These easy family dinner ideas will please everyone around the table! The dinner recipes healthy, tasty, and make meal time fun.
Dinnertime is hard: especially when you’re trying to make meals for family! There are always 101 opinions, diets, and preferences to please. Plus, it’s difficult to maintain inspiration day in and day out. Today, we’ve compiled all our top family dinner ideas! Each dinner recipe below is a meal that’s been tested by a real family (us!) and is easy to make at home. From lasagna to pizza soup to fajitas to loaded potatoes, we’ve got the recipes you need for your table. See also:23 Fun & Healthy Dinner Ideas for Kids
And now…family dinner ideas to make meal time fun!
Here’s a family dinner idea that marries basic Italian flavors into a mess of garlicky, gooey goodness: Baked Rigatoni! It’s a pasta bake that’s got all the comfort of tomato sauce and cheese, but has intrigue and uniqueness in the flavors. The tomato sauce is full of garlic and a little fennel for meatiness, and it’s got lots of fresh basil for a herbaceous kick. Cover it in gooey mozzarella cheese and you’ve got a dish that’s hearty enough to please any eater.
Here's a dinner idea that always goes over well in our family…this Black Bean Chili! It’s beyond simple to make, and the flavor is outstanding. It’s got a hint of smokiness to highlight the tangy tomatoes and savory black beans. Top it with your favorite toppings, and it’s so hearty and savory, you’ll forget this meal is healthy, too.
Here’s an incredible family dinner idea that’s impressive every time: these Sweet Potato and Black Bean Enchiladas! This recipe has long been a fan favorite. Tender sweet potatoes are the perfect contrast to savory black beans and tangy salsa verde. Top it off with Colby cheese, it’s the best gooey comfort food around. This one will please everyone: we guarantee it.
Who wouldn’t want all the flavors of a supreme pizza wrapped up in a cozy bowl? The broth of this soup is flavored with pizza sauce, tomatoes, and a little Parmesan to make it creamy. The toppings are swimming along inside: bell peppers, garlic and mushrooms, making for a savory pop that surprises you in every bite. Serve with garlic toast, grilled cheese or simply crusty bread and it’s a meal you’ll want to make over and over…and over.
Looking for an easy dinner recipe for family that’s a hit every time? Try these classic Shrimp Fajitas! This Tex Mex favorite is a recipe for dinnertime success. Every time we serve this meal, it gets rave reviews from everyone around the table. The fajita veggies are seasoned to perfection, and the shrimp are juicy and buttery. Throw them in a tortilla and spritz with lime, and each bite makes you want to do a happy dance.
Some family dinner ideas stand a head above the rest, and this is one of them. Try this cheese tortellini in creamy marinara sauce! In just 15 minutes, you’ve got a pasta skillet that’s a literal symphony flavor. The fresh basil-infused marinara sauce is perfectly complimented with pillows of tangy goat cheese.
On the lookout for those elusive recipes that are healthy, easy and delicious? Meet a family favorite: these easy Black Bean Tacos! It stars our 5 minute black beans, a quick taco filling that’s bursting with flavor in just a few minutes. Top it with all the best taco toppings: corn, avocado, pickled onions: and a sprinkling of feta cheese. If you have time, we love it with cilantro lime sauce: but taco sauce and sour cream does the trick too!
Want to make pizza that feeds a crowd? Let’s make Sheet Pan Pizza! This style of pizza is a bit different than the standard circular variety, but it’s become an instant favorite around here. Why? It makes a big pan the equivalent of 3 medium pizzas, and it’s so easy to make! You don’t need any special equipment, and you don’t have to bother with shaping the dough.
It can be hard to find a family dinner idea that works as a meal for everyone, and here’s one we fall back on time and time again: the Loaded Baked Potato! Mix and match any variety of baked potato toppings and you’ve got a delicious dinner that works for almost any diet. There are endless ideas for customizing the meal and it lets every eater get creative.
Here’s an easy dinner recipe for family that seems to please just about everyone: Taco Salad! This Tex-Mex salad has been impressing for decades, and it gives us all the 1990’s nostalgic vibes. Here’s why we love this concept: it’s customizable for any eater and easy to scale up for a crowd.
So here’s one to file under family dinnertime basics: this Easy Rice Bowl! This 30 minute dinner features these easy black beans, a trick to make a bland can of beans taste amazing in 5 minutes. Pair it with rice and colorful veggies. The kicker? A zingy cilantro lime ranch that you’ll want to bathe in. These were so tasty and easy, we knew we had to share (we simply inhaled them).
This Healthy Wild Rice Soup is ideal for family dinner! This fan favorite soup is delectably creamy and delicious: it's packed with plant-based protein from cashews, white beans, and hearty wild rice. The flavor is out of this world! Everyone who tastes it becomes a believer. Make a big batch and freeze leftovers!
Here’s a go-to when you need a plant based dinner that’s protein-packed: this Vegan Meatballs recipe! This recipe takes under 30 minutes to make, and it’s packed with protein! Even better: the flavor is outstanding. Toss with your favorite marinara sauce, and it's a crowd-pleasing meal the whole family will enjoy!
What better to please a crowd than Sloppy Joes? These lentil-based Sloppy Joes have a zingy filling that tastes just as good as the meaty version. Put it on a toasted bun with some bread and butter pickles, and WOW!
Of course, one of the top family dinner ideas is a great lasagna! And dang, is this one good. The tomato sauce has just the right zing and garlic nuance, and the spinach ricotta cheese filling is classic and creamy. It’s scented with fresh thyme and a little lemon zest, which takes it to over the top status.
Many of our readers swear by this enchilada skillet recipe! It’s got enchilada sauce, tortilla strips, and a bunch of veggies and black beans, all nestled together in a cast iron skillet with just the right amount of cheese. It’s so flavorful! Use your favorite store-bought enchilada sauce or our homemade version (made in advance).
Here’s an impressive family dinner idea that’s calling your name: these irresistible Salmon Burgers! These burgers are so deliciously satisfying, we’re kicking ourselves this hasn’t been part of our repertoire of meals until now. Each bite is hearty and juicy, topped with a creamy remoulade sauce that takes it to rockstar status.
Always a winner at family dinner is mac and cheese: but what about pesto mac and cheese? This seriously cozy comfort food is just as gooey as it looks, and adding a swirl of bright green basil pesto is a total genius move. The way the Havarti cheese melts into the creamiest sauce is truly mind blowing.
Here's a sheet pan dinner full of colorful vegetables and loaded with flavor! It's a plant-based dinner that roasts up everything on a sheet pan at once: lots of good-for-you veggies and chickpeas for plant based protein. Throw it all in the oven while you cook rice or quinoa. Top with a dollop of hummus, cashew cream, or another vegan sauce. Dinnertime win!
Meet our favorite vegetarian and vegan family dinner idea: the Falafel Burger! It's so easy to make with canned chickpeas. The combination of a cumin and coriander-scented chickpea patty with cool cucumber sauce and all the fixin’s is pretty darn epic.
Why not harness the magic of the shrimp boil for an every day meal? This shrimp boil is an easy way to make it on a weeknight: no large pot or fire required! What results is a seafood boil full of oven-roasted goodness. The veggies have browned and caramelized goodness, salty and seasoned with the nuance of cozy Old Bay seasoning, and the shrimp are perfectly tender.
We’ve got a new solution to an easy family dinner that pleases everyone: this baked salmon and asparagus recipe! It’s simple, it’s elegant, but it tastes like a meal you’d order at a restaurant. Roasting it up on a sheet pan with lemon slices and fresh herbs adds effortless flavor that feels fresh yet refined.
Welcome to…your new favorite healthy dinner. Well, at least it’s ours! Something about all those tasty fillings snuggled cozily into a tortilla makes a burrito irresistible. This one is packed with flavor from Spanish rice, seasoned black beans, peppers and onions, and mashed avocado.
Another great family dinner recipe: the soba noodle bowl! This one the ultimate quick weeknight meal, a filling vegetarian dinner that comes together in 20 minutes flat. It’s filled with stir fried broccoli, red pepper and onion, mix with a savory sauce with creamy peanut butter. Even better: eggs are scrambled right into the mix (like fried rice, but with noodles!).
Last up: a stunning family dinner recipe for when you have time to prep: Shepherd's Pie! Imagine: a creamy gravy filled with tender vegetables, lentils and scented with fennel and sage. Then a fluffy layer of Yukon gold potatoes, topped with fresh rosemary. It’s layered together in a baking dish and then baked until golden. It always gets rave reviews!
More tips for cooking for family
We hope you’ve enjoyed these easy dinner recipes for family! But when it comes to putting meals on the table, it’s even trickier when you’ve got a family in tow. Outside of family dinner ideas, here are a few things we’ve learned about cooking for family from our 4 year old:
Start with veggie snacks. While you’re cooking dinner, one way to avoid hungry kiddos is to start with some veggie appetizers. Put out a plate of carrot sticks, sliced peppers, and snap peas, and the kids will have no options but to go for the veggies! (You could even set out some Greek yogurt ranch dip too.)
Work together. If possible, work with your spouse or partner on dinner and corralling the family. It’s easier with 2 people working together! We generally cook together as a couple.
Don’t sweat it if it doesn’t go over the first time. One thing we’ve learned about cooking for kids is to not define dislikes. It takes 7 times of introducing a new flavor for it to stick. Our son Larson’s tastes change daily — so when we try some family dinner recipes a second time, he loves them even if he didn’t like them the first!
Find healthy ways to end the meal. If our kiddo doesn’t eat enough during the meal, sometimes we bring out Peanut Butter Dip and apple slices as a healthy post-meal snack that seems like a treat (but it’s full of healthy ingredients!).
½ cup grated Parmesan cheese, plus more for sprinkling
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit. Brush a 9 x 13″ baking dish with olive oil.
Start a pot of well salted water to a boil. Boil the rigatoni until it is just al dente (start tasting a few minutes before the package recommends: you want it to be tender but still a little firm on the inside; usually around 7 to 8 minutes). Drain.
Meanwhile, mince the garlic. In a separate pot, heat the olive oil over medium high heat. Add the garlic and fennel seeds and cook for 1 to 2 minutes until fragrant. Add the basil, marinara sauce, and tomatoes and stir for 1 minute. Stir in ¾ teaspoon kosher salt, ½ teaspoon onion powder and 1 pinch red pepper flakes and the ½ cup Parmesan cheese. Remove from the heat.
Pour the sauce and the drained pasta into the baking dish. Top with torn pieces of mozzarella. Sprinkle the entire top with generous sprinkles of Parmesan cheese.
Cover with foil and bake 15 minutes. Remove the foil and bake for an additional 10 minutes until browned.
Remove the pan from the oven and top with ¼ teaspoon kosher salt, divided over the top. Let stand 5 minutes. If desired, garnish with chopped basil. (Make ahead instructions: Make the pasta through Step 4 and cover with foil. Refrigerate until baking, up to 24 hours.)