Looking for a date night in? These romantic dinner ideas are perfect for a night in for two, from cozy pot pie to bananas foster.
It’s one thing to go out for a romantic dinner. But why not stay in and cook? A date night in can be just as romantic: and cooking together can bring two people even closer! Enjoying a delicious meal the two of you made together gives you a sense of investment that’s not there with even the fanciest of restaurants.
As a couple who cooks together for a living, you might think Alex and I might prefer going out to a date night in. But there is something so personal about making a meal and enjoying it together! (Plus, now that we have a kiddo we don’t have to get a sitter — ha!) Now, there’s something about the vibe of romantic dinner ideas that are different from everyday recipes. I’m not sure how to describe it, but an elegant pasta or a cozy pot pie is a bit more romantic than something like tacos or a soup. We’ll let you decide if you agree! Here’s what we think are are our top 10 romantic dinner ideas for two (though you’ll have some leftovers since many are designed for four servings — even better!).
Tips for a cooking date
Before we start: if you’re going to cook up some romantic dinner ideas together, you’ve got to be in the right mindset for a cooking date! Here are a few tips Alex and I have learned over the years for cooking together on a date night in:
- Don’t be overly ambitious. If you’re new to the kitchen or short on time, don’t try to make lots of new recipes at once. Pick a main recipe to focus on (from the romantic dinner ideas below!), then accessorize with a simple salad or dessert.
- Avoid starting hungry. Cooking when you’re starving is no fun, and is sure to end in tears or a fight. Instead, start cooking well before you might get hungry — and set out some snacks (and wine?) during the cooking process. Having some raw veggies or nuts on hand has saved us from a few kitchen catastrophes.
- Delegate. We’ve found it’s easiest to work in the kitchen by delegating a “lead” on the recipe, and a “sous chef”. The lead is in charge of reading the recipe and delegating the tasks to both him or herself, and the sous chef. We’ve found it’s the smoothest way to get things done — and we alternate roles frequently depending on the recipe!
- Clean as you go. No one likes ending with a huge pile of dishes! If you can, delegate one person or the other to do some cleanup before moving on to the next part of a recipe — it will save you a lot of heartache in the end.
- Slow down & just have fun! Sit back and enjoy the process — turn on some music, take a deep breath, and enjoy the time together. Cooking can be a lot of fun, but it requires a sense of humor and a relaxed demeanor! Even if it doesn’t turn out quite like the picture or taste like you intended — enjoy the time you spent getting there!
And now…10 romantic dinner ideas!
Looking for more dinner ideas?
Outside of these romantic dinner ideas, here are a few more collections of what to make for dinner:
- Easy Dinner Recipes for Busy Lives
- Best Vegan Dinner Recipes
- Easy Dinner Recipes for Two
- Easy Dinner Recipes for Family
- 10 Filling Plant Based Recipes Perfect for Dinner
- Easy Dinner Recipes for Beginners
- What Should I Make for Dinner?
- Easy Vegetarian Recipes for Beginners
About the Authors
Sonja Overhiser is author of Pretty Simple Cooking, named one of the best healthy cookbooks of 2018. She’s host of the food podcast Small Bites and founder of the food blog A Couple Cooks. Featured from the TODAY Show to Bon Appetit, Sonja seeks to inspire adventurous eating to make the world a better place one bite at a time.
Alex Overhiser is an acclaimed food photographer and author based in Indianapolis. He’s host of the food podcast Small Bites and founder of the recipe website A Couple Cooks. Featured from the TODAY Show to Bon Appetit, Alex is author of Pretty Simple Cooking, named one of the best vegetarian cookbooks by Epicurious.