Autumn is one of the best times of the year to get creative in the kitchen. When the days get cold and dark, there’s something incredibly comforting about cooking soups and stews, hearty pies and casseroles, and delicious desserts. A warm belly can take the edge right off those chilly evenings!

With autumn comes a harvest of some of the most comforting ingredients with complex flavours – pumpkin, apple, pear, squash, cranberry. Many will agree that preparing a warming meal after a crisp autumn walk is the ideal way to celebrate the changing seasons.

So, if you’re on the hunt for cooking inspiration, look no further. Here are 10 recipes to try this autumn…

1. Sausage casserole

A casserole might be the perfect autumn dish. As the weather cools, many of us start to crave warming, filling foods, and casseroles make brilliant use of all the beautiful vegetables that come into their own at this time of year.

Plus, casseroles are usually cooked in one dish, meaning there’s minimal clear-up required, and more time to spend curled up on the sofa or strolling beneath russet trees!

Adding sausage adds that extra bit of indulgence (and protein), and our very own warming sausage and bean casserole is a quick and easy way to stay warm during the colder months – plus it freezes well too.

If you want to keep your casserole veggie, why not try this hearty vegan casserole from BBC Good Food? It’s a great way to use up all the odds and ends you have lying around in the kitchen.

Have a watch of the video below for more sausage casserole inspiration!

2. Pumpkin lasagne

Of all the ingredients that evoke autumn, pumpkin is surely the most popular. There are dozens of tasty ways to eat pumpkin – in soups, stews, or simply roasted – but a slightly more unusual way is to make a pumpkin lasagne.

Few people don’t like lasagne: it’s comforting, filling, and if you’re careful with your ingredients, it can be very healthy too. Making pumpkin lasagne is a delicious way to give this classic dish a satisfying autumnal twist.

You might want to try making Jamie Oliver’s pumpkin lasagne, which is packed with slices of roast pumpkin, sweet red onions, chestnuts, and fresh sage, then topped with a bechamel sauce, cheesy breadcrumbs, and pancetta.

Or you can keep things plant-based (and gluten-free!) with this pumpkin and mushroom lasagne by Lazy Cat Kitchen. Stuffed with caramelised pumpkin, protein-packed lentils, minced mushrooms, roasted walnuts, and a dairy-free bechamel sauce, it’s tasty and nutritious.

Check out the video below to see how to make Jamie’s lasagne!

3. Shepherd’s pie

Shepherd’s pie has got to be a contender for one of the most comforting and warming autumn meals. Coming in from the cold and sitting down to a plate of piping hot, mashed-potato-smothered shepherd’s pie can be a tonic for the soul – and despite its reputation as comfort food, it can be very nutritious too.

Shepherd’s pie is traditionally made with lamb (and cottage pie with beef), but the best thing about this dish is that there are dozens of different directions you can go in.

To cook a traditional lamb-based shepherd’s pie, why not try this no-fuss recipe from BBC Good Food? If you’re trying to cut down on cholesterol, you might want to swap red meat for white meat, like in this turkey and vegetable shepherd’s pie by Taste of Home.

Or you can omit the meat altogether and make a veggie shepherd’s pie. This vegan one by Jamie Oliver is packed with lentils, mushrooms, and chickpeas, and topped with fluffy sweet potato mash and crisp breadcrumbs.

Check out the video below to find out more about making a veggie shepherd’s pie.

4. Apple, cranberry, and cinnamon pie

Autumn recipes - apple, cranberry and cinnamon pie

Getting home after a bracing yet chilly walk to be greeted by the smell of homemade apple pie baking in the oven is one of this season’s unique joys.

Although certainly a dessert that can be enjoyed all year round, in autumn, there are so many apples on offer – Granny Smith, Gala, Red Delicious – so making apple pie is even more enjoyable. The only thing that could possibly make this dessert even more mouthwatering is to add a dash of cinnamon and a handful of cranberries.

This apple, cranberry and cinnamon pie by Sally’s Baking Addiction looks as good as it tastes – and making your own pastry and creating pretty decorations for the crust can be quite therapeutic. Adding orange and cinnamon to the apple and cranberry will give this pie a gorgeous spicy-yet-fresh taste – and serving it with a dollop of cream or ice cream makes it even better.

If you’d like to make a dairy-free version of this pie, check out our article on the best dairy-free baking alternatives. Or, to make a crumble alternative rather than a pie, have a watch of Gordon Ramsey’s video below.

5. French onion soup

On a dark autumn day, a bowl of good soup is wonderfully soothing and restorative.
It’s cheap, easy, freezes well, is a perfect starter, and – when it’s paired with some warm, crusty bread – works just as well as a main. Endlessly versatile, making a soup will also give you the chance to use up any old veg you have sitting around.

There are enough soup recipes around that you could make a different recipe every day and never run out of options – but one of the most hearty has got to be French onion soup. Though it started out as a simple peasant dish made from onions, water, and stale bread, today, most recipes are much more indulgent.

The key to perfect French onion soup is to cook the onions slowly so they caramelise without burning. Then, top with cheesy garlic bread for maximum deliciousness.

If this sounds like something you’d like to make this autumn, why not have a go at this recipe by RecipeTin Eats? Or, to see how a Frenchman makes French onion soup, watch the video below.

Get one month of Rest Less Events for free

Get unlimited access to 80+ online events every month. Discover educational talks and lectures, join beginner friendly fitness classes, discuss your favourite novels at book club, and explore new hobbies with creative workshops!

Claim my 1 month free trial

6. Slow cooker chicken casserole

Autumn seems to be the most popular time of year to bake – but if you’re spending all that extra time channelling your inner Paul Hollywood, you might not want to spend hours cooking dinner too.

This is why slow-cooker dinners are ideal for autumn: you can pop your ingredients in the pot and get on with making some delicious desserts. And, as a bonus, your whole house will be flooded with mouthwatering aromas.

For something super creamy and indulgent, why not try making this crockpot chicken casserole and dumplings recipe by Delish, which makes things even quicker and easier by using a tinned cream of chicken soup? Or, if you’re happy to put a bit more time in and make it all from scratch, why not try this chicken casserole recipe from The Kitchen Sanctuary?

Or, if none of these recipes appeal to you, the video below will teach you how to whip up your own chicken casserole. Our article, 10 of the best slow cooker recipes, also has some more inspiration for ways to use your slow cooker if casserole isn’t tickling your fancy.

7. Maple, pecan, and pear tart

Another dessert that’s an autumn favourite – particularly in the US, where it’s a Thanksgiving staple – is maple and pecan tart. Sweet, sticky, gooey, nutty, and wrapped in a moreish buttery pastry, maple and pecan pie is incredibly delicious. The only thing that could possibly make it tastier is the addition of pears, which, in the UK, are at their absolute best during the autumn months.

Why not try this decadent maple, pecan and pear pie recipe from The Guardian, which is best served with double cream or custard? Or, if you’d like to make a classic maple pecan pie without pears, you could try this recipe from Sally’s Baking Addiction.

If you’re vegan or gluten-free, you don’t have to miss out on this fabulous dessert – just try this recipe from Making Thyme For Health!

To find out more about making the perfect maple pecan tart, have a watch of Jamie Oliver’s video.

8. Tuscan white bean stew

Stews are another autumn classic and, just like soups, they’re a great way to use up old vegetables you have left in the fridge and those tins of beans in the back of your cupboard.

On a chilly autumn evening, the only thing better than tucking into a thick bowl of stew is one that has chunks of bread in it – and crunchy croutons on top. And that’s why ribollita (a white bean stew from the hilltops of Tuscany) might just be the ultimate stew for this season.

Ribollita originated in the Middle Ages when hungry peasants would take home their landowner’s stale bread and add it to their stews. Packed with kale, tomatoes, celery, and onions, ribollita is thickened with cannellini beans and bread, then drizzled with olive oil and a dusting of parmesan. It’s comforting, filling, tasty, and – because it’s packed with vitamins and fibre – incredibly nourishing.

This simple ribollita recipe from Bon Appetit looks delicious. To make it vegan, just swap the parmesan for a plant-based alternative or, for maximum health points, nutritional yeast.

Watch the video below to see a step-by-step guide to making ribollita.

9. Butternut squash, cranberry, and quinoa salad

Just because it’s autumn, it doesn’t mean we should turn our backs on salad and eat only warming, comforting foods.

We might not crave salad as much now as we do in summer, but with the right ingredients, an autumnal salad will go down an absolute treat – and it’s the perfect meal if you’ve overindulged in pumpkin pie or maple and pecan tart!

An autumn salad should be filling, wholesome, and packed with seasonal ingredients – and this butternut squash salad ticks all three boxes. Not only is it stuffed with seasonal staples like squash, cranberries, and pumpkin seeds, but it also contains quinoa, an ancient, highly nutritional grain that gives the salad a lovely nutty flavour.

Plus, this butternut squash salad recipe by Well Plated injects even more seasonal flavour by tossing the salad in a maple and dijon dressing.

If you love the idea of adding Brussels sprouts to your squash salad, check out the video below.

10. Pear and blackberry crumble

If you don’t fancy whipping up your own pastry and want to make a quicker and easier autumn dessert – but one that’s equally delicious – why not try a crumble? Crumbles are fruity desserts with a topping made from a crispy, buttery crumble. Just like pies, they’re perfect served with cream, ice cream, or a rich and creamy custard.

While summer crumbles usually contain summer fruits like strawberries, rhubarb, raspberries, or blueberries, autumn crumbles are far better suited to seasonal fruits like pears and blackberries. This pear and blackberry crumble by BBC Good Food has a crunchy oat and nut topping and is smothered in bay-infused custard for a sophisticated twist.

If you’d like to make a low-fat vegan crumble, have a watch of the video below.

Final thoughts…

Though it can seem a bit bleak when the days start drawing in and the temperature drops, one of the best ways to keep your spirits up is to get creative in the kitchen.

From warming soups and slow-cooked casseroles to wholesome salads and heavenly desserts, there’s an autumn recipe out there for everyone.

Cooking from scratch isn’t only an effective way to unwind, but a good way to use up leftover ingredients, save money, and be more mindful of what you’re putting in your body. And with the festive season just around the corner, there’s never been a better time to get cooking!

For more cooking inspiration, head over to our food and drink section. Here, you’ll find everything from money-saving recipes to recipes from around the world.

Are you tempted by any of these autumn recipes? Or do you have any of your own favourite autumn recipes you’d like to share with our readers? We’d love to hear from you in the comments below.