These easy date night recipes make staying in even more fun than going out!
I’m a firm believer in spending quality, grown-up time with your significant other. But it’s not uncommon to find date night taking the backseat.
If you’re looking to bring back the magic, these date night meals are for you. No more repetitive takeout or frozen pizza!
Trust me; you’ll want to make an effort when you see some of these fantastic recipes. You might even want to have date nights more often.
And don’t worry, nothing on this list of 32 recipes is overly complex. You’ll have an evening to remember with any of these dishes!
When you want to make a meal special, you should look for things you only get when you’re at a restaurant. That goes for drinks, too!
A good Bloody Mary is super refreshing, with just the right amount of spice and that little kick of booze.
Rim the glass with some lime juice and chili salt, and be sure to make enough. You’ll want more than one each!
Lobster is one of those dishes that screams money. It’s expensive and usually reserved for a real treat.
But cooking it at home can be intimidating. That’s why I love this lobster bisque.
You’ll get all that fantastic, velvety flavor, and you don’t need to worry about handling live lobsters!
I like to use frozen lobster tails, but if you have fresh, try cooking them in garlic butter to really enhance it.
If lobster isn’t your favorite, this seafood chowder is the next best thing.
It has a similar texture and flavor, using plenty of creams, stock, and potatoes for a creamy, thick base.
Instead of lobster, this recipe calls for shrimp and cod. These cook right in the pot and soak up all that fabulous taste.
French onion soup is so wonderfully simple. Made with beef stock for a robust base and perfectly caramelized onions, it’s comforting and pretty straightforward to make.
Be sure to have a bottle of white wine on hand to deglaze the pan and make cooking more enjoyable.
But the real star has to be the cheesy bread on top. I always add extra and have a side ready to soak up every last drop.
If you want to try to make your date night a little more special, incorporating pretty dishes like this is such an easy way to up your game.
Would I have thought to combine roasted beets with pears, feta, and walnuts? No way.
But does it make me look like the next Master Chef? Pretty darn close!
I love the feeling of a three-course meal. Serving one at home to your partner might take a little extra time, but the look on their face will be worth it.
And starting with a fresh, light salad is always a good choice.
I’m not a huge fan of lettuce in general, but using spinach as a base not only makes the dish more vibrant but makes me feel like I’m really getting those nutrients.
We all have those meals that just make us feel at home, and turning to homegrown comfort foods will never be a bad idea.
But there’s nothing saying we can’t jazz those favorites up!
Mac and cheese is already such a heartwarming dish, but adding lobster will send it over the top.
Orecchiette is a variety of pasta known for its round shape.
Where most pasta recipes are weighed down with a thick sauce, this is quite light, using white wine, sundried tomatoes, lemon juice, and caramelized onions to provide moisture.
The bitterness of the broccoli rabe is perfection beside the sweet onions, tomatoes, and salty sausage.
Between the shrimp, clams, mussels, and scallops, this is nothing like your mom’s spaghetti.
Since the seafood needs to be cooked separately, this does take a little time. But if you both have a glass of wine, it will be fun to do together.
One of my favorite ways to spend a date night is to cook together.
Instead of rushing through and serving up a plate of the same old dinner, it’s so lovely to chat and laugh over a hot stove and table full of ingredients.
And making gnocchi is the perfect way to make the magic last a little longer.
You’ll probably make a mess, but that’s just part of the fun!
And when you’re done, why not try this brown butter and sage sauce for that pillowy potato pasta?
Creamy, salty, and full of garlic, this one will knock your socks off. The classic combination of sundried tomatoes and cream is always going to be a safe bet.
But I especially love this one-pot wonder. Once your chicken thighs are crisp, the sauce cooks right in the same pan.
Everything cooks together so that the flavors all marry just right.
It’s best made in an oven-proof skillet, so you can go from the stovetop to a hot oven without having to move everything to a baking dish.
I quickly fell in love with chicken parm, or chicken parmi, on my trip to Australia. You can find it in almost every pub, and it’s always amazing.
The chicken needs to be either cut in half or tenderized, so it’s all the same thickness.
I like to use panko breadcrumbs for added crunch, but you can use any you prefer.
Once topped with marinara and bubbling melted cheese, it’s almost a perfect dinner. The only thing missing?
The Aussies usually add a layer of ham under the sauce that adds a touch of salt, and it makes all the difference.
Making an effort doesn’t have to mean spending hours in the kitchen.
Flavor is flavor, and if you can have a delectable dish on the table in under a half-hour, then go for it!
This dish is super simple but is loaded with tangy balsamic, sweet honey, and peppery thyme.
Because the glaze is so sticky, there’s no need to worry about a marinade. It will coat the chicken as it cooks.
Short ribs aren’t your everyday dinner. Short, thick, and overloaded with meat, they need to be cooked low and slow.
The key to cooking these right is to sear the meat first, which can be done in a Dutch oven or a hot oven.
Then they need to be submerged in liquid, preferably some kind of wine and broth, and cooked for at least 2 hours.
When you pull them from the oven, the meat will be fork-tender.
The brine for this recipe uses oil, vinegar, prunes, olives, capers, bay leaves, garlic, and oregano.
A few hours swimming in this, and your chicken will not only be packed with flavor, but it will also be super tender.
Plus, the chicken then gets roasted in white wine and brown sugar. Serve it with potato, rice, or roasted veggies.
Over in the UK, scampi is usually battered, or breaded shrimp (or prawns) served with chips (fries) and salad.
As much as I enjoy the crunch, this light pasta dish doesn’t require a deep-fat fryer and can be on your plate in just 25 minutes.
Shrimp has such a mild flavor, and by using lemon juice, wine, and garlic, it gets enhanced rather than drowned out in a more decadent tomato sauce.
For the longest time, this was a “dad’s” meal. There’s something quite robust about it, not to mention indulgent.
I don’t remember when I came to the realisation that steak and shrimp are a match made in heaven, but I haven’t looked back since.
Using different sized steaks will help make sure your portioning is right, but don’t be shy with the shrimp!
Crab cakes are usually the first to go, and there’s a good reason. Between the crunchy coating and tender, crabby filling, they’re to die for.
I think we all used to think of them as a fancy appetizer served on silver trays.
The truth is, they’re made with just half a dozen ingredients, most of which I’ll bet you have at home already!
Serve with a drizzle of sweet chili and a light salad.
As much as I enjoy asparagus, it can be a little one-note. So naturally, I started covering it with garlic and cheese!
The little stalks only need 10-15 minutes to roast, and the cheese will need to be added for the last five.
I like the pull you get from the mozzarella, but I also like to include some mature cheddar and parmesan.
I love potatoes in every form. But when they’re sliced and covered in a creamy sauce, they’re impossible to resist.
This recipe is such a great base, but I do like to jazz it up sometimes by adding garlic, bacon, and lots of cheese!
A great way to add flavor is to steep your milk with an array of herbs and spices.
Bring it to a light boil and then allow it to cool. Strain everything out, and you’ll be left with one savory pot of milk.
When they’re covered in garlic butter, I can eat these right out of the pan.
Sure, they complement chicken, pork, and beef, but they are good enough to be the main event.
The key to getting the most out of this dish is to saute them in olive oil first and let them cook undisturbed.
This will allow them to turn wonderfully golden, and using oil will prevent the pan from smoking.
I would much rather have a big portion of veggies than a salad. Even in the summer, I’ll go for roasted veggies over a bowl of lettuce.
And when they taste this good, I’ll bet your honey will agree with me!
Start by simmering the carrots until they’re tender, and then cook the sauce right in the pan, swirling the carrots as it all melts.
The carrots will be coated in the sweet glaze in a matter of minutes.
I’m never one to shy away from a dessert. But after a big meal, sometimes you just want something sweet and small.
Truffles are the perfect little sweet bite to end a meal, and they couldn’t be easier to make.
You’ll be making a rich chocolate ganache that, once set, will be firm enough to roll.
Keep them chilled and roll in anything from cocoa powder, coconut, and chopped nuts to finish.
I love that these can be made individually. Not that I don’t like to share! But at least you don’t have to make a big batch when you only need two.
I cheated a little and used a big Lindt chocolate ball to make the middle ultra gooey and super-rich. But you will still get the same effect with smaller pieces of chocolate.
Always start with room temperature ingredients for cheesecake; that way, it will mix more evenly.
Common problems with cheesecake come from over-mixing the batter to get all the lumps out.
Feel free to use a pre-made crust, or maybe try an Oreo base for some chocolate goodness. Top it with fresh fruit and a dollop of whipped cream.
Once you see how easy this is, you might never want to pay the restaurant price tag again!
The only thing you might be nervous about is tempering the eggs.
Just take it slow (I like to use a ladle to control the flow better) and keep the eggs moving. You’ve got this!
As for the crunchy top? This can be done under the broiler or with an inexpensive chef’s torch.
This hot coffee cocktail is the perfect end to a romantic meal. Boozy, nutty, and creamy, it will leave you with a nice warm feeling inside.
Add a few chocolate shavings to the top, and it’s a dessert and coffee all in one.
Speaking of a coffee and dessert in one; this recipe has to be my favorite.
Affogato means “to drown,” and that’s what this is – ice cream drowning in coffee. As the hot coffee starts to melt the ice cream, it becomes creamy and thick.
If you love cheesecake like I do, but don’t want to make a whole cake for just the two of you, these little bites are the perfect alternative.
Just adjust the recipe to make them as large or as small as you want.
The great thing about this recipe is that you can top them with all kinds of tasty stuff for a nice variety.
From caramel to pecans to chocolate sauce, you can keep your partner guessing to the last bite.
Juicy, rich, and gorgeous, these sinful treats will be a sure-fire hit with your partner.
I like to use dark chocolate for mine and then stripe with white chocolate for a pop of extra color. But regular dipped strawberries are elegant and classic.
Be sure to wash and dry your fruit thoroughly so that the chocolate will stick.
If I’m celebrating, there’d better be a cocktail! Unfortunately, I don’t always have the time or patience to shake, rattle, and roll my way to a fruity drink.
That’s why I love this simple cocktail so much. It’s made with just two ingredients – champagne and crème de cassis.
I’m not a huge fan of champagne, but with the crème de cassis, it has such a lovely, light flavor.
And a couple of raspberries in the glass make the whole thing adorably Instagram-worthy.
So you don’t like champagne, and coffee isn’t your thing, but you still want something cute and fruity to end your meal.
Well, this is it.
Super sweet and wonderfully creamy, this white chocolate hot chocolate drink is packed with tart raspberries.
It’s such a lovely change to the rich, sometimes bitter notes of hot chocolate and coffee.
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