Amish Haystacks

Hay stacks is similar to taco salad but with rice and a smooth cheese sauce we call “shmeah kaes.” This self serve dinner is a favorite among the Amish ladies, because it is easy to make and each person can customize their own dish, making a real crowd pleaser! You may also enjoy Amish potato salad or homemade Amish honey bread with this meal.

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Amish haystack dinner

Amish hay stack dinner

This crowd pleasing dinner is similar to taco salad, yet tweaked to become an Amish family favorite by using cup cheese sauce on top!
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Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 25 minutes
Course Main Course
Cuisine Amish
Servings 5


  • 3 cups cooked rice (1 cup dry rice in 3 cups water)

Beef mixture:

  • 1 pound ground beef
  • 3/4 tablespoon taco seasoning or to taste
  • 1/3 teaspoon season all
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Additional toppings (optional):

  • Tortilla chips
  • shredded lettuce
  • diced tomato
  • diced onion
  • Shredded taco or cheddar cheese

For the cheese sauce:

  • 1 pound American cheese slices white or yellow
  • 1 1/2 cups water
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon baking soda


  • Brown the beef along with seasonings.
  • To make the cheese sauce, place the American cheese in a small saucepan then add water, baking soda and salt. Melt on medium heat, stirring frequently to keep the bottom from burning. Remove from heat and allow to cool. If a skin forms on top remove it to prevent lumps.
  • Assemble remaining ingredients and serve each one in separate dishes. Layer the Haystack onto your plate with whatever you wish! My favorite haystack starts with crushed tortilla chips, then rice, beef, and veggies layered on top. I like to top it all with shredded cheese, then cheese sauce and Mary’s Sweet and Tangy Onion Dressing


More notes and additional topping ideas below. 
Keyword Amish, Haystacks, Amish taco salad, Amish haystack dinner
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!

More optional toppings.

Note on cheese sauce* If using skim or great value brand American cheese the sauce gets a lot thinner. Use a cup of water and allow the cheese to melt then test it, the cheese should be thinner than the desired result (it will thicken as it cools) but not so thin that it looks like milk. If you end up with a sauce that is too thick you can add a little more water or reheat it in the microwave if it has cooled already.

The Basic Ingredients for Haystacks include cheese sauce, cooked rice, browned beef, onions, cheese, tomatoes, lettuce and tortilla chips. You can add so many more if you want!

Fun Fact.. The Amish like to call this meal Haystacks because when a hungry Amish man loads up his plate it ends up looking like a stack of hay!

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