50+ of the Best Quick and Easy Dinner Ideas

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Easy dinner recipes are what you need when you have to get food on the table fast. The quick dinner ideas in this collection include one-pot meals, sheet pan dinners, casseroles, slow cooker recipes, and more kid-friendly family favorites. There are over 50 simple meals right here, many with gluten free options too!

collage of buffalo chicken sloppy joes, cube steaks, pizza, barbecue chicken, fish tacos, and stuffed baked potatoes

What should I make for dinner tonight?

Everybody is busy these days, but you still have to eat. Don’t let weeknight dinners get you down!

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 fast dinner ideas. These methods and techniques help you make dinner in a snap!

Then keep reading to find over 50 recipes that fit into these categories and more.

  • 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, like Chicken Corn Chowder.
  • Sheet pan meals or foil pack meals – toss everything on a pan 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.
  • Casserolescasserole recipes sometimes take a little longer to cook in the oven, but prep time is usually fast, and 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 Crock Pot dinner recipes.
  • Breakfast for dinnerscrambled 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. For Meatless Monday, try this Spinach, Tomato, and Feta Frittata.
  • 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!
5 SECRETS TO FAST & FLEXIBLE MEALS

images of teriyaki chicken on a phone, a stuffed baked potato on a computer screen, and barbecue chicken on a tablet.

Click to learn my BEST recipes and strategies for quick and delicious family dinners without the stress (and always with gluten free options)! Make meals everyone CAN eat and will LOVE to eat!

The Best Quick and Easy Dinner Recipes

CLICK ON THE TITLES TO GET THE RECIPES
Key to finding gluten free recipes:

GF – gluten free recipe
GFO – recipe with gluten free option

Easy Dinner Ideas with Chicken

Barbecue Chicken Tostadas GF

Easy, cheesy, and covered in your favorite sauce, this is a family favorite you can whip up in minutes using leftover chicken or a rotisserie chicken from the grocery store.

barbecue chicken tostadas on a baking sheet

Buffalo Chicken Sloppy Joes GFO, use a gluten free bun or on lettuce wraps

Combine your favorite spicy wing flavor and a classic kid-favorite dinner into one mouthwatering sandwich made with lean ground chicken for a healthy meal. An easy and versatile family favorite weeknight dinner with a hot sauce kick.

Two Buffalo Chicken Sloppy Joes one with blue cheese on top and the other with ranch dressing

Chicken Enchilada Skillet GF

It’s the best part of the enchiladas. This is a cheesy keto dish that the kids can have in a tortilla or with rice if they aren’t eating low carb.

Easy Low Carb Chicken Enchilada Skillet Recipe

Baked Balsamic BBQ Chicken Breasts GF

Seasoned, tossed in the oven, then slathered with a savory homemade barbecue sauce that is so simple to make while the chicken bakes. This easy technique ensures you end up with flavorful, juicy chicken.

three baked chicken breasts covered in BBQ sauce in a skillet next to a jar of balsamic barbecue sauce

Balsamic Slow Cooker Chicken GF

Easy, fresh, and flavorful with only five main ingredients, and super versatile. You can make it a hearty comfort food meal by serving it over pasta. Or keep it light, gluten free, and low carb with cauliflower rice. 

slow cooker chicken with tomatoes and basil

Instant Pot Pineapple Chicken GFO, use tamari or gluten free soy sauce or coconut aminos

Let 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.

teriyaki chicken over cauliflower rice

Greek Chicken Stuffed Zucchini Boats GF

Add a little Mediterranean flair with tomatoes, olives, feta, and oregano in this wholesome meal packed with fresh ingredients and bold flavors. Enjoy this as a low carb dinner recipe or pair it with rice or pasta.

Greek Chicken Stuffed Zucchini Boats

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.
  • Baked Chicken Street Tacos from Kleinworth & Co. (GFO, use corn tortillas) | Tacos tossed in the oven for a quick meal.
  • 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.
  • Baked Orzo with Chicken from Cooking and Beer | A cozy casserole baked with orzo pasta, veggies, and chunks of chicken breasts for a deliciously simple weeknight chicken dinner.

Simple Beef and Steak Recipes

Shepherd’s Pie GF

A few shortcuts and streamlined preparation make this comfort food casserole a weeknight meal. The entire family will love the savory meat and veggie mixture and cheesy mashed potatoes topping. Cutting carbs? Try Keto Shepherd’s Pie.

spoon scooping up shepherd's pie

Chili Lime Steak Bites GF

Pack plenty of spicy and zesty flavor into tender pieces of sirloin steak. With only a handful of ingredients and in less than fifteen minutes you’ll have a fiesta for your mouth.

Chili Lime Steak Bites

Instant Pot Tacos GFO with corn or gluten free tortillas

Simple 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.

tacos on a plate near an Instant Pot

Cube Steaks with Worcestershire Sauce GF

So simple, this recipe, if you can even call it that, only takes minutes and a cast iron pan. Just grab some salt, pepper, and a splash of Worcestershire sauce.

cube steak on a plate with broccoli and a baked sweet potato

Shepherds Pie Loaded Baked Potato GF

Everything 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.

shepherd's pie loaded baked potato

Beef Stir Fry GFO, use tamari or gluten free soy sauce or coconut aminos

This is always one of the best Asian-inspired easy dinner ideas. It’s so simple but full of tone of bright, crisp-tender veggies.

Gluten Free Steak Stir Fry with Veggies and rice

Greek Beef Kabobs GF

Fire up the grill (or grill pan) for a simple way to bring on Mediterranean flavors. With this basic recipe, you can customize your meal to be gluten free, low carb, or paleo based on your choice of side dishes.

Beef Kabobs on a plate with rice and pita

More recipes for beef and steak:

  • Skillet Enchilada Bake from A Dash of Sanity | Turns your favorite Mexican food into a 30-minute meal.
  • 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.

Quick Pasta Dishes

Beefaroni GF, use gluten free pasta

Also known as chili mac or a million other names, this dish is perfect for weeknights because it only has a few ingredients, and kids gobble it up.

Closeup of ground beef and elbow macaroni with sauce in this beeferoni recipe

Vodka Sauce GF, use gluten free pasta

Only slightly more work than opening a jar of sauce, but with a flavor that blows basic marinara away. Ready in less time than it takes to boil pasta.

Penne alla Vodka with homemade vodka sauce

Stovetop Chicken Mac and Cheese GF, use gluten free pasta

A satisfying one-pot meal made right on the stove. Your basic macaroni and cheese gets a comfort food upgrade because it’s loaded with chicken, bacon, and, of course, plenty of cheese.

wooden spoon stirring a pot of stovetop mac and cheese

More recipes for pasta:

  • 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.
  • 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.
  • One Pot Spaghetti and Meat Sauce from Domestic Superhero | Perfect because everyone loves spaghetti, especially when you can make it in one pot. 
  • One Pot Spinach Artichoke Pasta from My Suburban Kitchen (GFO, use gluten free pasta) | Tastes like your favorite dip.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • One Pot Cheesy Pizza Pasta Bake from Self-Proclaimed Foodie | A pasta dinner with your favorite pizza toppings that is sure to make the kids happy too.

Fast Seafood Recipes

Shrimp Quinoa Bowl GF

Kids enjoy eating this healthy meal because of the barbecue sauce and cheese. The shrimp takes just minutes and is done while the quinoa cooks.

gluten free BBQ shrimp quinoa bowl

Maple Sesame Broiled Salmon GFO, use gluten free soy sauce or tamari

A 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.

Broiled Salmon and broccoli with a bowl of Sesame Maple Glaze

Fish Sticks Tacos GFO, use gluten free fish sticks

Give your basic fish sticks an extra zing of chili and lime. Then pile them in taco shells with your favorite toppings. They are especially tasty with Mango Avocado Salsa.

Chili Lime Fish Stick Tacos on a green plate

Shrimp and Mashed Potatoes GF

This hearty homestyle bowl is so comforting. You’ll love those kicked up shrimp and rustic mashed potatoes.

Shrimp Mashed Potato Bowl

Pesto Salmon GF

The fish is cooked on a sheet pan with potatoes and green beans make for quick prep and cleanup. Using a jar of pesto saves prep time but makes it burst with flavor.

pesto salmon with potatoes and green beans

Chili Lime Shrimp GF

Saucy shrimp that pack a serious punch of flavor. But you only need a few ingredients, one skillet, and less than ten minutes.

Chili Honey Lime Shrimp in a Cast Iron Skillet with tongs

More seafood 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 | These might just be the best you’ve ever tried when they are broiled to perfection.

Kid-Friendly Easy Dinner Ideas

Hot Dogs in Tortillas GF

Turn basic dogs into cheesy baked taquitos. You can even make them in your air fryer. The only question is whether to dunk them in salsa or guacamole.

Hot Dog Baked Taquitos Recipe

Broccoli and Cauliflower Soup GF

Definitely better than Panera. A veggie secret makes that old favorite cheesy soup healthier but just as creamy.

Creamy Low Carb Cauliflower Broccoli Cheese Soup

Hawaiian Pizza GFO, use gluten free pizza crust

If you have a pre-made crust or one in the freezer, you can make this kid-favorite pizza in a flash. The sweet and salty flavor is irresistible.

Slice of Hawaiian Pizza being pulled away from the rest

Easy Homemade Sloppy Joes GFO, use gluten free buns

Jst minutes to make and you’ll have all the classic slightly sweet and tangy flavors and saucy deliciousness you love. A budget-friendly family favorite, it is almost as quick as using the stuff from a can. 

Homemade Sloppy Joes on a bun served with mixed vegetables

More kid favorite recipes:

 And if you need more quick and easy dinner ideas, here are 20 of The Best Chicken Recipes for Busy Weeknights.

Originally published Sep 21, 2017

8 Comments
  1. […] Apple Blue Cheese Chicken Salad is a tangy and creamy twist on the traditional chicken salad recipe. Lightened up with Greek yogurt instead of mayo, you’ll love the creaminess balanced with the crunch of apples and walnuts or pepitas plus the tang of the yogurt and blue cheese. It is perfect to make when you have leftover chicken or picked up a rotisserie chicken from the grocery store. You can make a big batch to pack in school lunches all week or it’s one of the best no cook meals when you serve it on sandwiches, lettuce wraps, or salad. Greek yogurt chicken salad with apples and blue cheese packs tons of flavor in one of our favorite quick and easy dinner recipes. […]

  2. Hello Briaane, all these recipes are very useful for me. I am going to trying all your recipes today itself. Thank you for sharing the information.

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