28 Easy and Delicious Date Night Dinner Ideas

Easy Shrimp Scampi with Basil
Photo: Antonis Achilleos; Prop Styling: Lydia Pursell; Food Styling: Chelsea Zimmer

Let us guess—it's been way too long since your last date night. Life has a knack for getting in the way of small pleasures like date nights. It can take forever to get reservations at the new restaurant downtown, and who has time to get all dolled up for date night when there are kids dirty from soccer practice running around the house? We get it. But there is still a way to plan a romantic date night. It's time to clear your schedule for a few hours to enjoy an at-home dinner together.

With these amazing date night dinner ideas, you won't even realize you're not at a fancy restaurant. And staying in doesn't just save your schedule some hassle, but it's also much more budget-friendly than eating out. Even if you're trying to save up, you can still treat yourself to one of our affordable date ideas. These fun dinner recipes take pantry staples and weeknight favorites like pasta, chicken thighs, and pork chops and dress them up for an adults-only dinner. With these five-star suppertime superstars, you'll save money and get to focus on what matters about date night—each other. No reservation required.

01 of 28

Roasted Beef Tenderloin

Cheese Sauce over Cauliflower
Antonis Achilleos; Prop Styling: Christine Keely; Food Styling; Tina Bell Stamos

Recipe: Roasted Beef Tenderloin

If your date night go-to is a steakhouse, you'll love to serve a beautiful roasted beef tenderloin at home.

02 of 28

Creamy Rice with Scallops

Creamy Rice with Scallops
Photo: Antonis Achilleos; Prop Styling: Missie Neville Crawford; Food Styling: Torie Cox

Recipe: Creamy Rice with Scallops

Scallops feel dressy enough for date night, but this 30-minute recipe is easy enough that you can actually relax and enjoy your night in.

03 of 28

Pasta with Burst Tomatoes and Mascarpone

Pasta with Burst Tomatoes and Mascarpone
Hector Sanchez

Recipe: Pasta with Burst Tomatoes and Mascarpone

This pasta recipe might look restaurant-worthy, but it starts with frozen tortellini and ends with a handful of pantry staples.

04 of 28

Best-Ever Crab Cakes with Green Tomato Slaw

Best-Ever Crab Cakes with Green Tomato Slaw
Victor Protasio; Prop Styling: Claire Spollen; Food Styling: Torie Cox

Recipe: Best-Ever Crab Cakes with Green Tomato Slaw

You might think of crab cakes as a dish you only order at restaurants, but once you see how easy they are to make at home, they'll be on your at-home date night rotation.

05 of 28

Grilled Steak with Blistered Beans and Peppers

Grilled Steak with Blistered Beans and Peppers
Victor Protasio; Food Styling: Tina Bell Stamos; Prop Styling: Christine Keely

Recipe: Grilled Steak with Blistered Beans and Peppers

Take date night outside and fire up the grill with this colorful, flavorful dinner recipe.

06 of 28

Almond-Crusted Tilapia

Almond-Crusted Tilapia
Ralph Anderson

Recipe: Almond-Crusted Tilapia

This recipe looks and sounds formal, but it only takes a few ingredients to put together, and it will go well with just about any side dishes you like.

07 of 28

Grilled Curried Chicken Thighs with Charred-Vegetable Rice

Curried Chicken Thighs with Charred-Vegetable Rice
Victor Protasio; Prop Styling: Audrey Davis; Food Styling: Emily Nabors Hall

Recipe: Grilled Curried Chicken Thighs with Charred-Vegetable Rice

Curry powder brings bright color and flavor to these chicken thighs, which cook beautifully on the grill.

08 of 28

Pasta with Shrimp and Tomato Cream Sauce

Pasta with Shrimp and Tomato Cream Sauce
Caitlin Bensel; Prop Styling: Claire Spollen; Food Styling: Anna Hampton

Recipe: Pasta with Shrimp and Tomato Cream Sauce

This simple but stunning pasta recipe is only missing a glass of wine on the side.

09 of 28

Braised Lamb Shanks with Parmesan-Chive Grits

Braised Lamb Shanks with Parmesan-Chive Grits
Photo: Victor Protasio; Food Styling: Torie Cox; Prop Styling: Kay E. Clarke

Recipe: Braised Lamb Shanks with Parmesan-Chive Grits

Your partner will never know that this sophisticated meal was made in the slow cooker, and you don't have to tell them.

10 of 28

Tomato-Basil Lasagna Roll Ups

Tomato-Basil Lasagna Rolls
Hector Sanchez

Recipe: Tomato-Basil Lasagna Roll Ups

This recipe has all the flavor and comfort of classic lasagna with elevated presentation that was made for date night.

11 of 28

Seared Scallops with Fresh Tomato-Basil Sauce and Orzo

Seared Scallops with Fresh Tomato-Basil Sauce and Orzo
Linda Pugliese; Prop Styling: Kay E. Clarke; Food Styling: Anna Hampton

Recipe: Seared Scallops with Fresh Tomato-Basil Sauce and Orzo

This summery pasta recipe looks restaurant-worthy, but it only requires 10 minutes of hands-on time.

12 of 28

Cast-Iron Cowboy Steak

Cast-Iron Cowboy Steak
Hector Sanchez

Recipe: Cast-Iron Cowboy Steak

Enjoy a restaurant-style steak from the comfort of your own home. Easy and delicious, this skillet dinner recipe doesn't disappoint.

13 of 28

Chicken Alouette

Chicken Alouette Recipe
Hector Manuel Sanchez

Recipe: Chicken Alouette

We keep turning to this trusty vintage recipe for dinner parties and holidays, and for good reason.

14 of 28

Crab-and-Bacon Linguine

Crab-and-Bacon Linguine
Victor Protasio; Prop Styling: Claire Spollen; Food Styling: Torie Cox

Recipe: Crab-and-Bacon Linguine

You'll feel like you're at a white tablecloth-restaurant with this elegant pasta on your plate.

15 of 28

Slow-Cooker Ginger, Sweet Tea, and Whiskey Short Ribs

Slow-Cooker Ginger, Sweet Tea, and Whiskey Short Ribs
Hector Manuel Sanchez; Prop Styling: Mindi Shapiro Levine; Food Styling: Torie Cox

Recipe: Slow-Cooker Ginger, Sweet Tea, and Whiskey Short Ribs

These slow-cooker short ribs are easy to prepare, but the bright, tangy sauce they're paired with feels so sophisticated.

16 of 28

Fresh Salmon Cakes with Buttermilk Dressing

Fresh Salmon Cakes with Buttermilk Dressing
Antonis Achilleos; Prop Styling: Missie Neville Crawford; Food Styling: Torie Cox

Recipe: Fresh Salmon Cakes with Buttermilk Dressing

The salmon croquettes made with canned salmon from your childhood wouldn't recognize this elevated, fresh recipe that's perfect for a light date night with a glass of chilled white wine.

17 of 28

Cast-Iron Chicken Piccata

Cast-Iron Chicken Piccata
Greg Dupree

Recipe: Cast-Iron Chicken Piccata

You can make restaurant-worthy chicken piccata in a flash thanks to your loyal cast-iron skillet. Serve over whatever noodles you have on hand and dinner is done.

18 of 28

Slow-Cooker Bolognese Sauce

Slow-Cooker Bolognese Sauce
Victor Protasio; Prop Styling: Heather Chadduck Hillegas; Food Styling: Torie Cox

Recipe: Slow Cooker Bolognese Sauce

If Italian is one of your go-to cuisines for a date night on the town, replicate it with a fun at-home date night that's just as delicious but much more budget-friendly.

19 of 28

Chicken-Mushroom-Sage Casserole

Chicken-Mushroom-Sage Casserole
Iain Bagwell

Recipe: Chicken-Mushroom-Sage Casserole

You probably don't picture a casserole when you think "date night," but this pretty dish is presentable enough to fit the bill—with all the ease you love about casseroles.

20 of 28

Skillet Orzo with Fish and Herbs

Skillet Orzo with Fish and Herbs
Becky Luigart Stayner

Recipe: Skillet Orzo with Fish and Herbs

This one-dish recipe is just as easy to prepare as a weeknight family dinner but feels more grown-up for date night.

21 of 28

Cast-Iron Pork Cacciatore

Cast-Iron Pork Cacciatore
Stephen DeVries, Prop Styling: Missie Neville Crawford; Food Styling: Torie Cox

Recipe: Cast-Iron Pork Cacciatore

You're just 30 minutes away from putting this impressive dinner on the table—no joke.

22 of 28

Eggplant Rollups

Eggplant Rollups
Photo: Greg DuPree; Prop Styling: Kay E. Clarke; Food Styling: Cat Steele

Recipe: Eggplant Rollups

Maybe you're doing date night at home to cut out the extra calories that come with eating out. This low-carb version of eggplant rollups doesn't skimp on the comfort of indulging in classic Italian food.

23 of 28

Baked Chicken Roulade

Baked Chicken Roulade
Photo: Jennifer Davick

Recipe: Baked Chicken Roulade

This recipe elevates budget-friendly chicken to a date night-ready meal.

24 of 28

One-Pot Cajun Chicken Alfredo

One-Pot Cajun Chicken Alfredo
Caitlin Bensel; Food Styling: Emily Nabors Hall; Prop Styling: Audrey Davis

Recipe: One-Pot Cajun Chicken Alfredo

Step away from the jarred Alfredo sauce: This recipe is the easiest way to make it at home for a fun new recipe for you two to try together.

25 of 28

Molasses-Soy Glazed Salmon and Vegetables

Molasses-Soy Glazed Salmon and Vegetables
Alison Miksch; Prop Styling: Mary Clayton Carl; Food styling: Karen Rankin

Recipe: Molasses-Soy Glazed Salmon and Vegetables

Salmon entrees at restaurants can get pricey at restaurants, so it's the perfect at-home date night dish to save money. Cheers!

26 of 28

Bacon-Wrapped Pork Tenderloin

Bacon-Wrapped Pork Tenderloin
Beth Dreiling Hontzas

Recipe: Bacon-Wrapped Pork Tenderloin

In case you didn't already know, everything is better with bacon. This versatile recipe will pair well with any of your favorite side dishes.

27 of 28

Lemony Baked Cod, Potatoes, and Artichokes in Parchment

Lemony Baked Cod, Potatoes, and Artichokes in Parchment
Victor Protasio; Food Styling: Ruth Blackburn; Prop Styling: Audrey Davis

Recipe: Lemony Baked Cod, Potatoes, and Artichokes in Parchment

This sophisticated seafood supper is sure to wow your sweetheart.

28 of 28

Easy Shrimp Scampi with Basil

Easy Shrimp Scampi with Basil
Antonis Achilleos; Prop Styling: Lydia Pursell; Food Styling: Chelsea Zimmer

Recipe: Easy Shrimp Scampi with Basil

Pair this simple, succulent pasta dish with some crusty bread, a starter salad, and a glass of white wine, and you've got an incredible date night ahead of you.

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