20 Effortlessly Delicious Dump Dinners
On hectic weeknights, nobody has time to stand around and babysit multiple pans simmering away on the stove top—and that is exactly why we have dump dinners. Never heard of ‘em? Well, dump dinners are one of the easiest (and most effective) weeknight meal strategies you can deploy. Basically, these are recipes that involve gathering up a handful of ingredients, dumping them into a single cooking vessel—a slow cooker, casserole dish, sheet pan, or Dutch oven—and walking away until it’s time to eat. No stress, just delicious, hands-off meals the entire family will love.
Easy Slow-Cooker Jambalaya
Have dinner ready when you come home with this ultimate, slow-cooker Jambalaya. Featuring chicken, shrimp and smoked sausage, this classic Creole rice dish is perfect for the slow-cooker as all the flavors blend together over time in a marvelous way. As a simple one-pot meal, bring Jambalaya to your next potluck as a crowd-pleasing dish that doesn't skimp on flavor or presentation. Don’t be afraid of making too much because leftover Jambalaya still tastes great warmed up the next day with a splash of your favorite hot sauce.
Cheesy Chicken and Pinto Bean Taco Skillet
If you’re in need of a simple, tasty dish that works for a weeknight meal, consider that need fulfilled. This skillet dish is effortless to throw together and super customizable—you can use black beans or kidney beans instead of pinto. If you’re not in the mood for chicken, try shredded pulled pork from your favorite BBQ place. You can tailor the toppings as you see fit, so keep an open imagination. Serving is simple: just put everything on the table and let everyone make their own tacos.
Slow Cooker Sweet-and-Sour Chicken
This may be our easiest slow cooker recipe yet. There’s no browning in the skillet, no last-minute stovetop sauce—all the magic happens right in the slow cooker. Craving crunch? Serve it as a wrap in the cabbage of your choice.
Slow Cooker Shrimp Boil
For a classic summery meal without a fuss, look no further than this slow cooker shrimp boil. With a simple ingredient list and a largely hands-off cooking method, this easy seafood boil is a perfect recipe to plan on for casual warm weather entertaining or even as a low-effort meal to make at the rental house during a beach vacation. We opted to pull the corn out after 30 minutes of cooking as we preferred it on the crisp side, but as long as your slow cooker is large enough, feel free to leave it in the pot as the shrimp and sausage cook.
Easy Roasted Chicken Breasts with Tomatoes and White Beans
This simple baked chicken packs a ton of flavor atop a nice, toasty mixture of beans, tomatoes, and herbs. Since the chicken cooks on top of the vegetables, its juice add to the sauciness of the burst, roasted tomatoes, the buttery olives, and the tender creamy beans. A little bit of lemon zest makes a lovely finish. The entire combination is just as satisfying as it is visually pleasing, especially faro or another grain. This dinner is easy but has a grown-up feel, and the combined ingredients are meant to be together. If you like, you can add in or substitute other olives or vegetables such as Brussels sprouts and onions—whatever fits your palate.
Easy Huevos Rancheros Bake
You and your brunch crowd will love digging into the cheesy, spicy layers of this egg-topped casserole. Unlike tortillas, crisp corn tostadas will soften during baking but still maintain a good texture. You’ll find them at the supermarket near the tortillas. The eggs are cooked in a separate skillet at the end of the casserole cook time; slide them on top of the cooked casserole before topping with avocado, sour cream, cilantro, and jalapeño.
Crock Pot Easy Pot Roast
Look no further for the ultimate, easy chili recipe. You may think you know how to make chili, but our homemade chili recipe is a gamechanger. With just a push of a button, your weekday dinner is taken care of as the chili cooks away in the slow-cooker. Add chili to your next barbeque to top grilled sausages for an upgraded version of chili dogs. You can easily substitute ground turkey instead of beef for a lighter option and the rest of the ingredients should already be stocked away in your pantry. To top the hot, spicy chili, add shredded Cheddar cheese and corn chips for extra flavor and texture. To go beyond our favorite classic recipe, find more chili recipes here.
Crock-Pot BBQ Ribs
If you’re skeptical about ribs in a slow cooker, prepare to be amazed by the tender and delicious results. Cooking ribs doesn’t get easier than this two-step method, and while they serve as the perfect summer entrée, you can make this crockpot ribs recipe just as easily at any time of year. Start by selecting the style you like: baby back ribs, spare ribs, St. Louis style ribs, or country style pork ribs. Combine with your favorite sweet and smoky BBQ sauce and let your Crock-Pot take it from there. These easy slow cooker ribs are fall-off-the-bone tasty.
Slow Cooker Chicken Posole
Think of posole as chili's brothier, lighter cousin, a Mexican version of chicken soup. Posole is also a name for the hominy, or rehydrated dried corn, that goes in the dish.
Tex-Mex meets tater tots in this easy, inexpensive, and all-around comforting one-dish dinner. Our spicy twist on the classic tater tot casserole consists of a succulent ground beef filling—featuring creamy black beans, crisp-sweet corn, cheese, and mild green chiles for a kick—topped with crispy tater tots, and finished with a drizzle of an addictively spicy and tangy sour cream sauce. Top this fiesta of a casserole with fresh garnishes, such as avocado, tomato, jalapeño, and cilantro, and it’s as perfect to serve at your next football feast as it is for a casual weeknight meal. We use 85/15 lean ground beef for this recipe and recommend that you do not go with anything leaner, as the higher fat percentage both contributes to the filling’s rich flavor and keeps it from drying out while baking.
One-Pot Pasta with Tomato-Basil Sauce
This dish is a revelation. Throw all of your ingredients into one pot over medium-high heat, and about 25 minutes later you'll have noodles perfectly coated in a luscious tomato-basil sauce. This is any busy mom's weeknight dinner perfection. If entertaining, serve with one of our easy green salad recipes for the complete dinner experience.
Chicken Tamale Casserole
If you’re craving tamales but just don’t have the time, this tamale casserole is a quick and easy answer. Homemade tamales can be too time-consuming to prepare on a weeknight, but corn bread mix captures the same flavor. Feel free to experiment with different types of meat, such as ground beef or turkey, or trying chile verde salsa instead of enchilada sauce. No matter how you prepare it, this dish will quickly become a family favorite.
Sheet Pan Pork Tenderloin with Broccoli and Butternut Squash
This easy, flavorful supper brings great taste and texture to the humble sheet pan. The juicy roasted pork tenderloin has a nice herb coating, and its delicious creamy tarragon mustard sauce is great with the butternut squash and the roasted broccoli florets. The sweet roasted squash balances the savory roasted broccoli, and the meat is perfect with just a schmear of the sauce. Pork tenderloins typically come in packages of two, so freeze one for later or double the recipe for a larger crowd. Make sure to preheat the oven with the rimmed baking sheet inside—this way, the tenderloin gets a nice sear and color before the vegetables hit the baking sheet.
Sheet Pan Thai Red Curry Mussels
Easy weeknight dinners don’t get any more impressive than these sheet pan mussels. Bold aromatics come together with curry paste and rich coconut milk for an incredible broth that goes right on the sheet pan to steam the mussels and infuse them with flavor. We keep the prep time low on this restaurant-quality dish by opting for prepared ginger, garlic, and lemongrass paste; however, feel free to substitute fresh, whole ingredients. In fact, if you have some time to spare, you could even try your hand at making your own curry paste.
Sheet Pan Shrimp Fajitas
This easy dinner comes together in less time than it takes to wait for a table at your favorite Mexican restaurant. Mild poblano chiles and bell peppers get a nice char under the broiler and deliver more than double a day’s worth of immunity-boosting vitamin C.
Slow-Cooker Salsa Chicken
Lacey Houseman, 29, Thomaston, Ga.
"I like to toss this together before I leave the house, and a few hours later, dinner is ready."
Slow Cooker Chicken with 40 Cloves of Garlic
White meat can dry out after a long haul in the slow cooker, so we opt for bone-in thighs to guarantee optimal flavor and succulence. Make prep easier with prepeeled garlic, and pretty-up the platter with lemon slices and thyme sprigs.
5-Ingredient Slow-Cooker Pulled Pork
Three family dinners start with this one recipe for succulent and tender 5-Ingredient Slow-Cooker Pulled Pork.
Slow Cooker Creamy Lentil Soup
Simple flavors and a rustic touch will make this soup an instant home-cooked favorite, especially on chilly, wintry days. Inexpensive dried lentils make up the bulk of the soup, helping fill in your fiber gaps and keep you full longer. Chickpeas are the secret ingredient to achieve supreme creaminess, which become delightfully smooth when blended, and sneak in an extra 3g fiber per serving.