As the weather gets colder, many people are either still in or are going back into isolation. Staying at home (again) is a daunting thought, especially when it feels like you've already done all the "classic" quarantine baking and DIY crafts there are. In order to prepare for the possibility of more stay-at-home time, it’s important to plan safe ways to keep isolation interesting. New cooking challenges have helped me try something new, reach for a goal, and feel accomplished during quarantine. Even if you're not isolating, it can still be fun to climb a new food mountain or learn to cook something from scratch that you'd normally buy pre-made. Now that we’ve all made a lifetime's worth of banana bread and sourdough, it's time to try these five quarantine cooking ideas.

Dutch Babies

Phoebe Melnick

Dutch Babies, sometimes called German pancakes, are a pancake-popover combination that scream fancy brunch, but that doesn't mean you can't make them at home. Heating up the oven and skillet to really high temperatures helps the pancake rise. Get your fruits in by adding berries, apples, or even grapefruit. Top it off with some powdered sugar, and you'll feel like you're in your favorite breakfast restaurant. 

Whipped Coffee

Whipping (whisking) coffee powder, sugar, and hot water together makes a sort of coffee "whipped cream" for cold or warm milk and even hot chocolate. If coffee isn't your go-to, then you can leave out the coffee and try making your own whipped cream (or dairy-free "whipped cream").


bagel, lettuce, bun, sandwich, cheese
Gillian Bayer

Bagels are some of my favorite foods. From plain to everything and from sweet to salty, they're perfect for breakfast, lunch, or a midday snack. I have been working on my own bagel making skills, but I have yet to produce anything that looks like the picture above (it's a work in progress). Luckily, my "untraditional" looking bagels are still tasty.

Pasta from Scratch

spaghetti, pasta, sauce, macaroni, basil, carbohydrate
Jocelyn Hsu

Just. Two. Ingredients. (That's unless you're also in the mood to make some delicious homemade sauce). Once you make basic spaghetti, there's a whole world of fun shapes and sauces to try your hand at, helping you adapt these quarantine cooking ideas to suit your mood and tastebuds. There are also a bunch of ravioli recipes out there for my super ambitious friends.


vegetable, cucumber, pickle, pepper, pickled cucumber, vinegar
Sarah Silbiger

A pickling project is simple but full of flavors like garlic, red pepper flakes, and dill. Traditional pickles or something like pickled onions can give homemade burgers a restaurant-like flare. Plus, pickling makes for a fun and interesting answer to the repeated, "What did you do during quarantine?" question.

Even when staying at home, we can count on food for a worthwhile challenge that satisfies our creative drive and our tastebuds. So, if you're at home and isolating or are just looking for a new culinary challenge, now is the perfect time to try out these delicious recipes. And, who knows, maybe you'll discover or create some recipes that will become staples in our post-quarantine world.