All-Star Comfort Food Ingredients

Stock your pantry and fridge with these staple ingredients so they're on hand when you're craving comfort.
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Photo By: Matt Armendariz ©2013, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved

Photo By: Matt Armendariz ©2013, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved

Photo By: Matt Armendariz ©2013, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved

Photo By: Matt Armendariz ©2013, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved

Cheese

Whether it's sharp cheddar, creamy Brie or always-versatile cream cheese, cheese is a staple of many favorite comfort foods. Crispy, creamy mac and cheese, Gruyere-capped French onion soup and buttery grilled cheese are just a few of the countless dishes that show off this all-star ingredient. Cheese also hits the spot all by itself or on a cheese plate with crackers and condiments.

Get the Recipe: Creamy Baked Macaroni and Cheese

Chocolate

For many a sweet tooth, chocolate is the ultimate comfort food. It amps up the decadence of just about any baked good and makes a deliciously satisfying mousse, pudding or sauce. It's even great in savory dishes like mole or chili, where it adds complexity and richness. Of course, eating it straight up is also more than acceptable!

Get the Recipe: Slow Cooker Gooey Brownie Cake

Bread

Bread is a comfort food that's often taken for granted — it shows up in so many of our favorite dishes that it's easy to overlook. French toast, bread pudding, stuffing and, of course, sandwiches of all kinds take advantage of this wonderfully comforting carbohydrate. Even simple bread (or toast) with butter is a comfort food we all know and love.

Get the Recipe: Coconut-Almond French Toast Casserole

Eggs

Scrambled, fried or beaten into a rich custard, eggs satisfy many a comfort craving. Don't limit eggy favorites to morning meals: Try a frittata, quiche, breakfast casserole or strata for a comforting dinner.

Get the Recipe: Ham and Cheese Breakfast Casserole

Bacon

They say everything's better with bacon, and that includes many favorite comfort foods. Add it to mac and cheese or a grilled cheese sandwich to take them to the next level. Or satisfy your craving for this salty, crispy treat straight out of the frying pan. Pancetta, Italian bacon that is cured but not smoked, is also a great addition to recipes (especially creamy or cheesy ones).

Get the Recipe: Macaroni and Cheese Carbonara

Vanilla

Like its chocolate sibling, vanilla deserves a spot on the comfort food all-star list. A staple in baking, vanilla adds a warm, sweet flavor and aroma. When vanilla ice cream is flecked with tiny seeds from vanilla beans, you know it's the real deal. Vanilla is even great in chocolatey dishes, accentuating the chocolate's flavor and richness.

Get the Recipe: Vanilla Pudding

Tomato Sauce

Lots of favorite comfort food dishes are red-sauce based, whether you call it marinara, tomato sauce or red gravy — spaghetti and meatballs, pizza, chicken Parmesan and lasagna are just a few. For stellar versions of these dishes and more, a great sauce is key.

Get the Recipe: American Meat Sauce

Pasta

There are few dishes that provide as much comfort as a big bowl of pasta, from classic Italian carbonara to all-American macaroni and cheese. Lasagna and noodle casseroles are other one-pan favorites. Pasta is beloved in any shape or size, from elbow macaroni to pappardelle.

Get the Recipe: Baked Spaghetti

Oats

Not just for oatmeal (which is comforting in and of itself), oats turn up in many beloved comfort foods. Oatmeal cookies, granola and dessert toppings of all kinds make delicious use of this hearty, nutty-flavored grain.

Get the Recipe: Loaded Oatmeal-Raisin Cookies