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Our Best Fall Comfort Foods

Meatloaf, macaroni and cheese, chili, muffins and more! Indulge in some of our favorite fall foods.

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.

War Eagle Mill Buttermilk Biscuits

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.

Veggie Cheese Chowder

Cinnamon Pretzels

Sugary cinnamon meets salty pretzels in this super-easy, giftworthy snack mix.

Cinnamon Pretzels

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.

Bacon-Pear Macaroni and Cheese

Blueberry Thunder Muffins

A sprinkle of cinnamon-sugar gives a sweet crust to these berry-packed muffins.

Blueberry Thunder Muffins

Colossal Chili

Long, slow simmering melds flavors in this recipe from the Spice House in Evanston, Illinois.

Colossal Chili

Coffee Cake Ring

Trust us! This cake is utterly addictive.

Coffee Cake Ring

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 Loge in Ridgedale, Missouri.

Cinnamon Carrots with Maple Thyme Butter

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.

Peanut Butter Buckeye Brownie Cheesecake

 

Short Ribs over Cheesy Polenta

Cooked this way, short ribs give you a delicious, dressed-up dish with hardly any work. A hint of licorice from fennel accents the recipe.

Short Ribs over Cheesy Polenta

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.

True Butterscotch Pie

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.

Cinnamon-Spiced Beef Stroganoff

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.

Chinese Five-Spice Marinated Pork Satay

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.

Potato Chips Meet Fish

Pumpkin Chili

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.

Pumpkin Chili

Valencia Delights

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.

Valencia Delights

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.

Cashew Chicken Stir-Fry

Wheat Berry Waldorf Salad

Apples, dried cranberries and grapes meet crunchy celery and wheat berries in this colorful salad tossed with apple-cinnamon dressing.

Wheat Berry Waldorf Salad

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.

Farmers Market Brownies

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.

Starker's Bacon and Cheese Curd Burger

Pumpkin Bread

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.

Pumpkin Bread

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.

Cranberry Sausage-Stuffed Pork Chops with Pumpkin Gravy

 

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.

Grilled Sirloin Kabobs with Zesty Top City Sauce

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.

War Eagle Mill Buttermilk Biscuits

Rise and Shine Cranberry-Apple Crisp

Spiced coconut streusel adds crunch to healthy apples and berries.

Rise and Shine Cranberry-Apple Crisp

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.

Chicken and Kielbasa Winter Stew

Ham Sliders

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.

Ham Sliders

Ozark Blackberry Cobbler

A sugared crispy pastry covers sweet juicy berries in this traditional dessert from the Monte Ne Inn near Rogers, Arkansas.

Ozark Blackberry Cobbler

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.

Italian Rice Salad

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.

Cranberry-Sauced Meatballs Appetizer

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.

Chicago-Style Deep-Dish Pizza

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.

Spiced Pumpkin Bisque

Rachel Sandwiches

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.

Rachel Sandwiches

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.

S'More Cookies, Please

Hash Brown Casserole

Here's a somewhat lightened version of a popular potato casserole recipe that's great for brunch, dinner or a potluck.

Hash Brown Casserole

Download our FREE printable collection of 10 top casserole recipes

Porketta Roast

Garlic and fennel flavor this dish with northern Minnesota heritage.

Porketta Roast

Beef and Bulgur Soup with Chickpeas

Several spices flavor this low-cal soup, including cumin, ginger and garam masala. 

Beef and Bulgur Soup with Chickpeas

Spiced Pecan Sweet Potato Cake

Deborah Biggs of Omaha completes this amazingly moist dessert with Maple Whipped Cream. 

Spiced Pecan Sweet Potato Cake

Jamaican Jerk Chicken Wings

Mix cider vinegar, Jamaican jerk seasoning, orange juice, lime juice, olive oil and soy sauce for this version of jerk marinade. Let chicken marinate 4 to 24 hours, and it'll be ready to go on the grill. Serve with Mango Salsa for more Caribbean flavor.

Jamaican Jerk Chicken Wings

Mango Salsa

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.

French Toast Sticks with Maple-Apple-Nut Topping

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!

Sassy Baked Beans

Caramel Heavenlies

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."

Caramel Heavenlies

Cloverleaf Rolls

These rich rolls with easy-to-handle dough won Best Bread of Show twice for state fair entrant Denise Turnbull of Monmouth, Illinois.

Cloverleaf Rolls

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.

Fingerling Potato Salad with Honey-Thyme Vinaigrette

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!

Chicken and Corn Hash Brown Bake

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.

Brown Butter Tarts with Sour Cherries

Oven-Roasted Tomatoes

The sweet tomatoes blend with tangy-mellow balsamic vinegar and basil. Serve with some crusty bread to soak up the liquid.

Oven-Roasted Tomatoes

Peach Kuchen

Like any good cook, Mary Jo Smith of Hidden Lake Bed and Breakfast in Jonesboro, Illinois, adjusts her recipes as she prepares them over time. She has fine-tuned the custard layer for Peach Kuchen and added spices to the peaches. If you're in a hurry, substitute a single refrigerated unbaked piecrust for the Kuchen Crust.

Peach Kuchen

Michigan Pasties

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.

Michigan Pasties

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