Tasting Table Asks: What's Your Go-To Type Of Dish For Cold Weather?

It's a well-known fact that we crave comfort food in cold weather, but why is that the case? Inverse, a website that "takes a scientific approach to analyzing culture and a cultural approach to talking about science," posits three reasons why we find comfort in foods like macaroni and cheese and hearty soups when temperatures plummet. First, eating foods we love triggers the release of dopamine and serotonin, the same "happiness chemicals" that we get from exercise and sunlight, things that may be in short supply in the winter. 

Second, our bodies may be inclined to consume more carbs and sugar based on our biological programming from earlier generations who put on weight to stay warm during the winters before we had snug houses and readily available heat. And finally, we may have learned to associate comfort foods with cold weather because that's how we were raised.

Regardless of why we seek comfort in food in cold weather, Tasting Table wanted to know what dishes our readers love to prepare and eat when temperatures drop. We asked 567 readers what they prefer: soups/stews, casseroles, savory pies, curry, or slow-cooked meat. You may want to mix up a hot toddy while you discover what dish ended up on top.

There's a clear cold weather favorite

57% of our readers choose soups and stews as their go-to dish for cold weather, which is probably why National Today has declared January National Soup Month. Soups and stews are versatile and found in practically every culture, according to Millennials in Motion Magazine. Soups are the perfect way to use up leftovers or veggies that teeter on the edge of being tossed. And Martelli Orchards explains that soups can be a healthy way to get plenty of vegetables in your diet, while also staying hydrated.

Casseroles took second place with nearly 14% of the votes, followed closely by slow-cooked meat with 13% of the votes. Baking casseroles and slow-cooked meats in the winter not only fills the house with delectable aromas but also gives you the opportunity to make those dishes you avoid when you don't want the oven to heat the house up in the summer. 

Curry is a winter fave for just over 8% of readers who love the complex blend of flavors the best curries display. And savory pies are favored by roughly 8% of readers as well, another versatile option that can be adapted for the ingredients you have on hand. From spectacular soups to casseroles full of hearty warmth, there's no shortage of delicious cold weather recipes designed to keep you warm on the inside.