25+ Quick Lunch Ideas

You don’t have to settle for cold food to get you through your lunch every day.

Maybe you eat lunch at home if you work from home. On the other hand, if you go to an office, eating a cold lunch gets boring. It’s nice to have a hot and satisfying lunch sometimes. The great thing about these recipes is that you can meal prep them.

Use these quick lunch ideas that are packed with flavor and give you a warm meal to keep you going in the middle of your day. The meal prep for a healthy lunch idea should be easy. Some of these recipes include an instant pot and are as easy as grilled chicken and a black bean side. Personally I enjoy a nice spinach salad or chickpea salad sandwich. Greek yogurt makes a fine dessert.

Grilled cheese sandwich

In the fast-paced world we live in, finding quick and delicious lunch ideas can make all the difference in one’s day. People often find themselves pressed for time, rendering it challenging to prepare a wholesome and satisfying midday meal. This article aims to explore a variety of swift and tasty lunch options suitable for those leading busy lifestyles, offering both nutritious and palate-pleasing solutions.

From easy-to-assemble salads to portable wraps, the abundance of choice can accommodate a wide range of dietary preferences and restrictions. The key is to strike a balance between convenience, nutrition, and taste to ensure optimal enjoyment and nourishment. Creative combinations and substitutions can open up a world of flavors and textures, making lunchtime a moment to look forward to

These homemade lunch ideas are great to save time with because they don’t take a lot of effort to make and you can always make big batches.

Instead of cooking something new every single day, you can make some of these hot lunch ideas at the beginning of the week and pick at it the following days.

You can even have these recipes for lunch at home to give yourself a change from the same old meals again and again.

Pick out your favorite lunch ideas at home and start to get creative about how you get prepared for your mid-day meal.

Source: pocketchangegourmet.com

1. Taco Salad in a Jar

Need a simple and easy lunch idea you can make over and over again and it hardly takes any time?

This taco salad has all the classic taco flavors all packed into one easy and convenient jar you can take with you anywhere.

Source: thestayathomechef.com

2. Turkey Burgers

Instead of filling up on beef patties, these turkey burgers are just as good and are easy to make.

All you need is a few ingredients and a little bit of time to start up your grill.

The flavor that you can add to these is endless, so experiment with different spices and sauces before cooking them up, then patty it in between two buns and you get yourself a great tasting meal for lunch.

Add some tomato, pickles, onions, lettuce, cheese, or any other toppings you can think of.

This recipe is a healthy lunch and you can make several patties at once, so you can have burgers for the rest of the week.

Source: thriftyfun.com

3. Muffin Tin Lasagna

Making lasagna in a muffin tin is ingenious because it’s usually uniform, cooks faster, and is easier to make.

This antipasto lasagna has Italian sausage, bell peppers, olives, cheese, and more, which makes it really tasty.

You can also switch up different ingredients each time you make this dish so that you’re not getting the same thing every week.

Source: griffinsgrub.wordpress.com

4. Chicken Fried Rice

Fried rice is absolutely delicious and is great because you can eat it hot or cold.

This fried rice has everything you need for lunch, including chicken, onion, cabbage, carrots, peas, carrots, and spices that are put into the dish to give it some zest.

If you don’t feel like having another meal with just vegetables in it then this fried rice is the way to go.

With all of the ingredients that are in it, this dish isn’t lacking when it comes to protein or flavor.

You can save even more time by cooking your rice in advance so you don’t have to worry about it when lunchtime rolls around.

Source: batelskithcen.com

5. Warm Roasted Cauliflower and Chickpea Salad

If you’re looking for healthy lunch recipes, this vegetarian dish is one you’ll keep making again and again.

The roasted cauliflower with chickpea is a great combination and when mixed with the other ingredients, it’s packed with flavor.

This is a cold lunch you don’t have to feel guilty about eating but it tastes just as good as the bad stuff.

Source: parents.com

6. Ham and Swiss and Apple Quesadilla

Quesadillas are one of the easiest Mexican cuisines to make because they don’t take any effort to make a great tasting dish.

They are so simple and there are endless options when it comes to what ingredients you want us in them.

When your kids come home starving and want a hot meal, then quesadillas are the perfect dish because they will eat just about anything if it’s put into this tortilla.

This recipe calls for ham, swiss, and apples, which might not be what you normally eat together, but the flavors are well worth the try!

Source: eatingwell.com

7. Mulligatawny Soup

Mulligatawny soup isn’t as well known in America, but it’s loved in other areas of the world.

It’s a type of soup that has curry powder in it which gives the dish a lot of flavor and warmth.

You could make it in the slow cooker, but you can also make it on your stovetop if you don’t want to wait as long.

Source: sweetphi.com

8. Lentil Soup

Lentil soup is one of those healthy lunch ideas that are easy to make and don’t take up a lot of time.

You can always switch things around when it comes to what veggies you put in this dish, but the basics are lentils, carrots, celery, onion, garlic and seasoned with rosemary and thyme.

This soup is full of flavor and looks very appetizing if you need to bring it to work or school.

The longer that this dish can sit the better since all of those spices will just soak into each other to give it even more flavor.

You can also make soup in bulk and save some for your lunch at work if your office has a microwave.

Source: africanbites.com

9. Tuna Melts

The classic tuna melt is so beloved because it’s so easy to make and tastes really good too.

You can have this ready in just minutes if you have basic ingredients on hand and want something super quick for lunch.

This tuna salad melt is made with a slice of bread, a can of tuna, sliced cheese, and a little mayo which you mix together in a bowl.

Source: inspiredwithatwist.com

10. Caramelized Onion Mushroom Pizza

Pizza is a great dish to make but you don’t have to roll out your own dough for it to be good.

Just buy a premade crust and add your favorite ingredients.

This is one of those lunch recipes where there are so many different things you can put on it.

The toppings include onions, mushrooms, rosemary, thyme, garlic powder, and oregano.

If you want to add some more protein, you can either get pre-cooked bacon or cook the bacon yourself before adding the toppings.

Serve it with a side of ranch or blue cheese if you want even more flavor to your pizza.

Source: southernliving.com

11. Macaroni and Cheese

Mac and Cheese is extremely easy if you buy it at the store with the ingredients ready to go.

That way is ok but what you really want is to make your own batch at home and then stick the rest in the fridge for later in the week.

If you get high-quality cheese, it will really make your mac and cheese pop with flavor.

A little breadcrumbs on top with some paprika can also give it a little more flavor that will get you going for a second bowl.

Source: thekitchenismyplayground.com

12. Mac and Cheese Cups

Instead of having an entire bowl of mac and cheese, you can make to-go containers that you can have anywhere.

This mac and cheese recipe is a great way to fit in an easy lunch but you’ll want to add some more ingredients to bulk it up.

Some bacon or sausage to your mac and cheese will help them be more of a meal inside of a quick side you can finish.

Add a little breadcrumbs on the top of the mac and cheese to give it a nice crunchy texture that goes perfectly with the gooey cheese.

You can make enough of these to stick in a bag in the fridge. That way, you don’t have to make a new batch every time you want a quick meal.

Source: foodwithlove.de

13. Filet-O-Fish

Nothing could be simpler than a filet-o-fish because it doesn’t have a lot of ingredients and is a great meal on a budget.

This version has some tartar sauce, lettuce, and cheese to give it the Filet-O-Fish flavor you remember from McDonald’s.

You can always make several filets too, so that when it’s time for lunch you have one ready to go.

Source: tatyanaseverydayfood.com

14. Savory Smoked Salmon Crepes

This smoked salmon recipe is great if you want a quick lunch because it’s easy to make and has only four ingredients.

All you need for this dish is crepes, smoked salmon, cream cheese, and dill. The dill is the best part of this recipe because it gives these wraps that perfect crunch you’ll want in your mouth.

It also adds some nice flavor that pairs perfectly with the salmon. You don’t have to stick to just dill, you can switch it up with some avocado if you want an even more creamy texture in your dish.

This recipe will take about 15 minutes for you to make, which is perfect if your kids are craving something yummy before their nap time.

Source: oatsbaker.com

15. Savory Pesto Mushroom Oatmeal

Savory oatmeal is appreciated as much as sweet oatmeal but, it’s often just as good, if not better.

This pesto mushroom oatmeal combines a classic oatmeal with a creamy pesto sauce that will have you wanting more.

This dish is made from rolled oats, onion, garlic, and mixed herbs but feel free to use whatever spices you have on hand for the best flavor.

Source: ohsweetbasil.com

16. Chili

If it’s cold outside you should be cooking up a pot of chili because this dish is comforting and perfect for the weather.

There are tons of different recipes that you can find when it comes to chili, but add in some extra ingredients if you want your soup to be more hearty.

Anytime you need a warm and hearty meal, this should be your go-to.

It’s packed with protein and will keep you full for hours so if you skipped breakfast, this should be your go-to option.

What’s best is you can make it in the crockpot and sit back while the cooking gets done for you.

You can stick a big portion in the freezer too so you can have some later without having to do extra work.

Source: jocooks.com

17. Chicken Gyros

Gyros are typically made with beef or lamb but this chicken version will have you wondering why you haven’t tried it before.

This version uses shredded rotisserie chicken with cucumbers, tomatoes, and tzatziki sauce for an authentic flavor.

If you aren’t familiar with tzatziki sauce, it’s made from yogurt, dill, garlic, cucumber, and other ingredients you’ll love.

These gyros would be great for a quick lunch or even to take on the go.

You could switch up this dish and add in some fruit like grapes or pineapple slices and this sandwich would still taste great.

Source: modernmealmakeover.com

18. Chicken Fajitas

Fajitas are a great meal and perfect for a quick lunch because there are hardly any ingredients needed.

All you need to do is get some flour tortillas and put in whatever you want.

This version of fajitas has chicken, onions, bell peppers, and a side of sour cream.

It’s an incredibly simple dish that pairs well with cilantro lime rice on the side.

If you’re sick of eating chicken for lunch then switch it up with steak or fish.

You can even eat them by yourself because these fajitas are packed with flavor that you’re going to love.

You can have everything ready to go in under half an hour so you’ll have lunch ready to go and you won’t miss out on any important meetings.

Source: honeywhatscooking.com

19. Caprese Panini

A classic caprese panini is filled with fresh mozzarella, tomatoes, and basil for a delicious sandwich any time of the day.

You can make this as a panini or even grill up some bread and bake some cheese on top.

The recipe makes it seem like there are a lot of ingredients, but you can make this sandwich pretty easily with some store-bought foods.

Source: food.com

20. Apple Cheddar Panini Sandwich

Apples are a great ingredient to add to your lunch routine and having them in a cheddar panini sandwich really makes it pop.

If you have a panini press, it makes this dish easier to make because it gives the bread a nice toasty crunch and it will flatten the sandwich slightly, making it easier to eat.

With the melted cheddar cheese dripping all over the apple, you’ll wonder if you ever really need meat in a panini again.

Of course, you can always add some chicken or pork to your panini if you really want to make it a filling meal.

Leaving the meat out is what makes this lunch so quick and easy to make though so take that into consideration.

Source: nordicware.com

21. Monte Cristo Sandwich

The monte cristo has carved out its own space in the world of sandwiches, which isn’t easy to do.

The dish is made of panko breaded turkey or ham, filled with melted Swiss cheese and topped off with a little powdered sugar.

It would be great to add some other toppings like honey for a sweet kick or even some jam to add a different kind of flavor.

Source: thegarlicdiaries.com

22. Grilled Cheese

The classic grilled cheese is one of the best things to eat for lunch because it’s simple and can be made at any time with little prep.

The most important thing is the cheese so make sure when you head to the store you pick up a quality gruyere or some other classic cheese you love.

Butter the bread on both sides because it will help improve the flavor.

You could even get crazy and throw in some roasted tomatoes or bacon if you have them ready to go.

If not, a classic grilled cheese is all you really need and your taste buds won’t be disappointed.

Source: madeinaday.com

23. Pasta Fagioli Soup

Pasta e Fagioli soup is a great dish to make for lunch because it has a ton of flavor and nutrients that will fill you up.

It’s made from cannellini beans, carrots, celery, garlic, and other ingredients that add to the deliciousness.

This is great on a cold day when you need a hot lunch to fill you up.

Source: thehintofrosemary.com

24. Ramen

Ramen is a great fast lunch to make because it only takes minutes to prepare and make and it’s easy to customize with whatever you have in the kitchen.

It’s a dish that will fill you up as long as you make sure to buy some quality noodles because they make all the difference.

The best thing about ramen is if you want to save it, store it in a canning jar for an easy grab and go lunch.

Just heat it up in some hot water for a couple of minutes before you eat it because if you don’t, the noodles will get mushy.

The best part about this dish is how versatile it is so feel free to switch things up with whatever flavors you have leftover.

Source: cookieandkate.com

25. Veggie Nachos

You can practically throw any ingredients into nachos and they’ll taste good together, that’s just the beauty of nachos.

This version has a ton of veggies you’ll enjoy and you can mix things up endlessly to give you the best flavors.

Serve these up with a great side of salsa or even some sour cream to give them a great nacho taste.

Even a side of guacamole would go a long way to making these nachos irresistible.

quick hot lunch ideas

25+ BEST Quick Hot Lunch Ideas (+Chicken Fajitas)

These recipes are sure to please. So, gather your family and friends and enjoy. Let us know your thoughts!
5 from 8 votes
Total Time 28 minutes
Course Main Course
Cuisine American
Servings 4
Calories 221 kcal


  • 2 chicken breasts sliced
  • 3 bell peppers in different colors sliced
  • 1 onion sliced
  • 2 Tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 Tsp. red chili powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon each black pepper onion powder, garlic powder, paprika, cumin
  • 2 Tbsp. lime juice
  • Tortillas


  • Cook all ingredients at 425°F for 20-25 minutes.
  • Drizzle lime juice over cooked fajitas


Select your favorite recipe.
Organize all the required ingredients.
Enjoy the food.


Calories: 221kcal
Keyword chicken fajitas, easy lunch ideas, hot lunch ideas, quick lunch ideas
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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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