Cottage pie, lasagne and the humble Sunday roast have topped a list of the nation’s favourite ‘winter warmers’, it has emerged.
Researchers who carried out a detailed study also found at this time of year we are fond of beef stew, spaghetti bolognese and cauliflower cheese.
Other much-loved classics include mac and cheese, fish and chips and bangers and mash, all guaranteed to warm our cockles amid the chilly winter months.
The season of comfort food is in full swing, according to the study of 2,000 adults, with six in 10 admitting hot meals are one of their favourite things about this time of year.
But with the lead up to Christmas being a hectic period, 74 per cent of Brits admitted taking shortcuts when cooking to make their lives a little easier.
Popular meal time savers include using frozen vegetables, microwaving food instead of using an oven when possible and using ready-made sauces.
A spokesperson from Primula, which carried out the research in conjunction with its ‘Primula Makes It’ campaign, said: “Winter calls for hearty, warming meals, particularly British classics which bring families together and make cold nights enjoyable.
“The results show we all have to take shortcuts when it comes to mealtimes due to our busy modern lives, but we’re rightly reluctant to compromise on flavour.
The research also found December is the busiest month of the year, with one third saying they have the least amount of time to cook during this chaotic period.
According to the results, food shopping and visiting family take more time and effort during December, as well as the seasonal task of present buying.
Online shopping emerged as the most popular way we make Christmas easier.
When it comes to festive dinner, popular shortcuts for prepping and cooking include using frozen Yorkshire puddings, peeling vegetables before the big day and using squeezy cheese within cheese sauce.
Aside from Christmas lunch, Brits are using various cooking shortcuts at least two days a week on average and over half of respondents admitted to sometimes using leftovers for a meal.
Also, 66 per cent said they cook bulk meals to freeze and over half pre-plan meals for the week ahead in order to save time.
Meal time shortcuts are welcomed as one third see cooking as a chore and 52 per cent said the amount of spare time they have restricts what they cook each day.
Winter warmers create associations of ‘comfort food’ for over half of Brits and 60 per cent of respondents said winter for them is an excuse to eat comfort food.
A further four in 10, surveyed via OnePoll, wished they could eat winter warmers more often.
Primula’s spokesperson added: “That’s where Primula comes in. We want to make it easier and quicker for people to create their favourite meals that are packed with flavour, particularly during the busy festive period.
”A simple squeeze of cheese with real, tasty ingredients can transform a meal in a matter of seconds.
”We’ve created a whole host of winter warmers recipes that remove all of the unnecessary chopping, grating and washing up in the run up to Christmas, freeing up time to enjoy our favourite dishes with our families and friends.
“We’ve been making not only Christmas but lives easier for generations; creating easy squeezy flavour, that combines delicious cheese with real ingredients for 125 years.”
Top 30 winter warmers
1. Sunday roast
2. Soup with crusty bread
3. Cottage pie
4. Beef stew
5. Fish and chips
7. Bangers and mash
8. Spaghetti bolognese
9. Baked potato
10. Chicken curry
11. Chilli con carne
12. Pie and chips
13. Steak and chips
14. Chicken casserole
15. Pie and mash
16. Cheese toastie
17. Sausage casserole
18. Toad in the hole
19. Beans on toast
20. Pasta bake
21. Hot pot
22. Cauliflower cheese
23. Mac and cheese
24. Mince and dumplings
25. Fish pie
26. Corned beef hash
27. Beef stroganoff
28. Hunter’s chicken
29. Chicken Kiev