50 Hosting Recipes for Cozy Entertaining at Home

Dishes for gathering in the great indoors.

February  6, 2023
Photo by Bobbi Lin

Winter is the best time to gather friends and explore the splendor of the great indoors. The season’s cold weather also provides a convenient excuse to attempt any comforting dish or drink you can think of.

Can you see your breath because it’s so cold? Probably best to warm up with a rib roast and a bottle of red. Is there a foot of snow outside? Might as well batch margaritas, whip up homemade salsa verde, and pretend that ever-growing snowbank is a sand dune. Here are 50 of our favorite recipes for winter hosting, when temperatures are chilly and living rooms are extra cozy.


1. Mid-Winter Margarita

Winter is for citrus and citrus is happiest when keeping tequila company. Start your gathering with this simple winter margarita and serve something crunchy and salty to snack on.

2. Winter Citrus Rum Punch

If a margarita doesn’t satisfy your winter citrus craving, a punch that includes grapefruit, orange, lemon, and lime juice should do the trick. Bonus: This recipe serves a crowd.

3. Horseradish Vodka Bloody Mary

If you’re getting together with friends for a long weekend, batch this bloody mary mix beforehand and your puffy eyed, Sunday morning self will be better for it.

4. Bourbon, Orange, & Ginger

Come for the bourbon, stay for the ginger-infused simple syrup. (You’ll want it around for adding to future sips, too.)

5. Dirty Chai Toddy

A dirty chai with a shot of bourbon? Absolutely.

6. Cardamom Hot Chocolate

Cardamom and a teaspoon of butter give this hot chocolate a rich, warming flavor that’ll restore you and your friends after a long day in the snow.

Bread & Rolls

7. Saltie's Focaccia

If you’ve got two days and dry yeast, you’re only about 15 minutes of active work away from having homemade focaccia at your get-together.

8. Classic Parker House Rolls

My favorite dinner party moments happen when someone translates an element of the restaurant experience into a home setting. Bread service—especially when it includes freshly baked rolls—is an eternal source of restaurant joy. And a dinner party with a Parker House Roll-focused bread service is where I want to be.

9. Brown Butter Butternut Rolls

A more cold-weather flavor alternative to the rolls above, these taste like a cross between dinner rolls and monkey bread.

10. Sourdough Savory Rolls With Parmesan & Ricotta

If it wasn’t clear before, I’m sure it is now: I want you to have rolls at your party. Serve these savory, cheesy rolls as a snack or as an accompaniment to a dinner featuring tomato sauce and red wine.

11. Soft Pretzels with Beer Cheese

The next time you have friends coming over to watch a show and you’ve got a bit of time on your hands, whip up these soft pretzels and a batch of beer cheese.

12. Cracklin’ Cornbread

An ideal bready side for the comforting, hearty chili. (Don’t worry, I’ve got recipe ideas below.)

Snacks & Appetizers

13. Shrimp Ceviche with Popcorn

Adding popcorn is a great way to incorporate salt and crunch into every bite of the fresh, acidic ceviche. Serve in small ramekins that can be easily distributed among party goers.

14. Grilled (or Broiled) Oysters with a Sriracha Lime Butter

This fun and delicious bivalve preparation is perfect for your next gathering. Plus, “sriracha,” “lime,” and “butter,” are words that even by themselves excite nearly everyone.

15. Roasted Salsa Verde

Warning: Homemade salsa may lead to guests awkwardly crowding around a single bowl because they love it so much. Remember those margs from earlier? They’d go great with this.

16. Old-School Swedish Meatballs

“Great party, I just wish there weren’t so many meatballs,” is a phrase that has never been said. With a container of toothpicks on the side, these will disappear in a flash.

17. Sweet & Spicy Pretzel & Nut Mix

An ideal snack for pre- or post-dinner enjoyment, especially when everyone is sprawled out on the couch, contemplating another round of charades.

18. Zahav's Hummus Tehina

According to Chef Michael Solomonov, this Israeli-style hummus is all about the marriage of chickpeas and tehina, and this is one happy couple we fully support.

19. Pickled Watermelon Radishes

Pickled watermelon radishes lend a bold, acidic bite that pairs well with heavier cheeses and meats. Also, they’re easy to make and nice to look at.

20. Southern Sherried Shrimp

This shrimp dish highlights the complex flavors of the shrimp, leaning into its briny, ultra-savory qualities. Serve on a platter with toothpicks as a cocktail snack.

21. Linguine with Breadcrumbs & Kale

When hosting a smaller group, pasta becomes manageable. As is the case with most great pasta dishes, this linguine with kale is greater than the sum of its very few (seven, to be exact) parts.

22. Aged Cheddar & Pilsner Fondue

The recipe developer said it best, “Nothing brings people together like cheese and beer.”

Soups & Stews

23. Portuguese Seafood Stew that Reminds Us of Portugal

Seafood stew is the perfect vessel for combining comfort and elegance—two qualities that, when working together, produce extra memorable occasions. Serve with fresh bread and plenty of wine and you’ve got the makings of a great evening.

24. Best Ever Turkey Chili

Potential hot take: Turkey chili is the best kind of chili. Also, ground turkey is cheaper than ground beef, which means it’s a lot easier to rationalize making enough for the whole neighborhood.

25. Warming Red Pozole

With only a few minutes of active prep and cooking time, this pozole is big on flavor. Toppings like radish, cabbage, and lime wedges can be placed in small bowls so your guests can DIY their garnishes.

26. Instant Pot Vegetable Beef Soup

Ten minutes of prep and 30 minutes of instant pot cooking is all it takes to make a vegetable beef soup that will nourish your hungriest, coldest associates. Serve with fresh bread or grilled cheese.

Main & Sides

27. Toasted Peanut Butter & Honey Sandwich on Rosemary Chocolate Bread

While satisfying on its own, baking a loaf of bread is even more enjoyable when you know that it will become a honey and peanut butter sandwich in its final form.

28. "Greek" Lamb with Orzo

This lamb and orzo combination lets you feast without too much fuss, thanks to the two-pot preparation.

29. Cauliflower Gratin With Mornay Sauce

I enjoy great acting, and the way this cauliflower performs its role as mac and cheese is Oscar-worthy.

30. Pernil

A marinade featuring lime juice and white wine vinegar will keep this roast bright on even the darkest of days. Serve with warm tortillas, homemade salsa, and margaritas.

31. Toro Bravo's Radicchio Salad with Manchego Vinaigrette

Striking in both flavor and appearance, this salad achieves a perfect balance with acidic vinaigrette, rich manchego, and bitter radicchio.

32. Joe Beef's Lentils Like Baked Beans

Lentils are one of my go-to side dishes for cold-weather cookouts. Serve with pork chops, winter greens, and your favorite light beer.

33. Wylie Dufresne's Soft-Scrambled Egg Grilled Cheese

It’s Sunday morning. You’ve been away with friends since Friday afternoon. Everyone is tired and cranky. You make everyone a soft-scrambled egg grilled cheese and suddenly, the bickering stops.

34. Smoked Ham with Pomegranate Molasses, Black Pepper & Mustard Glaze

If you’ve got a lot of other dishes to make, don’t punish yourself by trying to nail the internal temperature of a large roast. Warm up a ham, smother it with this bright, peppery glaze, and call it a day. To serve, carve into slices and arrange a platter with mustard, pickles, and your favorite sliced bread.

35. Warm Roasted Radicchio & Shrimp Salad with Warm Bacon Vinaigrette

Warm is my ideal winter salad temperature. The mellowed bitterness of roasted radicchio pairs perfectly with the salty bacon, acidic balsamic, and garlic shrimp.

36. Roasted Sausage, Swiss Chard & Cannellini Beans

Substantial but not too filling, this is the perfect dish to make for any potluck.

37. Sweet & Spicy Karaage (Japanese Fried Chicken)

If you don’t have plans yet, make a platter of this sweet and spicy fried chicken and your friends will—for some reason—start showing up at your house.

38. Helen Getz’s Napa Cabbage with Hot Bacon Dressing

Hot bacon dressing upgrades any salad from peripheral vegetable afterthought to unanimous crowd favorite.

39. White Clam Pizza

In my world, pizza is best when cut into small, bite-sized pieces and served as an appetizer. If you don’t want to be part of that world, that’s fine, because this white clam pizza is good any way you slice it.

40. Pasta e Ceci (Pasta with Chickpeas)

This chickpea pasta combines the nourishment of soup with pasta’s elegance. Top with steamed clams if you’re in a briny mood.

41. Spatchcocked Slow-Roasted Chicken

If you’re aiming to impress, there’s nothing more spectacular than making a perfect roast chicken.

42. Birthday Lasagna

Each winter, I host a lasagna, oyster, and martini party. If you’d like to do the same, I’d recommend this meaty rendition from our co-founder Merrill Stubbs.

43. Standing Rib Roast From Ann Seranne

A rib roast is a host’s best friend: delicious and memorable, yet easy to prepare. Rub with salt, pepper, and flour, then toss your roast in the oven—that’s it.

44. Mussels Dijonnaise (Steamed Mussels with Mustard Sauce)

Mussels are quick (20 minutes, start to finish), delicious (the mustard, garlic, pepper combo is undefeated), and in partnership with crusty bread and dry white wine, what more could you want?

Desserts & Sweets

45. Carrot Cake with Cardamom

A carrot cake that is subtle, yet sophisticated (thanks cardamom) should be invited to every party.

46. Earl Grey Ice Cream with Blackberry Swirl

Homemade ice cream is always a crowd pleaser, and the tea-infused flavor makes this one a standout, even when it’s chilly outside.

47. Brown Butter & Butternut Loaf

This loaf tastes like butterscotch mixed with pumpkin and is guaranteed to make your house smell much better while it bakes. The recipe makes two loaves, meaning if friends are staying over you can serve this bread for breakfast the following morning, or send them home with leftovers.

48. Croissant French Toast

If you’re going to make an occasion out of a Sunday morning, consider this croissant French toast. With orange zest and Cointreau in the batter, it only makes sense that you pair it with a mimosa.

49. Individual Guinness Sticky Toffee Puddings with Ginger Cream

Sticky toffee pudding hits all the notes a winter dessert should. It’s warm, has caramel, and is so rich you will have no choice but to sit back and bask in your post-dinner glow.

50. Lemon-Ricotta Bars

Creamy, bright, and not too sweet , these lemon bars celebrate the subtle flavors of citrus picked at the height of its season.

What are your favorite dishes for cold-weather hosting? Tell us in the comments below!

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Paul Hagopian

Written by: Paul Hagopian

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