55+ Easy Dinner Recipes for Busy Weeknights
Everybody understands the stuggle of getting dinner on the table after a long day. If you're looking for a simple recipe to simplify your weeknight, you've come to the right place--easy dinners are our specialty. For an easy supper that you can depend on, we picked out some of our tried-and-true favorites that have gotten us through even the busiest of days. Whether you're cooking for yourself or for a family, these easy dinners are sure to leave everyone satisfied and stress-free.
Instant Pot Two-Minute Taco Soup
Dinner doesn’t get any easier than this tasty taco soup that the whole family will love.
Simply Steamed Salmon and Corn With Dill Yogurt
Steaming is a gentle cooking method that preserves the natural flavors of all the components of this 15-minute meal.
Spicy Zucchini Salad
Fiber- and protein-packed chickpeas bulk up this late-summer salad.
Skillet Fajita Pitas
Cooking over high heat without stirring gives the chicken and peppers a smoky, charred crust.
Instant Pot Gumbo
Gumbo is traditionally a time- and labor-intensive dish, but our Instant Pot recipe delivers full-on flavor in just one hour.
Simple Lemon, Shrimp, and Prosciutto Pasta
Salty, umami-packed prosciutto complements the sweet shrimp and tomatoes in this streamlined 20-minute main.
Instant Pot Butter Chicken
If you say you don't like Indian food, you've probably never tried butter chicken. This easy dish is mild on spice (unless you don't want it to be) and big on flavor - perfect for a weeknight dinner.
Classic Hoppin’ John
This Southern staple serves up a generous helping of comfort and tradition. We use thick-cut bacon to get the perfect amount of smokiness, as opposed to a ham hock. A ham hock can, at times, overpower the dish. Traditionally, Hoppin’ John is a one-pot recipe, but that often produces soupy results. Instead, cook the black-eyed peas with aromatics and broth until tender; then strain and reserve the liquid for later. Once the rice is done, gently stir it into the pea mixture with the liquid. This method does require washing an extra pan, but we think you’ll agree that it’s worth it. There are three things you do want to keep traditional about your hoppin’ John though: the pork, the peas, and the rice.
Instant Pot Chicken Wings
Make homemade wings in minutes with some help from your Instant Pot. Everyone's favorite pressure cooker get your chicken wings cooked through quickly, while the broiler crisps them up. Serve with crunchy veggie sticks and the sauce of your choosing.
Pan-Seared Pork Chops with Roasted Fennel and Tomatoes
One pan, a handful of ingredients, and 30 minutes are all you need to put this impressive pork chop skillet dinner on the table. This flavor-packed, single-skillet supper is an easy dinner for two that feels like something special. It’s also an ideal recipe for one, as the leftover chop and veggies reheat well for a next-day lunch worth looking forward to.
Skillet Chicken Thighs with Spring Vegetables and Shallot Vinaigrette
This elegant single-skillet meal for two is deceptively easy to make. Ready in under an hour, this skillet chicken dinner includes your protein (perfectly golden-crisp chicken thighs), green veggies (peas and asparagus), a starch (baby Yukon gold potatoes), and a whole lot of vibrant flavor (hello, shallot vinaigrette). A great recipe for anyone cooking for one or two, this easy weeknight chicken dinner is one you’re sure to come back to again and again.
Sheet Pan Carnitas Bao Buns
This genius recipe is the perfect solution for anyone who craves delightful, soft and fluffy steamed buns, but doesn’t own a steamer (i.e. most of us). Here, we create a pseudo-steamer using the ever-versatile sheet pan; simply place a wire rack (for the buns to sit on) in a sheet pan filled with a shallow layer of water, tent the buns loosely with foil, and you’re ready to go. While you steam the buns, you’ll use another sheet pan to simultaneously cook the deliciously crispy pulled pork that you’ll fill the buns with. You can find frozen bao buns (we used Wei-Chuan brand) at your local Asian market—and you can also pick up gochujang, ponzu sauce, and Kewpie mayo there as well. We prefer Kewpie in this recipe as it is a bit sweeter than typical mayonnaise, which is a great balance to the gochujang. And if you want to cut back on the heat a bit, as the saucy pork definitely has a kick, reduce the gochujang by 1 tablespoon. These little buns make for a great game day snack or party appetizer, and the recipe is easily multiplied to serve more people.
Broiled Salmon and Asparagus with Crème Fraîche
This technique cooks salmon perfectly every time. The sauce is flavorful and rich, but not heavy--just right for a weeknight.
Sheet Pan Chicken with Roasted Baby Potatoes
A very hot oven quickly roasts the potatoes and finishes the chicken without overcooking. You can substitute fingerling potatoes, halved lengthwise, for the small Yukon gold potatoes.
Chicken, Broccoli, and Brown Rice Casserole
This healthy whole-grain spin on a comfort food classic is indulgent, creamy, and a guaranteed family-pleaser. Cost for 4: $10.31
Pan-Roasted Pork Tenderloin and Peppers
This dish comes together in just one pan, making for quick cleanup and tons of flavor as the elements build on each other. Each component contains just 5 ingredients or fewer (oil, salt, and black pepper are freebies). Anchovies add depth to the peppers, but you can omit them if you like.
Thai Basil Chicken Stir-Fry
Red bell peppers are the star vegetable in this stir-fry, a crisp, sweet counterpoint to the serrano chile heat. Use any vegetables you like, but keep it simple; one or two vegetables, plus the basil and chicken, are all you need.
Pork Medallions with Grainy Mustard Sauce
Supper doesn't get any simpler than one pan and five ingredients. To easily round out the plate for this elegant entrée, serve with a spinach salad and roasted potatoes or a bed of wild rice, and sprinkle with chopped fresh parsley.
Weeknight Lemon Chicken Skillet Dinner
It doesn't get much easier, or more satisfying: a complete dinner in one pan in half an hour. Lemon brightens this cozy winter meal.
Grilled Chicken with Tomato-Avocado Salad
All the fresh flavors of summer come together in Grilled Chicken with Tomato-Avocado Salad. The homemade buttermilk dressing balances the heat of the chicken and completes the meal.
Grilled Mango-Habanero Jerk Chicken
You probably have all the ingredients on hand to make this quick spice rub. Water or chicken stock can be substituted for rum in the mango sauce.
Flattened Chicken with Almond and Paprika Vinaigrette
While pounding the chicken breast thin and searing is a French technique, the flavor profile here is decidedly Spanish.
Garlicky Roasted Spatchcock Chicken
Removing a chicken's backbone—a technique called spatchcocking (or butterflying)—ensures juicy meat and golden crisp skin in less time than roasting a whole bird. Although it does require some simple knife skills, it's the best and fastest way to roast a chicken. Plus, you can save the backbone to make a great chicken stock. This is the kind of sheet pan dinner you'll want to make all fall and winter long.
Five Spice Chicken Thighs with Apples and Sweet Potatoes
The seasoning blend called Chinese five-spice adds a warm note without pushing the apples into pie territory, and the apples are tart enough to balance the flavor too. Cooked fennel bulbs add a warm, aromatic note that makes this sheet pan dinner smell like a cozy, Autumn night. Roasting ingredients together on a sheet pan saves time and reduces cleanup. Make sure to head to your farmer's market between August and November for the freshest, ripest apples that will yield the most flavorful, sweet results.
Two-Cheese Veggie Nachos
We love the double-cheese contrast here: Shredded cheese melts into a bubbly blanket over the tortillas, while crumbly queso fresco covers the veggies with a salty kick. It's an impressive dish for coffee table dining--it's fun to keep it all on the baking pan and serve as a shared platter.
Fast Skillet Chicken Cacciatore
Lean chicken breasts cook quickly--in just 15 minutes compared to the hour-long braise in most cacciatore recipes. If you'd like more heat in the sauce, kick up the crushed red pepper to 1/2 teaspoon.
Grilled Chicken Florentine Pasta
Add grilled chicken, spinach and a light cream sauce to linguine for an easy one-dish meal.
One-Pot Pasta with Spinach and Tomatoes
This pasta dinner is a game changer: You use just enough liquid to cook the pasta--no colander needed. Recipe adapted from our sister publication Southern Living. Cost for 4: $8.43
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.
Honey-Soy-Glazed Salmon with Veggies and Oranges
Here's the delicious proof that you can serve a complete, no-mess fish dinner in less than 25 minutes.
Skillet Rice with Shrimp and Chicken
Simple substitutions give these hearty dishes flavorful twists: Swap sausage for chicken, crabmeat for shrimp, or make a vegetarian option by subbing vegetable stock and omitting proteins.