Relax! You can’t be a master chef every night of the week. These 30 last minute dinner ideas will help you get a home-cooked meal on the dinner table without advance prep or planning. Print all the ideas on our cute calendar printable!
Wait. It’s 6pm and you haven’t started dinner?? WHAT?!
Just kidding. It happens to all of us. And you don’t have to lose your cool! You can turn to this totally handy list of healthy last minute dinner ideas instead.
To qualify to be on this list, the recipes we considered had to fit a few criteria. No fussy recipes allowed! These recipes have…
- A short list of ingredients that you’re likely to have on hand
- Simple steps
- Fewer than 30 minutes of cooking time
And they’re healthy for your family, too. We’ve linked to many of the recipes if you want them, but you should know that most of these meals don’t need a recipe at all. They’re simple, and you should feel free to make them your own.
Work With Your Kitchen Staples
We all have kitchen staples: ingredients we never run out of in the kitchen. Your list probably isn’t exactly the same as ours, but if there’s a good deal of overlap between what’s in your fridge and pantry and what’s on our list below, you’ll probably be able to make these meals.
If you don’t have everything you think you need, don’t sweat it! Part of becoming a master of the throw-together dinner is learning to be flexible and use the ingredients that you have. Chances are you can still cobble together a healthy and tasty last-minute dinner.
Here are the kitchen staples we count on:
- whole grain pasta
- canned beans
- flour tortillas
- frozen veggies
- canned beans
- bagged salad, slaw, or baby spinach
- canned tomatoes
- rotisserie chicken
30 Last Minute Dinner Ideas
Last-Minute Pasta Dinners
A classic last-minute dinner idea, pasta is always there for you. (Awww, we love you, pasta.) Try these quick pasta meals, and choose whole grain noodles for stellar nutrition.
- Noodles and Broccoli
- Quick Veggie Lo Mein
- Homemade Mac and Cheese
- Pesto pasta
- Tortellini Veggie Soup
- Turkey Stroganoff
Last Minute Vegetarian Dinners
Meatless meals can be some of the fastest and most satisfying last-minute dinners. (Pita pizzas are delish and come together in 10 minutes flat!) Try these quick and tasty homemade meals.
- Fried Rice or Fried Quinoa
- Personal Pizzas
- Giant Salad
- Lettuce Wraps
- Loaded Baked Potatoes (with potatoes from the Instant Pot)
- Hummus, pita bread, cheese, and veggie platter
- Veggie stir fry
- Instant Pot Split Pea Soup
Last Minute Mexican Dinners
With a can of beans and a pound of ground meat, you can do just about anything. Serve up a fast, bold dinner with these last-minute Mexican-inspired meals.
Last Minute Dinner Sandwiches
There’s no shame in simple sandwiches for dinner. Pair these with a side of crunchy veggies and fresh fruit for an easy low-cook or no-cook dinner.
- Tuna melts
- BBQ rotisserie chicken on a whole wheat bun
- Chicken salad sandwich
- Sloppy Joes or Sloppy Lentils
- Grilled cheese and tomato soup
- Cream cheese and veggie wraps
- Beef or turkey burgers, or Cheeseburger Wrap
Last Minute “Breakfast for Dinner”
Kids love the wacky feeling of eating breakfast for dinner. And nourishing breakfast foods like oats and eggs make for a healthy dinner, too.
Print These Ideas
Click the printable picture below to keep these ideas right on your fridge. Wishing you happy (not harried) cooking!
I'm a registered dietitian, mom of 4, avid lover of food and strong promoter of healthy habits. Here you will find lots of delicious recipes full of fruits and veggies, tips for getting your kids to eat better and become intuitive eaters and lots of resources for feeding your family.Learn More about Natalie