From breaking scientific studies, surveys, and special promotional events, to the latest and greatest creations in fast food, drinks, and snacks, we’ve skimmed off the cream of the crop and are serving it up in fun and informative bite-sized pieces that are still enough to chew on.
Apple cider is the perfect thing to sip during fall—warm or cold, spiked or straight—but these sweet and savory apple cider recipes prove it’s also great for cooking with in every course.
If you can get local cider from a farmers’ market or other source, that’s always preferable for the best flavor, but (more so for the savory recipes) be sure you’re buying plain cider, not spiced.
And if you’ve ever been confused about exactly what you’re getting at the grocery store, read up on the difference between apple juice and apple cider. Then get cooking—or baking, or breaking out the cocktail shaker…or all three.
Brining a turkey ensures perfectly moist meat and our recipe includes 2 cups of apple cider in the mix to help infuse the bird with flavor. Be sure to thaw the turkey with plenty of time to spare, and see our tips on how to cook turkey for more pointers. Since the turkey’s so juicy, you can save the cream gravy for your mashed potatoes. Get our Brined Turkey with Cream Gravy recipe.
Pork and apples (in every form) are perfect partners, so our tender pork loin’s creamy sauce contains both nonalcoholic apple cider and very alcoholic apple brandy. The sweet cippolini onions and salty pancetta pair beautifully with all the warm, rich flavors too. Get our Pork Tenderloin with Apple Cider Calvados Cream Sauce recipe.
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There are lots of secret chili ingredients out there, apple cider vinegar being one of them, but why not try actual apple cider when it’s abundant in fall? Fresh apples end up in the pot too (but beans do not). Get the Apple Cider Chili recipe.
Apples can even work with seafood, like sweet, tender scallops. Gastrique sounds super fancy, but it’s basically just a savory caramel sauce—and here, it’s made by simply cooking down apple cider until it’s more like a glaze. Get the Scallops with Apple Cider Gastrique recipe.
To bridge the gap between savory and sweet, we love apple butter. Our recipe calls for tart green apples, 2 cups of apple cider, warm spices, sugar, and vanilla. You cook it in a Dutch oven for several hours (but you can also make it in a Crock-Pot), and then the possibilities are practically endless. Get our Apple Butter recipe.
Related Reading: Inventive Ways to Use Apple Butter Beyond Toast
Making caramel isn’t as scary as you might think, and these soft, chewy caramel candies are infused with apple cider and warm spices for a classic old-fashioned treat that never goes out of style. Get the Apple Cider Caramels recipe.
This easy cake is full of sliced Granny Smith apples, cinnamon, and heavy cream—and has a full cup of apple cider in the batter too. The sweet-tart glaze has another cup of cider in it for extra apple goodness, but both times, the cider is reduced to intensify its flavor and make it a bit more syrupy. Get the New England Apple Cider Cake recipe.
There are tons of awesome ways to eat apples for breakfast, but apple cider doughnuts might be one of the best. You can bake your own in the classic style, but for something a little fancier, try these piped and fried French crullers with a warming chai spice glaze. Get the Mulled Apple Cider Chai French Crullers recipe.
Fear of frying? These easy apple cider doughnut holes from Jessie Sheehan are fantastic, and make use of your mini muffin pan. Reduced apple cider, cinnamon, sugar, nutmeg, and vanilla make them taste like fall; a dip in melted butter makes them taste like fried doughnuts. Get the Easy Apple Cider Donut Hole recipe.
Want to change up your pumpkin pie routine? Our pumpkin chiffon pie has a much lighter, airier texture than the usual dense custard, and calls for a bit of apple cider (or bourbon) in both the spiced filling and the fluffy whipped cream topping. It’s all cradled in an easy press-in vanilla cookie crust. Get our Pumpkin Chiffon Pie recipe.
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This breakfast casserole is honestly sweet and rich enough for dessert (especially if you add a scoop of vanilla ice cream), and it’s designed to be prepped the day before. The bread soaks in a custard of apple cider, buttermilk, vanilla, and cinnamon overnight, and is then layered with apples and dulce de leche before baking. Serve while still warm and gooey, whatever time of day you eat it. Get our Caramel Apple Cinnamon Breakfast Casserole recipe.
We can’t neglect cider-based libations, of course. Warm apple drinks are wonderful, but cold, crisp ones make for great fall cocktails too. For this one, you combine sweet cider and smoky mezcal with a dash of orange liqueur. The glass is rimmed with an autumnal mix of cinnamon, sugar, and allspice—basically, everything nice. Get the Honeycrisp Crush Apple Cocktail recipe.
That said, if you need something toasty to ward off a chill, try this take on the hot toddy with unfiltered apple cider, honey syrup, dark rum, and a little of the acquired-taste liqueur, Fernet-Branca. Get our Fernet Apple Hot Toddy recipe.
Chili can be a surprisingly contentious subject (even before you dare to mention canned chili); so many cooks insist there’s a “right” way to make it, and every other way is dead wrong. Even those who stay out of the fight likely have their own personal idea of perfection. Most probably have one or two secret ingredients they deem essential to the dish. Some aren’t too surprising—chocolate, liquid smoke—while others might raise eyebrows (fish sauce, bourbon).
This cool weather classic is certainly eminently tweakable and open to experimentation, which is why you can easily end up with an ingredients list running to the dozens of items, with a pinch of this here, a soupçon of that there. But that’s OK, as long as you remember to write down all the things you’re adding so you can replicate the results next time (do as I say, not as I do).
Whether you believe beans and/or tomatoes in chili are anathema or a must-have, and whether you like all the meat or none at all, you’ll want to build layers of savory complexity in the pot (or slow cooker). These additional flavor agents help do just that.
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Still, don’t forget to toast your spices, make homemade chili paste if you have the time, thoroughly brown your meat, simmer low and slow, and take care of all those other basics while you’re at it. These secret ingredients are flavor boosters, after all, so they should be added to an already-solid foundation.
Here are some of the most common (and most effective) flavor boosters to add to your chili recipe.
Booze (Beer, Wine, or Liquor)
Beer chili is a whole genre, and adding a bottle of your favorite brew is a wise move, but other kinds of alcohol can add their own little something-something. A smaller amount of red wine imparts richness, depth, and body to beefy chili (like a larger amount does to boeuf bourguignon), and a shot or two of liquor like bourbon—even vodka or tequila—toward the end lifts the other flavors without obviously announcing its own presence. Still, as you were warned in college, you’re best off choosing one booze and sticking to it rather than mixing them.
If you want to add a smoky dimension to your chili, this is a no-brainer, although if you’re opposed to the oft-maligned ingredient, a few teaspoons of chipotles in adobo makes a nice substitute, as does smoked paprika. You could also use bacon, but most commercial brands are actually treated with liquid smoke to give them that characteristic tang—so you may as well reach for the bottle in the first place. (You can also mash-up these first and second options by adding a smoked beer to your chili.)
Brine or Vinegar
A few tablespoons of brine from a jar of pickled jalapeños (or any sort of pickles, really), stirred in at the end as a finishing touch, adds a bright acidity that perks everything up. Plain white vinegar can work the same magic trick—even balsamic or apple cider vinegar, if you want a suggestion of sweetness too.
Not just for stir fries, a few dashes of soy sauce enhances the umami savor of your chili, and is good for adding some meaty depth to veggie chilis too. Liquid aminos can do the same. You might even try miso in small doses.
This serves the same purpose as soy, really: emphasizing meaty umami notes and bringing a little piquant salt. Added judiciously, it doesn’t taste at all like fish once stirred into the pot. Some people even use a couple anchovies as a briny, umami-rich component that melts away into the other ingredients.
Similar to but more complex than soy sauce, liquid aminos, and fish sauce, Worcestershire sauce is another great umami amplifier; that’s why it turns up in Bloody Marys, after all. (And while traditional Worcestershire sauce contains anchovies, you can find vegan Worcestershire too if you need to boost your meatless chili.)
Coffee or Espresso Powder
A moderate amount of bitter, roasty espresso, strong-brewed black coffee, or instant coffee granules will beef up the deep, complex flavors of chili, and work well alone or in concert with a little chocolate.
Added in the form of cocoa powder or unsweetened baking chocolate, this secret ingredient adds another subtle bass note, but you can also try dark chocolate that contains some sugar for a twin touch of sweetness, or even sandy Mexican chocolate (with dark sugar and cinnamon already added) to complement the spicy, acidic, and umami flavors.
Cinnamon is a fairly common addition to chili, but you can also use small amount of nutmeg, cloves, allspice, and other sweet spices to make it more aromatic. Even a bit of star anise can enhance the beefy, spicy flavor of chili without being too licorice-forward (add too much, though, and it may taste more like pho).
Some people swear by peanut butter to add a little fatty oomph to leaner veggie chilis, but it also shows up in meaty versions, from turkey to beef (and, hey, peanut butter burgers are a thing). Using a natural peanut butter will give you that creamy richness and nutty nuance without too much added salt and sugar.
Dark, slightly smoky, and a little sweet in a caramelized way, molasses is another method of adding a certain je ne sais quoi to your chili. Use unsulphured molasses, dark if you like a stronger flavor, but stay away from the blackstrap variety, which is much more bitter.
Marmite or Vegemite
Divisive though they may be, European imports Marmite and Vegemite are both complex, strong, salty flavor bombs that boost the baseline tastes of your chili. You don’t need to go out of your way to buy either one, but if you happen to have a jar in your pantry, why not scoop a smidge into the pot?
While some degree of moderation is probably prudent, you can absolutely deploy several of the above secret weapons in a single batch of chili.
I always do, and certified food genius J. Kenji López-Alt uses a whole bunch at once for his favorite chili, so be bold, add extras in small doses to start (like, one teaspoon at a time), and taste often.
And don’t let anyone bully you into thinking your chili is bad because it’s not authentic! Even if you go with more idiosyncratic additions, like yellow mustard, pineapple, Coca-Cola, apple butter, and grape jam, what’s important is that you like eating it.
Try one of the secret-ingredient chili recipes below to get you started, and experiment as you see fit.
A little liquid hickory smoke, Worcestershire sauce, and a bottle of hoppy IPA add their charms to this ground beef and bean chili—which comes together in the slow cooker, always a bonus. Get the Slow Cooker Beef Chili with Beer, Liquid Smoke, and Worcestershire recipe.
A quick and easy chicken chili with bell peppers and black-eyed peas gets a lift from pickled jalapeño brine. It doesn’t make it too spicy, but if you want more heat, chop some of the peppers themselves for garnishing your bowl. Get the Chicken and Black-Eyed Pea Chili with Jalapeño Brine recipe.
Cincinnati chili is a great regional style, traditionally served over spaghetti (and beans if you want ’em), although you can skip the noodles if you prefer. It’s generally saucier and more finely textured than other chilis, and usually includes unsweetened chocolate or cocoa powder and warm spices like cinnamon (so add a stick to the simmering pot if you want to have that flavor along with the called-for cloves here). This version melts in three ounces of dark chocolate right at the end for extra richness, with a shot of sherry vinegar to brighten it up a bit. Get the Chocolate Lover’s Cincinnati Chili recipe.
Meatless chili can still be, well, meaty, as this hearty veggie version proves. With complexity and depth from chocolate stout, actual bittersweet chocolate, espresso powder, and molasses, it’s delicious even if you can’t find the vegan chipotle sausage called for. A squirt of lime provides the final spark of acid. Get the Vegetarian Chipotle and Chocolate Stout Chili with Espresso Powder recipe.
If you like a chunky chili, this one is chock-full of tender hunks of beef, augmented with homemade chili powder and dried beans rather than canned. There’s also some molasses, cocoa powder, and mild lager in the mix (you could swap in a darker porter or stout for sure). A small amount of cornmeal adds even more body to the chili and is another good secret weapon to keep in mind. Get the Chili con Carne with Molasses, Cocoa Powder, and Beer recipe.
Another meat-free recipe, this pumpkin and butternut squash chili is smoky from chipotle, silky with pumpkin puree, and elevated with a hefty half cup of bourbon—but since it’s added earlier on, most of it cooks off, while still lending great flavor that’s perfect for fall. Get the Chipotle Bourbon Pumpkin Chili recipe.
This Instant Pot chili is ready in less than an hour, but additions of soy sauce, fish sauce, and cocoa powder make for a deep, hearty, super-savory bowl despite the short cook time. Get the Instant Pot Chili with Cocoa, Fish Sauce, and Soy Sauce recipe.
If you prefer sipping a glass of vino to cracking a cold one, try a robust red wine in your beef chili for a welcome change. You’ll still want to pile on plenty of cheese, as usual. Get the Beef and Red Wine Chili recipe.
This turkey chili not only includes tequila, lime, and a touch of honey, but starts with a panade (which sounds fancy, but is just white bread soaked in milk), mixed into the meat to keep the lean turkey moist during the long cooking time—another nifty trick worth incorporating into your chili even if you don’t do alcohol. Get the Tequila and Lime Turkey Chili recipe.
Our final veggie chili relies on a bit of peanut butter to add richness, cocoa powder to deepen the flavor, and a squeeze of lime to make everything pop. You can try adding peanut butter to beef chili too if the notion appeals. Get the Peanut Butter Vegetarian Chili recipe.
Check out all our other chili recipe ideas and stories for more ways to warm up and stay full.
We rounded up some of our best blender recipes as a reminder of just how versatile an appliance the blender truly is. There’s a reason it goes on wedding registries by default, yet even the vaunted Vitamix too often gets relegated to smoothie duty. Blenders are great for fruity (or leafy) purees first thing in the morning, for sure, but there’s a lot else your blender can do for you.
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From batters and butter to cold brew coffee and vegan mousse, these are some of our favorite blender recipes.
And while cleaning up is essential, it doesn’t have to be a chore—so see this simple tip for how to clean your blender, hassle-free.
The ease of making a Dutch baby pancake is inversely proportional to the showstopping effect as it puffs up like a souffle in the oven, and since it’s made from pantry staples, you’re never more than 30 minutes away from a fantastic breakfast or dinner (feel free to take it savory). This recipe, as written, calls for whisking by hand, but there’s no need for that. Just blitz the eggs, flour, milk, and whatever seasonings you want in your blender all at once, pour them into a hot pan of melted butter, and watch the magic happen. Get our Dutch Baby Pancake recipe.
Don’t be intimidated by eggs Benedict anymore, or at least not by the hollandaise. Making it in a blender is a fantastic shortcut you should start deploying during brunch all the time. Get our Easy Blender Hollandaise Sauce recipe.
Love the idea of homemade butter but don’t own a churn (or want to make your muscles feel more exhausted than after the most grueling arm day ever)? Make your own butter in the blender! Mix in spices, fresh herbs, and/or minced shallots or garlic for compound butter if you’re feeling extra-fancy and use it to top a steak, roasted veggies, or whatever else you like.
Chunky salsas are good too, but sometimes a thinner version is better for drizzling over enchiladas, tacos, and nachos. And there’s no worry about pulsing one too many times like when you make it in a food processor, since the goal is a smooth texture. The pumpkin seeds in this one lend a certain creaminess. Get our Blender Salsa recipe.
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We love a classic Slushy Blended Margarita, but when it’s hot out, we’re ready to turn every kind of cocktail into a frozen treat. That includes a fruity twist on the Old Fashioned, like the best grown-up cherry Slurpee you’ll ever have. Get our Slushy Cherry Old Fashioned recipe.
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If you crave creamy salad dressing but feel a little hesitant about using tons of mayo, sour cream, and other dairy (or can’t stomach those at all), use your blender and ripe avocados to whip up creamy, healthy dressings like this smoky chipotle version that’s great on salads, tacos, and sandwiches, or just for dipping crunchy veggies. Get our Chipotle Avocado Salad Dressing recipe.
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You can make any hummus in a high-powdered blender for a super creamy dip, but why wouldn’t you choose the prettiest one around? Since the pastel pink comes from a roasted beet, you’re getting extra flavor and nutrition too. Get our Editor-at-Large Joey Skladany’s Pink Hummus recipe.
Got a baby and a blender? Great, because it’s also easy to make your own baby food—maybe not quite as easy as signing up for a baby food delivery service, but manageable, at least some of the time. Get our Pear Baby Food recipe.
Immersion blenders are handy for pureeing creamy soups right in the pot, but they’re also one more kitchen tool to add to your cupboards. As long as you pour carefully, a regular blender does the job beautifully too. This asparagus soup is perfect for spring, but in summer, try blitzing up corn soup; in fall, butternut squash. Get our Asparagus Soup recipe.
Blend up a homemade spicy marinade for these juicy chicken tacos and it’s hardly any more difficult than buying a bottle at the store—yet it tastes way better, and removes any doubt about unwanted ingredients like high fructose corn syrup and preservatives in the mix. Get our Adobo Marinated Chicken Tacos recipe.
Yes, your blender does dessert too, and not just milkshakes. For this healthy dessert recipe (seriously!), just chuck everything—avocados, cacao powder, agave, almond butter or coconut cream, vanilla, cinnamon, and a pinch of salt—right in the blender, let it do its thing, and chill for a delectable treat that’s almost too easy. Get our Raw Vegan Chocolate Mousse recipe.
A blender also makes quick work of this creamy, dreamy icebox cake; just whir together condensed and evaporated milk, lime juice, and vanilla, then layer it with Maria cookies and refrigerate for a few hours (or overnight). It’s a perfect make-ahead, no-bake dessert for summer. Get our Easy Lime Icebox Cake recipe.
If you can stomach the thought of eating during horror movies, it makes sense to match your food to the flick—and it makes scary movie night even more fun. Just imagine serving split pea soup during a showing of “The Exorcist,” or roasting Cornish game hens to peck at during “The Birds.” Having a horror movie food and film fest is the perfect activity for Halloween fans who want a low-key evening (there’s never been a better time to stay home than 2020), but for some of us, this kind of thing goes on all year.
Swedish meatballs to go with “Let the Right One In.” But there are also scores of easier options with broader appeal, from ordering a pizza when you put on “House of the Devil” or offering Froot Loops during “Get Out,” to simply buying a bunch of pig snacks (pork rinds), Cornettos (or Nutty Buddy ice cream cones for a U.S. equivalent), and plenty of beer to round out a “Shaun of the Dead” viewing.There are far too many fantastic scary movies to list them all, and a lot lend themselves to pretty obvious (but no less gleefully ghoulish) pairings—like liver with “Silence of the Lambs,” or
If you’re up for something slightly more ambitious, try one of the recipes below, handpicked to accompany some of our favorite horror movies. They’re roughly split between sweet and savory, so for your socially distant Halloween party (or next Saturday night), consider picking one from each category and making it a double feature—if the idea doesn’t make you too squeamish, that is.
Spoiler Alert: While we’re not giving away entire plots, some key elements are alluded to and you may learn more than you want to know, so proceed with caution!
A classic horror movie and a classic appetizer that just happen to have a great affinity for each other, seeing as how the split baked figs really resemble the eggs from which the baby facehuggers emerge. Don’t let that deter you, though, because they’re also totally delicious, and a perfect finger food for snacking! Stuff them and top them however you like, from the vegan version shown above to this Stuffed Figs with Goat Cheese recipe.
Any Scandinavian nibbles would work well here, and if you’re truly the ambitious type, you could even (attempt to) recreate the phantasmagoric feast depicted in the movie—but for a lighter bite, gravlax fits the theme and is easy to eat on toast points or crispbread on the couch. Add whatever fixings you like, then pile on as many edible flowers as you can find for the full effect; you can even form the sliced salmon into roses too. (A pot pie is another fine option, but please be careful to ensure no, er, foreign material ends up in the filling…)
We chose these pork chops because of the char factor—but any food that benefits from a brief flare-up is a worthy choice for this dramatically demonic movie. Because the rice does bear some resemblance to certain creepy crawlies, you may want to skip that accompaniment and stick to something safer, like bread. And follow it up with some chocolate cake, by all means, but be absolutely sure it’s safe to serve to those with nut allergies (if you weren’t paranoid about such things before, you might be after this film). Get our Charred Pork Chops with Brown Rice recipe.
This trippy art-house horror flick is a wild ride that’s not for everyone, but those who appreciate Nicolas Cage’s displays of celluloid insanity will definitely want to check it out. And although Cheddar Goblin may only appear for a few seconds of screen time, you’re bound to remember the macaroni mascot, fondly or otherwise. It’s only appropriate to make a big batch of stovetop mac and cheese in the creature’s honor. Get our Stovetop Mac and Cheese recipe.
If you’re up for a double feature, here’s another Cage gem with Lovecraftian origins (plus plenty of body horror, Tommy Chong, and alpacas). You might expect tentacles, but our pick is a magenta-hued snack that mimics the celestial shade so prominent in the movie. Beet hummus is ideal even on its own, but obviously better scooped up with beet chips if you can take the intensity. Wash it down with whiskey if you like, but skip the rocks if you’re unsure of the water quality.
If you, like the vampires’ minion in this movie, occasionally crave raw hamburger, learn how to make steak tartare and serve it up while you watch this disturbing tale. Otherwise, consider smoked salmon to evoke the Alaskan setting, and make it a bagel breakfast casserole as a tribute to the rising of the sun, which you’ll be hoping for as fervently as the besieged town of Barrow. But don’t count on the garlic in the bagels protecting you, because these bloodthirsty monsters are not repelled by much of anything. Get our Smoked Salmon and Bagel Breakfast Casserole recipe.
This Manifest Destiny cannibal black comedy/horror movie is pretty odd (even before you factor in its eccentric soundtrack by Damon Albarn, and David Arquette as a stoner frontiersman), but it’s a modern cult classic, and worth watching at least once just so you can say you have. You may never be able to look at a big steaming pot of beef stew the same way ever again, though. Get our Beef Stew recipe.
Apart from the slowly stalking harbingers of death and glimpses of dilapidated Detroit, one of the most iconic visual bits of this movie is the clamshell-shaped e-reader one character uses in several scenes; it makes it impossible to place the movie in a specific time or reality, despite the overwhelming ’80s vibe. Get your hands on some scallop shells to pay homage, and pile them with bite-size seafood sprinkled with buttery, crisp breadcrumbs and pancetta. Get the Baked Sea Scallops recipe.
This comparatively under-the-radar horror-romance is set on the Italian coast, so it’s a good excuse to make any garlic-heavy seafood dish—say, lobster risotto if you’re not a fan of squid. But know that tentacles are thematically appropriate—and that you probably want to eat yours well before they show up on screen. Get our Sauteed Calamari with Parsley and Garlic recipe (shown at the top of the page), or try your hand at cooking octopus.
The bulk of this Stephen King story adaptation sees the characters barricaded in a grocery store, grilling the meat department’s offerings to sustain themselves, so really, anything you can grill in the comfort of your own home (or safely in your backyard, free of monster-hiding mist) is fair game, but these bacon-wrapped hot dogs are a little freakish—in the best way possible—so they seem an especially good choice. (Also, the B-movie aspects of this creature feature fare much better when you watch it in black and white.) Get our Spiral-Cut Bacon Hot Dogs recipe.
Fondue is a perennially great party food, and it’s also perfectly emblematic of the 1970s, during which both of this franchise’s films were set. That means it also works for “The Amityville Horror”—or anything else that takes place in the same time period (or was actually made during it). And if you prefer chocolate fondue to cheese, that’s always an option, which helps us transition into dessert. Get our Cheese Fondue recipe.
This claustrophobic flick about a group of friends exploring an uncharted cave system (with dire consequences, of course) calls for trail mix as a nod to the necessity of packing light—but baking it into cookies is safer than just eating it from bowls. Otherwise, certain jump scares might have you plucking dozens of individual pieces of fruit and nuts from your floor (and you are not going to want to get your face too close to that deeply shadowed cavern under your couch for a while after this one). Get this Peanut Butter Trail Mix Cookies recipe.
Death metal, loving families, and possible Satanic possession (among other elements) make for a rather captivating watch. Fireball whisky, with its flaming burn and fire-breathing dragon on the bottle, makes a fitting accompaniment—but turn it into marshmallows and it’s even more on-theme. Simultaneously sweet and searing, and technically candy, you can always toss them in hot chocolate or s’mores if you prefer an even warmer treat. Get the Fireball Whisky Marshmallows recipe.
A blood-dripping red velvet cake is perfect for any number of slasher movies, from “Hush” to “Scream”—and blood-drenched classics like “Halloween.” If you want to get even gorier, see how to hide dripping raspberry blood inside—and consider bloody cupcakes if the thought of wielding an actual knife on the night of turns you into a scream queen. Get the Bloody Halloween Cake recipe. (If serving for a viewing of “The Shining,” consider planting a hand axe in the top.)
Before the Babadook was an out-of-left-field LGBTQ icon, he was a terrifying specter at the center of this emotionally draining movie that’s also plenty stomach-turning in places. Feed your fear (and your twisted gut) with these disturbingly realistic gummy worms and some crushed-Oreo dirt—and just try not to squirm. Get the Realistic Gummy Worms recipe.
The most fitting foods to pair with this tense flick are any that you can eat without making a sound—chocolate mousse is lighter than a whisper, so it’s a perfect candidate, but it definitely won’t survive til the end of the film. Get our Chocolate Mousse recipe.
Wouldst thou like the taste of…butter? Wouldst thou like to live deliciously? If thou wouldst, a classic gooey butter cake is your best bet here—with pumpkin added in honor of the spooky season. Serving a braised rabbit (or goat!) main course beforehand is totally optional, as is the boxed cake shortcut; see how to make the gooey butter cake base from scratch if you prefer. Get the Pumpkin Pie Gooey Butter Cake recipe.
OK, this one is in no way scary (except for the fact that in retrospect, it’s actually kind of awful), but for those of a certain generation, it’s a classic must-watch around Halloween, and a nice palate cleanser if you need something to calm your nerves after a truly frightening flick. It’s sweetly nostalgic and encapsulates so much of what we love about the holiday—just like this Halloween bark full of all the candy you used to get in your bucket. Switch it up so your personal favorites are represented, but don’t skip the candy eyes, as a nod to the iconic spell book at the heart of the movie. Alternatively, you could make this a little less cutesy and eat it while watching “Candyman” (honeycomb would be the most appropriate addition in that case). Get the Halloween Candy Bark recipe.
Hardy winter squashes have a special place in our hearts and on our holiday tables (naturally, the two are linked), but they signify the start of fall well before turkey is even a glimmer in our eye.
The winter squash family is vast—acorn, butternut, delicata, turban, red kuri, and kabocha squash are but a few of the more well-known varieties (and pumpkins are squash too!)—but what they all have in common is a hard, dense texture that makes them great for storing…and sometimes difficult to hack into.
Here’s a nifty trick to make cutting winter squash easier:
Many winter squashes have vibrant orange or red flesh beneath their skin, which can range from butternut’s unassuming beige to delicata’s striped green and yellow to kabocha’s bright flame hue, but their shapes and sizes vary widely. Their flavors vary too, but are generally naturally sweet to some degree; certain varieties are nuttier than others, or earthier. When cooked, their flesh can be silky-smooth or a little dry and crumbly—or stringy (in a good way), when it comes to spaghetti squash.
They all take a fair amount of time to cook and are very rarely eaten raw, though you can in fact eat thinly shaved butternut squash without cooking it. And some varieties of winter squash with thinner skins like acorn and delicata can be left unpeeled before roasting them, as in this Easy Fall Sheet Pan Dinner recipe:
All of these dense winter squash varieties are related to summer squash like zucchini and crookneck, but the warm weather specimens are all much softer and more tender with thinner skins (so you can pretty much eat all of them raw if you like).
Read more about the differences between summer squash and winter squash.
From a puréed soup of roasted butternut with a tangy undercurrent of Granny Smith apple, to a salad of roasted delicata slices, we find ourselves eating a diversity of squash varieties in an array of preparations. Here are 11 we make all season:
The simplest, and in some ways, the most satisfying, winter squash dish of all. Acorn squash are split, scooped, and filled with a simple mix of butter and light or dark brown sugar—two things that enhance the earthy flavor of squash without stepping on it. Get our Easy Roasted Acorn Squash recipe.
And if you want to take the natural next step, stuff it; our Roasted Acorn Squash with Wild Rice Stuffing recipe boasts a mix of nutty-tasting wild rice, pecans, and dried cranberries that can stand in as the center of a holiday meal, or exist beautifully as sides to a meat or poultry dish. But you can also stuff them with practically anything you have in your fridge and pantry.
A two-part recipe that marries two natural partners, our Roasted Butternut Squash with Pears recipe is worth the work (which isn’t really that bad, anyway). You start by roasting cubes of butternut squash with rosemary. Separately, sauté firm pears like Bosc, with onions. Combine the two, and you end up with a delicious side dish that works for Thanksgiving dinner or a simple supper of pork chops or roasted chicken.
Appetizers are easy in summer, when ripe cherry tomatoes and basil seem to make everything taste better. This fall and winter pickup hors d’oeuvre is different: cubes of sweet, roasted butternut squash wrapped with everybody’s favorite, bacon, and toothpicked. Get our Bacon-Wrapped Squash Bites recipe.
Molasses-like saba and salty, umami-rich ricotta salata transform thin slices of sweet roasted delicata squash. Toss with leaves of baby spinach, roasted pumpkin seeds, shallot, sherry vinegar, and olive oil. Get our Roasted Delicata Squash Salad recipe.
Related Reading: 9 Fall Salads That Put a Fresh Spin on Autumn Produce
Butternut squash soup is everywhere during the holidays, but this one’s different, a perfect mix of easy and delicious. Instead of having to awkwardly peel a butternut squash and scrape out the seeds, you roast it, which makes peeling and scraping a cinch, even as it gives the eventual soup rich toasty flavor. Get our Roasted Butternut Squash Soup recipe. Or try using a sugar pumpkin to make a similar Roasted Pumpkin Soup recipe.
While luscious pureed squash soups are always welcome, sometimes we want a bit more texture. Our Slow Cooker Root Vegetable Stew recipe provides that with tender chunks of potatoes, parsnips, carrots, and pumpkin or squash, not to mention chickpeas, golden raisins, and spinach. Use a mushroom broth for a vegan soup with deep umami notes, or standard veggie stock. The cinnamon, coriander, cumin, cayenne, and saffron add tons of flavor either way.
Cubes of roasted butternut squash show up in all kinds of fall meals, from salad to stuffing, but cooking the cubes in a pan sauce makes them just as tender without the caramelization, letting their natural sweetness shine. It’s a particularly lovely partner to fresh pasta, which is easier to make at home than you might think. If you want to go with store-bought, seek out any shape of fresh pasta rather than dried pappardelle, as the silky, light texture is key to this dish. Get our Pappardelle Pasta with Butternut Squash recipe.
While most winter squashes look pretty much the same inside, spaghetti squash breaks the mold. Once cooked, its pale golden-yellow flesh separates into long strands—which explains why it’s often used as a gluten-free pasta stand-in. Get our Roasted Spaghetti Squash recipe for a basic recipe that you could consider a lower-carb, GF version of cacio e pepe. (Or if you’re looking for more ideas on how to enjoy it, turn the roasted strands into our Cheesy Spaghetti Squash Gratin or crispy Spaghetti Squash Cakes.)
Kabocha has particularly sweet flesh that turns almost fluffy when cooked; it’s a favorite of many Chowhounds. The natural sugars are a perfect match with the spicy flavors in our Thai Red Curry with Kabocha Squash recipe, but you can use butternut in this dish too. (For a totally unexpected way to showcase this superstar squash, try our Kabocha Squash Scotch Egg recipe too.)
This rustic yet elegant gratin is bound to upstage anything else on the table, but you honestly don’t need anything else beyond a salad if you’re after a hearty vegetarian meal. The savory walnut- and thyme-studded breadcrumb streusel bakes into a crisp topping over the creamy layers of squash and celeriac. Get our Celery Root and Squash Gratin recipe.
Hasselback potatoes have nothing on hasselback squash, but this stunner is more than a pretty face. The ridges crisp up in the oven and trap the toppings (maple syrup, red pepper flakes, walnuts, pomegranate seeds, and flaky sea salt), for a gorgeous and delicious dish that could be the centerpiece of a plant-based Thanksgiving but is easy enough to make on any Sunday evening. Get our Maple Hasselback Butternut Squash recipe.
Like we said, pumpkins are technically squash, but we devoted an entire article just to the best pumpkin recipe ideas already. Still, our Pumpkin Gnocchi recipe with Crème Fraîche Sage Sauce deserves to make this list because it’s basically fall on a plate. You can make your own pumpkin puree for extra credit, but that’s totally optional—and now you have one more reason to keep a can or two in your pantry at all times.
Related Reading: 15 Ways to use Fall Pantry Staples Morning, Noon & Night
Greek yogurt is packed with double the protein and less sugar than regular yogurt, both are a great source of calcium and protein. And don’t shy away from the good-for-you milkfat: whole milk yogurt, full of fat-soluble nutrients, may be better for you than non-fat and low-fat. (That said, if you eat a dairy-free diet, you can find coconut yogurt, oat yogurt, and other non-dairy options with many of the same health benefits, if not always at the same level.)Just one serving of yogurt is a significant source of potassium, phosporous, riboflavin, iodine, zinc, vitamin B5, and vitamin B12. While
Be on the lookout for the words “live and active cultures” on your yogurt—which will be most brands you can find in stores—to know they contain good bacteria that help regulate the digestive system. These bugs help keep out the harmful microorganisms and benefit your gut.
Related Reading: Are Shelf-Stable Probiotics Actually Good for You?
Aside from all the healthy goodness, yogurt can be deliciously incorporated into your meal any time of day, from creamy salad dressings to taco or fajita toppings and, of course, frozen yogurt. Use it creatively to add a healthier twist to recipes that traditionally use cream or heavier toppings. Whether it’s classic, Greek, Australian, or Icelandic-style, we believe in eating yogurt for breakfast, lunch, dinner, and dessert.
Here are some of our best yogurt recipes to incorporate the dynamic dairy into any meal:
It’s a classic for a reason: One of the most versatile ways to eat yogurt is plain in a bowl—ready to be paired with granola, fruit, nuts, honey, chia seeds, and more. We recommend using unflavored yogurt with no added sugars, making your own taste sensations with inventive toppings and natural sugars. See how to Make Your Own Yogurt. (Our recipe uses a good old-fashioned saucepan, but of course, you can also make Instant Pot yogurt.) That said, any of these recipes taste just as good with your favorite store-bought brand.
If you want to get a jump on your morning routine, mix yogurt, chia seeds, and a few other nutritious and delicious ingredients together the night before so all you have to do in the a.m. is grab a jar from the fridge and dig in. Top it with whatever fruit is tasting best at the moment, or use thawed frozen berries. Get our Overnight Oats recipe.
Yogurt-based smoothies are good for a boost at any time of day—whether it’s at that 5 a.m. wake-up call or after a 9 p.m. gym session—but they are especially useful for those on-to-go moments. Throw together this easy recipe and be out the door in 10 minutes (or at least in front of your laptop for your next virtual meeting on the couch). Get our Healthy Blueberry Smoothie Recipe.
Related Reading: The Best Reusable Straws for Sustainable Sipping
An entirely different and equally delightful kind of yogurt drink, Indian lassi is often sweetened with lush mango, but it can skew a bit more savory too, like this version with fresh mint and toasted cumin seeds. It’s a refreshing option and extra good with a sprinkle of Indian black salt on top. Get our Salted Lassi recipe.
Dips are notorious for sneaking calories and junk into an otherwise healthy snack like chopped veggies. With a yogurt-based dip, pack in good-for-you probiotics and protein to your dipping. This recipe is just as perfect for the Super Bowl as for your next summer dinner party. Get our Yogurt Dipping Sauce with Lemon and Basil Recipe.
Guacamole is a great, but adding yogurt makes it even creamier, while also lightening up the taste with its signature tang. Cumin, garlic, lime, and a touch of vinegar add even more flavor. Thin this out with a little water for a pourable salad dressing (try it on a shrimp and greens salad), or use it as-is on your next crudité platter. Get the Avocado Yogurt Dip recipe.
You’ll be surprised at how versatile this 5-minute recipe can be: Use it with fries, burgers, or calamari. With just four ingredients and some salt, it can be used to on any sandwich with would normally call for heavy mayonnaise too. Get our Garlic-Mint Yogurt Spread Recipe.
Yogurt sauce is an excellent way to make a moist, flavorful salmon steak. It’s simple, light, and easy—pairing perfectly with a healthy side of steamed vegetables. Get our Cedar-Planked Salmon with Herbed Yogurt Sauce Recipe.
Yogurt is super useful in marinades, where it both tenderizes and flavors meat; just take a look at chicken tikka masala. For an easy, healthy, and delicious protein option that goes with pretty much everything you might want to pair with it, get our Spicy Yogurt Chicken recipe. You can also broil the skewers instead of grilling. (If you want to roast a whole bird, the same trick works wonders in our Fake Tandoori Chicken recipe.)
Pita and yogurt spread is a classic combo, and for good reason. This healthy Mediterranean meal uses a refreshing yogurt sauce with cooked lamb, but we recommend making a double serving of the sauce for dipping. Get our Lamb Pitas with Cucumbers and Yogurt Sauce recipe, or try our Lamb Meatballs with Lemon-Cumin Yogurt recipe (which are just as good in wraps). And if you’re not a lamb fan, try our Ground Beef Gyro recipe instead.
This classic Indian flatbread is easy to make at home even without a tandoor oven—it may not be quite the same, but cast iron (or an outdoor grill) will do an admirable job of blistering and browning these yogurt-enriched yeast breads. Serve them with your favorite Indian main course and condiments, or use as a wrap for any fillings you fancy. Get our Naan recipe.
This extra crunchy slaw is healthier than the usual mayo-sodden affair, thanks to a dressing that mixes a simple vinaigrette with Greek yogurt. Serve with anything that needs a little perking up, from roasted or grilled meats to basic sandwiches. Get our Broccoli Slaw recipe.
Yogurt adds a nice creaminess to this curried turkey salad. Light, healthy, and easy to prepare, this is an ideal make-ahead recipe to bring to work or school all week. Use it in a sandwich or over greens. Get our Curried Turkey Salad Recipe. You can also make it with chicken. Try our yogurt-bound Mexican Chicken Salad recipe too.
Baked pasta is a cold weather comfort food favorite, but it can be heavier than a weighted blanket. Yogurt helps lighten up this vegetarian baked penne a bit, but it’s still plenty rich and hearty (and creamy, of course). Add cooked crumbled sausage or sauteed mushrooms if you want more protein. Get our Baked Penne with Spinach and Feta recipe.
Yogurt is also a common ingredient in conventional baking, where it lends moisture, tang, and a little leavening to things like our Easy Carrot Cake recipe or this Seeded Apple Bread with Honey and Thyme. Normally, we only bake with plain yogurt (whether Greek or otherwise), but for our Strawberry Vanilla Bundt Cake recipe, you can use a vanilla flavored yogurt if you like. Just choose a brand with less sugar—always a good rule of thumb.
No yogurt recipe list is complete without a good frozen yogurt recipe, and this is one of our favorites. Using fresh blackberries, this homemade frozen yogurt hits the ideal balance of tangy goodness and fruity sweetness. But when fresh berries aren’t in season, you can use frozen for a taste of summertime. Get our Frozen Yogurt with a Blackberry Swirl Recipe.
Emily Payne wrote the original version of this story in 2017. It has been updated with additional images, links, and text.]]>
Canned is cool, but cooking with actual pumpkins, from scratch, is better. Maybe you went pumpkin picking and ended up with a few too many. Or you carved some pretty amazing jack-o’-lanterns and now you have a pile of pumpkin innards on your table. Fear not: Here are 18 ideas to turn fall’s iconic porch decoration into something delicious.
Most of these recipes start with a base of pumpkin purée (see number 1 below) that is simple to make and keeps for months in the freezer—but that also means you can totally use canned pumpkin if you prefer.
Follow easy instructions for steaming or roasting, whichever you prefer, and pumpkin purée can be on your table in less time than it takes to walk to the store to pick up a can. Freeze it in ice cube trays and you’ll have little pops of homemade pumpkin flavor to add to your recipes for weeks, or freeze by the half cup for future baking projects. Get the Pumpkin Purée recipe.
Pumpkin does two primary things to a cake batter: keeps it deliciously moist, and serves as the best medium for the kind of spices that taste perfect in cool weather (allspice, cloves, nutmeg, cinnamon). Here, pumpkin and spice combine for cupcakes. Top with Pumpkin–Cream Cheese Frosting for the best of all fall treats. Get our Pumpkin Spice Cupcakes recipe.
Pumpkin pie will always and forever have a special place in our hearts. There are times, however, when we crave opening up our dessert squad to some new favorites. That’s when this delicious (and beautiful) cheesecake re-enters our world. Get our Pumpkin Swirl Cheesecake recipe.
Related Reading: 18 Great Thanksgiving Dessert Ideas That Aren’t Pie
Petite pumpkins make perfect edible bowls for anything you might stuff in a squash (or for soup), but you can eat them for breakfast when you bake eggs in them. The bacon and butternut squash hash on the side is the perfect accompaniment with rosemary or sage. Get our Mini Pumpkin Baked Egg recipe.
San Francisco chef Thomas McNaughton taught us this next-level fall recipe. Flavorful, sweet Cinderella pumpkin (seasoned with a bit of cinnamon, nutmeg, and cider vinegar) becomes the best pasta filling ever. A brown butter and sage sauce finishes them off beautifully. Get our Pumpkin Tortelloni with Sage and Pumpkin Seeds recipe.
Sour cream adds a subtle depth of flavor to this smooth custard mix, with traditional pie spices: cinnamon and allspice. Caramel in the bottom of the ramekins turns into a topping and sauce in one, when the finished custards are inverted onto serving plates. A few crumbled graham crackers make a perfect garnish. Get our Pumpkin Pie Flans recipe.
Better than any artificial syrup you can get from a coffee chain, this booze-based fall cordial captures the earthy-sweet flavor of pumpkin and the holiday taste of sweet spices. Use a good-quality aged rum, such as Appleton or Flor de Caña. Get our Pumpkin-Spice Liqueur recipe.
Making a homemade version of this widely beloved Starbucks drink is cheaper, tastier, and healthier than buying it out—and it uses a bit of pumpkin puree for authentic fall flavor. Spike it with the liqueur above if you’re so inclined. Get our Homemade Pumpkin Spice Latte recipe.
Save the seeds from jack-o’-lantern carving and spread them out on a baking sheet in a single layer. Bake at 375 degrees Fahrenheit for about 7 minutes, checking frequently to make sure they’re not burning. Take a peek at our guide for interesting pumpkin seed flavors to try out—but don’t stop there; you can make pesto, salsa, and other delicious treats from these too. See what to do with pumpkin seeds for more ideas and recipes.
Use some of the aforementioned purée (see number 1) to add some great nutrition to a breakfast smoothie. Combine pumpkin purée in the blender with ice (or frozen banana), pumpkin pie spices, and milk (dairy- or nut-based) with a little honey or agave or maple syrup to sweeten. Get the Pumpkin Pie Smoothie recipe.
If you think apple butter is good, wait until you try its pumpkin cousin. This recipe is loaded with seasonally appropriate spices (ginger, cinnamon, nutmeg) and makes an amazing spread for toast. (You can make it in the slow cooker too, if you prefer.) Get the Pumpkin Butter recipe.
Served in a pumpkin shaped bowl, this sweet dip looks great as a centerpiece and is a no-fuss no-bake treat you can whip together in minutes. It goes great with any kind of cookie or even apple slices. Bonus points if you serve it inside an actual pumpkin. Get the Pumpkin Dip recipe.
Delicious tossed with olive oil and shallots or even turned into soup. Our Chowhound recipe for the latter is a great way to use up the pieces of the jack-o’-lantern you discarded in the name of art. Get our Roasted Pumpkin Soup recipe.
Instead of sweet potatoes, make fries from pumpkin! The color is amazing and you can experiment with different seasonings like onion powder, curry, garlic, cayenne, and more. Get the Pumpkin Fries recipe.
Get rid of the guilt and make pumpkin chips your new go-to afternoon snack. Use a mandolin slicer to make them uniform and you won’t be able to tell the difference between store-bought Terra Chips and your own baked-not-fried alternative! Get the Pumpkin Chips recipe.
Use your homemade purée (see number 1) to make this simple pumpkin pudding. This comforting dessert is a homey addition to an autumn dinner party. Get the Pumpkin Pudding recipe.
Caitlin M. O’Shaughnessy wrote the original version of this story in 2014. It has been updated with additional images, links, and text.]]>