85 Cheap and Easy Dinner Ideas You Can Make in Half an Hour
These tasty family-friendly recipes take less time than delivery!
Looking to switch up your meal rotation (and possibly save a little on your grocery bill)? These quick and easy dinner ideas will feed a family of four—or feed two with tomorrow's lunch all worked out. Plus, every recipe comes together in 30 minutes or less, so you can go from "what's in the fridge" to ringing the dinner bell faster than delivery. From classic dishes to healthy updates, you'll find plenty of family-friendly dinner ideas to satisfy even the pickiest little ones and seasonal recipes too.
What's YOUR favorite easy dinner? Tell us in the comments, below!
This well-loved dish has been popular for decades—and for good reason: Few simple meals are more satisfying.
Get the recipe for Salisbury Steak.
Honestly, we could eat this soup for days. It's simple, it's tasty, and it's a great way to stretch a rotisserie chicken!
Get the recipe for Chicken-and-Spinach Tortellini Soup.
Check out more inexpensive family-friendly dinner ideas here.
If you're looking for ways to make chicken a little less boring, put this recipe in your pocket. The classic creamy, savory sauce is easy to make and so good you'll want to drizzle it over everything.
With a fast sauce made from pantry staples, and an even faster sear, this classic takeout staple comes together in less time than you can get it delivered. And it's fresher, too!
Adult and kid friendly, this fun pasta dish boasts loads of roasted salmon, fresh spring peas, and oodles of flavorful dill. And any leftovers (if there are any!) make for a delicious lunch.
Get the recipe for Spring Pasta with Salmon, Peas, and Dill.
Sure, you could order some from the local place. Or, for a fraction of the price (and in the same amount of time) you could just make your own—and it'll be much tastier.
Keep this endlessly adaptable recipe in your back pocket for the next time you have leftover rice in the fridge. It's delicious. It's easy. And there's just 20 minutes between you and big comforting bowl of it.
Other versions of this classic Eastern European comfort food can take hours to put together. This one can beat your go-to delivery app to the table, and it's yummy enough that the kids'll lick their plates clean.
This fast and flavorful dinner uses a neat technique: cooking the ingredients in a thick sauce, so they're less likely to fall out from between the tortillas. It's tasty and clever!
If getting dinner on the table STAT is of utmost concern, then you want fish. Paired with a simple salad, this whole meal can be ready in about 10 minutes.
It's easy to keep nearly everything you need to make this classic comfort-food dish in the pantry or freezer, making it both delicious and easy. What else could you want?
This elegant-enough-for-a-date dinner only has four main ingredients: pasta, butter, cream, and Parm!
The trick to making this super-hearty salad extra fast? Rotisserie chicken breast!
Though it's perfect for picnics, this easy dish also makes a great light summer dinner. It comes together in 20 minutes and tastes delicious warm or cold.
Seared in a little oil until just tender, salmon is delicate, tender, and delicious.
If you've got a little extra time, however, a sauce can add tons of flavor, and it doesn't need to be complicated. Case in point: this honey teriyaki sauce.
You're 15 minutes from having a plate of this inexpensive and satisfying dish on the table in front of you.
Looking for an easy Tex-Mex meal? Try making these delicious ground chicken meatballs, which are packed with flavor from spices and mild Hatch chiles. They make an excellent light taco salad-style dinner.
We love this frugal masterpiece of a dish in part because it's so easy to clean up. You can even prep the foil packets up to a day in advance. Just toss them in a hot oven and let them cook!
This spicy, buttery, citrusy dish is an old-school classic. It's great for a fancy dinner, but equally good when you're pressed for time.
This recipe is fast—just 25 minutes—and the result tastes like your favorite takeout dish.
Here's a fast and easy, kid-friendly dish that only takes about as much time as you need to brown some ground chicken.
If you're frustrated because your salmon always ends up overcooked, try this recipe, which keeps it moist and delicious—and still cooks it quickly.
Hearty, healthy, and super easy to make, these fast burritos make a great dinner, or an excellent next-day lunch!
Ground chicken is less expensive, but no less delicious, in this quick dish. Serve it with reheated mashed potatoes.
Corn tortillas, rotisserie chicken, Monterey Jack, and a creamy cilantro-packed green salsa make up the layers of this Mexican-inspired pie.
If you like the classic stir-fry, you'll love this meatball version!
This hearty vegetarian dish is inexpensive and comes together in just 20 minutes. Make extra and enjoy the leftovers cold the next day!
Stuffed with butter and herbs, traditional Chicken Kiev is a miracle of flavor. We've turned the same idea into a fun, 15-minute meatball—ideal for switching up your dinner rotation.
If your idea of chicken for dinner is boneless breast meat, then this 30-minute recipe will show you just how juicy and delicious—and easy to cook—the thighs can be.
Get the recipe for Chicken Thighs with White Beans and Escarole.
This elegant, easy white pizza is surprisingly satisfying.
Get the recipe for Pear, Prosciutto, and Goat Cheese Pizza with Arugula.
The kids will come running when you serve up this fast version of a perennial favorite. Ground turkey or chicken replaces the usual ground beef, and a fresh cucumber onion relish tops it all off!
Made with cucumbers and quick-cooking salmon, this salad is as refreshing as it is easy to put together. Add the toasted bread of your choice for a satisfying crunch.
With an air fryer, these shrimp go from fully frozen to ready-to-eat in less than half an hour. They're perfect for a healthy last-minute meal and are great for salads, pasta, or more.
Get the recipe for Super Fast Scampi-Style Air Fryer Shrimp.
Steak is one of those dinners that manages to be both easy and decadent. Prepared in the air fryer—faster than the oven, far less messy than a frying pan—it's even easier.
Some days you just feel like having a cold beer and a pile of wings. With an air fryer, you don't even have to go anywhere to get 'em.
This recipe is ready in 30 minutes and that includes the marinating! You can whip up a bed of sautéed spinach while it's cooking.
Here's a recipe to convince you that canned pumpkin is good for far more than just making pie. Get this pantry-based meal on the table in just 25 minutes.
Get the recipe for Creamy Pumpkin Pasta with Pine Nut Gremolata.
Simply seasoned with Herbes de Provence, this quick meal is served with a flavorful lemony pea couscous.
Your whole family will fall in love with these crispy chicken thighs (emphasis on "crispy"). Garlic and rosemary make them as aromatic as they are delicious. Serve with a fresh salad for an extra touch of green.
The beans for this classic camping meal can be made just as easily on the stove, and oven-toasted hot dogs will taste nearly as good, if you don't want to build a campfire.
We love this flavorful spin on the tried-and-true steak and potatoes dinner. Not only is it a quick dinner idea, but it'll satisfy the whole family too.
Throw your pot pie ingredients into a single saucepan and let the stove do the work.
Sweeten skillet chicken with brown sugar and roasted apples.
Get the recipe for Skillet Chicken with Brussels Sprouts and Apples.
These spicy fajitas take barely any time to make and require just one cast iron skillet. (Plus they taste great!)
A fennel, avocado, and red onion slaw lightens up smoky chicken cutlets.
Pack some protein into a butternut squash ravioli dish with sliced seared chicken.
Get the recipe for Butternut Squash Ravioli with Seared Chicken.
Crispy onion rings and a homemade pickled slaw bring some crunch to your favorite sloppy Joes.
Butter lettuce cups are the new tortilla—and spicy ground chicken and juicy mango is your new favorite taco filling.
Bursting Campari tomatoes add juicy sweetness to breaded chicken cutlets.
This dish makes the case for cooking your carrots with the stem on—how pretty are they?
Get the recipe for Crispy Chicken with Roasted Carrots and Couscous.
Use the kiddos' favorite cereal to make an easy and quick breading for chicken.
Get the recipe for Cornflake Chicken Tenders with Potatoes and Peas.
Tomatoes, basil, and melted mozz upgrade potato wedges to the max.
Give this go-to chili recipe some fall flair with seasonal squash.
Dijon mustard makes everything—yep, even drumsticks—tastier.
Get the recipe for Dijon-Smothered Chicken Legs with Broccolini.
Cool down Indian-inspired chicken kebabs with a refreshing cucumber and mint salad.
Get the recipe for Grilled Spiced Chicken Skewers with Cucumber Salad.
This colorful chicken stir-fry (oranges bring a bright pop!) is as healthy as it is pretty.
Get the recipe for Sugar Snap, Orange, and Teriyaki Stir-Fry.
Pierogies are a great shortcut item that can be found in the freezer section of the grocery store. Steam for a softer texture, or fry if you prefer a few crispy edges.
This tasty fall soup can be made in just 25 minutes.
Get the recipe for Thai Noodle Soup with Shrimp & Pumpkin.
Charred summer squash pairs perfectly with pesto-glazed chicken breasts.
Get the recipe for Grilled Pesto Chicken with Summer Squash.
This colorful veggie medley brightens up just about any plate.
Put a fresh-veg twist on spaghetti night.
Get the recipe for Pasta with Sautéed Peppers, Zucchini, and Smoked Mozzarella.
Put your rotisserie chicken leftovers to use by adding shredded meat to a melty Parmesan pasta dish.
This hearty soup is summer's version of chicken noodle.
Get the recipe for Summer Vegetable, Chicken, and Gnocchi Soup.
Ready in under 30 minutes, this deserves a spot in your weeknight dinner rotation come winter.
Get the recipe for Bucatini with Winter Pesto and Sweet Potatoes.
Lighten up spaghetti night with lean turkey meat and fresh zoodles.
Risotto makes for not-too-leftover-y leftovers because you can serve it in patty form the next go-round. Fry in oil or butter for a few minutes for a delicious turn of events.
Fresh seasonal veggies are an easy (and healthy!) way to upgrade the classic chicken dinner.
Fresh strawberries add a sweet and juicy element to this spring salad.
Get the recipe for Grilled Chicken-and-Strawberry Cobb Salad.
Get dinner on the table quick (and keep dirty dishes to a minimum) with these simple fish packets.
Get the recipe for Bass Packets with Tomato, Corn, Chickpeas, and Olives.
Put a fresh spin on the classic steak dinner. While the steak rests, brush slices of country bread with olive oil and toss them on the grill—divine!
Bring a little snap (peas) to the table with this quick and easy dinner.
These bright, spicy tacos are the ultimate party food and take just 20 minutes to make.
Crispy pancetta and caramelized onions give this simple dish plenty of flavor.
This light and refreshing dinner gets some color from a vegetable sauté.
Get the recipe for Seared Grouper with Corn, Zucchini, and Tomato Sauté.
A quick and easy flank steak gets acidity from roasted grapes in this easy, weeknight recipe.
Get the recipe for Herb-Garlic Crusted Flank Steak with Pan-Roasted Grapes.
Spice up your weeknight dinner with this quick and easy skillet recipe.
Get the recipe for Crispy Chicken Thighs with Peppers and Salsa Verde.
This crunchy salad gets a protein boost from rotisserie chicken.
This salad is a light and flavorful way to savor the classic pairing of steak and potatoes.
Warm up a cool night with this flavorful and filling pork stew.
Try juicy Thai-marinated steak for a new spin on tacos. These are ready in just 30 minutes!
Toasted pecans add unexpected warmth and crunch to this creamy pasta dish.
Get the recipe for Creamy Chicken-and-Broccoli Pesto Bow Ties.
Use quick-cooking ramen and store-bought chicken broth to get this hearty rendition of the Chinese-restaurant classic on the table in a jiffy. Fortune cookies optional.
This recipe features a flavorful salsa of green tomatoes, jalapeños, and cilantro. Also try it on other types of grilled fish or in burritos.
Get the recipe for Grilled Sea Bass with Green Tomato Salsa.
Quick and easy pasta begins with basic ingredients, such as mushrooms, onions, and red peppers. An egg yolk is tossed with the ingredients and heated through before serving to glaze the pasta in rich, creamy flavor. Finish with a sprinkle of a fragrant, nutty cheese.