Our Best Fall Comfort Foods
Meatloaf, pork chops, macaroni and cheese, chili, muffins and more! Indulge in some of our favorite fall foods.
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.
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.
Flash-Braised Pork Chops with Apples and Cream
Braising sounds slow, but it can be weeknight-fast. After a skillet sear, pork rib chops and apples simmer in cider for 10 minutes. A swirl of cream and Dijon makes a luscious pan gravy at the end.
Spiced Wine-Braised Short Ribs
Short ribs are a splurge, but the payoff is enormous-meltingly tender meat and big beef flavor in the mulled-wine-esque sauce. Serve with mashed potatoes or creamy polenta. If time allows, make this dish ahead; it's easier to skim the fat after it has chilled, and the flavor only gets better.
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.
Spiced Apple Tarte Tatin
This easy, French-style upside-down apple tart relies on frozen puff pastry. The spice flavor comes from Chinese five-spice powder, a widely available blend with flavors of clove, black pepper and star anise.
Sugary cinnamon meets salty pretzels in this super-easy, giftworthy snack mix.
Roasted Broccoli with Pecorino and Lemon
Roasting broccoli is a wonderful change from steaming or stir-frying, bringing out a sweetness and complexity you might not have known was there. A simple finish of bright lemon and salty cheese adds a burst of freshness and flavor.
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/recipe/peanut-butter-buckeye-brownie-cheesecake and creamy dessert she created.
Long, slow simmering melds flavors in this recipe from the Spice House in Evanston, Illinois.
Blueberry Thunder Muffins
A sprinkle of cinnamon-sugar gives a sweet crust to these berry-packed muffins.
Coffee Cake Ring
Trust us! This cake is utterly addictive.
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 Carrots with Maple Thyme Butter
These sweet oven-roasted carrots are a perfect complement to a special occasion menu, but they're easy enough to be a weeknight side. This comfort food recipe comes from Big Cedar Lodge in Ridgedale, Missouri.
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.
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.
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.
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 one of our recipe contests. 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.
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.
The innkeepers at Burchell's White Hill Farmhouse Inn in Minden, Nebraska, 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.
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.
Hash Brown Casserole
Here's a somewhat lightened version of a popular potato casserole recipe that's great for brunch, dinner or a potluck.
Garlic and fennel flavor this dish with northern Minnesota heritage.
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!
These rich rolls with easy-to-handle dough won Best Bread of Show twice for state fair entrant Denise Turnbull of Monmouth, Illinois.
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!
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.
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.
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."
Smoked Barbecue Ribs
Minneapolis amateur barbecue competitor David Fries shares his recipe for succulent smoked ribs.
Ozark Blackberry Cobbler
A sugared crispy pastry covers sweet juicy berries in this traditional dessert from the Monte Ne Inn near Rogers, Arkansas.
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.
Spiced Pecan Sweet Potato Cake
Deborah Biggs of Omaha completes this amazingly moist dessert with Maple Whipped Cream.
Chicago-Style Deep-Dish Pizza
We love Chicago's deep-dish pizza, but when you want to make it at home rather than eat out, here's the recipe you need, with yeasty crust, spicy sausage and tomato topping.
Beef and Bulgur Soup with Chickpeas
Several spices flavor this low-cal soup, including cumin, ginger and garam masala.
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.
Rise and Shine Cranberry-Apple Crisp
Spiced coconut streusel adds crunch to healthy apples and berries.