35 Easy Dinner Ideas

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Wondering what’s for dinner? This list of 35 easy dinner ideas is the answer! Busy families need quick and easy dinner ideas that are simple to prepare and taste delicious, and this collection is full of family favorites like chicken, hamburgers, casseroles, soups, mac and cheese, and more. Truly something for everyone!

Includes recipes suitable for vegan, vegetarian, low carb, keto, Paleo, and gluten free diets. Weight Watchers points included in some recipes.

A collage of images of dinner dishes

If you find yourself facing the “what’s for dinner?” question yet again, this list of easy dinner ideas is the answer!

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Busy families with hectic schedules need easy dinner recipes that come together quickly and without a lot of fuss. This is exactly what you’ll find in this collection of 35 easy dinner ideas.

From family favorites like hamburgers, fish and chips, and good ol’ mac and cheese to satisfying soups, casseroles, and better-than-takeout fare, each one of these recipes is simple to make with affordable pantry staples.

Armed with these easy dinner ideas, you will save time and reduce stress while serving up delicious and satisfying meals everyone will love.

Handy Tip: Use Good Kitchen Tools!

For the best tools to help make your recipe even easier and more successful, check out my collection of the Best Kitchen Tools on Amazon.

Top Quick And Easy Dinner Ideas

top down view of the cheese ravioli bake
top down view of the completed baked chicken leg quarters recipe
  • Baked Ravioli Casserole – Prepare this baked ravioli casserole with just 5 ingredients and it’ll be ready to serve in under 30 minutes.
  • Homemade Hamburger Helper – This is a cheesy, hearty pasta dish that brings together the classic flavors of a juicy cheeseburger and the ease of a one-pot meal.
  • Baked Chicken Leg Quarters with Potatoes – This is a simple all-in-one sheet pan dinner. Just mix a simple marinade, then toss everything and bake.
  • Easy Spinach Soup + Instant Pot Spinach Soup – You only 7 ingredients to make this easy and delicious spinach soup.

Family Friendly Dinner Ideas

This asparagus mushroom pasta recipe is simple, tasty, comforting and awesome. Recipesfromapantry.com
top down view of the finished meatball casserole
  • Baked Tortellini Casserole (5 Ingredients) – Baked tortellini casserole is the perfect solution if you love cheesy lasagna but don’t want to go to all that work.
  • Boursin Cheese Pasta – You’ll only need about 6 ingredients and 30 minutes to put together this delicious, quick and easy recipe the whole family will enjoy!
  • Meatball Casserole – If you’re on the lookout for a ridiculously delicious yet effortlessly easy meal, this dump and bake meatball casserole recipe is a one-way ticket to pasta paradise.
  • Sheet Pan Gnocchi – This easy sheet pan gnocchi Recipe is budget-friendly, super tasty, and made with pantry ingredients. It’s a flavorful, family-friendly one-pan meal that’s ready to serve in just 30 minutes!
  • Mushroom Asparagus Pasta – Creamy Mushrooms Asparagus Pasta recipe iis made with everyday ingredients and ready in only 20 minutes!
  • Tomato Tortellini Soup – Made with just a handful of ingredients, this homemade vegetarian soup is simple to make in less than 30 minutes! 

Air Fryer Dinner Ideas

a plate filled with instant pot chicken fajitas
  • Air Fryer Hamburgers – This quick and easy recipe is a convenient way to make restaurant-quality burgers at home.
  • Air Fryer Fish Tacos – The air fryer offers a convenient way to achieve crunchy fish, which pairs perfectly with your favorite taco toppings in less than 20 minutes.
  • Air Fryer Chicken Quesadilla – Savor the magnificent hot melted cheese and savory chicken duet within toasted tortillas.
  • Air Fryer Chicken Fajitas – Your whole family will love these easy Air Fryer Chicken Fajitas! Homemade seasoned juicy chicken breast with smoky veggies makes a tasty weeknight dinner in just minutes.
  • Air Fryer Fish and Chips – You can make this Air Fryer meal using fresh ingredients or using frozen ingredients in less than 20 minutes.
  •  Air Fryer Grilled Cheese – Is there anything better than a crunchy, melty, and buttery Air Fryer Grilled Cheese Sandwich served with a bowl of soup?
  • Air Fryer Chicken Breast – This Air Fryer Chicken Breast Recipe is super healthy, full of flavor, very versatile, and made entirely with pantry staples.
  • Air Fryer Chicken and Potatoes Dinner – This easy dish guarantees a blend of crispy air-fried chicken and perfectly cooked potatoes, making it a great choice for a wholesome family meal.
top down view of the finished chicken mushoom recipe inside the skillet
top down view of the smothered chicken ready to be served

Chicken Dinner Ideas

  • Creamy Mushroom Chicken – Packed with flavor, the creamy, garlicky sauce is the star of this recipe while the chicken provides delicious protein all in one pan.
  • Chicken Florentine – This best dish is cooked in a single pan, so cleanup is a breeze, and the whole thing can be prepped and cooked in less than 45 minutes. 
  • Chicken Stir Fry with Noodles – Quick and easy chicken stir fry with noodles is the better-than-takeout meal you’ll want to make again and again. Packed with fresh ingredients, this budget-friendly dinner is ready in under 30 minutes.
  • Smothered Chicken – Juicy seasoned fried chicken is gently smothered in a flavorful, velvety onion gravy until it becomes melt-in-your-mouth tender. One of my favorite easy dinner ideas.
  • Marry Me Chicken – Creamy Marry Me Chicken is a crowd-pleasing, quick, and easy recipe – chicken thighs in a creamy sauce with sun-dried tomatoes and bacon!
  • Cinnamon Chicken – This Cinnamon Chicken recipe is deliciously savory with a surprising burst of flavor! Shop your pantry and use what you have on hand to make a full meal.
top down view of the finished ramen noodle soup
top down view of the completed vegan lasagna recipe

Vegetarian Dinner Ideas

  • Tomato Tortellini Soup – Tomato Tortellini Soup is flavorful, hearty, and comforting. Made with just a handful of ingredients, this soup is simple to make in less than 30 minutes! Such a great easy dinner idea.
  • Stovetop Mac and Cheese – Stovetop mac and cheese is flavorful, creamy, and made with real cheese and a fresh bechamel sauce infused with Dijon mustard and onion powder. All the good things.
  • Ramen Noodle Soup – 15-minute ramen noodle soup is rich, filling, and loaded with vegetables. This vegetarian dish is healthy and cozy and comes together quickly. It’s perfect for a simple lunch or easy dinner. 
  • Vegan Lasagna – Loaded with vegetables and layers of cheese, it’s perfect for every day but also a great option for holidays and special occasions. 

Better Than Take Out Recipes

top down view of the bang bang shrimp recipe
  • Honey Sesame Chicken – (Panda Express Copycat) – Making this easy copycat Panda Express Honey Sesame recipe at home is so much better than going for takeout! It is affordable and flavorful.
  • 15 Minutes Pineapple Fried Rice – The perfect way to use up leftovers, this pineapple fried rice recipe comes together quickly and is ready to serve in just 15 minutes!
  • Cracker Barrel Fried Chicken Recipe – Fans of the infamous Cracker Barrel fried chicken tenders will love these Sunday homestyle chicken tenders – golden brown, crispy, and crunchy on the outside and juicy on the inside.
  • Sheet Pan Orange Chicken – No need to order takeout when you can whip up this tasty and delicious sheet pan orange chicken in just 20 minutes. This convenient, one-pan dinner is perfect for busy weeknights.
  • Bang Bang Shrimp – Making Bang Bang Shrimp at home is easy and affordable, so you can indulge your cravings for this popular restaurant specialty whenever!
  • Kung Pao Chicken – Chicken is stir-fried until tender and tossed in a tasty “Kung Pao sauce” made of soy sauce, oyster sauce, and brown sugar that’s a little sweet and a lot of umami.
  • General Tsos Chicken – Spending money on takeout can add up, and it’s easy to make General Tso’s chicken at home for a fraction of the cost.  

Instant Pot Dinner Ideas

Instant Pot Potato Soup in four bowls, with pumpkin seeds and chilli oil with a spoon
top down view of a serving of instant pot shrimp scampi with a spoon
  • Instant Pot Potato Soup – This potato soup requires only a few everyday pantry staples and it is an ideal ‘make ahead’ soup because it freezes so well. 
  • Instant Pot Chicken Fajitas – This Instant Pot Fajita Chicken is so simple to make. Just cut everything up, dump in the Instant Pot, press start, and you’re done.
  • Instant Pot Shrimp Scampi – 15 minute Instant Pot Shrimp Scampi is loaded with angel hair pasta, tender shrimp and a buttery garlic sauce. 
  • Instant Pot Italian Beef – Instant Pot Italian Beef is the perfect weeknight meal. It’s quick-cooking, tender, and soooo tasty! Serve this delicious shredded beef as is, or pile it onto sandwich rolls for a classic hot and spicy sandwich.

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Tips for Success

  • Cook once, eat all week: Batch cooking and storing your meals in airtight containers to use throughout the week can help save both time and money.
  • Invest in flavor: keeping your pantry stocked with good quality spices and seasonings makes it easy to add amazing flavor and color to all sorts of recipes.
  • Make your appliances do the work: Use countertop appliances like an air fryer, slow cooker, and Instant Pot to reduce the amount of hands-on cooking time needed.

Handy Tip: Use Good Kitchen Tools!

For the best tools to help make your recipe even easier and more successful, check out my collection of the Best Kitchen Tools on Amazon.

Thank you for reading my Easy Dinner Recipes post. And please come visit again as I continue to slice, dice, and dream up affordable Air Fryer recipes, Instant Pot Recipes, Southern Recipes, and more. Thanks for supporting Recipes from a Pantry, food blog.

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top down view of the cheese ravioli bake
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35 Easy Dinner Ideas

The easy dinner recipes you'll be reaching for again and again!
Course: Dinner, Main
Cuisine: American, Western
Diet: Gluten Free, Vegetarian
Author: Bintu Hardy


  • Select the easy dinner recipe you want to make.
  • Gather up the ingredients that the recipe calls for.
  • Follow the recipe instructions to cook up an easy and delicious dinner in no time!
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