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BestReviews baking expert shares tips on what to bake while it’s still cold outside

Expertly reviewed by Andrea Boudewijn

Certain foods are more appealing when there’s a chill in the air. Just as fresh salads, backyard barbecue and cold desserts go with summertime, rich, warm comfort foods baked to perfection are ideal for cold winter months.

If you are looking for some inspiration for cold-weather cuisine, the BestReviews baking expert can help. Cordon Bleu-trained pastry chef Andrea Boudewijn has tips for successful cold-weather baking.

In this article: Cuisinart Mini-Prep Plus Food Processor, Vitamix 5200 Professional Blender and All-Clad Programmable Slow Cooker.

What characteristics make a recipe ideal for cold weather?

It’s common to crave certain foods based on the season and the outside temperature. After all, most people prefer not to fire up the oven in the summertime, when warm foods and a hot house aren’t very appealing. Boudewijn weighed in on the characteristics most foodies seek when the temperature and snow are falling. 

“Familiarity, starch and freezer-friendly durability," she said. "Familiar foods are comforting when we are cold and/or sick, and there’s a lot to be said for catering to a happier mental state in the darker months." 

Starches, such as potatoes, pasta, breads and rice, are both satisfying and energy-promoting, she continued. When it comes to ethnic cuisine, she advised that Mexican, Indian and Thai provide spices and warmth that pair perfectly with cold weather.

However, just because it’s cold outside doesn’t mean that you want to cook every day. Boudewijn said that she likes dishes that can be prepared, served, enjoyed and saved for later.

“When I talk about freezer-friendly durability, I’m tipping my hat to those who make big lasagnas, soups and purees and trays of macaroni and cheese perfect for freezing and reheating," she said.

Boudewijn’s favorite cold-weather dishes

When you think of food that’s ideal for cold weather, soup typically comes to mind. While Boudewijn said that’s always a good option, foods such as roasted chicken and vegetables, macaroni and cheese, pasta dishes, mashed potatoes and stuffing are perfect for baking. 

Don’t forget the dessert.

“I love a warm brownie with a nice sauce or ice cream on top,” she said, “as well as a piping hot slice of apple pie topped with a generously thick layer of sugary streusel."

Best kitchen essentials for cold-weather baking

Cuisinart Mini-Prep Plus Food Processor

Boudewijn swears by the Mini-Prep Plus for preparing ingredients fast and effectively. It has a strong stainless steel blade with reversible function for chopping all types of food for your favorite winter recipes. 

Sold by Amazon, Home Depot, Kohl's and Wayfair

Vitamix 5200 Professional Blender

When a small food processor won't cut it, the BestReviews baking expert recommends a Vitamix blender. These machines are built to perform, with powerful motors and tough blades that blend, chop and puree to perfection. 

Sold by Amazon

All-Clad Programmable Oval-Shaped Slow Cooker

A slow cooker is another small appliance Boudewijn loves for making numerous types of winter comfort foods. This one sports a sleek, stainless steel design and 6.5-quart capacity. The easy-to-use control panel lets you set the timer to fit your schedule. 

Sold by Amazon

KitchenAid Classic Series Stand Mixer

From mixing dough for bread to blending spuds for mashed potatoes, a KitchenAid stand mixer is a must-have tool that simplifies many cooking tasks. Fans love its 10 versatile speeds and tilt-head design. What's more, it's compatible with a collection of attachments (sold separately) for almost endless meal-prep possibilities. 

Sold by Amazon, Kohl's, Wayfair, Target and Home Depot

Rubbermaid 42-Piece Food Storage Container Set

Don't forget food storage containers for preparing extra food to store and reheat for quick meals. You'll get 42 pieces in different sizes in Rubbermaid's comprehensive set. The lids have vents for eliminating messes while microwaving contents. 

Sold by Amazon

Oxo Good Grips Nylon Ladle

Made of strong nylon, this ladle won't scratch nonstick surfaces while stirring and serving, yet it can handle high cooking temperatures. It's also dishwasher-safe for easy cleanup. 

Sold by Amazon

Oxo Good Grips Glass Casserole Dish with Lid

A casserole dish comes in handy when baking hearty lasagna, macaroni and cheese, and more. This model holds 3 quarts of food and includes a lid for keeping leftovers fresh and spill-free. 

Sold by Amazon, Home Depot and Wayfair

LeCreuset Revolution Solid Wood Spoon

Our baking expert says every home cook needs a wooden spoon. This one has a durable build that's crafted of solid beechwood. The handle is both curved and ridged for a reliable grip while stirring ingredients and scraping bowls. 

Sold by Amazon and Wayfair

Shule Pasta Maker

Your baked pasta will be even better when you start with pasta that's made from scratch. This durable stainless steel pasta maker makes it possible to prepare your favorite type of pasta, whatever that is, thanks to its adjustable settings. 

Sold by Amazon

Kukpo Stainless Steel Potato Masher

This potato masher is constructed to provide leverage while you work, as it has a large rubberized handle and wide mashing plate. It's made of stainless steel that's strong, rust-resistant and easy to clean. 

Sold by Amazon

Worth checking out

  • If you'd like to make tasty soups, stews or sauces to go with your baked dishes, a stock pot like the Gourmex 21-quart model is a good choice for cooking large portions. 
  • Boudewijn recommends the Instant Pot Duo 7 multicooker for preparing numerous delicious cold-weather recipes. 
  • Baking bread without turning on your oven is simple with the Hamilton Beach Bread Maker that boasts 12 cycles for creating customized loaves. 


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Jennifer Manfrin writes for BestReviews. BestReviews has helped millions of consumers simplify their purchasing decisions, saving them time and money.

BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers.

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