Here are all the best cozy winter dinner ideas that will please everyone! These recipes feature seasonal produce and hearty comfort foods.
Let’s face it: winter is hard in the kitchen. There’s none of the carefree breeziness of summer, with its laid-back no cook meals and vibrant produce. But here’s the thing: turn to cozy, comforting foods and hearty seasonal ingredients, and there’s a treasure trove of inspiration waiting to be explored. Here are all our top winter dinner ideas for the season! Try our fan-favorite shepherd’s pie, cozy pasta bakes, or pizza soup. Some are rich and comfort-laden, some are fresh and healthy. Ready to get started?
This veggie shepherd’s pie is the epitome of cozy winter dinner ideas! Imagine: a creamy gravy filled with tender vegetables, lentils and scented with fennel and sage. Then a fluffy layer of Yukon gold potatoes, topped with fresh rosemary. It’s layered together in a baking dish and then baked until golden.
Here’s a winter dinner idea that’s simple, hearty and pleases a crowd: stuffed shells! Stuff pasta with ricotta, mozzarella, Parmesan and spinach, then bake them up in a bath of garlicky tomato sauce. It makes your kitchen smell heavenly, and the first bite into one of those jumbo shells confirms it’s just as tasty as the smell.
It’s got bubbly cheese, garlicky tomato sauce, and savory, meaty breaded eggplant: it’s Eggplant Parmesan! This Italian classic is hearty, filling, and pleases just about everyone. Most restaurants use fried eggplant, but for a homemade version it’s much simpler to bake. Here’s our best baked Eggplant Parmesan recipe: faster and easier to make at home than most recipes and full of incredible flavor.
When it comes to winter dinners, a cozy lentil soup always fits the bill! And this one lives up to its "best ever" title. Let’s just say that everyone we’ve served it to immediately asks for the recipe…and seconds! It's so full of hearty flavor, you’ll feel like you’re wrapped in a warm hug.
Next up in our winter dinner ideas: Veggie Lasagna! The tomato sauce has just the right zing and garlic nuance, and the spinach ricotta cheese filling is classic and creamy. It’s scented with fresh thyme and a little lemon zest, which takes it to over the top status.
Another winter dinner idea? The smell alone of this butternut squash risotto bubbling away is reason enough to cancel all your plans and make this recipe! The tender, caramelized roasted squash makes sweet pockets in the creamy Parmesan rice dotted with sage. That smell of shallots sautéing in butter and white wine? DIVINE.
Looking for fresh and healthy winter dinner ideas? Try this Mediterranean Bowl, bursting with colorful veggies! It’s a simple “meal in a bowl” that stars spiced roasted vegetables, seasoned with an irresistible mix of cumin, coriander, garlic and a hint of cinnamon. Add to that quinoa or couscous, fresh cucumber and tomato, and top it all off with a creamy lemon tahini sauce.
There's nothing cozier than a great smoked gouda mac and cheese! It had our friends begging for seconds before they were even done with firsts. It features smoked gouda cheese, tender noodles and crunchy sourdough bread crumbs. It makes a rich, creamy mac and cheese that is bursting with flavor.
What's better for winter dinner than chili? This Black Bean Chili is a family favorite: it's beyond simple to make, and the flavor is outstanding. (We hope you’ll agree.) It’s got a hint of smokiness to highlight the tangy tomatoes and savory black beans. Top it with your favorite toppings, and it’s so hearty and savory, you’ll forget it’s healthy, too.
Winter is all about cozy bakes, and enchiladas are one of our favorite winter dinner recipes around here. But they can take a while to prep for a weeknight. This recipe works in 30 minutes flat! The filling takes no time to whip up: it’s just spiced pinto beans and spices. Roll ’em up, bake until golden and cheesy, and load with all your favorite toppings.
What's cozier in winter than meatballs...made with eggplant? Try these amazing Eggplant Meatballs! Garlic, herbs, breadcrumbs and Parmesan cheese make one insanely juicy and savory meatball. Roasted eggplant makes them moist and textured, vs dry or mushy like lots of vegetarian balls. Combine it with marinara sauce and it’s out of this world delicious.
Need a healthy winter dinner idea? Try Stuffed Sweet Potatoes! Bake the spuds whole until they’re moist and tender, then top with savory fillings to make a hearty dinner recipe. The way the savory black beans contrast with the sweet orange flesh makes magic. Often when we don’t know what’s for dinner, it’s sweet potatoes to the rescue!
There’s something about silky caramelized onions topped golden, crusty cheese that takes your breath away every time. This is classic French cooking at its finest. It’s not just the flavor. It’s the promise that while the outside world is cold and brutal, every spoonful of French onion soup is pure bliss.
Here’s a winter dinner recipe that’s the definition of cozy…we think. Wild rice mushroom soup! What’s better than a steaming cup of wild rice soup to warm your insides on a gray day? This one delivers with flavor: the gentle smokiness of the rice, umami of the mushrooms, and savory Parmesan cheese make absolute magic. You'll want to eat it for every meal!
Here's a stunning winter dinner idea to impress everyone: Vegetable Pot Pie! The crust is impossibly flaky, scented with sage. The filling is just the right amount of gooey, with earthy potatoes and onions, fried shallots and white beans. It has so much flavor, well: it's hard to describe the cozy goodness.
Calling all mushroom lovers! Here’s the winter dinner for you: this Mushroom Pasta with Garlic Butter Sauce! It’s creamy and savory, harnessing the power of lemon, butter and Parmesan cheese. It makes the most of the intense umami of mushrooms: one of the most powerful ingredients in all of cooking.
Here’s a great winter dinner recipe that's full of veggies: Sweet Potato Black Bean Tacos! Throw almost any seasonal veggies onto a sheet pan, season them up, and they work as a delicious taco filling! The best part: you can add the black beans right on the roasting pan. It comes out zingy and delicious: top with pico de gallo, cheese crumbles, and a dollop of sour cream.
Here’s a solution that’s a perfect winter dinner for a crowd: chili baked potatoes! Bake up some potatoes, top them with chili and all the fixin’s, and it’s an easy dinner everyone can enjoy. Chili is a hearty match for fluffy potatoes, and really: who doesn’t love a baked potato bar with all those fun toppings?
Who wouldn’t want all the flavors of a supreme pizza wrapped up in a cozy bowl? The broth is flavored with pizza sauce, tomatoes, and a little Parmesan to make it creamy. The toppings are swimming along inside: bell peppers, garlic and mushrooms, making for a savory pop that surprises you in every bite. Serve with garlic toast and it’s a meal you’ll want to make over and over…and over.
Last up in our winter dinner ideas: Coconut Tofu Curry! This tasty dish will warm you from the inside out. The brilliant red broth is flavored with coconut milk and red curry paste, with the zing of lime and a hint of spicy sweetness. It takes just 30 minutes and results in so much flavor…you’ll put it on your regular rotation immediately.
More winter inspiration
Want more ideas for the season? Outside of these winter dinner ideas, here are a few more seasonal recipe lists to peruse:
1 15-ounce can lentils, drained (or 1 ½ cups cooked lentils; see note*)
1 tablespoon soy sauce (or liquid aminos)
1 teaspoon finely chopped fresh rosemary, for the garnish
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit.
Start the mashed potatoes: Start the Vegan Mashed Potatoes recipe. (You can also make these in advance; just reheat before spreading onto the filling to bake.)
Prep the vegetables: Meanwhile, dice mushrooms into bite-sized chunks. Peel and slice the carrots into thin half-circles. Cut the onion into thin slivers length-wise (also called French cut; see the instructions in 1:40 of the linked video).
Make the filling: In large pot, heat 2 tablespoons olive oil on medium high heat. Cook the mushrooms for 5 minutes until golden and tender. Reduce the heat to medium and add 2 tablespoons olive oil and the sliced onion and carrots. Sprinkle with ½ teaspoon kosher salt and cook 5 to 7 minutes until the onions are tender and just browning.
Reduce the heat to medium low. Stir in the flour, fennel seeds, smoked paprika, garlic powder, and dried sage and cook for 1 minute. Add the vegetable broth, peas, lentils (drained if canned), soy sauce and remaining ½ teaspoon kosher salt. Cook for about 5 minutes until the broth is very thick and the vegetables are heated through.
Finish the mashed potatoes: When the potatoes are done cooking, mash them according to the instructions in that recipe.
Bake: Pour the filling into a 2-quart small baking dish. Spread the mashed potatoes in a layer on top. Bake 18 to 20 minutes until the potatoes are lightly browned. If desired, broil for 1 to 2 minutes to brown the top. Garnish with chopped rosemary and serve warm.
*If you can’t find canned lentils, cook your own lentils and add 1 ½ cups of the cooked lentils to the filling. Use our Brown Lentils, Green Lentils, French Lentils, or Black Lentils recipes: you can cook them in water and omit the seasoning (or leave it for extra flavor!). Do cook with the kosher salt, but don’t add extra after cooking.