25 Best Friday Night Dinner Ideas – Easy Friday Night Meals – Delish

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Kick your weekend off right with these easy meals!
At the beginning of the week, it’s hard to know how you’ll feel by the time Friday dinner rolls around. Was it a good week that just flew by? Maybe you’ll have the energy to pull out all the stops to herald in the weekend with your Friday night meal. Was it a loooong week you swore should’ve been over by Wednesday? That sounds more like you’ll be picking up the phone and calling for Chinese food. While we’re in full support of a delivery habit (particularly on Fridays), we hope to inspire you to get into your kitchen this weekend. Check out our list of 25 Friday night dinners for ideas.
Just because you’re cooking at home doesn’t mean you can’t still enjoy all your favorite delivery dishes! You could go Asian with our easy pad thai or general tso’s chicken, Indian with our butter chicken or lamb curry, or Italian with our miso bolognese (we love a twist ingredient) or homemade pizza. These dishes are so easy, you might find yourself reaching for those takeout menus less and less for weeknight dinners.
On the other hand, if the work week being over means you’ve now got more attention to pay to your dinner, try one of our slightly more involved recipes. We’ve employed a few hacks to make things even easier on you (it’s the weekend after all). Try our baked risotto, oven-baked BBQ ribs, or slow-cooker pulled pork to check out our shortcuts to great meals.
For more weekend inspiration, check out our list of Sunday dinners and Sunday brunch/breakfast ideas too.
The secret to really good pulled pork is cooking it low and slow. Lucky for you, a slow cooker makes the drawn out process a breeze. This on potato rolls with pickles and coleslaw (and potato chips, if you’re feeling crazy) = absolute dinner perfection.
Get the Slow-Cooker Pulled Pork recipe.
This dish of crispy chicken tossed in a sweet and savory sauce is a Chinese-American classic. Though the typical preparation calls for deep-frying, we went for the easier stir-fry route for less mess from frying while still retaining all of the crispiness you’re used to.
Get the General Tso’s Chicken recipe.
When the craving for ribs strikes, nothing else will suffice but that sweet, salty, savory, and tender meat. But sometimes, making ribs on the grill just isn’t an option. No matter the weather or living situation, you can make amazingly tender, delicious ribs with this foolproof recipe.
Get the BBQ Oven-Baked Ribs recipe.
If you’ve never made risotto rice because you didn’t want to stand there stirring forever, then this recipe is for you. It packs all the satisfying flavor of a slow-stirred version into a fraction of the hands-on time!
Get the Baked Risotto with Lemon, Peas & Parmesan recipe.
There’s nothing super crazy about this recipe, but when you do it right, it’s absolutely perfect. Not sure how to make french fries? We’ve got you. Pair this crunchy fish with our double-fried french fries or oven-baked fries for the perfect Friday night dinner.
Get the Beer-Battered Fish recipe.
We skipped some traditional Thai ingredients (such as dried shrimp, tamarind, pressed tofu, and bean sprouts) to make this dish easier, and instead opted for ingredients that you can pick up at your local grocery store. Absolutely necessary, though? Fish sauce. It adds an unbeatable punch of umami goodness.
Get the Easy Pad Thai recipe.
This casserole is a total guilty pleasure. If you’re trying to lighten it up, ground turkey or chicken would be a delicious swap out for the beef. If you’re really being good (we’re impressed!) top the casserole with zucchini tater tots in place of the potato variety.
Get the Tater Tot Casserole recipe.
The chicken finishes cooking IN the sauce here, meaning tons less clean up and work for you. Bonus? There are mushrooms hiding in here, but we promise the creamy sauce will convert even the biggest funghi-haters.
Get the One-Pan Creamy Chicken & Gnocchi recipe.
Cooking pork chops can seem difficult, but they have the potential to be juicy, tender, and flavorful–and it’s easy, really! This oven-baked method will ensure your pork has a delicious crust and a perfectly cooked interior.
Get the Oven-Baked Pork Chops recipe.
Nothing beats a fresh-out-of-the-oven pizza, and once you see how easy it is to make for yourself, you’ll never order delivery again. Switch up the toppings and add your favorites to make it your own. Pepperoni, mushrooms, bell peppers, pineapple? You can have it all!
Get the Homemade Pizza recipe.
For our chicken quesadillas, we use a combination of Monterey jack and cheddar, but you can substitute any melty cheese you prefer. Our biggest piece of advice: Don’t worry about cheese spilling onto the pan. Those crispy, verging on burnt bits (aka frico) add an unparalleled salty, fatty crunch.
Get the Chicken Quesadilla recipe.
Delicious butter chicken in well under an hour? Almost feels too good to be true, but we promise, it’s easy! Naan or pita bread is non-negotiable. Bonus: this dish freezes so well, so do your future self a favor and make extra to save.
Get the Indian Butter Chicken recipe.
Although these shortcut falafel aren’t as crispy as the classic fried variety, they develop a nice golden crust and contain all the key spices (with a LOT less mess). A zippy roasted pepper salad is the perfect foil, and creamy tahini sauce (aka tarator sauce) ties it all together.
Get the Roasted Vegetable Baked Falafel Sandwiches recipe.
Get the Sheet-Pan Green Chile Chicken Nachos recipe.
The sauce in this version uses ingredients we always have on hand in our kitchen—garlic, broth, soy sauce, lime juice, and Sriracha. While not traditional, this recipe hits the spot. For a more traditional version (with the addition of hoisin sauce), try our beef & broccoli stir-fry.
Get the Beef & Broccoli recipe.
Think you have to go to a fancy restaurant to eat a really great steak? Nah. You can cook a restaurant-quality steak in 15 minutes (sometimes even less) at home. The key: making sure your skillet is super hot, and your steak super dry and well-seasoned before the searing starts.
Get the Cast-Iron Skillet Steak recipe.
For this recipe, we were inspired by the Hyderabadi style of biryani, where rice and a curry filled with veggies and/or a protein are cooked separately, then layered and baked into an aromatic, harmonious and hearty dish. Serve along side a fresh cucumber raita and a healthy dinner salad for a perfectly balanced meal.
Get the Chicken Biryani recipe.
Fried rice is a quick and delicious way to transform leftovers into something greater than the sum of its parts. Though we sometimes think of certain ingredients being typical (eggs, peas…) the only things you need heat, rice, and oil. Anything else you add is up to you!
Get the Fried Rice recipe.
There’s no need to wait for a large piece of meat to tenderize for hours when your Instant Pot/ pressure cooker can do it in less than an hour. This warm, comforting bowl of hearty beef stew can be made in a fraction of the usual time.
Get the Instant Pot Beef Stew recipe.
This takeout favorite is usually delivered alongside hot buttered naan bread and white basmati rice, but at home you can serve it how you like! Not sure how to cook great rice? We got you. Prefer pita bread? We’ve got that too.
Get the Lamb Curry recipe.
Meatloaf is an old-school recipe that everyone should know how to make. It might not be the sexiest piece of food, but beauty is in the eye of the behold and damn, is it delicious—especially in a sandwich the next day OR with a fried egg on top (check out our best tips for how to fry an egg too).
Get the Classic Meatloaf recipe.
We’re no strangers to the simple magic of a well-done bolognese sauce; it’s a staple in our weeknight dinner rotation. To avoid falling into a dreaded rut, we turned to one of our favorite super-power ingredients to jazz it up. Enter: miso!
Get the Miso Bolognese recipe.
The key to any stir fry is having all the prep done beforehand—because when you’re working with a hot wok, you gotta move quickly. In this copycat recipe, cabbage and celery are cooked just slightly so the dish retains some crunchiness, but feel free to add any additional veggies you like!
Get the Copycat Panda Express Chow Mein recipe.
We love a good twice-baked potato when we’re craving something creamy, carb-y, and comforting. These twice-baked sweet potatoes exhibit all the same qualities, making them the perfect vegetarian dinner!
Get the Twice-Baked Sweet Potatoes recipe.
This quick and satisfying meal lands somewhere between savory instant ramen and creamy peanut noodles, sub tahini. For a little extra oomph, whisk part of a ramen flavor packet little by little, tasting and adjusting along the way.
Get the Warm Tahini Ramen Noodles recipe.


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