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When you have to get food on the table fast you need your go-to easy dinner ideas. Whether you prefer chicken, beef, pork, seafood, or meatless meals, these quick dinners will become new family favorites. There are over 50 simple recipes and kid-friendly dishes. And they all have gluten free options too!
What should I make for dinner tonight?
Whether you’ve pulled a package of ground beef out of the freezer, want to make a simple chicken dinner, or literally need to make a no-cook meal because you really don’t have time, there are so many amazing recipes to make sure you get dinner on the table fast.
Here are some of our favorite easy dinner ideas to get food on the table fast. These methods and techniques help you make dinner in a snap!
- One pot meals or one skillet meals – there’s nothing better than a meal that comes together easily and you only have one pot or pan to wash. Make something hearty like Chicken Corn Chowder.
- Sheet pan meals or foil pack meals – toss everything on a pan, like this Italian Sausage Sheet Pan Dinner, or wrap it up in foil. Then pop it in the oven and you have a no-fuss meal with tons of flavor and, once again, easy cleanup. Maple Dijon Chicken in foil packets can even be tossed on the grill.
- Casseroles – casserole recipes sometimes take a little longer to cook in the oven, but prep time is usually fast. During this time, you can be taking care of other things while it bakes.
- Slow-cooker meals – sure these take a while to cook, but your hands-on time is usually minimal when you make dinner in your crockpot.
- Breakfast for dinner – scrambled eggs, pancakes, oh heck, even sometimes a bowl of cereal is always a family favorite and simple to make. This can easily be a 15-minute meal if you are really pressed for time.
- Instant Pot meals – those pressure cookers can do amazing things, especially when you forgot to defrost meat. This 8-Quart Instant Pot is perfect for family-size meals. I use it all the time!
GF – gluten free recipe
GFO – recipe with gluten free option
50+ Quick and Easy Dinner Ideas
Everybody is busy these days, but you still have to eat. Don’t let weeknight dinners get you down! Here you’ll find recipes that use chicken, plenty of beef and pork dinners, plus seafood like salmon, shrimp, and more. And, of course, we can’t forget vegetarian options for Meatless Monday and any night you want a plant-based option. Many are based on the different techniques and meal options mentioned above. Get ready to pick your favorite.
Quick Chicken Recipes
Winner winner, chicken dinner! Whether you start with boneless skinless chicken breasts, grab some drumsticks or thighs, have leftover chicken, or grab a rotisserie chicken from the store, this is always a versatile protein. But sometimes you just need some new ideas!
GFO, use tamari or gluten free soy sauce or coconut aminosLet the pressure cooker do all the work for this sweet and savory teriyaki dish. So many versatile serving options, and it’s even great for meal prep.
More recipes for chicken:
- Slow Cooker Chicken Enchilada Soup from That Skinny Chick Can Bake (GF) | Southwest comfort food cooked in your slow cooker for an easy dinner recipe on a busy day.
- 30 Minute 2 Ingredient BBQ Wings from Big Bear’s Wife (GF) | Proves that even wings can be one of your favorite easy dinner ideas.
- Chicken Mozzarella Pasta from 365 Days of Baking and More (GFO, use gluten free pasta) | A simple dish with pasta, chicken, sundried tomatoes, and a creamy mozzarella sauce.
- French Spaghetti from Simple Joy (GFO, use gluten free pasta) | A pasta and chicken dinner that can be made with a rotisserie chicken from the grocery store, making it perfect for busy nights.
Simple Beef and Pork Recipes
Ground beef and different cuts of steak can be the start of so many meals from burgers and meatballs to steak bites and stir fries, plus so much more. And whether you choose chops or tenderloins or go with bacon or ham, pork is always a super flavorful option. I’m sure you’ll love these easy dinner ideas!
GFAs tasty as a broccoli ham and cheese omelet, but in a much cuter package. Plus it’s a package that is totally acceptable to pick up and eat with your hands. You aren’t “scrambling” to make multiple omelets to get on the table at the same time for each member of the family.
GFO with corn or gluten free tortillasSimple and healthy, you don’t need any seasoning packets, and the pressure cookie does most of the work. Just grab some spices from the pantry and you’ll have a big batch to to double duty for salads, burrito bowls, or nachos later in the week.
GFEverything you love about Shepherd’s Pie, but without the work of peeling or mashing potatoes. You can make everything else while your baked potatoes cook in the oven, microwave, slow cooker, Instant Pot, or air fryer.
GFDitch the bread and turn your basic baked potato into a satisfying meal. Stuffed with flavorful buttery beef, peppers, and onions, then topped with melty cheese and twice baked, that classic sandwich gets reinvented into an easy gluten free dinner the family will love.
GFO, use gluten free buns or lettuce wrapsGet ready to make perfectly juicy burgers in minutes without a trip to the drive-through. A healthier alternative to those fast-food cheeseburgers, but they are still moist and delicious, especially when you add all of your favorite toppings!
More beef and pork recipes:
- Smoky Tex Mex Sloppy Joes from Fake Ginger (GFO, use gluten free buns or on lettuce wraps) | Gives one of everyone’s favorite weeknight dinners gets a smoky, spicy twist.
- Easy Beef Sliders from Love Bakes Good Cakes (GFO, use gluten free buns or on lettuce wraps) | Mini burgers that only need a little time and effort.
- Beef Stroganoff Ravioli Skillet from Dinners, Dishes, and Desserts (GFO, use gluten free pasta) | Gives the classic comfort food a new twist using beef ravioli.
- One-Pot Southwest Macaroni from White Lights on Wednesday (GFO, use gluten free pasta) | An easy dinner idea combining favorites of pasta and sloppy joes in one dish.
- Slow Cooker Meaty Marinara from Lemons for Lulu (GFO, use gluten free pasta) | Made with turkey sausage and ground turkey means all you have to do is boil the pasta after a busy day.
Quick Vegetarian Dishes
Whether it’s Meatless Monday or you are looking for more plant-based options, you can enjoy healthy and sometimes even more budget-friendly dinners that are still loved by everyone in the family.
GFBaked sweet potatoes stuffed with delicious Mexican spiced black beans, pineapple, shredded cheese and tomatoes. It has delicious sweet heat flavors and you can keep it vegan or serve it with cheese and sour cream, or any of your favorite taco toppings.
More meatless meals:
- Triple Grilled Cheese from Culinary Ginger (GFO, use gluten free bread) | Extra cheese always makes an easy dinner extra good.
- One Pot Spinach Artichoke Pasta from My Suburban Kitchen (GFO, use gluten free pasta) | Tastes like your favorite dip.
Fast Seafood Recipes
Seafood is so nutritious and many varieties of fish and shellfish cook super fast. But it can be intimidating for some people. So start with these easy recipes to get your feet wet, if you’ll pardon the pun.
GFO, use gluten free soy sauce or tamariA sweet and savory Asian-inspired marinade is a fish recipe that even the non-seafood eaters will love. Drizzle your perfectly broiled salmon with the flavorful sauce and serve it with broccoli and rice or cauliflower rice to make it a full meal.
GFO, use gluten free soy sauce or tamariSweet, sticky, and savory, this super easy dish has everything you love. Pan-seared shrimp and veggies are quickly simmered in a simple richly-flavored sauce. It is a delicious 30-minute seafood dinner you can serve over rice, noodles, and more.
More fish and shellfish recipes:
- Parmesan Crusted Tilapia from Taste and Tell (GF) | A simple fish dish that is done in 20 minutes. Even non-fish lovers enjoy that cheese.
- Lemon Garlic Baked Cod from Sweet C’s (GF) | Tons of lemon garlic butter flavor in just 20 minutes and one dish.
- Crab Cakes from Savory Simple (GFO, use gluten free cracker crumbs) | These might just be the best you’ve ever tried when they are broiled to perfection.