40 Easy Winter Meals for When You Don’t Feel Like Cooking

published Dec 8, 2023
We independently select these products—if you buy from one of our links, we may earn a commission. All prices were accurate at the time of publishing.
Post Image
Credit: Photo: Joe Lingeman/Kitchn; Food Stylist: Pearl Jones/Kitchn

Often, when I don’t feel like cooking, I’ll make a dinner salad, a plate of scrambled eggs and toast, or a quick beans-and-greens sauté and call it a night. But come winter I crave dinners that are way more cozy and comforting than that. When I’m looking for something to warm me from the inside out — something that is just as saucy, cheesy, and hearty as they come — and I don’t want to make a big fuss over dinner, I turn to these winter dinner ideas. They’re quick and easy to get on the table, and keep the prep work to a minimum. From dump dinners to simple sheet pan solutions, these 40 recipes answer the call.

Healthy Winter Dinner Ideas

Take your pick between using your Dutch oven, casserole dish, slow cooker, or sheet pan. These wholesome winter dinners are equal parts easy and comforting.

1 / 13
Instant Pot Chicken Tortilla Soup

Thanks to the Instant Pot, this bright and flavorful soup cooks up in less than 30 minutes.

Go to Recipe
2 / 13
One-Pot Tomato Chickpeas and Orzo
This is the dinner to keep in your back pocket for those nights you get a late start on cooking and are greeted by a nearly empty fridge.
Go to Recipe
3 / 13
20-Minute Pumpkin Soup
The easiest (and tastiest) pumpkin soup, thanks to a can of pumpkin and your spice drawer.
Go to Recipe
4 / 13
Sausage and Lentil Stew
Andouille-style chicken sausage packs this simple stew with tons of flavor.
Go to Recipe
5 / 13
Slow Cooker Coconut Lentil Curry
Here's an extraordinarily easy recipe that relies on simple pantry ingredients and a couple of spices, yet delivers a deep, bold flavor at the end of the day.
Go to Recipe
6 / 13
Whole30 Chicken
This 5-ingredient sheet pan chicken is a meal plan whether you're following Whole30 or not.
Go to Recipe
7 / 13
BBQ Pork Tenderloin with Green Beans and Cauliflower
Lean pork tenderloin is brushed with BBQ sauce, partnered with a couple veggies, and tossed on a sheet pan for an easy dinner that's ready in under 30 minutes.
Go to Recipe
8 / 13
3-Ingredient Oven-Baked Cajun Chicken Breasts
These oven-baked chicken breasts are super savory and slightly smoky with a bold flavor, and come together with just three ingredients.
Go to Recipe
9 / 13
5-Ingredient Sausage, Kale, and Sweet Potato Soup
Browned sausage, tender sweet potatoes, just-wilted kale, and Italian herbs infuse store-bought broth in this hearty Whole30 soup.
Go to Recipe
10 / 13
Slow Cooker Stuffed Bell Peppers in Marinara Sauce
These protein-packed and fiber-rich stuffed peppers are the perfect vegetarian meal.
Go to Recipe
11 / 13
Lemon, Chickpea and Green Herb Stew

This lemony coconut and herb-topped stew has a freshness you'll love, but it is hearty and filling at the same time.

Go to Recipe
12 / 13
Chicken Orzo Soup
Unlike most chicken soup recipes, this one is super quick- and doesn't require hours of cook time.
Go to Recipe
13 / 13
Instant Pot Butternut Squash Soup

With the help of an Instant Pot, this sage- and apple-scented soup comes together in a snap and makes enough to stash away in the freezer for a quick lunch.

Go to Recipe

Family-Friendly Winter Meals

This line up of cozy dinner ideas makes enough to feed the whole table and will be adored by big and little eaters alike.

1 / 15
3-Ingredient Baked Caesar Chicken
If you’re stuck in a dinner rut, here’s the no-muss, no-fuss, flavor-packed chicken dish that’s going to snap you out of it.
Go to Recipe
2 / 15
Easy, Creamy Beef and Shells
If you grew up loving Hamburger Helper, you're going to love this quick and easy from-scratch version of cheesy beef and shells.
Go to Recipe
3 / 15
Crispy Sheet Pan Gnocchi with Mushrooms, Sausage, and Butternut Squash
Nothing against boiled gnocchi, but crispy sheet pan gnocchi gives it some serious competition.
Go to Recipe
4 / 15
One-Pot Parmesan Brussels Sprouts Orzo
It just might remind you of creamy risotto, but comes together with a fraction of the work.
Go to Recipe
5 / 15
Sheet Pan Quesadillas
No more standing at the stove! This large-format quesadilla makes enough to feed the whole table. Easy peasy.
Go to Recipe
6 / 15
Copycat Olive Garden Chicken Gnocchi Soup
This copycat Olive Garden chicken gnocchi soup has everything from the creamy broth to the pillowy gnocchi, chicken, and vegetables.
Go to Recipe
7 / 15
5-Ingredient Baked Potato Soup
Spoiler: No baked potatoes are required for this soup. Just one freezer shortcut will get you from done to devoured in less than 30 minutes!
Go to Recipe
8 / 15
White Rotisserie Chicken Chili
Leaning on a few shortcuts, this is a white bean chicken chili that can be churned out in under 30 minutes.
Go to Recipe
9 / 15
Trader Joe's Sweet Potato Gnocchi
This dead-simple, 3-ingredient dinner is exactly what to make on harried weeknights.
Go to Recipe
10 / 15
Slow Cooker Chicken Posole
Cook up a giant batch of posole in your slow cooker, and after an all-day simmer you’re in for a dinner packed with warm spices, rich flavors, and meaty shredded chicken.
Go to Recipe
11 / 15
Slow Cooker Shredded Balsamic Beef
The beauty of this super-savory 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.
Go to Recipe
12 / 15
Lentil Parmesan Soup Recipe
You can use a couple of cans of whatever beans you like or have in place of the dried lentils in this soup.
Go to Recipe
13 / 15
Slow Cooker Baked Ziti
Slow cooker baked ziti is just like the traditional casserole with tender noodles swimming in marinara & mixed with a double dose of gooey, melted cheese.
Go to Recipe
14 / 15
5-Ingredient Sausage, Kale, and Sweet Potato Soup
Browned sausage, tender sweet potatoes, just-wilted kale, and Italian herbs infuse store-bought broth in this hearty Whole30 soup.
Go to Recipe
15 / 15
One-Pot Weeknight Beef Stroganoff
Tender noodles, ground beef, and mushrooms all cooked together in a creamy, comforting sauce.
Go to Recipe

Vegetarian Winter Dinner Ideas

From soup to chili to pasta to pot pie, you’ll want to bookmark every single one of these super comforting recipes.

1 / 12
Creamy Mac and Cheese
It only takes 5 ingredients and 20 minutes to whip up the absolute creamiest mac and cheese.
Go to Recipe
2 / 12
Creamy Ricotta Pasta with Broccoli
Five ingredients are all that stand between you and this totally comforting pasta dinner.
Go to Recipe
3 / 12
Easy Green Olive Pasta
When you sauté green olives and garlic in butter, the results are magical.
Go to Recipe
4 / 12
Tomato Soup with Gnocchi and Spinach
A bag of frozen gnocchi and fresh baby spinach are all you need to turn a box of creamy tomato soup into classy comfort food.
Go to Recipe
5 / 12
Tuscan Tortellini Skillet
If you need another reason to keep a bag of tortellini in the freezer, let this five-ingredient dinner be it.
Go to Recipe
6 / 12
5-Ingredient No-Boil Baked Ziti
Meet the absolute easiest baked ziti you will ever make. Stir together dried pasta, marinara sauce, and lots of cheese in a baking dish, cover it tightly, and let it do its thing in the oven.
Go to Recipe
7 / 12
Gingery Poached Egg Soup
This Asian-inspired soup has poached eggs and greens in a ginger-garlic broth, and it'll be ready in less than 15 minutes.
Go to Recipe
8 / 12
Loaded Black Bean Nachos
This hearty and wholesome take on nachos leans on smashed black beans, tangy Greek yogurt, and guac to make it satisfying enough for dinner time.
Go to Recipe
9 / 12
Winter Pasta with Olives, Herbs, and Lemon
This pasta is fast, warm, and bright, and made solely with pantry ingredients.
Go to Recipe
10 / 12
Vegetarian Skillet Pot Pie

This easy meatless pot pie os filled with sweet potatoes, mushrooms, and kale that's prepared and baked in a skillet.

Go to Recipe
11 / 12
Vegetarian Chili
A simple combination of veggies, beans, and spices transforms into an easy, flavorful vegetarian chili.
Go to Recipe
12 / 12
Easy Vegetarian Tikka Masala
Unlike most meat-free versions of tikka masala, this one has lots of hearty vegetables, like cauliflower, thick-cut carrots, and peas.
Go to Recipe

This post was originally published on Kitchn. Read it there: 40 Easy Winter Meals for When You’re Feeling Too Lazy to Cook