These cozy dinner ideas are hearty, satisfying, and easy to make. They’re perfect for chilly winter evenings that call for warm, comfort food recipes!

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The kitchen is already the heart of my home. It’s where I spend my time in a calm, zen-like state. (Until it’s time to do the dishes, I suppose.)

Here are my go-to cozy dinner ideas that break past the dark and bring on the light in the winter. Each of these easy winter meals is perfect for a busy weeknight or a relaxing weekend when you have time to play in the kitchen. I know you will find a new favorite winter dinner on this list!

Let me know which of these easy winter recipes you try! I love hearing from all of you, especially in the winter when I’m inside, dreaming up delicious meals.

Our Favorite Cozy Dinner Ideas from All Things Mamma

1. Chicken and Dumplings

Is there anything more classic? I remember being 11 and visiting a friend’s house, while her mother was making this. She let us stir the always-forgiving dumpling batter and carefully spoon it into the pot. We marveled as they puffed up and turned into flavorful bites floating in a rich stew. Pure magic.

Easy chicken & dumplings in a pot being lifted with a spoon.
Chicken and Dumplings
Warm up with a bowl of homemade chicken and dumplings made easy with Bisquick. Tender chicken, fluffy dumplings – pure comfort in a bowl!
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2. Broccoli Cheddar Soup

There’s a reason why just about every restaurant seems to have broccoli cheddar soup on the menu. You just can’t beat the combination of tender bites of broccoli in rich, cheesy broth. If Panera is your idea of a cozy dinner, you’ll love this homemade version of their ever-popular soup, especially as a cozy winter meal!

Broccoli Cheddar Soup
This easy broccoli cheddar soup recipe is just like your favorite restaurant version, but you can make it at home whenever you like! It’s loaded with cheese, perfectly creamy, and super satisfying.
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3. Stovetop Mac and Cheese

And speaking of Panera! Their creamy white cheddar mac and cheese is another cozy dinner idea for dreary winter days. The tangy sharp cheddar flavor in this recipe is miles better than what you get from the boxed varieties, and this stovetop recipe comes together faster than you can get in the car and pick up an order from the nearest restaurant.

Copycat Panera Mac and Cheese
This copycat Panera mac and cheese tastes just like the original, for a fraction of the price! 
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4. Chili Cornbread Casserole

We don’t need to tell you that chili is classic winter comfort food, and we bet you even have your own go-to chili recipe that your family loves. However, if you want to put a new spin on this winter staple, try our chili cornbread casserole! It tops hearty chili with sweet cornbread and plenty of cheese.

Chili Cornbread Casserole
This chili cornbread casserole is a hearty dinner your family will love! Homemade chili is topped with a sweet cornbread crust and cheese, and it all comes together in under an hour.
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5. Old-Fashioned Goulash

With ground beef, macaroni, and cheese, it doesn’t get much more satisfying than old-fashioned goulash. This American spin on the traditional Hungarian dish comes together quickly, and it’s the kind of meal that will have your kids asking for seconds.

old fashioned goulash with cheddar cheese on top served in a white bowl
Old Fashioned Goulash
Old Fashioned Goulash is the perfect weeknight dinner. It’s easy to make, hearty, and full of comfort food goodness. With ground beef, elbow macaroni, cheese, and a tomato-y sauce, goulash is one of those rare recipes that everyone in the family will love!
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6. Crockpot Cabbage Rolls

Ah, cabbage rolls. They’re not everyone’s cup of tea, but if you’ve got a weakness for this comfort food classic, you’ll love our crockpot version. This cozy dinner idea features tender cabbage rolled up with ground beef and rice, slow cooked to perfection in a sweet-and-tangy tomato sauce.

Three slow cooker cabbage rolls on a plate.
Crockpot Cabbage Rolls
Hearty crockpot cabbage rolls are the kind of satisfying dinner we all crave on cold winter days! With a rice-and-meat filling and flavorful tomato sauce, this recipe is sure to be a family favorite.
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7. Loaded Mashed Potatoes

Maybe your idea of cozy comfort food is a bowl full of fluffy mashed potatoes. Well, look no further! This is a mashed potato recipe that’s practically a meal itself, with sour cream, cheese, and lots of crispy, smoky bacon. Eat it as your main dish (seriously, we won’t judge), or pair it with a simple protein like baked chicken breasts.

Loaded Mashed Potatoes
These loaded mashed potatoes have it all! With bacon, sour cream, chives, cheese, and garlic, they’re absolutely packed (or loaded!) with flavor.
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8. Crock Pot Lasagna

Lasagna is a cozy dinner idea that can be customized to your family’s tastes and preferences. Even better, it’s easier than ever when you make it in your crockpot! Although we use ground beef, feel free to try ground turkey, crumbled Italian sausage, or even a plant-based ground like Impossible to make this recipe your own.

crock pot lasagna
Crock Pot Lasagna
Crock Pot Lasagna means no need for an oven! Lasagna noodles, meat sauce, and cheese made all in the slow cooker. A classic pasta dish ready anytime!
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9. Chicken Pot Pie With Crescent Rolls

Why fuss with homemade pastry crust when you can make chicken pot pie with crescent rolls instead?! This recipe is easy as can be, and you’ll love the buttery, fluffy, perfectly browned crescent roll topping.

Chicken pot pie with crescent rolls being lifted from a baking dish.
Chicken Pot Pie With Crescent Rolls
Making chicken pot pie with crescent rolls means there’s no fussing with pastry crust! Instead, you get the same creamy chicken and veggie filling you love, all nestled inside a fluffy, buttery crescent roll crust.
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10. Beef Vegetable Soup

Homemade beef vegetable soup is so much better than the stuff from a can! Serve hearty soup with some crusty French bread on the side for soaking up all that flavorful broth. Or, pair it with a grilled cheese sandwich for a cozy dinner idea that makes you feel like a kid again.

This Vegetable Soup recipe is the ultimate comfort food recipe and for good reason! It’s quick, easy and full of flavor!  The recipe was passed down from my grandmother and is a family favorite!
Beef Vegetable Soup
This Beef Vegetable Soup recipe is the ultimate comfort food recipe and for good reason! It’s quick, easy and full of flavor!  The recipe was passed down from my grandmother and is a family favorite!
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11. Creamy One-Pot Sausage Gnocchi

I love one-pot meals which make for easy clean-up. This delicious gnocchi is filling and flavorful and will warm your belly in the cold winter. Your family and friends are going to adore this dish, and it will bring everyone to the table.

bowl of potato gnocchi with breadcrumbs
Creamy One-Pot Sausage Gnocchi Recipe
There is nothing more welcome on a weeknight than an easy, cheesy pasta recipe, and this creamy one-pot sausage gnocchi recipe with garlic butter breadcrumbs might just be a new favorite. With less than 35 minutes of prep required, this hearty one-pot meal is piping hot and on the table before the garlic bread is even out of the oven.
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12. Cheeseburger Casserole

Winter casserole recipes are one of my go-to meals. This cheeseburger casserole is hearty enough to warm you right up, even on the coldest days. All that tender, juicy meat is hard to resist!

A spoon lifting a scoop of cheeseburger casserole from a baking dish.
Cheeseburger Casserole
This easy cheeseburger casserole is a hearty dinner your whole family will devour! Tender elbow noodles are combined with seasoned ground beef, tomatoes, and lots of cheddar—and it comes together with minimal effort!
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13. Cheesy Potato Soup

This soup is so filling and hearty that you will feel satisfied for hours after eating just one bowl. Cheesy potato soup is a perfect winter meal, and everyone in your family will love it- even the pickiest kids! Who can say no to all that cheese?

A bowl of creamy cheesy potato soup topped with cheese, sour cream, and bacon.
Cheesy Potato Soup
This Cheesy Potato Soup is rich, creamy, and full of flavor! Easy to make, it's the ultimate comfort food guaranteed to warm you up on a cold winter day.
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14. Instant Pot Bone Broth

Bone broth is a staple in my house in the winter. It is useful in so many different ways. I add it to soups and stews and also sip it on its own when I need something to soothe my throat. Preparing bone broth in the Instant Pot makes this recipe extremely easy, so can prepare all your favorite meals quickly!

Two mugs of Instant pot bone broth.
How to Make Bone Broth in an Instant Pot
If you want to make homemade bone broth, the Instant Pot is the best way to do it! Here's how to make Instant Pot bone broth from leftover beef or chicken.
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15. Chicken and Rice Casserole

This classic winter recipe is a timeless dish. Everyone has memories from childhood of a cold winter night with a warm plate of chicken and rice casserole in front of them. Keep the tradition alive with this easy winter casserole that you can whip up in minutes.

Cheesy chicken and rice casserole with a wooden spoon taking a scoop.
Chicken and Rice Casserole
This cheesy Chicken and Rice Casserole recipe has it all! Tender rotisserie chicken, rice, and broccoli are combined with a creamy, cheesy sauce and finished with a buttery cracker topping. It's family-friendly for a weeknight dinner, but perfect for a potluck, too.
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16. Stovetop Chicken and Noodles

Sometimes I feel like standing next to my warm stovetop and making a nice easy weeknight meal. This is very often the recipe I reach for on those winter nights! Chicken and noodles are simple but filling. It is a cold-weather recipe that my kids ask for all the time.

Chicken and noodles in a pot.
Stovetop Chicken and Noodles
This Stovetop Chicken and Noodles recipe is comfort food at its best! Creamy, hearty, and oh-so-easy, this is a dinner you’ll find yourself making again and again.
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5 More Cozy Dinner Ideas You Can Whip Up Without a Recipe

You don’t always need a recipe to make a delicious dinner! Sometimes you can just put together a little bit of this, a little bit of that, and follow your instincts for a delicious meal. Here are some no-recipe cozy dinners to try.

1. Slow Cooker Root Beer Short Ribs

The slow cooker is the ultimate winter kitchen tool, right? Click and go. It’s an absolute dream. This recipe is a fun spin on the usual short ribs with the deeply flavorful addition of root beer for a cozy dinner.

You can pretty much follow your everyday short ribs recipe: browned short ribs, onion, celery, carrots, garlic, thyme, and rosemary. Then, add star anise and equal parts beef broth and root beer, and cook until everything is falling apart. Serve with mashed potatoes, and make sure to have enough for the next day.

2. Sheet Pan Garlic and Rosemary Pork Loin

Can this be easier? Roast a pork loin in a cast-iron skillet that’s been generously coated with olive oil, garlic, and chopped rosemary. When it reads 140 degrees Fahrenheit on your instant-read thermometer, boom. Dinner is served. It’s nice with Southern green beans, baked potatoes, or some fluffy Instant Pot rice.

A plate of spaghetti with chicken parmesan.

3. Air Fryer Chicken Parmesan

Dip chicken cutlets into whisked eggs followed by breadcrumbs or panko flavored with Parmesan and Italian seasoning. Air fry in a single layer (you might have to do this in batches). Then, halfway through, top with mozzarella, and let that melt. Serve topped with warm marinara sauce and a side of pasta!

4. Tomato Bisque With Grilled Cheese Croutons

Start with a jar of quality marinara sauce, like Rao’s. Put this in a medium pot, and add just enough chicken or vegetable stock to thin it out so it reaches the consistency of a thick soup. Warm this up over medium-low heat, and make 2 or 3 grilled cheese sandwiches while the soup cooks. Cut the grilled cheese into 1-inch cubes, add a splash of heavy cream to the soup for some richness, and you’ve got a cozy tomato bisque dinner.

5. Polenta Bake

Slice up a tube of polenta from the grocery store, and arrange the slices on the bottom of a square baking dish. Spoon marinara or meat sauce and sautéed vegetables over the top of the polenta. Then, add a few handfuls of shredded mozzarella on top. Bake at 400 degrees Fahrenheit for 20 to 30 minutes or until the cheese is melted and the sauce is bubbling up along the edges.


What is the ultimate comfort food?

The ultimate comfort food is whichever you like best! However, mac and cheese, chicken noodle soup, pasta, and meatballs are popular options that make everyone feel warm and fuzzy when they’re done.

What is the easiest thing to cook?

I think that crockpot meals are the absolute easiest. Most of them require you to simply throw everything into the slow cooker, turn it on, and come back later to eat. My crockpot chicken alfredo, crockpot buffalo wings, and slow cooker crack chicken are a few of my favorite easy meals.

What is the most popular winter food?

Soups, roasted meats, and hearty pasta dishes are the most popular foods in the winter. All of these foods will keep you warm and cozy even if it’s freezing cold outside!

More Cozy Dinner Ideas to Try

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About Kasey Schwartz

For over 15 years, Kasey Schwartz, the mastermind behind All Things Mamma, has been the ultimate go-to for mouthwatering family recipes. Her work has been featured on, Buzz Feed, Better Homes and Gardens, and more, making her your go-to mom next door for all things delicious and family-friendly.

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