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62 fall recipes to cook right now

Featuring Brussels sprouts, fresh herbs, seasonal squashes and more.
Pumpkin Tortilla Soup
Pumpkin Tortilla SoupRiley Wofford
/ Source: TODAY

In between your trips to the apple orchard and pumpkin patch this fall, don’t forget to give your shopping list a seasonal makeover. Make a pit stop in the produce aisle to stock up on hearty winter squashes like butternut and delicata, Brussels sprouts, heaps of apples, carrots and some fresh ginger. Then wind your way up and down the center aisles for a spice cabinet overhaul, baking essentials, bags of nuts, boxes of broth and a case of canned pumpkin purée (of course). On your way around the perimeter, grab a few blocks of butter and cream cheese, too. There’s nothing like a fully stocked fridge and pantry to get you in the cooking spirit. 

With these fall essentials in hand, your kitchen will be ready to go for whatever recipe you’re craving this cozy season. For dinner, you’ll have your pick from a slew of hearty stews and chilis, cozy soups, skillet pork chops, creamy pasta dishes and easy one-pot meals. As far as side dishes go, choose from roasted root vegetables, loaded mac and cheese, air-fryer Brussels sprouts and more. Of course, make sure to leave room for dessert with a vast selection of seasonal pies, cakes, cookies, doughnuts and galettes. And what would a meal be without a festive fall cocktail? Choose from a variety of big batch cocktails, mulled ciders and seasonal twists on your favorite adult beverage. 

The comforting flavors of fall are here for the taking, for cozy dinners at home, entertaining with friends, or even holiday menu planning. Let’s jump right in.

Pumpkin Tortilla Soup

Give this southwestern soup a fall upgrade with diced sugar pumpkin. The sweetness of the pumpkin balances out the smoky ancho chiles, which are blended into the tomato-based broth. Garnish with cilantro, lime juice, homemade tortilla strips, fresh jalapeño and a dollop of sour cream, but feel free to leave the tangy topping off for a vegan-friendly soup. 

Here’s a one-pan 30-minute meal that’ll seem like it took a whole lot longer to make than it actually did. Bone-in pork chops are cooked in a simple pan sauce made with bourbon, whole grain mustard, chicken stock and butter. Serve with mashed potatoes, polenta, noodles or even just crusty bread to soak up every drop of the luxuriously creamy sauce. 

Easy Lasagna

The words “easy” and “lasagna” don’t always go together, but this simplified recipe flips the script so you don’t have to spend an entire day in the kitchen. Use ground beef and hot Italian sausage, jarred marinara sauce and ricotta and shredded mozzarella, instead of the notoriously laborious bechamel. The last time-saving trick? No boiling! Dried noodles cook directly in the sauce as the entire lasagna bakes. 

Pumpkin Chilaquiles

If you want to enjoy chips for breakfast, chilaquiles are the way to go. Be sure to choose thick-cut tortilla chips so they can stand up to the flavorful sauce — and the runny yolks of either fried or poached eggs. This pumpkin version is made by sautéeing onions, garlic and pumpkin together, then cooking the mixture down with tomato sauce, black beans and enchilada sauce. 

Talk about a weeknight win. This one-pan casserole, which couldn’t be easier to prepare, calls for just two ingredients that require chopping: jalapeño peppers and green onions. Source the rest of the ingredients from your pantry and freezer including chili seasoning mix, canned beans and tomatoes, frozen corn and store-bought buttermilk biscuit mix. 

This cozy pasta dish will warm you from the inside out. Sauté chopped mushrooms in butter and olive oil, along with shallots, garlic, tomato paste and dried oregano, then deglaze the pan with red wine for a hearty vegetarian version of meat sauce. To make it creamier, slowly stir in chunks of cream cheese until melted, then ladle the sauce over store-bought gnocchi. 

Pumpkin Seed Pesto

For an unconventional take on pesto, crush toasted pumpkin seeds, fresh sage, balsamic vinegar, orange zest and nutmeg with a mortar and pestle. Once reduced to a paste, mash in caramelized roasted butternut squash and Parmesan cheese until smooth. From here, the possibilities are practically endless. Spread it on a gruyere grilled cheese, stir it into pasta or serve it as a dip.

Copycat Tuscan Soup

Inspired by a mainstay menu item at a beloved Italian-American restaurant chain, this copycat soup recipe will help you enjoy a pot in  your own kitchen! Loaded with smoky bacon, Italian sausage, potatoes, red onion, crushed fennel and curly kale, this hearty soup will fill you up and warm you up at the same time. 

Citrusy Candied Carrots with Yogurt Sauce

Give often overlooked carrots the star treatment they deserve in this bold side dish. Roast tri-colored carrots with freshly grated ginger, butter, sugar, honey and orange zest until sweet and slightly charred. Kick the presentation up a notch with a swoosh of tangy yogurt sauce mixed with cardamom, orange juice and a dash of smoked paprika. 

Loaded with shreds of chicken thighs and creamy white beans, this one-pot white chicken chili is a lighter, brighter version of the beefy classic. While it only takes an hour to cook on the stovetop, if you have a slow cooker, you can set-it-and-forget it and come home to a hearty, piping hot meal. The only thing easier than making this one-pot dinner is cleaning it up. 

You’re just 30 minutes away from a comforting tortellini soup that’ll taste like it’s been simmering on the stovetop for hours. What about this recipe makes it so speedy? Skip chopping by hand and use a food processor to prep the vegetables and sauté until translucent. Then add chicken sausage, stock, marinara sauce, a Parmesan rind and store-bought tortellini to bring it all together. 

Brown butter is perhaps the only other ingredient that screams fall more than pumpkin. This boneless pork chop recipe packs a seasonal one-two punch as it’s cooked in a sauce made with nutty brown butter, shallots, garlic, herbs, brown sugar, puréed pumpkin and broth. The true secret ingredient, though, is five-spice powder, which features warming spices like star anise, cloves, Chinese cinnamon, Sichuan peppercorns and fennel. 

Give classic vodka sauce a cozy fall twist by swapping tomatoes with pumpkin purée! Creamy pumpkin lends a hint of natural sweetness to the savory sauce, making this regular weeknight dinner taste like a seasonal celebration.

For a filling side or main, make a rustic bread salad with roasted seasonal produce. This fall-inspired recipe features diced butternut squash squash, halved Brussels sprouts and sage, along with a dressing made with red wine vinegar, Dijon, olive oil and maple syrup. Toss with arugula, crispy pancetta, and croutons for a crisp take on this summer staple. 

Once you try baked pasta made with tortellini, you’ll never go back to plain tubular pasta shapes again! Layer cooked tortellini with browned sausage, marinara and a trio of Italian cheeses, then bake until bubbly. In just 40 minutes, you’ll have a crowd-pleasing dish that’s low on effort but big on flavor. 

Caramelized Brussels Sprouts

The next time you meet someone who claims to not like Brussels sprouts, give them a bite of Marcus Samuelsson’s caramelized Brussels sprouts to change their mind. To make them, roast halved sprouts along with garlic, rosemary, and olive oil until browned. Dress with sautéed shallots and peanuts, parsley, rosemary, maple syrup and vinegar. Don’t forget to sprinkle with festive pomegranate arils just before serving for a holiday pop. 

This turkey pumpkin chili recipe is for those who believe that beans don’t belong in chili. Simply sauté onion, bell pepper and ground turkey, along with chili powder, cumin, dried oregano, diced tomatoes, canned pumpkin and water, then simmer until thickened. The result is a deeply flavorful one-pot meal that checks all the boxes.

Bacon and Apple Grilled Cheese

Put your apple picking haul to good use with this twist on a classic grilled cheese. Layer crispy bacon and thinly sliced green apples on thick cut white bread with melted shredded mozzarella.The secret to getting the perfect golden crispy crust? Swipe the bread with mayo before griddling!

It might seem unlikely, but these pork chops with broccoli, chickpeas and pickled pepperoncini are a winning flavor combo. The briny pickled pepperoncini brighten the pork chops and balance out the earthy chickpeas and broccoli. Plus, once the plates are cleared, you only have to wash one sheet pan.

If you can’t decide between a sweet or savory brunch, this casserole brings the best of both worlds. Chicken apple sausages and sliced onions are layered with apple slices and baked in a mixture of pancake batter, beaten eggs, cream, cheddar and herbs. To tie it all together, serve each slice with maple butter. 

Carrot-Ginger Soup

Make a pot of good-for-you carrot soup, loaded with fresh grated ginger, minced garlic and thyme. This vegan soup, which has anti-inflammatory properties and contains antioxidants, comes together quickly with an immersion blender. Serve with crusty bread and a side salad to round out the meal.

Cacio e Pepe Roasted Cauliflower

The cacio e pepe-fication of all foods is showing no signs of slowing down (and we’re not mad about it)! Give a head of cauliflower the cacio e pepe treatment by roasting it with butter, grated pecorino Romano and black pepper. The florets get encrusted with crispy cheese that you’ll want to eat right off the sheet pan.

This hearty lasagna recipe by Katie Lee is a labor of love that’s 100% worth the effort. Make a sausage-studded sauce with mushrooms, onion, garlic, pumpkin purée and heavy cream and layer with lasagna noodles with heaps of kale, ricotta and sage filling. The sauce will seep down into each layer for a taste of fall in every bite.

We have Ina Garten to thank for this foolproof pork tenderloin recipe that’s so good you’ll want to serve it at your next dinner party. Whatever you do, watch the temperature of your pork to prevent drying it out. The queen herself pairs the moist pork slices with homemade Granny Smith apple chutney with fresh ginger and raisins. 

Quinn Daly's Chicken Potpies

Few meals are as craveable and cozy as chicken pot pie, with its creamy chicken and veggie-stuffed filling and golden brown crust. This recipe for mini chicken pot pies can be turned into two larger portions by baking in two pie pans instead of individual ramekins. 

One-Pot Beef Stew

A little prep goes a long way in this flavor-packed, one-pot beef stew that requires very little babysitting. Slowly braise beef chuck roast with potatoes, carrots, onions, beef broth, red wine and one surprising  ingredient — ketchup! After just a few hours of simmer, the beef will become fork-tender  and it’s ready to enjoy. 

Butter-Basted Pork Chops

Want to make something taste better? Baste it with butter. This pork chop recipe by Gaby Dalkin of What’s Gaby Cooking calls for just that.  Sear pork chops in a cast-iron skillet with an herby, garlicky butter sauce. Be forewarned that your kitchen will smell incredibly good. 

Whoever says Brussels sprouts are sub-par hasn’t tried this recipe. The secret to getting the sprouts perfectly softened on the inside? Microwave them for a few minutes until they’re fork-tender. Then, toss them with a honey-soy glaze and finish them off  in the air fryer to make the outer leaves extra  crispy. 

Cauliflower Mac and Cheese

This recipe has all the hallmarks of the mac and cheese we know and love — with one exception: cauliflower purée stirred into the sauce. When blended, this mild veggie takes on all the surrounding flavors so you won’t even be able to notice it there. And you’ll be glad for the extra nutrients and fiber. 

Armed with just four ingredients (three of which you probably already have at home), you’re well on your way to making the most delicious delicata squash ever. Slice the squash into half moons and coat into a mixture of Parmesan cheese, Italian seasoning and salt. Roast until the tops are crispy, the bottoms are caramelized and the squash melts in your mouth. 

Use store-bought pizza dough as an easy base for this seasonal sheet pan pizza. It’s topped with a creamy cheese sauce, delicata squash, sausage and red onion. For a hint of green, add arugula — or enjoy a salad on the side. 

There’s no such thing as too much squash as we head into the fall season, simply because it can be enjoyed in so many different ways. Speaking of, a frittata is an ingenious way to use up a ton of produce in your fridge — squash included. This recipe calls for butternut squash, red onion, baby spinach and a spreadable garlic-herb cheese, like Boursin. 

According to recipe developer and TODAY contributor Joy Bauer “chilly on the outside means I’m making chili on the inside,” which is officially my new fall motto. This easy recipe includes cubed butternut squash (feel free to buy it pre-prepped), shredded rotisserie chicken, canned beans and tomatoes and other pantry staples, making it a breeze to whip up. 

For an impressive vegetarian dish, slice butternut squash into uniform half-inch slabs and layer it in a casserole dish. Top with garlic, chopped pecans, grated Parmesan, scallions, chili flakes and olive oil, then bake until the squash is fork-tender and deeply golden brown. 

Here’s a seasonal weeknight dinner idea that your little ones will love. It features a few smart multi-tasking steps, beginning with roasting butternut squash while you cook the pasta. At the same time, start to build the sauce by combining  crisp pancetta with shallots, red pepper flakes and fresh sage. Toss with the cooked penne and squash, plus a little pasta water, for a hearty, comforting meal. 

Add this one-two punch to your shortlist of Thanksgiving recipes: This classic-with-a-twist mac and cheese recipe utilizes canned  sweet potato purée, which lends a creamy sweetness to the cheesy baked casserole. In a pinch? Use store-bought pumpkin purée instead. 

Make your life easier by making a pot pie in a casserole dish using whatever protein and veggies you already have on hand. You can use leftover turkey, rotisserie chicken, even sausage, plus frozen veggies and butternut squash. Cover with store-bought crust — or homemade if you prefer — and the result is a hearty, one-dish meal that makes the most of ingredients you have at home.  

This just might be the fanciest-tasting four-ingredient dinner you’ve ever had. Brown a stick of salted European butter until it’s amber and nutty. Remove from the heat and add fresh sage to infuse the butter. In the meantime, boil store-bought ravioli and transfer into the brown butter sauce, along with a little pasta water. Garnish with pine nuts for a restaurant-worthy dish at home. 

Grilled Carrots with Balsamic-Honey Glaze

Of all the carrot preparations out there, this par-boil and grill method is worth trying. Blanch or microwave carrots to parcook them before tossing them on the grill coated with a balsamic-honey glaze. The carrots will be tender on the inside with that coveted char on the outside. Try this method with asparagus or green beans in the summer!

Fall Dessert Recipes

If you want a weekend baking project, make a two-tiered apple crumble cake with caramel and apple icing. Granny Smith apples work overtime, moistening the cake layers and serving as a caramelized divider between the cake and dulce de leche buttercream. Each component requires a bit of work, but you won’t mind as the delicious scents of fall waft through your kitchen. 

Easy-As-Pie Pumpkin Bars

Christina Tosi of Milk Bar Fame is to thank for these Easy-as-Pie Pumpkin Bars which deliver on the pumpkin pie flavor without much effort. The ingredient list is short — just pumpkin purée, eggs, light brown sugar, flour, sugar, kosher salt and melted butter. If you prefer apple, swap in apple butter in place of the pumpkin and proceed with the same recipe!

Spiced Apple Coffee Cake

The great thing about coffee cake is that it can be enjoyed morning, noon and night! This breakfast treat doubles as an afternoon coffee pairing and a shareable dessert. What makes this coffee cake special is the ground cardamom, cinnamon, allspice and cloves, which give this cake a chai-like flavor. 

Are you tired of pumpkin yet? Neither are we! This cake incorporates pumpkin purée into both the moist cinnamon-spiced cake and the white chocolate frosting, so you use an entire can in one recipe.

Apple Cider Doughnuts

You don’t have to go to a fall festival to get apple cider doughnuts — just make them at home! This recipe from chef Erin French will walk you through the process of boiling down the cider to mixing the dough to deep frying these delicious treats to golden brown perfection. 

If you don’t have a jar of pumpkin pie spice in your pantry, go grab some for these pumpkin muffins. Though they’re called “bakery-style,” this recipe is easy enough for any home baker. Sour cream adds the right amount of moisture while the pecan-streusel topping gives these jumbo muffins a warm, crunchy texture. 

Apple Galette

A rustic apple galette is the no-fuss answer to your apple pie cravings. Prepare a simple pastry dough (or use store-bought pie crust) then layer with sliced apples tossed with lemon juice, brown sugar, cinnamon and salt. Top with melted butter then fold the crust over the edges before baking. A scoop of vanilla ice cream while serving is optional but encouraged. 

Pecan Pie Cheesecake

Instead of a regular pie crust, let this graham cracker-crusted cheesecake be your vehicle for ooey-gooey pecan pie filling. Not only does it hide any potential cracks on the cheesecake’s surface, but it also makes for a sweet and spiced topping that satisfies two cravings at once. 

Good news for those who like to get ahead of the game: This apple loaf cake can be made well in advance of serving, tightly wrapped and frozen. The cream cheese frosting can also be made and refrigerated for up to two weeks in advance, so you can have a homemade cake at the ready in a moment’s notice. 

Pumpkin Bars

Pair these pumpkin bars with a spiced latte for a fall breakfast of dreams. In a 10-by-15-inch baking pan, make a layer of pumpkin cake spiced with cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg and vanilla. Generously frost with classic cream cheese frosting and top with chopped walnuts. 

No-Bake Pumpkin Cheesecake

The most agonizing step in this no-bake pumpkin cheesecake recipe is waiting for the graham cracker crust to chill in the freezer. The rest of the recipe couldn’t be easier — whip up a quick mixture of cream cheese, pumpkin purée, sugar and spices, then pour on top of the crust and chill to set. 

Pumpkin Bread

Put a pause on banana bread for a few months in favor of a pumpkin loaf. This one-bowl recipe for pumpkin bread is just as easy and is a great way to get kids involved in a baking project. It also gives you a much needed excuse to make use of some of the cans of pumpkin hiding in your pantry. Top with pumpkin seeds for added crunch.

Baked Apple Crumble

Take your pick of all the apples in the grocery store and turn them into a bubbly baked apple crumble. In a cast-iron skillet, add a mixture of  sliced apples, sugar, lemon juice, flour, cinnamon and nutmeg. Then top with a pecan-oat streusel topping studded with  caramel baking chips. 

If you only choose to make one pumpkin recipe all autumn, let it be these pumpkin chocolate chip cookies. Fans of soft and fluffy cookies will love their cakey texture and, of course, the melty puddles of chocolate chips throughout. 

We’ll let you in on a little secret: This gorgeous pumpkin Bundt cake was made with boxed yellow cake mix and a can of pumpkin! Make a stunning glaze with a simple mixture of powdered sugar and heavy cream for drizzling. 

Choose your own adventure with this carrot cake recipe! The recipe is flexible so you can add coconut, raisins, nuts or pineapple — or keep it simple with just shredded carrots. Garnish with your choice of more shredded coconut or toasted nuts. Just don’t skip out on the cream cheese frosting, which is brightened with lemon extract.

Get the nostalgic flavor of hot apple cider donuts without having to make a trip to a farm or dig up your deep fryer. Coat a loaf pan with cinnamon sugar, as well as the top of the cake, so it’s surrounded with sugary, autumnal goodness. A homemade apple cider concentrate locks in moisture with an added bonus of filling your house with the aromas of fall. 

As if pumpkin ginger cheesecake wasn’t impressive enough, these mini versions baked in ramekins are a personal dose of decadence. The gingersnap crust complements the pumpkin ginger cheesecake filling. Top with crunchy pecan and pumpkin seed brittle for a fancy textural touch. 

Fall Drink Recipes

Apple Cider Sangria

If you’re hosting a party in the near future, do yourself a favor and make a big batch cocktail such as apple cider sangria! This seasonal concoction is made with chardonnay, apple cider, whiskey, apple brandy, honey syrup, sliced ginger, cinnamon, apple slices and a duo of lime and lemon juice. 

Mulled Cider

Make your kitchen smell like a fall candle straight off store shelves with this mulled cider recipe. Combine cider with rum, Irish whiskey, ginger syrup and cinnamon sticks to capture the essence of the season.

Pumpkin Spice Latte

Be forewarned: This homemade PSL recipe is not for the faint of heart. Unlike a trip to your favorite coffee chain, this DIY version calls for roasting and puréeing an entire sugar pumpkin, then making a syrup with granulated sugar, cinnamon, cloves, allspice and nutmeg. It requires a lot of effort,  but for pumpkin spice fans, the payoff is worth it. 

In Ina we trust: Let this hot spiced apple cider recipe be the star of your next festive fall gathering. Of course, don’t bother unless you’re using “good bourbon” such as Maker’s Mark. Because, let’s face it, has Ina ever steered us wrong in the cocktail department? 

Apple Cider Mojitos

If you thought mojitos were a summer drink, think again! TODAY Food contributor Alejandra Ramos swears by this seasonal twist as a way to enjoy mojitos all year wrong. Simply combine spiced apple cider with rum, lime and muddled mint leaves. Garnish with a cinnamon stick and apple slices to keep the theme going.