Our Favorite Dinner Comfort Food
Nothing quite compares to the comforting abilities of a piping hot dinner pulled from the oven after a long day or the soothing effects of a steaming bowl of soup to warm you from the inside out. We've gathered a few of our favorite comfort food dinner recipes that we are sure will become comfort classics in your home too—if they're not already!
This generous serving of soup is chock-full of vegetables and is hearty enough to be a complete meal.
Slow Cooker Chicken Cacciatore
The slow cooker acts as a braiser for this Italian classic. While the chicken becomes succulent and fall-apart tender, briny capers, crushed red pepper, and garlic infuse the crushed tomatoes for a robust sauce you won’t find in a jar. True to our one-pan plan, the spaghetti cooks right in the sauce when the chicken comes out, absorbing just enough liquid so it doesn’t need to reduce on the stove. We like the look of the whole, deboned chicken thighs atop the pasta, but you could shred the meat into large pieces and stir into the sauce if you like.
Italian Beef Stew
Bites of meat cook low and slow with hearty vegetables, bubbling away until the flavors meld and the meat gains a buttery texture.
If stroganoff could restore its Russian creators 200 years ago, this chicken version will restore you on any winter weeknight.
Chicken Enchilada Casserole
A bubbling hot casserole is the quintessential comfort food. They are welcome at just about every occasion. And talk about convenient: Most of the prep can be done in advance. This Chicken Enchilada Casserole is no exception. Prep ahead and bake when you're ready to eat.
Skillet Chicken and Root Vegetable Potpie
Classic potpies use several pans to simmer and sauté vegetables, build a sauce, and bake the pie. The skillet does it all here, and it is the perfect size for a golden, flaky piecrust lid. No chicken collection is complete without a potpie. You can substitute diced Yukon Gold potatoes and kale or chard for the turnips and turnip greens.
Tuna Noodle Casserole
Although the recipe calls for egg noodles, you can use any short pasta to make this retro comfort food dish.
The addition of mushrooms—what a forager might find—makes for a delicious twist on classic shepherd's pie.
Shrimp and Okra Gumbo
A low-country classic comfort food is now a beloved meal all over the country, regardless of geographic location. This meal comes together in 30 minutes.
Chicken and Butternut Gnocchi
Gnocchi are the base for a simple toss with sweet butternut squash, rich chicken thighs, spinach, and sage. Prepared gnocchi is a fast cook’s dream. They don’t need to be boiled separately, take on a beautiful sear, and will hold up after a thorough sauté and simmer with other ingredients. A dollop of prepared pesto binds and brightens the dish. Look for prepeeled and cubed butternut squash to save even more time. Instead of spinach, you could also try tender baby kale. For a bit of heat, add 1⁄4 teaspoon crushed red pepper to the pan before you simmer the squash.
Bacon, Ranch, and Chicken Mac and Cheese
Dress up classic macaroni and cheese with applewood-smoked bacon, chicken, and Ranch dressing-inspired seasonings for a delicious twist on this classic dish.
Italian-Seasoned Roast Chicken Breasts
Lean breast meat needs to be shielded as it cooks, so leave the skin on. Serve with steamed spinach and mashed potatoes.
Pan-fried chicken is a healthy alternative to traditional fried chicken. Replacing some of the salt with spices like ginger, paprika, cinnamon, and nutmeg reduces the amount of sodium and pumps up the flavor.
Beef Pot Roast with Turnip Greens
Cipollini onions are small, flat Italian onions. If you can't find them, substitute pearl onions. Other large full-flavored greens like mustard greens or kale will work, as well. Slow cookers promise easy prep, but achieving delicious, picture-perfect comfort food results relies on heeding three principles: Don't skip the browning step; use a cautious hand with added liquid; and, finally, let the slow cooker do its work slowly.
Cheesy Meat Loaf Minis
Substitute mozzarella or provolone for white cheddar, if you prefer. Serve with steamed fresh broccoli spears and mashed potatoes. Make sandwiches with leftover meat loaf; serve on an onion roll.
Beer-Braised Beef with Onion, Carrot, and Turnips
Ask your butcher to cut a 1-pound roast for you, or buy a larger one (especially if it's on sale) and freeze the rest for later. Use a dark beef that's not too strong and it will balance the sweet root vegetables.
Beef Tagine with Butternut Squash
Looking for a satisfying dinner that will leave you feeling warmed from the inside out? Look no further. For a pop of freshness, sprinkle with cilantro before serving.
Green Chile Chili
This hearty meal is also easy on your budget. You can make it for less than $10. Serve with warm corn bread or muffins. Leftovers are also good reheated the next day.
Traditional eggplant Parmesan packs the calories. We remade the recipe using whole-wheat panko; the regular type became soggy in a test. It barely browns but creates a perfectly crisp coating.
Fragrant spices infuse this stew with extra warmth. Originating in Mexico's Pacific Coast region, this soup is a Christmas tradition, but that shouldn't stop you from enjoying a bowlful year-round.
Ancho Chicken Tacos with Cilantro Slaw and Avocado Cream
Avocado cream provides a cooling counterpoint to the spicy ancho chicken in this recipe. We love what the cilantro slaw does to the texture of the dish.
Stir-Fried Beef with Broccoli
Our recipe has a fraction of the sodium and fat found in the typical takeout version. We guarantee, this healthier version is just as crave-worthy.
Lemon Chicken Piccata
Briny capers and bright lemon really make this bird sing. Serve this tangy chicken with mashed potatoes or roasted seasonal root vegetables to make an even more comforting plate.
Anchovy paste in a tube is convenient if you don't have fillets. Try 2 teaspoons in place of fillets in this dish. Serve with a salad of green leaf lettuce, red onion, and fresh parsley, dressed with 1 tablespoon olive oil and fresh lemon juice.
Pepperoni Deep-Dish Pizza
This Chicago-style classic features pepperoni, America's favorite pizza topping. Quick tip: Refrigerate leftover
Golden, sweet sautéed onions and pungent crumbled Stilton cheese top lean sirloin burgers on toasted French rolls for a simple, easy-to-make burger with big flavor.
Garlicky Leg of Lamb with Yogurt Sauce
Place the leg of lamb on a rack in a heavy roasting pan so air circulates and it browns and cooks evenly. The tangy yogurt sauce is the perfect finishing touch to the delicious lamb.
Chicken-Matzo Ball Soup
For a shortcut version of this recipe, use store-bought, unsalted chicken stock instead of making your own. (Adapted from a recipe from
Gnocchi with Browned Butter
This healthy adaptation of gnocchi is served in a rich browned butter sauce and topped with grated Parmigiano-Reggiano and toasted walnuts.
Dak Bokkeum with Spinach (Korean Stewed Chicken with Spinach)
Gochujang is an indispensable Korean sauce based on fermented soybeans and chiles. You'll find it in Asian markets, or seek out Annie Chun's brand, which is more widely available.
The Lebanese often use ground lamb, but our version calls for ground beef, and the grains are precooked to ensure there are no crunchy bits in the flavorful meat mixture.