Dump dinners are my go-to recipe for quick and easy dinners on busy weeknights or nights when I just don’t want to prep/cook/peel/chop/or generally “make” dinner. I love making soup for this reason (especially when I can buy pre-chopped or frozen veggies, or I’ll quickly chop with a table top chopper like the ones below)…(ya know. Treat yo self).
Dump dinners are some of the most popular recipe ideas from one of my most popular blog posts about what to cook for dinner when you just don’t want to cook at all…so I figured it’s high time to share some more easy drop dinners that require very little “work” to make happen.
Which is why I’ve done my damnedest to collect a fuck ton of dump and go dinners for you to save and make and make and make and make…and dump and make again.
Instant pot dump dinners are all the rage these days because they’re super fast (the beauty of a pressure cooker!). If you haven’t invested in an Instant pot yet, now might be the time because they’re so convenient and becoming less and less expensive. (I have a link for a good one below!)
Even better: They’re now making attachments for you to turn your instant pot into an air fryer and who knows what else is next.
But dump dinners can be made in so many different pots or locations.
About that, you can read more about my Lazy Bitch Meal Planner here.
Or you can download my editable meal planner template here.
One of our favorite dump dinner recipes is the Salty Marshmallow’s One-pot spaghetti. My kids legit call it “mommy’s spaghetti” (thanks Salty Marshmallow but it’s mine now!), and they ask for it by name from time to time.
And luckily, with the aid of some ground protein (sausage, ground chicken, beef, or pork …and we’ve even tried the Beyond crumbles for a vegan option!)
Dinner is done in about 25 minutes start to finish (and gives me enough time to get a quick work out in, or to clean the kitchen, or check off one or two more things on the to-do list….OR just binge some World of Dance because that’s what feels right at the moment in these #PandemicTimes.
Which is why I was on the hunt for more of these types of meals.
How do I get them into my life?
Who comes up with these genius ways of dumping ingredients into a cooking vessel and then suddenly they’re fully cooked, piping hot, and oh-by-the-way delish!
I found them.
I found them all.
Well, 37 of them.
What You Need for Dump Dinner Success
These recipes can be made in a myriad of ways. In a pot, on a sheet pan, in an instant pot (if you have one).
Here are some other items that are going to keep you living that dinner-is-done life that we’re all dreaming of right now.
(You could just order Postmates, I guess…but if you’re trying to save some money during these crazy quarantine years then you’ll want to try some of these easy dinner recipes out!)
The Instant Pot is a must-have kitchen appliance in my lazy cooking life.
A small veggie chopper (i like the smaller ones rather than lugging out the entire food processor which just takes up so much space and is annoying to clean)
This one is supppper easy to use, inexpensive and cleans easily.
Here are some other must-have kitchen supplies for easy cooking and clean up:
Slow Cooker Dump Dinners
The slow cooker (aka crock pot) is the OG of dump dinner gold. Long before the instant pot, and somewhere after a simple long simmer on a stovetop, the crock pot has been the go-to for many a busy parent to prep, cook, and serve dinner.
My issue (if it’s even possible to have an issue with a device that’s as awesome and convenient as this) is that slow cooker dump dinners can sometimes produce the same texture of meat…i.e. “boiled meat.”
With a lack of flavor or just a general bla sort of blending of overcooked vegetables.
Which is why I tried to be discerning with the following recipes. I haven’t been able to test all of them, but based on the ingredients, and prep I’m rather confident that they’ll be better than your standard slow cooker recipe.
Or at least give you a little bit of food-joy in these #PandemicTimes.
FWIW Chili’s and stews and meats that can be shredded tend to win in a slow cooker dump dinner meal.
Not only is this recipe so easy, just dump and go but it’s also extremely low in fat so great for those following a Weight Watchers or Slimming World diet. It’s fantastic for lazy summer dinner ideas too!
This recipe comes with suggestions on how to make the slow cooker chicken last for multiple different tasting meals! (a drop dinner that’s also a multi-course-meal planning generating machine? Yes please!)
Six ingredients is all it takes to throw this crowd-pleasing dinner together. It’s an awesome dish to make when you’re craving barbecue or if you just want a little something different for a taco Tuesday festivity.
I’ll be honest. When I saw the name for this dump dinner I wasn’t sure what “slimming world” was…But it turns out it’s just a low cal, delicious spin on a dump dinner that you can throw together quickly (in under 30 minutes if using an instant pot!).
This dump dinner is so stupid simple. Incorporating pantry staples and a few veggies that you’re likely to already have on hand. Even better, they use frozen onions and frozen carrots which is like the best idea ever because you just…dump it and it’s done!
This is an awesome Filipino inspired vegetable soup that uses some classic ingredients paired with spices to produce a really flavorful dump dinner in a slow cooker.
This looks ridiculously good for a crockpot dinner. Simple ingredients. Dump and it’s done.
Gotta say, cooking mac n cheese in the slow cooker is one of those genius things I wish I had thought of first but now I’m just gonna live all I can inside the comfort of this recipe (and the yummy food it produces!)
Crock-Pot Taco Soup
Whenever someone offers me a taco soup I am reminded of dating my sweet hubby. Who laboriously made a black bean soup that took him like…four? maybe six hours? And he included lots of delicious cilantro. Except I am one of those people who lack the gene for cilantro and hate it so much.
I took one bite of the black bean soup. Asked him if it had cilantro in it. And then couldn’t eat anymore.
Romantic right? Easily avoid this early-dating-mishap by offering the cilantro on the side. Just a suggestion ;).
This is one of those delicious dinners you can cook, warm up later, serve some cocktails and enjoy. Because we all need more cocktails right now.
Instant Pot Dump Dinners
If you have an instant pot then you’re probably really familiar with the idea of dumping a dinner, setting it up, and doing other shit that needs to get done (distance learning homework anyone? Just me? LOL sob).
I love me an instant pot because it’s also a slow cooker and a rice maker and like a bajillion other things I haven’t even had the chance to try yet.
If you’re using the slow cooker function and you need to incorporate something like sauteed onions or ground beef, you can do that in the pot on saute mode, and then flip it to slow cooker mode and boom. Dinner done and you only have to use one pot to make it all.
Frozen meatballs + Jar tomato sauce + box of pasta and some seasoning. This is an awesome take on a crowd-pleasing favorite. Steam some frozen broccoli in a bag and you’ve got dinner done with hardly any mess or fuss.
Fun fact, I was pretty certain the only way to make pasta was to boil it first and then add sauce to it. That is until I got an instant pot…and the boil pasta with sauce world opened up for me. This is a recipe included in that easy at drop dinner category where the pasta and the sauce all cook together in a sweet dance ready for your tastebuds.
Vegetarian Taco Soup
I love a good soup in the instant pot but as always the prep work of veggies and chopping is the thing that holds me back. This dump dinner involves opening cans and jars and popping it all in the pot! Talk about an easy dinner idea!
One of my favorite things about the dang instant pot is that you can cook frozen food in their and it really doesn’t make a difference to the taste or texture. Cooking frozen hamburgers is genius and I love the idea of cooking sliced onions alongside the beef for hamburgers!
Instant Pot Chicken and Rice
Not gonna lie, when I was doing the research for this post and came across this recipe I immediately added it to my meal planner template and then decided that we would make it for dinner that night. And ya’ll. Worth it. Worth every bit of it.
Cube steak in an instant pot? As a dump dinner? For reals? Yep. You can cook the steak, potatoes, mushrooms and gravy in the instant pot with this baby.
This is an awesome savory recipe and it’s done from start to finish in about 20 minutes! Yes please! Dump dinners like this are the kind of thing I live for around here.
Instant Pot Vegetable Spaghetti
We try to eat vegetarian for most of the week around here. We just feel better when we’re eating less meat. Which is why this recipe has become a go-to-favorite.
Instant Pot Bacon Pasta
I am not sure if there is anything more comforting than bacon and pasta. But bacon and pasta cooked together in a one-pot dump dinner? Sign me up please k thanks bye.
And from the same recipe blogger…
Again. Open some cans. A jar or two. Pour some dried quinoa into the instant pot. If there’s nothing that says dump dinner better than this quick meal idea… idk what does.
Instant Pot Chicken Pesto
This pesto chicken dish is a true dump dinner that’s also low carb (and keto-friendly!)
Black beans and rice is such delicious and healthy one pot meals or comfort food. The combo of the rice and the beans is a complete protein, and it’s a nice meatless Monday kind of dish to keep on rotation. Plus you can turn it into so many other things with the leftovers (burritos, huevos rancheros, side dish with another chicken meal later in the week…shall I go on?)
Oh fam, a jambalaya is spicy and comforting and full of flavor and it’s a perfect dump dinner that’s a complete meal in a bowl. Yes please.
Cheeseburger soup is a thing. It’s a real thing and it’s real delicious.
Lo Mein is an easy thing to throw together for a weeknight favorite, but it’s also conveniently done in one pot (when you use the instant pot) so there’s only one dish to clean. You could try making this with whole wheat noodles too to give it a little extra fiber, and the veggie combos are endless.
Sheet Pan Dump Dinners
I’m a huge fan of the sheet pan dinner. So much that I wrote a post about it (click that link that said “sheet pan dinner” and you’ll see what I mean! there are 75 of them!
And then because I couldn’t get enough, I made another post about more chicken sheet pan dinners here…
The following is one of them and is largely one of the most popular from that post. And for good reason. It’s simple, healthy, and gets the taste buds watering.
I love this as a dump dinner bc it’s very easy to find pre-chopped bell peppers and onions at your grocery store. Yes. Even in COVID times.
You can also find pre-seasoned fajita chicken if you really want to dial in the laziness of this dinner.
I had no idea you could cook chicken and pasta in the same pan and have it turn out like this. But mannnnn o mannnn I’m into this look for dinner some night. Like a cold night, you know. the kind of night where running the oven is an extra little heater for the house. *(Is that just me?)
A drop dinner pizza-pasta? Yes please! 5 Ingredients…many of which you might already have on hand? Even better! Throw together this quick dinner that’s also a super fantastic kid-friendly meal (cheesy saucy pasta wins every time with my picky eater toddlers).https://twohealthykitchens.com/easy-cheesy-5-ingredient-pizza-pasta-bake/
I’ll admit when I see casserole I think of my days living in Chicago (midwest where you at?) and the random dinner parties that almost seemed to involve a casserole at the time. But this is such an awesome delicious spin on a typical casserole fare and done with the easy of a dump dinner.https://freshsimplehome.com/creamy-crunchy-chicken-casserole/
Sheet Pan Veggies and Gnocci
Pro tip: substitute cauliflower gnocchi for the real stuff and get an even more nutrition-packed dish (without substituting the flavor!). This is such a quicky and easy dump dinner. If you’ve got the prechopped veggies you’re all set, but really it only takes about 5 minutes to chop up some peppers, broccoli, etc. to throw on a pan.
One-Pot Dump Dinners
I love me a good one-pot meal. So much that I wrote another post about it. One Pot Don’t give a F*ck is a super popular post (and for good reason!) XXX TK LINK TO ONE POT POST.
I wanted to be sure to include some additional recipes here because…we can never have enough easy dgaf meals.
These are some awesome one-pot dump dinners that you can just set and forget.
This One Pot Cheesy Italian Pasta and Chicken recipe is a creamy blend of Campari tomatoes, Parmesan cheese, and garlic that your family will love! Bursting with flavor, our hearty Tuscan chicken pasta recipe is the ultimate comfort food, easy to clean up, and ready in just 30 minutes!
Loaded with beef and secret spices, it’s a hearty crowd-pleaser and a go-to week nigh dinner! It’s also super simple to make and freezer-friendly!
As the author describes this is an awesome meal to deliver to friends, family, or even to new parents who are just trying to survive that newborn life. Layer the ingredients and cook. Aka: Dump it till it’s done!
Kind of like a chili, kind of like soup, this is a super flavorful dump dinner that’s a crowd pleasure (especially on cold fall or winter nights!
Turkey Sweet Potato Chili
I really appreciate this spin on a classic chili. If you don’t have the pre-bought veggies, using a small food chopper is another inexpensive option to keep the prep time to a minimum. Many stores also sell pre-cut sweet potatoes (which is such a crazy time saver!)
The OG Instant pot: the One Pot dinner! I love cooking a light veggie pasta in one pot. There’s something perfect and simple about the flavors (and also the simplicity of no clean up when it’s done!)