Grandma’s Secret Recipes for Keeping You Toasty Warm This Winter

Updated: May 13, 2024

If anyone knows which winter recipes will keep the chill off of a family during blizzard season, it's Grandma. Here are our delicious appetizer, dinner, side dish, dessert and breakfast picks from her most well-thumbed winter recipe cards.

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Italian Pasta Sauce

When my daughter Kris got married, her new husband made something special for their wedding buffet—a big batch of this thick, flavorful pasta sauce. His grandmother brought the recipe from Italy nearly 100 years ago. —Judy Braun, Juneau, Wisconsin

Learn how to make spaghetti and meatballs that are (almost) better than Nonna’s.

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Turkey Biscuit Stew

This chunky stew makes a hearty supper, especially in the fall and winter. It'salso a great way to use extra turkey during the holidays. —Lori Schlecht, Wimbledon, North Dakota
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Grandma's Southern Collard Greens

My grandmother made the best southern collard greens recipe in the world. Eating them with a slice of buttermilk cornbread is pure bliss. —Sherri Williams, Crestview, Florida
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Caramel Pear Pudding

Don't expect this old-fashioned dessert to last long. The delicate pears and irresistible caramel topping make it a winner whenever I serve it. It's nice to have a tempting fall cake that puts the season's best pears to excellent use. —Sharon Mensing, Greenfield, Iowa
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Country Potato Pancakes

These potato pancakes are really versatile. They can be a side dish for just about any meal or the main course for a light meal. Potato pancakes go particularly well with pork. We have them often at our house. —Lydia Robotewskyj, Franklin, Wisconsin
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Oyster Cheese Appetizer Log

When you say "holiday tradition" around our house, this appetizer comes to mind immediately. Every winter, I make lots of cheese logs and freeze them for when I'm expecting company or need to take food to someone's home. The blend of smoked oysters, chili powder, nuts and cream cheese tastes good-even people who don't like oysters may enjoy this interesting appetizer. —William Tracy, Jerseyville, Illinois
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Roast Chicken with Creole Stuffing

I've used this recipe ever since I roasted my first chicken. Our whole family looks forward to it. The combination of shrimp, sausage, ham, vegetables and seasonings makes the stuffing unique and delicious.
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Fluffy Cranberry Delight

This was originally my daughter's recipe, and she or I will make it for one or more of our holiday get-togethers. It can be served as a fruit salad along with the meal or as a light dessert. It's particularly pretty in a cut-glass bowl on a buffet. —Ruth Bolduc, Conway, New Hampshire
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Brown Sugar Pound Cake

This tender pound cake is the first one I mastered. You'll want to eat the browned butter icing by the spoonful. It tastes like pralines. —Shawn Barto, Winter Garden, Florida
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Finnish Mulled Wine

I found this recipe stuck in the pages of my Finnish grandmother's Bible. It takes 24 hours to make. Store tightly bottled in the fridge for up to two weeks. —Judy Batson, Tampa, Florida
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Apple Butter Biscuit Breakfast Bake

My grandmother created this recipe to use up the leftovers from Christmas Eve dinner. By combining the leftover ham and biscuits with her homemade apple butter, milk and eggs, she could serve us all a warm, delicious breakfast and still have time to spend with the grandchildren. —Mary M. Leverette, Columbia, South Carolina
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Egg Drop Soup

We often start our stir-fry meals with this fast egg drop soup recipe— it cooks in just minutes flat. There are many versions of the recipe, but we like the easy addition of cornstarch to thicken the soup and give it a rich, golden color. I got the recipe from my grandma’s old cookbook. —Amy Beth Corlew-Sherlock, Lapeer, Michigan
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English Pub Split Pea Soup

This family favorite is the same recipe my grandmother used. Now with the magic of the slow cooker, I can spend 15 minutes putting it together, walk away for five hours, and come back to "soup's on." Finish it with more milk if you like your soup a bit thinner. —Judy Batson, Tampa, Florida
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Breakfast Sausage Bread

Any time we take this savory, satisfying bread to a potluck, it goes over very well. We never bring any home. My husband generally makes this bread and prides himself on the beautiful golden loaves. -Shirley Caldwell, Northwood, Ohio
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Gentleman's Whiskey Bacon Jam

You can slather this smoky bacon jam on pretty much anything. It lasts only a week in the fridge, so I freeze small amounts for a quick snack with crackers. —Colleen Delawder, Herndon, Virginia
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Potato Clam Chowder

I ran across this recipe in one of my antique cookbooks. It's a timeless classic I like to prepare for friends and family throughout the year, but especially during the holidays. —Betty Ann Morgan, Upper Marlboro, Maryland
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German Red Cabbage

Sunday afternoons were a time for family gatherings when I was a kid. While the uncles played cards, the aunts made treats such as this traditional German red cabbage recipe. —Jeannette Heim, Dunlap, Tennessee
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Icebox Rolls

I remember my mom making these rolls almost every Saturday so they'd be ready to bake on Sunday for company or someone just dropping by. Although they take a little time to prepare, they're really not all that difficult to make. And there's nothing in the stores that can compare to them! —Jean Fox, Welch, Minnesota
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Delicious Potato Doughnuts

I first tried these tasty treats at my sister's house and thought they were the best I'd ever had. They're easy to make, and the fudge frosting tops them off well. When I make them for friends, the recipe is always requested. —Pat Davis, Beulah, Michigan
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Baked Crab Dip

We enjoyed this exquisite dip at my grandson's wedding reception. It looks fancy but is easy to make. You can even make this crab dip recipe ahead of time by filling the bread bowl early in the day and chilling it until serving. Just remove it from the refrigerator 30 minutes before baking. —Marie Shelley, Exeter, Missouri
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Sauerkraut Hot Dish

We often serve this hearty dish at family gatherings, and the men especially seem to enjoy it. My sister gave me the recipe about 15 years ago. It’s been a favorite ever since. The unusual blend of ingredients is a pleasant surprise. —Nedra Parker, Dunbar, Wisconsin
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Harvard Beets

This pretty side dish’s bright, citrusy flavors are an ideal companion for down-to-earth entrees—and are perfect for people who usually shy away from beets. —Jean Ann Perkins, Newburyport, Maryland
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Cauliflower au Gratin

Count on this dish to make new vegetable converts. Whenever I serve it, people ask me for the recipe. Sometimes I’ll substitute broccoli for all or half the cauliflower, and the green veggie tastes just as good! —Jacki Ricci, Ely, Nevada
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Bread Pudding with Nutmeg

I always make this bread pudding recipe for my dad on his birthday and on holidays. He says it tastes exactly like the bread pudding with nutmeg he enjoyed as a child. —Donna Powell, Montgomery City, Missouri
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Pina Colada Fruit Dip

A taste of the tropics will be welcomed by your holiday guests. The cool and creamy dip can be served as an appetizer or a dessert. —Shelly Fisher, Hermiston, Oregon
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Sausage-Stuffed Acorn Squash

Acorn squash gets the sweet and savory treatment when stuffed with sausage, onion, spinach and cranberries to make this cozy main dish. Cooking the squash in the microwave is an easy solution for a busy weeknight. —Taste of Home Test Kitchen
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Cranberry Pecan Upside-Down Cake

At our house, cranberries are a favorite. I made this dessert for the first time in the 1990s. It started out as a pineapple upside down cake—I just changed a few things around! It keeps and travels well, so it’s perfect for taking to church dinners. And we love to share it with our son and grandchildren. —Doris Heath, Franklin, North Carolina
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Apple Brown Betty

This apple brown betty can be whipped up in hardly any time. It costs little to prepare, but it's big on flavor. —Florence Palmer, Marshall, Illinois
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Farmer's Casserole

Between family and friends, we average 375 visitors a year! This casserole is super handy—you can put it together the night before and let the flavors blend, then bake it in the morning. —Nancy Schmidt, Center, Colorado
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Antipasto Platter

We entertain often, and an antipasto platter is one of our favorite crowd-pleasers. Guests love having their choice of so many delicious nibbles, including pepperoni and cubes of provolone. —Teri Lindquist, Gurnee, Illinois
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Slow-Cooker Beef Stew

When there's a chill in the air, nothing beats this beef stew. Seasoned with thyme and dry mustard, the hearty slow-cooker beef stew is chock-full of tender carrots, potatoes and meat. —Earnestine Wilson, Waco, Texas
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Easy Potato Rolls

After I discovered this recipe, it became a mainstay for me. I make the dough ahead of time when company is coming, and I try to keep some in the refrigerator to bake for our ranch hands. Leftover mashed potatoes are almost sure to go into these rolls. —Jeanette McKinney, Belleview, Missouri
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Strawberry Pretzel Salad

Need to bring a dish to pass this weekend? This make-ahead strawberry pretzel salad will disappear quickly at any potluck. —Aldene Belch, Flint, Michigan
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Buttermilk Pecan Pie

This is the treasured "golden oldie" that my grandmother made so often whenever we'd come to visit. Grandma grew her own pecans, and we never tired of cracking them and picking out the meat when we knew we'd be treated to her special pie! —Mildred Sherrer, Fort Worth, Texas
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Graham Streusel Coffee Cake

I use this sweet coffee cake recipe often. It's quick and easy to make. —Blanche Whytsell, Arnoldsburg, West Virginia
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Biscuits and Sausage Gravy

This biscuits and sausage gravy is an old southern recipe that I've adapted. Homemade sausage gravy is a classic, hearty breakfast that takes you on a trip to the South every time it's served. —Sue Baker, Jonesboro, Arkansas
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Pearl Onion Broccoli Bake

With its creamy white cheese sauce and buttery crumb topping, this dish is great comfort food. If you’re looking for a mild way to dress up broccoli, this is the recipe. —Charles Keating, Manchester, Maryland
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Old-Fashioned Carrot Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting

A pleasingly moist cake, this treat is the one I requested that my mom make each year for my birthday. It's dotted with sweet carrots and a hint of cinnamon. The fluffy buttery frosting is scrumptious with chopped walnuts stirred in. One piece of this carrot cake with cream cheese frosting is never enough—it's better than all the other carrot cakes I've tried! —Kim Orr, West Grove, Pennsylvania
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German Pancake

Piping hot and puffy from the oven, this golden pancake made a pretty presentation for a skier's theme breakfast I hosted. Served with homemade buttermilk syrup, it's an eye-opening treat. Make several German pancakes if you're feeding a crowd, and keep in mind that my easy syrup tastes great on waffles and French toast, too. —Renae Moncur, Burley, Idaho
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Southwestern Hash with Eggs

Before I retired, this all-in-one skillet dish was constantly requested at office brunches. I'd leave out the eggs, double or triple the recipe and wrap servings of the zippy pork mixture in warm corn tortillas. —Barbara Beasley, Beaumont, Texas
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Flavorful Matzo Ball Soup

A variety of winter vegetables gives the broth for this classic Jewish soup a deep flavor. You can use a few green onions instead of the leek. —Taste of Home Test Kitchen
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Baked Two-Cheese & Bacon Grits

In the South, everyone loves three things: bacon, cheese and grits! After playing around with this recipe, I took it to my first family party as a newlywed, and it was a huge hit. This recipe has become a family tradition that I'm sure will be passed down for generations. —Melissa Rogers, Tuscaloosa, Alabama
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Pumpkin Charlotte

My mother-in-law gave me this recipe a while back and I just love it! I make it for my husband and his friends during hunting season and it's a big hit. —Lorelle Edgcomb, Granville, Illinois
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Broccoli Ham Quiche

This rich ham and broccoli quiche is featured in a family cookbook I put together. My husband is proof that quiche can satisfy even a very healthy appetite. —Marilyn Day, North Fort Myers, Florida
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White Bean Soup with Escarole

Pantry staples make this healthy soup oh, so simple to prepare. When I can't find escarole, I use fresh spinach. Just add to the soup pot moments before serving. —Gina Samokar, North Haven, Connecticut
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Nanny's Parmesan Mashed Potatoes

My grandsons rave over these creamy potatoes loaded with Parmesan. That’s all the endorsement I need. Sometimes I use golden or red potatoes, with skins on. —Kallee Krong-McCreery, Escondido, California
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Cranberry Layer Cake

I adapted a Bundt cake recipe to create this layer cake. Cranberries, walnuts and homemade frosting make it taste so delicious that you'd never guess it starts with a convenient cake mix. —Sandy Burkett, Galena, Ohio
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Buttermilk Buckwheat Pancakes

This buckwheat pancake recipe uses buckwheat flour instead of the wheat-based variety. The light and tender buckwheat pancakes offer a nutty flavor and hearty texture. —Taste of Home Test Kitchen
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Cioppino-Style Soup

This classic San Fransisco soup makes an easy, healthy and flavorful winter dinner recipe. I serve it every New Year’s Eve, and I’ll often include salmon along with the cod, shrimp and crab. —Nancy Heishman, Las Vegas, Nevada
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Garlic Roasted Brussels Sprouts

My roommate and I used to make garlicky Brussels sprouts at least twice a week. Now I make them as a healthy side for all sorts of occasions. —Katherine Moore-Colasurd, Cincinnati, Ohio
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Grasshopper Pie

I only need six ingredients to whip up this fluffy and refreshing grasshopper pie. I usually make two of the minty treats for our family, since we're never satisfied with just one slice. —LouCinda Zacharias, Spooner, Wisconsin
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Sausage, Egg and Cheddar Farmers Breakfast

This hearty combination of sausage, hash browns and eggs is just right for any breakfast. &mdash:Bonnie Roberts, Newaygo, Michigan
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Spaghetti Meatball Supper

It was such a joy to come home and find my mom making spaghetti and meatballs for dinner. This recipe has always been dear to my heart. —Debbie Heggie, Laramie, Wyoming
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Southern Dressing

Growing up, we didn’t have turkey. We had chicken, chopped and baked in my grandmother’s dressing. Now we leave out the chicken and keep the cornbread dressing. —Suzanne Mohme, Bastrop, Texas
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Oma's Apfelkuchen (Grandma's Apple Cake)

My husband’s German family calls this Oma’s apfelkuchen, which translates to "Grandma’s apple cake." They’ve been sharing the recipe for more than 150 years. I use Granny Smith apples, but any variety works. —Amy Kirchen, Loveland, Ohio
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Autumn Bisque

I like cozy comfort soups that taste creamy—without the cream. This one’s full of good stuff like rutabagas, leeks, fresh herbs and almond milk. —Merry Graham, Newhall, California
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Cinnamon-Pear Rustic Tart

I was lucky enough to spend the holidays with my husband's family in Montana. I loved the rustic simplicity of each dish we tasted, especially this rustic pear tart my mother-in-law made. —Leah Waldo, Jamaica Plain, Massachusetts
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Maryland Crab Soup

Try this hearty soup that incorporates the best of vegetable soup and flavorful crab. I break whole crabs and claws into pieces and drop them into the soup to cook, then serve it with saltine crackers and a cold beer. —Freelove Knott, Palm Bay, Florida
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Citrus Cranberry Pie

To showcase abundant fall cranberries, make this beautiful lattice-topped cranberry pie. A dollop of orange cream complements the slightly tart flavor. —Taste of Home Test Kitchen
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Browned Butter Apple Pie with Cheddar Crust

How do you make good old-fashioned apple pie even better? Enhance the crust with shredded cheddar cheese and stir browned butter into the filling. Wonderful! —Kathryn Conrad, Milwaukee, Wisconsin
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Parmesan Creamed Spinach

This rich and creamy spinach dish takes minutes to make. If I'm expecting guests, I'll double or triple the recipe. —Leann Ross, San Tan Valley, Arizona
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Black-Eyed Peas with Ham

Here's a regional favorite I grew to love after moving to the South. Serve the dish as a side with grilled chicken, or make it your main course and round out the meal with greens and cornbread. —Tammie Merrill, Wake Forest, North Carolina
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Rich Rum Cake

We like a touch of rum for the holidays, and this orangy rum cake is decadent alone or with big swoops of whipped cream. —Nancy Heishman, Las Vegas, Nevada
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Pork Tenderloin with Cranberry-Orange Relish

I like how grilled pork and fruit bring out the best in each other. If you have leftover relish, break out the tortilla chips! —Cindy Esposito, Bloomfield, New Jersey
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Aunt Margaret's Sweet Potato Casserole

My great-aunt made an incredible sweet potato casserole for our holiday dinners. I’ve lightened it up a bit, but we love it just the same. —Beth Britton, Fairlawn, Ohio
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Amaretto Ricotta Cheesecake

There's a good reason why a relative handed this cherished recipe down to me. It's a keeper! The amaretto and ricotta make for a truly unique dessert. —Isabel Neuman, Surprise, Arizona
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Tangy Bacon Green Beans

My grandmother’s Pennsylvania Dutch-style recipe turns plain old green beans into a tangy cross between three-bean and German potato salads. —Sharon Tipton, Casselberry, Florida
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German Chocolate Tres Leches Cake

I first tried tres leches cake while I was in Ecuador several years ago. Since then, I’ve changed it up by adding some of my favorite ingredients, namely chocolate and coconut. This version also has a splash of rum for an adults-only treat. —Lisa Varner, El Paso, Texas