12 Fall Dinner Ideas to Try Now and Perfect Before Winter Arrives

Updated 06/11/19

Fall has a way of bringing out the homebodies in all of us. Since the weather has cooled off and the night comes on faster, it seems like the best way to welcome the new season is to stay in and snuggle up. And what can fit in more with that plan than a gratifying dinner? It’s time to get cozy with the oven you’ve been neglecting all summer and learn a few new dishes that are perfect for fall. Because now that it feels more natural to be at home, the next best step is a home-cooked meal.

We found 12 fall dinner ideas that you can work into your rotation as soon as possible so that they can be perfected by the time winter arrives. From chicken noodle casserole, mushroom ravioli, and roasted cauliflower spaghetti, each of these recipes are made for comfort, whether you’re whipping something up for a quick weeknight dinner or planning a weekend feast with friends. Plus, many of these options include seasonal ingredients like butternut squash and sage to really make your surroundings smell like the best of fall.

Go ahead and be a homebody in the coming months—with these recipes, you won’t want to leave.

Homemade Chicken Noodle Casserole

Fall Dinner Ideas — Homemade Chicken Noodle Casserole
Courtesy of Half Baked Harvest

Chicken noodle dishes are synonymous with homespun comfort, and so are casseroles. So when Half Baked Harvest combines the two ingredients—with thyme, parsley, carrots, and whole-grain bread—in this namesake recipe, it tastes like the perfect cold-weather dinner. “Best part? I can make it ahead of time and then just bake before dinner, and, this recipe works perfectly to freeze and bake later as well!” Tieghan Gerard says.

Tomato Artichoke Lentil Stew

Fall Dinner Ideas — Tomato Artichoke Lentil Stew
Courtesy of A Couple Cooks

It’s no surprise that stew would be a picture-perfect meal for a fall day, and this recipe from A Couple Cooks is no exception. It comes together with fire-roasted tomatoes, artichoke hearts, Tuscan kale, dried herbs, and red lentils, and then topped with parmesan. “Simmer for 20 minutes, until the lentils are tender,” Sonja and Alex Overhiser say.

Be careful not to overcook the lentils, or they will become too soft.

Roasted Cauliflower Spaghetti

Fall Dinner Ideas — Roasted Cauliflower Spaghetti
Courtesy of Add1Tbsp

Once you see how tasty this recipe from Add1Tbsp looks, you’re going to want to eat it while snuggled under a blanket. It’s made with cauliflower that’s been tossed with paprika, nutmeg, chorizo, and chopped parsley, and then combined with garlic breadcrumbs over a bed of spaghetti. “Serve with a sprinkle of breadcrumbs, more parmesan, the rest of the fresh herbs, a pinch of flaky sea salt, and freshly cracked pepper,” Evan Kalman says.

Perfect Roast Chicken with Lemon Herb Pan Sauce

Fall Dinner Ideas — Perfect Roast Chicken with Lemon Herb Pan Sauce
Courtesy of The Modern Proper

Roast chicken is a mouthwatering recipe for any time of year, but we’d argue that it's especially enticing in the cooler evenings of fall. Take The Modern Proper’s recipe for it, which pairs a whole chicken with a lemon herb pan sauce. It’s made with minced parsley, garlic cloves, thyme, and dry white wine—doesn’t that sound great for an early night in? “Deglaze the pan with the wine, making sure you lift all the flavorful bits off the bottom,” Holly Erickson says. “Simmer the aromatics like the herbs and garlic, then turn off your heat and add the cold butter.”

Easy Spinach and Tuscan Chicken Chopped Salad Pizza

Fall Dinner Ideas — Easy Spinach and Tuscan Chicken Chopped Salad Pizza
Courtesy of The Butter Half

Looking for a Friday night meal that mixes pizza with salad? You’ve found it with this recipe from The Butter Half, which combines ready-made gluten-free pizza with mixed greens, black olives, balsamic vinegar, and gorgonzola cheese. “Honestly, this is a fantastic way to dress up a frozen pizza, and give the old salad and pizza meal a fun twist,” Abbey Rodriguez says. “You can get as creative with the toppings as you like.”

Instant Pot Broccoli Cheddar and Zucchini Soup

Fall Dinner Ideas — Instant Pot Broccoli Cheddar and Zucchini Soup
Courtesy of Half Baked Harvest ,

The beloved combination of cheddar and broccoli become the key ingredients in this recipe from Half Baked Harvest, which features them alongside chopped onions, carrots, and zucchini. Gerard also combines everything in an Instant Pot, making for a meal that can be ready in all of 30 minutes. “You do need to purée the soup, but if you have an immersion blender that’s very helpful here,” she says.

Savory Vegan Pot Pie with Sage Crust

Fall Dinner Ideas — Savory Vegan Pot Pie with Sage Crust
Courtesy of A Couple Cooks

What’s more appealing than a pot pie on a cold day? Not much, especially since this recipe from A Couple Cooks is vegan and comes in a sage crust. The filling has shallots, sweet and gold potatoes, yellow onion, mushrooms, and herbs that are all combined in vegetable broth and all-purpose flour. “The earthy potatoes and onions are slathered in a savory, creamy sauce, along with fried shallots and white beans,” the Overhisers say. “And on top, a flaky sage crust that you’d never believe is vegan (his secret: coconut oil).”

One Pan Garlic Herb Chicken and Asparagus

Fall Dinner Ideas — One Pan Garlic Herb Chicken and Asparagus
Courtesy of Creme de la Crumb

Seeing as this recipe from Creme de la Crumb advocates for cooking garlic herb chicken and fresh asparagus in one pan, you’ll likely be making this flavorful meal during those fall nights when you want an easy but delicious dinner. Tiffany Azure trims the ends of the asparagus, arranges the chicken thighs, and tops them with minced garlic, dried basil, and onion powder for a dish that comes together in 25 minutes. “You just can’t go wrong with only having to clean up one single pan at the end of the meal, even after making essentially two dishes,” she says.

Turkey Stuffed Peppers

Fall Dinner Ideas — Turkey Stuffed Peppers
Courtesy of The Modern Proper

This recipe for turkey stuffed peppers from The Modern Proper leans more modern than traditional, thanks to bell peppers that have been stuffed with ground turkey, quinoa, garlic, jalapenos, tomatoes, and black beans. When the bubbly peppers come out of the oven, they’ll look like the colorful leaves of fall. “The idea of these peppers is that they are a meal in and of themselves,” Natalie Mortimer says. “There is no need for extras, but if you want something green (besides the peppers) on your plate, a simple salad is always a great idea.”

Spaghetti con Zucchine Fritte

Fall Dinner Ideas — Spaghetti con Zucchine Fritte
Courtesy of Add1Tbsp

This second spaghetti recipe from Add1Tbsp should also be on your radar because it wraps al dente noodles around the likes of marinated zucchini, fava beans, capers, lemon zest, and fresh parsley. And because the fava beans might take some time to prepare, it’s the perfect dish for a Sunday night feast. “It may look like a simple pesto pasta, but it’s deceivingly complex,” he says.

Herby Buttered Balsamic Mushroom Ravioli

Fall Dinner Ideas — Herby Buttered Balsamic Mushroom Ravioli
Courtesy of Half Baked Harvest

This recipe for mushroom ravioli from Half Baked Harvest is exactly the type of meal you’d want to eat after a cool fall day spent outside. It’s made with thinly sliced shallots, mixed mushrooms, chopped sage, and fresh thyme leaves that are layered over cheese ravioli. “If you are using store-bought ravioli, or have homemade, frozen ravioli on hand, this entire meal will come together in under 30 minutes, making it perfect for any night of the week,” Gerard notes.

Za’atar-Spiced Butternut Squash Soup

Fall Dinner Ideas — Za’atar-Spiced Butternut Squash Soup
Courtesy of A Couple Cooks

Make the most of the season’s butternut squash by cooking up this recipe for a titular soup from A Couple Cooks. Peeled and diced butternut squash is combined with carrots, sweet potatoes, za’atar, vegetable broth, and ground cumin, and then served with Greek yogurt and flatbread. “First I would recommend to arm yourself with some great Middle Eastern staples such as za’atar (a thyme and sesame seed seasoning), which can be added to almost any vegetable dish, along with sumac (a crushed berry spice) that adds a real kick to simple roast vegetables and soups,” chef Salma Hage shared with the Overhisers, who made this recipe.

Related Stories