As fall progresses and frost rolls in, so does the need to update our meal prep with recipes for cold weather. On that note, a good cold-weather meal should heat us up, whether through temperature or spice. Immediately, soups and stews come to mind, as well as chili; the latter contains many spices to check both of our boxes.
The idea of comfort food provides nostalgic warmth as well. What exactly constitutes comfort food changes depending on preference, whether it's a steamy bowl of lentil stew or a hearty bulgogi barbecue steak bowl. From traditional plates to adapted classics, any of the 15 recipes we've curated below would hit the spot on a cold day.
Keep scrolling for our 15 favorite cold-weather recipes to warm you up when the mercury drops.
Korean Bulgogi BBQ Steak Bowls
Why We Love It: If you’re looking for heat, Korean barbecue should do the trick. This bulgogi recipe has simple instructions, with the bulk of your prep time spent marinating beef. You'll need thinly sliced flank or skirt steak, ginger, soy sauce, brown sugar, garlic, and sesame oil. A recipe for spicy peanut sauce is also included.
Pro Tip: "Finish each bowl with an egg, chopped green onions, kimchi, toasted sesame seeds, and a good drizzle of the spicy peanut sauce," writes Tieghan Gerard, the creative culinary mind behind Half Baked Harvest.
The Recipe: Pozole Rojo by Hola Jalapeno
Why We Love It: Pozole is a meat and hominy stew (and not to mention a staple in Mexican food culture), and this particular iteration is teeming with chiles in the broth. The best part about this pork stew is that leftovers will almost certainly taste better after being stored in your refrigerator for a day or two.
Pro Tip: To cut down on cooking time, use pre-cooked pork and store-bought broth.
Tomato Basil Penne With Spicy Italian Chickpeas
Why We Love It: Motivation flies out the window when we are too cold, so our snow days consist of the easiest meals we can cook. Introduce this well-rounded tomato basil penne recipe to your rotation, with simple pesto and chickpeas with a kick.
Pro Tip: If the sauce seems to watery, allow it to simmer, uncovered, until the desired consistency is achieved.
When perched upon a pot or pan of simmering sauces, a splatter screen can help prevent messes in the kitchen.
Simple Lentil Stew
The Recipe: Simple Lentil Stew by Hello Glow
Why We Love It: This lentil stew is remarkably simple to make and a go-to when we want a plant-based protein punch. The minimal ingredient list includes lentils, parsnips, bay leaf, broth, olive oil, and carrot.
Pro Tip: Tailor this recipe to the seasons by incorporating in-season veggies, from spinach to tomatoes.
Braised Pork Belly Kimchi Stew
Why We Love It: Kimchi and pork belly are central ingredients to Korean comfort food, and since they're readily available at most grocery stores, they're ingredients anyone can enjoy. This stew puts the ingredients to good use, and what better time to indulge in a steamy, savory stew than when you’re snowed in?
Pro Tip: Find kimchi in the refrigerated section in the grocery store, "usually near the tofu," notes I Am a Food Blog.
Butternut Lasagna With Wild Mushrooms and Sage
Why We Love It: A hearty, plant-based alternative to meat, wild mushrooms work beautifully in steamy, comforting pasta dishes. In this lasagna recipe, a butternut purée joins a ricotta-sage-mushroom filling, plus some chopped spinach if you want something extra.
Pro Tip: Using no-boil lasagna noodles helps this recipe come together in a snap.
Moroccan Eggs With Harissa Yogurt
Why We Love It: For something stew-y and abundantly spiced, we turn to this recipe for Moroccan eggs. Make your own with ground lamb, eggs, cinnamon, fennel seeds, cumin, smoked paprika, chili flakes, diced fire-roasted tomatoes, and chopped spinach. Top with spoonfuls of harissa yogurt.
Pro Tip: You can buy harissa paste at the store, or make your own using Feasting at Home's harissa paste recipe.
Vegan Stuffed Sweet Potatoes
Why We Love It: A baked potato can absolutely serve as a main, especially when it's stuffed with satisfying seasoned chickpeas, as this recipe demonstrates. Add kale, top with dairy-free yogurt (to keep things vegan), and fresh parsley or cilantro.
Pro Tip: Leftovers will keep in the fridge for 3–4 days.
Japanese Vegetable Curry
The Recipe: Japanese Vegetable Curry by Pickled Plum
Why We Love It: Because this cold-weather recipe calls for pre-made curry roux, the resulting dish can be customized to your taste preferences (some pre-made curry roux brands skew sweet, while others are more savory). In addition to the curry roux, you'll need carrots, apple, ginger, potatoes, green beans, cherry tomatoes, and Japanese or Chinese eggplant (they're more slender in shape).
Pro Tip: Many curry roux contain milk, so be sure to pore over the ingredients list if you're vegan or have a milk allergy.
One Pan Creamy Gnocchi With Sausage
Why We Love It: This comforting recipe comes together in one pan. For convenience, pick up store-bought gnocchi from the grocery store, then pair the pasta with Italian sausage, dry white wine, diced tomatoes, heavy whipping cream, parmesan cheese, and basil.
Pro Tip: No need to pre-cook gnocchi, as it will cook directly in the sauce.
Tangy Green Tomato Chili With Beef
Why We Love It: This cold-weather recipe is brothy, tangy, and filled with hearty ground beef. Use green, unripened tomatoes (or tomatillos in a pinch), along with all of the spices (cumin, oregano, paprika, coriander), plus garlic, stock, poblano peppers and jalapeño.
Pro Tip: Garnish with avocado slices, grated sharp cheddar cheese, and thinly sliced scallions.
Chicken and Dumplings
The Recipe: Chicken and Dumplings by Yes to Yolks
Why We Love It: The addition of turmeric imparts added warmth and depth to this recipe for chicken and dumplings. Shredded chicken, herbs, peas, and carrots swim in a savory broth with dumplings made from flour, baking soda, Greek yogurt, and eggs. Garnish with fresh parsley or chives.
Pro Tip: You'll know the dish is ready to serve when the dumplings are puffy and the broth has thickened.
Freekeh Porridge With Quinoa
Why We Love It: Start a snow day with a hot, hearty breakfast like this recipe for freekeh porridge topped with fresh fruit. All you need is cracked freekeh, red or tricolor quinoa, the milk or mylk of your choice, seasonal fruit, and nuts.
Pro Tip: Since freekeh is a Middle Eastern grain, keep with the theme and sweeten the porridge with dates.
Apple Croissant Bread Pudding
The Recipe: Apple Croissant Bread Pudding by Food Republic
Why We Love It: This bread pudding recipe gets a seasonal (and decadent) twist by coupling a croissant base with ingredients like cubed apples, apple butter, brandy, and cinnamon. You'll also need heavy cream, milk, eggs, butter, sugar, and vanilla extract.
Pro Tip: To prevent the custard from breaking, bake the bread pudding in a water bath.
Classic Baked Macaroni and Cheese
Why We Love It: No list of cold-weather recipes would be complete without the ultimate comfort food, macaroni and cheese. This mouth-watering recipe calls for three different kinds of cheddar and is crowned with a crunchy, buttery breadcrumb topping. Perhaps better still, the recipe can go from start to serve in about an hour.
Pro Tip: Position your baking dish in the center of the oven to ensure that it cooks evenly and achieves a crunchy, golden-brown crust.