Don’t let the season go by without trying these must-make fall recipes! Each one is guaranteed to bring cozy cheer using the best foods of the season.
Once the weather starts to get cool, recipes turn comforting and nostalgic. What’s better than cozying up with a cup of chili in a sweater, or the wafting aroma of pumpkin cookies? Once the season starts, we’re always clamoring to make the latest greatest fall recipes. So we thought we’d compile the best fall recipes that you must not miss this season. We’ve got sweet, savory, and everything in between.
Best flavors of fall
What are the best seasonal fall foods? Here’s what foods are often included in seasonal fall recipes. Their availability will vary based on your location. Bonus points if you can find them at a local farmers market!
Hands up if you like cookies! Once the weather starts getting cooler, we immediately crave these chewy pumpkin oatmeal cookies. They taste like--get this--oatmeal cream pies! The soft cookie is full of pumpkin spices, then drizzled with a powdered sugar icing. These will kick off the fall nostalgia in no time. Said one of our readers, "Made these today!! Delicious!!!" We hear you. (Now we need to make a batch.)
It's not fall until you've made butternut squash risotto! The smell alone of this butternut squash risotto bubbling away is reason to make it. The tender, caramelized roasted squash makes sweet pockets in the creamy Parmesan rice dotted with sage. And that smell of shallots sauteing in butter, with a splash of white wine? DIVINE. It’s a stunner.
These healthy pumpkin muffins are pretty much the best fall use of a muffin wrapper that there is. There’s the tender interior, perfectly moist with pumpkin puree and infused with pumpkin pie spice. Then there’s the streusel topping: oats and glittery turbinado sugar. It makes a satisfying crunch, and every bite is just the right sweet and spice. Even better? Each one is less than 200 calories.
Next up in our must-try fall recipes: stuffed acorn squash! Because when other than fall do you crave its fleshy, sweet goodness? The creamy squash is roasted until tender, then it’s draped in a toasted pecan rice stuffing that makes your kitchen smell like a fall paradise! You know that scent of onions, celery and leeks cooking in butter? Well, this recipe delivers it in spades. Everyone we’ve served it to becomes a believer…and then immediately asks for the recipe.
What's more fall than chili? This classic vegetarian chili recipe is a fan favorite, balancing three beans, green chilis, and a healthy dose of chili powder. It's filled with bulgur wheat to mimic the texture of meat (sub cooked quinoa for gluten free). Top with sour cream or nacho cheese (yep!) and it's true perfection. Serve with Easy Vegan Cornbread.
Fall is all about cozy pans of apple crumble or crisp, right? And this is the best classic apple crumble recipe! It’s a big 9 x 13 pan to feed a crowd, and fresh ginger accentuates the gooey filling perfectly. It's so good, we've also got at vegan & gluten free version. Top with melty vanilla ice cream or homemade whipped cream for the full experience.
Get ready to be amazed by the best fall drink recipe! This Fall Sangria recipe pairs sparkling apple cider with red wine, orange and cinnamon. In a word: wow. It's just sweet enough, more like a traditional Spanish sangria. If you'd like, pour it in layers to make the the beautiful two-tones. And don't forget the garnish: a rosemary sprig, orange slice, and cinnamon stick!
Speaking of best of the best fall recipes...this Vegan Pot Pie is next level. The earthy potatoes and onions are slathered in a savory, creamy sauce, along with fried shallots and white beans. And on top, a flaky sage vegan pie crust that you’d never believe has no butter (the secret: coconut oil). Said one reader: "WOW. This is seriously amazing pot pie. I’ve had a couple of vegan pot pies before, but this is my favorite!"
Fuzzy blankets, wool sweaters and hot cider can’t hold a candle to this one. Yes, this vegan pumpkin bread is spelled C-O-Z-Y. It’s perfectly moist and pumpkin spiced. Even better, it’s light and fluffy: so you get your pumpkin spice fix without it being overly heavy or rich. It’s a seriously good pumpkin bread that happens to be plant-based, too.
Why not eat everyone's favorite squash as...mac and cheese? Here it’s served in the shell for a beautiful presentation. The spaghetti squash strands are drenched in a creamy Béchamel sauce with Gruyere cheese. What are you waiting for?
Here's a perfect fall recipe: an apple cider slushie! It's pure apple cider, frozen into a slushie with cinnamon and cloves. Top garnish with an apple slice (and red and white straw, if you want!) and it's perfect for entertaining, apple picking or leaf peeping.
This one's a fall recipe people can't stop talking about: these pumpkin baked steel cut oats. These nutrient-dense oats are mixed with pumpkin puree, pecans and spices and baked up in the oven. The result? A healthy version of pumpkin pie. Said reader Jessica, "SOOOO GOOD!!! Oh my wow. This is probably the best oatmeal I’ve ever made. I felt like I was eating pie for breakfast!"
Fall is Brussels sprouts season, and this is the absolute BEST recipe for making them! These Brussels sprouts are roasted in a very hot oven, making them tender on the outside and crispy on the outsides. All you need is salt and pepper: and you won't be able to stop eating them.
Side bonus: some of the outer leaves fall off onto the pan, making crispy little chips to snack on: so good!
Please tell us you will not let fall go by without making this easy fall recipe? Yes Pumpkin HUMMUS is where it's at! Combining this ubiquitous fall vegetable with chickpeas into a savory hummus might seem a little odd at first. But it’s surprisingly good! It's creamy and savory, with an undertone of autumnal goodness.
After all these cozy, gooey, comfort food-y recipes, here's a fall recipe that's crisp and fresh! This shaved Brussels sprout salad features sprouts in their raw form: which taste a bit like a sweet blend of cabbage and lettuce! Top that with a tangy sweet vinaigrette, tart apples and pomegranate seeds. It's a symphony of good for you flavors that are all fall.
Once the temperatures start to cool down, we immediately dust off this one: pumpkin pasta sauce! Pumpkin puree actually makes for a creamy, irresistible pumpkin pasta sauce. Its texture melds seamlessly with Parmesan cheese, and its subtle flavor works just as well with garlic and chili powder as with pumpkin spices. Even better, this fall pasta recipe is quick to whip up: even with the penne, it takes under 30 minutes to make.
Want to make pumpkin soup, but don’t want to roast an entire pumpkin? This is the recipe for you! All you need is a can of pumpkin puree. It’s got another secret ingredient too, that makes it more filling than a standard creamy soup: red lentils! The lentils thicken this soup and give it creamy body. Top sour cream swirls and crunchy homemade croutons, and well: it’s a cozy masterpiece.
Once it's apple picking season, homemade applesauce is a must make fall recipe! Making applesauce at home is easier than you think. This recipe skips the extra sugars of the store bought kind! If you'd like, add cinnamon and a splash of maple syrup: or leave it unsweetened. Pick from two methods: stovetop or Instant Pot.
Is it even fall if you don't make pumpkin pancakes? This healthy spin on a fall breakfast recipe features rolled oats (oat flour) instead of all-purpose flour. This makes these pancakes heartier and more filling than a normal all-purpose flour and sugar pancake. And of course, they're infused with lots of pumpkin pie spice! Drizzle with maple syrup and enjoy.
And to round out our fall recipes...soup. Butternut squash soup isn't really about the food: it's about a fall tradition! Every year we make this soup with butternut squash from the market. And why make butternut squash soup when you can make curried butternut squash soup? Yes, the Thai flavors of coconut, ginger and curry are the perfect match to this lightly sweet orange squash. Yep, you've got to try it to believe it with this one!
In a medium stockpot or Dutch oven, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add the onion and sauté until translucent, about 5 to 7 minutes. Add the ginger, carrots, squash, vegetable broth and kosher salt and bring to a boil. Lower to a simmer and cook until carrots are tender, about 10 to 15 minutes.
When the carrots are soft, add the chickpeas, coconut milk, and red curry paste, and carefully blend with an immersion blender (or in a blender) until the smooth. Taste and adjust seasonings as desired.
Sonja Overhiser is author of Pretty Simple Cooking, named one of the best healthy cookbooks of 2018. She’s host of the food podcast Small Bites and founder of the food blog A Couple Cooks. Featured from the TODAY Show to Bon Appetit, Sonja seeks to inspire adventurous eating to make the world a better place one bite at a time.
Alex Overhiser is an acclaimed food photographer and author based in Indianapolis. He’s host of the food podcast Small Bites and founder of the recipe website A Couple Cooks. Featured from the TODAY Show to Bon Appetit, Alex is author of Pretty Simple Cooking, named one of the best vegetarian cookbooks by Epicurious.