Romantic Dinner Recipes For Date Night At Home—No Reservations Required

Baked Pork Tenderloin with Shaved Vegetable Salad
Photo: Victor Protasio; Prop Styling: Mary Clayton Carl Jones; Food Styling: Emily Nabors Hall

Who needs reservations? Instead of going out and bearing long lines, crowded venues, and cold food with the masses on your much anticipated date night, enjoy a restaurant-quality, romantic dinner for two in the comfort of your own home. You will not be missing out on anything with these romantic dinner ideas, straight from the loving arms of our Test Kitchen. These dinner recipes for two are worthy of any romantic occasion, from Valentine's Day or an anniversary celebration to a second date you definitely don't want to mess up. Whip up a prime cut of flank steak that's even juicer than its steakhouse counterpart, or try your hand at a tender stuffed chicken recipe that's pretty as a picture. Celebrate the romantic dinner with a creamy and decadent chicken risotto, or indulge in rich fettuccine covered in buttery al burro sauce. So go ahead, splurge on that bottle of Barolo that would cost triple its price at a restaurant. Enjoy these romantic dinners for two from the cozy comfort of your own dining room.

01 of 30

Herb-Crusted Roasted Leg Of Lamb

Herb-Crusted Roasted Leg of Lamb
Greg Dupree; Prop Styling: Audrey Davis; Food Styling: Emily Nabors Hall

Pull out all the stops for Valentine's Day dinner or a holiday with a whole leg of lamb. By pre-seasoning before cooking, you'll create a concentrated flavor and crispy crust. Then cook it low and slow, turning up the heat at the end so the exterior can brown. 

02 of 30

Cast-Iron Cowboy Steak

Cast-Iron Cowboy Steak Recipe
Photo: Hector Sanchez

This is the best way to cook a thick, juicy bone-in steak restaurant-style without smoking up the house. Use your grill to heat the cast-iron skillet; the skillet surface area promotes a more assertive flavor and better sear than grill grates, yielding a steak with the proper steakhouse crust. We spoon herbs and melted butter over top for ultimate flavor.

03 of 30

Lemony Slow-Cooked Salmon With Potatoes And Fennel

Lemony Slow-Cooked Salmon with Potatoes and Fennel
Victor Protasio; Food Styling: Rishon Hanners; Prop Styling: Audrey Davis

You have a personal chef for your romantic dinner: the slow cooker! The licorice-forward fennel, subtly-sweet leeks, and bright lemon all come together seamlessly in this easy slow-cooker salmon dish. So sit back, relax, and pour a glass of wine.

04 of 30

Chicken Thighs With Tomato-Caper Sauce

Chicken Thighs with Tomato-Caper Sauce
Greg DuPree; Food Styling: Rishon Hanners; Prop Styling: Christina Daley

Even chicken can dress up for a fancy romantic dinner. In this simple chicken dish, we reimagine the classic tomato sauce, adding one secret ingredient—capers—to revolutionize the flavor. Serve over creamy grits or polenta and don't forget to garnish.

05 of 30

Seared Scallops With Lemon-Herb Rice

Seared Scallops with Lemon-Herb Rice
Victor Protasio; Food Styling: Rishon Hanners; Prop Styling: Audrey Davis

Juicy, golden scallops sit atop a fluffy bed of rice gently perfumed with scallions and parsley. Don't be intimidated by the scallops—just make sure to thoroughly dry them before searing, which ensures they'll develop a nice crust. Beautifully seared scallops don't require much dressing-up to make a five-star meal.

06 of 30

Shrimp Scampi Linguine

Shrimp Scampi Linguine
Luca Trovato

Decadently simple: In 15 minutes, you have a shrimp-and-garlic-laden pasta dish. Serve immediately with a generous sprinkle of chopped parsley and lemon zest for a restaurant-worthy presentation. A glass of fine white wine will complement the garlicky white wine butter sauce.

07 of 30

Pan-Seared Flank Steak with Herb Sauce

Pan-Seared Flank Steak with Herb Sauce
Greg DuPree; Food Styling: Rishon Hanners; Prop Styling: Christina Daley

This easy weeknight dinner brings just enough sophistication to make it an acceptable dish for a romantic evening. A puree of parsley, cilantro, shallot, vinegar, and garlic accompanies pink and tender slices of flank steak. Serve with your favorite roasted potatoes recipe.

08 of 30

Lemon-Rosemary-Garlic Chicken And Potatoes

Lemon-Rosemary-Garlic Chicken and Potatoes
Photo: Becky Luigart-Stayner

This winner of a chicken dinner is our new favorite roasting-pan supper for date night or any night. Sear the chicken on the stovetop, add potatoes and an herby lemon mixture, then roast in the oven. Serve with a crusty French bread.

09 of 30

Chesapeake Bay Crab Cakes

Gulf Crab Cakes with Lemon Butter
Iain Bagwell

These restaurant-worthy crab cakes will transport you to an oceanside picnic setting. The secret to delectable crab cakes is ensuring you don't overmix the crab meat with the other ingredients. Tossing until just combined creates a better texture and more intriguing flavor in each bite.

10 of 30

Creamy Salmon Fettuccini And Spring Vegetables

Creamy Salmon Fettuccini and Spring Vegetables
Victor Protasio; Food Styling: Rishon Hanners; Prop Styling: Audrey Davis

Asparagus and peas keep this cheesy pasta light, meaning there'll be room for dessert. The spring vegetables makes the most of seasonal produce and are reminiscent of a pasta primavera. Lemon zest and dill make this dish as bright as a warm spring day.

11 of 30

One-Pan Garlic-Butter Shrimp With Orzo

One-Pan Garlic-Butter Shrimp with Orzo
Victor Protasio; Food Styling: Rishon Hanners; Prop Styling: Audrey Davis

Succulent shrimp and garlicky, buttery pasta? That's a match even Cupid would approve of. Rather than boiling in water, the pasta cooks in a glorious mixture of sautéed shallots, white wine, butter, oil, and vegetable broth.

12 of 30

Corn Risotto With Spicy Shrimp

Corn risotto with spicy shrimp
Joy Howard

Though it feels fancy, risotto is relatively simple to make. The addition of corn kernels gives the dish a bright pop of color, and succulent shrimp are generously seasoned with Cajun seasoning, packing a punch. If you make this during summer's harvest, use fresh corn to sweeten the flavor.

13 of 30

Slow-Cooker Lemon-Asparagus Risotto

Slow-Cooker Lemon-Asparagus Risotto
Victor Protasio; Food Styling: Rishon Hanners; Prop Styling: Audrey Davis

Crisp spears of asparagus swim in a creamy risotto garnished with plenty of Parmesan, a dash of white pepper, and a squeeze of lemon juice for a note of brightness.

14 of 30

Orange-Rosemary Roast Chicken

Orange-Rosemary Roast Chicken
Victor Protasio; Food Styling: Rishon Hanners; Prop Styling: Audrey Davis

It doesn't get any more classic than a roast chicken, but this one is dressed up with roasted rosemary potatoes and orange slices. The vinegar, honey, and orange dressing drizzled over everything elevates the meal even more. We scatter a mixture of green and black olives over the dish.

15 of 30

Lobster Mac And Cheese

Lobster Mac and Cheese
Jennifer Davick; Styling: Rachael Burrow; Recipe: Darcy Lenz

Juicy chunks of lobster pair beautifully with melty Gruyère and Cheddar. Mac and cheese might not be a fancy dish, but the lobster takes it to the next level. Saffron, sherry, and chervil make this dish even more grown up.

16 of 30

Chicken Lombardy

Chicken Lombardy
Photographer: Jennifer Causey Food Stylist: Rishon Hanners Prop Stylist: Christina Daley

This is the elegant, easy chicken dinner that makes the execution of a romantic meal a breeze. Fans of chicken Marsala will love this cheesier, richer version. Mushrooms, sautéed in butter and drippings remaining in the skillet, are piled onto lightly breaded chicken before a dreamy, creamy pan sauce gets spooned over the top.

17 of 30

Lowcountry Fish Stew

Mike Lata's Lowcountry Fish Stew
Peter Frank Edwards; Prop Styling and Floral Design: Sara York Grimshaw

This recipe comes from Chef Mike Lata, owner and culinary force behind FIG and The Ordinary restaurants in Charleston, South Carolina). In this Lowcountry riff on French bouillabaisse, delicate white fish, little neck clams, and mussels sit in a rich broth that demands to be scooped up with a crusty loaf of bread.

18 of 30

Pan-Grilled Chicken With Fresh Plum Salsa

Pan-Grilled Chicken with Fresh Plum Salsa
Jennifer Davick

Sweet and spicy Pan-Grilled Chicken with Fresh Plum Salsa starts with fast-cooking chicken cutlets, giving you a leg up on dinner—it's ready in 26 minutes. The best part? It's pretty enough to serve at any occasion.

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Baked Chicken Roulade

Baked Chicken Roulade
Photo: Jennifer Davick

Baked Chicken Roulade is fancy enough for a special occasion but quick to prepare. Stuff chicken breasts with a mixture of sautéed spinach, garlic, and asparagus, seared in a skillet, and finished in the oven. Then drizzle a fragrant and delicate butter sauce over top.

20 of 30

Chicken Risotto With Spring Vegetables

Chicken Risotto with Spring Vegetables
Jennifer Davick

This flavorful recipe adds chicken, asparagus, zucchini, herbs, and cheese to a savory risotto. Broth is gradually added to arborio rice until rich and creamy. Top off this impressive dish with grated Parmesan.

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Fettuccine-And-Asparagus Al Burro

Fettuccine-and-Asparagus al Burro
Jennifer Davick

Al burro means "buttered." This simple sauce is a more authentic version of today's popular Alfredo, which calls for whipping cream. Buy a high-quality cheese—it makes a difference when trying to impress a date.

22 of 30

Baked Pork Tenderloin

Baked Pork Tenderloin with Shaved Vegetable Salad
Victor Protasio; Prop Styling: Mary Clayton Carl Jones; Food Styling: Emily Nabors Hall

For this recipe, wrap the pork tightly with bacon to give it smoky flavor and a crispy crust. We use a simple seasoning blend of salt and pepper on the pork. Additional flavor comes from the shaved fresh vegetables dressed in a lemony vinaigrette. 

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Cast-Iron Pork Cacciatore

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

This colorful cacciatore looks beautiful atop a bed of pasta. The flavors of pork chops and mushrooms, red onion, bell peppers, carrots, and tomatoes marry together in one cast-iron pan in 30 minutes. Serve with a tossed green salad, warm crusty bread, and a bottle of red wine.

24 of 30

Spicy Baked Snapper, Greens, And Carrots In Parchment

Spicy Baked Snapper, Greens, and Carrots in Parchment
Victor Protasio; Food Styling: Ruth Blackburn; Prop Styling: Audrey Davis

The technique of steaming fish in parchment stems from the French cooking technique called en papillote, where ingredients—often fish—are baked in a parchment paper parcel. It's also perfect for preparing individual servings for your dinner for two. We use freshly grated ginger in this recipe for an incredibly fragrant meal that can be served over couscous or rice.

25 of 30

Steak-And-Bell Pepper Salad

Steak-and-Bell Pepper Salad
Victor Protasio; Prop Styling: Audrey Davis; Food Styling: Rishon Hanners

This main dish salad makes a pretty plate, with nutrient-rich greens such as spinach, arugula, or kale; seasonal fruits or vegetables; and even cooked whole grains. Sourdough makes delicious croutons in this recipe, but you can use other types of fresh bread, such as Italian or a baguette. 

26 of 30

Lasagna Roll-Ups

Lasagna Roll Ups II

Unlike most lasagnas, this recipe looks downright elegant on the dinner table. Cook the pasta until al dente to avoid it unrolling on the plate. You can substitute sautéed mushrooms or spinach for the recipe's canned artichokes, though we enjoy the heft they have in the lasagna filling. 

27 of 30

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

The key to restaurant-quality lamb is to select shanks roughly the same size and trimmed of excess fat and the tendons along the bone. In this recipe, the lamb shanks are braised in the slow cooker in a red wine and tomato mixture until very tender. Serve them over cheesy grits with generous spoonfuls of sauce.

28 of 30

Mini Mushroom-And-Parsnip Pot Pies

two mini pies covered in puff pastry are set up on two separate plates in cast iron individual pie pans.
Antonis Achilleos

These meatless pot pies pack a lot of flavor, and vegetables, into a small package. Use mini cast-iron skillets for the best presentation. You'll love the buttery and flaky puff pastry on top.

29 of 30

Cabbage, Mushroom, And Bacon Pasta

Simple Suppers Challenge: Cabbage, Mushroom, and Bacon Pasta
Greg DuPree

Your romantic partner doesn't need to know this quick and easy wilted cabbage dish comes together in under 30 minutes, all on the stovetop. A bit of pasta water is added to cream cheese for a smooth and creamy sauce. Crumbled bacon and thyme enrich the flavor in this satisfying meal.

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Teriyaki Salmon Bowls With Crispy Brussels Sprouts

Teriyaki Salmon Bowls with Crispy Brussels Sprouts
Victor Protasio; Food Styling: Torie Cox; Prop Styling: Kay E. Clarke

Poached salmon spends one to two hours in the slow cooker for a tender, not dry fillet. Then the salmon and Brussels sprouts are brushed with a sauce made of pineapple juice, soy sauce, and brown sugar before broiling. Your date will appreciate your efforts with each tasty, flavor-packed bite.

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