Skip to main content

The Manual may earn a commission when you buy through links on our site.

5 easy fall dinner ideas that have nothing to do with pumpkin spice

Fall is more than just pumpkin spice season, you know

Fall table set with pumpkins
Anna Tukhfatullina Food Photographer / Stylist / Pexels

Look, we all love pumpkin spice. Whether we care to admit it or not, it’s delicious, and there’s just no getting around it. But, as with everything in life, there can be too much of a good thing. This time of year, greedy pumpkin spice is hard to avoid. It even came for Spam, for God’s sake.

The thing is, though, fall flavors aren’t just about pumpkin spice – no matter what almost every product on the shelf is trying to tell us right now. Fall dinner recipes should include all of the warm and comforting, cozy and homey spicy sweet flavors that make us want to cuddle up by the fire or gleefully purchase yet another flannel shirt.

And while those flavors can be eclipsed by the big round gourd that has the world under its spell this time of year, it’s important to remember the equally delicious fall ingredients, like maple and hazelnut, chai, and ginger.

So if you, like us, have been looking for fall dinner ideas, but trying to dodge the annoyingly popular pumpkin spice – even just temporarily – until the crazy dies down, these are some great recipes to try that still feel like fall.

Chicken thigh dish
Meg H/Flickr

Maple glazed chicken thighs recipe


  • 8 large boneless chicken thighs, skin on
  • Juice from 1 orange
  • 4 tablespoons maple syrup
  • 3 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 3 tablespoons brown mustard
  • 3-4 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 2-3 sprigs of fresh rosemary, leaves removed and roughly chopped
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 2 onions, sliced
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • Salt and pepper to taste


  1. In a small bowl, combine orange juice, syrup, soy sauce, mustard garlic, herbs, and chilli flakes. Set aside.
  2. Season chicken with salt and pepper, then place into a zip-top bag. Pour the orange juice mixture into the bag, thoroughly coating the chicken with the marinade. Refrigerate for at least one hour, or up to 24 hours.
  3. Preheat oven to 400F.
  4. Pour the chicken mixture into a roasting pan, adding the onions at the same time.
  5. Bake 50 minutes until golden brown and cooked through.
  6. Allow chicken to rest for at least 10 minutes before serving.
  7. Serve with mashed potatoes and roasted vegetables.
Baked pears
Anshu A/Unsplash

Bourbon-baked pears recipe


  • 1 pound fresh pearspeeled, halved lengthwise, and removed of cores
  • Juice from 1 lemon
  • 6 tablespoons butter
  • 6 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1/4 cup bourbon


  1. Preheat the oven to 325F.
  2. Thoroughly grease a 13×9 baking dish, and set aside.
  3. Coat prepared pear halves with lemon juice, covering the cut sides completely to prevent browning, and place in prepared dish. Set aside.
  4. In a small saucepan, melt the butter over medium heat.
  5. To the butter, add brown sugar and vanilla, stirring to combine.
  6. Continue to cook until the mixture has thickened and coats the back of a spoon, about 3 minutes.
  7. Whisk bourbon into the butter mixture and cook for an additional minute.
  8. Remove the sauce from the heat and pour over the pears in the prepared dish.
  9. Bake until pears are tender, 40-50 minutes.
  10. Cool for at least 10 minutes before serving.
  11. Serve with vanilla ice cream and homemade butterscotch sauce.
Pork tenderloin dish

Hazelnut-crusted pork tenderloin recipe


  • 2 pork tenderloins
  • 1 cup hazelnuts, finely chopped
  • 2-3 sprigs fresh rosemary, leaves removed and roughly chopped
  • 1/2 cup panko bread crumbs
  • 3 garlic cloves, finely minced
  • 2-3 sprigs fresh thyme, picked from stems
  • 4 tablespoons butter, melted
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil


  1. Preheat oven to 400F.
  2. Pat tenderloins dry with paper towels and place in a 9×13 dish. Season generously with salt and pepper, set aside.
  3. Combine melted butter with the remaining ingredients except the oil and mix until thoroughly combined.
  4. Firmly press the nut mixture into tenderloins, taking care to coat every surface area.
  5. Drizzle the encrusted tenderloins with olive oil.
  6. Bake until pork is cooked through and still slightly pink in the middle, about 20 minutes.
  7. Rest about 15 minutes before serving.
Banana pancakes
Esra Korkmaz/Pexels

Banana chai pancakes recipe


  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 3 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon ground cardamom
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground clove
  • 1 1/4 cups milk
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 4 tablespoons butter, melted
  • 2 overly ripe bananas, mashed


  1. In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, sugar, salt, cardamom, cinnamon, nutmeg, and clove. Set aside.
  2. In a smaller bowl, combine milk, egg, butter, and bananas, stirring to combine.
  3. Gently mix the egg mixture into the flour mixture, taking care not to overmix.
  4. Allow batter to rest for 5-10 minutes before pouring onto the griddle or pan.
  5. Heat pan or griddle over medium heat and grease with butter or cooking spray.
  6. Ladle pancake batter onto the hot surface, working in small batches until golden brown, about 2 minutes per pancake.
  7. Serve with sliced bananas, nuts, or homemade butterscotch sauce for an extra indulgence.
Carrot soup
blandinejoannic / Pixabay

Carrot ginger soup recipe


  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1 yellow onion, roughly chopped
  • 3-4 garlic cloves, smashed
  • 1 pound carrots, roughly chopped
  • 1 teaspoon ginger, freshly grated
  • 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
  • 4 cups vegetable broth
  • 1 teaspoon maple syrup
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • Salt and pepper to taste


  1. In a large pot, warm vegetable oil over medium heat. Add onions and cook until translucent. Add garlic cloves and carrots and cook until vegetables are slightly caramelized.
  2. To the mixture, add ginger, apple cider vinegar, and broth. Bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer and cook for 30 minutes.
  3. Remove from heat and blend with an immersion blender until completely smooth.
  4. Stir in syrup and butter until butter is melted.
  5. Garnish with creme fraiche, toasted pumpkin seeds, bacon crumbles, or anything that strikes your fancy.
  6. Serve immediately.
Lindsay Parrill
Lindsay is a graduate of California Culinary Academy, Le Cordon Bleu, San Francisco, from where she holds a degree in…
How to open a beer bottle without an opener – you have lots of options
Don't worry, you will get that bottle open
Opening a bottle with a lighter

The crisis? You want to enjoy a beer, but you have no bottle opener. Don't panic, because we're going to get through this thing. After all, it's surprisingly easy to open a beer bottle without an opener. All the bottle opener does is use a bit of leverage to bend the cap, anyway. So let's create some leverage, and then let's drink some beer.

A quick note before we get started: It's easy to open beer bottles using rings, but the potential for damaging your ring or your metacarpal is very high, so we've left that one out.
How to open a beer bottle with a lighter

Read more
The best fried chicken recipe you will ever make
This is simply the best, and you can stop looking for this recipe now
Eating fried chicken

As you know, we love all things fried chicken. It’s the ultimate comfort food no matter the day of the week, no matter the weather. We just can’t get enough of that golden brown and delicious chicken. Keep reading, and you'll find the best fried chicken recipe ... hands down.
The history of fried chicken

Europeans were the first to fry up chicken during the Middle Ages. Fried chicken was considered an expensive delicacy until after World War II and was only served for special occasions. Scottish immigrants were the ones who introduced fried chicken to the U.S., but they didn’t use any seasonings until West Africans added spice blends into the recipe. Since then, it has been a staple in Southern cooking.

Read more
How to grill the steak of your dreams: An aspiring steak master’s guide
Grill up your steak just like a pro with these tips
Sirloin steak on a grill

With summer coming faster than expected, you’re likely firing up that grill every day to cook ribs, grill vegetables, or smoke a brisket. We love them all, but to be frank, nothing beats a perfectly grilled steak. Its succulent, smoky flavor alone is enough to bring your loved ones together for a protein-packed cookout in the backyard. And that makes grilling steak a rewarding culinary experience.

Grill masters have probably mastered the art of grilling. But if you just purchased your first grill or are looking for some beginner-friendly pointers, we’re here to help. We enlisted the expertise of Dusmane Tandia, executive chef at Mastro’s Steakhouse in New York City, for some expert tips on how to grill a restaurant-quality steak. Light up your grill, don your best apron, and read on to learn how to grill a perfect steak.
How to grill the perfect steak

Read more