Winter food trends

As the winter season approaches, what will we be cooking, eating and thinking about when it comes to food? We asked four experts in the industry for their predictions.

A bowl of mac and cheese

Cooking trends are back to basics, with retro dishes (like this mac ’n’ cheese), stews, soups and pies in vogue.

Brodee Myers-cooke


The award-winning Editor-in-Chief of taste.com.au says there is a strong trend to nourish your soul with comforting retro classics. She is happy to say goodbye to perfection in the kitchen.

Tuna mornay

Retro dishes like mornay are back, here with asparagus and egg.

Q: What’s in?
The biggest trend we’re seeing for winter is soul-nourishing foods, with simple honest and comforting classics at one end and fun, fanciful and adventurous food at the other. When it comes to the simple style, it’s all about trusted, family classics and retro dishes such as tuna mornay, steak diane, pasta bakes, garlic prawns, corn fritters and rissoles.

Add to this anything that’s made in the cooking appliance beloved by mothers and grandmothers everywhere in the ’70s, the slow cooker! At the opposite end of the spectrum is a new spirit of food adventure. Enter TikTok from stage left where #winterfood racked up 91.1M views through the Northern Hemisphere cold season. Here in Australia, everyone awaits the next TikTok sensation to energise their dinner. What will follow tomato/fetta pasta?

We predict double (if not triple) carbs and other comforting favourites to lead the next big trend. Think cheesy and the anything with the word “creamy” in it, sweet or savoury. The vegetable will play the lead role in the soul nourishment trend, pairing up with carbs, cream, cheese and adventurous spices for extra flavour. Winter vegetables will shine, including pumpkin, sweet potato, cauliflower, and even more humble veg such as carrots, parsnips and brussels sprouts.

Q: Any particular dishes on trend?
Aussies are loving retro classics right now, particularly when it comes to easy dinner choices. Searches for beef stroganoff, for example, are up over 200% year on year.

People will also be turning to dishes that are literally hot as well, such as curries and Indian- inspired dishes. Trending already in summer were tandoori searches and beef curry searches. For winter, we predict foodies will look to lesser-known regional Indian dishes as well.

It’s all about slashing time, money and effort for home cooks, and doubling down on fun and enjoyment. Appliances are big in this space. Beyond the slow cooker, the current gadget of the moment is the air fryer.

Q: What’s out?
No matter how quick and easy, bland food is out. Flavour is well and truly king. As we often say here “bland is a culinary crime”. Perfection is also out. People want real food. Beautiful imperfection is driving clicks as food becomes more flexible (and messy). It’s not just about presentation, people also want real ingredients that they recognise; food they could cook themselves free from artificial additives.

Q: What is the general mood around food in Australia?
The love of cooking is strong and this is set to continue and increase over winter. Confidence lifted over COVID-19, thanks to all that bread-baking. This has whet appetites for the crafty end of cooking. Many people are continuing to expand their traditional skills, especially those that hark back to simpler times including preservation, pickling and conserving.

Self-care will be an important driver of food decisions this winter. Australians are taking on board the importance of nurturing their mental and physical health and food will be a key lever they look to for nourishment.

Q: What are the trends you’d like to stay… and those you’d like to say goodbye to?
I am loving the rise and rise of fresh ingredients - long may it continue! But something I would like to see an end to is carb bashing. Good carbs are so important for good health. 

"Australians are taking on board the importance of nurturing their mental and physical health and food will be a key lever they look to for nourishment"

Brodee Myers-Cooke

Julie Lee


The Editor-in-Chief of Australia’s most-read magazine, our own Coles magazine, welcomes the interest in healthy cooking and old-fashioned baking and wants to bid farewell to TikTok’s fetta pasta craze. 

Fetta and tomatoes

The TikTok fetta pasta craze has had its day: “Let’s be honest, pasta is easy to start with and you can take the same amount of time to turn out a beautiful sauce with delicious flavours.”

Q: What’s in?
Healthy cooking has been one of the enduring top search terms for quite a few years now and, with the onset of winter, people are going to focus on staying healthy even more. They’ll be interested in what food can do to help boost their immunity and keep them fit and well. Flexitarian eating (primarily plant-based eating with some meat) has continued to grow, so it will be interesting to see how that translates in the winter months – think dhals, curries and vegetarian slow-cooked meals.

The “cottagecore” trend will continue. It’s a return to old-fashioned ways of cooking, such as baking bread, pickling vegetables and preserving fruit. People have had more time to indulge in “food as craft” or “food as hobby” instead of having to get dinner on the table fast. I think people have enjoyed taking time out in the kitchen and rediscovering a sense of joy in cooking. 

No specific ingredient is in but simply not wasting any element of any ingredient. Interest in sustainability and reducing food waste is growing by the day. That means people are looking for more ideas on root-to-tip and nose-to-tail cooking and eating. 

Yorkshire puddings are going to be huge this winter. We've been watching the explosion of people sharing their Yorkshire puddings in the UK and US winter and have started seeing people making them in the Coles Cooking Club, too. Styles range from traditional Yorkshire puddings to large Yorkshire puddings that you serve your roast inside. 

Q: What is the general mood around food in Australia?
Australians have become more experimental in the past 12 months. They have had time to try complicated and time-consuming recipes. We've also seen more people sharing their creations on social media. A side-effect of COVID-19 was that Aussies were more socially distant from their communities and looking for any way to connect with others. The number of people joining Coles Cooking Club on Facebook has grown and now the group is a dedicated community of people who love to talk about cooking and share recipes.

Q: What are the trends you’d like to stay?
I'm happy to see that air fryers have taken off. They help busy families get healthy dinners on the table fast.

Q: And those you’d like to say goodbye to?
The TikTok fetta pasta. I love the fun hack element of the dish but, let’s be honest, pasta is easy to start with and you can take the same amount of time to turn out a beautiful sauce with delicious flavours.

"Interest in sustainability and reducing food waste is growing by the day"

Julie Lee

Luke Mangan


Luke Mangan is one of Australia’s leading chefs and is a Coles ambassador. He says hello to fresh, relaxed, old-school cooking and goodbye to anything deep-fried.

Pumpkin soup in a bowl

We’ve gone back to basics with soups and stews.

Q: What’s in?
Cooking has gone back to basics with stews, soups and slow cookers. Old-school cooking is back and there’s a preference for organic. Root vegetables, such as celeriac, parsnip and beetroot, will make a comeback as they go well with comfort food. Vegetarian, vegan and gluten-free dishes will remain popular. Expect to see slow-braised meats such as beef cheeks or lamb shoulder and dishes such as beef bourguignon with root vegetables, soft polenta and blue cheese or slow-cooked lamb shoulder with roast turnips, honey and thyme.

Fresh herbs and subtle spices are in, as are baked dishes and pies (think fish pie with potato mash or chicken pie with mushroom and leeks). Vegetarian, vegan and gluten-free food is increasingly popular. Everyone is careful about what they eat and there is a focus on health.

Q: What’s out? 
People are swapping carbohydrates for more greens. Tinned foods are out and fresh is in. Deep-frying is out, cooking small portions is out and shared food is in. Overcooked is out; searing ingredients such as steak and fish is in.

Q: How do Australians feel about food and cooking currently?
They love it! It brings family, friends and communities together again. Food is the centre of every occasion. Food reconnects people. We are so lucky to have an abundance of fresh produce and ingredients so easy to access in Australia. A lot of people are now more confident with cooking at home and trying different recipes that they never had time for before.

Q: What are the trends you’d like to stay?
Healthy eating, being food-waste conscious, old-school cooking, organic, slow-cooked meals, virtual cooking classes, supporting local, keeping it simple, home herb and veggie gardens, condiments and sauces, vegan and vegetarian.

Q: And those you’d like to say goodbye to?
Liquid nitrogen, edible flowers, food gels, deep-fried food, foams.

"A lot of people are now more confident with cooking at home and trying different recipes that they never had time for before"

Luke Mangan

Pat Nourse


The food writer, restaurant critic and creative director of the Melbourne Food & Wine Festival says it’s time to love your leftovers and get serious about food waste.  

Morrocan salad

Shopping seasonally and locally is in.

Q: What’s in?
Cooking! There’s never been a better time to be in the kitchen. Coming out of 2020, a lot of people are immersing themselves in the pleasure of cooking. And while we might not all have turned out to be sourdough geniuses, small steps like figuring out how to shake up a really good salad dressing from scratch or making your own chicken stock make food at home more enjoyable.

In terms of ingredients, it’s about mixing it up. In winter, try using roast beetroots where you might use tomatoes in summer; they’re great with mozzarella in a salad, for instance. Or experimenting with different cuts of meat. We’ve always used chuck steak as a braise, but if you oil and salt it and char-grill it and serve it very thinly sliced, it’s delicious. Hot food is also popular: we’re putting chilli oil on everything.

People are getting serious about food waste, and one of the best ways to tackle that at home is to find ways to love your leftovers. Pressure cookers are popular, great for making stock in a flash, or the best bolognaise sauce and lamb ragù. We have a new appreciation for the resilience of our food chain but also its fragility. The time to buy Australian is now. People are shopping seasonally and locally, which is good for the taste of your food, your health, your purse and your community.

Q: What’s out?
Overpackaging. We need to go hard on packaging waste. Same goes for food waste. Australia can and should be a leader in minimal packaging and minimising food waste. [As one of Australia’s largest retailers, Coles understands the importance of working collaboratively to find a more sustainable future for plastic packaging.]

Coles recently reaffirmed its commitment to packaging sustainability by joining the ANZPAC Plastics Pact ANZPAC as a founding member, which commits Coles to four clear, actionable targets by 2025, including: eliminating unnecessary and problematic plastic packaging; ensuring 100 per cent of plastic packaging is recyclable, reusable or compostable; increasing the current volume of plastic packaging collected and effectively recycled by at least 25%; and ensuring an average of 25% recycled content is in plastic packaging across the region.]

See what Pat Nourse is cooking and eating at instagram.com/patnourse, or catch him at the festival’s Winter Edition, 30 July to 8 August, mfwf.com.au.

"The time to buy Australian is now. People are shopping seasonally and locally, which is good for the taste of your food, your health, your purse and your community"

Pat Nourse