32 Easy Dinner Recipes for Beginners (That Even the Most Culinary Challenged Can Manage)
We get it—you’re busy. Us, too. And while we’d love to whip up an elaborate feast for dinner every night, that’s just not going to happen. The solution? These 32 dinner ideas that require minimal effort (or fancy chef skills) and taste delicious. From 15-minute pasta recipes to one-pan chicken winners, we’ve got you covered for an entire month of easy dinners.
1. 15-Minute Lemony Broccolini Pasta
Requires as much work and know-how as dumping out a jar of marinara—but is way more impressive.
2. One-Pan Roasted Chicken with Carrots
Just place all the ingredients on a sheet pan and pop the whole thing in the oven—what’s easier than that? (Oh, and there are barely any dishes to do.)
3. Ravioli Lasagna
While the original dish can be a little tricky (all that layering, not to mention making a béchamel sauce from scratch), this version is significantly easier to master. (But tastes just as delicious.)
4. Slow-Cooker Chicken Teriyaki
Let your Crock-Pot do the work. But seriously—just dump all the ingredients in there, set the timer, pick up some store-bought tortillas and you’re good to go.
5. Cheater’s Skillet Paella
A sophisticated dish that tastes like you spent all day making it, but it’s actually ready and on the table in under an hour.
6. Skillet Gnocchi with Sausage and Broccoli Rabe
How impressive does this guy look? (Just don’t tell anyone that all you had to do was throw everything in the pot and wait 30 minutes.)
7. Pan-Fried Cod with Orange and Swiss Chard
We know—cooking fish seems scary. But as long as you use a nonstick pan, this dish is even easier to cook than chicken. Promise.
8. Cacio e Pepe
Rich, creamy and oh-so-easy. Once you’ve mastered this decadent cheese and pepper pasta dish, it’ll be your weeknight go-to.
9. Mini Chicken Shawarma
Fact: Everything tastes better in miniature…including these two-bite pockets made with chicken tenders, soft pita breads and a creamy herb sauce.
10. Honey-Lime Chicken and Veggies in Foil
Allow us to introduce you to the cooking technique that gets dinner on the table quickly with zero dishes to clean up.
11. 15-Minute Mezze Plate with Toasted Za’atar Pita Bread
Is it fair to call this cooking? Maybe not. But when the results are this good, who cares?
12. One-Pot, 15-Minute Pasta Limone
Easy enough for a weeknight but fancy enough for a dinner party. Just don’t skimp on the Parm.
13. Shrimp with Cauliflower 'Grits' and Arugula
Our favorite veggie makes cutting back on carbs easy. Oh, and did we mention that you can have this guy ready and on the table in just 30 minutes?
14. 20-Minute Paleo Egg Roll Bowls
Who needs wrappers? Everyone knows that the filling is the best part.
15. Chicken and Snap Pea Stir-Fry
All you need to whip up this easy yet satisfying meal is five ingredients, a few pantry staples and 20 minutes. Simple.
16. One-Pot Tomato Basil Pasta
Even easier (and so much more elegant) than grabbing a jar of tomato sauce from the cupboard.
17. Chopped Italian Pizza Salad
Thanks to store-bought dough, this beautiful ‘za is as easy to toss together as your go-to bowl of kale.
18. The Ultimate Quinoa-Avocado Bowl
This healthy dish is more about assembling than actual cooking. And remember: When in doubt, watermelon radishes make everything look fancy.
19. 15-Minute Cheater’s Pad Thai
Sure, you could order takeout. Or you could save yourself time (and money) by whipping up this guy.
20. 15-Minute Cucumber-Avocado Blender Soup
Cooking healthy food doesn’t have to be difficult. Case in point: This quick and nutritious soup that comes together in practically no time.
21. Lime Chicken with Corn and Poblano Salad
Always reaching for chicken breasts at the grocery store? Here’s a little secret: Chicken thighs are the easy shortcut to achieving delicious, juicy flavor.
22. Chickpea and Vegetable Coconut Curry
Whip up a quick and easy Thai-inspired dish in 30 minutes flat. Serve it with rice on the side plus a sprinkle of scallions on top, if you’re feeling fancy.
23. Chicken Tinga Tacos
Psst: Don’t tell your dinner guests that these started with a rotisserie bird. (Or that the whole meal is ready in just 30 minutes.)
24. One-Pot Mac and Cheese
So much better than the stuff out of a box. (But just as easy to make.)
25. 15-Minute Mediterranean Couscous with Tuna and Pepperoncini
Three cheers for a quick dinner that you can create from what’s lying around in your pantry.
26. Slow-Cooker Pulled Chicken
Just ten minutes of prep work is all you need for this crowd-pleaser. Serve on brioche buns, topped with shredded lettuce and sliced tomato.
27. Sheet-Pan Lemon Butter Veggies and Sausage
Low-maintenance cooking is our favorite. This mouthwatering meal is hands-off and leaves you with practically zero dishes. Win-win.
28. Pasta Alla Norma with Eggplant
Dream scenario: We’re jetting over to Italy in a few days to enjoy the real deal. Next best thing? This pasta dish made with eggplant, basil and pecorino cheese. Buon appetito.
29. 15-Minute Buffalo Chicken Sliders
Having friends over to watch the game? These mini bites are guaranteed to impress.
30. BLT Pasta Salad
Juicy tomatoes, crispy bacon and crunchy lettuce mixed in with diced avocado and creamy pasta. Who knew you could improve the classic sandwich?
31. Buddha Bowl with Kale, Avocado, Orange and Wild Rice
So fresh and so clean. Feel free to mix and match with whatever fruit and veggies you have lying around.