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23 Winter Comfort Food Recipes That Are Cozier Than a Fuzzy Blanket

It’s easy to fall into a rut when the sun sets at 4:30 p.m. and you’re constantly freezing. But winter doesn’t have to be a drag, especially if you fill your days (and nights) with cozy, hearty meals that feel like a warm hug on a plate. Add these 23 winter comfort food recipes to your repertoire—from old faves like chicken and dumplings to new classics like firecracker chicken—and you’ll feel better in no time.

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1. Buckwheat Gnocchi with Cabbage, Potatoes and Fontina

  • Time Commitment: 40 minutes
  • Why We Love It: crowd-pleaser, vegetarian, beginner-friendly

We’ll be eating this homemade pasta dish every day until winter is over, thank you very much. The pillowy dumplings are shockingly easy to make and don’t require any special equipment (or skill).

2. Skillet Gnocchi with Sausage and Broccoli Rabe

  • Time Commitment: 30 minutes
  • Why We Love It: one pan, <30 minutes, beginner-friendly, crowd-pleaser

On nights when you’re too lazy to make gnocchi from scratch (it happens), break out a package of the store-bought kind and make this one-skillet number. It’ll take 30 minutes, tops.

3. Mac and Cheese with Crispy Parmesan-Phyllo Crust

  • Time Commitment: 1 hour, 20 minutes
  • Why We Love It: crowd-pleaser, kid-friendly, special occasion–worthy, vegetarian

While we’ll always have a soft spot for the boxed stuff, this elevated mac and cheese is proof that it’s often worth the extra effort to make it yourself. Just look at those flaky phyllo rosettes.

4. Sausage, Corn and Poblano Chowder

  • Time Commitment: 50 minutes
  • Why We Love It: one pot, crowd-pleaser, beginner-friendly

Your soup collection is already robust, but we know you always have room for another recipe. With chunks of potato and sweet bits of corn, this spicy warmer will quickly become a new favorite.

5. Spicy Bucatini Amatriciana

  • Time Commitment: 40 minutes
  • Why We Love It: <10 ingredients, beginner-friendly, crowd-pleaser

This pasta dish is as weeknight-friendly as it is dinner party-ready. If you can’t easily source Italian guanciale, substitute pancetta or bacon in a pinch.

6. Slow Cooker French Onion Soup

  • Time Commitment: 7 hours, 25 minutes
  • Why We Love It: slow cooker recipe, one pot, <10 ingredients

This cheater’s version of the labor-intensive classic cooks for hours on its own—no stirring required. And the results? Ooh la la. Go ahead and crush your HBO watchlist while it simmers.

7. Instant Pot Chicken and Dumplings

  • Time Commitment: 1 hour, 10 minutes
  • Why We Love It: Instant Pot recipe, kid-friendly, crowd-pleaser

If you look up “winter comfort food” in an encyclopedia, you’ll find this soup/stew hybrid. Using a pressure cooker yields the same results as standing by the stove all day, but with less trouble on your part.

8. 3-Cheese Pumpkin Pasta Casserole with Spinach

  • Time Commitment: 50 minutes
  • Why We Love It: beginner-friendly, crowd-pleaser

It’s all about the four C’s: creamy, comforting, crowd-pleasing and cheese. (Don’t worry, there’s plenty of spinach in there for *health.*)

9. Cacio e Pepe Flatbread

  • Time Commitment: 30 minutes
  • Why We Love It: <30 minutes, <10 ingredients, beginner-friendly, kid-friendly

It’s called a flatbread, but you should know it’s just a very cheesy, impossibly easy white pizza. Add it to your list of reasons to keep a ball of store-bought dough on hand.

10. Spicy Lemon-Ginger Chicken Soup

  • Time Commitment: 1 hour, 15 minutes
  • Why We Love It: one pot, beginner-friendly, crowd-pleaser, gluten free, dairy free

Everyone needs a rendition of chicken soup in their back pocket, and this one is so simple and riffable, it just might take the cake. Use any green in place of the spinach and feel free to add noodles or grains if you so desire.

11. Firecracker Chicken with Rice

  • Time Commitment: 35 minutes
  • Why We Love It: kid-friendly, beginner-friendly, <500 calories, high protein

When you’re not treating yourself to takeout, make this sticky, spicy-sweet chicken as a substitute. It’s just as tasty and way more economical.

12. Slow Cooker Bolognese

  • Time Commitment: 6 hours, 45 minutes
  • Why We Love It: slow cooker recipe, make ahead, crowd-pleaser

This is a set-it-and-forget-it ragù that tastes rich and hearty without much effort on your end. Freeze half of the sauce as a favor to your future self.

13. Easy One-Pan Baked Ziti

  • Time Commitment: 1 hour
  • Why We Love It: one pan, beginner-friendly, kid-friendly, crowd-pleaser

This one-pan comfort classic comes together in an hour and freezes beautifully, so ready thy skillet.

14. Slow Cooker Chicken Pot Pie Soup

  • Time Commitment: 7 hours, 35 minutes
  • Why We Love It: slow cooker recipe, kid-friendly, beginner-friendly

Chicken pot pie is a delicious undertaking. This soup is just as satisfying but starts with a slow cooker and ends with store-bought biscuit dough for convenience.

15. One-Pan Spaghetti and Meatballs

  • Time Commitment: 30 minutes
  • Why We Love It: <30 minutes, crowd-pleaser, one pan, kid-friendly

Do you love meatballs and hate cleaning up after dinner? Same. This skillet spaghetti has your back (and yes, you can use store-bought sauce if you want).

16. Polenta with Roasted Mushrooms and Bacon

  • Time Commitment: 50 minutes
  • Why We Love It: beginner-friendly, <10 ingredients, gluten free

When a dish makes us feel pinkies-out fancy and comes together with just a pot and a sheet pan, you can bet it’s earning a spot in our regular rotation.

17. Slow Cooker Chicken Tikka Masala Meatballs

  • Time Commitment: 6 hours, 10 minutes
  • Why We Love It: slow cooker recipe, beginner-friendly, high protein, <500 calories

Sit back, relax and allow your slow cooker (and a bit of garam masala) do the hard work.

18. Butternut Squash Risotto with Crispy Leeks

  • Time Commitment: 1 hour, 35 minutes
  • Why We Love It: vegetarian, <500 calories, low sugar, gluten free

Risotto is the ultimate comfort food, even when unadorned. Add butternut squash and a crispy leek topping, and we’ll be making it all winter long.

19. Spinach and Three-Cheese Stuffed Shells

  • Time Commitment: 1 hour, 10 minutes
  • Why We Love It: crowd-pleaser, kid-friendly

Think of these gooey stuffed shells like cheese ravioli without all the work. (There are three types of cheese hiding in there.)

20. 30-Minute Brussels Sprouts and Bacon Orecchiette

  • Time Commitment: 30 minutes
  • Why We Love It: one pot, <10 ingredients, beginner-friendly

Consider this pasta your antidote to the winter blues. It’s salty from the bacon, savory from shallot, garlic and those sprouts, plus it has a bit of tang from a secret ingredient. (Spoiler: It’s apple cider vinegar.)

21. French Onion Grilled Cheese

  • Time Commitment: 1 hour, 15 minutes
  • Why We Love It: <10 ingredients, beginner-friendly

One of our fave soups meets one of our top-tier sammies in the coziest winter comfort food you can imagine. Don’t skip the swipe of tangy Dijon mustard—it’s the secret ingredient that cuts through all that rich flavor.

22. Rigatoni with Vodka Sauce

  • Time Commitment: 30 minutes
  • Why We Love It: <30 minutes, <10 ingredients, beginner-friendly

Not only are we suckers for pasta; we also can’t turn down a rich, creamy tomato sauce. The vodka isn’t strictly necessary, although it does brighten up the dish. Substitute a squeeze of lemon juice or a splash of white wine if you don’t have it at home.

23. Cheater’s Sicilian-Style Pizza with Jalapeños and Honey

  • Time Commitment: 30 minutes
  • Why We Love It: crowd-pleaser, kid-friendly, <10 ingredients

Store-bought dough, a drizzle of honey, two types of cheese and ’roni cups. Can we get an amen?

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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 restaurants. She used to sling sugary desserts in a pastry kitchen, but now she’s an avid home cook and fanatic baker.