20 Easy, Soothing Recipes for Cold and Flu Season

The sniffles don’t stand a chance

soothing cold and flu recipes: detox coconut soup
Photo: Liz Andrew/Styling: Erin McDowell

Sometimes we feel invincible. Other times…oh no, did that person just cough? Is that a throat tickle? Yup, it’s cold and flu season—and it’s coming for us all. The proverbial doctor’s orders? Soothing dishes full of ginger, garlic and immune-boosting ingredients to get us back on our feet (or at least make us feel nourished while we recoup). Lucky for you, we’ve got 20 recipes for cold and flu season that will cure you one bite at a time.

You know you should maintain a balanced diet with a range of vitamins and minerals, sleep well, exercise regularly and keep your stress level as low as possible just for your overall wellbeing, but there's an added bonus to maintaining these habits (beyond bragging rights): They make your body more prepared to fight infection, says Forbes Health. Once you're sick, foods that are rich in antioxidants and decrease inflammation can potentially help your immune system. Think broth-based soups, citrus fruits, ginger, yogurt and hydrating fluids, like tea and electrolyte drinks. (Note that no food is a cure-all once you're already infected, though; ideally, you'd build these foods into your diet before you're under the weather to maximize their effect, says HuffPost UK.)

25 Healthy Midnight Snacks for Late Night Munching

1. Vegan Slow Cooker Detox Coconut Soup

  • Time Commitment: 7 hours and 15 minutes
  • Why We Love It: slow cooker recipe, vegan, dairy free, gluten free

Looked at a germ? Eat this light (but still magically creamy) soup, which will clear your sinuses with ginger, garlic and Fresno chiles. Canned coconut milk keeps the consistency rich without the help of dairy.

2. Salmon Bowl with Farro, Black Beans and Tahini Dressing

  • Time Commitment: 40 minutes
  • Why We Love It: dairy free, high protein, low sugar

Omega-3s are always a good idea. Add grated ginger (which, according to studies, contains anti-inflammatory compounds) to the dressing or sprinkle ground ginger atop the fish, and you’re looking at one immune-boosting bowl.

3. Turmeric, Ginger and Shiitake Chicken Soup

  • Time Commitment: 2 hours and 30 minutes
  • Why We Love It: gluten free, dairy free, beginner-friendly

Remember when Mom used to make you chicken soup to ward off sniffles? The trick still works, but this time it’s getting an upgrade with turmeric and ginger. Meaty mushrooms make it even heartier.

4. Instant Pot Carrot Ginger Soup

  • Time Commitment: 30 minutes
  • Why We Love It: Instant Pot recipe, vegetarian, crowd-pleaser

If you ask us, carrots and ginger are a more iconic duo than even grilled cheese and tomato soup—don't @ us. (And BTW, a grilled cheese would taste great dipped in this wintry delight.)

5. Miso Dumpling Soup with Autumn Squash

  • Time Commitment: 40 minutes
  • Why We Love It: dairy free, beginner-friendly, kid-friendly

The jury is out on whether or not probiotic-rich miso and antimicrobial ginger are the secret to staying healthy this winter, but they sure do taste delicious together. Use kabocha, acorn or even butternut squash.

6. Anti-Inflammatory Smoothie Freezer Pack

  • Time Commitment: 10 minutes
  • Why We Love It: make ahead, no cook, vegan, dairy free, gluten free

These make-ahead smoothies are packed with ginger, turmeric, black pepper, cinnamon and cauliflower for #health…plus mango and banana for a delish flavor. Stash a few in your freezer and pull ’em out as soon as the sniffles hit.

7. Citrus, Fennel and Avocado Salad

  • Time Commitment: 35 minutes
  • Why We Love It: no cook, vegetarian, gluten free, dairy free

Gross but cool: Fennel is a natural expectorant, so it’ll help with that frog in your throat. And sure, citrus is rich in vitamin C, but the fresh smell alone will be enough to make you feel better (at least for a moment).

8. Golden Turmeric Chickpea Soup

  • Time Commitment: 50 minutes
  • Why We Love It: high protein, <500 calories, dairy free

Turmeric is super anti-inflammatory, and inflammation is the root of all evil. (Kidding, kind of—according to Harvard Medical School, chronic inflammation has been shown to be a risk factor for disease.) Thanks to chickpeas, chicken and peanut butter, this dish boasts 33 grams of protein per serving.

9. Immune-Boosting Feel Good Veggie Soup

  • Time Commitment: 50 minutes
  • Why We Love It: gluten free, dairy free, vegetarian

Featuring a quadruple-threat of ginger, garlic, turmeric and bone broth, in addition to all those veggies. Feel free to add a grain (like rice or egg noodles) if you're craving carbs.

10. Garlic Soup

  • Time Commitment: 1 hour and 10 minutes
  • Why We Love It: one pot, low carb, gluten free

Recent studies support that garlic is full of potentially antioxidant, antimicrobial, antibiotic and antiviral properties, so this soup should knock the socks off your runny nose. (And if it doesn’t, at least you’ll love eating it.)

11. Savory Steel-Cut Oats

  • Time Commitment: 8 hours and 20 minutes
  • Why We Love It: high protein, vegan, gluten free, make ahead

Whoa, did you know beta-glucan (a fiber in oats) can potentially boost your immune system? Better yet, these are topped with tender mushrooms, kale, tahini and cheese-like nutritional yeast for maximum comfort and flavor.

12. Make-Ahead Aloo Gobi

  • Time Commitment: 30 minutes
  • Why We Love It: make ahead, <30 minutes, vegetarian

Aloo gobi is a classic Indian dish made from cauliflower, potatoes and a ton of aromatic spices, including turmeric. It turns out our favorite cruciferous veggie is actually full of vitamin C. Bless. Make a batch at the start of your cold—it'll last in the fridge for four days.

13. Golden Glow Water

  • Time Commitment: 5 minutes
  • Why We Love It: <30 minutes, no cook, <10 ingredients

Replace your daily seltzer habit with this refreshing mix of honey, ginger and lemon (and a touch of cayenne for a kick). It'll be soothing served hot or cold.

14. Healthy Black Bean and Sweet Potato Chili

  • Time Commitment: 1 hour
  • Why We Love It: vegetarian, high fiber, beginner-friendly

This is like a warm, nutritious hug in a bowl (hello, whole head of garlic). Need more convincing? You can make it in an Instant Pot or slow cooker for the lowest lift possible.

15. Immune-Boosting Green Smoothie

  • Time Commitment: 5 minutes
  • Why We Love It: no cook, dairy free, gluten free

Instead of jinxing yourself by laughing in the face of flu season, build up your defenses with a cup of this green-juice-meets-smoothie concoction. It includes kale, spinach, celery, cucumber, ginger and lime (and still manages to taste good).

16. Tropical Winter Fruit Salad with Spirulina Sugar

  • Time Commitment: 10 minutes
  • Why We Love It: no cook, gluten free, dairy free, vegetarian

’Tis the season for citrus, so why not fill your plate with this gorgeous salad? Between the mango, star fruit and kumquats, it tastes like a tropical vacation, so we have no complaints (and neither will you).

17. Buddha Bowl with Kale, Avocado, Orange and Wild Rice

  • Time Commitment: 40 minutes
  • Why We Love It: vegetarian, high protein, gluten free

With vitamin C and antioxidants, kale will always have your back. Double down on the fresh orange, season the rice with ground ginger and turmeric and add sliced garlic to the greens.

18. Restorative Miso Noodle Soup

  • Time Commitment: 30 minutes
  • Why We Love It: <30 minutes, vegetarian, dairy free

To retain those good-for-you probiotic benefits, the miso is stirred in right at the end of cooking…and just like that, you’re in noodle-soup heaven. Your favorite take-out spot will miss you.

19. Deb Perelman’s Ginger Garlic Chicken Noodle Soup

  • Time Commitment: 45 minutes
  • Why We Love It: high protein, crowd-pleaser, special occasion-worthy

Garlic has antibacterial, antiviral and antifungal effects that can enhance your immune response, says Healthline. To make the most of its superpowers, mince a few cloves, let them sit to let the enzymes in the allicin (an organic sulfur compound) work, then add it to your bowl raw, so the garlic's potency isn't fully cooked off, says Cleveland Clinic.

20. Brown Butter Turmeric Granola

  • Time Commitment: 1 hour and 55 minutes
  • Why We Love It: make ahead, beginner-friendly, gluten free

Turmeric has strong anti-inflammatory properties that could potentially ease pain. Ginger also has immune-boosting powers, so we'd add a spoonful of the ground kind to this warm-spiced granola. (It's in good company with coriander, fenugreek and black pepper.)


Senior Food Editor

Katherine Gillen is PureWow’s senior food editor. She’s a writer, recipe developer and food stylist with a degree in culinary arts and professional experience in New York City...

taryn pire

Food Editor

Taryn Pire is PureWow’s food editor and has been writing about all things delicious since 2016. She’s developed recipes, reviewed restaurants and investigated food trends at...