Our Favorite Fall Recipes for a Comforting Autumn Dinner Party

Simplest Pear Tart
Photo: Antonis Achilleos; Food Styling: Emily Nabors Hall; Prop Styling: Christine Keely

The South seems to breathe a collective sigh of relief when fall rolls around. There's a welcome reprieve from steamy summer days, the onset of football season (Go team!), and the delicious aromas of hearty, comforting food pouring out of the oven. From a gorgeous Fig Flatbread to mouthwatering Italian-Style Grits and Greens to delectable Mini Pumpkin Cheesecakes, these fall-flavored entrees, side dishes, cocktails, and desserts will leave you and your guests craving more cool autumn nights. Try a few of our favorite and unforgettable seasonal recipes, which are perfect for celebrating a cool, crisp fall evening with friends.

01 of 30

Bourbon Apple Cider Thyme Punch Recipe

Bourbon Apple Cider Thyme Punch
Caitlin Bensel

Recipe: Bourbon Apple Cider Thyme Punch Recipe

Make a big batch of bourbon apple cider to warm your guests from the inside out. Add in club soda, Thyme Simple Syrup, and Angostura bitters, apple slices, and fresh thyme sprigs for a sophisticated and pretty party punch. Place in a large punch bowl or pitcher, and serve over ice with a garnish.

02 of 30

Hot Toddy

Hot Toddy
Micah A. Leal

Recipe: Hot Toddy

Even in the hottest corners of the South, those temperatures start to drop as the sun goes down. Help your guests take the chill off with a Hot Toddy. Grandma says they're medicinal, after all.

03 of 30

Fig Flatbread Recipe

Fig Flatbread
Greg DuPree; Prop Styling: Kay E. Clarke; Food Styling: Cat Steele

Recipe: Fig Flatbread Recipe

Give your guests something to nibble on and a chance to catch up before the main event. This thin crust pizza is topped with caramelized onions, sweet figs, arugula, and crumbled goat cheese. Start with refrigerated or bakery pizza dough to save yourself some time.

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Beer-Cheese Fondue

Creamy Feta Phyllo Bites
Antonis Achilleos; Prop Styling: Kay E. Clarke; Food Styling: Emily Nabors Hall

Recipe: Beer-Cheese Fondue

Set out a tray of finger foods like sausages, potatoes, or veggies, along with a piping hot bowl of Beer-Cheese Fondue. A sliced loaf of hearty bread would hit the spot too. This decadent, creamy sauce is flavored with dry mustard, Gruyère, Cheddar, Worcestershire sauce, and a lager beer.

05 of 30

Ham-and-Cheese Skewers

Ham-and-Cheese Skewers
Charles Walton IV

Recipe: Ham-and-Cheese Skewers

This no-cook appetizer is so satisfying and sophisticated, no one will even comment on how easy it was to throw together. Simply thread blue cheese wedges, apple slices, cubes of deli ham, and fresh watercress leaves onto skewers. Place out on your prettiest platter and these are certain to impress.

06 of 30

Mini Potato Skins

Mini Potato Skins
Photo: Greg DuPree; Prop styling: Claire Spollen; Food styling: Chelsea Zimmer

Recipe: Mini Potato Skins

These bite-size mini potato skins stuffed with cheddar and bacon will be gone before the last guest even arrives. If you want to get fancy, use a large star tip on a piping bag to apply dollops of sour cream. Sprinkle with chives to add color and flavor.

07 of 30

Beet, Fennel, and Apple Salad

Beet, Fennel, and Apple Salad
Photo: Hector Manuel Sanchez; Prop Styling: Buffy Hargett Miller; Food Styling: William Smith

Recipe: Beet, Fennel, and Apple Salad

Fresh fennel and apples complement earthy beets and zingy greens in this cool-weather salad. Red-and-white-striped Chioggia beets make a festive presentation, but if you can't find them, use red or golden beets. The salad is dressed simply with a vinaigrette of oil, vinegar, fresh juice, and honey.

08 of 30

Harvest Salad

Harvest Salad
GREG DUPREE; FOOD STYLING: CHELSEA ZIMMER; PROP STYLING: GINNY BRANCH

Recipe: Harvest Salad

This flavorful harvest salad is a pretty presentation of everything we love about the fall —winter squash, Brussels sprouts, hearty, healthy kale, and sweet, honeycrisp apples. The vegetables can be roasted ahead of time and refrigerated until you are ready to assemble. Harvest Salad can be served warm or at room temperature, depending on the weather.

09 of 30

Brussels Sprout Slaw with Apples and Pecans

Brussels Sprout Slaw with Apples and Pecans
Greg DuPree

Recipe: Brussels Sprout Slaw with Apples and Pecans

If you like the heartiness and crunch of a kale salad but want to try something different, why not serve sprouts instead? This raw salad uses shaved Brussels sprouts, chopped apples, Parmesan cheese, and toasted pecans. Toss with fresh lemon viniagrette and allow the salad to stand for five minutes before serving.

10 of 30

Pecan Soup

Pecan Soup
Iain Bagwell

Recipe: Pecan Soup Recipe

When you're ready to move onto the soup course, this velvety, rich dish is like chestnut soup with Southern flair, thanks to the delicious (and crunchy) addition of pecans. Although the star of the meal is the pecans, the celery, onions, and potatoes shine in this creamy soup, too. It's fairly easy to make and ready in about an hour.

11 of 30

Sweet Potato Soup Recipe

Sweet Potato Soup
Greg DuPree

Recipe: Sweet Potato Soup Recipe

Sweet potatoes, buttery Yukon Gold potatoes, healthy carrots, and warm spices combine to create another flavorful and savory, comforting soup that is perfect for chilly evenings. The richness of this soup comes from chicken stock. Yogurt, toasted pecans, and parsley make a beautiful garnish.

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Beef Stew with Buttery Garlic Bread Recipe

Beef Stew with Buttery Garlic Bread
Photo: Stephen DeVries, Prop Styling: Missie Neville Crawford; Food Styling: Torie Cox

Recipe: Beef Stew with Buttery Garlic Bread Recipe

This hearty beef stew makes for a satisfying one-pot meal if you're looking to keep your dinner party simple. Made in a cast iron Dutch oven, it requires a short amount of hands-on cooking time, then a low and slow simmer to make the meat meltingly tender and bring all of the rich flavors together. No beef stew is complete without lots of vegetables, and this one includes mushrooms, carrots, and pearl onions.

13 of 30

Turkey Pumpkin Chili

turkey pumpkin chili
Photographer: Antonis Achilleos, Prop Stylist: Claire Spollen Food Stylist: Chelsea Zimmer

Recipe: Turkey Pumpkin Chili

You'll be shocked at how rich this recipe can be despite coming together in just 30 minutes from start to finish. A cup of canned pumpkin adds fall flavor and a touch of sweetness to an otherwise traditional turkey chili. Serve this cozy meal with cornbread or chips, cheese, and sour cream.

14 of 30

Stuffed Beef Tenderloin with Burgundy-Mushroom Sauce Recipe

Stuffed Beef Tenderloin with Burgundy-Mushroom Sauce
Photo: Hector Manuel Sanchez; Prop Styling: Buffy Hargett Miller; Food Styling: William Smith

Recipe: Stuffed Beef Tenderloin with Burgundy-Mushroom Sauce Recipe

If you're looking to impress, everyone will admire these tender spirals of beef filled with creamy spinach and leeks. Fortunately, rolling and stuffing the meat is easier than it looks, though it involves some pounding and tying with kitchen twine. When it's time to serve, top the medallions with a rich mushroom sauce.

15 of 30

Irish Soda Bread

Irish Soda Bread
Szakaly/Getty Images

Recipe: Irish Soda Bread

Our Irish Soda Bread recipe is perfect for soaking up meaty juices and broths. Plus, this yeast-free bread can be thrown together in less than 10 minutes and slid into the oven to bake while you make dinner. Irish soda bread depends on baking soda and buttermilk to rise, which is why the recipe is oh-so-easy.

16 of 30

Chicken-Mushroom-Sage Casserole

Chicken-Mushroom-Sage Casserole
Iain Bagwell

Recipe: Chicken-Mushroom-Sage Casserole

This filling supper will have your guests asking for seconds. It combines all the good flavors and textures—chicken, garlic, sage, rice, parsley, and Parmesan. Give this dish time to rest so that the long-grain rice will absorb the mingling liquids of chicken broth, butter, and sherry.

17 of 30

Honey-Mustard Baked Salmon with Vegetables

honey mustard baked salmon vegetables
Antonis Achilleos; Prop Styling: Christine Keely; Food Styling: Tina Bell Stamos

Recipe: Honey-Mustard Baked Salmon with Vegetables

Tangy honey-mustard sauce and panko breadcrumbs turn healthy salmon into a heartier meal. Roast with peas and potatoes on a sheetpan. Then drizzle with a honey-mustard viniagrette for extra flavor.

18 of 30

Beefy Butternut Squash Pasta

Beefy Butternut Squash Pasta
Antonis Achilleos; Prop Styling: Kathleen Varner; Food Styling: Maggie Ruggiero

Recipe: Beefy Butternut Squash Pasta

This recipe makes ground beef into something sophisticated. Tender chunks of butternut squash, toothsome greens, and hearty ground beef result in a pasta dinner that's flavorful and filling. A touch of chili powder adds some heat to the dish.

19 of 30

Cabbage, Mushroom, and Bacon Pasta

Cabbage, Mushroom, and Bacon Pasta
Greg DuPree

Recipe: Cabbage, Mushroom, and Bacon Pasta

This savory pasta provides another opportunity to serve seasonal fare. Savoy cabbage, portabello mushrooms, and bacon blend with a sauce of cream cheese and Parmesan. The recipe calls for bucatini, a hollow, spaghetti-like pasta, but a thick spaghetti or linguini would also be delicious.

20 of 30

Winter Vegetables and Gnocchi Recipe

Winter Vegetables and Gnocchi
Greg DuPree

Recipe: Winter Vegetables and Gnocchi Recipe

This gorgeous looking dish has the advantage of coming together very quickly. Save time by purchasing pre-chopped butternut squash, which is roasted in the oven along with mushrooms and pearl onions. Saute a package of gnocchi in a buttery sauce, combine, and serve steaming hot.

21 of 30

Italian-Style Grits and Greens with Pulled Pork and Mushrooms Recipe

Italian-style grits and greens
JENNIFER CAUSEY; PROP STYLING: GINNY BRANCH STELLING; FOOD STYLING: EMILY NABORS HALL

Recipe: Italian-Style Grits and Greens with Pulled Pork and Mushrooms Recipe

This recipe can be plated up individually or served family-style on a wooden board or oversize platter placed in the center of your table. The pork is roasted until it falls apart with your fork. The grits are thickened in a cheesy mixture. It's a recipe for filling your belly and warming your heart.

22 of 30

Oven-Roasted Root Vegetables with Spicy Pecan Topping

Oven-Roasted Root Vegetables with Spicy Pecan Topping
Antonis Achilleos; Prop Styling: Kathleen Varner; Food Styling: Emily Nabors Hall

Recipe: Oven-Roasted Root Vegetables with Spicy Pecan Topping

For a side dish, these earthy, well-seasoned root vegetables are creamy-tender and pair well with candied, crunchy, slightly spicy pecan topping. Sweet potatoes, golden beets, and carrots provide orangey hues, while the red onions and beets darken to a deep purple. Roast the red vegetables separately if you don't want to discolor the dish.

23 of 30

Savory Sweet Potato Bread Pudding

Savory Sweet Potato Bread Pudding
Hector Manuel Sanchez

Recipe: Savory Sweet Potato Bread Pudding

Your guests won't leave hungry after a scoop of this filling bread pudding. Cubes of French bread are baked in a rich Parmesan custard with smoky bacon, spinach, and roasted sweet potatoes. The potatoes provide all the sweetness this savory dish needs.

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Creamed Greens Casserole Recipe

Creamed Greens Casserole
Atonis Achilleos; Prop Styling: Kay E. Clarke; Food Styling: Chelsea Zimmer

Recipe: Creamed Greens Casserole Recipe

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Decorating Idea

Fall Recipes: Fall Bouquet
Jim Franco

Wrap a straw place mat around a gorgeous bouquet for a festive fall look. For a rustic touch, use whatever is blooming in your garden or pick up flowers from a flower farm. Add a few turning leaves for additional fall color.

26 of 30

Apple Butter Pound Cake with Caramel Frosting

Apple Butter Pound Cake with Caramel Frosting
Antonis Achilleos; Prop Styling: Mary Clayton Carl Jones; Food Styling: Emily Nabors Hall

Recipe: Apple Butter Pound Cake with Caramel Frosting

Cap off the night with a beautiful Bundt cake filled with apple butter and pecans and topped with caramel and apple chips. Make your very own filling with our Slow-Cooker Apple Butter recipe or buy a jar from your favorite farmstand. Don't skip toasting the pecans or making the easy homemade caramel sauce, which add tons of flavor and texture.

27 of 30

Ginger-Fig Tart with Cornmeal Crust

Ginger-Fig Tart with Cornmeal Crust
Greg Dupree; Prop Styling: Heather Chadduck Hillegas; Food Styling: Emily Nabors Hall

Recipe: Ginger-Fig Tart with Cornmeal Crust

For a creamy dessert, this silky smooth tart with a slightly spicy note from ginger pairs beautifully with fresh, late-summer figs or other fall fruits such as sliced pears and persimmons. The cookie-like crust has a great nutty flavor and texture from the cornmeal. Chill for up to two days before serving.

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Mini Pumpkin Cheesecakes

Mini Pumpkin Cheesecakes
Photographer: Alison Miksch Food Stylist: Erin Merhar Prop Stylist: Prissy Lee

Recipe: Mini Pumpkin Cheesecakes

When the weather turns cooler and leaves start falling, pumpkin desserts are always appropriate. Warm spiced and creamy with a salty crunch from the crust, these Mini Pumpkin Cheesecakes are guaranteed to become a favorite addition to your fall dessert lineup. Add a swirl of whipped cream and a sprinkle of pumpkin spice before serving.

29 of 30

Butter Pecan Layer Cake with Browned Butter Frosting Recipe

Butter Pecan Layer Cake with Browned Butter Frosting
Victor Protasio; Prop Styling: Mary Clayton Carl; Food Styling: Emily Nabors Hall

Recipe: Butter Pecan Layer Cake with Browned Butter Frosting Recipe

Nutty Browned Butter Frosting meets tender pecan cake in this autumn-hued, three-layer dessert. When browning the butter for the frosting, pour the butter into a bowl as soon as it turns golden brown, or it will continue to cook and get too dark. Press toasted pecans around the base to decorate the cake and add a pleasant crunch.

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Simplest Pear Tart

Simplest Pear Tart
Antonis Achilleos; Food Styling: Emily Nabors Hall; Prop Styling: Christine Keely

Recipe: Simplest Pear Tart

This dish may be incredibly simple, but the result is beautiful. Press thin slices of pear into a frozen pastry sheet, bake, and brush with syrup. Then powder with a light dusting of confectioner's sugar, cut, and serve with a hot cup of coffee.

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