Our Best Fall Comfort Foods
Bacon-Pear Macaroni and Cheese
Crispy bacon, extra-creamy cheese sauce, pears sauteed in brown sugar and butter. It took our Test Kitchen three tries to get all the pieces right for this fall comfort food. Oh man, was it worth it.
Veggie Cheese Chowder
This easy soup combines colorful veggies—corn, chopped green or red sweet pepper and sliced celery—with cream and three types of cheese products for a pretty, flavorful dish.
Sugary cinnamon meets salty pretzels in this super-easy, giftworthy snack mix.
Barbecue-Sauced Meat Loaf
This easy, saucy meat loaf makes a quick weeknight dinner—and a great sandwich the next day! We love it between slices of whole wheat bread with banana peppers, lettuce, onion and extra barbecue sauce.
Blueberry Thunder Muffins
A sprinkle of cinnamon-sugar gives a sweet crust to these berry-packed muffins.
Long, slow simmering melds flavors in this recipe from the Spice House in Evanston, Illinois.
Coffee Cake Ring
Trust us! This cake is utterly addictive.
Cinnamon Carrots with Maple Thyme Butter
These sweet oven-roasted carrots are a perfect complement to a holiday menu, but they're easy enough to be a weeknight side. This comfort food recipe comes from Big Cedar Lodge in Ridgedale, Missouri.
Peanut Butter Buckeye Brownie Cheesecake
Dawn Moore of Warren, Pennsylvania, grew up sampling buckeye candy from neighboring Ohio. It was the muse for this outrageously rich and creamy dessert she created.
Stuffed Italian Meatballs
Spiced Italian sausage encases melty mozzarella cheese for meatballs perfect dipped in marinara sauce, stuffed into a calzone or plopped on top of spaghetti.
True Butterscotch Pie
The trick to the filling in this Iowa State Fair prizewinning recipe? Stirring and stirring while it cooks. The recipe comes from Louise Piper of Garner.
Cinnamon-Spiced Beef Stroganoff
A few pinches of pantry spices jazz up the traditional sour-cream gravy. This cozy weeknight dish dances on the line between comfort food and curry.
Chinese Five-Spice Marinated Pork Satay
Although it sounds like it would be burn-your-mouth-hot, the five-spice powder in this fall comfort food is actually a mild blend that commonly consists of star anise, anise seed, cloves, cinnamon and ginger.
Potato Chips Meet Fish
How do you get your family to eat fish? By serving them tilapia coated with potato chips, herbs and honey-mustard dressing.
This recipe, submitted by Melanie Madore of Ashland, Missouri, was a finalist in our recipe contest. Unlike many pumpkin chilis, what sets this one apart is using cubed pumpkin (or butternut squash) rather than canned.
Orange and chocolate: a cookie match that tempts everyone to take seconds. This recipe comes from Jill Drury in Milwaukee, who loved to bake cookies with her grandmother. "For the longest time I couldn't decide which cookie I liked best, until one day Grandma had me mix my favorite flavors: chocolate and orange," she says.
Cashew Chicken Stir-Fry
This dish from Max Archer of McPherson, Kansas, packs some heat. Adjust it to suit your taste by varying the amounts of chili paste and poblano chiles.
Wheat Berry Waldorf Salad
Apples, dried cranberries and grapes meet crunchy celery and wheat berries in this colorful salad tossed with apple-cinnamon dressing.
Farmers Market Brownies
Patrick Groth, owner-chef of Incredibly Delicious, says these ingredients should be mixed and placed in the oven as quickly as possible for best flavor. "We sell these at the local farmers market. They are really good with fresh whipped cream and berries," Patrick says.
Starker's Bacon and Cheese Curd Burger
Sugared bacon and melting cheese curds or string cheese make a mouthwatering filling for these behemoth burgers. The recipe comes from chef/owner John McClure of Starker's Restaurant at Country Club Plaza in Kansas City.
At Burchell's White Hill Farmhouse Inn in Minden, Nebraska, Bob and Linda Ard make this moist spiced bread using homegrown heirloom pumpkins, but this version of their recipe uses canned puree.
Cranberry Sausage-Stuffed Pork Chops with Pumpkin Gravy
This recipe from Linda Kay Drysdale of Riverview, Michigan, won the $10,000 top prize in one of our Best of the Midwest recipe contests. Linda's recipe calls for chops cooked in a pressure cooker, which reduces cooking time to a fifth of the oven version. Watching calories? Half a chop satisfies most people.
Grilled Sirloin Kabobs with Zesty Top City Sauce
Joann Gough-Stallbaumer of Topeka uses Kansas top sirloin steak and a horseradish-mayo dipping sauce in her prizewinning recipe.
War Eagle Mill Buttermilk Biscuits
"My recipes are like my children. I'd hate to single one out as a favorite," says Zoe Caywood, who worked for many years as a miller at War Eagle Mill just east of Rogers, Arkansas. These biscuits are from one of Zoe's cookbooks. The recipe blends wheat and all-purpose flours for a fuller flavor than traditional biscuits.
Rise and Shine Cranberry-Apple Crisp
Spiced coconut streusel adds crunch to healthy apples and berries.
Chicken and Kielbasa Winter Stew
Shhh! Don't tell anyone, but this hearty supper soup takes just an hour to make. The secret? Deli-roasted chicken and precooked sausage. Pair with breadsticks or a crusty baguette for a perfect winter meal that will fill your house with good smells.
This crowd-pleasing party recipe comes from the Midwest Living® Culinary and Craft School at Silver Dollar City in Branson, Missouri. They are sweet, salty and highly addictive! Plus, you can assemble the sandwiches a day early for easy party prep.
Ozark Blackberry Cobbler
A sugared crispy pastry covers sweet juicy berries in this traditional dessert from the Monte Ne Inn near Rogers, Arkansas.
Italian Rice Salad
Italian Rice Salad includes fragrant, nutty-tasting brown basmati rice, bell peppers in a variety of colors, red onions and plenty of garlic. "It's kind of soft, kind of crunchy, a little sweet and a little tangy," says Ohio cooking school expert Bev Schaffer, who gave us the recipe.
Cranberry-Sauced Meatballs Appetizer
Shape and bake the chicken meatballs ahead of time, then pop them in your slow cooker with cranberry and barbecue sauces.
Chicago-Style Deep-Dish Pizza
Before we published this recipe, getting deep dish usually meant heading to Chicago. We helped bring the yeasty crust, spicy sausage and tomato topping home. Originally published: June 1987.
Spiced Pumpkin Bisque
The Inn at Irish Hollow in Galena, Illinois, serves this creamy, curried soup throughout the fall and winter. You can make your own crème fraîche for the garnish, or use purchased crème fraiche or sour cream.
Len Skvor trades the traditional corned beef for thin-sliced turkey in this twist on a classic Reuben at his Cork 'n Fork Deli 'n Grill in Cedar Rapids, Iowa. To reduce the sodium, rinse sauerkraut with cold water before using.
S'More Cookies, Please
Cinnamon, brown sugar, oats and finely crushed grahams shape this moist cookie made even more irresistible with a thumbprint filling of marshmallow crème and an upside-down milk chocolate candy.
Hash Brown Casserole
Here's a somewhat lightened version of a popular potato casserole recipe that's great for brunch, dinner or a potluck.
Beef and Bulgur Soup with Chickpeas
Several spices flavor this low-cal soup, including cumin, ginger and garam masala.
Spiced Pecan Sweet Potato Cake
Deborah Biggs of Omaha completes this amazingly moist dessert with Maple Whipped Cream.
Jamaican Jerk Chicken Wings
French Toast Sticks with Maple-Apple-Nut Topping
Choose from several varieties of bread, including challah, whole wheat and cinnamon-raisin, for these easy French toast sticks. The Maple-Apple-Nut Topping makes this a standout dish. The recipe was inspired by RAGBRAI vendor Breakfast Delights.
Sassy Baked Beans
Mix and match different kinds of beans and meat to suit your preferences. Our smoky-sweet baked beans will beat canned beans every time!
Graham crackers form the base for this bar cookie with layers of marshmallows, brown sugar, almonds and coconut. "I've made these cookies since 1984," says Georgine Simmonds of Genesee, Michigan. "They're one of my family's favorites."
These rich rolls with easy-to-handle dough won Best Bread of Show twice for state fair entrant Denise Turnbull of Monmouth, Illinois.
Fingerling Potato Salad with Honey-Thyme Vinaigrette
You'll have more Honey-Thyme Vinaigrette than you need for this fresh-tasting potato salad; keep the extra dressing on hand for another potato or pasta salad. The recipe is from Chicago chef Myk Banas.
Chicken and Corn Hash Brown Bake
This comfort food hotdish offers a new twist on the usual hash brown casserole. Try it for everyday meals as well as potlucks!
Brown Butter Tarts with Sour Cherries
Buttery-sweet individual tarts get topped with dried tart red cherries, figs or dates at Salty Tart bakery in Minneapolis.
The sweet tomatoes blend with tangy-mellow balsamic vinegar and basil. Serve with some crusty bread to soak up the liquid.
When miners carried these meat-and-veggie pies in their pockets in Michigan's UP, they counted on sturdy crusts. Our version is a little more tender and moist. But it still works great the traditional way--drenched in gravy or ketchup.