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. It’s got none of the carefree breeziness of summer cooking, with its laid-back no cook meals and vibrant produce. But here’s the thing: turn to cozy, comforting foods and hearty, veggie-rich season ingredients, and there’s a treasure trove of inspiration waiting to be explored.
Here are all our top winter dinner ideas to bring inspiration to the season! Try our fan-favorite shepherd’s pie, with ultra savory gravy and fluffy mashed potatoes, or pizza soup: everything that’s great about the savory pie in a cozy bowl! 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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?
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.
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.
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.