in the Better Homes and Gardens test kitchens as a test kitchen nutrition specialist where she developed and tested recipes for all publications, with an emphasis on health titles. Jennifer has a master’s degree in public health nutrition from the University of Minnesota and is a registered dietitian.

On her own time, Jennifer is an expert in plant-based cooking and is constantly experimenting with new trends in baking. She genuinely likes tofu, has a serious love for all things avocado and dark chocolate and is a tea enthusiast. Her kitchen is always stocked with unique ingredients like spring roll wrappers, tamari and gomasio.

Tenley Kanwischer

Tenley is a food content and recipe development consultant. She develops and tests recipes, brainstorms new ideas and consults for Betty Crocker, Pillsbury and other various General Mills brands, as well as a handful of the company’s published cookbooks. She has also served as a judge for the Pillsbury Bake-Off® Contest.

Tenley has a background in corporate research and development supporting food scientists, research and business communities. She has also managed her own food blog, where she has written about her own cooking and family experiences. A self-taught cook, Tenley grew up learning from other passionate cooks in her family, and through trial-and-error in her home kitchen. She brings a “busy mom of four” perspective to her approach and feels that mealtime is vital and important for families, despite the busy weeknight struggle. She loves that she’s able to contribute her part to helping other families spend more meals together by providing food and recipe content that others can use. Tenley earned a degree in communications and public relations from University of North Dakota.

Tenley’s food inspiration comes from reading cookbooks, food blogs and interesting restaurant menus. She loves taking her family on a tour of the world through food and makes trying and experiencing new foods and flavors a priority. Her best memories are centered around “food moments,” or those moments with a story, created in the kitchen or on the road with friends and family. One of her favorite dishes is Chana Masala, and she’s also big fan of all things butterscotch.

Maggie Lyon

Maggie Lyon is a recipe development consultant for General Mills, and after six years of work in the Kitchens, her day-to-day is still never the same—from putting new twists on Hamburger Helper to her work with Pillsbury and Betty Crocker, every day presents a fun, new challenge. She’s a self-professed master of savory recipe development in the Kitchens, constantly putting new spins on skillet dinners, grilled meals and more. Though she is the resident dinner expert, she’ll occasionally bake a key lime pie or pumpkin bars (the only two desserts she truly enjoys).

Maggie grew up in the Mississippi Delta, where the top three topics of conversation are usually food-related: What’d y’all eat? What’re we gonna eat? And, who are we eatin’ with? Her mom catered and worked at a cooking school, and she was constantly surrounded by good cooks and really good food. After moving to Minnesota from New York University where she earned her graduate degree in cinema studies, Maggie decided to pursue her food passion by attending culinary school at Le Cordon Bleu. She completed an externship at a local farm-to-table restaurant, Lucia’s, then worked for a local cooking school, Cooks of Crocus Hill, teaching cooking classes, managing one of the schools and writing for their former quarterly print publication, Q.

In her own kitchen, Maggie’s favorite recipe to make is her own take on pimiento cheese. Though she grew up in the south, her favorite food to eat is sushi. She has an awesome husband, Mike, and two kids—Redford and Marley—who she’s also teaching to love cooking. Her three-year-old husky, Snoop Dogg, thinks he one of the kids. His all-time favorite food? Tortilla chips!

Mary Kay Sahli

Mary Kaye Sahli is a recipe development and recipe testing consultant. Her work includes developing new recipes for multiple General Mills brands and Betty Crocker Cookbooks, testing current recipes for performance issues and working on reformulation projects for existing General Mills products. In addition, Mary Kaye has worked on eight Pillsbury Bake-Off® Contests testing recipes. She was also Assistant Manager for five Pillsbury Bake-Off® Contests where she was responsible for contestant equipment for the event, also managed kitchen testers and selection of contestant recipes.

Mary Kaye also has five years experience as a senior technician in research and development working with new product development and consumer testing for Pillsbury™ refrigerated products. She has a degree in food and nutrition from North Dakota State University.

Mary Kaye has over 36 years of experience in the food industry, from recipe development to new product development and managing special events. She has a degree in food and nutrition. Mary Kaye’s love for food extends beyond her work in the Kitchens of General Mills—she has a passion for pies and is famous among friends for her extra-indulgent chocolate chip cookies. When she’s not baking, she’s out exploring her local farmers markets and scoping out the newest restaurants in town.

Mike Shannon

Mike Shannon is a recipe development consultant and culinary event leader in the Kitchens of General Mills. Mike is a classically trained chef with a degree in culinary arts from Le Cordon Bleu-Minneapolis and has over 30 years of leadership experience and more than 11 years of culinary experience focused in recipe development and consumer-level culinary instruction. Additionally, Mike has experience in wellness content development for several health service providers.

When he is not in the Kitchens of General Mills, Mike stays busy with his own consulting business and works as the executive chef at Roth Distributing (Wolf and Sub-Zero Culinary Theater) and as a chef instructor around the Twin Cities, including at the Cooks of Crocus Hill. He leads cooking events, wine pairing classes, public speaking engagements, adult learning facilitation, large group and media-based culinary demonstrations as well as private in-home chef experiences.

He and his wife live in southwest Minneapolis. His daughter also caught the culinary fever and is a classically trained chef who teaches culinary arts and leads a culinary competition team at the high school level.

Martha Zeimer

Martha Zeimer is a recipe project check testing consultant in the Kitchens of General Mills where she tests and edits final recipes for accuracy before publishing for various brands including Pillsbury, Betty Crocker, Tablespoon and more.

Martha has worked in the food industry for over 23 years. She received her degree in nutrition from St. Catherine University in the Twin Cities. While at school, she landed an internship on the Pillsbury Bake-Off® team and went onto to specialize in recipe check-testing for Pillsbury cookbooks, and eventually, recipes published for the web for multiple General Mills brands.

From new takes on Asian cuisine to the latest Barefoot Contessa recipe, when Martha isn’t cooking in the Kitchens of General Mills, she’s trying homemade dishes in her own kitchen that highlight interesting, bold flavors.

Cathy Swanson Wheaton

Cathy Swanson Wheaton is the executive editor for all Betty Crocker and Pillsbury cookbooks. She lives and breathes the cooking-people connection, and her personal motto is: “Life is about relationships, and food is the thread that weaves them together”.

Cathy has a BS degree from Purdue University in Food and Nutrition in Business, and Food Science, making her ideally suited to her responsibilities overseeing all aspects of cookbook development. Cathy shepherds each cookbook project through the publishing process, from start to finish—including creating new recipe ideas, directing recipe creation in the Betty Crocker Kitchens and much more. Cathy also leads promotion of the finished products. She serves as the face—and voice—of the cookbooks in nationwide interviews and articles.

Cathy started her career developing the recipes that you find on the back side of food packaging, and throughout her 25+ year career, she has created thousands of recipes for packages, newsletters, websites, ads, magazines and cookbooks. She has also served as the first writer for and the editor of “Creative Recipes” cooking magazines as well as editor and food editor for several cookbooks before becoming executive editor for all cookbooks at General Mills.

Cathy is a true Minnesotan who frequently says “yah” but draws the line at “you betcha.” She will, however, be sure she’s asked her guests if they’d like leftovers at least three times, and has been known to say, “No one leaves until the food is all gone.” When she’s not creating cookbooks, she can often be found in her own kitchen, finding reasons to cook for friends and family. Otherwise, look for her on the ballroom floor with her husband, learning various couples’ dances, or in the great outdoors.