13 fall recipes that taste better than a pumpkin spice latte

13 fall recipes that taste better than a pumpkin spice latte

The perfect autumnal appetizers, mains, sides, and desserts to celebrate the best time of year.

We may earn a commission from links on this page.
Sweet Potato Parker House Rolls
Photo: Allison Robicelli, Graphic: Karl Gustafson

Yes, yes, we know—the autumnal equinox is on September 22. But just because we haven’t yet entered meteorological fall doesn’t mean there aren’t a dozen harbingers of the fall season already upon us: school is back in session, the NFL season has kicked off, the air has lost its mugginess, and you’re hankering to spend some more time in your kitchen. Let these 13 recipes be your guide through a whole host of autumnal flavors, and let us know which other dishes you love to cook this time of year.

Note to desktop users: If you’d like to view this story in a scrolling layout, you can narrow your browser window. You can also click “List Slides” at any time to see the full list and navigate to particular recipes.

Advertisement

2 / 15

Butternut Squash Pavlova

Butternut Squash Pavlova

Butternut Squash Pavlova
Butternut Squash Pavlova
Graphic: Libby McGuire

Pavlova is, aesthetically, the very definition of a beautiful disaster, and making one will not give you the stress-headaches that come with making something fussy like an intricate autumn pie. This Butternut Squash Pavlova is beyond easy to make, and a perfect recipe to attempt if you’re just learning to bake. Even if the base cracks, if things break, if dribbles of whipped cream drip off the plate, or a piece of butternut jumps ship and tumbles to the floor, it’s still a jaw-dropping stunner of a dessert. Get the recipe for Butternut Squash Pavlova here.

Advertisement

3 / 15

Char Siu Turkey Bao

Char Siu Turkey Bao

Char Siu Turkey Bao on white plate
Char Siu Turkey with Pumpkin Bao and Cranberry Hoisin Sauce
Photo: Allison Robicelli

We fit so many festive flavors into this autumnal Char Siu Turkey Bao: pumpkin bao, cranberry hoisin, ginger, brown sugar—we could go on, but all you have to do is look at the finished product to know this is the fall recipe for you. It’s a big project, perfect for days when the sun starts setting earlier and you’re looking for excuses to become a cozy homebody. Our recipe walks you through all the steps to make an impressive and highly photogenic spread. Get the recipe for Char Siu Turkey Bao here.

Advertisement

4 / 15

Apple Whiskey Pandowdy

Apple Whiskey Pandowdy

Apple Whiskey Pandowdy in skillet beside a slice on a white plate, atop checkered tablecloth
Apple Whiskey Pandowdy
Photo: Allison Robicelli

Based on a recipe from colonial times, this Apple Whiskey Pandowdy calls for rehydrating dried apples in a mixture of hard cider and whiskey, though if you’re not into boozy desserts, plain ol’ apple cider will do just fine. The crust is a rough puff pastry (much easier to make than notoriously fussy pie dough), which bakes up soft and buttery on its underside but gets shatteringly crisp on top. Store-bought frozen puff pastry will work, too, but do yourself a favor and seek out the all-butter kind, because the crust is just as big of a deal as the filling here. Get the recipe for Apple Whiskey Pandowdy here.

Advertisement

5 / 15

Melting Glazed Turnips

Melting Glazed Turnips

Melting Glazed Turnips in cast iron skillet with red onion slices and garnish
Melting Glazed Turnips
Photo: Allison Robicelli

When cruciferous vegetables like cauliflower, brussels sprouts, broccoli, and kale got trendy, somehow their cousin the turnip got left behind. Maybe this recipe for Melting Glazed Turnips can tempt you to give them a second look. Cooked using the same method as ever popular melting potatoes, these turnips involve a simple, straightforward preparation, and the recipe plays up the very best characteristics of turnips: acidic balsamic vinegar and sweet honey temper the turnips’ natural bitterness, which is also mellowed by roasting. Get the recipe for Melting Glazed Turnips here.

Advertisement

6 / 15

Apple Cider Doughnuts

Apple Cider Doughnuts

Plate of Apple Cider Doughnuts against autumnal background
Apple Cider Doughnuts
Photo: Allison Robicelli

You don’t need to wait for an apple picking haul to make the Apple Cider Doughnuts of your dreams, and you don’t need to be afraid of frying them in your own kitchen, either. Doughnuts are one of the easiest pastries you can make—no special equipment required. No mixer? No problem; they come out better if you make them by hand. No doughnut cutter? Cut out circles and poke your fingers through them, or pop off little balls of dough and go doughnut-holes-only, or roll the dough into long, skinny ropes. Honestly, who cares what they look like? They’re going to be delicious no matter what, because this is probably the best apple cider doughnut recipe in all of apple history. Get the recipe for Apple Cider Doughnuts here.

Advertisement

7 / 15

Butter Braised Cabbage Fettuccine

Butter Braised Cabbage Fettuccine

Butter Braised Cabbage Fettuccine in white bowl on tabletop
Butter Braised Cabbage Fettuccine
Photo: Allison Robicelli

Cooked low and slow, cabbage becomes one of the most comforting foods in the comfort food canon. It practically melts, turning into a rich, velvety mess that can be used in a number of ways, but incorporates particularly well into pasta. In this recipe for Butter Braised Cabbage Fettuccine, thinly sliced green cabbage is cooked slow with olive oil, garlic, onions, and (obviously) butter, then tossed with pasta and lots of grated cheese. It’s exactly the kind of cozy dinner you crave on a crisp autumn evening. Get the recipe for Butter Braised Cabbage Fettuccine here.

Advertisement

8 / 15

Braised Spiced Lamb Shanks

Braised Spiced Lamb Shanks

White bowl of Braised Lamb Shanks with Cranberry Beans beside cooking pot
Braised Lamb Shanks with Cranberry Beans
Photo: Allison Robicelli

Chilly fall weekends are perfect for staying indoors and filling your home with all sorts of tantalizing smells, like hearty lamb shanks gently braising in a bath of rich stock, warm spices, and creamy cranberry beans. Best of all, these staggeringly delicious Braised Spiced Lamb Shanks cook in the oven and can be easily adapted for a slow cooker, meaning you can spend your weekends enjoying all sorts of fall-themed frivolity outside of your kitchen. Get the recipe for Braised Spiced Lamb Shanks here.

Advertisement

9 / 15

Sweet Potato Chutney

Sweet Potato Chutney

Sweet Potato Chutney in turquoise bowl
Sweet Potato Chutney
Photo: Allison Robicelli

This Sweet Potato Chutney is sweet and sour like a chutney should be, with a good amount of fall-appropriate warmth and smokiness from toasted garam masala and toasted pumpkin seeds, a tart punch from dried fruit and apple cider vinegar, a spicy slap of ginger, and the sweetness of, well, sweet potatoes. But even though it’s essentially a condiment celebrating fall’s favorite flavors, there’s no reason not to keep it on the table well into winter. It can make the simplest dishes taste spectacular, like rotisserie chicken, pan-fried pork chops, cream-cheese-dolloped crackers, deli turkey wraps, or plain ol’ toast. Get the recipe for Sweet Potato Chutney here.

Advertisement

10 / 15

French Onion Lentil Soup

French Onion Lentil Soup

Instant Pot French Onion Lentil Soup in white bowl
Instant Pot French Onion Lentil Soup
Photo: Allison Robicelli

We love French onion and lentil soups so much, we felt it was unfair that anyone should ever have to choose between the two on a crisp fall day. Why not make a soup that combines French onion’s rich, velvety sweetness with lentil’s hearty earthiness? Better question: why aren’t you making it right this very minute? This French Onion Lentil Soup is the Frankensoup of our dreams. It calls for an Instant Pot, but if you don’t own one and don’t mind waiting a bit longer for your soup, you can absolutely make it the old fashioned way on the stove. Get the recipe for French Onion Lentil Soup here.

Advertisement

11 / 15

Sticky Toffee Sticky Buns

Sticky Toffee Sticky Buns

Sticky Toffee Sticky Buns on plate with one half-eaten, against autumn leaf backdrop
Sticky Toffee Sticky Buns
Photo: Allison Robicelli, Graphic: Karl Gustafson

Sticky Toffee Sticky Buns are more than a recipe; they’re a whole project, meant for those cold weekends when you’re holed up inside, looking for an activity that yields extremely delicious results. And delicious they are! Start this journey on Saturday by making fluffy date brioche, brandy-spiked date butter, and toffee sauce from scratch, then roll it all up and park it in the fridge for an overnight rise. Pop the pan in the oven on Sunday morning, let them bake while you drink your coffee, and prepare to be astounded as your house fills with that sumptuous sticky bun smell. Take a bite, and pat yourself on the back for a weekend well spent. Get the recipe for Sticky Toffee Sticky Buns here.

Advertisement

12 / 15

Sausage Stuffing Pigs In A Blanket

Sausage Stuffing Pigs In A Blanket

Sausage Stuffing Pigs in a Blanket
Sausage Stuffing Pigs in a Blanket
Photo: Allison Robicelli

Sausage stuffing is a quintessential fall dish, and by using another autumn staple—canned crescent rolls—we have turned this Thanksgiving side into one of mankind’s greatest appetizers: pigs in a blanket. You can stick these bite-sized treats in your pocket, you can scoop up a few at a time for snacking—seriously, with this level of convenience, why aren’t we all eating these crowdpleasers year-round? Get the recipe for Sausage Stuffing Pigs in a Blanket here.

Advertisement

13 / 15

Sweet Potato Parker House Rolls

Sweet Potato Parker House Rolls

Sweet Potato Parker House Rolls against fall leaf backdrop
Sweet Potato Parker House Rolls
Photo: Allison Robicelli, Graphic: Allison Corr

The reason there’s so much hype around fall is because it’s the time of year when cookies, doughnuts, and hot, buttery cinnamon rolls come back into your life. These are all good things, and here’s another: Sweet Potato Parker House Rolls. The sweet potato in this recipe not only makes these butter-saturated rolls seasonally appropriate, but it also makes them technically a vegetable—just like marshmallow-topped candied yams. Truly, autumnal science is the best science. Get the recipe for Sweet Potato Parker House Rolls here.

Advertisement

14 / 15

Pumpkin Spice Soup

Pumpkin Spice Soup

Pumpkin (and) Spice Soup in white bowl on red backdrop
Pumpkin (and) Spice Soup
Photo: Kate Bernot

If you’re competent at chopping an onion, this creamy, complex Pumpkin (and) Spice Soup can come together in 10 minutes or less of active cooking time. The rest is simmering and occasional stirring—and plenty of sampling, to check on the spice levels, of course. It begins with the base of any good fall soup: generous butter, onions, garlic, and comforting spices like coriander and curry. In goes a can of pureed pumpkin, a quick whirr of the immersion blender, and soup is ready in about an hour. Get the recipe for Pumpkin (and) Spice Soup here.

Advertisement

15 / 15