If your anniversary is coming up, or you want to make your next date night something extra special, you have to check out these fancy dinner recipes.
I know ordering in is easy, but just imagine the look on your honey’s face when you saunter from the kitchen holding a platter full of homemade crab cakes, a whole roasted duck, or juicy broiled lobster.
Some of these recipes will need a little TLC, but it’s nothing you can’t handle!
Plus, I’ve included some that are so easy, you’ll have extra time to try out one of these fancy desserts to impress guests.
Whether you need to roast a rack of lamb to impress the in-laws or are looking for a stellar seared scallop recipe to make your partner smile, this list of 25 fantastic fancy dinner recipes has you covered!
1. Bacon Wrapped Pork Tenderloin
Pork tenderloin can be a tricky cut of meat. It’s super lean and very tasty, but it’s easy to overcook and make it dry.
The good news is that wrapping your pork in bacon will not only help to keep the moisture inside; it’ll also boost the flavor.
Oh, and did I mention it looks incredible? After brushing it with maple syrup, the bacon will turn shiny and crisp!
2. Easy Crab Cakes Recipe
If you’re willing to splurge for your fancy dinner, buying jumbo lump crab meat will make these incredibly delicious.
The sweet and juicy meat comes in nice big chunks, so you’ll get more bang for your buck.
That said, regular lump crab meat is an excellent option, as you’ll still get some nice texture.
You could also try a combination of jumbo and flake crab meat, which will allow you to buy a little less of the larger chunks and bulk it out with the cheaper kind.
You’ll notice that these babies only have a handful of ingredients, and that’s so the crab meat isn’t overshadowed.
Yes, you’ll need Old Bay Seasoning (no substitutions, please), but all that does is bring out the incredible flavor of the meat.
3. Texas Roadhouse Prime Rib Recipe
My grandma used to make prime rib, and it was always such a show when she revealed it to the table.
It’s big, juicy, bursting with flavor, and not the easiest cut to get right.
Not to mention, it’s one of the more expensive sides of beef, so you’ll really want to do it justice.
The trick to getting the most out of this recipe is to first let the meat rest for a couple of hours at room temperature.
Next, start it nice and high to get a good crust, but then lower the oven so it can cook nice and slowly.
Lastly, this cut needs to rest after it comes out of the oven. This step is essential, so be sure you give yourself enough time.
4. Honey Roast Duck
It’s not often you see whole ducks in the grocery store, so you may need to visit your local butcher to get one.
And if you’re worried about cooking it: don’t be! If you can cook a whole chicken, you can cook a whole duck.
The one thing to keep in mind is that there’s a layer of fat under the skin.
This gives the meat fantastic flavor and moisture but can be a pain if it’s not rendered.
All you’ll have to do is score the skin with a sharp knife.
These cuts will allow the fat to melt out, basting the bird and making the skin extra crispy!
5. Best Ever Beef Wellington Recipe
I know you’ve seen this one before, and maybe you’ve even given it a try, but just like the prime rib from above, beef Wellington is slightly more involved than just roasting a duck.
Beef tenderloin is your best option for this, as it’s nice and juicy and not as expensive as fillet mignon.
If you’re not a mushroom fan, try using garlic sauteed spinach or chopped pine nuts, crispy bacon, and onions instead.
6. Braised Short Ribs
Can I let you in on a little secret? Braised short ribs might look fancy and expensive, but they are crazy easy to make at home!
First, you’ll sear the meat on all sides until it’s nice and crusty. Be sure to coat it in flour and use a Dutch oven or cast-iron skillet if you have one for the best results.
Then, you’ll just need to cook it low and slow in a blend of veggies, broth, red wine, and tomato paste.
This can be done in a slow cooker or Dutch oven.
One thing I learned from working in a steakhouse is to roast your veggies with tomato paste spooned over the top until they’re crispy and charred.
This will add such a depth of flavor!
7. Creamy Spinach Stuffed Salmon in Garlic Butter
Salmon is already a delicious fish that’s easy to make and needs just a little garlic butter and lemon over the top.
However, if you want something fancier, you’ll need to try this spinach-stuffed version!
Use a sharp knife when cutting the pockets, and try to ensure you don’t go too close to the skin.
You also won’t want to overfill these pockets, or it will just spill out and cause a mess.
8. Roast Rack of Lamb Recipe with Garlic and Herb Crust
There’s something wonderfully medieval about a roasted rack of lamb, and I know it’s a pretty pricey endeavor.
But it’s so worth it when you take that first bite! Best served rare, the pink meat and the heavenly garlic and herb crust are to die for.
Much like prime rib, you’ll need to let this cut of meat rest at room temperature.
Go ahead and add the marinade so it can work its way in as the meat warms up a little.
Unlike prime rib, your perfectly flavored lamb will be ready in around 30 minutes!
9. Barilla Lasagna Recipe
Lasagna might not be the first thing that comes to mind when you think of fancy dinner recipes, but it’s always a crowd-pleaser.
When you make everything from scratch, it’s one impressive dish!
As much as I love a good marinara sauce, I think lasagna needs a creamy layer to balance out all that rich flavor.
So, this recipe, with its ricotta, mozzarella, and Parmigiano-Reggiano filling, is pretty close to perfect!
I like to dice up a bunch of veggies, like carrots, sweet potato, zucchini, and peppers, and add them to my meat.
They’ll break up and melt into the sauce for added nutrients and lovely pops of color.
10. Million-Dollar Roast Beef Tenderloin Recipe
As with pork loin, beef tenderloin is a very lean and soft cut of meat.
It’s what makes it melt-in-your-mouth-amazing and also more expensive.
I highly recommend trimming your meat (use a sharp knife to remove the thin layer of silver fat on top or ask your butcher to do it), and if you have the time, leave it in the fridge, uncovered, overnight.
This will dry out the surface slightly, making the crust even better once you sear it!
11. Easy Chicken Tikka Masala
If there’s ever a time to make your own chicken tikka masala, it’s when you want something fancy.
Anyone can open a jar, but how many people do you know can serve up their very own tikka masala sauce and homemade garlic naan bread?
The best part? It can be on the table in just 30 minutes!
12. Slow Cooker Beef Bourguignon
This rich beef stew is a classic combination of chunky vegetables, fall-apart beef, and a wonderful red wine-infused sauce.
Unlike the more expensive tenderloin, this recipe uses beef chuck, a cheaper cut, though slightly tougher.
Since you’ll cook it in a Crockpot for a solid 8-10 hours in the sauce, it will be fork-tender and super flavorful when it’s done.
13. Chicken Cordon Bleu
There are a few critical components to this dish, but none require any special chef skills!
You’ll start by pounding your chicken until it’s nice and thin before rolling it up with ham and cheese.
It’s a good idea to chill this, if you have time, just to make the dredging in egg and breadcrumbs a bit easier.
Once it’s almost baked, make the simple mustardy sauce and pour it over the chicken to serve.
14. Italian Stuffed Flank Steak
This beef recipe looks like it came right out of a five-star restaurant, but it couldn’t be more straightforward to make!
Much like the chicken recipe above, you’ll pound the steak until it’s nice and thin.
Spoon over some minced garlic, shallots, parsley, sage, and olive oil before adding a layer of prosciutto and provolone cheese.
Roll it, tie it, cut it into portions, and then sear it on both ends before popping it in the oven for a quick roast.
15. The Best Broiled Lobster Tail Recipe
The first time I ever tried lobster tail was in a private aircraft hangar in the Hamptons, just steps away from Jimmy Buffett’s plane.
Talk about fancy, huh?
No matter how expensive and fancy lobster tails seem, all they need are a good pair of kitchen shears and lots of butter!
16. Seared Scallops
When buying scallops, always try to get “dry” scallops.
I know that sounds counterintuitive for wanting them to be juicy, but the “wet” kind contains so much excess liquid, they will shrivel up as they cook.
Plus, they won’t get that incredible caramelized crust we all love!
When it comes to cooking, it’s as quick as a 2-minute sear on one side and another two minutes while they soak in some butter on the other.
Don’t forget to season them before they hit the heat.
17. Eggplant Parmesan
Eggplant parmesan is always a vegetarian-friendly dinner that everyone will enjoy.
Between the breaded and crunchy eggplant, the tangy marinara sauce, and the fresh mozzarella, it has everything you could want in a fancy dinner.
I think panko breadcrumbs are your best bet because they have way better texture.
Also, if you want them extra crisp, try broiling them for a couple of minutes after they’re baked.
18. Chicken Piccata
I know this looks like a fancy-schmancy chicken dish, but the sauce is a simple blend of butter, lemon juice, and white wine.
It’s super-rich with a lovely light flavor, and the capers over the top add just the right amount of zing.
When cooking the chicken, I like to add some breadcrumbs for a bit of texture, but dredging it in flour should be enough.
19. Julia Child’s Coq Au Vin
What could be fancier than a recipe by the queen herself?
It’s actually kind of funny how this recipe got a reputation for being something special when, in fact, it’s just a chicken and wine stew.
That said, it not only looks like a million dollars, but it’s also so flavorful that you won’t be able to stop at just one serving.
20. Classic Beef Chateaubriand
The traditional way to cook this beef tenderloin is between two cuts of lesser quality beef.
The idea being they would help keep the juices in, adding to the juices, too, as it all roasted together.
Once cooked, the outer layers were discarded, and the tenderloin was pink and perfect and then covered in a creamy béarnaise sauce.
You won’t waste any meat today, don’t worry!
But you will make the sauce from scratch, which you can do while the meat cooks.
21. Roasted Oysters on the Grill
This dish is super popular all over Australia, and I actually had my first roasted oyster on the beach just outside of Melbourne.
If you’re not a fan of the cold, slimy version, these might just change your mind on oysters.
Best done on a grill, this recipe keeps it simple with butter, lemon, and a dash of hot sauce.
If you really want to impress, try using some chili jam and blue cheese.
22. Mushroom Parmesan Shrimp Risotto
Full disclosure: this recipe uses a lot of garlic. But if you’re making it for date night and you’ll both be eating it, you should be just fine.
Risotto takes a little TLC, and you’ll need to babysit it while it cooks, adding more broth as the rice soaks it all up.
I recommend cooking the shrimp in a separate pan, right at the end, so it’s pink, tasty, and can be poured right over the top.
23. Cheese Fondue
Not only is fondue a fun conversation piece, but it also ensures your fancy dinner will last a little longer.
It’s such a social dish, and the more things you provide for dipping, the better!
Always get fresh blocks of cheese and grate them yourself for the best texture, and if you’re not a wine lover, try adding beer to the mix instead.
24. Homemade Pasta
Making pasta is such a fun process, and if you do it right, it makes for a pretty special date night.
Not to mention the bragging rights you get when all your friends gush over how amazing it is!
This can be made entirely by hand, or you can speed things up if you have a stand mixer and pasta roller.
Either way, it’s something we should all do once!
25. Miso-Glazed Chilean Sea Bass
Everything about that title screams Michelin Star, don’t you think?
If you’ve never used miso before, this is the perfect first recipe to try! It’s got such a unique, umami flavor, and it’s unlike anything else.
Mix it with mirin, sugar, soy sauce, sesame oil, garlic, and ginger for a light but powerful marinade that brings this already delicious fish to life.
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