26 Easy Friday Night Dinners That Will Beat Takeout

It’s a Friday evening and you’ve come to the realization that you have no plans for dinner. Sure, you could go to a restaurant or order takeout, but it’s expensive and you’d much rather enjoy a home-cooked meal in your pajamas at home. 

Take a Look ↓↓↓

You don’t want anything too complex - just something easy, tasty, and not too time-consuming to make. 

If this sounds like a problem you face regularly, you’ve come to the right place! Here are 26 easy Friday night dinner that will beat takeout and will get you excited to cook again. 

  1. One Dish Chicken Bake - Diethood 

Nothing is as easy as literally chucking food into an oven dish and hoping for the best. This delicious recipe has everything you could need from a Friday night dinner - you’ve got the juicy chicken breasts, nutritious vegetables, and a bountiful amount of oh-so-good cheese. 

Serve this meal alone or with some potatoes, broccoli, or fries, and you’ve got yourself a fulfilling and satisfying meal. 

Also, you can easily make a healthier version of this recipe by not adding the cheese - but, let’s be honest, where’s the fun in that? 

  1. Perfect Loaded Nachos - Yummly

Nachos is one of those dishes that people often forget about until they’re at a Mexican restaurant. Not only are nachos super easy to make, but they taste brilliant. You can adjust them to your liking - whether you want more spice, meat, or cheese. 

Like with the One Dish Chicken Bake, these Perfect Loaded Nachos just require a lot of throwing things into one baking tray. You can’t really go wrong with this dinner! 

You can serve these nachos with fries or garlic bread, or you can have them as a side dish. 

  1. Classic American Burger - The Spruce Eats

You didn’t think you’d go down this list without seeing a classic American burger, did you? Burgers are surprisingly easy to make, which means you can adjust your homemade burger to taste like your favorite restaurant burger. Plus, we all know homemade burgers taste WAY better than fast food ones. 

This Classic American Burger recipe isn’t time-consuming and tastes as good as it looks. You can serve this burger with fries, nachos, or mac ’n cheese. What a great excuse to get the grill out! 

(Plus, you can easily make this a veggie or vegan-friendly burger)

  1. Margarita Flatbread Pizza - Let The Baking Begin

If you’re craving a pizza but you simply cannot be bothered to make a dough, there is a cheat way to soothe your cravings. Naan bread (or any type of flat bread like pita) is a genius way to make a pizza without fussing about with making a dough. All you have to worry about is what toppings you want. 

Plus, everyone can make their own pizzas, so you don’t have to go anywhere near the pineapples if you’re weird like that. 

  1. Burrito Bowls - Southern Living

Bring the taste of Mexican street food straight to your dining room (or cough, we won’t judge) with this easy burrito bowl recipe! Burritos are super tasty - but what if you’ve forgotten the all-important tortilla wrap ingredient? Or, what if you want to enjoy every part of a burrito separately? 

Burrito bowls are a filling and delicious way to start your weekend on a Friday night. Chuck whatever you like in it and see what happens! Plus, it’s very easy to make a veggie or vegan burrito bowl. 

  1. Fajitas - TasteAtlas 

Can you tell we really like easy Mexican dishes? This recipe is easy to follow and features a delicious pineapple marinade that makes the meat tender with a sweet kick. Fajitas are filling and full of flavor, which means you can satisfy everyone’s taste buds in a single meal. 

We like to serve our fajitas with nachos, fries, or a big bowl of fresh salad. And, of course, with lashings of guacamole and salsa. 

  1. Peppercorn Steak and Fries - Good to Know

It’s a common misconception that home-cooked steak is worse than buying a steak at a restaurant. Truth is, you’ve just got to know how to make steak properly. Soothe your steak cravings with this easy Peppercorn Steak recipe! Plus, it means you don’t have to argue with a waiter over how you like your steak. You only have yourself to blame. 

If you have leftover potatoes (white or sweet), why not chop them up and roast them to make your own fries? 

  1. Easy Chow Mein - Damn Delicious

It’s a Friday night, so odds are you are craving a Chinese takeout. We get it - there’s nothing quite like ordering a Panda Express - but why not make your own fake takeout? (Fakeout? Eh.). 

This easy chow mein recipe will soothe all of your noodle cravings. Serve it with a bowl of homemade egg fried rice, prawn crackers, deep-fried chicken, or simply on its own for a fulfilling and flavorsome meal. 

  1. Tater Tot Casserole - allrecipes

You don’t get much better than frozen tater tots. In every freezer across America, every kitchen has at least one bag of tater tots. Might as well put them to use in an interesting way rather than chucking them in the oven and pairing them with fries. Nothing against that, but why not take it to the next level?

This tater tot casserole recipe is about as comforting as it gets. Ideal for if you have kids, or even if you’re just having date night at home. 

  1. Spicy Lentil and Chickpea Chili - Fresh Fit Kitchen

Like frozen tater tots, every kitchen is filled with cans of chickpeas, lentils, red kidney beans, and other tinned foods that you swear you will use but never do. Why not chuck them all together to make a vegetarian chili? 

Listen - a chili doesn’t need meat to be tasty or nutritious. You’re actually getting more protein content from the chickpeas and lentils. 

We like to serve our spicy lentil and chickpea chili on a bed of rice, a sprinkling of cheese,  and a huge dollop of sour cream. 

  1. Sheet-Pan Chicken Parmesan - Taste of Home

Like steak, people will often only eat Chicken Parmesan at restaurants because they don’t think it’s as good when they attempt to cook it at home. Odds are, they’re reading the wrong recipe. Sheet-pan Chicken Parmesan is super easy to make because you literally throw everything into the same baking dish. Perfect for date night!

  1. Southern Baked Macaroni and Cheese - Sweet Tea & Thyme 

Macaroni and cheese is the key to everyone’s hearts. We say soul food, you say “MAC ‘N CHEESE!”. With a crispy, golden, and satisfying glazed top and a creamy, super cheesy, and gooey insides - you simply cannot go wrong. 

This is the best type of meal to make if you’re exhausted after a week of work and you simply cannot be bothered to make anything too fancy. Everyone will be happy with a bowl full of macaroni and cheese. 

  1. Coca-Cola Chicken - Insanely Good

This is one of those recipes that people might have heard of before, but have never considered making it. You might have never heard of it before, and you’re wondering whether you’re reading a legitimate article or not. Trust us on this one. 

Coca-cola chicken is the best way to liven up chicken wings. The texture is juicy and the flavor is tangy, with the perfect mixture of sweet and savory blending together. Serve with some fries and a glass of soda just to top it off. 

  1. Vodka Pasta Sauce - Dishes Delish

Vodka pasta sauce is slowly gaining popularity across America with celebrities like Gigi Hadid showing their own takes on the unique recipe. Putting vodka in a pasta sauce might sound odd and pretty disgusting, but remember that the alcohol burns off as it cooks, so you won’t be eating straight vodka. 

Serve this meal with a sprinkling of cheese, a side salad, or a slice of garlic bread. 

  1. Southwest Veggie Quesadillas - Gimme Delicious

Quesadillas are quick to make and ever so flavorsome. These vegetarian quesadillas are all about surprising your taste buds with beans, cilantro, peppers, spices, and a whole load of cheese. Of course, opt for a non-dairy cheese option if you are vegan!

Like nachos, quesadillas are surprisingly filling. When you realize how easy this meal is to make, you’ll end up making it a lot more than you’d like to admit. 

  1. Grown-Up Grilled Cheese Sandwich - The Gracious Pantry

Picture this: It’s finally Friday and you’re exhausted after a long week at work or school. You’ve lost all motivation to make a large meal, and you’re not even that hungry anyway. Enter the humble grilled cheese sandwich. 

Hey - grilled cheese sandwiches aren’t just for kids or lunch! This recipe tends to your childhood roots but reminds you that you are now a fully-fledged adult with its mozzarella filling. Serve this sandwich with a salad or fries, and you’ve got an easy and fulfilling meal. 

  1. Homemade Taco Bar - Thriving Home

There’s nothing quite like preparing food into bowls and letting everyone else do the work. You don’t have to waste time preparing each plate when you can simply make everyone else do it. Taco bars are a great way of getting everyone involved - whether it’s your kids or if you decide to have an impromptu dinner party. Hey, it’s Friday, after all!

  1. Baked Potato Bar - Taste of Home

Just like the Taco Bar, why not make your own baked potato bar? This meal is about as easy as it gets. Baked potatoes can take a while in the oven, so in the meantime you can make a bunch of fillings. Then, it’s a free for all. What a great way to use up leftovers and to get experimentative with fillings!

  1. Salmon with Creamy Dill Sauce - Taste of Home

Picture this: it’s a Friday evening and you’re finally getting round to date night with your partner like you said you would days ago. Thing is, you’ve been so busy you couldn’t make a table reservation at a restaurant. The answer to your problems is this salmon recipe. 

When cooked properly and with a good sauce, salmon is one of the best dishes to make when treating your loved one. You can make your home into a restaurant environment with a crispy pink salmon. We’re salivating just thinking about it. 

  1. Quick Miso Pork Stir-Fry - Delicious

This meal is surprisingly healthy (especially compared to some of the recipes we have recommended). Stir-fries are one of the best ways to get some of your five-a-day - which is a great way to start the weekend if you’ve had a week of lazy meals. We’ve all been there, so make sure to treat yourself with some goodness. 

Feel free to substitute any of the ingredients in this recipe for whatever you have in your refrigerator!

  1. Southwestern Fish Tacos - Taste of Home

Transport yourself immediately to Southern California with these fish tacos! This is a great Friday night dinner meal during the warm summer months when you don’t want to slave over the stove making a large meal. You want something quick, easy, and refreshing. 

You can use either cod or haddock for this recipe. While on their own, these are fairly bland fish, they can be easily flavored using cilantro and lemon juice to create a fresh and satisfying meal. 

  1. Enchiladas - The Spruce Eats

Get messy with this delicious enchiladas recipe! Enchiladas are super filling, delicious, and surprisingly quick to make. This particular recipe only takes 30 minutes to make. If you’re feeling extra happy on a Friday evening, you can always make your own red sauce, but we won’t judge you if you go for the jar version. 

This is also a great meal for those who enjoy Friday evenings as a cheat day! 

  1. Dr. Pepper Pulled Pork - Insanely Good

Another soda-based meal? Huh? You read that right - Dr. Pepper pulled pork is a thing. And it’s truly wonderful. Pork goes beautifully with sweetness like apple sauce, so why not make the meat extra juicy? 

Serve this pulled pork in a burger bun and with a side of fries or salad for a unique and tasty meal. What a great way to celebrate the start of the weekend!

  1. Slow Cooker Beef Stew - Damn Delicious

This might not be the quickest recipe on our list and is more likely to be prepared on a Thursday evening, but the results are truly worth it. Despite how long it takes, slow cooker beef stew is ridiculously easy to make. Throw everything into a slow cooker and allow it to work its magic. By the time Friday night comes around, the house will be smelling like home-cooked goodness, and you’ll all be desperate for a large serving. 

  1. Toad in the Hole - Food Cheats

Toad in the hole is one of Britain’s most well-loved easy meals. Get a taste of the country with this effortlessly easy recipe. Toad in the hole is basically sausages in Yorkshire pudding batter, and it is so darn good. We like to serve toad in the hole with mashed potatoes (drizzled in butter, of course), some green vegetables such as broccoli, and lashings upon lashings of gravy. It’s like a roast dinner with minimal effort. 

  1. Salmon Linguine - Taste of Home

This creamy salmon linguine recipe is as easy to make as it is delicious. You get all the nutritional benefits from the salmon, with all the taste benefits from the cheesy, creamy sauce. Serve this dish with a slice of lemon, a slice of garlic bread, and a glass of wine. If you squint your eyes, you’re basically in Italy. 

Follow Us
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
Follow Us