Are you a parent looking for some new quick dinner ideas for kids? Finding quick and easy dinners for kids can be a hassle, especially if you’re serving “picky eaters.”
Families are busier than ever, but one thing never changes. Some families have kids who are picky eaters. We don’t want to feed our kids food that they don’t enjoy, so what is a busy parent to do? The fact is, there are tons of great dinner ideas that kids will love.
It’s frustrating when your kids would rather munch on a bag of chips than eat a meal you worked so hard to make.
Finding the perfect dinner ideas for kids can sometimes feel like a daunting task, especially when trying to ensure that meals are nutritious and appealing. Striking the right balance between taste, nutrition, and simplicity is key when preparing dinner for children, as well as keeping their evolving taste buds in mind. In this article, we will explore a variety of dinner ideas to help make mealtime a breeze and keep your little ones happy and healthy.
From kid-friendly takes on classic dishes to creative meal options that incorporate essential vitamins and minerals, there is no shortage of inspiration. Learning to put together a well-rounded meal plan can be both a satisfying and educational experience for both parents and children alike, providing the opportunity to cater to your child’s specific needs and preferences while also teaching them valuable life skills in the kitchen.
It’s important to remember that even the pickiest of eaters can be enticed with a little effort and creativity in choosing their meals. Utilizing colorful, flavorful ingredients and expanding their palate with a diverse range of cuisines is a great way to foster a positive relationship with food. With these dinner ideas and a willingness to experiment, dinner time can become an enjoyable, stress-free experience for the whole family.
You see, no matter how great your dish may taste to you, kids tend to have different tastes from adults. And far too often, if they see anything green or that even resembles a vegetable, they are instantly turned off.
This is why we decided to put together a little list of 34 fun dinner ideas for kids that not only make your kiddos happier but save you a lot of valuable time.
Fun is a big part of getting kids excited about food. If dinner feels boring, it does have an impact on how it tastes for many children.
That’s one reason we really love these Bacon Cheeseburger Cups. They are easy to pick up and eat and the taste is out of this world!
The ingredients can be pretty basic or you can devise all kinds of recipe adjustments, such as making your bacon cheeseburger cups into Blue Cheese Mushroom Burger Cups or BBQ Bacon Burger Cups.
Chicken nuggets are among the most popular kids meals and one of our favorite easy dinners for kids.
But, instead of spending money on store-bought frozen nuggets that contain all kinds of ingredients (some of which may or may not fuel your car), why not make your own at home and save money?
With this recipe, it’s pretty simple, and in less than 45 minutes, you’ll have a healthier dinner that your kids will enjoy devouring.
Maybe your kids are getting a little sick of eating spaghetti week after week? Well, this Pizza Spaghetti Casserole is a great recipe to shake things up.
Believe it or not, casseroles aren’t just something adults enjoy. There are a lot of great kid friendly casseroles out there.
Using just a few essential ingredients, you can make a unique dish that merges spaghetti and meatballs with pizza in less than an hour!
Another great of our favorite healthy dinners for kids is this recipe for homemade Oven Fried Chicken Tenders.
Once again, you can save time and money by making these delicious tenders at home instead of picking up the frozen pre-cooked variety.
And with a couple of helpful tips, you can make your tenders extra crispy and juicy on the inside. Serve your tenders with some of their favorite sauces, such as BBQ, ranch, or honey mustard.
Instead of going to a fast-food restaurant where their fries have ingredients you’d need a science degree to understand, you can easily make your own from home.
Best of all, these fries taste ten times better than those often limp and flavorless potato sticks you get at many fast food joints.
Add some natural ketchup or easy homemade cheese dipping sauce, and you’ve got fries your kids will brag about to their friends!
One of the best meals for kids is grilled cheese sandwiches, which are also among the most leisurely meals in the world to cook.
One of the things you want to make sure of before making this dish is that your bready is sturdy enough to handle the hot melted cheese. Sourdough and white bread are the most popular, but you can also go with thickly sliced boule bread.
This kids meal is perfect with a hot and nutritious bowl of soup such as tomato.
Another great twist on a classic recipe is Sloppy Joe Pizza. As you may have already guessed, kids love all things pizza.
The best thing is that making your own Sloppy Joe sauce is as easy as it gets and tastes so much better than the stuff you buy in a can!
Once your Sloppy Joe Pizza is out of the oven and on the table, watch your kids dig with delightful smiles of pure joy!
White Castle burgers are among some of the most beloved comfort foods that are nearly impossible to find sold at restaurants in most areas.
The good news is that you can make your own castle burgers at home without having to settle for the frozen version or going on some wacky Hollywood odyssey with a friend.
This recipe brings together all your favorite ingredients, such as diced onion and pickles.
And the way it’s cooked might surprise you.
This exciting take on the classic “Pigs in a Blanket” recipe uses pizza dough to create delicious, crispy, chewy pretzel dough wrapped around juicy little hotdogs.
But, the coolest thing about this recipe is the process of “pretzelizing” the dough. Once you’ve learned this technique, you’ll want to make every dish with pretzel dough from now on!
These little doggies cook in 15 to 20 minutes, and you can serve them with ketchup or mustard.
10. Tuna Casserole
Now, you might be thinking. There’s no way my kids would like tuna casserole.
However, this healthy dinner recipe is a very kids friendly casserole that is guaranteed to convert even the pickiest of eaters.
You can tell just by looking at the picture above that this isn’t your ordinary tuna casserole.
This dish has tons of flavor, such as onion, Dijon mustard, red bell pepper, and cheddar cheese, while sneaking in a few veggies like celery and peas.
Your kids are sure to clean their plates if you put this dish in front of them!
11. Cheeseburger Pie
Another dish that takes an exciting twist on a tried and true kind-friendly classic is this recipe for cheeseburger pie.
This honestly has to be one of the best kids food ideas ever conceived.
You make this with shredded potato pie crust, layers of seasoned ground beef, cheddar cheese, and a few other ingredients.
Finally, top your dish with ingredients such as diced tomatoes, pickles, lettuce, bacon, onions, mustard, ketchup, and hot sauce.
12. Hot Dog Pie
We’ve got to admit, folks, the first time we heard the name of this recipe, those strange recipes from the 1950s that involved unholy combinations of Jello came to mind.
However, to our delight, Hot Dog Pie is among the best and most unique dinner recipes for kids we’ve tried so far.
It’s basically hot dogs, homemade chili, and shredded cheese in a pie crust, and it’s ridiculously delicious!
Now, this recipe does call for some Velveeta, but it also uses real cheese, and trust us, you’ll love the gooey texture the Velveeta brings to the recipe.
13. Taco Cups
It’s a natural fact that kids love tacos. Who doesn’t? And this recipe for Taco Cups is made for a fantastic dinner for kids.
Unlike most recipes, this one uses wonton wrappers for your shell, giving you a nice and crunchy texture.
These cups are loaded with seasoned beef, shredded cheese, and a wide variety of toppings you can pick and choose from.
Best of all, you’re looking at a total time of 30 minutes to prepare and cook this delicious meal!
Take our word for it, Ray Kroc’s restaurant doesn’t need any more of your money!
Instead of dropping your hard-earned cash on mediocre burgers and fries, you can create a dish at home that combines these two kid-friendly foods into one fantastic recipe.
As you probably guessed, this meal is pretty darned simple, combining ground beef, shredded cheese, and fries to form the casserole.
Top it or serve it alongside some popular hamburger toppings such as pickles, lettuce, and tomato.
This is yet another amazing-kid-friendly casserole that your kids will bug you to make again and again.
“But, I’m sick of pizza,” said no child throughout the history of humankind.
It’s hard to imagine ever getting enough pizza, especially if you’re a kid. And this delicious kid friendly recipe for Pizza Stuffed Crescent Rolls will save you lots of dough on ordering delivery or takeout pizza.
And you’ll likely never repurchase frozen pizza after tasting the savory meat and sauce inside a buttery, flaky crescent roll for the first time.
Not only is this recipe a snap to make, but these rolls are also bite-sized and make less of a mess.
Perfect for dipping in tomato sauce.
Staying aboard the pizza train, we bring you another fun kid-friendly recipe that takes one of our favorite breakfast foods, pancakes, and combines the concept with pizza.
These mini pizza pancakes are beyond simple to whip together in minutes, using only a few ingredients and very straightforward steps.
It’s basically just like making traditional pancakes except with a few minor adjustments.
Serve these with a side of pizza sauce, and we guarantee your kids will flip when they see a steaming hot platter of all of these pizzariffic pancakes!
Cornflakes and chicken are two of the unlikeliest culinary soul mates on the planet, but together they can taste like heaven.
And after your kids try this Oven Fried Chicken recipe, they’ll undoubtedly agree.
First, they’ll bite into the crunchy seasoned coating before tasting the flavorful, juicy chicken meat.
This recipe tastes like nothing else out there, and your kiddos won’t be able to get enough!
Serve this with a side of mashed potatoes and sneak in a veggie, like brown-sugar skillet carrots or broccoli and shredded cheese.
One of the great things we love about easy dinner recipes for kids is the imagination factor involved in these incredible dishes.
While most kids love traditional lasagna, their eyes are sure to light up when you introduce one of their favorite pasta dinners in a new light.
This simple recipe takes under an hour to prepare and cook, and once it’s finished, you’ve got one big, delicious pasta sandwich.
Watch your kids’ eyes widen as you pull out the first piece with its melty, stringy cheese.
One of the best go-to easy dinners for kids has to be mac and cheese. It’s hard to go wrong with those creamy, cheesy noodles that are perfectly designed to hold loads of cheese.
This recipe kicks things up a notch by introducing crispy bacon into the equation.
You can oven fry bacon within minutes, and of course, mac and cheese take even less time.
This recipe calls for using corkscrew pasta, also known as cellentani or cavatappi pasta. It’s said to be heartier than your usual elbow macaroni.
Garnish with a bit of chopped parsley, chives, or green onions, and enjoy!
If you have kids, you’ve likely made lots of Sloppy Joes over the years. It’s a dish you can throw together in minutes.
But while it’s tempting to keep using the canned mix, we’ve found a recipe that tastes so much better than any of the processed stuff on store shelves.
You can also remix this recipe by adding some green chilies to make it spicier or add a bit of BBQ sauce for a smokier flavor.
And if you’re trying to cut back on red meat, you can also substitute ground turkey or lamb.
Spaghetti and Meatballs is another all-time kids-friendly all-star meal that’s really easy to make, producing lots of smiles over plates.
We’ve found one of the most delicious recipes using homemade spaghetti sauce and meatballs that tastes so much better than store-bought meatballs and spaghetti sauce, it’s not even close!
The little extra effort it takes to make this classic dish will pay off when you see just how much your kids love this incredible dish!
Meatloaf isn’t usually a dish that gets a lot of fanfare among children.
But, once again, we’ve found a recipe that puts a delicious kid-friendly twist on this traditional dish that your kiddos will adore.
By mixing in bacon and cheddar cheese into the meatloaf, as well as crumbled bacon bits and melted cheddar cheese on top, you’re guaranteeing they’ll have plenty of bacon and cheese in every single bite!
One of the heroes of this recipe is the mayonnaise which keeps the meatloaf moist but doesn’t intrude with an overpowering flavor.
23. Franks and Beans
This delicious take on a classic camping kids meal blends buttery beans in a delicious sweet and savory sauce along with plump and juicy hot dog bits.
We’ve found that the all-beef franks taste much better than your standard pork, chicken, and beef mix.
Also, if you really want to add some delicious flavor to your franks, throw them on the grill for about two to three minutes to give them that smokey BBQ flavor.
This recipe doesn’t throw in a lot of new bells and whistles. But trust us, this meal will make for some very happy campers!
Tater tots are another staple kids’ food that’s easy to make.
Now, this is one recipe that you’ll definitely want to use premade tater tots to save time as homemade versions can take between 30 and 40 minutes just to make by themselves.
Once you have all your ingredients, you’ll just need to cook your ground beef and then mix it with all your ingredients.
After that, put it in the pan and let it bake.
Once you pull this dish out, the fragrant smells are bound to get everyone excited about dinner.
Another classic that’s getting the pizza treatment is waffles. After all, we can’t let pancakes have all the fun, now can we?
This recipe for Stuffed Pizza Waffles will open up your imagination for all kinds of new ideas. You can get away with adding different meats, cheeses, and other fixings. Just don’t overload your waffle.
The main thing is to use pizza dough instead of biscuit dough. Also, you’ll need a waffle iron for his recipe.
In Prep, time for eight waffles takes about an hour, but cooking time’s only about five minutes.
A rich and hearty dish, Frito Pie is another kid friendly casserole that’s easy to make and can satisfy even the most enormous appetites.
In this recipe, you’ll make fresh chili using lean ground beef (or turkey), then stir in the rest of your ingredients.
Once you’ve broiled the dish to melt your shredded cheese, you can add your Fritos and other toppings like jalapenos and sour cream.
27. Pizza Hot Dogs
It’s time to remix another childhood classic. This time, we take ordinary hotdogs and give them a pizza makeover.
Pizza Hot Dogs are basically sup’d up regular hotdogs with pizza toppings. You’ll only need mozzarella cheese, tomato sauce, and mini pepperoni for this recipe.
We decided to go with shredded mozzarella, and the results were fantastic.
You can also top your dogs and blast them for a minute or two in the toaster oven to get the buns toasted, crispy, and chewy, just like a pizza crust.
Sometimes you just need simple meals to make kids smile. And they don’t get much simpler than buttered noodles.
This Easy Parmesan Buttered Noodles recipe adds the flavor of freshly grated parmesan cheese and a few herbs to make these delicious noodles extra yummy.
And if your kids don’t like herbs, just leave them out. These noodles are still going to be the best they’ve ever eaten.
Potato Chip Chicken has to be one of the champions among kids friendly casseroles. This dish is loaded with delicious flavors and an unforgettable texture.
You young ones will enjoy every crunchy and savory bite.
Best of all, they’ll hardly notice if you sneak in one or two veggies like broccoli and cauliflower.
Talk about a win-win!
Oh my goodness. If we can tear you away from the memorizing picture above, we’d like to tell you a bit about this Chicken Parm Sliders recipe.
Of course, in a way, the picture speaks for itself, but dive in.
These sliders have shredded chicken cooked in marinara sauce and loads of mozzarella cheese, sitting between two mini potato buns.
If this is making your mouth water, imagine what the actual sliders will do to your kids when you set them on the table?
We teach our kids always to follow the rules, but some rules are meant to be broken – such as only eating eggs for breakfast.
Who made that rule, anyway?
This recipe for Potato Chip Frittata tosses that outdated notion out the window, combining fresh eggs, shredded cheese, and potato chips.
The result is a delicious dinner revolution.
What happens when you take buttery, sweet, and salty Ritz crackers and make them into a flaky golden crust for your oven-baked chicken?
You get a mind-blowing combination.
But wait, there’s more.
Now, throw shredded cheddar cheese into the mix, and you’ve got a recipe called Cheesy Ritz Cracker Chicken.
And, after dinner, you know what you don’t have?
Our last pizza-converted offering combines the delicious taste of pizza and the easy-to-eat munchability of quesadillas in this recipe for Pizzadillas.
This inspired dish is a fun twist on pizza night, and you can mix and try different dipping sauces to see which ones your kids enjoy the most.
Best of all, you can make this dish for two kids in a total of 15 minutes.
34. Corn Casserole
Our last kids friendly casserole is a simple classic that kids of all generations still love.
Corn Casserole combines sweet corn muffin with creamed corn, cheddar cheese, sour cream, and melted butter for a taste that screams comfort food.
Folks, just mix it up, throw it in a pan, bake, add shredded cheese, and bake some more – and you’re done.
We decided to try it with a few crumbles of bacon in the mix and nearly cried.
Here’s a helpful video with more quick dinner ideas for kids if you enjoyed these fun recipes.
Our 30+ BEST Dinner Ideas for Kids (+ Homemade Seasoned French Fries)
- 4 large potatoes sliced into French fries
- 4 cups water to rinse the potatoes
- 1/2 tsp. each sea salt and chili powder
- 2 cups cooking oil
- Soak the potato sticks in cold water until the water runs clear.
- Dry using paper towels.
- Fry in hot oil for 5 minutes.
- Sprinkle with spices.
Organize all the required ingredients.
Enjoy the food.