Comfort Food Recipes

Most Recent

Yin-Yang Tang Yuan (Sweet Sticky Rice Balls in Soup)

This soothing, sweet Chinese dessert soup of rice flour dough balls stuffed with black sesame seeds in a rock sugar–sweetened broth is typically served during reunions because the round rice balls symbolize harmony and togetherness. Lucky Chow producer Danielle Chang likes to make it as a sweet treat for her Lunar New Year celebration. To keep the dough moistened throughout the assembly process, cover it with a damp towel.

Sausage and Red Onion Sheet Pan Quiche

At Convivial in Washington, D.C., Cedric Maupillier’s foot-long quiche takes this breakfast classic to the next level. This version, prepared in a rimmed baking sheet, makes plenty for the whole family.

Poulet Mafé

In Senegal at the Keur Moussa monastery, a typical meal includes poulet mafé, a thick peanut sauce with chicken, root vegetables, and cabbage served over rice, fonio, or millet couscous. For chef Pierre Thiam, poulet mafé is the ultimate comfort food. His advice: “Be patient when cooking mafé. Let the stew simmer slowly until the oil rises to the surface.” Creamy peanut butter adds body and nuttiness to this savory chicken dish, balancing the aromatic ginger, garlic, and tomato paste. Thiam's version uses fish sauce, which brings a subtle umami that adds complexity to the stew.

Spiced Sweet-and-Sour Ribs

Rubbed with toasted ground spices then lacquered with a sweet and tangy glaze of maple syrup and a duo of vinegars, these meaty ribs have a deep flavor and an irresistibly crackly crust. To work ahead, you can roast the ribs the day before then glaze and broil them just before serving. Trimming the meat away from one end of each rib lets the meat pull away during cooking, creating handles that make for mess-free nibbling.

Erbazzone Reggiano (Emilian Spinach and Cheese Pie)

Flavorful and filling with a light, almost cracker-like crust, this rustic spinach pie relies on simple ingredients for an impressive finish. Because the spinach gently steams within the crust, it retains its fresh, verdant flavor even after cooking.

More Comfort Food

Squash Casserole with Potato-Chip Crust

A few years back when my husband called his 90-something-year-old mother to get the recipe for this holiday favorite, she laughed and said no one ever had bothered to write it down. “You just make it!” she told him, but did eventually walk him through the method. The exact makeup of this Eastern Carolina dish varies from family to family, but in the Wagner kitchen, gooey cheese and a crisp potato chip topping is key, and if you’re worried that you’re cooking down the vegetables too much—you’re not. Gloriously caramelized mush is the goal and when done just right, this casserole can be filed under “looks like hell, tastes like heaven.” READ: Never Be Ashamed of Your Family's Casserole

Stuffing “Falafel” Pitas with Tahini Gravy

Leftover stuffing and mashed potatoes get a new lease on life in these crispy, sesame-studded, falafel-like patties from Chef Zoë Kanan. “I was inspired by the overstuffed, colorful, and briny pitas of Tel Aviv,” Kanan says of this next-level Thanksgiving sandwich. “The key here is introducing crunch to the sandwich. Use my recipe as a guide, and riff by including whatever textural ingredients you have around, like fried onions, sunflower seeds, or even wasabi peas.” She tucks the patties into pitas with crunchy pickled onions and drizzle of tahini-bolstered gravy for the ultimate Thanksgiving leftovers sandwich. Tahini brands can vary in thickness; thin with a splash of warm water or broth, if needed.