Sometimes you just want a warm, comforting meal that feels like a hug from the inside. Whether it’s soup, a hearty pasta, beef stew or a rice dish, these recipes are perfect to add to your winter meal plan. There are also a few delicious indulgent desserts for afterwards.
A lot of the recipes here are slow-cooked, a method of cooking both meat and vegetables over a longer period of time to make it unbelievably tender. Plus, by the very nature of slow cooking, it’s a hands-off process. Throw everything in the pot or slow cooker and let simmer away while you do the dishes…or sit down with your feet up! Here are 12 scrumptious recipes that warm from within to save you time.
1. Chicken Tagine
This Moroccan-inspired recipe is a hearty stew made of tender chicken in a perfectly spiced sauce. Traditionally made in a tagine (hence the name!), which is a special pot that trams steam inside the vessel, this recipe is made with a regular pot. Using chicken thigh makes this tagine super succulent, and the sweetness from the dried apricots balances the whole thing perfectly. A must-try!
2. Shepherd’s Pie
The ultimate comfort food, this shepherd’s pie recipe is made with either the traditional ground lamb or more economical beef, plenty of vegetables and gravy under a bed of pillowy mashed potato. It makes a huge pie, so you can absolutely make this ahead of the week on a Sunday and reheat delicious comforting leftovers all week. This is also called a cottage pie (usually if made with beef), and has been a popular dish in the USA and UK for decades.
3. Chicken Pot Pie with Biscuits
Creamy chicken, tender vegetables and gravy under soft, fluffy biscuits? Sign me up! This recipe combines TWO comfort foods, fresh biscuits and chicken pot pie. All the delicious chicken, vegetables and gravy are topped with either homemade or store-bought biscuits. Either way, serve this up for dinner for a comforting winter evening supper.
4. Cheesy Baked Gnocchi Bolognese
Bolognese is just one of those meals that screams comfort. It’s meaty, saucy and brings back many childhood memories. This version contains both ground beef and Italian sausage and is served on soft, tender potato dumplings called gnocchi. It’s quick to make if you cook up the sauce ahead of time, in fact it’s even better once the flavors have developed overnight!
5. Creamy Golden Rice with Spiced Chickpeas
A big bowl of healthy, vegetarian-based hearty comfort, this creamy golden rice with spiced chickpeas is easily made vegan. It’s packed with protein, veggies, fresh herbs and amazing flavors. The golden rice is made with butter, turmeric and a little chili, some coconut milk is then added and the rice is cooked until creamy and tender. The crispy chickpeas add a wonderful texture to this rice, and do not skip them!
6. Slowly Braised Short Rib Ragu
When you slow cook meat, it becomes amazingly tender and melts in your mouth. That’s part of what makes this short rib ragu recipe so incredible. The beautiful sauce is made with red wine, herbs and tomatoes which cooks into the meat. Great for special occasions and family dinners alike, this is a recipe you’ll want to keep in your back pocket.
7. Herbed White Bean and Sausage Stew
Stew is one of the ultimate foods that warm you up for the inside. Tasting like all the comforts of home, this white bean and sausage stew is the perfect winter lunch or dinner. It’s made in one pot and you can easily switch up the sausage option for a different flavor. The white beans add a huge amount of protein and are a wonderful way to stretch meat-heavy dishes out over several servings. Just make sure to soak the beans overnight to make them more friendly on the stomach.
8. Thai Red Curry Noodle Soup
No need for takeout to get all the flavors of Thailand at home. This recipe is full of tender chicken, noodles, vegetables, cilantro and lime, it is somehow both fresh and comforting at the same time. As soon as you start cooking, it will smell amazing. It will look even better and the taste will wow whoever you serve it to.
9. Sticky Toffee Pudding
Traditionally served at a winter christmas celebration in England, sticky toffee pudding is one of the ultimate winter warmer desserts. A tender date sponge is absolutely smothered in a sticky toffee sauce and can be served with whipped cream or ice cream for the ultimate indulgent comfort food. They’re made in individual ramekins so everyone gets their own delightful pudding.
10. Lemon Delicious
As much as I love a good chocolate-loaded dessert, one of the things I crave when I need comfort food is this lemony, spongy and sweet pudding. It’s fresh and warming, and tastes like home.
11. Stuffed Potato Cakes
These potato cakes are a meal-prepper’s dream! They are stuffed with vegan cheese, mushrooms and vegetables but are easily adaptable to suit your tastes and they freeze wonderfully. They are vegan and gluten-free but are so satisfying and hearty. Both vegetarians and meat-eaters will love them. Make a double batch of mashed potato and mix up the flavors to keep in the freezer for a quick lunch or snack for yourself or the kids.
12. The Best Cinnamon Rolls You’ll Ever Eat
A warm, gooey, cinnamon-filled roll slathered in cream cheese frosting is an absolute comfort food classic! The warmth of the cinnamon and the softness of the buttery bread make these rolls an indulgent treat that is sure to warm you up from the inside. Simply put, they are beautifully baked swirls of deliciousness!