The 15 Most Comforting Dinner Recipes to Make on the Weekend

published Sep 29, 2022
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Mac and cheese in a pan
Credit: Photo: Chris Simpson; Food Styling: Pearl Jones; Prop Styling: Paige Hicks

On most weeknights, we’re all about efficiency. We need simple, wholesome recipes — stat! But come Saturday and Sunday, we like to slow down in the kitchen. After much deliberation and some debate, these are the comfort food dinners that we think are most worth your while. Plus, most of these stunners make a very big batch, which means you can cook them on the weekend and then enjoy the pastas, sauces, and stews of your labor in the weekdays to follow. 

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The Beef Stew | Instant Pot Bò Kho

Lemongrass, star anise, ginger, and cinnamon make this Vietnamese beef stew ultra-fragrant and ultra-comforting. You can add a side of fresh, crusty baguette (as is contributor Thao Thai's preference), or you can serve it over vermicelli or white rice. This dish only gets better the next day, as the flavors sit and marry.

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Credit: Kitchn
The Mac & Cheese | Martha's Macaroni & Cheese

When Contributing Food Editor, Patty Catalano, tells you this is the only macaroni and cheese recipe you'll ever need, you listen. It's baked with an unapologetic amount of creamy cheese and an extra-crispy breadcrumb topping, so you won't need much convincing.

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The Fancy Fish | Slow-Roasted White Fish with Caponata

Senior Contributing Food Editor Kelli Foster has made this veggie-packed slow-roasted fish dozens of times. Why is it on repeat at her house? The caponata-inspired jumble of eggplant, tomatoes, olives, capers, and raisins is incredible paired with the fish and the dish feels so impressive, but barely requires any effort. Sign us up!

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The Stuffed Shells | French Onion Stuffed Shells

Will it French onion? You know we're gonna try! Last year we brought you this wildly popular French onion gnocchi skillet. This year, we present to you stuffed shells with a caramelized onion-ricotta filling, a Gruyère cheese sauce, and a cheesy breadcrumb topping. You're welcome.

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The Burger | The Ultimate Bacon Cheeseburger

With mustard-griddled buns (inspired by In-N-Out Burger), Thousand Island-style dressing, and crispy bacon, this cheeseburger is an easy 10/10 and proof that all the little details matter — from the type of bun to the way you cook the bacon.

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The Veggie Burger | Jenny Rosenstrach’s Veggie Burgers

In the search for the perfect veggie burger, the struggle is real. Some lean too hard into one ingredient (beans, mushrooms), which affects both the flavor and texture. But this patty finds balance with a combination of rice, beans, mushrooms, and sweet potato. It's super savory, ever-so-slightly sweet, and supremely satisfying. Pro tip: Make a double batch so you can stash some in the freezer.

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The Hot Dog | Salsa Macha Dog with Crushed Takis

This salsa macha hot dog was love at first taste for Senior Recipe Editor, Amelia Rampe. No detail was spared when putting this one together: The dog is cross-hatched to create more grooves for catching the roasty-sweet salsa, tomatoes add a juicy freshness, and then a generous amount of Takis crumbs (preferably Fuego flavor) are piled on top to complete this flavor and texture bomb.

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The Party Main | Slow Cooker Peach Carnitas

The next time you're hosting, make your slow cooker do all the work. These easy carnitas feed a crowd, can be made ahead (and frozen!), and are perfect for tacos, salads, nachos, and quesadillas. Slow-cooking the pork with a peach adds a subtle sweetness, and the peachy theme continues with a fresh peach salsa that you whip up just before serving the tacos.

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The Meatloaf | 50/50 Sheet Pan Meatloaf

Now's the time to start working more veggies into your meals wherever you can. A great place to start? This twist on the classic that's 50% meat, 50% vegetables — and 100% delicious. Umami-packed ingredients like mushrooms, Worcestershire, and doenjang bump up the savory flavor in the meatloaf; grape jelly is the secret ingredient to the shiny, savory-sweet glaze. Plus, there's a clever trick for keeping the glaze from spilling and burning on the pan.

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The Risotto | Baked Barley Risotto with Spinach & Sun-Dried Tomatoes

There are a few things that make this recipe a standout: Toothsome pearl barley, which is commonly used to make risotto in northeastern Italy, stands in for the rice; sun-dried tomato broth delivers big, savory flavor; and the baked method lets the oven do most of the work.

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The Skewer | Nutty, Spicy Beef Suya

Suya is both the name of these spicy grilled skewers and the name of the spice mix — a combo of ground roasted peanuts, ginger, garlic, onion powder, cayenne, and paprika — that coats the meat. Associate Food Editor, Nicole Rufus', recipe was inspired by West African suya skewers, which are one of her favorite foods. Just one bite and you'll understand why.

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The Weekend Project | Cheeseburger Dumplings

Untraditional in every way, these cheeseburger dumplings combine the best of two worlds: delicate dumplings and juicy cheeseburgers, complete with special sauce. Pan-searing the dumplings crisps up the bottoms and creates some lacy edges, similar to what you get with the best smash burgers.

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The Casserole | Sushi Bake

A Hawaiian potluck staple, sushi bake takes your favorite sushi ingredients and casserole-izes them. Here, in an homage to California rolls, sushi rice is baked with a layer of creamy crab. The casserole is topped with avocado and cucumber, then served on crispy nori squares.

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Credit: Kitchn
The Sunday Sauce | Marcella's Bolognese

Many claim that Marcella Hazan's Bolognese is the only Bolognese worth making, and we're here to tell you that the hype is real. There are no secret ingredients here — it's mainly aromatics, meat, and milk — but Marcella always brings the magic, making simple food somehow taste much greater than the sum of its parts. Cancel your Sunday plans: You've got sauce to simmer.

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The Roast Chicken | Zuni Roast Chicken

Not to be dramatic, but this recipe, adapted fromThe Zuni Cafe Cookbook, is one of the best roast chickens you'll ever eat. It's involved — you'll need to salt the chicken days ahead and flip it a few times during roasting — but the extra TLC is worth it when you taste the crispy skin, the deeply flavored meat, and the bread salad that's tossed in the incredible pan drippings.

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