Easy Dinner Recipes for Family

Pita pizza on baking sheet after being cut.

Find easy dinner recipes for family meals that are fast, nutritious, and so yummy. These family meals take no more than 30 minutes, much of which is hands-off so you can live your life.

Pita pizza on baking sheet after being cut.

Easy Dinner Recipes for Family

I’m always looking for easy dinner recipes, especially when I want to keep my spending in check on takeout food, and having a list to refer to is such a help. This list includes my easiest recipes with minimal prep and cooking that are meant to be shared with the entire family.

(You can always just make these for the kids, but my goal is that you can eat them, too!)

There are recipes here for pasta, pizza, slow cooker, Instant Pot, low-and no-cook, and more. I tried to include a mix of flavors and ingredients to give you lots of options.

(Our favorite Buttered Noodles and Yogurt Chicken are great meal components, too!)

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Pita Pizzas on three colorful plates.

Easy Pizza Recipes

Below are quick and easy pizza recipes to share with the family. This is one of our favorite categories when we’re in need of a meal fast, but are low on time or energy (or both).

10-Minute Pita Pizza

Pick up regular or whole wheat pita bread at your store and use it as a base for this lightning-fast homemade pizza. Adjust the toppings as you like for your family.

10-Minute Pita Pizza

For delicious homemade pizza without the work and in a lot less time, it’s easy Pita Pizza to the rescue. Adjust this for allergies as you need and change up the toppings as you like for your family.

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Pita Pizzas on three colorful plates.
flatbread pizza slices on plate with apple slices

Flatbread Pizza

Look for a variety of types of flatbread in your supermarket—check the bakery section if your store bakes bread in-house —and assemble this easy meal.

10-Minute Flatbread Pizza (Just 3 Ingredients!)

For delicious homemade pizza without the work and in a lot less time, Flatbread Pizza to the rescue. Adjust this for allergies as you need.

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flatbread-pizza-on-plates-with-apple-slices
pizza rolls on wooden plate.

Pesto Pizza Rolls

Roll up pesto, cheese, and toppings your family enjoys in these fun pizza rolls. You can use homemade or store-bought pizza dough, too.

Homemade Pesto Pizza Rolls

With just 5 simple ingredients, you can bake Pizza Rolls with delicious flavor from pesto. These are versatile, perfect for any age, and a great make-ahead lunch or dinner option.

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pizza rolls on wooden plate
pizza-quesadillas-on-blue-plate

Pizza Quesadillas

When I want a quick and easy kids meal using pantry staples, I often turn to Pizza Quesadillas. These are ready in about 6 minutes, have classic pizza flavor with a soft and easy-to-chew texture, and are endlessly versatile!

Quick Pizza Quesadillas (An Easy Kids Meal)

This meal is perfect for when you’re short on time or when you want to make pizza with less fuss. Add a simple side of cut up fruit, applesauce, or a salad kit and call it good.

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pizza-quesadillas-on-blue-plate
broccoli-pizza-bites-on-plate

Pizza Bites

We love these with broccoli and cheese, but you can change up the fillings to make them exactly as your family likes.

Pizza Bites (with Veggies!)

Fluffy pizza bites are a delicious lunch or dinner option—and you can customize the filling to please your kids! We like these with a little side of warmed marinara sauce for dipping.

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pizza-bites-on-plate-with-pizza-sauce
Avocado pasta in bowls for a vegetarian lunch idea

Favorite Fast Pasta Dinner Recipes

Pasta, whether you prefer classic semolina, whole wheat, or one of the newer bean- or legume-based options, is always a fast dinner option. These are our very favorite dinners to share with the kids when we’re short on time.

Easy Avocado Pasta

With a creamy, veggie-packed sauce, this easy Avocado Pasta is packed with kid-friendly flavor and nutrients. And the whole recipe can be made in about 10 minutes of cooking time.

Easy Avocado Pasta

Any pasta shape works in this recipe, so choose your family’s favorite! Omit the garlic if you think the flavor might be too strong for your people. My kids prefer this without the garlic. I like it with it for myself!

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avocado-pasta-in-bowls-on-towel
butternut-squash-mac-and-cheese-in-bowls

Butternut Squash Mac and Cheese

If your family loves creamy, cheesy pasta and you’re looking for a simple way to up their veggie intake—because aren’t we always?!—this super simple 5-Ingredient Butternut Squash Mac and Cheese needs to be on your menu ASAP.

5-Ingredient Butternut Squash Mac and Cheese

Use your family’s favorite shape and type of pasta in this recipe. (We like elbows or mini shells!)

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butternut-squash-mac-and-cheese-with-shell-pasta
broccoli-mac-and-cheese-in-bowls-on-counter

One-Pot Broccoli Mac and Cheese

With a super easy method that only requires one pot, you can have this easy Broccoli Mac and Cheese ready for family dinner—or a kids meal. It cooks in about 20 minutes and has a solid dose of nutrients and deliciousness.

One-Pot Broccoli Mac and Cheese

The method on this recipe is streamlined to cut down on dish washing. Add the optional spices for more flavor if you like! Double it to make more.

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stir fry noodles with vegetables

Stir Fry Noodles

For many kids, noodles and pasta are a favorite dinner option. This quick Stir Fry Noodles is a family dinner that plays off of that familiar starting point and introduces potentially new flavors in a safe way. It’s fast, delicious, and so versatile!

20-Minute Stir Fry Noodles with Veggies

Try this quick family dinner the next time you’re craving healthy comfort food—and want to please the entire family! You can add a protein to this dish if you’d like. See the Notes for options.

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stir fry noodles with vegetables
mac and cheese cups on wire rack.

Mac and Cheese Bites

Start with a box of mac and cheese, and end with this super fun meal. It’s a fun way to change up dinner just slightly—and they’re really yummy, too.

Easy Mac and Cheese Bites (aka Mac and Cheese Cups)

Learn how to make quick and easy Mac and Cheese Bites for an easy kids lunch or dinner. These bites are fun and a nutritious kids meal that can easily double as an appetizer! You can even add in veggies like broccoli for the most delicious mac and cheese cups.

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mac and cheese cups on wire rack
Pastina soup in numerous bowls with spoons and sides.

Quick Soups

Making soup has become one of my survival strategies for feeding my family, especially in the cooler months. The ones below are quick, have shortcuts for chopping, and are totally satisfying.

Quick Pastina Soup

Look for pastina, or tiny star pasta, in the pasta aisle of your store. Stelline or acini di peppe can work, too, as they are similar in size.

Quick Pastina Soup

With just a handful of simple ingredients, you can make this cozy Pastina Soup to share with the kids in under 30 minutes. Look for little star “pastina” pasta in the pasta aisle.

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Pastina soup in numerous bowls with spoons and sides.
alphabet-soup-in-blue-bowl

Alphabet Soup

Cook up this cozy Alphabet Soup recipe the next time you want an easy meal that’s also fun! ABC pasta is a perfect addition to this kid-friendly soup—and you can tailor the veggies to the likes (or dislikes!) of your own kiddos. It’s so versatile!

Favorite Alphabet Soup

You can use ABC pasta, orzo, pastina, or ditalini—or any other very small pasta shape in this Alphabet Soup recipe. And you can start with fresh or frozen veggies. See below for options.

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alphabet-soup-in-blue-bowl
chicken soup for kids in teal bowl.

Chicken Noodle Soup

There’s nothing like a bowl of cozy, comforting Chicken Noodle Soup—especially when it’s one that’s easy to make in about 30 minutes. This version is quick to make and is one of our very favorite soups for kids—and family dinners to share.

Easy Chicken Noodle Soup for Kids

This easy recipe makes a big pot of comforting soup to feed the whole family—babies, toddlers, and big kids included. The leftovers store nicely so you can enjoy it for a few days!

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chicken soup for kids in teal bowl
Butternut squash soup in various containers.

Butternut Squash Apple Soup

Start with precut or frozen butternut squash from the supermarket to reduce the prep time in this cozy soup recipe.

Easy Butternut Squash Apple Soup

With a quick cooking method and the creamiest texture, this easy Butternut Squash Apple Soup is a family favorite. It is great for babies on up to adults, is dairy-free and packed with vegetarian protein, and just tastes so good. We love this with buttered toast or crackers.

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Butternut squash soup in various containers.
macaroni soup in pot with bowl

Macaroni Soup

Try this one-pot soup for an easy weeknight meal to share with the kids. Top with Parmesan cheese or another shredded cheese you like for extra yum.

Easy Macaroni Soup

Made with mostly pantry and freezer staples, this cozy Macaroni Soup is easy and flavorful—and so nourishing. I love to make this with elbows, but other small pasta shapes such as wagon wheels would work well, too.

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macaroni-soup-in-two-bowls-on-counter
butter-chicken-on-kids-and-parents-plate

Crockpot and Instant Pot Family Meals

Let the slow cooker or Instant Pot do the heavy lifting for you with these easy family recipes. There are options here for vegetarian meals and ones with meat, so see what looks best.

Instant Pot Butter Chicken

Shredded chicken thighs made incredibly tender in a rich tomato sauce with hints of Indian spices … oh yes! This Instant Pot Butter Chicken is an easy family dinner that everyone at the table (babies on up) can enjoy.

Easy Instant Pot Butter Chicken

Forget takeout—deliver this popular Indian dish to your table instead. Shredded chicken thighs are coated in a rich, buttery sauce with hints of tomatoes, ginger, and garam masala—a messy but very flavorful finger food. Adapted from The Multi-Cooker Baby Food Cookbook.

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instant-pot-butter-chicken
slow-cooker-black-bean-soup-in-pink-bowl

Slow Cooker Black Bean Soup

Use the slow cooker to make this easy dinner with lot of veggies and kid-friendly flavor. It’s easy, versatile, and a great freezer meal—and pairs well with toppings including cheese, guacamole, and sour cream.

Slow Cooker Black Bean Soup (with Instant Pot Option)

Use the crock pot to cook up a hearty and nutritious Slow Cooker Black Bean Soup with veggies and lots of kid-friendly flavor. It’s easy, versatile, and a great freezer meal!

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slow-cooker-black-bean-soup
slow-cooker-chicken-tacos-on-kids-plate

Slow Cooker Chicken and Bean Tacos

With a super short ingredient list, no precooking before turning on the slow cooker, and a veggie-loaded sauce, these Slow Cooker Chicken Tacos with Beans and Veggies make such a delicious family meal.

Slow Cooker Chicken and Bean Tacos

The combination of vegetables listed below delivers really nice flavor and consistency to the sauce, but if you want to simplify, you can just use 2 of the options. This recipe was updated in September 2019 to add an Instant Pot option.

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family style slow cooker chicken tacos
chana-masala-for-family with three plates

Chana Masala with Rice

Try making a super easy Indian food recipe at home with this mild Instant Pot Chana Masala. It’s easy to make, freezes beautifully, and packs extra veggies tucked right into the sauce. Plus, it’s a delish family meal to share with babies and toddlers!

Instant Pot Channa Masala with Rice

If you can’t find garam masala, you can leave it out, though it adds authentic flavor that you’d expect if you’ve eaten Chana Masala in a restaurant. This will likely make enough for two meals—I like to freeze the second half for a future week.

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chana-masala-for-family with three plates
instant pot chicken sandwich

Instant Pot BBQ Chicken

With just two ingredients, you can cook up deliciously moist and tender Instant Pot BBQ Chicken to use over noodles or rice, or in sandwiches. So easy!

Easiest Instant Pot BBQ Chicken

You can double this recipe and use 2 pounds of chicken if desired. Just do your best to spread it into an even layer in the instant pot. (Note: The nutrition facts will vary based on the bbq sauce that you use.)

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instant pot chicken sandwich
family-style-snack-plate

No-Cook (and Low-Cook) Family Dinner Ideas

Streamline dinner prep even more with these no- and low-cook family dinners. Each is meant to be quickly assembled or quickly cooked with minimal ingredients to keep it easy for you.

Snack Dinner

The next time you just cannot summon the energy to cook a meal … Snack Dinner to the rescue! I love this easy concept because it’s so easy to make one big platter for the whole family to share, or individual plates for each kiddo. And, you can use up so many items you already have in the house!

Easy Snack Dinner (to Share with the Kids!)

You can do a big family-style platter or individual ones for the kids depending on your preference. Add anything else that sounds appealing and know that the nutrition info will vary according to what you use.

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family-style-snack-plate
hummus wraps on white plates with apple slices.

Easy Hummus Wrap

Rely on staples including tortillas and hummus to make the fastest dinner ever. Deconstruct this as needed for younger eaters.

Easy Hummus Wrap (to Share with the Kids)

Quickly combine a few simple ingredients to make a really yummy lunch wrap. This recipe makes one wrap, so increase the serving size as necessary.

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hummus wraps on white plates with apple slices
spinach eggs on two plates on countertop.

Spinach Eggs

With a heaping pile of spinach and a super simple method, you can make these bright green Spinach Eggs in less than 10 minutes to share with the kids. They’re packed with protein and a great source of iron. And they are just so yummy!

Favorite Spinach Eggs (Green Eggs Recipe)

Packed with spinach (and iron!), these bright green eggs are fun and delicious. You can serve them as you would scrambled eggs, or use in a breakfast burrito or egg sandwich.

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spinach eggs on two plates on countertop.
spinach-grilled-cheese-on-plate-1

Spinach Grilled Cheese

Spinach Grilled Cheese is a veggie-packed variation on the classic sandwich that’s just so delicious. (This favorite kids sandwich is equally appealing to adults, too!) It’s also easy to make and packed with iron, which is a nice bonus.

Easy Spinach Grilled Cheese

You can also do this with full size spinach if that’s what you’re able to find. Just discard any stems before starting the recipe.

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spinach-grilled-cheese-on-plate
quick burrito bowl in adult and kids plates

Burrito Bowls

With rice, beans, and any veggies you like, this easy meal is so versatile and satisfying. See below for the full information.

Best Tips for Success

  • Round out any meal with a simple side of fruit, a salad kit, or another easy side your family likes.
  • Keep portions small to start for kids to reduce food waste.
  • Check out my favorite freezer meals for ideas that you can easily stash in the freezer to reheat quickly.
  • Try serving meals family style to let the kids have some power in deciding what goes onto their plate.

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