These 75 best easy dinner ideas will feed your family and kids in no time. They include lots of healthy, quick, vegetarian, chicken, and other meat recipes to choose from for a busy weekday-- and also for your Sunday suppers. They are so easy that they're perfect for beginners too... just like our 30 easy low carb dinners and 45 easy gluten-free dinners!
Food is happiness, right? Ending a day of hard work with a nice, tasty, and easy meal is one of the greatest joys in this world.
That's why easy dinners come in handy when we need to combine taste and practicality.
We often believe that good food comes from hard work or a lifetime of experience in the kitchen. Because of that, sometimes we think that if you work hard, or study hard--or basically do anything else hard all day long-- cooking is not for you.
But that's not true!
What if I told you that it is possible to cook great, easy meals without much effort? This is why I gathered the best easy recipe ideas in this post! So, if you are wondering what should you cook this evening, you came to the right place!
Below, I will show each one of my best easy dinner recipes along with a few tips and tricks that will improve your cooking and dinner time!
Check out these easy weeknight meals as well as our other easy dinner recipes!
What are easy recipes?
Easy recipes are not just instant pasta or frozen pizza, ok? I strongly believe you don't have to give up your taste or health to save time. Easy recipes are all about fitting delicious meals into your tight schedule so that you can have the best of both worlds.
Most people believe that a nice meal is hard to pull off. They seem to demand a lot of effort and deep know-how to achieve a good result. However, this is not what I preach in my blog.
Cooking is not rocket science. You don't need to have amazing talent, or to know by heart all the ways we can slice an onion. A satisfying meal should be accessible to anyone!
So, these easy dinner ideas are for those busy people that love to cook and, above all, love to eat well! You can be sure that any of the easy recipes listed here (above or under 30 minutes but always using simple ingredients) will taste way better than that frozen pizza you may be used to!
How many ingredients are in an easy recipe?
There is no standard number! But a good rule of thumb would be up to 8 or 10 ingredients, with one of them being water, oil/butter, salt/pepper, or something basic that most people have in their pantry. Our Complete 5 Ingredient Cookbook has 175 easy recipes that you can rely on, as well as our site's 5 ingredients or less recipes.
Moreover, ingredients often found in easy recipes are some of the cheaper proteins like chicken and ground beef. If you are looking for something in the vegetarian corner, you can think about canned beans and chickpeas. Luckily, none of those ingredients are hard to find in local stores and markets.
Advantages of cooking easy dinner recipes
These easy dinner ideas come with lots of benefits to your routine, your health, and your well-being.
- They fit busy schedules and are ideal for busy parents and career-driven people! Why? Most are made with a minimum of ingredients and several are ready in just 30 minutes. You can say goodbye to canned, packed, or frozen meals and cook the best easy dinners at home.
- They are stress-free! You can prepare several easy family dinner ideas in one-pot or one pan-- also called one-pan meals or sheet pan dinners-- and not have much to clean afterward.
- Cooking easy dinner meals are a great way to save time and money. Maybe you want to sleep earlier, but you just can't bring yourself to eat that frozen lasagna again. And saving money is never a bad idea, right?
- The easiest recipes are also the best way to start learning how to cook. Often the ingredients are more accessible, and the procedure is quite simple. The trick is always how to make the best of the simplest combination for busy weeknights. That means our best easy dinner ideas are a great fit for beginners!
- An easy dinner meal allows you to spend quality time with your family or to do something else that you enjoy.
- Most are easy prep meals that you can make ahead and freeze for later.
I hope the reasons above get you excited to cook easy homemade meals. Without further ado, check out below all my best ideas for easy dinner meals!
Easy Dinners for Family
A good family dinner can recharge your batteries and avoid the 'I don't like this' or 'I don't want to eat that' experience. It should bring joy to your dinner table!
So, first of all, in order to come up with a nice and easy supper for the entire family, you have to consider what kids would like to eat. Avoid things that are too spicy or too bitter since children have a pickier palate. After all, these are meals for the whole family!
When choosing family dinner recipes, favor items made with simple ingredients, such as pasta, or kid friendly proteins like chicken and ground beef. Moreover, choose mild vegetables kids that like-- for instance, carrots and potatoes.
In addition, save yourself some time by preparing those meals in the slow cooker or crockpot, or in the Instant Pot. Just throw the ingredients in and cook until ready to serve!
- Slow Cooker Ham -- Make this lazy dinner either for an everyday or holiday meal. It is quite easy yet so delish!
- Pressure Cooker Sweet and Sour Pork -- A great spin on a classic, made in the Instant Pot in the blink of an eye.
- Picanha Roast -- Tender and juicy top sirloin cap that calls for just 3 ingredients. A real money saver!
- Brazilian Beef Stew --It is similar to a classic beef stew but lighter. It uses low-carb veggies and is one of my family's favorite dishes!
- One Pan Honey Mustard Chicken -- A mess-free and easy dinner made in one pan, perfect for busy weeknights!
Healthy Dinner Ideas
Healthy recipes are trendy in modern times. If you want to be conscious about your eating habits, these easy dinner recipes can help you a lot.
The secret here is to cook an easy supper with fresh ingredients. If you can, try to know where your regular stock of ingredients comes from. It is best if they come from a local farm than from a faraway country.
The longer the distance they have to travel to reach your table, the more chemicals are needed to keep them from spoiling along the way. Keep that in mind!
Finally, avoid ingredients loaded in fat, especially the “bad” kind of fats. Nuts have good fats, as does fish... but too much animal proteins like beef and pork can harm your health in the long run.
Depending on your diet, easy keto (low carb) meals will help you shed some pounds ,while gluten-free meals will be best for those who are celiac. But overall, just eat wholesome, balanced meals!
- Slow Cooker Beef Stroganoff (Healthy version) -- Yep! Our version calls for no flour or heavy cream, making a light yet comforting dish.
- Easy Grilled Salmon -- A 10-minute dish served with tropical Caribbean salsa. A must-have for summer!
- Stuffed Chicken Breast -- This is a low-carb yet impressive dish that the entire family will love!
- Cabbage Soup Diet Recipe -- One of our most popular vegetarian recipes because it is flavorful and only has 70 calories per cup. It comes with a 7-day weight loss meal plan!
- Norwegian Fish Soup -- Made with salmon, it is the low carb version of the classic dish. We use blended cauliflower instead of potatoes to make the broth super-creamy.
Easy Pork Recipes
Pork is a great protein and there are a variety of recipes made with different pork cuts such as pork chops, ribs, bacon, and even sausage. Each of them requires different cooking times, but it is actually not rocket science at all! The key is using the right spice and/or sauce, and you will have an easy and tasty meal in minutes!
- Instant Pot Pulled Pork -- It calls for just 5 ingredients and the result is a versatile, fork-tender pork dish loaded with bbq sauce. You can serve it over rice or polenta, or in sandwiches.
- Easy Broiled Pork Chops -- A tender pork dish in a mildly sweet sauce that can be prepared quickly in the broiler.
- Slow Cooker Pork Stroganoff -- A twist on a classic with a super creamy sauce. It is so simple that it makes the crockpot your BFF!
- Roasted Pork Loin -- It is basted with super tasty garlic marinate and roasted in the oven until golden brown and tender.
- Pan Grilled Pork Chops -- A 30-minute meal grilled on a griddle pan and served with chimichurri sauce. Leftovers make great sandwiches!
Easy Steak Recipes
Steak is a favorite of many. If you find yourself longing for the tenderness of a juicy, cooked steak, you can satisfy your cravings with the following easy meal ideas! You don't need to set up a whole barbecue get-together to enjoy them. Some of my best recipes are here!
- Carne Asada Tacos -- Quick and tender skirt steak cooked on the stovetop, sliced and served in tacos with your favorite sides and garnishes.
- Skirt Steak -- One of our most popular dishes because it is quick, tender, and calls for just 3 ingredients. Serve with chimichurri sauce and fries if you want.
- Steak and Eggs -- The most satisfying breakfast for dinner that you will ever have. It is high in protein and low in carbs!
- Filet Mignon with Madeira Sauce -- An impressive and tender beef dish perfect for a dinner for two. The Madeira sauce adds a special touch!
- Beef Brisket -- Another super popular dinner, Texas-style! Cook it either in the slow cooker or pressure cooker with bbq sauce and you'll have super tender and juicy beef to serve for a hungry family or at your summer barbecue.
Easy Chicken Recipes: Some of Our Favorite Cheap and Easy Dinner Ideas!
Chicken is a cheap protein that demands almost no work. The trick is to cook it in a way so that it won't turn dry. Happily, a lot of our easy chicken recipes use sauces and broths, so you won't wind up with a dry chicken dish. To cook healthy dinner recipes with this protein, use chicken breasts and skinless chicken thighs because they are low in fat. Leftover chicken also makes some of our best dinner recipes.
For more easy chicken meals, visit our 15 Easy Chicken Dishes.
- Air Fryer Chicken Thighs -- A crispy and delish dinner that is ideal for busy weekdays. You can use either bone-in or boneless thighs.
- Baked Chicken Thighs -- Juicy and delish, this versatile dish is perfect for easy meal preps. You can even freeze them to use later for making other chicken recipes.
- Baked Chicken Breast -- Lean and flavorful, it is the perfect dish for those on a diet.
- Instant Pot Whole Chicken -- It is like preparing a rotisserie chicken but in the Instant Pot, instead of roasting in the oven. So delish!
- Brazilian Chicken Stroganoff -- This is a must-have! It's gotten rave reviews! Serve it over rice, pasta, or with a hard-crusted bread.
Easy Shrimp Recipes
Shrimp is probably one of the quickest proteins to cook and use in making several of our easy dinners. Learn how to cook them in the air fryer, stovetop, or baked in the oven.
- Shrimp a la Diabla -- This is the shortcut version of a Mexican classic, Camarones a la Diabla. The only difference is, ours call for just 5 ingredients!
- Honey Garlic Butter Shrimp -- Another favorite family dinner meal that has received amazing reviews. You can serve as a main dish or appetizer!
- Creamy Shrimp Scampi -- An Italian-American shrimp dish in a creamy sauce. Serve it over pasta or with a hard-crusted bread.
- Moqueca -- This famous Traditional Brazilian Food consists of fish and shrimp stewed in a tasty, bright-orange coconut sauce. Have it ready in less than 30 minutes and serve it over rice.
- Shrimp in Coconut Sauce -- Another hit from our food blog. It is a super creamy coconut shrimp stew able to please even the most demanding palates!
Easy Ground Beef Recipes
Ground beef (as well as ground turkey) is one of the quickest cuts of beef to cook. They go well in sauces, with vegetables, pasta, rice, and many other delicious dinner recipes. The trick is to find a good and easy combination to achieve the right taste!
- Asian Chilli Beef Mince -- A spicy Asian ground beef dish best served over sticky rice. It makes a cheap dinner meal!
- Instant Pot Ground Beef -- Make ground beef either fresh or frozen in the Instant Pot and use it to cook some of your favorite dishes.
- Instant Pot Chili -- This Tex-Mex classic calls for ground beef and beans and is rich in protein. Another budget-friendly meal that will satisfy the whole family!
- Spaghetti with Meat Sauce -- One of my children's favorite dishes on account of its simplicity and great flavor!
- Mexican Ground Beef Tacos -- Loaded with savory flavors, it makes one of the best quick and easy dinner ideas that are also mess-free. It will make an awesome meal!
Easy Beans Recipes
Beans are a great way to cook protein-rich vegetarian meals. They are often associated with Southern American and Tex-Mex cuisine, and they can be used in a lot of easy supper ideas.
- Easy Black Beans and Rice -- a low-cost complete dinner meal made with rice, beans, sausage, and veggies that you can quickly cook either on the stovetop or Instant Pot. It is a fiesta in your mouth!
- Bean Casserole -- made with white and red kidney beans and ground beef, this casserole is a great twist on the classic baked beans, making a complete dish for busy days.
- Feijoada Recipe -- Brazil's national dish, made easy and delish. Simply the best pork and black bean stew in your life... and you can make it in the slow cooker, pressure cooker, or stovetop!
- Vegetarian Feijoada -- The super-flavorful vegan/vegetarian version of the classic, stewed with black beans and lots of veggies. Serve it over rice or grab some hard-crusted bread to dip it in.
- Instant Pot Black Beans -- If you're looking for a side dish rich in plant-based protein and fiber to serve with your favorite meats or grains, then this is the dish for you!
Easy Rice Recipes
Rice is used all around the world, so it is a very versatile, gluten-free ingredient. There are many types of rice, with different nutritional properties. Depending on which spices and ingredients you use, you can produce many different results.
- Galinhada (Brazilian Chicken and Rice) -- It is the Brazilian version of arroz con pollo but with a zing: saffron! Another family favorite!
- Cajun Dirty Rice -- This Cajun classic is made with cauliflower for a keto meal, but you can also use plain rice instead. We added some shrimp to make it even more delish.
- Ham and Cheese Baked Rice -- Made with leftovers, this budget-friendly recipe is creamy, cheesy, and quite satisfying.
- Shrimp Fried Rice -- It is a quick, tropical dish because has among its ingredients mango and coconut. It is super duper delish!
- Chicken and Mushroom Risotto -- This combines two tasty ingredients-- mushrooms and chicken-- and makes a creamy and comforting rice dish.
Easy Pasta Recipes
There's never a bad moment for enjoying some pasta. This even more true when we want to come up with easy meals for dinner. Most pasta recipes follow the same convenient formula: cook the pasta, toss it in a nice sauce, and top everything with herbs and/or Parmesan cheese. It is a no-brainer!
- Black Bean Pasta -- A.K.A. chili mac and cheese, it requires just 5 simple ingredients yet has awesome Mexican flavors. My children ask for it often!
- Easy Pasta Bolognese -- Another child-friendly dish that will have them eating it all and coming back for more. A classic that never gets old -- but this time is cooked in the Instant Pot!
- Shrimp Scampi Pasta -- It is creamy, tasty, and satisfying. A simplified version of the classic!
- Chicken Bacon Pasta Bake -- What can the result possibly be when you put pasta, a creamy cheese sauce, bacon, and chicken together? 🙂 Happiness is baked all the way through this pasta dish!
- Vegan Sesame Noodles -- a quick meal full of great Asian flavors!
Easy Soup Recipes
Soups make a healthy meal and bring comfort to you and your family. They are also quite simple to make since you only need a few ingredients-- starch, protein, veggies, and a broth (or you can use just water)--and they make a complete meal.
- Chicken Tortilla Soup -- A classic adapted to the Weight Watchers diet.
- Panera Autumn Squash Soup -- A money saver copycat dish that tastes similar to the original recipe. It is super creamy!
- Creamy Ham and Cabbage Soup -- This is one of those comfort foods that you just can't get enough of!
- Cauliflower Curry Soup -- It is vegan and low carb but tastes like heaven! A real favorite of mine!
- Thai Coconut Noodle Soup -- Have it for breakfast or dinner, this one-pot dish tastes like the best thing ever.
Easy Dinner Ideas for Beginners
Like I said above, cooking is not rocket science. You don't need complex skills nor a lifetime of experience in the kitchen to make yummy easy weeknight dinners.
For a lot of easy recipes, you only need one pot and a few ingredients. To get the most out of it, you can use a wok or even an Instant Pot, since most of the time these easy dinner recipes are made by mixing everything together and adding heat.
- Beefy Bean and Beef Quesadilla -- Cheap, easy, quick, and super delish, it makes the perfect easy dinner for one or two.
- Ground Turkey Rice Bowls -- Another quick and easy meal that beginners can make without hassle. It is a complete dish!
- Brazilian Chicken Salad Sandwich -- This is lighter than the American classic and yummier too. You can make it ahead, chill in the fridge, and enjoy it after a busy day of work.
- Green Bean Caprese Salad -- The green beans add a great spin on the classic salad. Perfect either as a side or a vegetarian main dish.
- Beet Goat Cheese Salad -- Cook whole beets in the Instant Pot in 15 minutes, assemble the salad quickly and toss it in a lemon vinaigrette dressing. It is sweet, savory, tangy, and super delish. Simply the perfect easy meatless meal!
Quick and Easy Dinner Ideas
Simple dinner ideas are also the best meal ideas for busy people. These easy weeknight recipes are perfect for those who don't have much time to spend in the kitchen but still want to have their comfort food every now and then.
So, if you have busy weekdays, check out those easy weeknight recipes that you can prepare in up to 30 minutes! You can easily use fast-cooking proteins such as fish, shrimp, or ground beef, chopped vegetables, or partially cooked starches to make them quickly. You will see that a quick meal doesn't have to lack flavor or consist of junk food!
- Homemade Margherita Pizza -- Make the crust from scratch with just 2 simple ingredients and then top with the other 3. This homemade pizza is ready in just 30 minutes! Find out how!
- Air Fryer Shrimp -- No need to thaw your shrimp. Throw it in the air fryer and watch magic happen.
- Blackened Shrimp -- Serve this quick Cajun dish over grits, creamy polenta, or pasta and receive praises.
- Air Fryer Tilapia -- A fillet only has 30 calories yet it is packed with flavor!
- Air Fryer Chicken Legs -- They are crispy and more delish than fried chicken.
Sunday Dinner Meals
Sunday is often the day when you can relax more and either give cooking a break or prepare some slow-cooked meals. In contrast to weeknight meals, you may have a bit more time on Sundays.
So, these easy recipes take a bit longer. However, they keep things simple and practical so that you can still enjoy some free time.
- Honey Baked Ham -- Both a great holiday and everyday meal, this money saver is the copycat of the famous holiday ham.
- Instant Pot Corned Beef -- The Irish dish that you'll want to serve all year round, not just on St. Patrick's Day.
- Roast Chicken Adobo -- A twist on the Filipino dish that will have you coming back for more. There is no roast chicken like this!
- Chinese BBQ Ribs -- Cooked in the crockpot and then broiled in the oven, these ribs are fall off the bone tender and super yummy. One of the best easy dinner ideas ever!
- Beef Oxtail -- A very favorite of mine because of its superb flavor and tenderness. Cook it in the slow cooker or pressure cooker!
Easy Dinner Ideas for Kids
You can bring the kids to the table by cooking a delicious meal. This can serve as quality time for you and them together and can even teach them a lot about food. Maybe you will spark something in them, and you will have a great cook in the family someday!
However, you have to be cautious when bringing kids to the kitchen. It is key that the recipes are simple to understand and there is not a lot of cutting and chopping involved. Safety comes first! Microwave meals, or the so-called minute meal, is a great start for them.
- Microwave Mac and Cheese -- It tastes homemade without the hassle. Any kid can make this one and be proud of it. Just one bowl is needed!
- Creamy Tuna Pasta -- Easy, tasty, and super simple to make with just a few ingredients.
- Turkey Sloppy Joes -- Throw the ingredients in the crockpot and serve it between 2 buns. It couldn't be any simpler than that!
- Easy BBQ Chicken Pizzadilla -- A cross between pizza and quesadilla, this dish is a true kids' fave!
- Egg Mayonnaise Sandwich -- Use store-bought boiled eggs and there will be no need for cooking. Any kid can assemble this sandwich in the blink of an eye!
Other easy meals to cook:
- 50 Easy Brazilian Recipes
- 85+ Easy Freezer Meals
- 35 Easy Pantry Recipes
- 130 Easy 5-Ingredient or Less Recipes
- 70 Easy Healthy One-Pot Meals
PIN & ENJOY!
In addition to these easy dinner ideas, take a look at our other easy recipes:
- Easy Pressure Cooker Recipes
- Easy Slow Cooker Recipes
- Quick and Easy Recipes (30 minutes or less)
- Easy Keto Recipes
- Easy Gluten-Free Recipes
- Also Easy Gluten-Free Recipes
- Easy Gluten-Free Recipes
Explore ideas by other courses: