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Need to find dinner recipes for tonight…fast? Try these easy dinner ideas that are tasty, healthy, and made in 5 to 30 minutes.

Easy dinner ideas
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The question we get asked most often is, “What are your favorite easy dinner ideas?” We get it: there are 101 things to do and adding cooking can be stressful, especially on weeknights. But making healthy recipes doesn’t have to take all day! The best easy dinner ideas balance big flavor and quick cooking methods. As cookbook authors and recipe experts, we’re sharing our top easy dinner ideas you can make in between 5 minutes to 30 minutes, listed in order of speed. In many cases, making one of these simple dinner ideas is even faster than takeout!

The recipes below include recipes for a variety of diets, including vegetarian, vegan, dairy-free, gluten-free, pescatarian, and chicken recipes. Want recipes by type? Try our top 50 Healthy Dinner Ideas, 30 Minute Meals, 40 Vegetarian Dinner Recipes, 30 Vegan Dinner Recipes, 30 Gluten-Free Dinner Recipes, and more.

And now…our top fast and easy dinner recipes!

What people are saying…

Does this sound too good to be true: recipes that are easy AND taste good? Well let us assure you, it’s absolutely possible! Here are a few recent testimonials from readers who have emailed us about the easy dinner recipes they’ve been trying:

  • “My husband has a heart condition and I have borderline high cholesterol. My son bought me your cookbook and I am continuing to try new recipes from your book and website. I have managed to lose about twenty pounds and my cholesterol has improved. This week I made your teriyaki stir fry and mushroom and goat cheese pasta. Both were TERRIFIC!” Debbie
  • “My husband and I decided to take our family down the vegetarian road about 9 months ago. I used to LOVE cooking, but have been in a slump since we went vegetarian. Well, tonight, the tides have turned! I made four of the five sandwich recipes I got from your blog and every single one was a winner!  I have not felt this satisfied in the kitchen in such a long time! ” Terra-Leigh

Top concepts for easy dinners

Turns out, you can find dinner recipes made in less than 30 minutes with big flavor. These are recipes with fresh, high quality flavor that’s achieved without using cheap shortcuts. Outside of the easy dinners above, here are some of our favorite concepts for fast and easy dinner ideas for you to riff on: 

More easy dinner ideas

Want more? Pick from these easy weeknight dinner recipes:

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Cheese tortellini

50 Easy Dinner Ideas (5 to 30 Minutes!)

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  • Author: Sonja Overhiser
  • Prep Time: 5 minutes
  • Cook Time: 10 minutes
  • Total Time: 15 minutes
  • Yield: 4 1x
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Cheese tortellini makes the best easy dinner idea! Serve it up in a creamy marinara sauce flavored with goat cheese and basil. 


  • 12 to 16 ounces frozen or refrigerated cheese tortellini
  • 28 ounce can crushed fire roasted tomatoes (or best quality crushed tomatoes)
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
  • 2 teaspoons garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 3 cups baby spinach leaves, tightly packed (or chopped spinach)
  • 8 fresh basil leaves
  • 4 ounce goat cheese log


  1. Boil the tortellini according to the package instructions (fresh usually takes 2 to 3 minutes and frozen takes 2 to 5 minutes to boil). Then drain it. 
  2. Meanwhile, in a large skillet, place the crushed tomatoes, olive oil, balsamic vinegar, garlic powder, oregano, kosher salt, spinach, and whole basil leaves. Bring to a simmer, then cover and simmer while the pasta cooks or at least 10 minutes.
  3. When the pasta is done and drained, add it to the skillet. Crumble in the goat cheese into the sauce and stir until a creamy sauce forms (if you’d like, save out a few crumbles for topping). Serve immediately.
  • Category: Main Dish
  • Method: Stovetop
  • Cuisine: Vegetarian
  • Diet: Vegetarian

About the authors

Sonja & Alex

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 and the joy of cooking! Our recipes are made by two real people and work every time.

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  1. Vi says:

    Thank you so much for the good ideas. It’s always a problem to decide what to cook for dinner. But with your list, I will get rid of this problem, well, at least for the next month :)

  2. Nina Borum says:

    This is Nina Borum, I enjoyed your Butter Garlic Sprimp recipe it is nicely made. It was nice , fast and easy to make. Is there any way you can send recipes to my website. Loved watching your video! I just looked back on my comment and I made a lot of mistakes. What I want to say is I love and enjoyed seeing your recipes! How much is your Cook book?

  3. Heather says:

    Love these dinner ideas! Have to try the Soba Noodle Bowl soon!

  4. Chelle Thompson says:

    This was wonderful!! My family loved it- even the children. I paired it with a warm loaf of French bread and dipped in seasoned olive oil.

  5. Becky says:

    That’s an amazing information list. I have to save it in my wall to make dinner for our family. Thanks for sharing and love your site. Waiting for a new recipe.