25 Quick Winter Recipes for Hearty Meals

You don't have to go outside to get a good meal.

As the days grow shorter and the weather grows colder, so grows your desire to bundle up in a blanket, hunker down with some wintery comfort food, and hibernate until the new year. Finding the motivation to cook when it's too cold to even think is like finding out where you last put your slow cooker: Why bother when things like Chinese takeout exist?

However, if you don't want to spend the winter months dedicating your paycheck to Postmates or resorting to living solely on frozen pizza, you have options. Easy, quick, and delicious options, even! So, hit pause on your marathon-viewing of 90 Day Fiancé, and find what you're going to make for your next meal. Or dessert. Or snack that will turn into your full-on dinner. You decide—we have the options.

1

Grilled Cheese and Tomato Soup

Vegetarian grilled cheese and tomato soup
Mitch Mandel and Thomas MacDonald

Science has yet to find anything melted cheese can't fix. Pair this grilled cheese with sriracha ketchup and convince yourself you're eating vegetables. (Or, you know, you could have it with tomato soup.)

Get our recipe for Grilled Cheese and Tomato Soup. 

2

One-Pan Chicken Fajitas

chicken fajitas recipe for a sheet pan dinner
Kiersten Hickman/Eat This, Not That!

There is no jealousy and no regret like that that comes from watching someone else at a restaurant get served a sizzling hot pan of fajitas. With this recipe, you can satisfy your fajita FOMO from home (and without leaving your house).

Get our recipe for Chicken Fajitas.

3

Veggie Chili

Crock pot vegetarian chili recipe with cheese and cornbread for the table
Kiersten Hickman/Eat This, Not That!

Is there anything more satisfying than throwing a bunch of stuff into a pot, going to watch a holiday rom-com, and returning to the pot to find a chili has formed? It's like magic—but instead of a dove or a playing card, you get chili!

Get our recipe for Vegetarian Chili. 

4

Quesadillas and Guacamole

Healthy crispy quesadillas with guacamole
Mitch Mandel and Thomas MacDonald

Not that you need an excuse to eat melted cheese, but quesadillas give you the added bonus of getting to enjoy the life-fuel that is guacamole. Melty cheese, cooling guacamole…is there a better pairing?

Get our recipe for Crispy Quesadillas. 

5

Trail Mix Popcorn

Trail mix popcorn
Jason Donnelly

To those who say the perfect snack doesn't exist, I say this: popcorn paired with the entirety of Great British Bake Off. If you want to get really fancy, add some nuts, chocolate chips, and dried fruit and voila! Trail mix popcorn.

Get our recipe for Trail Mix Popcorn. 

6

Baked Ziti

Healthy baked ziti
Mitch Mandel and Thomas MacDonald

If there's one thing winter is good for, it's providing the perfect weather to enjoy baked pasta. The cold can never take away our collective love for baked pasta.

Get our recipe for Baked Ziti. 

7

Sausage and Pepper Pizza

Healthy spinach sausage pepper pizza
Mitch Mandel and Thomas MacDonald

Winter cooking tip: Keep some store-bought pizza dough in your fridge at all times. It will come in handy more often than you think. And it gives you the opportunity to create the exact pizza you're craving, minus the delivery charge.

Get our recipe for Sausage and Pepper Pizza. 

8

Spinach Artichoke Dip

Vegetarian artichoke dip
Mitch Mandel and Thomas MacDonald

Did you know you don't have to wait for a football party or holiday gathering to eat spinach artichoke dip? You're an adult and can eat spinach artichoke dip whenever you want, we're giving you permission.

Get our recipe for Spinach Artichoke Dip. 

9

Vanilla Bourbon French Toast

Low-carb vanilla-bourbon french toast
Mitch Mandel and Thomas MacDonald

Winter weekends create the extra challenge of finding a reason to get out of bed at all. This is where French toast comes in, sweet and delicious and topped with whatever you please. It's brunch, without having to leave the house in the cold.

Get our recipe for Vanilla Bourbon French Toast. 

10

Banana Pancakes

Healthy banana pancakes
Mitch Mandel and Thomas MacDonald

Did you aspirationally buy bananas again? Let them fulfill their destiny with this easy recipe for banana pancakes. Fun fact: You can eat pancakes at any time of day. Pancakes have no rules!

Get our recipe for Banana Pancakes. 

11

Pumpkin Bars

keto pumpkin pie bars
Beth Lipton / Eat This, Not That!

If you're looking to satisfy your sweet tooth and have some pumpkin puree hanging out in your fridge, this recipe was made for you. It's seasonal. It's sweet. It pairs perfectly with the Netflix Fireplace for Your Home if you don't have an actual fireplace.

Get our recipe for Pumpkin Bars. 

12

Chocolate Chip Cookies

Perfect chocolate chip cookie
Shutterstock

Chocolate chip cookies are as close to dessert perfection as humans have gotten this far. They're simple, delicious, and easily customizable. Add some chopped pecans. Throw in some peanut butter chips. Dip them in hot chocolate. To each their own cookie. We truly don't think there's a wrong way to enjoy them, but this recipe is the starting point for baking the best.

Get our recipe for the Best Chocolate Chip Cookies. 

RELATED: The easy way to make healthier comfort foods.

13

Fudgy Pumpkin Brownies

Fudgy pumpkin brownie bites on a wooden cutting board
Blaine Moats

Still looking for something to do with that leftover pumpkin puree? Turn it into pumpkin brownies. They are the chocolaty, seasonal treat that will satisfy both your sweet tooth and your desire to only eat pumpkin-flavored things.

Get our recipe for Fudgy Pumpkin Brownies. 

14

Hot Cocoa

hot chocolate with marshmallows and cinnamon in a blue mug
Shutterstock

Winter is the precise time to up your hot chocolate game. Ditch the powdered stuff and make some homemade hot cocoa using your favorite fancy chocolate. You can even add some peppermint schnapps or Irish creme liqueur for spiked hot chocolate. Your cocoa, your rules.

Get our recipe for the Best Homemade Hot Chocolate. 

15

Easy Mac and Cheese

Kiersten Hickman/Eat This, Not That!

As mentioned, melted cheese is essentially a medicinal cure-all. Rather than resorting to another boxed mac and cheese, do yourself the service of making macaroni and cheese from scratch.

Get our recipe for Copycat Cracker Barrel Mac and Cheese. 

16

Kale and Apple Salad

bowl of kale salad with honeycrisp apples and pomegranate seeds
Half Baked Harvest

OK, hear me out: Sometimes you need to eat something that isn't strictly cheese-based. In these instances, this kale and apple salad will make you rethink what a salad can be. The topping-to-leaf ratio is perfect. The crispy prosciutto is a blessing to your salad bowl. It is exactly the kind of salad you'll want this winter.

Get the recipe from Half Baked Harvest. 

17

Crispy Tofu Bites

crispy tofu bites in bowl with chopsticks
Cookie + Kate

Dip dinners—dinners focused on consuming various dips—are the best dinners, and tofu bites are among the best dip vehicles. Pair it with baked potato wedges to trick your brain into thinking it's eating French fries, something it longs to do all year long.

Get the recipe from Cookie and Kate. 

18

Thai Carrot Sweet Potato Soup

thai carrot sweet potato soup in white bowl with spoon
Cookie + Kate

Not to be dramatic, but I'm all about this creative soup. I mean, there's peanut butter in it. Peanut butter!

Get the recipe from Cookie and Kate. 

19

Loaded Baked Potatoes

loaded baked potatoes on parchment paper with salt
Gimme Some Oven

If left to my own devices, I would do nothing but sleep and eat potatoes all winter long. Give me a hashbrown breakfast. Let me take an afternoon nap among my pillowy starches. At night, leave me to sleep atop a bed of mashed potatoes, waking only to snack on a bowl of that buttery mash before falling back into my hibernation. Baked potatoes are an excuse to eat one big potato as a meal, and thus, we must celebrate them.

Get the recipe from Gimme Some Oven. 

20

Buffalo Cauliflower Bites

buffalo cauliflower bites on serving tray with celery and carrots
Sweet Phi

If you're craving wings, but not craving the cleanup that comes with having to fry your own wings, these buffalo cauliflower bites are what you seek. If you're skeptical of the glory that is cauliflower, this recipe will turn you into a believer.

Get the recipe from Sweet Phi. 

21

Maple Turmeric Chicken

maple turmeric chicken breasts in cast iron skillet
Eating Bird Food

Sometimes getting the motivation to cook is just seeing an unexpected flavor combo and thinking, "Huh, I've got those things in my pantry." This recipe calls for maple syrup, which you definitely have, and turmeric, which you probably forgot you bought when Golden Milk Lattes started being a thing.

Get the recipe from Eating Bird Food.

22

Coconut Chicken Tikka Masala

coconut chicken tikka masala in bowl with rice and pita bread
Half Baked Harvest

The next time delivery from your go-to Indian restaurant has an hour wait, try this recipe. It's quick, delicious, and will make you feel like Ina Garten-levels of culinary. (Psst. If you're in a pinch, cumin or curry powder are passable substitutes for garam masala.)

Get the recipe from Half Baked Harvest. 

23

Creamy French Onion Pasta

french onion pasta bake with mushrooms and cheese in pan
Half Baked Harvest

Can't choose between soup and pasta? Of course, you can't. They are two perfect dishes. With this recipe, you don't have to.

Get the recipe from Half Baked Harvest. 

24

Homemade Nachos

easy nachos with cheese tomatoes avocado olives on baking sheet
Love From the Oven

There is no bad time to eat nachos. However, there is a perfect time to eat nachos, and that is when you're snowed in and bundled up in blankets. That is when nachos shine.

Get the recipe from Love From The Oven. 

25

Spiced Wine

spiced mulled wine with orange peel and cinnamon stick in glass
Well Plated

If all else fails, at least there is wine. If you want to get fancy and festive, turn it into mulled wine. See? Cooking isn't that hard after all.

Get the recipe from Well Plated. 

It can be tempting to hide under a blanket all winter, and we don't blame you. With these easy winter recipes, you can add some nutrition to your diet without having to leave the comfort of home.

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Mia Mercado
Mia Mercado is a freelance writer based in the Midwest. Read more
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