37 Best Comfort Foods to Ease Your Body & Mind in 2024

Last Updated on Jan 10th 2024
comfort foods

Are you craving the comforts of warm chicken noodle soup, gooey grilled cheese or a savory slice of meatloaf? These delicious comfort foods can conjure feelings of nostalgia on a cold and rainy day, soothe a bad day at the office, calm a case of the sniffles or a skinned knee and serve as a thoughtful, convenient and comforting gift to a grieving friend or neighbor.

Ever wonder why that warm and savory Thanksgiving turkey dinner sends you into nap mode? The City University of New York says that comfort foods not only taste good, they can lessen the impact of stress hormones.

Studies have shown that eating sweet and starchy foods helps the body make serotonin, which aids in feeling calmer, and decreases the stress hormone cortisol.

Classic comfort food recipes don’t have to be saved for the holiday or Sunday dinner table. From the traditional meatloaf and mac and cheese to new takes on chicken soup and lasagna, we’ve collected an array of wonderful ideas to prepare for yourself or give to a friend.

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Learn to Make Comforting Homemade Meals

1. Cooking Classes

If you’re searching for ways to comfort a grieving friend or cheer up a sick child, cooking classes are a terrific way to always have recipes and skills on hand to whip up a dish on your own.

Join world-class chefs for these fun and interactive classes on everything from basic skills and safety lessons to preparing the holiday ham, weeknight stews, lunchtime favorites and decadent desserts.

Whether it’s cooking classes in San Diego, cooking classes in Dallas or cooking classes in Portland, there’s bound to be cooking classes near you for any type of cuisine you crave.

comfort food cooking classes
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2. Online Cooking Classes

Perhaps you prefer the convenience of your own kitchen. Browse these online cooking classes that you can participate in right from home.

Classes feature all the same cuisines and techniques as in-person classes. All you need is a mobile device and an internet connection.

Best Weeknight Comfort Food Ideas for Dinner

3. Chile Smash Burgers

The flavors and fragrances of Hatch chilis, sweet onions, lean ground beef and gooey cheddar cheese come together for a fun take on the classic burger. Use a brioche bun and spread on Hatch chili salsa for even more flavor.

4. Short Rib Chili

Boneless beef short ribs combined with jalapenos, red onion, garlic cloves, ancho chili powder and adobo sauce make a wonderfully warm and spicy comfort food idea. Substitute cubed beef chuck roast for the short ribs if you prefer.

5. Classic Beef Stew

Classic beef stew is one of the best comfort food recipes for dinner. Add carrots, potatoes and celery for a hearty meal that will warm and soothe after a long day.

beef stew comfort food dinner idea
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6. Shrimp With Cheddar-Parmesan Grits

For comfort food recipes for dinner with a unique twist, consider Southern-style shrimp and grits. Add cheddar and Parmesan for an extra cheesy approach. Paprika and cayenne give this recipe a rich and smoky taste.

7. Cream Cheese Pumpkin Bars

Pecan pieces, pumpkin pie spice, ginger and vanilla add a touch of autumn to savory pumpkin and rich cream cheese. These pumpkin bars are always a hit.

For an even richer treat, spread a layer of cream cheese icing on the top and sprinkle with almond or walnut pieces.

8. Instant Pot Chili Mac

For a quick and easy, and oh-so-comforting, weeknight comfort food meal, set up the Instant Pot and toss in cooked ground beef, macaroni, chicken broth, diced tomatoes and your favorite spices. You’ll end up with a fan favorite that the whole crew will love.

9. Lasagna

One of the 10 best comfort food recipes, lasagna is that all-around favorite that’s always a hit. Ground beef, savory tomato sauce, creamy ricotta cheese and layers of gooey mozzarella are the perfect prescription after a day of gloomy weather.

You can save time by making it ahead and freezing. All you have to do is pull it out and thaw for the perfect soothing meal.

baked lasagna in casserole dish
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10. Smoked Turkey and Andouille Gumbo

Spicy Andouille sausage and hearty smoked turkey make a terrific combination in a Cajun-inspired gumbo. Onions, bell peppers, hot sauce and garlic powder add depth to this dish that can stand alone or be served over white rice.

11. Chicken Fried Steak

Chicken fried steak is a great idea for a weeknight comfort food recipe. Also known as country-fried steak, it’s breaded with a seasoned flour mixture and then either deep or pan-fried to crispy golden perfection. It’s then topped with a creamy white gravy

Warm Comforting Foods for Healing

12. Ginger and Turmeric Noodle Soup

Ginger and turmeric are two of the top spices recommended for healing. Combine them in udon noodle soup along with cloves, cumin, coriander, coconut milk and vegetable stock for a delicious and nutritious way to chase away seasonal germs or avenge the sniffles.

13. Chicken Pot Pie Soup

Chicken noodle soup is one of the best comfort food recipes of all time, but you can give it a boost with a pot pie-inspired twist.

Use savory rotisserie chicken, milk and a handful of carrots, peas, potatoes and celery for a wonderful combination of soothing flavors. Top soup bowls with a puff pastry roll.

chicken pot pie soup comfort food
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14. Italian Wedding Risotto

Risotto makes for a creamy and delicious base to any recipe. Bring the classic Italian wedding risotto dish to main course level by adding meatballs, spinach and garlic.

15. Chicken and Brisket Brunswick Stew

Traditional Brunswick stew is one of the heartiest Southern favorites you can find. It’s the perfect comfort food to fill up and renew your strength. Chopped barbecued brisket delivers a smoky touch to the chicken, beef and vegetables.

16. Tomato Bisque

One of the best comfort food recipes of all time, classic tomato soup takes on a smooth texture with the addition of heavy cream. Top with crunchy croutons for an extra comforting angle.

17. Cranberry Orange Baked Oatmeal

Get those comfort vibes going first thing with a hearty breakfast or brunch menu. Cranberry orange baked oatmeal has a rich and creamy texture with a hint of citrus and tangy cranberries.

Cinnamon and ginger give it a bit of spice to complement the other flavors and serve as a healing recipe.

bowl of oatmeal with sliced oranges and cranberries
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18. Garlic Mashed Potatoes

A big bowl of buttery mashed potatoes is one of the most classic comfort recipes you can serve. Red potatoes, sour cream and a generous dose of garlic make this a hit every time.

Best Comfort Food Ideas for Kids

19. Baked Ravioli

Regular stuffed ravioli is delicious on its own, but baked ravioli is one of the best warm comfort foods you can find. From spinach and cheese to meat and marinara, and topped with a generous sprinkling of Parmesan, this comforting pasta dish will please kids of all ages.

20. Chocolate Chip Cookies

Whether on its own or in a sweet dessert, chocolate makes a wonderful treat to soothe the soul or heal boo-boos of all sorts. Chocolate chip cookies are perfect gift basket ideas for kids or kids at heart. Serve with a side of milk for a piping hot cup of cocoa.

21. Grilled Cheese Sandwich

For classic comfort recipes, you can’t go wrong with a gooey grilled cheese sandwich and a bowl of tomato soup. Use a thick and heaty slice of bread and lots of cheddar, gouda or Monterey Jack.

grilled cheese sandwich comfort food
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22. Sloppy Joes

A soft and warm sesame seed roll filled with a savory sloppy Joe mix is a comfort food to enjoy at any meal.

23. Tater Tot Casserole

Take their favorite crispy snack and turn it into a delicious casserole with ground beef or turkey and shredded cheese. This easy-to-prepare dish also freezes well for make-ahead convenience.

24. Chicken Mac and Cheese

A big bowl of mac and cheese is the perfect comfort food after a long day at school or a cold afternoon in the snow. Add chunks of chicken for a hearty and protein-rich meal.

25. Spaghetti and Meatballs

One of the 10 best comfort food recipes, you can’t get much more classic than a heaping bowl of spaghetti and meatballs. Add a crunchy slice of French bread for the perfect lunch or dinner menu.

spaghetti and meatballs
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26. Ham and Cheese Sliders

Quick and easy to put together, ham and cheese sliders are the perfect kid-friendly comfort food for lunch or a snack. Hawaiian rolls give a sweet touch to salty ham and ooey gooey cheddar cheese.

27. Cheese Pizza

Simple, hearty and easy to eat, a classic cheese pizza ticks all the boxes for the perfect comfort recipe options for kids.

Thoughtful Comfort Foods for Loss

28. Seafood Mac and Cheese

Mac and cheese is always the answer to what are the top 10 comfort foods. Add fresh seafood like shrimp, scallops or crab for a unique twist.

29. Double Chocolate Chunk Brownies

Double chocolate chunk brownies are a wonderful way to show care and concern for a friend experiencing loss. Rich and decadent, they’re an easy grab-and-go snack. They’re also easy to freeze for later.

cutting board with sliced brownies
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30. Beef Stroganoff

Beef stroganoff is another food that can be made ahead and given to friends or family members in times of need. The beef remains tender thanks to a creamy mushroom gravy sauce. It can be served over pasta or noodles for a hearty meal.

31. Baked Ziti With Sausage

Warm comfort dishes like pasta topped with savory sausage, piping hot marinara sauce and gooey cheese are easy to prepare for neighbors, friends of co-workers experiencing a loss, recovering from an injury or homebound with an illness.

32. Buttermilk Biscuits

Buttermilk biscuits make a versatile option to share with a grieving friend or sick neighbor. Fluffy and buttery, they are terrific with butter, jams and jellies, leftover ham and cheese or dipped in hearty stews.

33. Classic Meatloaf

A classic meatloaf is the perfect answer to what are comfort foods for loss. It’s easily refrigerated for easy re-heating, allowing a grieving friend or neighbor the convenience of popping it into the oven or microwave.

meatloaf comfort food recipe
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34. Cinnamon Rolls With Cream Cheese Icing

Sweet and fluffy cinnamon rolls topped with cream cheese icing are a decadent way to show a friend you care.

35. Fried Chicken

Fried chicken is a quick and cheap comfort food idea. Fry up a big batch and deliver it to a friend for an easy-to-prepare weeknight meal.

36. Cheesy Monkey Bread

Cheesy monkey bread makes a wonderful cheap comfort food idea for a friend, family member or colleague experiencing loss. It’s easy to make and transport.

Prepare with the typical cans of buttermilk biscuits used to make sweet monkey bread but add a savory touch with a mix of dill, parsley and Havarti cheese.

37. Rigatoni With Pesto Cream Sauce

Pasta is the ultimate comfort dish that’s also convenient to pop in a container and take to a friend in need. Top small cylinders of rigatoni with a pesto cream sauce, cherry tomatoes and goat cheese crumbles.

rigatoni noodles in a green pesto sauce
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Hopefully, this list has answered any questions you might have about what foods are considered comfort foods and given you some ideas for choosing the perfect comfort dishes to use as get-well, cheer-up and sympathy gifts.

Any of these list ideas would make wonderful relaxation gifts or a self-care gift. Use this comfort food list as a starting point for your own recipe collection.

For even more ideas, check out other experiences happening on Classpop!