50+ Best Easy Dinner Ideas

Here’s your ultimate guide for the best easy dinner recipes! From lightning fast recipes to batch cooking on a Sunday, I’ll show you how to plan for a stress-free week filled with tasty yet nourishing meals the whole family will enjoy!

Chicken and rice in one pan garnished with lemon slices and parsley.

Plan Your Dinner Recipes Ahead

Ever struggle to get a home cooked meal done by dinner time? Or feel uninspired by your weekly rotation? I get it, we’ve all been there. So I’ve rounded up a list of the best dinner ideas that are full of good-for-you ingredients, and most importantly, uncomplicated.

To make the most of this list, it’s really about planning ahead to make dinner a breeze. Here’s a few ways to strategize – no matter how your week pans out:

  • Make a list of 30 minute recipes to keep on hand. For days where you have one hour to spare for cooking, these will come in handy. Think one pan meals, easy stir fry recipes, and sheet pan dinners that are jam packed with flavor.
  • Batch cook ingredients to save time throughout the week. If you’ve followed my meal prep guide before, you know just how convenient this plan is. Instead of batch cooking entire recipes, you’ll prep ingredients to create exciting mix and match meals that come together in about 5 minutes.
  • Rely on freezer-friendly meals for busy months. You can make a scrumptious chicken casserole and pre-cut it into slices for a grab-n-go meal. Or cook up a big pot of beef chili and freeze several portions for later. Just make sure to plan for meals that store well and can be reheated throughout the month. You’ll soon start to appreciate these instant freezer meals!

Chipotle shrimp next to teriyaki chicken for easy dinner ideas.

The Best Quick And Easy Dinner Ideas

These flavorful recipes can be on your table in about 30-40 minutes. They require minimal ingredients and tools – who doesn’t love that?

Cauliflower pizza and chicken fajitas for family dinner ideas.

Those Classic Family-Friendly Dinner Recipes

When it comes to cooking up a meal for the whole family, lean towards comforting classics such as casseroles, pizza, tacos, and fajitas. With a healthy spin of course!

  • Chicken Fajitas: since children love building things of their own, a fajitas night is always a win.
  • One Pan Chicken And Rice: Two for one meals are the best, especially when it includes juicy chicken thighs. This one shines bright with Mediterranean flavors and citrusy rice.
  • Cauliflower Pizza Crust: with this homemade pizza crust, there’s no need to order takeout. Because it’s that much better and sneaks in extra veggies for the kiddos.
  • Carnitas Tacos: if you’ve got a slow cooker, this carnitas recipe will save you time and it delivers big flavor. Perfect for Taco Tuesday!
  • Whole30 Chicken Broccoli Casserole: a chicken broccoli combo is always a family favorite. And this one’s perfect for your dairy-free folks with a vegan alfredo sauce.
  • Asian Chicken Lettuce Wraps: if the kiddos love PF Changs, this homemade version is a must.
chicken kabobs and cilantro lime chicken for chicken dinner ideas.

Yes To More Chicken Dinner Ideas!

We can’t deny our love for chicken when it comes to dinner. From creamy chicken salad to the best roasted chicken thighs – the gangs all here to keep things interesting every week.

  • Cilantro Lime Chicken: with this easy recipe, it’s all about the marinade. Whisk together cilantro, lime, spices, and a touch of honey to turn chicken thighs into sticky sweet goodness.
  • Greek Chicken Kabobs: if it’s grilling season, these chicken kabobs are the perfect make ahead recipe with zesty flavor.
  • Lemon Garlic Spatchcock Chicken: It’s juicy on the inside, golden on the outside, and teaches you the beauty of spatchcocking (translation: getting dinner on the table fast).
  • Roasted Balsamic Chicken And Brussels Sprouts: this is an easy sheet pan recipe that never fails. Chicken thighs roasted in a balsamic glaze, with crisp Brussels sprouts and onions.
  • Crispy Baked Chicken Thighs: there’s no need for a deep fryer when these baked thighs come out just as good. Not to mention, the herby spice mix takes the chicken to the next level.
  • Baked Chicken Breasts: if you think chicken breasts are dry, rubbery, and boring, think again! These are incredibly juicy and the special seasoning mix is seriously amazing.
  • Herbed Honey Mustard Chicken: if honey mustard is your jam, you’ll love this again and again. It’s addictively sticky sweet and savory.
  • Slow Cooker Whole Chicken: this whole chicken becomes insanely juicy with an herbed crispy skin. Bonus – this should cover a few days worth of dinners.
Chicken salad and salmon salad for dinner.

Salads for Dinner That Honestly Keep You Full

Don’t think a salad will keep you full? Think again! These recipes elevate salad from the side dish to the main course.

  • Ultimate Chicken Salad: not only does this keep well in the fridge, but is as versatile as they come. Eat it by the spoon, add it to a sandwich, or wrap it in butter lettuce leaves.
  • Salmon Avocado Salad: nothing gets easier than pan seared salmon. But this one’s accompanied by a bed of leafy greens, avocado, tomatoes, and red onions to bulk up this hearty salad.
  • Broccoli Salad: with just a bit of prep work, this hefty, veggie-loaded salad comes together fast and it’s satiating too.
  • Zucchini Noodle Caprese: an easy, homemade pesto basil sauce goes far in this salad. Just toss with tomatoes, mozzarella and freshly made zucchini noodles.
  • Tuna Salad: a protein-packed tuna salad is fast, easy, and filling – yep, it ticks all the boxes.
Chili and zucchini lasagna for easy dinner ideas.

Make Ground Beef for Dinner Exciting Again

Don’t overlook that pound of ground beef sitting in your freezer. It cooks fast, adds a ton of flavor, and can be stuffed or layered into the most comforting, freezer-friendly meals.

  • Best Chili Recipe: this savory, spicy, chunky, and comforting one pot meal is a batch cooking favorite. That’s why it’s the best!
  • Zucchini Lasagna: who says you can’t enjoy a meaty, cheesy lasagna if you’re gluten-free?
  • Stuffed Peppers: bell pepper halves are stuffed with a savory beef filling and baked to perfection.
  • Shepherd’s Pie: this is comfort food at its finest – with ground lamb and vegetables simmered in a savory sauce. Then topped with fluffy mashed potatoes. But you can swap the lamb with ground beef instead.
  • Taco Soup: enjoy the best flavors of a taco, all in one soup! This recipe is hearty, so flavorful, and incredibly easy to make.
  • Zucchini Noodle Spaghetti Bolognese: made from fresh tomatoes and ground beef, homemade bolognese sauce is the best. And to keep things on the lighter side, zucchini noodles are the perfect match to complete this “pasta” meal.
Baked cod and salmon for easy dinner ideas.

Fresh And Easy Fish Dinners for a Lighter Meal

While salmon recipes often get the spotlight, let’s not forget about other fish and seafood options. Think flakey baked cod, juicy scallops, and of course those tasty little shrimp.

  • Baked Cod: this easy, fool proof method guarantees perfectly flaky fish that’s baked in the best garlic butter herb topping.
  • Scallops With Citrus Ginger Sauce: yep, these scallops only take 10 minutes to make with the best citrus, gingery sauce to compliment it.
  • Dijon Baked Salmon: slather a delicious dijon herb spread onto a salmon fillet, bake for 20 minutes – the easiest salmon dinner, done!
  • Garlic Grilled Shrimp Skewers: after soaking in an herby, garlicky marinade, these grilled shrimps taste amazing with just about anything.
  • Orange Glazed Salmon: coated in the best citrusy sweet glaze, these salmon fillets are guaranteed to be a weeknight favorite.
  • Best Baked Salmon: this recipe takes just 15 minutes to make! It’s the easiest salmon recipe with lemon garlic butter and herbs.
falafel and lentil soup for easy dinner ideas.

Veggie-Heavy Vegan Dinner Ideas

Sometimes, the best dinners revolve around plant-based ingredients and loads of veggies. Perfect for meatless Monday, or truthfully, any day of the week.

  • Very Best Lentil Soup: a blend of lentils, kale, mirepoix vegetables, roasted tomatoes, and herbs creates this delightfully filling and flavor soup.
  • Zucchini Fritters: if you’re deep in zucchini season, these fritters are a must! They’re crisp and golden when made fresh, but also make for the best leftovers.
  • Roasted Butternut Squash Soup: once you roast your butternut squash, blend it into this deliciously creamy soup that makes for an easy freezer friendly dinner idea.
  • Falafel: these delicious balls of chickpea goodness taste amazing in wraps, pitas, sandwiches and even salads – along with a drizzle of tahini sauce.

The Best Dinner Meal Prep

Last but not least, I’m circling back to my my meal prep guide where ingredients themselves become the star of the show. Because nothing makes us feel more on top of our game than prepping grains, proteins, and veggies to create mix and match dinner recipes that come together in under 5 minutes!

You can make macro bowls, wraps, tacos, salads, or a simple combo plate. And don’t forget those sauces and toppings for flavor and freshness! Add a dollop of hummus to a Mediterranean bowl or guacamole and pico de gallo to tacos.

Zucchini noodles and cauliflower rice for easy dinner ideas.

Start With A Base

Lentils and shredded chicken for easy dinner ideas.

Add In Protein

Brussels sprouts and sweet potatoes for easy dinner ideas.

Add In Vegetables

Chickpea salad and carne asada tacos for easy dinner ideas.

Mix And Match Dinner Ideas

With your prepped ingredients, here’s a few ideas on how to combine them into the BEST dinner recipes!

If you make any of these easy dinner recipes, let me know how it turned out! I’d love to hear what you think in the comments below. And for more meal inspiration, check out the best healthy breakfast ideas!

Chipotle shrimp next to teriyaki chicken for easy dinner ideas.

50+ Best Easy Dinner Ideas

4.8 from 5 votes
Prep Time: 5 mins
Cook Time: 20 mins
Total Time: 25 mins
Servings: 5 servings
Author: Lisa Bryan
There's so many options for flavorful, healthy, and easy dinner recipes! One of my favorites is this Dijon Baked Salmon.

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 pounds salmon
  • 1/4 cup fresh parsley, finely chopped
  • 1/4 cup Dijon mustard
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil or avocado oil
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • salt and pepper

Instructions 

  • Preheat your oven to 375 degrees fahrenheit. Then place the salmon on a parchment lined baking tray and set it aside.
  • Mix together the remaining ingredients in a small bowl and generously coat the top of the salmon.
  • Bake the salmon for 18-20 minutes (depending on size and thickness), then slice it into individual portions and serve immediately.

Nutrition

Calories: 231kcal, Carbohydrates: 2g, Protein: 28g, Fat: 12g, Saturated Fat: 2g, Cholesterol: 75mg, Sodium: 203mg, Potassium: 708mg, Fiber: 1g, Sugar: 1g, Vitamin A: 307IU, Vitamin C: 6mg, Calcium: 31mg, Iron: 1mg
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: American
Keyword: best dinner recipes, dinner recieps, easy dinner ideas
©Downshiftology. Content and photographs are copyright protected. Sharing of this recipe is both encouraged and appreciated. Copying and/or pasting full recipes to any social media is strictly prohibited.
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12 comments on “50+ Best Easy Dinner Ideas”

  1. very informative articles about dinners. I will select Teriyaki Chicken. because this is best late-night dinners. through this article, we get complete recipes for these teriyaki chicken dinners. i also recommend you try this one.4 stars

  2. I’ve used several of your recipes and loved each and every one. Thank you for putting this great collection together! 

  3. Loved your photography! There are some great ideas in here…would love to try some from here5 stars

  4. What a collection! I am always stuck on what to make for dinner, so this will come in handy next time I can’t think of anything. Thanks for this, bookmarked for later :)5 stars

  5. This is the perfect meal planning post, I can pretty much make a recipe every week. There are so many great ones to try.5 stars

  6. What a delicious collection of dinner ideas! I can’t wait to try the Salmon Avocado Salad and Pulled Pork Street Tacos. Yum!5 stars

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