Sometimes the idea of cooking a meal for my family or even thinking about what to make for dinner tonight is just too. Fucking. Much. Which is why I have compiled an epic amount of the laziest dinner ideas for those nights when I just cannot (and really just don’t wanna) cook dinner for my family.
To generate this list of dinner ideas for when you don’t want to cook (not really) I did the following:
I polled my Instagram followers, my Facebook followers, and even some of my favorite blogger parent friends to get their favorite go-to meals to add more variety to the never-ending question of, “what to make for dinner.”
Some of the links below contain affiliate linking, which means that at no extra cost to you, I may earn a commission if you click through and make a purchase. You can read my full disclosure policy here.
Why I Made This Awesome List (You Probably Don’t Care But You Might!)
Fun Fact: Just after grad school I remember reading an article in the New York Times about easy summer meals you can make in 10 minutes or less. It was comprehensive AF of all the quickest and easiest dinners that you can make (101 of them actually!).
I printed that list out and highlighted all the ones that I wanted to try that summer.
Lucky for you, I found it here (and bookmarked it this time for myself!)
I think I made it through like...three of them. And then lost the list somewhere.
I think it was because it wasn’t organized in a way that I could figure out what I had in my pantry that I could cook with or even by type of cuisine.
I’m fixing that for you here by separating these dishes into categories. They’re a bit random, but so is life and what you have readily available in your pantry.
How to Save These Easy Dinner Ideas Conveniently
You’re gonna wanna store this list of easy dinner ideas somewhere that you can reference it when you’re staring down the barrel of 5 o’clock and just. Don’t. Wanna.
Bookmark this page.
Or pin it to your favorite Pinterest recipe board.
(A handy pin is below and there’s another one after the list of dinner ideas)
But if you want to get even more organized, lucky you, I’ve got a super simple way for you to keep and track all these quick dinner ideas in the palm of your hand. And on your laptop.
(I’m talking about Trello...but we’ll get to that).
A Note About My Easy Dinner Ideas Sources:
When polling the lazy cooking dinner masses I asked them to include their blog link or their Instagram handle if they wanted to, because they’re doing all of us a solid and I want to make sure you know who these lazy cooks are (and can thank them if you love their suggestion when it’s possible).
Almost all of them are moms, and if they don’t have a link just know they are a trusted mom or dad friend who doesn’t give a fuck and wants to make some dinner fast.
I also was aiming for the kind of recipes that you don’t have to write down. Like. The kind you can just KNOW that you can throw it together at the last second based on a quick glance at your fridge and pantry.
Some, on the other hand, are links to actual recipes. But I made sure they’re also super quick and painless.
When I set about to find quick dinner ideas that fall into the dgaf category I made three criteria:
The lazy dinner recipes cannot require a lot of prep. So ideally - no or very minimal chopping/peeling. Store bought pre-chopped veggies or canned food/frozen food is the best for this kind of a dinner. In other words basic AF and minimal prep.
The quick dinner ideas must be somewhat healthy. Or at least have some mix of veggies and carbs and protein.
Bonus if the easy dinner ideas are toddler/kid friendly
Extra Bonus if they are budget-friendly (and most are).
Lazy Cooking Ingredients You Should Have On Hand
If you’re gonna make a dgaf dinner you may as well embrace what it takes to prepare one, and that means simple ingredients that at the most, require you to open a can, cut open a bag, or open a box.
Frozen Chopped Onions (I hadn’t heard of this until a friend texted me the below pic and said “I wouldn’t cook half as much if it weren’t for these babies right here”)
Pre-chopped veggies such as carrots, zucchini, and also onions although be mindful of expiration dates.
Canned foods such as: beans, artichoke hearts, chopped tomatoes, and soup stock or low sodium soup.
Jarred things such as minced garlic, olives, pickles (My kids love pickles and worst case scenario they can be served with grilled cheese as a “veggie” bc I dgaf.)
Other Frozen foods such as: Organic corn, cauliflower rice, broccoli, string beans, and frozen peas tend to keep really well through the freezing process. Frozen cooked rice and pasta is also a time saver (but can not be a budget saver in the long run).
Cartons of soup stock and soups.
Let’s Make Some Lazy Fucking Dinners, Ya’ll!
**** DGAF MOM in front of the name of the recipe comes from my very own lazy cooking inspiration ****
Easy Chicken Recipes for Dinner
DGAF Rotisserie Chicken Salad: Rotisserie chicken chopped up, tossed with a pre-chopped salad in a bag. Serve with rolls or bread.
Teresa shared this one pan Chicken Sourdough and Bacon Recipe from Food and Wine
Emily recommends this ridiculously simple Pesto Chicken Bake Recipe from Simply Sissom:
Easy as Fuck Fajitas from Beck from Mom Beach: One package of Tyson’s grilled and ready chicken strips frozen, package of ready chopped vegetables such as peppers and onions (grocery stores have this usually and call it fajita mix), fajita spices like salt , pepper, lime juice and chili powder. Combine vegetables and spices into a skillet and heat for 5 minutes, add in the chicken and stir all for another 10 minutes or until chicken is no longer frozen. Unfrozen chicken is faster. Serve with tortillas, cheese, guacamole, salsa, black beans or anything you want. My picky toddler loves these fajitas!!
DGAF Mom Recommended - Change Your Life Chicken: (above) from the Lazy Genius Collective (one pan, virtually no clean up. Some light chopping)
Oven Baked Frozen Chicken (yes frozen!) from Lacey from Simply Quiet Mama:
My favorite easy and healthy dinner is chicken, rice, and veggies. I pop a few frozen chicken breasts (drizzled with olive oil and garlic pepper or Italian dressing) covered into the oven for an hour and 10 minutes at 400F. As they’re finishing up, I throw some 5 minute rice in a pot and warm up some frozen veggies. My husband loves it, and more importantly, my 3 year old loves it.
Lazy Crock Pot Mango Pineapple Chicken by Navywife.crazylife: Combine in crock pot:• mango salsa• canned pineapple (drained)• boneless chicken. Serve over rice. I’ve also added chopped red and green peppers when I had some in the fridge. I’ve never actually timed it, seems to be about 4-6 hours depending on how soon you want to eat. I’ve done it in 30 minutes in an Instant pot.
Lazy Spicy Rotisserie Chicken by Poovanesh from Family Growth Life Blog
I buy a store-bought rotisserie chicken. I hack off the breasts and pop them in the food processor. Add mayo and a few chopped green chilies to spice it up. Use as a filling for a wrap ( add chopped up lettuce) or a quesadilla which I toast. I also sometimes just add the chopped up chicken and chilies to rice which I always have in my freezer.
Simple Rotisserie Chicken and Rice by Keyona from Professional Momma
Store bought rotisserie chicken paired with Uncle Ben’s 90 sec wild rice, and a package of steam-able frozen broccoli florets. Dinner is ready in 7 minutes flat (the time it takes for the broccoli to cook). I add herbs and margarine to the broccoli and viola!
Tracy recommends - One Pan Cheesy Chicken and Broccoli Recipe from The Girl Who Ate Everything:
DGAF MOM Chicken Dinner Comfort Food: Trader Joe’s Breaded chicken, Trader Joe’s frozen mac n cheese, frozen broccoli in a bag (or pre-chopped broccoli boiled)
DGAF Italian Dinner Recipes
Easy AF Make-Your-Own Pizzas by Eric:
Homemade sauce (easier to make than you think and involves no cooking), wood Fire crusts or flatbread from Trader Joe’s, and sliced or shredded mozzarella. Cook in toaster oven to avoid heating up kitchen and top with basil from our garden at the end. So good it didn’t need any other toppings. Also, one batch of sauce can be used for pasta or more pizza within two weeks.
Lazy fucking Ravioli Napoli Style by Donna_riama: My fav quick dinner is pre-made ravioli cooked in napoli sauce.
DGAF Mom Trader Joe’s Frozen Lasagna: (It’s really good!) add a side of frozen or fresh veggies such as string beans, broccoli, or brussle sprouts.
Simple AF Meatball Pasta Bake by Sasha from Life’s Carousel:
Frozen Meatballs. Uncooked Pasta (any type). Spaghetti Sauce (red sauce or even Alfredo works too). Frozen veggies. Shredded cheese (mozzarella, cheddar, colby... any type!). Water (just fill the empty sauce jar and use that amount). Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Mix together all the ingredients, except the cheese, in a casserole dish. Tightly cover with foil and put in oven for 35 minutes.Remove from oven and sprinkle shredded cheese on top (as much or as little as you want).Bake uncovered for 10 minutes.Serve!This is also a great meal to freeze or for leftovers for lunch the next day.
Lazy Effing Spaghetti by Keyona: I buy the onions and bell peppers already chopped. I use jarred Prego spaghetti sauce and the spaghetti noodles that are pot sized.
This One Pot Spaghetti recipe that Tracy Recommends from Skinny Taste!
Lazy Cheesy Bread by Kerrie: Mozzarella cheese, butter, bread, and marinara sauce. Bake in the toaster oven.
Lazier French Bread Pizzas (also) by Kerrie: For our leftover meat sauce, I make mini "French bread" pizzas. A package of frozen Texas toast. Put it on a baking sheet. warm the leftover sauce and spoon onto the bread. Top with mozzarella cheese. Bake at 400 for about 10 minutes.
Lazy Costco Ravioli by Jess: Costco’s frozen spinach mozzarella ravioli tossed with a can of stewed tomatoes and a bag of something frozen and green, broccoli or green beans normally- can be done in 10 minutes, meat free and yum.
DGAF MOM Spaghetti Lazy AF Style: Spaghetti noodles, Kirkland organic spaghetti sauce, jar garlic, and spices.
Easy AF Asian Dinner Recipes
DGAF Mom Recommended: This ridiculously easy Egg Roll in a Bowl from the Mostly Homemade Mom is from fridge to table in about 15 minutes.
Easy Chicken and Veggies Stir-fry by Joanne:
Cut up some chicken breasts into bite sized cubes, cook in evoo, add in a bag of frozen stir fry veggies and seasoning of choice. I add onion and garlic powder and soy sauce. Sometimes I’ll do brown rice in the rice cooker or if I have it I’ll use the microwave brown rice and dump it all in a bowl!
Easy Mexican Food Recipes
Mexican food offers a lot of variety and can be thrown together quickly (and tends to be a hit with the kiddos). Here’s how some moms are making their lazy Mexican dinners.
Don’t Wanna Cook Chicken Salad Quesadillas by Elizabeth: Canned chicken, mix with cumin, oregano, paprika and mayonnaise until a texture. Not runny, but similar to tuna. Spread on tortillas and add shredded cheese. Put another tortilla on top. Fry in oil for about three minutes each side.
Easy Taco Night by Emily: Which is brown rice (in rice cooker), ground beef or turkey in pan with taco seasoning, can of refried black beans (Annie’s organics), guacamole (avocados, shallots, lime juice, tomatoes, salt, garlic powder). We don’t actually eat them as tacos— the kids mix all the above and eat it like a rice bowl. If I’m feeling in the mood I throw it on lettuce and make it a salad.
Lazy Turkey Tacos by Erin: Brown ground turkey, add TJ’s taco seasoning and canned tomatoes, heat up some black beans, and have avocado, cheese, Greek yogurt, and whatever else on the side. I serve them deconstructed on plates with little compartments for the kiddos and they love it. ❤️ Literally takes 10 minutes.
DGAF Mom Deconstructed tacos: Ground turkey/beef/pork/chicken, canned pinto beans, frozen rice (or instant pot rice), tortillas, cheese, sour cream, and pre-made guacamole (or I quickly smash some avocados and salt/lime them).
Simple Taco Bowls by Lacey: It’s basically refried beans, Spanish rice, corn tortilla, salsa, cheese, and seasoned beef. Super easy, super quick, and super toddler approved. My favorite part of this meal is the way we heat up our tortillas. We tear them up, throw them in a skillet with some butter, and let them heat to a crisp.
Pre-prepped fajitas mix from Publix (or any grocery store) Livinglittlejohn: The pre-prepped fajitas mix from Publix is so good! It’s already fixed and packaged and we just dump it in the skillet! You can serve it over rice and make a fajita bowl out of it or cut the carbs and eat it alone!
Easy Mexican- Quesadillas by Tracy: Black beans/guacamole/lime rice all deconstructed for the littles and then make bowls for adults. You can make salsa chicken in the slow cooker too (a jar of salsa over chicken breasts, cook all day and then shred to add to quesadillas).
DGAF Mom Costco Organic Frozen Burritos: Add a side of frozen corn (boiled and topped with butter) I sometimes chop this up and top it over a pre-cut salad bag and add sour cream and salsa for a quick “burrito salad.”
Check out more Instant Pot Chicken Dishes Here.
Taco Macaroni by Mindy: Make shells and cheese and basic taco meat at the same time. Add sour cream into the shells. Layer the macaroni mix with the meat and shredded cheese in a casserole dish. Bake 15 minutes, top with crumbled tortillas and more cheese. Bake until cheese is melted. Serve with salsa.
Breakfast For Dinner Ideas, DGAF style
There’s nothing like having breakfast for dinner. Throwing together some scrambled eggs, some bagels or waffles. I love adding a smoothie in the mix for some veggies and fruit and extra protein (sneaking an avocado in for extra silky smooth smoothies is great for kiddos too!)
Egg Sandwiches by Christina - The kids love’em and it’s a 5-minute meal. Sunny-side up egg, slap it between 2 pieces of toast. I’m lucky my kids like veggies so I usually put spinach and/or avocado on there too but not always. I make a wrap version for myself.
Lazy Avocado Toast by Lolavur: I make an egg in my microwave, and toast a piece toast with some avocado 🥑 done ✅ (PS. this is a SUPER bold move to cook an egg in a microwave. I don’t recommend doing this in, say, a shared space like an office or something.)
Paleo Eggs and Rice by Wholehealthchelsi: I love fried cauliflower rice with eggs, peppers, celery, onion and spinach!
Breakfast for Dinner by Everlastbyerika: Eggs, hash browns (the frozen southwest cubes potatoes with onion and bell peppers are amazing) and I always keep frozen sausage on hand!
DGAF Breakfast for Dinner: This is aways different but we rotate between frozen pancakes/waffles/bagels, sausage or bacon, eggs or egg sandwiches, smoothies with spinach or kale to get some veggies in, fresh fruit or bananas. (Sometimes we’ll saute some broccoli too).
Seafood Dinner Ideas to Make In A Flash
There’s something about cooking shellfish and some white fish that makes it a super simple go to dish and also kinda feels fancy and also kinda levels up your home cooking game.
Shrimp and tilapia (I find) tend to have less of an...you know... smell that lingers in the house. Which is another reason why they’re my go to’s. (And they’re other’s too!)
Shrimp and Broccoli by Kelly: My go-to weeknight dinner is: frozen raw shrimp already shelled/deveined; sautéed with garlic and butter or olive oil, lemon. Bag of frozen broccoli, steamed. Done! And if I need a carb, I’ll heat up some frozen brown rice from TJs. Total time is 10-15 minutes for a complete meal
Shrimp and Green Beans by Mary Beth from Lifestyle for Real Life:
I buy one of those big bags of pre-cooked frozen shrimp and I throw a bunch in a pan with butter and garlic and a mess of string beans. We all love it and it literally takes like 7 minutes.
DGAF Mom - Tilapia Fish Tacos
Tilapia is so cheap and a mild tasting fish). Salt and pepper the fish, fry in olive oil for about 3 - 5 min on each side (until white and somewhat crisp). Serve with sour cream mixed with lime juice and salt. I toss it over a salad of pre-chopped cabbage and the boys eat it with tortillas and cheese.
Weeknight Dinner Favorites - DGAF Style
DGAF MOM Meatballs, veggies and rice: Aidells teriyaki meatballs, veggie of choice (broccoli or string beans for us usually) and frozen rice in a bag (or rice from a rice cooker/instant pot.
Hamburger Rice Casserole by Brenton: Brown a pound of hamburger (or ground turkey), combine with a can of cream of celery, a can of corn, a can of French cut green beans (drain both), and a cup of minute rice. Cook covered for 45 minutes at 350.
Easy AF Pork Tenderloin by Cynthia - tossed with whatever seasonings and veggies you like (chunked onion and bell pepper usually), toss it in the oven, make a salad. Eat.
Easy Baked Vegetarian Tofu and Veggies by Nina: I buy bags of pre-chopped veggies and extra firm tofu and throw them all on a baking sheet at 375 for 20 min. Sprinkle with garlic powder and olive oil. Healthy and ridic fast & easy. Pro tip: use parchment paper on your baking sheet so you don’t have to wash it afterward.
DGAF Mom Mish Mash (What My hubby calls it) - Black beans, pre-chopped/washed kale sautéed with olive oil and garlic. Mix with frozen rice/minute rice/instant pot rice. Add cheese or sour cream to taste or mix with scrambled eggs for extra protein.
Grilled Cheese Lazy Style by Talie: Grilled cheese and boxed tomato soup or basic pasta with marinara sauce
Frozen Veggie Pasta Dishes by Unwholesome_mommy: Birdseye frozen veggie pasta dishes! Microwave for 4 minutes, throw some fruit on the side and dinner is done! Also, gluten-free/dairy-free (some are dairy-free, not all) my food allergy kiddo.
Also, quesadillas with lunch meat as protein. So lazy. So great.
Anna from Abrazo and Coze has a Throw-Together-Chilli: Brown ground meat (whatever ground meat you have in the freezer). When meat is cooked, add in frozen chopped onions.Once onions are softened, add in one large can of diced tomatoes, one large can of crushed tomatoes, and optionally one can of tomato soup. Stir till combined.
Add 2-3 cans of beans. Add 3 Tbsp (or 1-2 packets) of chili spice mix. Cook till it bubbles. Serve with toast. Substitutions: If you have no meat, add in extra beans, or a can of lentils. To extend the meal, add cooked plain pasta or rice. For variety, add in chopped peppers with the onions (frozen pre-chopped or fresh).
Snack Dinner by Tracy: This is an anything goes dinner. Cheese, crackers, grapes and other fruit, some pepperoni slices or fresh bread. We eat outside all the time during the summer and this is one of our go to meals.
Easy Fucking Meatball Stroganoff by Jess:
Frozen meatballs, a can of cream of mushroom soup, egg noodles, bag of frozen green things on the side or bag salad. Can make hamburgers and do the same.
Another Easy Meat Dinner by Jess: You can buy meat on sale, season it, and then freeze it, better if you get it vacuum sealed but then you just brown it/ stick it in the oven. I do chicken, and pork this way. Ground beef I cook first (taco seasoning, Italian seasoning) then freeze done, to put out for fast stuff.
Where to Save These Lazy Recipes for What’s For Dinner
Meal planning is kind of a big deal in my house. Even when it comes to making sure I have some staples on hand for the nights when I have no interest (or time) to cook dinner. This meal planner helps me keep track of everything that I need, that I use on a regular basis, and that helps me keep my staples for grocery shopping every week.
I highly recommend trying it out as a place to save these recipes. In the very near future I intend to offer an entire Trello board complete with all the above recipes already loaded and ready for you to not give a fuck about what’s for dinner.
If you’re not sure you wanna pay to use something random that you’ve never heard of before to simply track your favorite recipes and schedule your dinners for the week, I get it!
Consider checking out this blog post all about why this meal planner template has become my GO TO resource for figuring out what’s for dinner.
What’s your laziest dinner ever? The one that you throw together at the last second when you just don’t know what to make for dinner, or when you just can’t even be bothered to cook anything too fancy (but that’s still delicious af?) Comment below!