29 Birthday Dinner Ideas

Birthdays should be a fun day celebrating the existence of someone you love - a day without stress and filled with balloons and presents and cake…

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That’s just not the reality though, is it? We all know that organizing a birthday for either yourself or someone else is one of the most stressful things you do in a year. And most of it comes down to planning what on earth you’re going to have for dinner. 

Sure, you could make a table reservation at the birthday person’s favorite restaurant, but there’s a bunch of factors that could make this impossible. You might be feeding a large group of people on a budget. You might have left it too late and there are no tables to book at any restaurant. 

Or, you might simply want to treat yourself or your loved one to a home-cooked meal. Treat the birthday person to their favorite meal - or if you’re still struggling, here are 30 ideas for a birthday dinner! These ideas will range from savory to sweet options to tickle every taste bud. 

  1. Cheeseburger Sliders - Tasty

Burgers should be one of the top ideas on your birthday dinner list. However, making burgers for a bunch of people can be an arduous task. You want to spend time with your family, after all, rather than watch over a grill for the whole evening. The answer to your problem is: burger sliders! These little treats are cooked on a single pan. Heaven. 

Burger sliders are essentially small burgers that can be cooked for any birthday - whether it’s for a 7-year-old or 43-year-old. Serve with fries, salad, nachos, and any other side dish. 

  1. Taco Bar - Izzy Cooking

When you’re cooking for a large group of people at a birthday party, you might want to consider doing the bare minimum in the kitchen by allowing everyone to pick what they want. Taco bars are easy to make, delicious, and means that you can spend more time with your guests and the birthday person. 

Plus, taco bars mean you don’t have to fuss over preparing plates of food. It’s a free for all! 

  1. Italian-American Meatball Subs - Yummly

There’s nothing quite like a saucy, cheesy, meatball sub. It’s hardly the cleanest of meals to eat, and you’ve got to be prepared for some serious drippage and mess, but it’s so worth it. This is a great alternative to the standard meatballs and pasta meal, and you know it’s something that everyone will enjoy. 

Serve the meatball subs with fries, salad, nachos, or deep-fried mozzarella sticks.

  1. Chicken Pot Pie - Pure Wow

Nothing beats a homemade pot pie. When you’re an adult celebrating your birthday, sometimes all you crave is some bog-standard yet scrumptious homemade cooking. If it’s not your mom who is cooking, you might as well try to replicate the incredible food she makes. 

Chicken pot pies embody the essence of homemade food. This is a comforting and satisfying meal that you know everyone will love. 

  1. Homemade Pizza - Barbara Bakes

While some people might hesitate at the thought of making their own pizza dough, it’s actually surprisingly easy. We all know that nothing beats a homemade pizza. This is mostly because all you have to do is prepare the toppings, and then everyone can get involved to make their own pizzas. Ideal for those strange pineapple haters. 

Serve your homemade pizzas with some homemade fries (white potato or sweet potato, your choice) and a big bowl of fresh salad. 

  1. Balsamic Roasted Sausages and Grapes with Linguine - Taste of Home

If you’re thinking of pushing the boat out and making something unique and new that you’ve never made before, you should try this recipe. This meal is something you would only usually find in a restaurant, so why not try to replicate it in the comfort of your home? 

This recipe is interesting because it’s not a cheesy pasta recipe. Instead, the complimentary flavors of savory sausages with sweet grapes works wonderfully with the linguine neutralizer. What a way to treat the birthday person!

  1. Mussels in White Wine Sauce - Become Betty

If the birthday person is a big fan of fish, you’ve got to make them a huge bowl of mussels in white wine sauce. This is another one of those special meals that is only usually eaten at a restaurant, so why not bring the restaurant straight to your home? 

This recipe is the definition of soul food. The flavors of the creamy, white wine sauce with the salty mussels is complemented beautifully. Finish the meal with a large chunk of fluffy bread to mop up the sauce. 

  1. Lemon and Herb Roast Chicken - Pure Wow

You just can’t beat a roast chicken dinner, can you? Instead of throwing the roast chicken into the oven with some light seasoning, spend a little more time with this gorgeous lemon and herb seasoning. Pair this chicken with some roast vegetables (potatoes, carrots, parsnips, the lot), stuffing, and lashings of gravy. 

Plus, if you don’t finish the chicken at the birthday dinner, you can use the leftovers throughout the week in salads and sandwiches!

  1. Philly Cheesesteak Sloppy Joes - Tip Buzz

This is a great meal for a kid’s birthday party - or even an adult who is reluctant to admit they have aged yet another year. It’s no secret that steak and cheese go beautifully together, so you should make your own Philly cheesesteak in the form of a sloppy joe!

Serve these buns with fries or nachos and get messy. 

  1. Lamb Shanks - The South African

Lamb shanks are fairly straightforward to make and effortlessly delicious. This particular recipe is all about making the lamb shanks as juicy and as tender as possible. This is a fairly “grown up” dish due to the white wine ingredient, and it’ll make you feel like you’re in a fancy restaurant.

Serve with potatoes (dauphinoise if you’re feeling extra fancy) and you’ve got yourself a posh dinner. 

  1. Company Mac and Cheese - Taste of Home

You simply can’t beat a big bowl of mac and cheese. While some people will swear by the boxed version (those boxes unlock a window of our souls to our childhoods), we have searched for the best homemade mac and cheese that will make you salivate at the thought of it. 

This Company Mac and Cheese recipe is easy to make and delicious - with a golden crispy top layer hiding the creamy pasta inside. Gorgeous!

  1. Lasagna - allrecipes

Lasagna. You can’t live without lasagna. For the pasta lovers celebrating their birthdays, you have to at least consider making a giant lasagna. This particular recipe takes a little while longer than other recipes - but the results are worth it.

Teleport yourself right to an Italian restaurant (or even to Italy, if you’re lucky) with a slice of this lasagna, served with garlic bread and white wine. 

  1. Sweet Potato Fries - The Spruce Eats

Technically this isn’t a full meal, but sweet potato fries are a force to be reckoned with. Yes, they are healthier than regular fries, but we like to make these crispy fries for their taste.

It’s the perfect blend of sweet and savory, and they’re so easy to make spicier if you want. Also, you can serve sweet potato fries on the side of virtually any dish - burgers, chicken wings, ribs, sloppy joes, and more. 

  1. Crispy Chicken Wings - All That’s Jas

Seriously, who doesn’t love chicken wings? When done properly, chicken wings exhibit everything you could possibly want from good food - a crispy outer layer, juicy meat, and a burst of flavor. This is lip-smacking, lick-your-fingers good stuff. 

We like to serve these wings with homemade fries, a bowl of fresh salad, and anything else you fancy snacking on. You can even make your own salsa or dipping sauce, if you’re feeling extra creative. 

  1. Merlot Filet Mignon - Taste of Home

If you’re wanting to really treat the birthday person, you’ve got to try this recipe. This is like something you would buy at a fancy restaurant - but in the comfort of your own home.

Some people might hesitate at the thought of making a Filet Mignon, but fear not, this recipe is straightforward and helps to guide you through making the perfect steak for your guests. 

Serve this gorgeous slice of meat with some boiled or roasted potatoes and green vegetables. 

  1. Goat Cheese and Spinach Stuffed Chicken

Alone, chicken breasts can be pretty bland. If you want to make an easy yet satisfying meal, you should try this recipe. It takes the once-bland chicken breasts and turns them into a restaurant-level meal.

The goat cheese and spinach stuffing complements the poultry beautifully - and it’s not too heavy! 

Serve these chicken breasts with some delicious vegetables and you’ve got yourself a tasty (yet surprisingly healthy) birthday dinner. 

  1. Fettuccine Alfredo - Snappy Gourmet

Couldn’t get a table at Olive Garden? Why not try to make your own Olive Garden dupe with this easy Fettuccine Alfredo recipe? Fettuccine Alfredo is ridiculously simply to make, and effortlessly tasty to eat.

Sure, it’s not going to be the most mind-blowing meal compared to the other ideas we have on this list, but it’ll be super satisfying. Plus, if the main event is the cake or similar dessert, then you’ll want something simple for dinner. 

  1. Oven Baked Ribs - Delish

If the weather is too cold to stand outside to handle the grill, that doesn’t mean you can’t make some juicy, sticky ribs inside the comfort of your home. These oven baked ribs prove that you don’t need an outdoor grill to make a satisfying, finger-licking rib dish.

These ribs are tender, juicy, and the perfect mix between sweet and savory. What a treat!

  1. Sweet Potato, Chickpea, and Spinach Coconut Curry - The Vegan 8

Hey - not every meal has to have meat or dairy in it for it to be delicious. This vegan curry is enough to convert anyone to a vegan diet. Full of protein, complex carbohydrates, and antioxidants, this meal is as healthy as it is delicious. 

Despite the coconut milk, this curry can be surprisingly spicy if you want it to be. Serve on a bed of fluffy basmati rice with some naan bread, and you’ve got yourself a bowl of soul food. 

  1. Baked Sea Bass - Yummly

Sea bass is one of those fish dishes that you wouldn’t expect to make at home. Sure, you might buy it at a restaurant, but it’s a rarity in a home kitchen.

Still, that means that this dinner idea is an extra special one. Treat your loved one to this delicious and decadent baked sea bass dish and make them feel like royalty. 

  1. Seafood Paella - Spanish Sabores

There’s no better way to cook for masses of people than to make a giant paella dish. Traditionally (and to this day), paella is a popular Spanish dish that is made in large batches to feed large gatherings of people on special occasions.

Treat yourself to a large paella pan and explore how easy this recipe is! Plus, if seafood isn’t your thing, you can substitute it for meat. 

  1. Cheeseburger Biscuit Cups - Together As Family

This is a fun dinner recipe to make for kids and adults alike! Sometimes, all a birthday needs is finger food. Small snacks here and there which are surprisingly filling. These cheeseburger biscuit cups are an ideal snack for a birthday dinner, because they are just so fun. Plus, they only take 30 minutes to prepare. 

Serve these cheeseburger biscuit cups with fries, chips, and any other snacks you fancy. 

  1. Pizza Rolls - Liana’s Kitchen

If you’re wanting to make something a bit more interesting than a regular pizza but you still want the satisfaction of the pizza flavors, why not try to make some pizza rolls? Just like the cheeseburger biscuit cups, pizza rolls are a fun party snack for kids and adults alike. 

This homemade pizza rolls recipe is surprisingly easy to make, and the satisfaction rates will be very high from your guests. 

  1. Tex-Mex Nachos - Simply Recipes

Nachos are the ideal birthday dinner for those who want to spend more time with the birthday person rather than slaving away in the kitchen. These loaded Tex-Mex nachos don’t take long to cook, and it’s the perfect centerpiece on a dinner table.

People can grab as many as they like alongside a bunch of other side dishes - from fries to deep-fried cheese to salad to chicken wings. 

  1. Belgian Waffles - The Salty Marshmallow

Hey - not everyone will want a savory meal on their birthday! It’s their special day, after all, so if they have a sweet tooth, treat them to some delicious homemade Belgian waffles.

Belgian waffles are super easy to make and go with a variety of toppings - such as ice cream, fruit, melted chocolate, yogurt, peanut butter, maple syrup, bacon, berries, and more. 

  1. Confetti Cake Batter Brownies - Brooklyn Farm Girl

Whether you have a birthday cake planned or not, you HAVE to try these fun confetti cake batter brownies. Ideal for a kid’s birthday party (or an adult’s, we won’t judge), these brownies look as good as they taste.

Sure, it’s not a conventional dinner idea, but it’s a birthday party! Treat yourself! 

  1. Cakepops - Sally’s Baking Addiction

Again, not a conventional dinner idea, but it’s a birthday, so who cares? Cakepops are a genius amalgamation of cake and lollipops - with a ball of cake stuck on a lollipop stick. They can be easily molded and decorated into any design you like.

Why not get the kids involved and encourage them to make their own designs? Serve it with plates and bowls of other party foods. 

  1. Oreo Cheesecake - Southern Living

Oh, the humble cheesecake. The perfect birthday meal. This is ideal for if the birthday person isn’t a fan of cake, because it kills two birds with one stone. Dinner and a cake in one? Genius! 

This Oreo cheesecake recipe is a classic and almost impossible to dislike. While the instructions about baking a cheesecake can seem quite overwhelming, as long as you stick to them, you will find the cheesecake does most of the work for you!

  1. Key Lime Pie - Sally’s Baking Addiction

Key lime pie is a popular dessert options across almost every household in America - and for good reason. Easy to make and filled with satisfying flavors, you’ve got yourself a delicious sweet treat for a birthday dinner. 

If you’re feeling extra ambitious, why not make several types of pie for your pie-loving birthday friend? That way, everyone can try more than one slice of pie and fill themselves up with homemade goodness. 

  1. Classic Banana Split - The Spruce Eats

Banana splits are ridiculously easy and fun to make. This is one of those meals where everyone can get involved to make their own bowl full of goodies - from the (somewhat healthy) bananas to giant scoops of ice cream.

All you have to do is supply your guests with enough toppings to accommodate to everyone’s tastes. This can also be easily vegan-ized by buying a tub of vegan ice cream (or making some of your own). 

Conclusion

It can be a bit of a pain when you’re trying to come up with an idea for a birthday meal and the birthday person keeps saying “do whatever you want”. They might want to be surprised with a meal, in which case you’re feeling the pressure. If only it was as easy as them telling you what they want, or cooking them their favorite meal. 

If this sounds like a predicament you were in at the start of this article, we hope you have been inspired by the recipe ideas we have come up with! Not every birthday dinner has to be made up of party food, and not every birthday dinner has to include plates of fancy food. As long as you’re all together and having a fun time, that’s all that matters!

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Cassie brings decades of experience to the Kitchen Community.
She is a noted chef and avid gardener. Her new book "Healthy Eating Through the Garden" will be released shortly. When not writing or speaking about food and gardens Cassie can be found puttering around farmer's markets and greenhouses looking for the next great idea.
Cassie Marshall
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