Cooking solo? Here are a few quick and easy dinner ideas for one that make deliciously nourishing meals in a flash.
Cooking solo? It’s hard to get a delicious, nutritious meal on the table, especially if you’re on your own and tight on time. So we’ve gone through our archives to round up our favorite dinner ideas and recipes for one, for nights where you’re cooking solo and don’t have a moment to spare. Some of these aren’t even really “recipes,” they’re more like meal ideas. Feel free to customize them to make them your own, based on what’s on hand in your pantry!
Here's the very fastest in our quick dinner recipes for one: these Epic 5 Minute Tacos! Can dinner really be made in 5 minutes? We'll let you find out for yourself. These tacos feature our chorizo-style eggs, which materialize into a meaty flavor and texture before your eyes. Top with salsa fresca, cilantro and hot sauce, and prepare to be amazed!
While we’re on seriously quick dinner recipes for one, let’s talk about this Skillet Pesto Gnocchi! Cook up these Italian potato dumplings right in a skillet and they cook right in the sauce, helping to thicken it as they release starch. Stir in purchased pesto and you’ve got a bright and herbaceous sauce: in just 10 minutes total. This trick has become a staple in our house when we need a quick meal!
Next up in our quick dinner recipes for one: seared tuna! Seared ahi tuna is one of the most delicious foods on the planet, and it literally cooks in less than 5 minutes! Put it together with leftover veg or rice and you’ve got a quick dinner. If you’ve never had ahi tuna, it’s time to start. NOW! Sushi grade seared ahi tuna does not tasty fishy at all. The flavor? Buttery on the inside and salty savory on the outside. Here we’ve shown the seared tuna with some leftover rice, veggies, and Yum Yum sauce.
Time to make it: 5 minutes, plus time to prep how you’re serving it (try this couscous for a side dish that cooks in 5 minutes)
If there’s one meal we lean on time and time again, it’s the mighty quesadilla. This Mexican and Tex Mex recipe is genius in its simplicity, from the golden tortilla outsides to its melty, gooey interior. When we’re not sure what’s for dinner, it’s often this trick that we pull out. It’s not rocket science to make a quesadilla, but there are a few tricks that take it over the top. This easy quesadilla recipemakes a crispy, deliciously seasoned tortilla melt every time.
Here’s a quick dinner recipe for one that will knock you off your feet: and it sounds deceptively simple. This really is the perfect sauteed shrimp! The tender, juicy savory flavor is so remarkable, you won’t be able to stop taking bites. Really! We couldn’t. Here’s our secret seasoning blend and exactly how to make what we think is the best sauteed shrimp. Add couscous, rice or quinoa for an easy dinner.
There’s nothing we love more than a great artisan pizza, with the perfect supple charred crust and gooey toppings. But of course, there’s not time for that every day. Here’s a great shortcut to pizza night: Pita Pizzas! This recipe uses pita bread to stand in as the crust of a personal pizza. It’s the trick to a quick and easy meal, and it’s especially a hit with kids. Not sure what’s for dinner? Try this recipe: it’s faster than delivery pizza!
For fast and easy meals, it’s smoked salmon to the rescue! This flavor-packed protein requires no cooking at all, which makes it ideal for quick lunches and dinners. When you just don’t have time to think, try this Smoked Salmon Sandwich! The bold flavors don’t give away it’s secrets: it takes less than 10 minutes to whip up.
So here’s a quick dinner recipe that will hit the spot: the Avocado Club! Contrary to what you might think, simply slapping an avocado on a sandwich is not as delicious as it sounds. This sandwich combines the best hearty and rich flavors to make a killer sandwich. Avocado, mayo, cheese and bacon are so full of umami flavor it will surprise you!
Every now and then a recipe comes along that knocks our socks off. And so it was with this Honey Garlic Shrimp recipe! There’s nothing like the sweet savory combination of honey garlic glaze and juicy shrimp. The best part?It takes 10 minutes to make. This one is hits all the comforting, satisfying dinner notes with a lightning fast prep speed. It’s hard to find those recipes with that trifecta of healthy, easy and delicious: and this one has it in spades.
This tuna melt is the stuff dreams are made of -- and the absolute perfect quick dinner recipe for one! Between crusty bread is sandwiched a creamy, gooey mess so perfectly seasoned that you won’t be able to stop taking bites. Here we’ll show you how to make a tuna melt that will make you…melt.
Another one of our quick dinner recipes is a fancy sandwich! This Mediterranean veggie sandwich features our garlic herb white bean dip as a filling, but you can also use purchased hummus as a time saver! Add sliced red onion, shredded carrot, and feta cheese. To top it all off, we’ve used pea shoots for some visual flair; though you can use any type of sprouts or microgreens. It’s super fast to put together and pretty darn delicious. For a vegan version, replace the feta cheese with salty Kalamata olives.
Here’s one of those “back pocket” recipes to bookmark for when you’re short on time: Garlic Butter Noodles! This easy pasta uses mostly pantry ingredients and is quick and simple to whip up in just 20 minutes. Take a bite from this pile of warm, buttery pasta and it’s pure bliss!
This Tex Mex migas uses old tortillas or tortilla chips instead of bread; they’re mixed with eggs and veggies into a delightful scramble! Another name for this type of migas recipe is migas con huevo (crumbs with eggs). We almost always have old corn tortillas on hand, so for us this is a perfect clean-out-the-refrigerator weeknight meal! You can eat migas for breakfast, or for quick dinner recipes (we’re always in for brinner!).
Here’s a fun quick dinner recipe: Greek nachos! What’s in these Greek nachos? Juicy tomatoes, cool cucumber, and lightly flavored white beans are spread over crunchy pita chips and covered in a cool, bright green cilantro sauce. These Greek nachos are vegan, so they’re 100% plant based! You can make your own Homemade Pita Chips, but of course if you’re in a hurry, use storebought pita chips instead! You could also use hummus as a sauce instead: just mix it with a little water or lemon juice until you can drizzle it over the nachos.
Time to make it: 25 minutes, less with the shortcuts above
And rounding out our quick dinner recipes for one: garlic butter lemon salmon! This recipe pairs these natural partners in harmony, making an easy dinner in less than 30 minutes. It’s zingy from the lemon, rich from the butter and savory from the garlic, making this tender fish taste sublime! This easy salmon recipe works for both weeknight dinners and entertaining, making it one ideal back-pocket idea. Make a half recipe or leftovers save up to 3 days.
Time to make it: 25 minutes
More quick dinner recipes for one
Outside of these quick dinner recipes for one, here are a few more to choose from:
In a medium bowl, whisk together the 4 eggs. Add the chili powder, garlic powder, cumin, and kosher salt, and whisk until combined.
In a skillet, heat the olive oil. Add the eggs and cook over medium low heat, scraping as the eggs solidify, about 3 to 4 minutes total. As you scrape, they’ll start to form together into a meat-like texture. Don’t scrape too much or you’ll make too small of pieces: just enough for that it comes together!
If time, warm and char the tortillas by placing them on an open gas flame on medium for a few seconds per side, flipping with tongs, until they are slightly blackened and warm. (See How to Warm Tortillas.)
Top with salsa fresca (drain extra liquid before serving), thin sliced red onions, torn cilantro leaves, and hot sauce.
Hi, we’re Alex and Sonja Overhiser, married cookbook authors, food bloggers, and recipe developers. We founded A Couple Cooks to share fresh, seasonal recipes for memorable kitchen moments! Our recipes are made by two real people and work every time.