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last minute dinner ideas

Last Minute Dinner Ideas That Will Take You From Zero To Hero in 30 Minutes!

When you’re looking for a last-minute dinner idea that won’t take forever, it can be tricky to come up with something both tasty and easy. But never fear – we’ve got you covered! Read on for some delicious recipes that will have your taste buds singing and the whole family fed in no time.

In this article, we will delve into an array of last-minute dinner ideas that are quick, easy, and require minimal ingredients. We understand how spontaneous life can be, so we’re focusing on recipes that use simple pantry staples you likely already have on hand, as well as ready-to-cook store-bought options for those truly hectic days. Whether you’re rushing home from work, in need of a quick meal solution for unexpected guests, or just not in the mood for a culinary marathon – we’ve got your back. So sit back, relax, and prepare to be whisked away on a gastronomic journey that promises to deliver taste and timeliness in equal measure.

Homemade last minute dinner ideas

Many of the recipes we share here are homemade. Homemade recipes might sound like the opposite of ‘last-minute’, but hang tight, we’re about to flip that notion on its head! With a bit of strategic pantry stocking and a pinch of creativity, whipping up a homemade meal can be as quick as a TV dinner (and infinitely more satisfying). Consider a grilled cheese sandwich with a twist or fried rice that can be done in under 30 minutes. These versatile dishes can be made with whatever veggies or proteins you have on hand and the recipes themselves are forgiving if substitutions need to be made on certain ingredients, making them the perfect last-minute dinner ideas when time’s not on your side. Trust us, with these recipes up your sleeve, you’ll be dishing out delectable dinners at the drop of a hat!

01 grilled cheese

Pin Recipe
Ready to take grilled cheese sandwiches to the next level? This quick and easy grilled cheese recipe with mayo is sure to add a delicious twist to your favorite classic sandwich. With just a few simple ingredients, you can create a tasty grilled cheese that will have your taste buds jumping for joy! So get ready for a grilled cheese experience like never before. It's time to try grilled cheese with mayonnaise!
  • 2 Slices Sourdough Bread or bread of choice
  • 2 Tbsp Light Mayonnaise
  • Cup Freshly Shredded Mozzarella Cheese
  • Cup Freshly Shredded Sharp Cheddar Cheese
  • 1 Oz Roasted Red Peppers
  • Salt & Pepper to Taste
Full Recipe Here

02 quesadilla

Grilled Cheese Quesadilla (Delicious & Ready In 5 Minutes
Pin Recipe
This grilled cheese quesadilla recipe is perfect for anyone who wants a quick, simple, and delicious meal option in a hurry. Quesadillas can be made with so many different fillings, toppings, and tortillas to create a truly delicious meal or appetizer. In this recipe, I'm taking it back to the basics with a classic cheese quesadilla with a twist. Cheese quesadillas are a classic but often lack flavor, which changes in this recipe. In this recipe, I am adding an element of grilled cheese to the exterior of the quesadilla which adds a new experience by giving the quesadilla a nice toasted cheese exterior to pair with the soft cheesy inside of the tortilla.  
  • 1 Tortilla Land Tortilla soft taco size
  • 1/2 Cup Reduced-Fat Mexican Cheese
  • 1 Tbsp Tostitos Queso Cheese Sauce or nacho cheese sauce of your choosing
Full Recipe Here

03 mac & cheese

Buffalo Mac & Cheese
Pin Recipe
This buffalo mac and cheese is a delicious, easy-to-make meal with a nice creamy sauce that has a nice kick to it and will have everyone at the dinner table coming back for more! This recipe takes the traditional mac and cheese and adds a twist with a buffalo sauce for heat and cream cheese to take the creamy level even further. Plus, it cooks up in no time and can be customized to your liking. 
  • 16 Oz Pasta Shells or pasta of choice
  • 1 Tbsp Butter
  • 1 Tbsp Flour
  • 1 1/2 Cups Non-Fat Milk or milk of choice
  • 3/4 Cup Shredded Sharp Cheddar Cheese divided
  • 3/4 Cup Shredded Monterey Jack Cheese divided
  • 1/2 Cup Shredded Parmesan Cheese divided
  • 1 Oz 1/3 Less Fat Cream Cheese
  • 1/4 Cup Franks Buffalo Sauce
  • Salt & Pepper to Taste
Full Recipe Here

04 Nachos

Wonton Nachos
Pin Recipe
These wonton nachos are a tasty twist on traditional nachos that are worth trying and can be customized with your favorite toppings.  They are perfect for any occasion, and everyone will love them. Plus, they are so easy to make that you can whip them up in no time. 
  • 20 Wonton Wrappers
  • 1/2 Lb Pork Sausage
  • 2 Cups Fat-Free Shredded Mexican Cheese or cheese of choice
  • 1/4 Cup Sliced Olives
  • 1/4 Cup Sliced Jalapenos
  • 1/4 Cup Sliced Pepperoncini
  • 1/4 Cup Sour Cream
  • Oil For Frying I used vegetable oil
Full Recipe Here

05 fried rice

Bacon Fried Rice (Quick & Easy Recipe
Pin Recipe
This bacon fried rice is simple to make and can be tailored to your taste preferences. Plus, it's perfect for those who love bacon as much as we do. If you want a vegetarian version, simply use vegetarian bacon or a vegetarian protein option. Ready to get started? Let's go over the ingredients you'll need and how to prepare this mouth-watering dish!
  • 4 Strips Bacon or vegetarian protein if preferred
  • 1 1/2 Cups Jasmine Rice cooked and chilled
  • 1 1/2 Cups Cauliflower Rice fresh or frozen
  • 1/2 Cup Frozen Peas or frozen
  • 1/2 Cup Diced Green Onions
  • 4 Tbsp Soy Sauce I used light soy sauce
  • 2 Eggs whole or whites
  • Salt, Pepper, and Garlic Powder to Taste
Full Recipe Here

06 wraps

Red Robbins Whiskey River Wrap Remix Recipe
Pin Recipe
Looking for a new chicken wrap recipe to try out? Well, look no further! In this blog post, we will be sharing a delicious remix of the Red Robbins Whiskey River Wrap.
  • 8 Ounces Chicken Breast
  • 3 TBSP BBQ Sauce
  • 2 TBSP Ranch
  • 4 Spinach Wraps (I used extreme wellness wraps)
  • 2 Cups Shredded Lettuce (use as much as you like)
  • 4 TBSP Tortilla Strips
  • 1/2 Cup Shredded Cheddar Cheese
  • Salt and Pepper to Taste
Full Recipe Here

07 Teriyaki Bowl

Teriyaki Steak Recipe W/ Rice
Pin Recipe
Do you love steak? Well, then you're going to love this teriyaki steak and rice recipe! This teriyaki steak recipe is easy to make and it tastes amazing. Plus, it's perfect for a weeknight meal and can be made in under 30 minutes. 
When you're in a hurry or short on time sometimes the best options are to "Cheat" your way to a quick and easy meal. This is easy to accomplish if you have a favorite teriyaki sauce to use for this recipe to save time on making a sauce.
Full Recipe Here

08 Taco Pizza

Taco Bell Mexican Pizza Remix
Pin Recipe
If you're a fan of taco Bell Mexican pizza and are tired of waiting in line or hearing they are out, you've come to the right place! This remix of the classic Taco Bell Mexican pizza is simple to make and sure to satisfy.
  • 8 Carb Balance Flour Tortillas (tortillas of choice)
  • 1/2 LB 93% Lean Ground Beef
  • 1/2 Package Taco Seasoning
  • 8 Ounces Refried Beans
  • 4 Ounces Enchilada Sauce
  • 1 Cup Reduced-Fat Mexican Cheese
  • Toppings of choice
Full Recipe Here

09 Wings

Air Fryer Chicken Wings
Pin Recipe
Looking for a delicious and healthy air fryer chicken wings recipe? Look no further than these air fryer chicken wings! You don't have to wait for the next super bowl, these are perfect for lunches, dinners, and parties.
  • 1 LB Chicken Wings (fresh or frozen)
  • 1 TBSP Olive Oil
  • Salt and Pepper to Taste
  • 2-4 TBSP Sauce Of Choice (we used hot sauce)
Full Recipe Here

More Homemade Dinners

Store-bought last minute dinner ideas

Sometimes, even the simplest homemade meals aren’t feasible when you’re short on time. That’s where store-bought items come into play for last-minute dinner saviors. For instance, a pre-cooked rotisserie chicken can be a lifesaver. From chicken salads or wraps to a heart-warming chicken soup, the possibilities are endless. Pre-made salads and bagged veggies can be quickly jazzed up with some grilled chicken strips or canned tuna for a robust meal. And let’s not forget about the ever-versatile frozen pizza – a canvas ready to be adorned with your favorite cheeses, veggies, or deli meats, and transformed into a gourmet pie in minutes. With a bit of imagination and just a few ingredients, convenience foods can truly save the day.

10 Rotisserie chicken wrap

A classic that never fails – a rotisserie chicken wrap is always a crowd-pleaser! Start with a rotisserie chicken, and add your favorite fixings like lettuce, tomatoes, and shredded cheese. Drizzle on some ranch or garlic sauce and wrap it up in a warm tortilla to have dinner ready in minutes.

11 Spaghetti


A last-minute dinner staple, spaghetti is always an easy dinner option when you're short on time. Boil some noodles and serve them with a simple marinara sauce or Parmesan cheese. For a heartier meal, top it off with some cooked ground beef or sausage.

12 Chicken Salad

Time-crunched but still want to serve something healthy and delicious? Look no further than a Caesar salad! Start with some romaine lettuce, croutons, and Parmesan cheese. Drizzle on a dressing of mayo, garlic, lemon juice, and grilled chicken – or use store-bought salad for the ultimate time saver.

13 Tacos


Tacos are always a great last-minute meal option, and they can be made with whatever you have on hand. Try ground beef or turkey, canned refried beans, lettuce, tomatoes, cheese, guacamole, and your favorite taco seasoning. Fill up some tortillas for a quick and easy dinner that the whole family will love!


And that’s a wrap – some quick and easy last minute dinner ideas to get you from pantry to plate in no time! Whether it’s a spontaneous homemade feast or a smart use of store-bought staples, these options will ensure you’re never caught off guard when hunger strikes. So, the next time the clock is ticking and your stomach is growling, remember these ideas and prepare to impress with your culinary prowess. Who said fast food can’t be delicious and satisfying? Your dinner dilemma is officially solved. Let us know what your favorite last minute dinner ideas are in the comments below.

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My name is David, Kitchunlimited is a food blog for recipes and reviews as well as tips and tricks. Our mission is to make it easy for you to find the best recipes and cooking advice out there. Whether you’re looking for a new dish to add to your rotation or just want to know what’s worth trying, we’ve got you covered. Plus, we’ll give you the inside scoop on all things kitchen-related, from must-have gadgets to the latest food trends. So come on in, have a seat at our table, and let us show you what we’ve got cooking!

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