64 Romantic Dinner Ideas That’ll Set the ~Mood~ Just Right

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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? Or just role-play as Carmy and Syd from The Bear. Hey, no judgment here.

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’ve 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 allll the right recipes to make your date night amazing. It doesn’t even matter if you both are lacking in Ina Garten-level kitchen 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, throw on an apron, 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’ve got this!

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1. Portobello Mushrooms with Truffle Mash

portobello mushroom and truffle mash

HelloFresh

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, swoon. 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 tonight. 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

Umamicart

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

HelloFresh

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 they 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. Coconut Milk 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 over rice and with sweet potatoes on the side. The best part: It all 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 a half hour.

Get the recipe at A Cozy Kitchen.

24. 20-Minute Spaghetti Carbonara

dish, food, cuisine, al dente, carbonara, ingredient, spaghetti aglio e olio, capellini, taglierini, spaghetti,pinterest icon

ETHAN CALABRESE

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

food, dish, meal, plate, cuisine, brunch, dishware, breakfast, recipe, hand,pinterest icon

HelloFresh

Sure, this meal might be what we like to call “project cooking”—aka, it takes more effort than throwing together your fave frozen one—but if you can wrap a present, this will be 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

dish, food, cuisine, ingredient, french fries, fried food, produce, comfort food, steak, pork chop,pinterest icon

DANIELLE OCCHIOGROSSO

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

dish, food, cuisine, ingredient, recipe, produce, vegetarian food, parmigiana, À la carte food, vegetable,pinterest icon

Purple Carrot

wants

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

Get the recipe at Purple Carrot.

28. Buffalo Chicken Bowl

dish, food, cuisine, ingredient, fattoush, produce, biryani, staple food, recipe, meat,pinterest icon

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

dish, food, cuisine, ingredient, peanut butter, cajeta, gravy, paste, barbecue sauce, sauces,pinterest icon

HelloFresh

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

food, cuisine, dish, meal, comfort food, ingredient, recipe, kaiseki, japanese cuisine, produce,pinterest icon

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. This will leave plenty of time for…everything else ;).

Get the recipe at Purple Carrot.

31. Totally Loaded Veggie Nachos

dish, cuisine, food, ingredient, produce, recipe, vegetarian food, meal, meat,pinterest icon

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

dish, food, breakfast, fried egg, cuisine, ingredient, meal, toast, heart, comfort food,pinterest icon

HelloFresh

Become bae’s favorite short-order cook with this sweet (and cheap) twist on a toad-in-a-hole. 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.

37. French Bread Pizza

dinner

Everyone loves pizza, but your S.O. will love it even more when you add your own touch.

Get the recipe at Delish.

38. Lobster Risotto

dinner

Not everyone has chef-level knife skills, but even amateurs will appreciate this lobster risotto that’s fancy, yet so easy to execute.

Get the recipe at Delish.

39. Buffalo Chicken Dip

dinner

Dip for dinner? Yep, it’s very much a thing, and it’s an event that calls for this classic recipe.

Get the recipe at The Pioneer Woman.

40. Beet Heart Ravioli with Ricotta and Thyme

dinner

Pina Bresciani

Pasta may be the way to their heart, but *heart-shaped* pasta? That’s the sort of cooking flex that’s going to win you some extra kitchen cred.

    Get the recipe at Pina Bresciani.

    41. Chicken Nugget Parm Casserole

    dinner

    This new spin on an Italian classic proves that casseroles are making a comeback. *Tucks napkin into shirt.*

      Get the recipe at Delish.

      42. Soup Dumplings

      dinner

      You know when it gets really cold and all you wanna do is curl up with your S.O. on the couch and binge White Lotus? This is the sort of meal to eat while watching Tanya spend her inheritance.

      Get the recipe at Delish.

      43. Pineapple Chicken

      dinner

      This pineapple chicken truly tastes as good as it looks. It’s quite literally the perfect combo of sweet and savory, so make a big batch (if only for the leftovers).

      Get the recipe at Delish.

      44. Pasta E Fagioli

      pasta

      It takes a special kind of person to request a soup for dinner. This cozy recipe will be sure to woo your boo ;).

      Get the recipe at The Food Network.

      45. Shrimp Scampi

      shrimp scampi

      This dish is perfect if bae is a seafood lover. Get your chef’s hat ready and make room for seconds.

      Get the recipe at The Food Network.

      46. Mushroom-Spinach Stuffed Shells

      stuffed shells

      Food Network

      Any kind of pasta stuffed recipe will give you an A for effort. Look at you go in the kitchen, bb!

      Get the recipe at The Food Network.

      47. White Cheddar & Truffle Grilled Cheese With Mushrooms

      dinner

      HelloFresh

      If your S.O. is THE pickiest eater on the planet, you might just have to whip them up this grilled cheese, which is probably what heaven tastes like. Bonus points if you conjure up a side of creamy tomato soup while you’re at it.

      Get the recipe at HelloFresh.

      48. Mac and Cheese with Greens

      dinner

      Brooklyn Supper

      A hearty, tasty meal if I ever did see one. This pasta classic calls for all the cheese, so you better get to grating…

      Get the recipe at Brooklyn Supper.

      49. Greek Chicken

      dinner

      Take date night to the next level by cooking up this delish chicken dish. You probably already have all of the ingredients on hand, so no need to put on real pants and hit up the grocery store for some last-minute ingredients. See? We gotchu.

      Get the recipe at Delish.

      50. Baked Pineapple Salmon

      dinner

      This salmon recipe will simply melt in your mouth, causing your significant other to fall in love with you even more after this meal. Don’t say we didn’t warn ya.

      Get the recipe at Delish.

      51. Chicken Pot Pie Soup

      chicken pot pie soup

      MINIMALIST BAKER

      Okay, we have nothing but pure, loud love for this chicken pot pie remix. It’s gluten- and dairy-free (for all the duos with dietary restrictions out there), and the savory soup format is a delish spin.

      Get the recipe at Minimalist Baker.

      52. Lobster Ravioli

      chisel and fork

      Chisel and Fork

      Is one of you craving Italian, and the other in the mood for some seafood? We have a strong shrimp Alfredo option for when you’re faced with this timeless dilemma. Making homemade pasta is the cutest bonding experience, so this lobster ravioli will be fun and yummy.

      Get the recipe at Chisel and Fork.

      53. Creamy Salmon Pasta

      creamy salmon pasta

      Midwest Foodie Blog

      Now for something when you guys are low on time and *starving*. This indulgent creamy salmon dish can come together in under half an hour. Yup, make it while you play an episode of The Office in the background, and it’ll be ready by the end.

      Get the recipe at Midwest Foodie Blog

      54. Bucatini Cacio e Pepe

      chisel and fork

      Chisel and Fork

      On one hand, the name of this dish is forever so fun to say, (unless you’re Kris Jenner ofc), on the other hand, it only calls for five ingredients. So… I guess that’s a win in both hands? Major.

      Get the recipe at Chisel and Fork.

      55. Butternut Squash Risotto

      preppy kitchen

      Preppy Kitchen

      Hello, rich, autumnal vibes. We meet again. This entrée is perfect for when the weather outside is frightful, and the two of you just want a cozy night in the heated indoors.

      Get the recipe at Preppy Kitchen.

      56. Creamy Crab Soup

      creamy crab soup

      Midwest Foodie Blog

      A flavorful soup packs so much power. Especially if it’s simple to make. Prepping this creamy crab one will have your mouth watering as soon as you start sautéing the onions. Trust.

      Get the recipe at Midwest Foodie Blog.

      57. Thai Yellow Chicken Curry with Potatoes

      thai curry

      Pinch of Yum

      Sometimes, the prospect of creating the perfect curry can be a bit daunting, but this easy-to-follow recipe will leave you with a restaurant-level dish in no time.

      Get the recipe at Pinch of Yum.

      58. Broccoli Pesto Pasta

      broccoli pesto pasta

      Cookie and Kate

      Gotta get your greens in? This one is the (actually really effin good) way to do it. It utilizes every green ingredient you could think of. Broccoli! Pesto! Olives! AKA the green food group’s biggest hits.

      Get the recipe at Cookie and Kate.

      59. Spicy Vodka Pasta

      spicy vodka pasta

      Jawn Is Cooked

      Whether you refer to it by its original name, or prefer it’s alternate calling that is the “Gigi Hadid Pasta,” it’s safe to say that this peppery meal is a certified classic. Pair it with some vino, and you’ve secured a delicious evening in.

      Get the recipe at Jawn Is Cooked.

      60. Ratatouille Sheet Pan Dinner With Sausage

      ratatouille

      The Modern Proper

      This recipe basically just goes: Chop, season, bake. That’s how easy it is. It’s so effortless, in fact, that you could probably pull it off without assistance from a rodent in your chef’s hat. No shade to Remy, but that was a horrifically unsanitary concept, and I’m still not over it.

      Get the recipe at The Modern Proper.

      61. 10-Shallot Braised Chicken Thighs

      braised chicken thighs

      The Kitchn

      We all overuse shallots in the kitchen anyhow, so why not do it in a by-the-book sort of way? The major kicker in this flavorful chicken dish is the bacon, which is an added flourish that’s *always* welcome.

      Get the recipe from The Kitchn.

      62. Red Wine Braised Short Ribs

      damn delicious

      Damn Delicious

      Why, yes, ribs can indeed be a romantic date night meal. At least, if they’re the kinda ribs that’ve been caramelized to peak perfection, and that you eat with a fork and knife for, you know, table etiquette reasons.

      Get the recipe from Damn Delicious.

      63. Garlic Butter Clams with White Cream Sauce

      garlic clams

      Damn Delicious

      Are you salivating over this yet? Because I for sure am. Clams are CLASS. Plus the sauce this recipe makes is absolutely bowl-lickin’ level good.

      Get the recipe from Damn Delicious.

      64. Spanish Rice

      spanish rice

      Love and Lemons

      She’s fluffy, she’s flavorful, she’s perfect. She is: This 45-minute Spanish rice.

      Get the recipe at Love and Lemons.

      Headshot of Annabel Iwegbue

      Annabel Iwegbue

      Annabel Iwegbue is an assistant editor at Cosmopolitan who covers lifestyle, beauty, and astrology. Just, you know, all of the things. Before joining Cosmo, she wrote for Harper’s Bazaar, The Knockturnal, and Black Film. You can check out some of Annabel’s work here and also find her on Instagram and Twitter.

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