33 Comfort Food Recipes to Rely On
Comfort food is called so for a reason—it’s a hug during a difficult day, a “welcome back” after a journey away from home, a nostalgic childhood memory revisited. And it comes in many forms, too, from chicken pot pie soup (yes, you read that right) with puff pastry croutons to a generous plate of chilaquiles. In the mood for something sweet? We’ve got brownies, pie, and cake for that too. Read on for even more of our favorite comfort food recipes.
Peanut Butter Chocolate Pie
“With the smooth, nutty peanut butter filling, glistening ganache, and salty roasted peanuts on top, this pie evokes all the sweetness of a childhood memory, delivered in the form of an elegant, nuanced dessert that adults will want to savor,” Ben Mims writes.
Hatch Chile Smash Burgers
Three-Cheese Lasagna with Roasted Red Peppers and Mushrooms
To create a vegetarian lasagna that’s packed with flavor (rather than watery and bland), start by roasting mushrooms and red peppers with a quick garlic-infused oil. While the vegetables are cooking, stir together a quick ricotta filling with plenty of Parmesan for extra umami. Using no-boil lasagna noodles and good-quality store-bought tomato sauce cut down on cook time without sacrificing taste.
Chicken Pot Pie Soup with Puff Pastry Croutons
This creamy, soul-warming soup from the legendary Ina Garten’s cookbook, Modern Comfort Food, captures everything there is to love about chicken pot pie. Plenty of aromatic vegetables, a rich, silky broth spiked with tarragon and cream sherry, and plenty of tender chicken (or leftover Thanksgiving turkey) deliver pure comfort in every spoonful. The flaky, buttery puff pastry croutons (made from store-bought dough!) are an irresistible finishing touch.
Egg in a Bagel Hole
Adding water to the skillet helps cook the eggs evenly without burning the bagel halves, resulting in a lightly toasted bagel wrapped around a perfectly runny yolk. Savory smoked salmon and creamy avocado complete this classic breakfast.
Spicy Sesame, Bacon, and Egg Congee
Taking a cue from Chef Mei Lin of Nightshade, we’re adding spicy pork, creamy egg yolks, and crunchy sesame to classic rice congee. Low and slow cooking is the key to its great texture; adjust the heat as needed to maintain a gentle bubble that results in tender grains.
Auntie Monica’s Seafood Mac and Cheese
Loaded with fresh shrimp, crab, and lobster and layered with a rich mixture of cheeses, this macaroni and cheese gets an extra boost of spice from liquid shrimp-and-crab boil. The boil seasoning lends its long-cooked flavor to the casserole without overcooking the delicate seafood. This recipe comes from Monica Williams, chef Kia Damon's auntie and former drill instructor for the United States Marine Corps.
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.
Deep-Dish Caramel Apple Pie
This mouthwatering deep-dish caramel apple pie from Kay Chun is drizzled with a luscious homemade caramel sauce and topped with a crunchy oat streusel.
Dutch Oven Classic Beef Stew
There’s nothing better than coming home to a simmering pot of this hearty stew on a cool fall or winter day. Hearty chunks of beef turn tender after a low and slow trip in your favorite Dutch oven; potatoes join the party during the tail end of cooking to retain their texture. Cut potatoes into similar-size pieces to guarantee they cook evenly.
Auntie Roberta’s Bourma (Armenian Phyllo Pastry with Walnuts)
A wooden skewer, dowel, or chopstick is the only special tool needed to make this crispy scrunched phyllo pastry filled with chopped nuts and drizzled with sugary syrup. A splash of fresh lemon juice adds bright, zesty flavor to the syrup that balances both the sweetness of the pastry and the rich, buttery walnuts. The recipe is from Roberta Kochakian of Los Angeles, who is descended from a family of Armenian Genocide survivors and has devoted much of her life to chronicling traditional Armenian recipes and cooking techniques.
Chilaquiles Rojos with Fried Eggs and Cotija
Charring the tomato and onion before adding them to the red chile sauce is a quick way to create rich, slow-cooked flavor. Thick-cut fresh tortilla chips soak up the sauce and runny egg yolks without getting soggy.
Miso-Tofu Hot Pot with Ramen
A soothing hot pot is the perfect excuse to set out ingredients and casually dine at the table. Although this recipe can be executed at the stove, donabe is traditionally prepared on a portable burner at the table. Cook the tofu and vegetables first, then soak up the delicious broth with chewy ramen noodles as a second course.
Auntie Georgia’s Dakgangjeong (Korean Fried Chicken with Soy Sauce)
A sticky glaze of soy sauce and brown sugar gets subtle heat from fresh jalapeños to give these fried wings the perfect level of spice, sweetness, and salt. Potato starch creates a shatteringly crisp exterior on the wings and stays crunchy for hours—even after they have cooled.
Smoked Brisket Sandwiches with Pickled Vegetables
On its own, this applewood-smoked brisket is luscious and much easier to make at home than most barbecued meats. Michael Symon turns it into a fun sandwich, topped with cilantro and pickled vegetables to cut the richness of the meat.
Mashed-Potato Casserole with Sage and Fontina
To take mashed potatoes up a few notches, cookbook author Melissa Clark mashes them with a creamy, tangy mix of crème fraîche, butter, parsley and sage, then tops them with cheesy breadcrumbs and bakes until crisp.
Hina Auntie’s Chana Masala with Puri
Toasting and grinding whole spices instead of relying on pre-ground spice powders adds unparalleled depth of flavor to this spicy chickpea dish from western India. This dish is a specialty of Hina Mody, Restaurant Editor Khushbu Shah's auntie who emigrated from the Indian state of Gujarat.
Yayla Çorbası (Turkish Yogurt Soup) with Velibah
Although most Turks will opt for a pillowy square of pide bread to accompany this soup of yogurt, barley, and dried mint, buttery-crisp velibah stuffed with feta and potato is a go-to for editor Oset Babür's family, who hail from Ossetia, a state in the South Caucasus.
Dinner Hummus with Spiced Chicken and Cauliflower
“Serving hummus at the center of the table is common practice in the Middle East, where it’s eaten for breakfast, lunch, and dinner,” Leah Koenig writes. “The creamy chickpea spread is often topped with sautéed mushrooms or eggplant, browned ground lamb and onions, saucy fava beans, or similar hearty add-ons. I’ve tried (and adored) all of these versions, but the dinner hummus of my dreams is capped with a generous layer of chicken and cauliflower.”
Coconut-Curried Shrimp with Bara
Light, airy, and slightly sweet, the fried bara is perfect for sopping up this spicy shrimp curry. A quick Scotch bonnet hot sauce is intense on its own, but drizzled sparingly over the curry it adds the perfect punch of heat and acidity.
Sweet-and-Smoky Grilled Cheese Toastie
A combination of chipotle-spiked béchamel and mild Comté cheese melt together to create the rich, creamy center in this pressed “toastie” sandwich.
Brown-Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies
Most traditional chocolate chip cookie recipes start by creaming softened butter with sugar. Here, the butter is melted in a skillet until golden brown and nutty first. This simple step does require a bit of extra time (mainly for chilling the butter), but the result is an intensely toasty butterscotch note that makes these thin, chewy cookies irresistible. Using two kinds of bittersweet chocolate (chips and a chopped bar) adds luscious layers to the cookies. A final sprinkle of flaky salt enhances their flavor even more.
Tadka Dal with Roti
Briefly heating spices and dried chiles in oil or ghee allows their flavors to bloom, creating a flavorful tadka that serves as the backbone of this dish. It also adds a crispy, spicy finish to the creamy mixture of mung beans, lentils, and pigeon peas.
“Posole is the choose-your-own-adventure of Mexican cuisine,” Priya Krishna writes. “Start with a stew speckled with chewy bits of hominy and seasoned with lime and braised pork. Depending on the region, that soup could be green from jalapeños and tomatillos (if you're in Guerrero) or red from guajillo or ancho chiles (in areas such as Mexico City and Jalisco). Then, choose from a selection of toppings: finely chopped onions, sliced avocado, lime, radishes, lettuce, queso fresco. Go big, or keep it simple. That's the true beauty of posole: No two bowls look or taste exactly alike.”
Raclette-Gruyère Mac and Cheese with Pickled Shallots
Inspired by älplermagronen, Alpine farmers’ macaroni, this Swiss twist on a Thanksgiving classic gets rich flavor from Gruyère and a lush creaminess from Raclette. Traditional versions of this dish are served with applesauce; as a nod to that flavor play, we’ve added some shallots that are quickly pickled in apple cider vinegar to balance the cheesy richness.
California Wappa Rice Bowls
Snow crab, especially the legs of the crab, yields tender, clean chunks of meat, perfect for topping these steamed savory rice bowls. To gently cook the crabs, steam them for 20 to 25 minutes over high heat, let cool slightly, and remove the meat.
Tater Tot Casserole
The secret to this casserole is the layer of creamed spinach in the middle. It adds elegance to the dish, as well as a nice contrast to the crispy, crunchy Tater Tot top.
Kru Nid’s Khao Tom (Thai Breakfast Porridge with Bacon)
This comforting, creamy rice porridge shines with punchy, savory toppings for a hearty meal. Traditional toppings for khao tom can include Chinese sausage, dried shrimp, or eggs, but writer Kat Thompson’s favorite version of this dish is topped with fermented mustard greens and crispy bacon. This Khao Tom recipe is from Oranij Promsatit, Thompson's beloved Thai teacher and family friend.
Restorative Ginger-and-Turmeric Noodle Soup
“During the winter months, this bowl of noodle soup is like a hug,” Hetty McKinnon writes. “The garlic oil adds an extra layer of aromatic flavor, a great way to bring cohesiveness to this curative bowl of soup. It’s bolstered by a robust ginger and turmeric base, which offers deep, earthy flavors along with anti-inflammatory prowess.”
Tempering the toppings in hot oil, a technique known as making a tadka, brings out their flavors and is the perfect counterpoint to the cooling yogurt in this simple, comforting dish. Be sure to use plain whole-milk yogurt, not a strained, Greek-style yogurt, for the creamiest porridge-like texture. Food & Wine restaurant editor Khushbu Shah makes this comforting yogurt rice whenever she needs some self-care after a long trip.