Raise your hand if you have ever looked up at the clock, realized it says 5pm, and you have actually no idea what you are doing for dinner that night. ME! When I was single and kidless, this was never a huge deal, but with a family, it can be stressful. So I like to have a few Last Minute Dinners in my back pocket that I can make with very little time.
Many fast dinner lists will include slow cooker recipes, but I specifically didn’t want to do that because if you had planned ahead for a slow cooker, then you don’t need a fast dinner. Dinner is, in fact, cooking while you go about your day.
- Need more recipes? Check out my Crunch Time Dinners section!
So, without further ado, here are fifteen wonderful ideas that you can bookmark for later just in case you ever need a fast last-minute dinner!
Note on ingredients: It’s impossible for me to know what items you have in your pantry, but I tried to pick recipes that are fairly low-ingedient recipes. You may have to do a quick stop at the store if you don’t have all the ingredients.
Note on timing: These recipes are all 15-20 minute recipes. Some of the timing on them says 30 minutes, but I consistently make these in way under 30 minutes. Some of these are literally five-minute recipes. Enjoy!
Ricotta Tomato Toast
Okay, this recipe is best if you are at peak summer tomato season, but honestly, if you are hungry and need a meal in just a few minutes, it doesn’t get easier than this. I’m not sure I would use jarred tomatoes unless you strained them but you could use minced grape tomatoes and get pretty close. It’s a fast meal and really filling!
Lemony Tuna Salad with Capers
People often look to the tuna can for a fast meal, and with good reason. It’s fast, healthy, and fairly economical. But, with just a few add-ins you can jazz up your tuna salad in a few minutes and make an actually delicious tuna salad.
Curried Chickpea Sandwiches
Speaking of opening a can and having dinner done, these curried chickpea sandwiches are one of my favorite no-cook meals. You stir all the ingredients together and smash it between toast. It’s absolutely delicious. Bonus: This recipe is very flexible. If you don’t have all the pieces, it’ll probably still work.
Spicy Avocado Egg Salad
Oh Egg Salad! More quick salads! The longest part of this meal will be making the hard-boiled eggs, but after that it’s super fast and I love the spicy kick and avocado twist from a standard egg salad.
Crispy Chickpea Patties
Okay. I guess you actually have to turn on a stove for these chickpea patties. But, they are fast to make and get super crispy after just a few minutes in a skillet. Top them with some yogurt and sour cream and they feel fancy with, like, 10 minutes of work.
Broiled Skirt Steak – Perfect Every Time
If you need a quick meal, the broiler is your friend. In under 10 minutes you could be eating steak! In a pinch I could make a meal out of this broiled skirt steak, some toast, and the quick chimichurri sauce. YUM.
Broiled Pork Chops
Sticking with the broiler theme, these pork chops take a little longer than the steak, but not by much and immediately feel like a full dinner. Serve them with a quick salad or minute rice and you are in business.
Rice Paper Eggs
For last-minute dinners, I frequently think about breakfast. Most breakfast recipes are fast to make and I just love breakfast flavors. These fun rice paper eggs can be made in just a few minutes and you can stack a few up for a really delicious dinner.
Easy Breakfast Tortilla with Bacon and Cheese
For fast breakfast ideas! I use these breakfast tortillas to clean out the fridge. Toss in almost any protein or veggie and get them crispy on the outside in a skillet or griddle. Maybe 10 minutes tops to get dinner on the table.
Easy Kimchi Noodle Bowls
Some noodle recipes can be very involved, but there are also some unicorn noodle recipes that are a 10-15 minute kitchen adventure. These bowls use fast-cooking noodles and the kimchi does most of the flavor work.
Chicken and Noodles with Crispy Parsley Breadcrumbs
Egg noodles cook fast, but the trick to making this recipe truly last-minute is to use a rotisserie chicken. Then it’s almost too fast to cook. Do save some time for the crispy breadcrumbs though. They are worth the few minutes!
Chicken Smash Burgers with Cheddar and Onions
A full burger in a crunch? Sure! These chicken smash burgers cook in like five minutes and they are a nice twist on the classic beef smash burger. Top with some cheese and pickles and serve with a quick side like chips or a salad.
Shrimp Lettuce Wraps with Avocado
For last-minute dinners, shrimp are always a nice choice. They cook in just a few minutes and can be used in a million recipes. These lettuce wraps are light, healthy, and so very delicious with the dipping sauce.
Peach Grilled Cheese
Don’t forget the ultimate last-minute dinner: The Grilled Cheese! I have a bunch of grilled cheese recipes on Macheesmo, but this peach version is one of my favorites, especially in the late summer when peaches are perfect.
Do you have any last-minute dinner ideas?! Leave a comment with your favorites!