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51 Halloween Dinner Ideas for Adults

It’s Halloween: If you’re lucky enough *not* to be chaperoning a gaggle of candy-seeking, costumed children, you’re probably making dinner plans. And whether your night involves burrowing into the couch with a spooky movie or hosting a low-key dinner party with your fellow non-trick-or-treaters, we’ve got 51 Halloween dinner ideas that are festive, seasonal and scary…delicious (nothing too kooky or kiddie here).

Need a few more menu ideas? We have you covered with spooky Halloween cocktails to serve and Halloween desserts that will round out your meal.

55 Halloween Cookies to Bake This Spooky Season


1. Winter Squash Galette with Caramelized Onions and Gruyère

  • Time Commitment: 1 hour, 45 minutes
  • Why We Love It: special occasion–worthy, crowd-pleaser, vegetarian

Roasted, stuffed or pureed into soup, we’ll eat winter squash any way you make it. So yeah, pie is on the party menu. The homemade crust is gloriously flaky (not to toot our own horn), but you could use store-bought in a pinch.

2. Sausage and Fennel Pasta

  • Time Commitment: 25 minutes
  • Why We Love It: ready in <30 minutes, <10 ingredients, beginner-friendly

Thanks to Italian sausage, this dish is practically overflowing with flavor (but requires just six ingredients and 25 minutes to make).

3. Skillet Roast Chicken with Shmaltzy Potatoes

  • Time Commitment: 5 hours, 45 minutes
  • Why We Love It: one pan, special occasion–worthy, crowd-pleaser

If you’re looking to impress a costumed crowd, look no further. This glorious roast chicken is practically foolproof, thanks to an overnight buttermilk brine and a beginner-friendly skillet method.

4. Split Pea Soup with Bacon and Beer

  • Time Commitment: 2 hours, 15 minutes
  • Why We Love It: crowd-pleaser, beginner-friendly, dairy free

Don’t knock it ’til you try it, folks. This soup is so much more than its humble appearance—the usual ham is replaced with smoky bacon, and there’s a whole can of lager in there.

5. Oven-Baked Hot Honey Chicken Tenders

  • Time Commitment: 50 minutes
  • Why We Love It: beginner-friendly, dairy free, high protein

Listen, just because the kids are out trick-or-treating doesn’t mean you can’t eat off their menu. Plus, the chile-infused honey drizzle makes these tenders *so* grown up.

6. Crispy Cast Iron Skillet Pizza with Fennel, Sausage and Garlic

  • Time Commitment: 30 minutes
  • Why we Love It: one pan, ready in <30 minutes

Don’t tell anyone, but this crispy-chewy pie starts with store-bought dough and it’s still light-years better than takeout.

7. Baked Ginger And Lemon Chicken

  • Time Commitment: 1 hour
  • Why We Love It: one pan, high protein

Sultry ginger, tangy lemon, hot chiles and sticky honey are a combo made in heaven. Feel free to swap the thighs and drumsticks for chicken wings or even pork ribs; just adjust the cooking time accordingly.

8. Sheet-Pan Cashew Chicken

  • Time Commitment: 35 minutes
  • Why We Love It: sheet pan recipe, high protein, beginner-friendly

Fewer dirty dishes and more Halloween movies, we say. While many sheet-pan numbers yield ho-hum results, this one actually works, since you cook the vegetables before adding the chicken.

9. Sweet Potato Chili with Turkey and Black Beans

  • Time Commitment: 1 hour, 35 minutes
  • Why We Love It: one pot, beginner-friendly, <500 calories

Brisk fall nights call for a warm pot of beans, meat and veggies; it’s just a fact. As with most chili recipes, this one is super forgiving, so swap ingredients at will.

10. Sweet Potato Gnocchi in Herbed White Wine Sauce

  • Time Commitment: 1 hour, 30 minutes
  • Why We Love It: special occasion–worthy, vegetarian

While everyone else is out trick-or-treating, you’ll be lounging on the couch with a big bowl of this homemade gnocchi (and a glass of wine).

11. Easy One-Pot Lentil Kielbasa Soup

  • Time Commitment: 1 hour, 10 minutes
  • Why We Love It: one pot, beginner-friendly, dairy free, gluten free

Tonight is all about staying cozy. This hearty, healthy Halloween dinner will do just fine. If you want to make it a day ahead, go for it—the flavor will only get better.

12. Yotam Ottolenghi’s Roasted Butternut Squash with Lentils and Gorgonzola

  • Time Commitment: 40 minutes
  • Why We Love It: vegetarian, gluten free, no sugar

After all, it is W.S.S.winter squash season. Serve it warm or at room temperature; we prefer the former, since the cheese gets a little melty that way.

13. Cheater’s Sicilian-Style Pizza with Jalapeños and Honey

  • Time Commitment: 30 minutes
  • Why We Love It: ready in <30 minutes, crowd-pleaser, beginner-friendly

Skip the subpar frozen pizza (talk about spooky) and make this homemade version instead. It’s cheesy, spicy and—best of all—ready in 30 minutes flat. No shame in that store-bought crust game.

14. Slow Cooker Chicken Pot Pie Soup

  • Time Commitment: 5 hours, 35 minutes
  • Why We Love It: slow cooker recipe, crowd-pleaser

This soup has not one but two tricks up its sleeve: store-bought biscuit dough and your trusty Crockpot. The actual active cooking time? A cool five minutes.

15. Kale Salad With Persimmons, Crispy Chickpeas and Fried Shallots

  • Time Commitment: 1 hour, 5 minutes
  • Why We Love It: vegetarian, gluten free, dairy free

This is to offset all the Halloween candy we’ll inevitably eat in the upcoming days (or weeks). Choose Fuyu persimmons over Hachiya, since they can be served while still crisp.

16. Instant Pot Spicy Thai Butternut Squash Soup

  • Time Commitment: 30 minutes
  • Why We Love It: Instant Pot recipe, vegan

This recipe is all about maximum flavor and minimum effort, so naturally it takes just 30 minutes to whip up. Psst: Use pre-cubed squash to make it even easier.

17. Cornish Hens in Parchment Paper

  • Time Commitment: 1 hour, 20 minutes
  • Why We Love It: special occasion–worthy, beginner-friendly, gluten free

We think we just found the easiest Halloween dinner in the history of ever—the veggies and chicken steam in their packets, so the parchment does all the hard work. Even better, the cleanup is a breeze.

18. Cheater’s Slow Cooker Beef Bourguignon

  • Time Commitment: 8 hours, 20 minutes
  • Why We Love It: slow cooker recipe, special occasion–worthy, crowd-pleaser

Beef stew, but make it fancy…and then tell everyone at the party you’re being Julia Child for Halloween. You’ll have plenty of time to come up with a costume, since it basically cooks itself.

19. Healthy Slow Cooker Turkey and White Bean Chili

  • Time Commitment: 6 hours, 15 minutes
  • Why We Love It: slow cooker recipe, <500 calories

Few things are more comforting than a steaming bowl of chili on an, ahem, chilly evening. This one has ground turkey to keep it light. (You could use ground chicken, too.)

20. Low-Carb Zucchini Enchiladas

  • Time Commitment: 1 hour, 15 minutes
  • Why We Love It: beginner-friendly, high protein, <500 calories

Sure, they’re healthier for you—that’s not why we’re making them on repeat. It’s because they’re also really delicious. Bonus: The leftovers reheat like a dream.

21. Antoni Porowski’s Moroccan-Style Pasta Bolognese

  • Time Commitment: 3 hours, 50 minutes
  • Why We Love It: make ahead, special occasion–worthy, crowd-pleaser

The next best thing to getting Queer Eye’s food expert in our kitchen? His meaty, tasty pasta sauce. Make it ahead and store it in the freezer if you’re into dinner meal-prepping.

22. Pumpkin Soup in Pumpkin Bowls

  • Time Commitment: 1 hour, 30 minutes
  • Why We Love It: special occasion–worthy, vegetarian

Guys, come on. This is a Halloween no-brainer. The “bowls” are made with small sugar pumpkins, which you can find in any produce section.

23. Spicy Turkey Enchiladas with Pumpkin Seeds

  • Time Commitment: 40 minutes
  • Why We Love It: low sugar, <500 calories, beginner-friendly

Enchiladas, but make them autumnal with a sprinkle of pepitas. If you don’t have leftover roast turkey in the fridge, just use a rotisserie chicken.

24. Hearty Stuffed Butternut Squash

  • Time Commitment: 1 hour, 25 minutes
  • Why We Love It: vegetarian, gluten free, beginner-friendly

Who needs a bowl when you’ve got a gourd? They’re filled with quinoa, chickpeas, Gruyère and all the good stuff. Serve them for a few as a main, or a crowd as a side dish.

25. Pumpkin Pizza Crust with Arugula and Prosciutto

  • Time Commitment: 2 hours
  • Why We Love It: beginner-friendly, low sugar, high protein

While we’re here, we might as well stay on theme. This easy and festive pizza recipe makes great use of the canned pumpkin you already have in your pantry.

26. Macaroni and Cheese in Acorn Squash Bowls

  • Time Commitment: 1 hour, 30 minutes
  • Why We Love It: vegetarian, special occasion–worthy

This is—dare we say it?—better than a bowl of Halloween candy. (Yes, even candy corn.) To really take things over the top, add bacon bits to the breadcrumb garnish.

27. One-Pan Creamy Chicken Fricassee with Sage

  • Time Commitment: 1 hour, 30 minutes
  • Why We Love It: dairy free, one pan, low sugar

What’s the opposite of spooky and scary? Glossy, saucy chicken in a skillet (with almost no cleanup) is what. It’s surprisingly creamy, without a drop of cream in sight.

28. Pumpkin Polenta

  • Time Commitment: 1 hour
  • Why We Love It: <10 ingredients, vegetarian, gluten free

Rich, creamy and oh-so-seasonal. You can use fresh or canned pumpkin, depending on how fancy you want to get.

29. Tomato Soup in Grilled Cheese Bread Bowls

  • Time Commitment: 50 minutes
  • Why We Love It: vegetarian, high protein

Raise your hand if you grew up eating your mom’s homemade tomato soup on cold, cozy nights. This one will bring back all the nostalgic dinner feelings. (If you aren’t feeling a bread bowl, just serve cheesy toast on the side.)

30. One-Pot Creamy Pumpkin Mac and Cheese

  • Time Commitment: 20 minutes
  • Why We Love It: crowd-pleaser, <10 ingredients, vegetarian

Now this is how you do Halloween dinner. And if you’re not the biggest fan of pumpkin, don’t fret: The sauce can be made without squash, too.

31. Butternut Squash Risotto with Crispy Leeks

  • Time Commitment: 1 hour, 35 minutes
  • Why We Love It: vegetarian, gluten free, special occasion–worthy

Risotto is the ultimate comfort food—add creamy squash to fall-ify it, and you’ll be going back for seconds (or thirds). Wondering how to cut a butternut squash without channeling a slasher film? Refer to our handy guide.

32. Spicy Bucatini Amatriciana

  • Time Commitment: 40 minutes
  • Why We Love It: beginner-friendly, low sugar

Spooky? Nope. Spicy? You bet. This pasta will become a weeknight regular long past Halloween night.

33. Sausage, Corn and Poblano Chowder

  • Time Commitment: 50 minutes
  • Why We Love It: crowd-pleaser, <500 calories

When you’re sufficiently chilled and tired from handing out candy, come inside to a bowl of chowder that will warm you right up. Plus, the leftovers will freeze beautifully for up to three months.

34. Polenta with Roasted Mushrooms and Bacon

  • Time Commitment: 50 minutes
  • Why We Love It: special occasion–worthy, <10 ingredients, <500 calories

This dinner is creamy, filling and begging to be served with a pour of homemade apple cider. If your grocery store doesn’t carry a wide selection of mushrooms, reach for shiitake—they have a meaty texture and umami flavor that complements the dish.

35. Honey Mustard Sheet-Pan Chicken with Brussels Sprouts

  • Time Commitment: 50 minutes
  • Why We Love It: sheet pan recipe, <10 ingredients, gluten free

On our ideal Halloween dinner checklist? Fast, easy, minimal cleanup and tastier than a king-size chocolate bar.

36. Mac and Cheese with Crispy Parmesan-Phyllo Crust

  • Time Commitment: 1 hour, 20 minutes
  • Why We Love It: special occasion–worthy, vegetarian, crowd-pleaser

The decadent, cheesy pasta is just waiting to emerge from that gorgeous blanket of phyllo rosettes. They’re easier to assemble than they appear, but if you want to save time, just layer the phyllo in flat sheets.

37. Roasted Squash and Tofu with Soy, Honey, Chili and Ginger

  • Time Commitment: 1 hour
  • Why We Love It: vegetarian, dairy free, <500 calories

This is technically a side dish, but we recommend serving it as a vegetarian main course with rice on the side.

38. Curried Parsnip and Apple Soup

  • Time Commitment: 50 minutes
  • Why We Love It: dairy free, <500 calories, gluten free

While everyone else picks the candy apple out of their teeth, you’ll be enjoying a silky bowl of apple soup. Never cooked with parsnips? They’re like pale, sweet carrots.

39. Spinach and Three-Cheese Stuffed Shells

  • Time Commitment: 1 hour, 10 minutes
  • Why We Love It: one pan, crowd-pleaser, high prtoein

It’s not every day that we dig into a melty skillet full of cheesy, meaty pasta. But it’s Halloween and we’re going all out.

40. Alison Roman’s Roasted Squash with Yogurt and Spiced Buttered Pistachios

  • Time Commitment: 1 hour
  • Why We Love It: vegetarian, gluten free, low sugar

You haven’t lived until you’ve tried spiced buttered pistachios, trust us. Use your favorite squash variety; acorn, kabocha or red kuri would all taste fantastic.

41. Baked Coconut-Curry Meatballs

  • Time Commitment: 45 minutes
  • Why We Love It: special occasion–worthy, gluten free, low sugar

FYI, baking your meatballs instead of pan-frying them ensures a tender, melt-in-your-mouth texture that can’t be topped.

42. French Onion Chicken

  • Time Commitment: 1 hour, 15 minutes
  • Why We Love It: gluten free, low carb, one pot

One of our all-time favorite soups meets an easy skillet chicken dinner that’s smothered in gooey Gruyère cheese—yum. (The dish also happens to be gluten free and low carb, NBD.)

43. Pumpkin Risotto with Seared Scallops

  • Time Commitment: 1 hour, 8 minutes
  • Why We Love It: special occasion–worthy, gluten free

Feeling ambitious? Go ahead and roast your own pumpkin. Or don’t; canned will taste equally delicious.

44. 30-Minute Coq Au Vin Chicken Meatballs with Browned Butter Mashed Potatoes

  • Time Commitment: 30 minutes
  • Why We Love It: special occasion–worthy, ready in <30 minutes, <500 calories

You had us at browned butter mashed potatoes, but the 30-minute cooking time certainly sweetens the deal.

45. Whole Roasted Pumpkin Stuffed with Wild Mushrooms and Gruyère

  • Time Commitment: 3 hours, 20 minutes
  • Why We Love It: special occasion–worthy, crowd-pleaser, <500 calories

If you’re not eating straight out of a pumpkin at least once in October, you should fix that. A small-to-medium size squash will ensure the filling is cooked without extra time in the oven.

46. Butternut Squash and Goat Cheese Pasta Salad

  • Time Commitment: 50 minutes
  • Why We Love It: crowd-pleaser, beginner-friendly, vegetarian, <10 ingredients

Sorry, summer. You don’t own pasta salad. With an apple cider vinegar dressing, pine nuts and squash, this one has Halloween day written all over it.

halloween dinner ideas skillet chicken pot pie recipe
Photo: Liz Andrew/Styling: Erin McDowell

47. The Ultimate Chicken Pot Pie

  • Time Commitment: 1 hour, 30 minutes
  • Why We Love It: one pan, special occasion–worthy, crowd-pleaser

Simple store-bought puff pastry and your cast iron skillet prove that this comfort food is as easy to make as it is to devour.

halloween dinner ideas mexican posole recipe
Photo: Liz Andrew/Styling: Erin McDowell

48. Mexican Posole

  • Time Commitment: 1 hour, 15 minutes
  • Why We Love It: low sugar, high protein, <500 calories

This chili-soup hybrid is loaded with chicken, chiles and hominy, a type of large-kernel corn that’s soaked in an alkaline solution to soften it. You can find it in the canned-goods aisle.

halloween dinner ideas oven baked chicken wings recipe1
Erin McDowell

49. Oven-Baked Buffalo Wings

  • Time Commitment: 45 minutes
  • Why We Love It: <10 ingredients, beginner-friendly, high protein, crowd-pleaser

Admit it: It’s what everyone wants. Serve them with plenty of ranch dressing and crudités.

halloween dinner ideas roasted tomato soup recipe
Photo: Liz Andrew/Styling: Erin McDowell

50. Roasted Tomato Soup

  • Time Commitment: 1 hour, 45 minutes
  • Why We Love It: <10 ingredients, vegetarian, <500 calories, low sugar

Don’t settle for the stuff in a can if you can help it because TBH, you can do so much better. Grilled cheese sammies, anyone?

halloween dinner ideas skillet chicken fajitas recipe
Photo: Eric Moran/Styling: Erin McDowell

51. Skillet Chicken Fajitas

  • Time Commitment: 1 hour
  • Why We Love It: one skillet, high protein, beginner-friendly

Our love for our cast iron skillet runs deep. Serve with plenty of lime wedges and fresh guacamole.

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Katherine Gillen is a writer, recipe developer and food stylist with a degree in culinary arts and professional experience in New York City restaurants. She used to sling sugary desserts in a pastry kitchen, but now she's an avid home cook and fanatic baker.