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36 Romantic Dinner Ideas That'll Set the ~Mood~ Just Right

This isn’t Top Chef…but it could be.

romantic dinners image
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Okay so how many "date nights" so far this year have you spent ordering in takeout, sitting on the couch, Netflixing, chilling, etc. etc.?! It's time to switch it up a bit. Hear me out: What if the date was the dinner-making process, and you used it as an opportunity for things to get a little, idk, ~spicy~ in the kitchen?

No one's saying you have to attempt a beef bourguignon and chocolate soufflé situation together—I don't know anyone who has the attention span for that. But hey, what about a buff chicken bowl, or even some classic breakfast for dinner? That way, you won't even need to do that thing where you pass off your secret Seamless order as a homemade Michelin-starred meal (though we have all been there). Nor does it mean you have to cancel the evening and reschedule after you’ve taken a full-blown cooking course.

Doable, fancy-looking, delicious romantic dinners DO exist. We know because we scoured the interwebs to find alll the right recipes to make your date night amazing. It doesn't even matter if you both are lacking in Ina Garten-level skills. This can be a fun, experimental project you can create together, and it doesn't even matter if it doesn't come out perfectly.

Just take a breath, do a shot of tequila if you're feeling the pre-date jitters, and scroll through this list of romantic dinner ideas. Our menu of date night recipes that you both can totally cook includes vegan options, lots of Italian things (in case you're feeling ambitious and wanna whip up a pasta dish *and* a truffle oil pizza), a fancy grilled cheese, some Korean BBQ, and so much more. You got this!

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1. Portobello Mushrooms with Truffle Mash

portobello mushroom and truffle mash

Whether you're vegetarian right now or not, you will wanna make the switch after you eat this. It basically tastes like steak, but instead it's portobello mushrooms in disguise alongside some super decadent truffle-infused mashed potatoes.

Get the recipe at HelloFresh.

2. Marry Me Chicken

marry me chicken
Delish/Ethan Calabrese

I meann, the name says it all. Sun-dried tomatoes, chicken thighs, and a creamy sauce, that's pretty much all ya need to make date night perfect.

Get the recipe at Delish.

3. Pasta with Savory Jack Sausage and Parmesan

savory jack sausage and parmesan pasta
Jack and Annie's

If you've never had orecchiette, tonight's the night. And in a sage butter sauce? Omg. Plus, you'd never know it's actually plant-based jackfruit instead of sausage (yay, vegan swaps!).

Get the recipe at Jack & Annie's.

4. Seared Scallops and Mushroom Risotto

seared scallops and mushroom risotto
Blue Apron

You two are about to be eating good tn...This fancy scallop risotto recipe is a meal you'd probably get out at a restaurant for an anniversary, but now you can also recreate that right at home.

Get the recipe at Blue Apron.

5. Thai Green Curry

thai green curry
Serena Poon

Things are about to get spicy, in the best way possible. You can recreate your fave Thai takeout meal (and also, it's vegan).

Get the recipe at SerenaLoves.com.

6. Buffalo Cheese Crumbs Chicken Mac n' Cheese

processed with vsco with ke1 preset
Dining with Skyler

Sorry, was your date night going to include something other than buff chick mac n' cheese? No it wasn't. You're also obligated to get a video of the first cheese pull or it didn't happen.

Get the recipe at Whisps.

7. Poke Bowl

poke bowl

DIY your own poke bowls as a duo with whatever sashimi you love. It's actually super easy, trust!

Get the recipe at Umamicart.

8. Linguine with Clams

linguine with clams
Delish/Parker Feierbach

Make this together and you will be automatically transported to the Italian riviera. It looks intimidating to make, but it's so not.

Get the recipe at Delish.

9. Butter-Basted Sirloin Steak

butter basted sirloin steak

Steak is the go-to dish for a romantic dinner—don't fight that. This oh-so-slightly elevated take is a great way to level up your night. Plus, instead of fries, you can get real fancy with ~parsnip wedges~.

Get the recipe at HelloFresh.

10. Truffle Pizza

truffle oil pizza
Sonja and Alex Overhiser

Making pizza from scratch looks super impressive, and it’s actually easier than you may think. Try this recipe for straightforward ingredients and instructions and because, let’s face it, truffle oil makes everything better.

Get the recipe at A Couple Cooks.

11. Refried Butternut Tacos

butternut tacos
Purple Carrot

Okay, tacos may not be the neatest to eat, so maybe save them for date two (or don't, we won't judge). These butternut tacos not only look cute, but are an awesome plant-based option for anyone who doesn’t eat meat. The recipe is 100 percent vegan and 100 percent delicious.

Get the recipe at Purple Carrot.

12. Pasta Primavera

pasta primavera
Cooking Classy

Everyone knows pasta is as reliable a dish as they come, but the classic tomato sauce can get, idk, a little boring. Instead, try a primavera preparation to mix in some fresh veggies.

Get the recipe at Cooking Classy.

13. Sirloin Tip Roast

sirloin tip roast
Weekend at the Cottage

Few things will impress your dinner guest more than a perfectly cooked roast, because it takes a little confidence to cook something that needs a thermometer to tell you it's done. And nothing's sexier than confidence.

Get the recipe at Weekend at the Cottage.

14. Lemon Rosemary Chicken

lemon rosemary chicken
Nourish and Fete

This isn't your weeknight chicken recipe. Every bite has legit flavor, between notes of zesty citrus and fresh herbs.

Get the recipe at Nourish and Fete.

15. Honey Glazed Salmon

honey glazed salmon
Dinner at the Zoo

Salmon can often feel like an intimidating fish to make, but in reality, it’s so easy to master. And this honey glaze has just a few ingredients, so it’s near impossible to screw up, trust us.

Get the recipe at Dinner at the Zoo.

16. Korean BBQ Beef Bowls

korean bbq beef bowls
Simply Scratch

There's so.much.flavor. packed into these Korean BBQ bowls. And you can garnish it with a fried egg and some sesame seeds so your romantic dinner is truly Instagrammable.

Get the recipe at Simply Scratch.

17. 4-Cheese Roasted Garlic Alfredo Stuffed Spaghetti Squash

stuffed alfredo spaghetti squash
Half Baked Harvest

Spaghetti squash has been a thing for years now, but this Alfredo-inspired take on the gourd brings some excitement to dinner. It's also perf if you have vegetarian guests.

Get the recipe at Half-Baked Harvest.

18. Classic Lasagna

classic lasagna
Parker Feierbach

While trying something new can always be fun, sometimes, it’s best to stick to the classics. Lasagna is also literally impossible to not get right—just keep layering the noodles and cheese, friends.

Get the recipe at Delish.

19. Roasted Red Pepper Pasta

dish, food, cuisine, capellini, spaghetti, ingredient, bucatini, noodle, fideo, italian food,
Minimalist Baker

This plant-based dish only requires 15 minutes of prep, and the roasted red peppers add a delicious kick. Swap in gluten-free spaghetti if you or your bae can't handle the wheat.

Get the recipe at Minimalist Baker.

20. Braised chicken

dish, food, cuisine, ingredient, produce, recipe, taco, naan, staple food, meat,
Half Baked Harvest

This Thai-Indian fusion dish is sure to impress, plus it's perfect if your locale is effing cold this time of year. The best part: It only takes 30 minutes to prep and cook.

Get the recipe at Half Baked Harvest.

21. Mushroom Stroganoff

mushroom stroganoff
101 Cookbooks

If you're lucky enough to have an Instant Pot at home, this pasta dinner is your new best friend. And you didn't hear it from us, but the secret ingredient is vodka. Prego (that's Italian for you're welcome).

Get the recipe at 101 Cookbooks.

22. Turkey Piccata

dish, food, cuisine, ingredient, produce, gratin, staple food, recipe, zucchini, vegetarian food,
Andie Mitchell

Delicious turkey dishes don't have to be limited to the holiday season. Try this recipe out for a creamy, lean protein option.

Get the recipe from Andie Mitchell.

23. Cauliflower Gnocchi

Dish, Food, Cuisine, Ingredient, Meat, Produce, Recipe, Staple food, Caponata, Picadillo,
A Cozy Kitchen

All you Trader Joe's fans out there, we see you. This take on spaghetti bolognese is another tasty meatless option that comes together in just 30 minutes.

Get the recipe at A Cozy Kitchen.

24. 20-Minute Spaghetti Carbonara


Impress your S.O. with these masterful noods: Cheese, bacon, carbs, and 20 quick minutes make this dish the easiest, tastiest trick up your sleeve.

Get the recipe at Delish.

25. Prosciutto-Wrapped Chicken for Two


Sure, this meal might be what we like to call "project cooking"—a.k.a. it takes more than throwing together a frozen one from Trader Joe's—but if you can wrap a present, this is a piece of cake. Especially when you've got a PIC (partner in cooking, that is) by your side.

Get the recipe at HelloFresh.

26. Faster Steak Frites


Psst, wanna know the secret here? Frozen French fries! Cook your steak to perfection, and you're basically dining in a 5-star restaurant.

Get the recipe at Good Housekeeping.

27. Eggplant Florentine with Fire-Roasted Tomato Sauce and Toasted Ciabatta

Purple Carrot

This bad boy is ideal when one of you is a vegan and the other one wants to be supportive but really just wants a whole bunch of cheese. Luckily, this main can trick even the most die-hard dairy lover.

Get the recipe at Purple Carrot.

28. Buffalo Chicken Bowl

Snap Kitchen

Try not to let your S.O. drool when their favorite game-day snack becomes a totally satisfying bowl of goodness.

Get the recipe at Snap Kitchen.

29. Tomato Paprika Soup with Hearty Grilled Cheese Sandwiches


Grilled cheese + tomato soup = peak coziness. Up the wow factor by cutting the sammies into lil hearts.

Get the recipe at HelloFresh.

30. Japanese Bento Box with Teriyaki Pineapple and Speckled Rice

Purple Carrot

For when you both want a little taste of everything—and a restaurant-worthy meal that takes less than 30 minutes to make, leaving plenty of time for...everything else.

Get the recipe at Purple Carrot.

31. Totally Loaded Veggie Nachos

Kelly Peloza

Up your nacho game with this all-star riff on the classic plate. (Although this recipe calls for vegetarian-friendly alternatives, feel free to add some meat if that's your thing.)

Get the recipe from Kelly Peloza of Upton's Naturals.

32. Breakfast for Dinner


Become bae's favorite short-order cook with a sweet (and cheap) twist on the breakfast classic. Serve with bacon, sausage, or home fries for extra lovin'.

Get the recipe at HelloFresh.

33. Burst Tomato Pasta

burst tomato pasta
Last Ingredient

Sitcom people are always running into trouble with their soufflés falling. Learn from their mistakes, and cook a dish (in 20 minutes, no less) where ingredients collapsing and falling apart are what make it taste good.

Get the recipe at Last Ingredient.

34. Almond-Crusted Pork Loin with Red Wine Raisins

almond crusted pork loin with red wine raisins
Cooking with Books

Soaking raisins in red wine not only makes them pair wonderfully with pork loin, it also means you have an open bottle of vino to sip from as you're cooking.

Get the recipe at Cooking with Books.

35. Lemon Garlic Pasta

lemon garlic pasta
Wonky Wonderful

It's hard to mess up pasta, and this one has the advantage of being delicious without calling for a sauce that'll ruin the tablecloth you've never used before.

Get the recipe at Wonky Wonderful.

36. Baked Chicken with Tomatoes and Garlic

baked chicken with tomatoes and garlic
Brooklyn Supper

You know what's the last thing you want to do after a romantic dinner? Wash dishes. This baked chicken is delightful and keeps the washing to a minimum.

Get the recipe at Brooklyn Supper.

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