70 Genius Recipes for Fall (A Comfort Food Playlist)
Apple cakes and cozy casseroles, here we come!
Every week in Genius Recipes—often with your help!—Food52 Creative Director and lifelong Genius-hunter Kristen Miglore is unearthing recipes that will change the way you cook.
You're looking at 70 of the very best fall recipes out there—all wearing a Genius Recipes badge of honor—to bookmark now and start making just as soon as you pack away the beach umbrella.
For starters? Apple cakes, cozy casseroles, roasted squash up the wazoo, and not one but two mac and cheeses. I know 70 recipes sounds like a lot to parse when you're still probably recovering from your last sunburn of the season (I've been writing this column for 10 falls now—I have a lot of favorites!). So I divvied them up into handy sections for all your autumnal needs, from Quick School-Morning Breakfasts to Mix & Match Sides to Comforting Mains That Feed a Crowd.
1. 15-Second (Creamy!) Scrambled Eggs
Supersoft, custardy eggs used to take 15 minutes of patient stirring over low heat, until Mandy Lee from the blog Lady and Pups found a handy pantry workaround.
2. Fried Eggs with Yogurt, Lemon & Herbs
Not only has Julia Turshen taught us a bright new breakfast, her egg-frying method is an especially smart (and un-splattery) one, as well.
3. Soy Sauce–Marinated Eggs
Throw together a batch of these on Sunday and you'll have a real breakfast-on-the-go waiting for you every morning. (Sorry, energy bar, you are not real breakfast.)
4. Olive Oil & Maple Granola
No more puzzling over ingredient lists of $6 boxes of breakfast cereal at the grocery store! This will quickly become everyone's favorite granola—and the only skill needed to make it is to stir.
5. Roasted Applesauce
Why have we always made applesauce in a big pot on the stove when we could be making it (faster, toastier, and more apple-y) in the oven?
6. The Life-Changing Loaf of Bread
For people who can't eat gluten, this dense, seedy bread is life-changing. And for people who can, it still makes a darn fine piece of toast.
7. No-Knead Peasant Bread
Joining the no-knead revolution gets even simpler when you bake in a buttered bowl—and makes a crust no sensible person would tear off and leave behind.
8. Kabocha, Olive Oil & Bittersweet Chocolate Cake
You know that classic squishy, cozy pumpkin bread? This is the same lovable loaf—except pastry chef Nicole Rucker ratchets up every flavor, then splashes a genius, extra-glossy glaze over the top.
9. Slow-Baked Broccoli Fritatta
The key to fritattas that won't go dry or tough on you? Turn the oven down just a tad.
10. Best Ever (Vegan) Waffles
There is a whole block of tofu in these waffles. You won't know it.
11. Buttermilk Mochi Pancakes
Swap a little rice flour into your pancakes and they'll taste richer and milkier (but not enough to be chewy like mochi, despite the name).
12. Swirly, No-Yeast Cinnamon Buns
These fluffy cinnamon buns require zero yeast know-how, all because Violet Bakery (yes, the Royal Wedding bakers!) didn't have space to proof doughs and needed an easier way.
13. Roasted Pumpkin Butter
This supersmooth butter roasts in the oven to concentrate its powers, and lets you use any hard squash you hauled home. Smear on cinnamon buns, biscuits, and other brunch players.
14. Potato Scallion Cakes
Finally, a potato cake recipe that works with any leftover mashed potatoes, no matter what seasonings you threw in. A highly recommended Thanksgiving weekend breakfast.
15. 15-Minute Creamy, Vegan Tomato Soup
Of all the brilliant recipes J. Kenji López-Alt has created for the Food Lab at Serious Eats, this pantry-based, lightning-quick soup is the one he makes the most.
16. Seared Broccoli & Potato Soup
Here's how to bring out both broccoli's fresh green and deep roasted sides (and show your average, one-note broccoli-cheddar soup how to live).
17. Butternut Squash Soup with Brown Butter & Sage
Unsurprisingly, splashing brown butter into warm, puréed fall soups is a very good idea.
18. (Vegan) Cauliflower Soup
The creamy depth you'll get from little more than caulifower, an onion, and a lot of water will shock you. (Hint: It's just because of the free-flowing pectin in cauliflower.)
19. White Bean Soup with Garlic & Parsley
This might be the best thing you can make with a can of beans in, oh, about 10 minutes.
20. Vegan "Chicken" Pho
Andrea Nguyen's brilliant hack for a richer vegetable pho stock without chicken? Why, it's our favorite health-food superstar: nutritional yeast.
21. Pasta Con Ceci
Another happy thing to pull out of a bare pantry, and the reason I sizzle tomato paste in olive oil whenever I run into a pesky flat-tasting soup or stew.
22. Italian Bread & Cabbage Soup
This cheesy, brothy masterpiece is layered with crusty bread like lasagna. It is unreasonably good. (Don't skip the anchovy!)
23. Bitter Greens Salad with Melted Cheese
You wouldn't think melting cheese over salad like nachos would be a good idea—but you should also just trust the chef who started the kale salad craze (we didn't think that was a good idea at the time either).
24. Warm Potato Salad with Vinegar & Chorizo
If you could turn salt and vinegar potato chips into a warm, comforting salad, then this would be it.
25. Lentils with Yogurt, Spinach & Basil
Both a bright and perky lentil salad, and a game plan for better desk lunches all week.
26. Radicchio Salad with Manchego Vinaigrette
A fancy-seeming salad with an impressive trick up its sleeve: You can mimic expensive wine vinegars by soaking red onions in average grocery store stuff.
27. Kale Salad with Roasted Squash, Almonds & Cheese
Back in 2012, eating raw kale still surprised people. Even now, with the kale salad peak behind us, this one (with its two kinds of cheese!) holds up.
28. (Leftover) Turkey Hash Salad
Notwithstanding the bacon-poached garlic cloves, this salad is a very refreshing post-Thanksgiving meal (and leftover turkey destination).
29. Warm Squash & Chickpea Salad
This simple, sturdy salad hugged with garlicky tahini dressing is entirely vegan (but doesn't seem to know it).
30. Crispy Soy & Ginger Roast Potatoes
When I first saw this recipe, I had to know if the crisp would hold up against such a generous, flavorful soak, and it does. Like a good Buffalo wing, the dressing seeps in without softening too quickly, while the shreds of chewy ginger and sweet twists of green onion give more textures for your fork to chase.
31. Baked Sweet Potatoes With Maple Crème Fraîche
A surprisingly simple one-pan technique for first steaming, then roasting makes sweet potatoes the best version of themselves—perfect for a splashy Thanksgiving side, or just dinner.
32. Roasted Potatoes with Paprika Mayo
Crispier roasted potatoes with one simple step, plus a zingy dressing you can stir together from the humblest of ingredients.
33. Parmesan-Roasted Broccoli
The internet said this would be the best broccoli of our life—and it wasn't wrong.
34. Shortcut Polenta
By kick-starting your polenta in the morning, at dinnertime it cooks up creamy and comforting in a fraction of the time.
35. Classic Mashed Potatoes
The order you add ingredients to your mashed potatoes (for Thanksgiving or otherwise) matters—choose the right adventure and you'll end up with more buttery flavor, without tipping in more butter.
36. Roasted Brussels Sprouts with Fish Sauce Vinaigrette
A spicy fish sauce vinaigrette and a big bunch of fresh herbs is exactly what your Brussels sprouts (and your same-old Thanksgiving spread) needed.
37. Cheddar & Black Pepper Cornbread
This tender cornbread's secret is that, deep down, it's got the heart of a scone.
38. Potato Dominoes
An elegance of form we didn't know potatoes could have, with crispy edges for days.
39. Mushrooms in Pickle-Brine Butter
The brine in your pickle jars in the fridge is liquid gold—a secret ingredient no one will be able to pinpoint in these fancy-tasting mushrooms.
40. Roasted Butternut with Spicy Pickled Onions
Just when your fall diet seems to fade to beige, bright orange slabs of squash and ombré pink pickled onions are here to save the day.
41. Easier Potato Gratin
Not only is there no need to carefully layer potato gratin, you can jump-start the cooking on the stovetop before tumbling into a casserole for a much faster bake time.
42. Slow-Roasted Chicken With Extra-Crisp Skin
This is a best-of-all-worlds roast chicken. Extremely tender, rotisserie-esque meat, plus the crispiest skin imaginable, in one simple recipe. Unheard of! It’s also just about impossible to overcook and extra-easy to carve, and not one bit will go to waste—all thanks to one of the more surprising Genius tricks yet.
43. Sticky Balsamic Ribs
Baby back ribs you don't have to cook low or slow for almost-fall-apart tenderness. And that sticky (but not-too-sweet) glaze doesn't hurt.
44. Braised Chicken with Salami & Olives
There may never have been a more deeply flavored braised chicken. Here's why: It uses not just simple salt for seasoning but powerful ingredients preserved in salt, like salami and olives.
45. Pork Shoulder Ragu
For good reason, Jenny Rosenstrach calls this the Instant Dinner Party: Make your ragu the night before (the active cooking time is extra efficient, since you start with browning a single hunk of pork shoulder instead of smaller bits). Then, just boil pasta and reheat the sauce the night you want to party.
46. Buttermilk Fried Chicken
Pitch-perfect craggly crust. Can be made ahead and held in a low oven without sacrifice. Oh, and you get to see just how fast an onion sautés when you're doing it with all the salt you'll need for the brine (fast).
47. Shrimp Gumbo
Any gumbo is more within reach when you bake your roux to a rich, dark brown in the oven (instead of stirring constantly on the stovetop).
48. Baked Macaroni & Cheese
This is the ne plus ultra of gooey yet crusty, creamy yet sharp, comforting as all get-out baked mac and cheeses. The cute little croutons on top are a swap for the traditional crispy breadcrumbs that are technically optional (but how could you resist?).
49. Really Good Spaghetti Bolognese
Traditional bolognese simmers very gently for a very long time, but Nigel Slater mimics that tenderness by adding mushrooms and a wee bit more cream.
50. Mushroom Bourguignon
This vegetarian dinner party stunner makes you question why the beef gets all the glory in a classic boeuf bourguignon—it should clearly be the mushrooms (silver medal: pearl onions).
51. Dry-Brined Roast Turkey (The Judy Bird)
This simple technique was so good at making roast turkey that wasn't prone to overcooking and drying out (and that actually tasted like turkey) that Russ Parsons ran variations on the recipe in the L.A. Times five Thanksgivings in a row.
52. Whipped Hummus With Roasted Carrots & Za’atar Oil
Cookbook author Hetty McKinnon thought she'd ruined her hummus after accidentally dumping a whole can of chickpeas, juice and all, into the blender. But she discovered a luscious, super-smooth texture she’d never seen in hummus before, all without peeling chickpeas or invoking baking soda.
53. Skillet Lasagna
When you make lasagna (well) in a single skillet, you can have gooey, saucy comfort any night you particularly need it.
54. Oven-Fried Chicken
In the morning, throw your chicken in a salty ice water bath. In the evening, toss it in flour and make the best fried chicken you didn't have to fry.
55. Garlic Lime Oven-Baked Salmon
Yes, the garlic and lime and chile brighten up this speedy salmon dinner. But the trick for grating a jalapeño is one you'll take to any recipe you don't feel like stemming and chopping for.
56. Creamy Lemon Pasta
As lemon juice and cream mingle with egg noodles, this pasta essentially makes its own sauce. And oh, is it a good one.
57. Ginger Fried Rice
Fried rice made from cold leftover rice is handy—when you have just the right amount of cold leftover rice. This one gets plenty of texture from the crispy ginger and garlic and fried egg, even if you need to cook the rice fresh.
58. Tomato Sauce with Butter & Onion
This three-ingredient wonder proves that you don't need to simmer marinara all day (or even chop the onion!) to get a pure, bright tomato sauce much better than anything from a jar.
59. Pan-Seared, Thick-Cut Steaks
If landing a perfect medium-rare makes you nervous, then this rule-breaking method will soothe you: Flip your steaks every 30 seconds or so (really) for a more evenly cooked middle. Throw in some arugula and squashed potatoes for my favorite speed-luxury dinner.
60. Parsi Burgers
The secret to not-at-all dry turkey burgers (or chicken or pork burgers) is to load them up with tons of fresh herbs, ginger, and chile. Eat them with a big salad and baked potato, or in more classic burger form.
61. "Cacio" e Pepe
This untraditional spin on cacio e pepe makes it easier to emulsify a sleek, noodle-coating sauce because here the salty, umami "cacio" element isn't pecorino cheese, but miso, which melts effortlessly.
62. Stovetop Mac & Cheese
Make Martha Stewart's Macaroni & Cheese (above) when you have time and want to serve a big, happy crowd. Make Melissa Clark's stovetop version when you don't.
63. Teddie's Apple Cake
We still don't know who Teddie is, but we know they made one very lovable apple cake, just sweet and spiced enough. Freeze it, gift it, divvy it up for a bake sale.
64. Baked Caramel Pears
With five ingredients and about 20 minutes, you can have a very fancy-looking, very fall dessert (and gluten-free, should you need it).
65. Brazilian Carrot Cake (Bolo de Cenoura)
This traditional Brazilian cake's batter is made by whizzing raw carrot chunks with oil, sugar, and eggs in the blender (yes, it blends perfectly smooth!), which makes a lovely, orange-tinted pound cake that goes very well with the handsome chocolate glaze poured over the top. The orange-black palette also makes it an accidentally perfect Halloween dessert.
66. Spicy Chocolate Chip-Hazelnut Cookies
Inspired by Nutella, this crisp-chewy cookie is stirred together in one bowl and just happens to be gluten-free.
67. Caramelized Pumpkin Pie
For a deeper (and less canned) pumpkin flavor, this recipe cooks the pumpkin down in a saucepan until it turns a shade darker. And, despite baking hotter and in less than half the time of the back-of-the-can recipe, a good dose of cream makes it much less likely to crack if it's overbaked.
68. No-Stress, Super-Flaky Pie Crust
I love Stella Park's simple, intuitive pie dough technique so much that I made it the default pie crust for every recipe in Genius Desserts. You won't need a food processor or years of butter-pinching experience.
69. Molasses Sugar Butter Cookies
Inspired by the texture of a vintage recipe that called for shortening, Rose Levy Beranbaum worked in brown butter, which has a similar structure—but tastes much better.
70. Chocolate Cloud Cake
This flourless chocolate cake collapses on purpose, and then you fill its moussey middle with whipped cream. It will look amazing served at the end of any holiday dinner, no matter what happens along the way.
Got a genius recipe to share—from a classic cookbook, an online source, or anywhere, really? Perhaps something perfect for beginners? Please send it my way (and tell me what's so smart about it) at [email protected].
From our new podcast network, The Genius Recipe Tapes is lifelong Genius hunter Kristen Miglore’s 10-year-strong column in audio form, featuring all the uncut gems from the weekly column and video series. Subscribe on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, or wherever you get your podcasts so you don’t miss out.Listen & Subscribe
Written by: Kristen Miglore
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Who would I contact at a company like Pillsbury to see if they might consider offering some of their products that are packaged for 2 people instead of 4 or 6? I hate wasting the food. Thank you!
• books for small kitchens or people just starting out (counterintuitive but sometimes very good).
• prep ingredients not whole meals, then store mostly in fridge or freezer and use as needed.
You did a great job at curating a wonderful selection of autumnal recipes and meals. My mouth is watering. I can’t wait to get cooking.
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