12 Comfort Food Favorites to Make at the First Crack of Autumn

Chef John's Chicken a la King
Photo by Chef John.

As the mercury dips, the cravings for comfort food return! Every year, we can't wait to get back to the hearty, comforting foods of fall. From pot roast and beef stew to savory casseroles, smothered chops, pot pie, and slow braises, these top-rated favorites are the comfort food recipes we always reach for first, at the first crack of fall.

01 of 13

Chicken Pot Pie IX

Chicken Pot Pie IX
Photo by ReneePaj.

This classic savory pie combines cubed boneless chicken breast with carrots, peas, and celery in a sauce starring chicken broth and milk. It's all tucked into an unbaked pie crust and baked to beautiful golden brown. "This was the best chicken pot pie I have ever tasted," says CDNRUNREH. "I added potatoes like someone else suggested, and it made it a hearty meal."

02 of 13

My Favorite Pot Roast

My Favorite Pot Roast
Photo by lutzflcat.

Here's one for the Dutch oven. Brown the pot roast on all sides, then combine the roast with potatoes, carrots, onion, and a mixture of brown sugar, salt, mustard, black pepper, and vinegar. Let it roast until the meat just falls away. "This is certainly the most flavorful pot roast I've ever made," says KatieinChina.

03 of 13

Lamb Shanks

Saba-Braised Lamb Shanks
Saba-Braised Lamb Shanks. Chef John

This braised lamb dish delivers deep, rich flavor. The shanks are wet rubbed with smoked paprika and rosemary and braised with saba, a sweet Italian condiment that's a little like balsamic vinegar. Chef John says: "If you're looking for a foolproof, wintry braised meat dish, this is virtually impossible to screw up!"

04 of 13

Brown Sugar Meatloaf with Ketchup Glaze

a glazed meatloaf on a white ceramic platter with two slices cut, garnished with celery leaves
Photo by lutzflcat. lutzflcat

Crushed croutons are the secret ingredient in this easy ground-beef meatloaf. Shell Hargis says: "This meatloaf is glazed with brown sugar and ketchup for a moist and flavorful weeknight dinner."

05 of 13

World's Best Lasagna

serving of World's Best Lasagna on a white plate with a fork

John Chandler's filling, satisfying lasagna really lives up to its name. It combines sweet Italian sausage and ground beef with tomato sauce, Italian seasonings, and three types of cheese. "Really the best," raves YONKAZ. "The only one that is truly like my grandmother's. The combination of ground beef AND sausage can't be beat!"

06 of 13

Chef John's Coq Au Vin

Chef John Coq au Vin
Photo by Chef John.

This braised chicken dish stars mushrooms, bacon, onions, red wine, and chicken thighs. It's French-style comfort food at its finest. Chef John prefers chicken thighs here: "Like all braised dishes, tougher cuts with lots of connective tissue work best, and on a chicken that would be the thigh/leg section.

07 of 13

Chef John's Chicken a la King

Chef John's Chicken a la King
Photo by Chef John.

This classic comfort food is one of the tastiest ways to transform leftover roast chicken (or store-bought rotisserie chicken). "Chicken à la King is one of my favorite classic comfort foods," says Chef John. "This recipe is easy to adapt--you can make it thicker or thinner by changing the amount of roux and having a little extra stock on hand. Usually I make this with leftovers from a large roasted chicken. Serve over pasta, toast, rice, or mashed potatoes."

08 of 13

Southern Smothered Pork Chops in Brown Gravy

pork chops in gravy
France C

They know comfort food in the South! And these smothered chops are a true classic. TZRachel calls this recipe "Southern comfort food at its easiest. Pork chops smothered in onion, garlic, baby bella mushrooms, and a brown gravy sauce. Tastes great as gravy on mashed potatoes too!"

09 of 13

Zippy Shepherd's Pie

Zippy Shepherd's Pie on a white plate

Ground beef and mild curry powder give this Shepherd's pie it's zip! Add more or less curry as you like. "The ground beef mixture can be made ahead and frozen," says LAURA BELA. "You can substitute instant potatoes for the real thing if you're in a hurry."

10 of 13

Beef Stew VI

Beef Stew VI
Photo by CCLoves2Bake.

This 5-star beef stew is simple, savory, and so satisfying. Cubes of beef, carrots, and potatoes are seasoned with rosemary and parsley and simmered on the stovetop. "This thick beef stew is good eaten from a bowl or poured over biscuits," says Paula. "Substitute lamb, and voila!...it's Irish stew! The longer this simmers, the better!"

11 of 13

Taco Pie

Taco Pie

This quick-and-easy Mexican-style casserole bakes up cheesy and delicious. You'll use refrigerated crescent rolls as the crust. Then simply add layers of seasoned ground beef, sour cream, and shredded cheese, and sprinkle crushed tortilla chips over the top! "It's a quick, easy meal that is very filling," says stephanie. "Some people will also top it with regular taco toppings, i.e. lettuce, tomatoes, black olives, etc. It also is great as leftovers for lunches! Serve with taco sauce."

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Instant Pot® Chicken and Dumplings

Instant Pot Chicken and Dumplings

Chicken and dumplings in less than an hour! The Instant Pot makes it possible. "I wanted the richness of long-simmered chicken stew, but without the fuss of using a whole chicken," says recipe creator Doughgirl8. "This compromise, using boneless skinless chicken thighs with bone-in chicken breast, gave me the richness of flavor and ease of preparation I was looking for! It's basically chicken pot pie made in a pressure cooker rather than an oven."

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