quick dinner ideas

53 Quick Dinner Ideas: Save Time & Eat Well

As a busy professional, it can be difficult to deal with maintaining a healthy lifestyle and eating well. What I’ve learned over the years is that you just need to get the hang of a few basic skills, and a few basic recipes. Once you do, you’ll automatically keep key ingredients in your home. When that happens, it becomes much easier to whip up something to eat, and trying new recipes also is less daunting.

Beyond the health benefits of a homecooked meal, there is also the financial impact. You will spend much less and save that much more.

What follows is a guest post with options for recipes for everyone. Whether you love red meat or are a vegan, there is a recipe for you here. Keep in mind as well, that to make a recipe healthier, or more to your taste, you can alter ingredients. Look for healthy substitution options online, or make it spicier by adding your own flavor.

When it comes to cooking practice makes perfect, but it doesn’t have to take a lot of your time. Hopefully, these quick dinner ideas help kickstart (or re-start) your cooking journey!

Bon Apetit!


There is nothing better than trying a delicious new recipe or cooking a great meal for your family. However, with our busy lives, so often we have great ideas and plans but no time to put them together! If you want to cook but don’t have the time to put a quick dinner together, then read on! These quick dinner ideas will get your dinner on the table in record time and keep you from hitting the order button on your food delivery app.

Quick Dinner Tips Made Easy

Use any or all of these tips to help you get that super simple dinner on the table even quicker and save you some money!

  • Buy meat in bulk or stock up when it is on sale and freeze it in individual portions. If you have extra time- cook or season the meat for your favorite recipes to make it even easier and faster for you!
  • Cook and freeze small portions of basic building blocks that you can throw into a recipe. You can make stock, caramelized onions, sauteed vegetables, basic cream sauces, and other ingredients you find yourself needing a lot. Freeze these, label them well, and pull them out when you need them.
  • Create a rotation of meals that you constantly have in your house. Keep a set shopping list of all the ingredients you need to have in your house at all times. Have one or two quick dinner ideas that you know how to make well and have all the ingredients in your house all the time. Those days when you are running late, or something goes wrong? Quickly whip up one of those instead of heading to your local restaurant.
  • When you have extra time, make doubles of recipes that freeze well and keep your freezer stocked with an extra meal or two (or more), so you always have something to eat.
  • If you like meal planning, try to plan meals to use leftovers later in the week easily.

When you go through this list, you will see many sheet pan recipes or one-pan meals- these dinner recipe ideas come together incredibly quickly, and clean-up is a breeze! Invest in the right equipment for your go-to easy dinner so you can make it even easier and more simple. Buy the right sheet pan for that sheet pan dinner and the right size pot for your favorite easy dinner. Set yourself up for success.

Quick Dinner Ideas You Can Make Tonight!

I love cooking at home for my family, but I don’t always have the time to put in the time, energy, or money to make gourmet meals for everyone. These dinner recipes make mealtime in my house a breeze. Enjoy!

Quick Pasta Recipes

Pasta is the Queen of cheap and easy foods. I love making pasta for my family as a quick, easy supper because it is so versatile- I leave some plain for those very picky eaters who won’t eat anything.

Vegan Pasta Al Limone A classic Italian pasta dish with the creamiest lemon sauce! This Vegan Pasta al Limone recipe is gluten-free, dairy-free, allergy-free, and still so simple and easy to make! This authentic Southern Italian pasta sauce is cheesy, buttery, tangy, super creamy, and comes together in one pan for a quick and delicious meal ready in 10 minutes! Vegan Pasta al Limone Italian Lemon Pasta

Chicken Thyme Pasta This chicken thyme pasta cooks in just 20 minutes! If you’re looking for an easy meal everyone will love, then this pasta dish is for you! This chicken thyme pasta is super comforting and rich. The dish is cooked with fusilli pasta, cream, thyme, and juicy chunks of chicken. The ultimate date night meal! Chicken Thyme Pasta – Cooked by Julie

One-Skillet Cacio e Pepe Rigatoni A foolproof recipe for cacio e pepe rigatoni that uses a blend of pecorino romano and parmesan cheeses. And did I mention you only need one skillet? ONE SKILLET! cacio e pepe is a cheesy, peppery pasta — like a very fancy kind of mac and cheese. It’s so, so good, and just extremely comforting to eat on those nights when you just can’t be bothered to make something with more than four ingredients. one-skillet cacio e pepe rigatoni » the practical kitchen

One-Pot Pasta with Pumpkin Sauce This pasta with Pumpkin Sauce is quick and easy to make, easy to clean up, and will feed the whole family! It’s hearty, flavorful, and cozy. With only one pot required, and less than ten ingredients, this pasta is easy to cook and easy to clean, which (hi, busy mom, here!), we can all appreciate! One-Pot Pasta with Pumpkin Sauce | Marley’s Menu

25 Minute Lemon Broccoli Pasta 25 Minute Lemon Broccoli Pasta is an easy weeknight meal and a great entertaining option all wrapped into one! It is surprisingly fast and easy, yet full of bright, fresh flavors that everyone will enjoy. 25 Minute Lemon Broccoli Pasta | Borrowed Bites

Creamy Garlic Mushroom Pasta Make a restaurant-worthy creamy mushroom pasta dish with ease at home! You roast the mushrooms with garlic and butter, and the pasta is tossed with a velvety garlic sauce, served with creamy, luxurious burrata cheese that makes the perfect creamy garlic mushroom sauce. Creamy Garlic Mushroom Pasta | Sweet Tea + Thyme

Southern Baked Macaroni and Cheese Southern baked macaroni and cheese, also called soul food mac and cheese, is the ultimate comfort food. Creamy, rich, ooey-gooey, super cheesy, with those crispy browned cheese edges…no one can resist perfectly baked mac and cheese. (Soul Food) Southern Baked Macaroni and Cheese | Sweet Tea + Thyme

Sun-Dried Tomato Pasta Sweet sun-dried tomatoes and vegan cream sauce come together to make a dish that gives you the best of both worlds. It’s creamy, cheesy, 100 percent vegan, and is easy to make. Sun-Dried Tomato Pasta – Daring Kitchen (thedaringkitchen.com)

20 Minute Sweet and Spicy Noodles These Sweet and Spicy Noodles are a Thai-inspired fast, easy weeknight dinner that can be ready and on the table in just 20 minutes! These 20 Minute Sweet and Spicy Peanut Noodles are so easy and so spicy with a lovely hint of sweetness. 20 Minute Sweet and Spicy Noodles – Served From Scratch

5 Ingredient Spinach and Ricotta Stuffed Shells These 5-ingredient spinach and ricotta stuffed shells are a quick and simple vegetarian pasta dinner that is perfect for a busy weeknight or a special occasion. These easy stuffed shells provide a comforting, wholesome, flavorful treat and make the perfect 30-minute meal the whole family will enjoy. 5 Ingredient Spinach and Ricotta Stuffed Shells • Happy Kitchen

One-Pot 20 Minute Greek Pasta It’s a one-pot wonder ready in just 20 minutes! This Mediterranean-inspired One Pot 20 Minute Greek Pasta is a dump and makes a vegetarian dinner that’s bound to be a family favorite like it’s become in our house! One-Pot 20 Minute Greek Pasta – Served From Scratch

Vegetarian Dinner Ideas That Are Perfect

If you are looking for a cheap and quick vegetarian dinner to make, then look no further. If you want to save money and eat healthier, then one of these vegetarian dinner ideas will be a perfect dinner for you or your family.

Keto Feta and Spinach Omelets for Egg Haters This low-carb egg and spinach with Bulgarian feta cheese is the perfect keto staple meal for your easy sugar detox plan and one of my most favorite gut-healthy foods and egg fast diet plan dinner (and breakfast) ideas. This low-carb vegetarian recipe is straightforward to make food and excellent for your slim down diet! Keto Feta and Spinach Omelette for Egg Haters – Mind Body And Spirit Wellbeing

Pizza Rice Casserole This Pizza Rice Casserole is a favorite weeknight dish with all the pizza components without the crust. You don’t need to wait for a pizza crust to rise or a pizza stone to heat up for this cozy dinner. Pizza Rice Casserole – Nina Kneads to Bake Savoury

Harissa Falafel Flavourful, soft, perfectly-textured falafel with a crisp outer, you’re going to love this vegetarian harissa falafel recipe! The whole wrap is super easy to make and tastes like you are walking in the market in the Middle East. Harissa falafel – A Mummy Too

Spanish Rice and Beans Spanish Rice and Beans from Platter Talk is a fast, easy, and healthy meal to feed your family! Who said living on a diet of rice and beans needs to be boring? Trust me, with this dish you won’t feel poor! Spanish Rice and Beans

Mushroom Stew This mushroom stew is an easy one-pot meal that is ready in less than 30 minutes. You can eat this delicious Mushroom Stew all year round, and it goes well with pasta, quinoa, rice, or mashed potatoes. A nourishing stew that has no meat in it? Sign me up! Mushroom Stew – Nourish Plate

Sweet Potato and Black Bean Tacos Taco Tuesday just got a healthy makeover with these sweet potato and black bean tacos. Ready in just 25 minutes, sweet potato tacos are perfect for when you want a fantastic dinner but are short on time. Sweet Potato and Black Bean Tacos

Amazing Vegetarian Quesadilla Recipe These quesadillas are quick, delicious, and packed full of vegetables. The crisp tortillas, melted cheese, and big flavor make them a favorite for the whole family. This recipe is so simple that kids can get involved in making vegetarian quesadillas too. Amazing Vegetarian Quesadilla Recipe: Quick and Delicious

Vegetarian Quinoa Enchilada Bake This vegetarian quinoa enchilada bake is perfect for busy weeknights. It also freezes well and is a great dish to use to stock up your freezer. I love this recipe because it can be tailored to fit a lot of different dietary needs. Vegetarian Quinoa Enchilada Bake

Lentil Dahl This simple and delicious lentil dhal is made with just a few pantry ingredients. Red lentils are cooked with fragrant spices and creamy coconut milk until a creamy and thick texture is reached. Easy Lentil Dahl Recipe – Nourish Plate

Easy Vegan Paella Recipe Try something new with this easy vegan paella recipe. The recipe makes four servings, so great for a family or two meals for two adults. Classic Vegan Paella Recipe – Delicious and Filling Meal For A Family

Sweet Potato Curry This sweet potato curry requires just one pan. That’s it. Quick and Easy with no crazy clean-up – just delicious and creamy coconut curry to eat after a long work week. Who doesn’t love a good curry? This simple, 1-pot curry recipe is the answer to cold weather. It makes meal prep a breeze! Sweet Potato Curry Recipe – Daring Kitchen

Peanut Tofu Satay Curry This Peanut Tofu Satay Curry is easy to make, super satisfying, and full of flavor. It’s rich and creamy, nutty, fragrant, salty-sweet, and perfectly spicy. It’s easily customizable, packed with veggies, comforting, and warming. It’s hearty and satisfying and super easy to make as it’s made in one pot and ready in 20 minutes! Peanut Tofu Satay Curry (Vegan + GF) | Rhian’s Recipes

Easy Mediterranean Buddha Bowl Love Buddha bowls? Love bright, bold Mediterranean flavor? Then, you’ll love these easy-to-meal prep bowls filled with flavorful quinoa, arugula, bell pepper, tomato, cucumber, chickpeas, olives, feta cheese, and hummus. Easy Mediterranean Buddha Bowl | Monica Nedeff

Quick Chicken Dinner Recipes

Do you have some chicken in the house? Then, try one of these easy, healthy, and quick chicken dinner recipes for yourself or your family. You can use leftover chicken for some of these recipes as well, making it a doubly cheap and easy dinner!

Chipotle Chicken Tacos Chipotle Chicken Tacos are an easy weeknight meal ready in about 30 minutes! These tacos are spicy and a bit sweet, with a sauce made with chipotle peppers, onion, and lime. Perfect if you are looking for summer dinner ideas. Chipotle Chicken Tacos | Nibble and Dine

Chicken Fajita Stuffed Peppers This Chicken Fajita Stuffed Peppers recipe is one of the best and easiest healthy weeknight meals of all time! Bell peppers are gently broiled and stuffed with tender chicken, cauliflower rice, fresh pico, and avocado. Easy Chicken Fajita Stuffed Peppers | Cook At Home Mom

Gluten-Free Chicken Fried Rice This chicken-fried rice recipe is ready in just 10 minutes! Using leftover chicken is even quicker (and more nutritious) than getting take-out! This recipe is such an easy recipe to throw together after a busy workday! It’s such a quick, easy dinner. 10 Minute Gluten-Free Chicken Fried Rice – The Helpful GF

Spanish Chicken Stew This Spanish Chicken Stew comes together in less than half an hour but tastes like it’s cooked for hours, a hearty chicken stew full of warming rosemary, lemon, and garlic flavors. It one of my favorite weeknight dinners for years – and great to keep in the freezer for cold days when you need to warm up. Easy Spanish Chicken Stew with Lemon, Rosemary & Olives

Chicken Leg Quarters Recipe You only need five ingredients and 5 minutes to put these chicken leg quarters together. This recipe is ridiculously easy, and the result is way more flavorful and delicious than you would imagine. Chicken Leg Quarters Recipe – 5 Ingredients, 5 Minutes!

Pineapple Chicken This healthy one-skillet pineapple chicken includes chicken breasts stir-fried with fresh ginger, garlic, and vegetables, all in a sweet pineapple sauce. I love meals like this, where the grocery list can be short. Healthier Pineapple Chicken Stir Fry | Worn Slap Out

Apricot Chicken This Skillet Apricot Chicken is pan-seared until golden and juicy, then covered in a sweet and sticky apricot jam glaze! It’s an easy weeknight dinner made in one pan (or electric skillet) in just 25 minutes. Skillet Apricot Chicken | Borrowed Bites

Cinnamon Chicken This Cinnamon Chicken recipe is deliciously savory with a surprising burst of flavor! Shop your pantry and use what you have on hand to make a complete meal. Use for weekly meal prep with various sides. Cinnamon Chicken – Budget Delicious

Chunky Chicken Tortilla Soup Recipe This Chunky Chicken Tortilla Soup Recipe comes together in 30 minutes and packs a ton of flavor and veggies! Make this soup for dinner any night of the week, or freeze some for later. Chunky Chicken Tortilla Soup | Fast | Easy | EmilyFabulous

Egg Roll Noodle Bowl When your favorite egg roll is put in a skillet – with various vegetables, chicken, noodles, and sauce, further stir-fried to make the best egg roll noodles, make the best and easy under 30min dinner – egg roll noodle bowl. Serve these with a salad of your choice. The 30-minute egg roll noodle bowl | Savory Bites Recipes

Orange Chicken Less than 30 minutes from start to finish, this Orange Chicken is bound to become your new favorite! It’s way better than takeout. It’s fresh, light, and filled with those signature flavors you crave and love. Serve with broccoli or cauliflower rice for a healthy Whole30 approved meal that the whole family will love! WHOLE30 ORANGE CHICKEN – Organically Addison

Keto Cashew Chicken This paleo & keto cashew chicken recipe is a 30-minute meal that features tender, stir-fried chicken in a thick and flavorful sauce with cashews that tastes just like take-out, only better! Keto Cashew Chicken {Paleo & Gluten-Free}

Herb-Roasted Sheet, Pan Chicken This Herb-Roasted Sheet, Pan Chicken recipe, made with chicken thighs, gold potatoes, and fresh green beans, makes a delicious and easy weeknight meal. This is a nutritious dinner that the whole family will devour! Herb-Roasted Sheet Pan Chicken with Potatoes and Green Beans

Sheet Pan Chicken Fajitas Sheet pan chicken fajitas made with marinated strips of chicken, bell peppers, and onions served on a warm tortilla shell topped with green chili aioli. It’s all done in just 30 minutes! Sheet Pan Chicken Fajitas | Simply Happenings

Honey and Lemon Chicken and Rice Tender, juicy chicken breast cooked with rice and seasoned with honey and lemon is a delicious twist on chicken and rice. Cooked in one pot, this recipe has dinner on the table in a snap! Honey Lemon Chicken and Rice

Easy Ramen Noodle Recipe You can make this Easy Ramen Noodle Recipe in less than 30 minutes. Throw that salty preservative package away and make a delicious and homemade meal that everyone will love. Easy Ramen Noodle Recipe

Quick Meat Dishes for Dinner

Have some meat in the house? Do you have a craving for some steak or some takeout? Check out some of these quick meat dishes for dinner.

Steak Salad with Avocado Dressing This grilled steak salad is a healthy, colorful, and flavorful meal topped with a homemade avocado cilantro dressing. The options for personalizing this salad are endless: the beef steak can be either grilled or pan-fried before slicing, and all the toppings can be customized to your dietary preferences! Steak Salad With Avocado Dressing

Homemade Sloppy Joes Needing an inexpensive and easy idea for dinner? Homemade Sloppy Joes! Yes, these are easy and fast, and I am not talking about pouring it from a can. Homemade is the way to go, and I bet you already have these ingredients in your refrigerator and pantry. Homemade Sloppy Joes – Home at Cedar Springs Farm

Slow Cooker Chinese Take-Out Beef and Broccoli This Slow Cooker Chinese Take-Out Beef and Broccoli is easy on your wallet and gives you free time to do more of the things you love. Who needs take-out when you can make this delicious meal in your house? Slow Cooker Chinese Take-Out Beef and Broccoli | This Old Gal

Asian Steak Bites and Potatoes This Asian Steak Bites and Potatoes features seared beef cubes and potatoes in garlicky butter and soy-based sauce. It comes together in under 30 minutes, and everything is cooked in just one pan. Asian Steak Bites and Potatoes – Delightful Plate

Honey and Chili Crispy Beef Recipe This honey and chili crispy beef recipe is way better than takeout. You’re going to be so shocked when you find out how easy it is to make this tasty meal in just 30 minutes! Honey & Chilli Chinese Crispy Beef Recipe – My Morning Mocha

The Best Easy Taco Salad Recipe This easy taco salad comes together in a flash, especially if the ground beef is cooked ahead of time – which it could be if you follow my quick dinner cooking tips above! The Best Easy Taco Salad Recipe – Fluxing Well

Easy Fish Recipes for Dinner

Do you love eating fish? Fish can be a super easy and quick dinner that is healthy and delicious. Enjoy one of these quick dinner recipes!

Easy Mahi Mahi Recipe with Lemon Garlic Sauce This is a simple and wildly delicious way to prepare and serve this tender, flakey, and popular white fish. If you can’t find mahi-mahi, replace it with another type of flakey white fish. Easy Mahi Mahi Recipe with Lemon Garlic Sauce – The Forked Spoon

Creamy Salmon Pasta Super quick make in ten minutes creamy salmon pasta that the whole family loves! This pasta is so quick to get ready. It only takes the pasta cooking time plus 5 minutes to stir through! Creamy Salmon Pasta

Quick and Easy Canned Salmon Impossible Pie This unbelievably easy recipe for canned salmon impossible pie is healthy, economical, and takes just 10 minutes to put together! Made with pantry staples, it’s ideal if you’re stuck at home with few ingredients on hand or need to get dinner on the table quickly. Quick and Easy Canned Salmon Impossible Pie | A Taste for Travel

Baked Salmon in Foil Baked salmon in foil is a moist, flavorful, and flaky whole side of salmon infused with lemon garlic butter sauce. It makes an excellent centerpiece for your holiday dinner table, and it’s also perfect for making dinner without a special occasion. Salmon in foil is healthy, easy, and ready in under half an hour! Lemon Garlic Butter Salmon in Foil Recipe – Little Sunny Kitchen

Tuna and Sweet Corn Pasta Whip up this super simple tuna and sweet corn gluten-free pasta dish using a handful of store cupboard ingredients. It’s so delicious, packed with bold flavors, you can even serve it hot or cold – the choice is yours! Tuna and Sweet Corn Pasta – That Girl Cooks Healthy

10-Minute Blackened Tilapia Tilapia fillets are coated with an amazingly flavorful blackened spice rub and pan-fried to perfection. It is super quick! Less than 10 minutes to make this blackened tilapia, and that includes the prep time as well. 10-Minute Blackened Tilapia – Framed Recipes

Pan-Seared Salmon This pan-seared salmon is a quick, delicious take on seafood flavors. It’s a lemon-garlic seasoned filet with baked broccoli to complete a multi-textured and filling dinner! Pan-Seared Salmon Recipe – A Simple and Elegant Dinner Idea

Final Thoughts

Cooking at home is one of the best frugal living tips you can use! A home-cooked meal is a satisfying and warming end to a long day. When you don’t have time to sit and cook for a long time or don’t have the luxury of a croc-pot or instant pot to throw up supper, these quick dinner ideas are the perfect recipes to eat after a long day. These easy dinner ideas will make meal prep a breeze, and with this list, you won’t have to spend too much time deciding what to make for any weeknight dinner.

This article originally appeared on Your Money Geek and has been republished with permission.

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