50+ of the Best Quick and Easy Dinner Ideas

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When you have to get food on the table fast you need your go-to easy dinner recipes. Whether you prefer chicken, beef, pork, seafood, or meatless meals, these quick ideas will become new family favorites. There are over 50 simple and kid-friendly dishes. And they all have 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?

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!

  • 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.
  • Casserolescasserole 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 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.
  • 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!
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Key to finding gluten free recipes:

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

50+ Quick and Easy Dinner Recipes

Everybody is busy these days, but you still have to eat. Don’t let weeknight dinners get you down! Here you'll find ideas that use chicken, plenty of beef and pork recipes, 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 more 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!

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 dishes!

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.

More meatless meals:

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.

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.
8 Comments
  1. 30 of the Best Quick and Easy Dinner Recipes for Busy Families – homecookedflavors.com

    […] go-to recipes – I actually call these my “back pocket recipes”. These are quick and easy dinner recipes I can pull out of my back pocket on a moment’s notice. They may be on my meal plan, or I can whip […]

  2. […] 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. […]

  3. 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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