31 Fun and Easy Saturday Night Dinner Ideas

If you’re looking for Saturday night dinner ideas, you’re either looking for something super simple so that you don’t have to spend time in the kitchen or something wonderful, because you have more time to cook.

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For most families, the weekend is a magical time. We get more rest usually, but also, we are able to enjoy more quality time with friends and family.

Beef stew served with crusty bread in a bowl

There are tons of ideas for an easy dinner online, and Saturday dinner ideas top the list. In this list, we’ve included both fun recipes and recipes that require an extra special touch.

From simple to elegant, entrée to dessert, we’ve got you covered.

Source: Thecookierookie.com

1. Fiesta Lime Chicken

The restaurant chain Applebee’s isn’t exactly known for its fine cuisine, but one dish that has become a beloved tradition is Fiesta Lime Chicken.

The chicken is served on a gorgeous bed of mildly spicy Mexican rice. Then, the meal is topped with pico de gallo, lime-flavored ranch dressing, and tortilla strips.

And don’t forget the cheese that’s melted on top. Yum!

Copycat recipes for this popular chicken dinner abound online, and we love this one because it’s made a bit lighter with Greek yogurt.

Source: Simplyrecipes.com

2. Baked Ziti

We’re not sure what it is, but something about a baked pasta dish is incredibly satisfying.

This recipe for baked ziti has gobs of gooey cheese, tomato sauce, and delicious Italian sausage.

When you want an impressive pasta dish that’s similar to lasagna, you can make baked ziti in a fraction of the time it takes to bake the Italian casserole classic.

This dish has a whopping four cloves of garlic in it, and we’re here for it. The red pepper flakes give it a wonderful, surprising zing.

Source: Tasteandtellblog.com

3. Beef Stew

Few things are as comforting as a hot bowl of savory beef stew that’s chock-full of fall vegetables.

This recipe is the best one we found for classic beef stew, and it’s one of the best Saturday night dinner ideas.

You can use whatever cut of beef you want, but this stew is delicious when made with a chuck pot roast.

What’s the secret to a good old-fashioned beef stew? A can of V-8 (or other vegetable juice).

The Worchestershire sauce, thyme, celery, onions, and bay leaf give this easy dinner a wonderful flavor.

Source: Afamilyfeast.com

4. Filet Mignon in Mushroom Sauce

What is the secret to the perfect filet mignon? Searing the steak until it reaches a perfect medium-rare.

If you’re going for a romantic dinner for two, there is nothing better than a steak that isn’t too huge.

What makes this filet mignon so special is the wonderful little Cremini mushrooms (also known as baby portabella), fresh rosemary, and fresh thyme.

The sauce is made of beef stock and has a little bit of cabernet wine, which is what really gives this dish its flavor.

Source: Gimmesomeoven.com

5. Beef Stroganoff

Affordable and easy to make, beef stroganoff is an impressive dish that nearly everyone will gobble up.

You will love the creamy garlic sauce with mushrooms that are in this dish, and the process of cooking tenderizes the beef so much that you can cut it with the edge of your fork.

Seasoned with sour cream, white onions, Worcestershire sauce, and some dry white wine, this is a recipe that will impress your guests.

Serve this beef stroganoff in the traditional way with egg noodles, or you can use polenta or rice.

Source: Cookingclassy.com

6. Tandoori Chicken

Tandoori chicken is a classic dish from India that has become popular everywhere in the world.

The chicken is coated in an interesting marinade of garam masala, yogurt, and a dash of cayenne pepper.

This easy recipe comes out creamy and rich and it has the perfect balance of delicious spices.

Traditionally, Tandoori chicken is made with chicken thighs, but you can also use breasts if you’re watching calories and fat.

Source: Recipetineats.com

7. Shepherd’s Pie

One of the original casseroles and an easy dinner, shepherd’s pie is a beloved dish from the British aisles that has somehow become just as loved in the U.S.

This dish is so versatile and it can be made with a variety of different ground meats.

Shepherd’s pie is traditionally made with lamb, and this dish made with hamburger meat is called cottage pie. However, the two phrases are used interchangeably.

Whatever you and your family call it, this comfort food will win the hearts of everyone you serve it to.

Source: Foxandbriar.com

8. Baked Lemon Butter Tilapia

If you have some lemons in your fridge, we’ve got one of the best weekend dinner ideas for you. This baked tilapia with lemon butter will melt in your mouth. It’s just that delicious.

On our list of healthy dinner ideas, this recipe has a fast and easy prep and cooks in less than 15 minutes, so you will have an elegant dinner on the table in no time at all.

Tilapia is a white fish with a mild flavor and an excellent source of protein. Also, it happens to be low in calories and fat.

Source: Simplyrecipes.com

9. Seafood Paella

Normally, you would expect to have a dish like seafood paella at a fancy restaurant.

However, there is an easy way to make this upscale dish right in your own kitchen.

Paella’s roots are ancient and this dish originally comes from Valencia, Spain, an area that is close to the Albufera Lagoon. In this area, rice and fishing dominated the region for hundreds of years.

Here’s the secret to this healthy meal: medium-grain rice. This type of rice soaks in the wonderful aromatics beautifully.

Source: Bunsinmyoven.com

10. Pizza Bread

To make the nostalgic pizza bread, you follow the same principles of making a pizza, but it’s slightly different and one of the most fun recipes.

Pizza bread is baked on Italian bread with cheese, pizza sauce, and seasonings. Top that off with your favorite pizza toppings for a surprisingly authentic treat.

This is a recipe that works wonderfully for Saturday dinner or any quick dinner.

If you have leftovers, heat them up in a toaster oven so that they’re nice and crispy.

Source: Pinchofyum.com

11. Lo Mein

Does your family love spaghetti and pasta? How about doing something different and whipping up this quick and easy stir fry lo mein?

This recipe is one of our easy dinner recipes and takes only 15 minutes to make.

A classic recipe, most people never try to make this at home.

Asian recipes can seem intimidating because of all of the ingredients, but making lo mein is surprisingly simple.

The legendary flavoring comes from the dark and light soy sauce. Also, the sesame oil and sugar make this dish sing.

Source: Natashaskitchen.com

12. Chicken Parmesan

Chicken Parmesan is a classic dish that takes advantage of the natural juiciness of chicken breasts.

With a decadent parmesan crust and homemade marinara sauce, this is a dish that is sure to please (and impress!).

Chicken Parmesan is chicken breast that has been breaded and covered in cheese and tomato sauce.

You can serve this over any type of pasta, and it’s delicious with whole wheat pasta if you want an extra heartiness. If you’re counting calories or carbs, consider making this as a zucchini noodle recipe instead of serving it with traditional pasta.

Oh, and you can always use a high-quality jarred marinara sauce if you want.

Source: Modernhoney.com

13. Meatball Sub

Are you a fan of the hit TV show “Friends”? If so, you’re well aware of the role the ubiquitous meatball sub plays in that show.

It’s easy to see why this delicious and hearty sandwich is the favorite of Joey in the show.

The meatballs are tender and juicy, and the tangy tomato sauce delights the taste buds.

Serve these sandwiches inside buns, such as hot dog buns. Be sure to cover them in cheese and toast them to perfection.

Source: Tablespoon.com

14. Beef Bourguignon

You don’t have to be a gourmet chef to whip up a gourmet meal.

This recipe comes from the legend herself, Julia Child. The good news is that it’s not that difficult to make.

Beef Bourguignon is a special beef stew that has bacon, pearl onions, carrots, herbs, and garlic.

What makes this recipe unique is that the base is made from beef stock and burgundy wine, so you have a rich gravy that positively oozes with flavor.

Source: Tastesbetterfromscratch.com

15. Pulled Pork

Want to make a big batch of pulled pork but don’t have the requisite smoker? No problem!

This recipe for pulled pork is made in a slow cooker and is one of our favorite easy dinner recipes.

This hearty and popular dish gets its flavoring from brown sugar and spices like chili powder, onion powder, garlic powder, cumin, and black pepper.

However, the secret is the can of Coca-Cola. That’s what makes pulled pork so perfectly tender.

The slow cooker makes this dish incredibly tender.

Here’s a tip: freeze up the leftovers in batches so that you can pull it out for a quick weeknight dinner of tacos.

Source: Cookingclassy.com

16. Steak

Steak is famously difficult to get just right, and part of that is because everyone likes their steak at a specific doneness.

The best way to make sure you cook a steak properly is to use a good meat thermometer so you will know when your steak is done.

There are also charts online that you can use to determine exactly how long to cook a steak to get to the desired doneness.

When you make this pan-seared steak, be sure to serve it with melted garlic butter. Serve with mashed potatoes or a baked potato.

Source: Simplyrecipes.com

17. French Onion Soup

Do you remember the first time you ever heard of French Onion Soup? If so, you may remember thinking that a bowl full of onions didn’t sound so yummy.

However, when you tried this age-old soup, the cheesy savory goodness of it no doubt won your heart.

This soup has been around since the days of ancient Rome and it enjoyed a resurgence of popularity in the 1960s.

A hearty meal with caramelized onions, the melted cheese on top is the star of the show.

Source: Thetoastykitchen.com

18. Philly Cheesesteak

When you feel stumped for Saturday night dinner ideas, don’t just settle for quick sandwiches. Make your sandwiches something grand with a feast of Philly cheesesteak sandwiches.

This recipe is comforting and hearty. But best of all, it’s remarkably simple to make.

To get the most tender Philly cheesesteak, use ribeye steaks. This sandwich is seasoned with bell pepper, onions, mushrooms, and delicious melty cheese.

Serve these sandwiches on toasted hoagie rolls.

Source: Marginmakingmom.com

19. Chicken and Dumplings

If comfort food on a cold winter or fall evening is what your family craves, how about whipping up a big pot of chicken and dumplings?

The restaurant chain Cracker Barrel has a recipe that people love, so we went looking for a good copycat version of this beloved classic.

The recipe we found uses two full ribs of celery, and that makes chicken and dumplings delicious.

This comforting dish doesn’t have to be boring, either. Feel free to add mushrooms, corn, or peas to make it more interesting. You can use leftover roast chicken to make this.

Source: Dinnerthendessert.com

20. Sloppy Joe Grilled Cheese

This sloppy joe grilled cheese sandwich is not the sloppy joe that was the go-to quick meal for moms in the 1970s and 1980s.

When you want a kid-pleasing sandwich that adults will also devour, this can be your new go-to quick meal.

The ground beef (or turkey) is sautéed in butter with onion, bell pepper, and garlic. The sauce is made of mustard, ketchup, and brown sugar.

To serve, be sure to get real American cheese, not imitation cheese slices.

Source: Thestayathomechef.com

21. Pot Roast

Comfort food that is filling and hearty, the classic pot roast is an excellent Saturday evening meal and an easy dinner idea.

The best part is that you can cook this in a classic oven braise, but you can also cook it slowly in your slow cooker. This is a recipe that also does exceptionally well in an Instant Pot.

The vegetables that you use in a pot roast are time-honored and usually include carrots, potatoes, and onions.

Use either chuck roast, round roast, or beef brisket for making the best pot roast.

Source: Onceuponachef.com

22. Crab Cakes

Serving crab to a lot of people can get expensive quickly, and one way to feed folks crab and keep them happy is by serving up golden-browned crab cakes.

The best crab cakes have plenty of crab and enough other ingredients to season the cakes and hold them together.

A staple in coastal communities, crab cakes can be made of all types of crab.

You can serve your crab cakes with tartar sauce. Alternatively, they are also delicious with cocktail sauce and lemon wedges.

Source: Spendwithpennies.com

23. 15 Bean Soup

If you’re carefully budgeting your grocery bill, you probably already know the value of beans.

With that said, nothing about this recipe for 15 bean soup feels cheap. The flavor of this hearty soup will blow your mind, with the goodness coming from garlic, celery, and onion.

Use smoked sausage or ham for the meat if you want meat. We’ve even seen folks use shredded rotisserie chicken to make this soup a healthy dinner.

For spices, consider adding a half teaspoon of parsley and rosemary to make this soup perfect.

Source: Showmetheyummy.com

24. Stuffed Shells

If you’re looking for an impressive meatless pasta Saturday dinner idea, look no further.

These stuffed shells are super impressive and they’re easy to make.

This pasta recipe is nice and cheesy and full of the wonderful protein that you get from cottage cheese.

Even better, you can assemble this recipe the night before and have it ready to pop into the oven the next evening.

This recipe has three types of cheese, and it’s creamy and ready to please.

Source: Spendwithpennies.com

25. Cabbage Rolls

Whoever first thought up cabbage rolls deserves a huge prize of some sort.

This old-school dish probably originated in Eastern Europe where cabbage is a staple, but it has become a modern classic right here in the U.S., too.

The Polish version of this dish usually has rice and meat, but the Ukrainian version typically only has rice.

This recipe uses tomato soup, which serves to sweeten and soften the tangy tomato sauce.

You can be versatile with your ground meat, too. Ground pork, turkey, and beef are all delicious.

Source: Tastesbetterfromscratch.com

26. Pizza Bianca (White Pizza)

Most people love ordering pizza and having it delivered. However, it’s easier than you think to make delicious homemade pizza at home.

When you’re trying different pizza recipes, Pizza Bianca is definitely something you should experiment with.

Pizza with tomato sauce is as savory as can be, but this white pizza’s base is rich and creamy.

The mozzarella and parmesan cheese take this pizza to new levels and offers up a much lighter taste than traditional pizza.

If a sophisticated and classy meal is what you’re going for, don’t miss this one.

Source: Damndelicious.com

27. Clam Chowder

On a cool fall Saturday evening, consider going for a New England tradition with a big steaming bowl of clam chowder.

You can get clams at most grocery stores these days, and this hearty chowder is super easy to make.

The tender chunks of potato, smoky bacon bits, and clams all come together in a creamy sauce that’s incredibly filling.

With this chowder, it can be soup season any day of the year, but it’s especially nice in the fall and winter.

Source: Sallysbakingaddiction.com

28. Rolls

If you’re going for a truly special Saturday dinner idea, be sure to include some soft, hot, buttery homemade dinner rolls.

This recipe uses only seven ingredients and they come out flaky, soft, and super buttery.

Dinner rolls are easier to make than most people realize.

Want to surprise someone when you show up at their house for dinner? Bring along a pan of these rolls ready to pop into the oven.

Make these rolls into a sweet sensation by topping them with honey cinnamon butter.

Source: Feastingathome.com

29. Pad Thai

One of the most popular street foods in Thailand, pad Thai is made of rice noodles, chicken or other meat, bean sprouts, and some egg.

The great thing is that you can use whatever meat you want in this dish. Traditionally, chicken is used, but you can also use beef, shrimp, or even tofu.

The sauce is the key to delicious pad Thai. It’s made of soy sauce, peanuts, brown sugar, and vinegar. Garlic and ginger round it out to make it absolutely divine.

Garnish with some cilantro and serve it with lime wedges.

Source: Theflavorbender.com

30. Chocolate Cake

When you’re looking for Saturday dinner ideas and dinner recipes, you’re going to come across tons of ideas for entrees. But what about dessert.

You know you’re going to want to make an exceptional and impressive dessert.

One recipe that you will always win with is classic chocolate cake.

Made with Dutch cocoa powder, butter, and pure vanilla extract, this cake is a masterpiece.

Be sure to make homemade buttercream frosting. It’s incredibly easy to make and the taste can’t be beaten.

Source: Cookingclassy.com

31. Peanut Butter Cookies

Sometimes after people have a huge meal, they don’t want dessert right away.

Peanut butter cookies are great to have on hand to give folks something sweet an hour or so after dinner.

And they’re so easy to make. Best of all, you can make the dough ahead of time and keep it in the fridge or freezer.

Just pull the dough out when you’re ready to bake your cookies, and serve up hot and tasty delights to your family and friends.

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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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