35+ Easy 15-20 Minute Dinner Ideas By Category That Are Delicious (W/ Pictures)

5 from 9 votes
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With hundreds of dinner recipes to choose from on our dinner category page, it’s easy to feel overwhelmed by options — especially when they all sound delicious!

So we gathered more than 35 of our easiest (most are ready in just 15 minutes or so) and most delicious dinner recipe ideas and organized them by category to make planning your dinners for the week easy.

Whether you need something SUPER quick because it’s been a long day, just want to throw something in your crockpot or instant pot and get back to your favorite TV show, need some ideas for a special occasion (forgot it was date night?), or want to make a quick casserole that’ll leave you with leftovers for days, we’ve got you covered.

And if you’re still feeling overwhelmed by all our tasty options, just skip to the bottom for one of our easiest, tastiest dinner recipes that your whole family will love so you can start cooking right away!

A fajita being held above a pan of sheet pan fajitas for a dinner idea
Sheet Pan Fajitas – Recipe Below

If you are the cook at your house, we know the question you get asked the most:

“What’s for dinner tonight?”

Maybe you even ask yourself this question multiple times a day.

It’s nice to have some easy dinner recipes up your sleeve so you can have a response.

This list of best easy dinner ideas consists of simple-to-follow recipes with easy-to-find ingredients and pantry staples.

In addition, they are all quick to prepare whether you are making it for the crock pot earlier in the day, or just before dinnertime on busy weeknights.

Quick Dinner Ideas

And we mean quick! All of these recipes can be prepared in 30 minutes or under. Keep ingredients for these meals on hand for nights when you don’t want to be in the kitchen all night. Another tip, save some of these recipes on your phone for those times when you are pondering hitting a drive-thru…again. Run to the grocery store instead, grab a few ingredients, and prepare a healthy, home-cooked meal that everyone will love.

  • Sheet Pan Fajitas (recipe below)- You’ll never make fajitas the same way again. This oven method makes cooking and clean up so much easier!
  • French Bread Pizza – Dinner can be done in a snap! Buy a loaf of French bread and top it with all of your favorite pizza herbs and toppings, like garlic, mushrooms and fresh basil.
  • French Dip Sandwiches – This meal comes together so fast. The broiled sandwich with deli roast beef and melted cheese is dipped in a hot au jus. Serve with fresh veggies on the side.
  • Lemon Spaghetti – Kids love this flavorful dish, and pasta recipes are super easy to put together. Add a garden salad for a delicious vegetarian meal.
  • Walking Tacos – It doesn’t get any easier than walking tacos. Seriously! Add ground beef, cheese, and taco toppings to an individual size bag of crushed up Doritos. You can walk and eat at the same time!
  • Hawaiian Haystacks – This was a family favorite when we were kids. A creamy chicken sauce is served over rice, and then topped with colorful fruits, veggies, and coconut flakes.
  • 15 Minute Beef and Noodles Skillet – This 15 minute, one skillet dinner, is hearty, cheesy, and delicious. And yes, it really is ready to serve in 15 minutes!
  • Creamy Cajun Shrimp Pasta – If you love the combination of shrimp and pasta, this dish is for you. The Cajun sauce is creamy with just a little kick.
  • More Quick Dinner Ideas

Easy Crock Pot Dinner Ideas

Thank the heavens for whoever invented the slow cooker! It is a lifesaver for busy parents that want to put a hot meal on the table at the end of the day. If you have kids, you after school until dinner is the craziest time of day! That’s when homework, errands, lessons, and practices all seem to happen. Don’t you feel so empowered when you have dinner already cooking? Prepare these meals in the morning or at lunchtime, and then relax knowing dinner is done.

Instant Pot Dinner Ideas

The Instant Pot is another life-saving kitchen appliance for those of us who love good food, but don’t have a lot of time. Pressure cooking usually takes about half the time as baking time in the oven or simmering time on the stove. Most recipes can be adapted to work in the Instant Pot, but figuring it out can be a little tricky, and not all ingredients cook the same. These meals are family-tested and approved for the Instant Pot, guaranteeing a dinnertime win.

  • Chicken Alfredo – This Instant Pot Chicken Alfredo is a low-maintenance, weeknight dinner that tastes incredible! You just throw everything in the pot and then walk away. 
  • Beef Stroganoff – Instant Pot Beef Stroganoff is a comfort food staple that your whole family will love. Using your Instant Pot makes it easy to get fork-tender beef and a rich savory sauce in a fraction of the time.
  • Easy Apricot Chicken – This no-fuss recipe only has 5 ingredients, so it comes together pretty fast. The chicken is moist and full of flavor.
  • Pulled Pork Sandwiches – Cook up this delicious pork in a snap, and after that add it to a bun for sandwiches or serve over rice.
  • Instant Pot Meatballs – These Instant Pot Meatballs are the easiest way to make meatballs EVER. No browning or sautéeing. Just throw them in the sauce uncooked and let the Instant Pot do the rest!
  • Instant Pot Gumbo – Loaded with sausage, chicken and shrimp, this gumbo is bursting with Creole flavors!
  • More Instant Pot Recipes

Dinner Casserole Ideas

What do you think of when you hear the word casserole? If you think of throwing all the leftovers in a 9×13 pan and baking it in the oven, think again. These casseroles are baked with textures and flavors that delight even the pickiest of eaters. There is a reason casseroles are a popular staple for dinner, and have been for decades. Similar to the Crock Pot, casseroles can be prepared before hand and usually bake for 30-45 minutes. Meanwhile prepare a salad, set the table, help the kids with homework – or better yet, take a hot bath or watch your favorite show on Netflix.

Dinner Ideas for Special Occasions

Having the in-laws over for dinner? Inviting friends over for the holidays? We have more ideas for those times you want to prepare something extra special. The majority of these recipes are still easy to prepare, but it will take a little more time and planning to add some fancy sides and even desserts.

  • Sunday Dinner Ideas – There is nothing better than gathering the family around the table for a delicious, traditional Sunday dinner, and these dinner ideas are perfect for warming hearts and filling hungry tummies.
  • Thanksgiving Dinner Ideas – A classic Thanksgiving meal is at your fingertips with these mouthwatering Thanksgiving Dinner Ideas. Choose from any of these simple recipes below for your complete holiday feast.
  • Christmas Dinner Ideas – Ah Christmas, the season of family, tradition, gifts and good food. Create a beautiful and memorable Christmas dinner for your loved ones with these delicious recipes.
  • Easter Dinner Ideas – These traditional Easter dinner ideas are sure to make your family Easter dinner a big success. You can’t go wrong with any of these tried-and-true recipes.
  • Halloween Dinner Ideas – Make your Halloween night extra spooky this year by trying out one of our fun Halloween Dinner Ideas.

To sum up, we hope you enjoy these dinner ideas that taste great AND save you time. For more meal planning fun, don’t miss our 33+ Easy Breakfast Ideas and 33+ Easy Lunch Ideas!

How to Make Sheet Pan Fajitas

A fajita being held above a pan of sheet pan fajitas

Sheet Pan Fajitas

5 from 9 votes
Sheet Pan Fajitas are a delicious, quick, and easy dinner. The seasoned chicken and vegetables cook to perfection in the oven. Throw on a few toppings, and dinner is done!
Prep Time 10 mins
Cook Time 20 mins
Total Time 30 mins
Course Dinner
Cuisine Mexican/Spanish
Servings 8 fajitas

Video

Ingredients

Optional toppings

Instructions

  • Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Cut chicken, peppers, and onion into lengthwise slices, and place in a large bowl. Add fajita seasoning packet, olive oil, and lime juice. Mix until chicken and veggies are evenly coated.
    Chicken, pepper, and onion slices in a large bowl
  • Spray a baking sheet with cooking spray. Spread chicken and veggies out in a single layer over the tray. Bake for 20 minutes or until the chicken reaches an internal temperature of 165 degrees.
  • Serve with tortillas and any desired toppings. We like guacamole, sour cream, cheese, salsa, and fresh lime juice.
    A fajita being held above a pan of sheet pan fajitas
  • Optional: During the last 10 minutes of cooking, wrap tortillas in foil and place in the oven with the Sheet Pan Fajitas to warm.
    Flour tortillas wrapped in foil

Notes

Nutrition value is for Sheet Pan Fajitas only. It does not include tortillas or toppings.

Nutrition Information

Calories: 221kcalCarbohydrates: 8gProtein: 25gFat: 10gSaturated Fat: 2gTrans Fat: 1gCholesterol: 73mgSodium: 135mgPotassium: 593mgFiber: 3gSugar: 2gVitamin A: 1067IUVitamin C: 70mgCalcium: 79mgIron: 2mg

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About the author

Echo Blickenstaff

Echo lives in Pleasant Grove, Utah with her husband, Todd, who works in advertising, and her four kids: two girls and two boys. She deploys her accounting degree as the blog’s resident problem solver. In her time outside the kitchen, Echo loves to get away from the phones and busy schedules and spend quality time with the family. Anywhere’s great – but getting out into nature in the mountains or on the beach – is the best kind of getaway.

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Comments

  1. 5 stars
    I filled out my monthly meal plan using a lot of recipes from this list! The beef and noodles skillet was a favorite.

    1. Thank you, Dana! I’m so glad this list of dinner ideas has been helpful to you! I also love the beef and noodles skillet – it’s delicious and fast. 🙂

  2. 5 stars
    Such a great list of recipes. There is something for everyone here. Made the french dip sandwiches the other day. They were quick, easy, and delicious. Can’t wait to make more from this list!

  3. 5 stars
    Such a great list of recipes but I do really love these sheet pan fajitas. Great easy idea and one everyone will love!

  4. 5 stars
    With all my kids involved in extra curriculars it’s been sometimes difficult to get dinner on the table. Especially looking forward to trying your Quick Dinner Ideas and finding some new favorites that make it a nourishing and healthy meal that also allows us to get to the practice on time!

  5. 5 stars
    I am always looking to switch up our dinner menus with new recipes. All of these look so good. Trying to decide which to make first. Thanks for putting this list of recipes together.