The 30 Best Things to Cook This September

published Sep 1, 2021
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how to corn chowder in bowls
Credit: Photo: Joe Lingeman; Food Styling: Amelia Rampe

The push-pull of September is real. On one hand, we’re not ready to leave summer and all its glorious produce behind. We’re racing against the clock to use up all that sweet corn, juicy tomatoes, eggplant, and zucchini and check those final items off of our summer bucket list. (I’m looking at you, creamy corn pasta!) On the other hand, we usher in fall later this month, which means cool days, cozy sweaters, heartier meals, and, of course, all things apple and pumpkin.

And then there’s back-to-school time. That transition might have happened for you last month or it might be coming up, but one thing is for sure: Make-ahead lunches, easy weeknight dinners, and alllll the snacks are all very necessary right now.

Whether you’re clinging to summer or ready to dive into fall (or a little bit of both), there’s so much cooking inspiration in the air — and we’ve got you covered for all of it. From triple-chocolate zucchini cake and creamy corn chowder to slow cooker brisket and lentil soup, we have 30 recipes that are sure to inspire you to get in the kitchen this month.

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Apple Honey Challah Pull-Apart Bread
Executive Editor, Patty Lee, already has a plan for her apple-picking haul this month: challah pull-apart bread stuffed with apples. "I tried this recipe last year when it was first published and can't wait for apple-picking season to start here so I can make it again!"
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2 / 30
Tortellini with Butter-Roasted Cherry Tomato Sauce
Have a mountain of cherry tomatoes? This family-friendly dinner is a great way to use them up! Roast halved cherry tomatoes with garlic-infused butter and they're transformed into a light and juicy sauce for cheese tortellini.
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3 / 30
Ham and Cheddar Lunch Box Muffins
These savory muffins — loaded with ham, cheddar, and chives — have been on Lifestyle Director, Lisa's, list for ages. "September seems like the perfect time to finally make them, as it's back-to-busy season."
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Slow Cooker Shredded Balsamic Beef
Everyone needs at least one impossibly easy drop dinner they can lean on every month, and here's a good one for right now. The real beauty of this five-ingredient shredded beef is its versatility. Pile it onto a roll with extra sauce from the slow cooker and maybe some cheese, similar to a French dip. Or spoon it over egg noodles or cauliflower rice, or turn it into a rice bowl with some leftover veggies.
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5 / 30
The Best-Ever Focaccia Pizza
Executive Food Director, Nina, is celebrating back-to-school season in her house, so that means pizza night! "Since it's a little bit cooler these days, I'm willing to fire up the oven and make these. I love that it comes together on a sheet pan and is large enough that my vegetarian son can have his half and my husband and I can do some mushrooms and sausage on our side. Plus, you have to love a grandma pie for school lunches. Those square pieces wrap up so much easier than classic pizza wedges!"
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6 / 30
Chocolate Zucchini Cake
This super-moist, triple-chocolate zucchini cake is how you'll find Copy Chief, Lauren, using up her late-summer zucchini haul this month.
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7 / 30
Sheet Pan Crispy Salmon and Potatoes
This sheet pan supper will show you just how quick and simple it can be to get a salmon dinner on the table any night of the week.
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8 / 30
Slow Cooker Easy Lentil Soup
Meet the easiest, most delicious lentil soup we know. We love it for make-ahead lunches and easy dinners.
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9 / 30
Crab Pasta with Browned Butter and Cherry Tomatoes Recipe
"I have my eye on Amelia's crab pasta with brown butter and cherry tomatoes," says Studio Food Editor, Jesse. "I never really cook with crab (for no real reason really) and this recipe might finally help me incorporate it into my ingredient repertoire! I am also in desperate need for any recipe using tomatoes so I can hold onto the final few weeks of summer. I can't wait to make it!"
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10 / 30
Sausage and Eggplant Summer Frittata
Not quite sure what to do with that eggplant? Go ahead and toss it in a frittata. Easy-peasy!
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Instant Pot Chicken and Rice
This family-friendly dinner promises juicy pieces of chicken, fluffy rice, perfectly tender veggies, and a level of creaminess that just can't be beat. Plus, it cooks in less than 30 minutes.
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Fried Green Tomatoes
Studio Food Editor Amelia still has tomatoes on her mind this month. "I love grabbing the late-season green tomatoes at the farmers market and making fried green tomatoes."
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13 / 30
Summer Corn Chowder
Here's the one thing you should make with your summer corn before it's gone. This corn chowder recipe doubles down on sweet corn flavor with its homemade corn stock and juicy corn kernels throughout.
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14 / 30
Apple Cider Doughnuts
If apple picking is in the cards for you this month, you won't regret following Contributing Editor, Patty Catalano's, lead. "Apple picking is early in Georgia so I’m planning on making these with cider from our favorite orchard."
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15 / 30
Slow Cooker Brisket and Onions
The classic flavors of brisket you crave with the ease of the slow cooker. This recipe produces the most crowd-pleasing, tender pot of brisket you've made.
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16 / 30
Fluffy Potato Kugel
Learn the modern way to make a classic potato kugel.
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17 / 30
Banana Oatmeal Pancakes
"I can't wait to make a stack of these pancakes," Deputy Food Director, Grace, tells me. "They're giving me all the early fall vibes with the cinnamon and maple syrup!"
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18 / 30
Stuffed Eggplant Parm
Come September, Senior Contributing Food Editor, Sheela, still craves summer flavors and produce but also wants to dip her toes into some cozy comfort. That means eggplant Parm is a must! "This has been on my to-make list forever, so definitely going to make it happen this year."
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19 / 30
Bus Stop Breakfast Cookies
These thick and chewy oatmeal cookies are packed with sweet and chunky mix-ins, and are hearty enough to serve for breakfast.
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20 / 30
Herby French Lentil Salad with Carrots, Goat Cheese, and Pistachios
This satisfying lentil salad is the ultimate make-ahead option for lunch. Carrots and pistachios lend crunch and color, while crumbles of goat cheese provide creaminess with every bite.
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Pantry Cocoa Brownies
A pan of brownies is a good idea any time of year, but it especially hits the spot during back-to-school season.
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22 / 30
Easy Leftover Risotto Balls (Arancini)
For Food Editor-at-Large, Christine, fall = cozy indoor time. "It's perfect for making risotto just so I can fry up arancini balls with it!"
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23 / 30
Baked Sweet Potatoes with Maple Crème Fraîche
These baked sweet potatoes are layered with flavor and texture, thanks to a sweet and sour dressing, roasted peanuts, sliced scallions, and lots of chili flakes.
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24 / 30
Instant Pot Penne Pasta
On those nights when you need a dinner that doesn't require any standing at the stove, this three-ingredient dinner is Food Editor, Kelli's, go-to choice. It's wonderfully saucy and, since the pasta is cooked directly in the sauce, it soaks up all the garlicky, herby, tomato flavor.
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25 / 30
Birthday Cake Sprinkle Crinkles
Assistant Food Editor, Nicole, has one thing in mind this month: baking a batch (or two!) of these amazing sprinkle cookies.
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26 / 30
Slow Cooker Butternut Squash and Sweet Potato Soup
If this month has you geared up for all the fall things, this hearty soup is calling your name.
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27 / 30
Pork and Broccoli Rice Bowls
Easy dinner alert! Twenty minutes is all that stands between you and a saucy rice bowl.
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Oven-Baked Ranch Chex Mix
How about adding a snack to your meal-prep routine? Ranch seasoning gives this classic snack mix a twist with its signature blend of herbs and spices.
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Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cookies
If you feel the pull towards fall baking, here's a great way to kick things off. These cookies are everything you love about a classic chewy-yet-crisp chocolate chip cookie, amped up with a generous amount of pumpkin and warm spices.
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30 / 30
5-Ingredient Creamy Corn Bucatini with Burrata
This one-pot pasta sings of summer sweetness. It's got juicy, milky corn; creamy, luscious burrata; and a shower of fresh, oniony chives.
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