Snack Dinner Ideas for When You Can't Muster Up a Full Supper

Creamy Spinach-Ricotta Crostini
Photo: Victor Protasio; Food Styling: Emily Nabors Hall; Prop Styling: Audrey Davis

We've all been there. Some nights, we go all-out. Steak, salad, mashed potatoes. An epic cookout or Sunday dinner. Three courses, plus a fun cocktail or two. And then, there are the days when the only thing we want to do is break out the largest pile of snacks and call it dinner. Pull out the dips, smoothies, toasts, nuts, and crackers—these snack dinner ideas will hit just the spot when you can't find the willpower to muster up a proper supper. We guarantee the kids will love it, too. From Peanut Butter & Jelly French Toast Skewers to Smoked Fish Dip and a Watermelon Smoothie, these recipes prove you don't have to serve a classic big supper to make dinner fun, fast, and interesting. So whether it's a glass of Cornbread & Sweet Milk, a bucket of homemade potato chips, or Hot Cheesy Crab Dip piled high on crackers, dinner is served.

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Boiled Peanut Hummus

Boiled Peanut Hummus
Southern Living

Recipe: Boiled Peanut Hummus

Swapping traditional chickpeas for boiled peanuts gives this dip a true Southern spin. Serve with your choice of raw veggies, toasts, and chips for a filling (but kind of healthy) snack dinner.

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Orange-Carrot Smoothie

orange carrot smoothie
Antonis Achilleos; Prop Styling: Audrey Davis; Food Styling: Emily Nabors Hall

Recipe: Orange-Carrot Smoothie

Pack in the fruits and veggies at dinnertime with this smoothie, which is filled with carrots, mangoes, vanilla yogurt, and orange juice. Pro tip: Serve this on a hot summer night when you can't bear to turn on the stove.

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Roasted Sweet Potato Hummus

Olive Oil Popcorn with Garlic and Rosemary
Linda Pugliese; Prop Styling: Claire Spollen; Food Styling: Torie Cox

Recipe: Roasted Sweet Potato Hummus

Sweet potatoes give this dip a playful orange hue. Serve with pita chips and crudités if you're craving a light dinner.

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Cornbread & Sweet Milk

Damaris Phillips Cornbread & Sweet Milk Recipe
Damaris Phillips

Recipe: Cornbread & Sweet Milk

Many a Southerner knows the magic of cornbread and milk, though consistencies and types of milk will vary. Here is Damaris Phillips' version, perfect as a dinnertime treat.

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Carrot Hummus Recipe

carrot hummus
Hector Manuel Sanchez; Prop Styling: Caroline M. Cunningham; Food Styling: Marian Cooper Cairns

Recipe: Carrot Hummus Recipe

Carrots, red chiles, mint, coriander, and cumin ensure a lively dip that will tickle your tastebuds.

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Apple Chips

Apple Chips
Micah A. Leal

Recipe: Apple Chips

Delicate, crunchy, and perfumed with cinnamon, Apple Chips are the perfect fall snack—we don't blame you if a pile of these disappears around dinnertime.

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Smoky Black-Eyed Pea Hummus

Smoky Black-Eyed Pea Hummus
Hector Manuel Sanchez

Recipe: Smoky Black-Eyed Pea Hummus

New year? Super bowl? Lazy dinner? Whip up our Smoky Black-Eyed Pea Hummus for a light dinner or a gathering where a little luck is required.

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Shrimp on Seasoned Crackers with Pepper Jelly and Cream Cheese

Shrimp on Seasoned Crackers with Pepper Jelly and Cream Cheese
Antonis Achilleos; Food Styling: Emily Nabors Hall; Prop Styling: Kay E. Clarke

Recipe: Shrimp on Seasoned Crackers with Pepper Jelly and Cream Cheese

This easy snack dinner features succulent shrimp flavored with a little lemon, herbs, and olive oil. Assemble on a well-seasoned saltine with the cream cheese and pepper jelly mixture.

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Chopped Chicken Livers on Toast

Chopped Chicken Livers on Toast
Peter Frank Edwards; Prop Styling and Floral Design: Sara York Grimshaw

Recipe: Chopped Chicken Livers on Toast

It might sound fancy, but it's really just chicken salad on toast, but with livers. This recipe comes from Charleston, South Carolina, chef Mike Lata. It's simple and quick to prepare, so you can have dinner ready in a flash.

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Strawberry-Banana-Peanut Butter Smoothie

Strawberry-Banana-Peanut Butter Smoothie
Antonis Achilleos; Prop Styling: Audrey Davis; Food Styling: Emily Nabors Hall

Recipe: Strawberry-Banana-Peanut Butter Smoothie

This smoothie is a great, refreshing dinner option for the lactose-intolerant, since it uses almond milk instead of regular.

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Peanut Butter & Jelly French Toast Skewers

Peanut Butter and Jelly French Toast Skewers
Southern Living

Recipe: Peanut Butter & Jelly French Toast Skewers

With peanut butter, bread, and assorted fruit, you've covered some major food groups with these skewers. Perfect for the kids when you can't muster up much else.

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Hot Crab and Shrimp Dip

Hot Crab and Shrimp Dip
Coastal Living

Recipe: Hot Crab and Shrimp Dip

Lump crab meat, fresh shrimp, a medley of spices, and five minutes make this mean seafood dip. Honestly, what more do you need for dinner?

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Sweet Potato Toast

Sweet Potato Toast
Micah A. Leal

Recipe: Sweet Potato Toast

Looking for a quick, filling, gluten-free dinner? Sub the bread for slices of sweet potato. Roasted in the oven, they become crisp on the outside but stay tender in the center. Top with eggs, arugula, and some Parmesan and call it breakfast for dinner.

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Ranch Snacker Crackers

Ranch Snacker Crackers
Sheri Castle

Recipe: Ranch Snacker Crackers

If you're putting together a few snacks for dinner, these ranch-flavored oyster crackers should be on the lineup. We guarantee they'll disappear instantly.

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Prosciutto-and-Manchego Cheese Straws

Prosciutto-and-Manchego Cheese Straws
Hector Manuel Sanchez; Prop Styling: Karin Olsen; Food Styling: William Smith

Recipe: Prosciutto-and-Manchego Cheese Straws

We dressed up the traditional cheese straw with some prosciutto and Manchego twisted around delicate rods of flaky puff pasty.

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Fried Pickle Chips

Fried Pickle Chips
Alison Miksch

Recipe: Fried Pickle Chips

Fry up a batch of pickle chips and you'll find no one who has room for a real dinner afterwards.

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Spicy Strawberry-Goat Cheese Crostini

Spicy Strawberry-Goat Cheese Crostini
Antonis Achilleos; Food Styling: Chelsea Zimmer; Prop Styling: Christine Keely

Recipe: Spicy Strawberry-Goat Cheese Crostini

Dinner is served. Toasty baguette slices hold up a pile of strawberries and goat cheese seasoned with mint, lime, and jalapeño chile.

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Watermelon Smoothies

Watermelon Smoothies
Photo: Greg DuPree; Prop Styling: Kay E. Clarke; Food Styling: Cat Steele

Recipe: Watermelon Smoothies

What says summer more than a smoothie filled with watermelon and strawberries? It's the season at its finest.

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Buttery Toasted Pecans

Buttery Toasted Pecans
Iain Bagwell

Recipe: Buttery Toasted Pecans

Sometimes, a handful of crunchy, savory nuts just hits the spot, and before we know it, we've eaten the whole bag for dinner. A little butter and red pepper ensures that's exactly what'll happen with these pecans.

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Hot Cheesy Crab Dip

Hot Cheesy Crab Dip
Victor Protasio; Food Styling: Emily Nabors Hall; Prop Styling: Audrey Davis

Recipe: Hot Cheesy Crab Dip

With adjectives like hot and cheesy, it's darn impossible not to eat the whole pan as dinner. Serve with toasted bread, chips, pitas, raw veggies…you might even just scoop it with a spoon.

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Cheddar Cheese Shortbread Crackers

Cheddar Shortbread Crackers
Photo: Victor Protasio; Prop Styling: Heather Chadduck Hillegas; Food Styling: Torie Cox

Recipe: Cheddar Cheese Shortbread Crackers

Crisp, buttery, and definitely addicting. You can change it up by swapping Cheddar for pimiento cheese, or doing a pecan or bacon rendition.

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Peach-Ricotta-Prosciutto Toasts

Peach-Ricotta-Prosciutto Toasts
Antonis Achilleos; Prop Styling: Audrey Davis; Food Styling: Emily Nabors Hall

Recipe: Peach-Ricotta-Prosciutto Toasts

This is the ultimate summertime dinner snack. Crisp baguette is piled high with ricotta, peaches, and prosciutto before getting a drizzle of olive oil. That's all the dinner we need.

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Caramelized Onion Dip

Caramelized Onion Dip
Getty Images / 7886565

Recipe: Caramelized Onion Dip

Any potato chip is instantly elevated by this creamy dip. And, of course, the caramelized onions are what make it.

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Smoked Fish Dip

Smoked-Fish Dip
Antonis Achilleos; Food Styling: Emily Nabors Hall; Prop Styling: Kay E. Clarke

Recipe: Smoked Fish Dip

Elegant and a one-bowl operation? Sounds like a plan to us.

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Sunshine Smoothie

Mango Smoothie
Victor Protasio; Food Styling: Rishon Hanners; Prop Styling: Audrey Davis

Recipe: Sunshine Smoothie

Sometimes, smoothies are the perfect dinner replacement. This one is for the mango lovers.

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Creamy Avocado Dip

Creamy Avocado Dip
Johnny Autry; Prop and Food Styling: Charlotte L. Autry

Recipe: Creamy Avocado Dip

We're just saying, this may give the mighty guacamole a run for its money. Smooth, creamy, and packed with peppers, all it needs is some chips and veggie sticks.

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Sweet-and-Salty Snack Mix

Sweet-and-Salty Snack Mix
Hector Manuel Sanchez; Styling: Katie Jacobs

Recipe: Sweet-and-Salty Snack Mix

Cereal, pretzels, peanut-butter candies, and mini marshmallows? Bring back the nostalgia.

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Butter-Baked Saltine Crackers

Butter-Baked Saltine Crackers
Southern Living

Recipe: Butter-Baked Saltine Crackers

If you know the pleasure of butter smeared on a saltine cracker, then you'll know that these are a must on the dinner table…even if they're the only thing on the table.

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Homemade Potato Chips with Fried Herbs

Homemade Potato Chips with Fried Herbs
Victor Protasio; Food Styling: Chelsea Zimmer; Prop Styling: Christina Daley

Recipe: Homemade Potato Chips with Fried Herbs

Nothing hits the spot quite like a homemade potato chip. Throw your dinner plans out the window, whip up a batch, and serve with one of our dips.

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Ivy Odom's Lacy Cornbread

Ivy’s Lacy Cornbread
Victor Protasio; Food Styling: Margaret Monroe Dickey; Prop Styling: Audrey Davis

Recipe: Ivy Odom's Lacy Cornbread

These are best served with other sides, so make a few dips and toppings to go along with them. You won't be able to eat just one.

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Jalapeño Cornbread Sticks

Jalapeño Cornbread Sticks
Greg Dupree; Prop Styling: Cindy Barr; Food Styling: Chelsea Zimmer

Recipe: Jalapeño Cornbread Sticks

Cornbread with a kick is made extra special when you bake it in corn-shaped pans.

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Creamy Spinach-Ricotta Crostini

Creamy Spinach-Ricotta Crostini
Victor Protasio; Food Styling: Emily Nabors Hall; Prop Styling: Audrey Davis

Recipe: Creamy Spinach-Ricotta Crostini

A food processor is your shortcut to finely chopped herbs and an ultra-smooth spinach spread.

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Basic Deviled Eggs

Classic Deviled Eggs
Lee Harrelson; Styling: Jan Gautro, Laura Zapalowski

Recipe: Basic Deviled Eggs

There's never a bad time for a good deviled egg, and our basic recipe will have you churning out a few in no time at all. Who needs a real dinner?

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Barbecued Pork Quesadillas

Barbecued Pork Quesadillas
Jennifer Davick; Styling: Mary Beth Wentzel/Zenobia

Recipe: Barbecued Pork Quesadillas

Quesadillas are the perfect snack that double for pretty much any meal. We gave ours a Southern spin and loaded it with barbecued pork.

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