Quick and easy last-minute dinner ideas are always on my mind in the middle of a busy week! Whether you’re short on time, low on ingredients, or just need hassle-free dinner ideas, this incredible list has you covered with more than 50 of the best dinner ideas! From wholesome 30-minute meals to one-pot wonders and dinners that use pantry staples, our list has something for everyone. These kid-friendly dishes are perfect for those busy weeknights when you need a fast dinner.
The Most Popular Last Minute Dinner Ideas
Whip up delicious and easy last minute meals with some of our most popular recipes. From flavorful pastas to sizzling stir-fries, these quick recipes are perfect for busy weeknights when there is little time.
- Marry Me Chicken and Tortellini – Not only is this easy and full of flavor but it’s a one pan meal!
- One Pan Beef Ramen Stir Fry – From the fridge to the table in less than 30 minutes.
- Philly Cheesesteak Sliders
- Greek Chicken
- Juicy Baked Chicken Bites – These went viral on Instagram.
- Quick Steak Dinner – Steak always sounds fancy, but it is so simple!
- Alice Springs Chicken
- Chicken Alfredo
- EASY Ground Beef Enchiladas
Family Friendly Last Minute Dinner Ideas
Dinner ideas that are sure to please even the pickiest eaters, making them perfect for families with kids!
- Carnitas Nachos – A quick meal that also has easy clean up.
- Meatball Parmesan Sliders – Use frozen meatballs to make this super quickly!
- Ranch Chicken Bites
- Garlic Bread Pizza
- Ginger Ground Stir Fry
- Cheddar Bay Chicken Pot Pie
- One Pan Baked Tortellini – this only uses 4 ingredients and is such a winner!
- Baked Chicken Tacos
- Ham Fried Rice – The perfect weeknight meal!
- Cheeseburger Sliders – It’s no wonder these bitesized sliders went viral!
Last Minute Sheet Pan Ideas
Recipes where everything is cooked together on a single sheet pan or dish allows for easy preparation and minimal cleanup.
- Sheet Pan Chicken Fajitas
- Caprese Chicken Breast Dinner
- Baked Pineapple Chicken Sheet Pan Dinner
- One Pan French Onion Meatballs – The reviews speak for themselves.
- Sheet Pan Southern Meatloaf
- Marry Me Chicken Skillet – if you haven’t tried my Marry Me Chicken recipes you are missing out.
- Sausage and Veggies – with the BEST cajun butter sauce!
- Baked Chicken Cutlets with Veggies
- One Pan Greek Chicken and Cauliflower – you can serve these with rice or even put them into a tortilla for a yummy wrap.
30 Minute Last Minute Dinner Ideas
Recipes that can be prepared and cooked in under 30 minutes, perfect for those hectic evenings when time is limited.
- Million Dollar Spaghetti
- Pork Fajitas – in just 15 minutes!
- Million Dollar Pork Chops
- Marinara – Use it on top of noodles, Chicken Parmesan, Baked Ziti, Garlic Bread Pizza.
- Smothered Burritos – Under 30 minutes, 1 pan and a happy family!
- Crustless Chicken Pot Pie
- 15 Minute Chicken Fried Rice – this is also a family favorite!
- One Pot Lasagna Soup
- Brisket Grilled Cheese Sandwich – This recipe is one of my easiest and simplest recipes.
- Super Fast Ranch Chicken Thighs
- Korean Ground Beef
Last Minute Casserole and Chicken Bake Ideas
Simplify your meal prep with last-minute casserole dishes. These hearty recipes are perfect for busy evenings when convenience is key.
- Queso Chicken Bake – 2 minutes of prep. You have to try it!
- Pesto Chicken Bake with Tomatoes
- Shredded Mexican Chicken Casserole
- Creamy Pesto Chicken Casserole – full of flavor and a crowd favorite!
- Salsa Verde Chicken Bake
- Rotel Chicken Bake
- Bacon Cheeseburger and Rice – Basic pantry items are perfect for this.
- Chicken Parmesan Casserole
- Shredded BBQ Chicken Casserole – this is quick but you can also meal prep this. Also great the next day for lunches!
- Million Dollar Chicken Casserole – Similar to my other million dollar recipes, this one is amazing!
- Stuffed Bell Pepper Casserole
- Creamy Artichoke Chicken Bake
- Jalapeno Popper Chicken Bake
Last Minute Healthy Dinner Ideas
Easy dinner ideas doesn’t mean they can’t be healthy. You can have a wholesome dinner even on the busiest of nights with these healthy last-minute dinner ideas:
- Turkey Fried Rice
- Easy Baked Ground Turkey Tacos – I don’t think I’ve ever met someone that didn’t like taco night.
- Turkey Teriyaki Stir Fry
- Taco Zucchini Boats
- Spaghetti and Homemade Marinara – Quick, easy and you can use this sauce for meatball subs, pizza etc.
- Turkey Spinach Feta Burgers
- Lemon Pepper Chicken Tenders – add an easy veggie to keep it light!
- Million Dollar Chicken Salad
- Cranberry Walnut Chicken Salad – This is great as a sandwich! And you can easily prep this night ahead, too.
- Easy Ground Turkey Enchiladas
- Blackened Chicken – 12 minutes! Add a nice veggie side dish for the perfect healthy meal.
- Chicken Vegetable Stir Fry with Zucchini – You can use whatever vegetables you have on hand.
- Ground Chicken Stuffed Peppers
Last Minute Dinner Ideas Without Meat
Vegetarian or vegan recipes that are quick and easy to prepare, perfect for incorporating more plant-based meals into your week.
- Spinach Ravioli Bake
- Creamy Pesto Tortellini – my kids love this!
- Baked Bean Burritos – easy and so quick
- White Lasagna with Spinach
- Creamy Tomato and Basil Pasta Dish
- Garlic Bread Pizza
- Pasta with Alfredo Sauce
Last Minute Side Ideas for Dinner
These quick and easy side dish recipes will complement any main course with minimal effort.
- 3 Minute Corn on the Cob
- Crispy Brussels Sprouts
- Parmesan Cauliflower
- Mexican fried rice or a Chipotle cilantro lime rice are great!
- Perfect Mixed Veggies
- Our FAVORITE Garlic Bread
- Roasted Green Beans
- Garlic Smashed Potatoes
- Ranch Smashed Potatoes
- Italian House Salad
- Side Salad with a lemony dressing, homemade buttermilk ranch, or healthy balsamic
- Classic Buttermilk Cornbread
- No Yeast Dinner Rolls
This should help your stress level when you need a quick and easy dinner! If you need more ideas check out some of the easy Rotisserie Chicken recipes.
If there is a great last minute weeknight recipe that I left off the list, make sure and let me know in the comments!
What should I make for dinner that will last a couple days?
Tacos would be a great meal. They are incredibly family friendly and you can save the leftovers for lettuce wraps, taco bowls etc.
What is an essential item I should that can help me during busy weeknights?
Rotisserie chicken is so versatile so having one on hand when you know you’re going to have some busy nights can really help you when it comes to getting dinner out quickly.
What meals will last all week?
Check out my extensive list above! Most of my recipes can be doubled. Doing this is great because you will have lunches and dinners throughout the week making your days a little easier.
- 2 tablespoons butter
- 2 tablespoons flour
- 1.5 cup heavy cream
- 1 cup chicken broth, or vegetable broth
- 1/3 cup pesto , prepared
- 1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese
- 38 ounces cheese tortellini, frozen or refrigerated (about 2 bags)
- chopped fresh basil
- In a large skillet, melt the butter over medium heat. Once ist starts to foam, whisk in the flour and cook for 30-60 seconds.
- Slowly whisk in the broth mixing until smooth. Bring to a simmer, then begin to whisk in the heavy cream slowly until it is fully combined. Bring to a simmer again and allow to simmer for 2-3 minutes.Whisk in the pesto and grated parmesan cheese until smooth.
- Add the frozen tortellini (without cooking) straight to the pesto cream sauce, mix, and simmer for 4-5 minutes or until the tortellini is heated and tender.
- Garnish with freshly chopped basil and serve immediately.
- Heavy Cream – Use equal parts half and half.
- Chicken Broth – Use chicken stock or vegetable broth
- Parmesan Cheese – Romano or Grana Padano are good alternatives.
- Cheese Tortellini – Any flavor of tortellini can be used instead as long as it pairs well with pesto and is either refrigerated or frozen.