12 "Fancy" Comfort Food Recipes

Lobster Mac and Cheese in a white dish
Photo: supermc

You may think that "fancy" and "comfort food" would never belong in the same sentence, but you'd be wrong. People from all paths of life appreciate the kind of meal that'll stick to your ribs, and adding a few indulgent ingredients or using a slightly different cooking technique is an easy and effective way to upgrade classic food dishes. Scroll through for next-level versions of mac n' cheese, scalloped potatoes, bread pudding, and other fancied up comfort food recipes.

01 of 13

Fancy Crusted Rosemary Scalloped Potatoes

scalloped potatoes in casserole dish on dish towel
Mackenzie Schieck

Scalloped potatoes are always comforting, but it's the rosemary and béchamel sauce that really sets these scalloped potatoes apart. The artfully arrangement helps make these potatoes look as good as they taste.

02 of 13

Personal Shepherd's Pies

Personal Shepherd's Pies

Splitting up portions of shepherd's pie and making them in cake pans gives you the opportunity to serve a classic comfort food dish, but with a more elegant tablescape. If you don't have enough cake pans, you can also use medium-sized glass bowls, such as Pyrex mixing bowls.

03 of 13

Brownie Torte

Brownie Torte
Wendy Klein

This brownie torte takes the decadence you find in regular brownies and turns it up a few notches, with a dense, fudgy texture, a homemade chocolate glaze, and freshly cut strawberries on top. For best results, use good-quality chocolate chips — better chocolate makes a huge difference when it comes to desserts.

04 of 13

Jennifer's Burgundy Beef Stew

Jennifer's Burgundy Beef Stew

Adding red wine like Burgundy gives classic beef stew a luxurious boost of flavor. Serve it over egg noodles with a big salad for a complete meal, or enjoy as-is with crusty bread for dipping.

05 of 13

Caramelized Butternut Squash Soup

Caramelized Butternut Squash Soup
Holiday Baker

This creamy soup is so easy to make —the most difficult step is prepping the squash — and gets an more complex flavor thanks to caramelized onions. In addition to softening up the soup's eventual texture, simmering the butternut squash with the caramelized onions helps give it a decadent brown butter flavor.

06 of 13

Lobster Mac and Cheese

Lobster Mac and Cheese

Considering its price tag, lobster probably isn't the first meat you'd think to pair with macaroni and cheese, but this combination of high class ingredients and down-home cooking is absolutely worth the cost. The mixture of gooey cheese, juicy lobster, and super-soft macaroni is a whole new league of comfort food.

07 of 13

Baked Gnocchi with Sage and Cheese

Baked Gnocchi with Sage and Cheese
Buckwheat Queen

The humble pasta bake is always comforting, but when you're using pillowy homemade gnocchi, you end up with a dish that feels special in addition to fuel for the world's greatest nap. The cheese sauce uses chicken stock instead of cream for a base, which gives it a more fluid feel and lots of savory flavor.

08 of 13

Fresh Tomato Soup with Crispy Cheese Toast

a white ceramic bowl of tomato soup on a matching plate with two cheese-topped baguette slices
Chef John's Fresh Tomato Soup with Crispy Cheese Toast. Chef John

Grilled cheese and tomato soup are a simple and iconic pairing, and Chef John's fancy take on the duo is one of the best ways to use up an abundance of fresh tomatoes. It's beautifully simple, but looks and tastes like something you'd get at a nice restaurant.

09 of 13

Chocolate Croissant Bread Pudding

overhead shot of chocolate croissant bread pudding in a glass baking dish

Forget regular old bread — this recipe utilizes leftover chocolate croissants to create a comfort food twist that's decadence incarnate. Or, as creator MichelleD describes it, this pudding is "like a combination of a soft-brownie-cakey-chocolate-chip-cookie with a bit of a creamy texture inside."

10 of 13

French Onion Soup Gratinee

French Onion Soup Gratinee
Lindsay G. McNeal

"Anyone looking for the best Onion Soup Recipe on the Planet? You found it! This was the most incredible onion soup recipe we have ever tried," says community member JIM F. "We followed the recipe exactly. Make sure you cook the onions as suggested to almost a caramelized soft, syrupy, consistency. You may not need to adjust the salt in the end; the combination of beef and chicken broth and the Worcestershire and balsamic vinegar may be salty enough for many."

11 of 13

Four-Cheese Truffled Macaroni and Cheese

Four-Cheese Truffled Macaroni and Cheese in a glass dish
Hilary van Santen

Truffle oil is a pricey ingredient, but a little bit goes a long way — especially if you're using it to make this gourmet take on mac and cheese. The variety of cheeses creates a luxurious, creamy texture and gives the dish a more complex overall flavor.

12 of 13

Grilled Cheese of the Gods

Grilled Cheese of the Gods
The Sweet Cucina

If you're only focusing on what's inside your grilled cheese sandwich, you're wasting some major surface potential. Blending butter and Parmesan and then applying it to the outside of the sandwich takes it beyond anything you had as a kid. For more savory flavor, add some garlic powder or freshly minced garlic to the butter mixture.

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