35 Cozy Winter Dinner Ideas

Cuddle up indoors with these comforting meals

slice of pastisio on a plate, glass of rose wine and baking dish in background

The Spruce Eats / Photographer Victor Protasio, Food Stylist Ana Kelly, Prop Stylist Christine Keely

When the temperature outdoors plunges, there's no better time to hunker down inside, cuddle up by the fire, and eat some hearty, warming food. There are plenty of cozy recipes here, including quick and easy options for weeknight suppers, meatless meals, and even some Sunday supper worthy dishes. And the dishes span the globe as well, from Korean to Indian to French, offering a wide variety of flavor in the name of comfort food.

  • 01 of 35

    Chicken Pot Pie

    Classic Chicken Pot Pie in a pie dish

    The Spruce Eats / Diana Chistruga

    Our classic chicken pot pie is loaded with tender chunks of chicken and vegetables in a thick, creamy gravy. A double crust makes the chicken pie satisfying and filling—make a homemade, buttery crust from scratch or make it even easier with convenient store-bought refrigerated crusts. Whichever option you choose, you will fall in love with this comforting pot pie.

  • 02 of 35

    Creamy Vegan Miso Butter Ramen

    vegan miso butter ramen

    The Spruce Eats / Julia Hartbeck

    Soy milk ramen isn’t necessarily a vegetarian option in Japan; most of the time the dashi will still contain katsuobushi (bonito, or dried skipjack tuna) flakes and the broth itself is typically made with pork bones. The same goes for miso ramen—not usually a vegetarian-friendly option in Japan. This vegan version of traditional miso ramen is so creamy, rich, and full of umami that you won’t even be able to tell it’s completely plant-based. 

  • 03 of 35

    Mushroom Bolognese

    Mushroom bolognese recipe

    The Spruce / Diana Chistruga

    This dish—while a capable substitute for classic Bolognese—is not just for vegetarians. In fact, it’s an excellent stand-in for anyone interested in eating a little less meat without sacrificing flavor. Roasting brings out the true brown flavors of these fungi. Will you miss the meat? Not even a little.

  • 04 of 35

    French Chicken and Sausage Cassoulet

    Classic French Chicken and Sausage Cassoulet in a baking dish

    The Spruce Eats / Diana Chistruga

    Cassoulet is a French countryside classic, combining many types of meats with beans. This modern update on the traditional, slow-simmered stew boasts an irresistible, hearty flavor with a more streamlined ingredient list consisting of bacon, chicken, sausage, white beans, vegetables, and herbs. For the tenderest beans, soak dried beans overnight in a large pot of salted water (using 2 tablespoons of salt per pound of beans) and a pinch of baking soda.

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  • 05 of 35

    Red Curry Chicken

    Thai Red Curry with Chicken Recipe

    The Spruce / Diana Chistruga

    This aromatic recipe can be made mild to red-hot, depending on your spice-o-meter. It starts with a homemade Thai red curry paste which is easily put together with your food processor or blender. Add coconut milk, chicken, and vegetables, and you have a heart-warming curry dish. This dish would traditionally have been simmered over a fire or stove-top, but we've adapted it to be cooked in the oven, allowing you to get on with your day. 

  • 06 of 35

    Easy French Onion Soup

    Easy French Onion Soup

    The Spruce / Cara Cormack

    Conjure up a cozy bistro lunch at home with this classic French onion soup that needs only five ingredients. Brimming with sweet, caramelized onions in rich, beefy broth and topped with crispy, toasted bread and melting cheese, it's just the thing to warm you up on a cold winter day. Make it into a filling meal with a side of Caesar salad.

  • 07 of 35

    Chicken With Fluffy Drop Dumplings

    Chicken with fluffy drop dumplings

    The Spruce / Cara Cormack

    This chicken stew recipe is topped with easy fluffy drop dumplings for a hearty, satisfying comfort-food offering. The dumplings, cooked on the top of the stewed chicken, become soft and fluffy with a biscuit-like texture. Ground poultry seasoning and some chopped parsley add flavor and color to the dumplings.

  • 08 of 35

    Garlic Bread Grilled Cheese

    garlic bread grilled cheese sandwich

    The Spruce Eats/Diana Chistruga

    Sometimes you just need a classic comfort food. This garlic bread grilled cheese gives you two in one. This recipe makes four sandwiches, and it is easily scaled down for one or two sandwiches. Or scale it up for a large family. Serve with warm marinara sauce or creamy tomato soup for dipping.

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  • 09 of 35

    Dairy-Free Vegan Butternut Squash Soup

    Dairy-Free Vegan Butternut Squash Soup

    The Spruce / Bahareh Niati

    This bright, dairy-free butternut squash soup is simple and inexpensive to prepare, and it's great for warm family dinners, special occasions, or casual get-togethers with friends. This recipe is incredibly versatile, so feel free to add fresh herbs, spices, or even nuts of your choice.

  • 10 of 35

    Corned Beef Shepherd's Pie

    Corned beef shepherd's pie recipe

    The Spruce / Cara Cormack

    For this cozy recipe, you can use leftover cooked corned beef, or buy some from the meat department of the deli for this recipe. This recipe is also perfect for busy weeknights, as it uses instant mashed potato flakes making prep a breeze without sacrificing a creamy, crisp top to the pie.

  • 11 of 35

    Spicy Korean-Chinese Seafood Soup

    Spicy Korean-Chinese Seafood Soup

    The Spruce / Diana Chistruga

    Spicy Korean-Chinese seafood soup (or jjamppong) is a popular order at Chinese and Korean worldwide around the world. It is a nourishing mix of egg or udon noodles, mixed seafood, pork, and vegetables in a fiery, savory red soup base. If the ingredients are prepped ahead, it takes only 30 minutes to brew up a big pot of this cozy soup to set on your dinner table.

  • 12 of 35

    Miso Udon Soup

    Miso Udon Noodle Soup (Miso Nikomi Udon) in a pot

    The Spruce Eats / Maxwell Cozzi

    Miso udon noodle soup, also known as miso nikomi udon in Japanese, is a rustic dish of thick wheat udon noodles simmered in a savory miso broth with various ingredients such as fried tofu (aburaage), fish cake (kamaboko), chicken, and green onions.  The simple ingredients come together to create a whole meal that is greater than the sum of its parts.

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  • 13 of 35

    Birria Tacos

    Birria Tacos on a plate, served with a side of sauce and lime wedges

    The Spruce / Cara Cormack

    Birria is a traditional Mexican dish that originates in the states of Jalisco, Aguascalientes, and Zacatecas. It starts with a braised meat, traditionally in some regions goat or lamb, in other regions, beef. The meat goes in the tortillas, and they're served with the braising liquid, called consomé (not to be confused with a classic French consommé). Birria tacos are a very common breakfast remedy for a hangover, but of course they are delicious any time of the day.

  • 14 of 35

    Easy Chicken Parmesan

    Easy Chicken Parmesan

    The Spruce / Julia Hartbeck

    Chicken Parmesan is a famous Italian-American dish beloved by kids and adults alike. You can make this family-friendly combination of crispy breaded chicken, cheesy goodness, and tangy tomato sauce in under an hour. Serve it with a side of spaghetti, garlic bread, and a simple green salad for a wholesome weeknight meal.

  • 15 of 35

    Pasta Carbonara

    pasta carbonara

    The Spruce Eats / Cara Cormack

    A classic pasta carbonara is a dish you can probably whip up with ingredients you already have on hand. It is a simple combination of pasta, eggs, pork, cheese, a splash of pasta water, salt and pepper. Guanciale is ideal, but pancetta or a good quality thick bacon is just fine. The number of eggs varies from recipe to recipe, but the more eggs you use, the silkier and richer the sauce. This version includes pancetta and freshly grated Parmesan cheese.

  • 16 of 35

    Braised Chicken

    Braised chicken recipe

    The Spruce / Cara Cormack

    Use your Dutch oven and a few simple ingredients to make this saucy, fork-tender braised chicken. A simple set it and forget it approach to cooking the chicken-- low and slow in the oven in a delicious sauce-- makes for a fall-apart texture. This dish makes a great weekend meal paired with creamy mashed potatoes.

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  • 17 of 35

    Aash Reshteh

    Aash Reshteh in a bowl

    The Spruce Eats / Bahareh Niati

    This traditional Persian stew of beans, pasta, and flavorful spices is a cozy winter staple. At first glance, you will notice the long list of ingredients for this soup, accounting for the depth and complexity of its flavors. However, don’t let the list of ingredients deter you from giving this recipe a try, as just about every ingredient is readily available and easy on the wallet.

  • 18 of 35

    Massaman Lamb Curry

    Thai Massaman lamb curry recipe

    The Spruce / Diana Chistruga

    This curry takes under 15 minutes of prep time, with the bulk of the work happening after you walk away from the stove top, to let the pot simmer and the flavors meld. The ingredients list may seem long, but it is quite easy to make—you don't even need a food processor. Just toss all sauce ingredients into the curry pot as you prepare them, and simmer together with the meat. Note that beef and chicken are often traditionally substituted for lamb, and all types of meat make for a delicious meal.

  • 19 of 35

    Classic Lasagna

    Best Classic Lasagna

    The Spruce / Cara Cormack

    Beefy, cheesy, saucy, and layered with tender pasta noodles, this meat lasagna brings together everything we love about the classic baked pasta dish. There is nothing like a slice of warm-from-the-oven lasagna on a cold night. Make a double batch so you have extra throughout the week or freeze for a cozy meal anytime.

  • 20 of 35

    Lasagna Soup

    Lasagna Soup

    The Spruce Eats / Diana Chistruga

    Filled with all the classic elements of lasagna—there’s spiced ground beef, saucy tomatoes, ricotta, and even lasagna noodles—this soup is the perfect low-key alternative without all the fuss. The perfect solution to satisfy a mid-week lasagna craving.

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  • 21 of 35

    Oxtail Soup

    Oxtail Soup

    The Spruce / Julia Estrada

    Despite their name, oxtails are actually beef tails, and they make the most marvelous soup. They have a similar flavor and texture to beef short ribs, and their high-fat content produces a thick and silky soup when simmered for hours. This recipe with onions, carrots, celery, and thyme is a great winter meal in one bowl that will warm your insides.

  • 22 of 35

    Chicken Fried Steak

    Chicken-Fried Steak With White Gravy

    The Spruce / Nyssa Tanner

    Don't be fooled by the name; there is no chicken in this recipe. It is so called because the cube steak is cooked in the same style as crispy, breaded chicken. The crispy fried steaks are topped with a creamy peppery white gravy that is pure comfort, especially when served alongside a bowl of buttery mashed potatoes.

  • 23 of 35

    Croque Madame

    Croque Madame on a plate

    The Spruce Eats / Julia Hartbeck

    Eggs for dinner is never a bad idea, and this classic French sandwich-- filled with ham, cheese, and topped with a lush cheese sauce-- is a perfect foil for a fried egg. Serve with a simple salad, and a glass of wine, and this is a perfect cozy meal for one or two.

  • 24 of 35

    Mushroom Risotto

    Mushroom Risotto

    The Spruce

    Mushroom stock is the magical ingredient that makes this richly flavored mushroom risotto one of the most delicious variations on the classic Italian recipe. This risotto is creamy and velvety without needing an ounce of cream; it does require lots of stirring but is otherwise simple to prepare and will reward you with a wonderful, substantial-tasting dish.

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  • 25 of 35


    slice of pastisio on a plate, glass of rose wine and baking dish in background

    The Spruce Eats / Photographer Victor Protasio, Food Stylist Ana Kelly, Prop Stylist Christine Keely

    The Greek word pastitsio is derived from the Italian pasticcio, which loosely translates to a mess or a hodgepodge. You can think of it as the Greek version of lasagna. Three essential components make up this dish—pasta, meat filling, and a creamy béchamel sauce—which are layered in a pan and baked to a golden brown.

  • 26 of 35

    Skillet Spaghetti and Meatballs

    Skillet spaghetti recipe

    The Spruce / Cara Cormack

    This easy, one pan dinner is simple to whip up and endlessly adaptable. Use frozen pre-cooked meatballs of your choice-- beef, turkey, pork, or vegetarian--for a dish that is satisfying, filling, and makes for excellent leftovers.

  • 27 of 35

    Vietnamese Coconut Chicken Curry

    Vietnamese Coconut Chicken Curry

    The Spruce / Diana Chistruga

    When the temperature dips into minus territory, soothe yourself with this wonderful Vietnamese coconut chicken curry. Luxuriously thick and rich, chunks of chicken, russet potatoes, sweet potatoes, and carrots are bathed in a creamy coconut milk sauce. Add some cooked rice noodles and serve with crusty baguette slices for sopping up the broth.

  • 28 of 35

    Vegetarian Black Bean and Corn Chili

    A bowl of black bean and corn chili

    The Spruce / Julia Hartbeck

    Whether meat-based or not, a bowl of warming chili on the coldest days is a welcome dish. This vegetarian version calls for mostly canned ingredients and is topped with crunchy corn tortilla strips, making for a quick and easy winter weeknight dinner choice. You can make it vegan, if you like, by omitting the cheese and optional sour cream topping.

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  • 29 of 35

    Georgia-Style Brunswick Stew

    Georgia-Style Brunswick Stew

    The Spruce / Julia Hartbeck

    On frosty winter days, Brunswick stew is a great answer to the eternal question of what to make for dinner. This deeply delicious Southern dish with chunks of chicken or pork, cream-style corn, and barbecue-flavored tomato broth cooks up on the stovetop in just 30 minutes. It's a satisfying weeknight dinner with cornbread and a tossed green salad.

  • 30 of 35

    Butternut Squash Risotto

    butternut squash risotto in bowls with minced sage leaves to garnish

    The Spruce Eats / Diana Chistruga

    Risotto is a creamy, comforting dish and this version studs the classic risotto with butternut squash for a fall and winter seasonal twist. If you are in a pinch, feel buy pre-cubed squash instead of prepping the whole squash yourself.

  • 31 of 35


    Katsudon recipe

    The Spruce / Cara Cormack

    In Japanese culture katsudon is considered soul food. Fluffy rice is topped with a fried pork cutlet and egg that has been cooked in a slightly sweet and salty broth. This dish is a great way to use up leftover rice, and is ready in under 45 minutes.

  • 32 of 35


    Sancocho served in bowls

    The Spruce/Julia Hartbeck

    If you're looking for pure comfort in a bowl, you'll find it in sancocho, a Latin-American meat stew brimming with root vegetables and scented with cilantro. Minimal active prep time, and a long, slow and low cooking makes this stew perfect for a lazy winter weekend.

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  • 33 of 35

    Chicken Adobo

    chicken adobo

    The Spruce/Julia Hartbeck

    Considered by many the "National Dish of the Philippines," adobo is a braised meat dish laced with an umami-packed sauce of soy sauce, vinegar, garlic, black peppercorns, and bay leaves are also key. Adobo varies slightly from region to region but the flavor is always deep and comforting. Try swapping out chicken for pork, or do a combination of the two.

  • 34 of 35

    Kimchi Bokumbap

    Kimchi Bokumbap: Kimchi Fried Rice

    The Spruce / Diana Chistruga

    This kimchi fried rice is a great way to use up leftover rice. It is easily adapted too-- if you are not wanting the beef this recipe calls for, feel free to leave it out, or swap in a protein of your choice. Consider this classic recipe a jumping off point to making your perfect, kimchi-studded fried rice bowl.

  • 35 of 35

    Shrimp Alfredo

    Shrimp Fettuccine Alfredo in a bowl

    The Spruce Eats / Eric Kleinberg

    This recipe is a comforting classic for a reason, and probably easier to prepare than you might think. The ingredients are straightforward, and the sauce, pasta, and shrimp all cook up in under 30 minutes, making this a great weeknight or easy weekend meal.