54 Fast Dinner Ideas You Can Make in 20 Minutes or Less

editor@purewow.com (PureWow)
·8 mins read

Do you ever dream that dinner could be ready to eat with just the snap of your fingers? Same, friend. While we can’t magically make a heaping bowl of pasta appear on the table, we can offer something that’s nearly as good: Presenting 54 fast dinner ideas that you can make in 20 minutes or less.

RELATED: 53 Quick Dinners That Were Made for Busy Weeknights

1. One-Pot Pasta Limone (15 minutes)

Since you most likely have all the ingredients in your pantry at this moment, you can consider dinner already made.

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2. Pan-Seared Fish with Pomegranate Salsa (20 minutes)

Hello, colorful, fresh, crowd-pleasing dinner. You’re a sight for sore eyes.

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3. Healthy Chicken Parmesan (20 minutes)

Zucchini noodles are the ultimate fast-and-healthy dinner ingredient. You don’t even have to cook them, but if you do, they take practically no time at all.

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4. Spicy Shrimp Tacos with Mango Salsa (20 minutes)

Don’t save them just for taco Tuesdays. These easy, tropical babies deserve a place at the table every night of the week.

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5. Skillet Pepper Steak (15 minutes)

Almost no cleanup and only 230 calories? We know what we’re making tonight…and tomorrow night, for that matter.

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6. Cheater’s Pad Thai (15 minutes)

Nothing against our favorite takeout spot, but it *definitely* takes longer than 15 minutes to get our order.

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RELATED: 14 Pasta Recipes That Are Easy Enough for Weeknights

7. Shrimp Scampi Zoodles (20 minutes)

When you want dinner ready at lightning speeds, shrimp will get you there. These tasty crustaceans only take about three minutes to cook—really.

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8. Cacio e Pepe (20 minutes)

If you keep only one pasta recipe in your back pocket, make it this Italian classic. With just six ingredients, you’ll have it memorized (and on the table) in no time.

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9. Chicken and Broccoli (12 minutes)

Dinner’s ready in 12 minutes? Pinch us, we must be dreaming.

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10. Lo Mein (15 minutes)

The secret’s in the cooking method. Stir-frying at super-high heat means everything cooks up in a flash.

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11. Easy Cauliflower Curry (20 minutes)

Rich, creamy, spicy and totally vegan, all in 20 minutes flat. File this one under “genius.”

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12. One-Pot Tomato Basil Pasta (20 minutes)

We’re suckers for a one-pot pasta. You just throw everything in and boom: a masterpiece.

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RELATED: The Secret to Making One-Pot Pasta Without a Recipe

13. Kimchi Grilled Cheese (20 minutes)

This is the slightly grown-up version of a childhood favorite, but it’s still easy-peasy to whip up when a craving strikes.

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RELATED: 17 Korean-Inspired Recipes to Try at Home

14. Shrimp Fajitas (20 minutes)

The most difficult thing you have to do is marinate the shrimp. (Thanks, Coterie member Gaby Dalkin.)

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15. Lemony Broccolini Pasta (15 minutes)

Sure, you could reach for the jarred marinara. (There’s nothing wrong with that.) But before you do, consider that this beauty takes the same amount of effort with twice the payoff.

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16. Chicken and Snap Pea Stir-Fry (20 minutes)

If you really, really don’t feel like cooking, you should make this. It’s easier and healthier than ordering in, promise.

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RELATED: 15 Clean-Eating Stir-Fry Recipes to Make for Dinner Tonight

17. Healthy Moroccan Greek Yogurt Chicken Salad (15 minutes)

Coterie member Monique Volz knows that you don’t have to trade nutrition for convenience.

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18. Pad See Ew (10 minutes)

We have just one question: Can we make this every night?

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19. Paleo Egg Roll Bowls (20 minutes)

Delicious egg roll filling, meet diet-friendly bowls. By ditching the greasy wonton wrapper, you save on time and empty calories.

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20. Avocado and Black Bean Pasta Salad (20 minutes)

We always thought of pasta salad as a little lackluster...until we added avocado.

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21. Thin Crust Pizza with Arugula and Hot Honey (15 minutes)

Introducing the only way we want to eat pizza from now on: with spicy-sweet honey, a pile of peppery greens and gooey cheese, all on a crispy tortilla crust.

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22. Tomato Salad with Grilled Halloumi and Herbs (10 minutes)

A juicy plate of tomatoes, cheese and herbs that comes together in ten? Don’t mind if we do.

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RELATED: 19 Incredible Halloumi Recipes You’ve Never Tried Before

23. Tofu Stir-Fry (20 minutes)

Pack up the leftovers for tomorrow’s lunch (if there are any leftovers, that is).

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24. Chipotle-Lime Salmon Tostadas (20 minutes)

The only thing that takes less time than making these zesty, crunchy tostadas is eating them.

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25. Buffalo Chicken Sliders (15 minutes)

These sliders have a secret: They start with a store-bought rotisserie chicken. We bet you can’t eat just one.

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26. Citrus, Shrimp and Quinoa Salad with Feta (20 minutes)

With a plate as gorgeous as this, your mealtime rut is officially in the past. (Psst: It’ll even keep in the fridge for two days.)

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27. Indian Salad Bowl with Crunchy Chickpeas (20 minutes)

These spicy, crispy chickpeas are no less than transformative. Can we put them on every salad from here on out?

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RELATED: 17 Meals You Can Make with a Can of Chickpeas

28. Loaded Sesame-Ginger Salmon Salad (15 minutes)

Bottled dressing? We’ve never heard of her. This omega-packed meal is effortless to whip up, thanks to an easy dressing that’s made entirely in your blender.

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29. Ramen Carbonara (20 minutes)

We never thought we’d have a crush on a bowl of noodles, but here we are. It might have something to do with the fresh corn and basil garnish.

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30. Waffle Breakfast Sandwich with Chorizo (15 minutes)

Brinner—aka breakfast for dinner—is always a good idea. If it takes, like, two seconds to make? Even better.

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31. Korean Beef Bowl (15 minutes)

Brown sugar, soy sauce, ginger and sesame oil are here to save dinner.

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32. Easy Lemon Chicken (20 minutes)

Seven pantry staples turned into crispy, citrusy bliss.

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33. Spicy Shrimp with Pesto Noodles (15 minutes)

Pesto is way more flexible a recipe than you think. This one calls for kale, spinach and almonds.

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34. Gazpacho with Cucumber, Red Pepper and Basil (15 minutes)

All you need to pull this summer sweetheart off is a food processor or blender.

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35. Burrata Salad with Stone Fruit and Asparagus (20 minutes)

This beauty is practically no-cook.

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36. Mediterranean Couscous with Tuna and Pepperoncini (15 minutes)

It's as easy as boiling water.

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37. Mushroom Stroganoff (20 minutes)

Admit it: You've been looking for an excuse to flambé.

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38. Mezze Plate with Toasted Za'atar Pita Bread (15 minutes)

The only cooking required for this giant plate of snacks is toasting the bread.

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39. PF Chang's Chicken Lettuce Wraps (20 minutes)

This copycat recipe is pretty enough to serve to company. The secret? Hoisin sauce.

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40. Avocado Pasta (15 minutes)

Trust us. You'll want to gild the lily with a runny egg.

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41. Seared Scallops with Green Peas, Mint and Shallots (20 minutes)

Think you have to spend all night at the stove to make a fancy dinner? Challenge accepted.

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42. Instant Pot Chicken Burrito Bowls (20 minutes)

Ten minutes prep, ten more in the pressure cooker. Et voilà.

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43. Cucumber-Avocado Blender Soup (15 minutes)

The crusty Asiago baguette really seals the deal.

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44. Pork Scallopini with Lemon, Capers and Radicchio (20 minutes)

Because we're tired of chicken breast.

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45. Artichoke Garden Flatbread Pizza (15 minutes)

Store-bought flatbread makes this Mediterranean miracle possible.

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46. Aran Goyoaga’s Niçoise Salad (20 minutes)

Yep, we'll be bringing this to every picnic we ever go to.

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47. Buffalo Chicken Wraps with Blue Cheese and Celery (20 minutes)

Oh, rotisserie chicken. Is there anything you can't do?

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48. Avocado Basil Pesto Zucchini Noodles (15 minutes)

Save even more time by starting with pre-spiralized zoodles.

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49. Cauliflower Fried Rice (15 minutes)

Want to make it vegan? Substitute tofu for eggs.

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50. Spaghetti Carbonara (15 minutes)

Because bacon, cheese and garlic will never steer you wrong.

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51. Quick Quesadillas (10 minutes)

Add chicken or ground beef for a protein boost.

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52. Black Bean Burgers (20 minutes)

Starring baby bella mushrooms, garlic and red onion.

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53. Cajun Shrimp and Grits (15 minutes)

The recipe doesn't technically call for heavy cream. But we won't tell if you add it to the grits anyway.

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54. Macaroni and Cheese in a Mug (10 minutes)

This dinner for one is better than having company.

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RELATED: 40 Easy Vegetarian Dinner Ideas You Can Make in 30 Minutes or Less