36 20-Minute Recipes That Will Save Your Weeknights

Between work, school, family, and a host of other responsibilities, cooking a meal at the end of a long day can feel like an insurmountable task. This can leave us in a never-ending cycle of weeknight dinners that are boring, bland, unhealthy, and a host of other unappetizing adjectives. But it doesn't have to be this way.

There are plenty of delicious meals you can make in less than a half hour that will satisfy you and whoever else you're cooking for — friends, family, and even the pickiest of little ones. Our round-up of 20-minute dinner recipes aren't just quick and easy to make, they're also hearty and flavorful meals that taste like they took hours to prepare.

From Chinese food staples to classic pasta dishes to familiar American comfort food like pork chops, there's a recipe here for everyone. There are different cooking methods throughout the collection as well, with some recipes prepared on the stove and others made with Instant Pots, air fryers, grill tops, and the oven. Here are our favorite dishes ready in 20 minutes or less — these easy recipes are sure to keep your weeknight dinner menu on point.

1. 20-Minute Egg Roll In A Bowl

With crispy, crunchy texture and bold flavors, egg rolls can be irresistible, but recreating them at home is one tall task. Our egg roll in a bowl has all the same flavors of an egg roll filling but can be made in no time at all. Season ground pork with ginger, garlic, and sesame oil. (Or, swap out pork for other proteins like beef, chicken, or tofu.) Add shredded cabbage and any other vegetables you like. The dipping sauce is easy to make as well.

Recipe: 20-Minute Egg Roll In A Bowl

2. 20-Minute Chicken Noodle Soup

There are few meals as hearty and comforting as chicken noodle soup. Generally, dishes with those adjectives require a significant amount of time to make — but not ours. Use shredded, diced, or full chicken breasts, or even meat from a store-bought rotisserie chicken. Once you have all the ingredients, it's just a matter of tossing them all in a pot or Dutch oven. Top servings of soup with sliced scallions or parsley and dig in.

Recipe: 20-Minute Chicken Noodle Soup

3. 20-Minute Chicken Tacos

It's hard to go wrong with tacos, especially when you're looking for a quick, delicious meal. Our chicken taco recipe creates a delectable meal in just 20 minutes. Use quick-cooking cuts of chicken, such as tenderloins or cutlets. Once the seasoned chicken is done, pile it onto soft tortillas alongside your favorite toppings. We suggest avocado, red onion, and cilantro. Feel free to add cheese, lettuce, sour cream, salsa, and whatever else your taco-loving heart desires.

Recipe: 20-Minute Chicken Tacos

4. One-Pot Mac And Cheese

This homemade mac and cheese takes hardly any more time than store-bought boxed mac and cheese, but it is so much creamier and delicious. Plus it has a blend of three cheeses — cheddar, parmesan, and mozzarella — so you know it's going to be wonderfully gooey and melty. The recipe has a clever trick of cooking the pasta right in the sauce, no draining needed. Ready in 20 minutes, the recipe makes enough to feed your whole family or all your friends for dinner. 

Recipe: One-Pot Mac And Cheese

5. Chicken Piccata

Chicken piccata is a dish of thinly-sliced pieces of chicken breaded in flour and served with a lemon caper sauce. Not only is this 20-minute recipe easy to make, it's also budget-friendly. Butterfly chicken breasts into thinner portions or swap the chicken breast for tenders. After cooking the chicken, prepare the sauce of dry white wine, capers, and lemon juice in the same pan. Once the sauce is done, add the chicken back in, and serve with cooked pasta, roasted vegetables, or mashed potatoes.

Recipe: Chicken Piccata

6. Garlic Butter Baked Flounder

When everyone is hungry for dinner and there isn't much time, fish is an excellent choice: It's full of protein and in many cases, cooks up very quickly. For this recipe, swing by the market or grocery store to pick up boneless flounder filets. They're topped with a savory blend of minced garlic (fresh or jarred) and dried herbs. Pop the filets in the oven and they're ready in 15 minutes. Pair baked flounder with salad, rice, or steamed vegetables.

Recipe: Garlic Butter Baked Flounder

7. 20-Minute Lasagna

Assembling and baking lasagna usually takes north of an hour, but believe it or not, we have a lasagna recipe that takes just a fraction of the time. One way this recipe makes this possible is by cooking the lasagna in a saucepan on the stove instead of baking it in an oven. And to really save time, the dish gets assembled as it cooks. The layers include ground beef, lasagna noodles, and tomato sauce topped with ricotta cheese and mozzarella. Once the cheese is melted, you can dig into a creamy, tasty lasagna.

Recipe: 20-Minute Lasagna

8. Pizza Bread

Any fans of Stouffer's French bread pizzas out there? You're going to love this homemade take on that frozen classic. Because you make it yourself, this pizza bread is fresher, more delicious, and can be customized with any toppings or spices you want. It's fantastic for lunch and your family will be psyched to have pizza bread for dinner. They're quick to assemble with store-bought French bread, pizza sauce, fresh mozzarella, and toppings like pepperoni, mushrooms, black olives, or sausage crumbles. 

Recipe: Pizza Bread

9. 20-Minute Sesame Chicken

Our 20-minute sesame chicken recipe may take some liberties from the take-out meal you're used to, but it delivers the same great flavor. The most notable deviation from traditional sesame chicken is that we've skipped the messy and time-consuming deep-frying. Instead, chicken pieces are coated in a batter of cornstarch and rice flour (for extra crispiness) and shallow-fried in a pan. After about five minutes, add a sauce of rice vinegar, soy sauce, orange juice, ginger, and garlic. Serve the saucy chicken over rice and garnish with sesame seeds and scallions.

Recipe: 20-Minute Sesame Chicken

10. Air Fryer Sausage And Potatoes

It's such a simple dish, but the combination of flavors is out of this world. Prepared in an air fryer, all of the ingredients cook up together in no time. The sliced bell peppers and onions become soft and caramelized, while the cubed potatoes and sausage get beautifully browned with crisp edges. The dish is so tasty all on its own, or you can layer it inside a soft hoagie roll. 

Recipe: Air Fryer Sausage And Potatoes

11. 20-Minute Shrimp Alfredo Pasta

This cheesy, creamy dish will satisfy anybody's appetite and takes just 20 minutes. Use fettuccine for this alfredo recipe; it holds moisture well and its long, flat shape offers more space to hold all that sauce. The sauce is deceptively simple to make: Just heat together whole milk, seasonings, and plenty of Parmesan cheese. Let the noodles and shrimp (which should be fresh and deveined) swim in the alfredo sauce for a bit, and serve. It's a hearty meal that will fill up the entire family.

Recipe: 20-Minute Shrimp Alfredo Pasta

12. 20-Minute Beef And Broccoli Lo Mein

It can be difficult to replicate a restaurant meal, but we think our beef and broccoli lo mein may even be better than takeout. The steps in this recipe move quickly, so have all your ingredients ready to go. These include cooked lo mein or ramen noodles, sliced steak, broccoli florets, and a sauce of brown sugar, ginger, garlic, and soy sauce. Stir fry the ingredients, let the mixture simmer until the sauce thickens, and you're all done.

Recipe: 20-Minute Beef And Broccoli Lo Mein

13. Instant Pot Brunswick Stew

If it's been a while since you've used your Instant Pot, it's time to dust it off. There's no better tool at your disposal to create delicious, perfectly cooked one-pot meals in a flash. This recipe for Brunswick Stew pairs chicken with corn, lima, beans, and okra in a savory broth. Quickly sauté onions right in the Instant Pot, add the other ingredients, and then let the pressure cooker cook everything and meld flavors in only 15 minutes. Serve this hearty stew with cornbread or rolls.

Recipe: Instant Pot Brunswick Stew

14. 20-Minute Italian Meatballs

It's tempting at the grocery store to grab a bag of processed, frozen meatballs, especially if you assume that they take too long to make at home. However, this recipe proves that you can make tender, seasoned meatballs from scratch so easily: From start to finish they take only 20 minutes. The beef meatballs have lots of Parmesan cheese and garlic, and you can add a dash of Italian seasoning blend too, if you wish. Pair the meatballs with pasta, mashed potatoes, or use them to make savory sandwiches.

Recipe: 20-Minute Italian Meatballs

15. 20-Minute Stovetop Stuffing

Even on nights when you decide to pick up a convenient dinner option like a rotisserie chicken, you can still make it a complete meal with homemade stuffing. This is our copycat version of boxed Stovetop Stuffing, made with sautéed onions, celery, and sage. This aromatic mixture is ready in only 15 minutes — then all you have to do is add cubed bread and give it a few minutes to soak up all that flavor. Our recipe uses whole-grain bread, but you can always substitute sourdough, brioche, or white bread. 

Recipe: 20-Minute Stovetop Stuffing

16. Grilled Shrimp

If you have a grill handy or a grill top on your stove, then you can easily make these grilled shrimp for a fast meal. You can save even more time by picking up shrimp that have already been cleaned and deveined. They're simply dressed with butter, garlic, and pepper, then threaded onto skewers for grilling. Serve the shrimp with salad, over pasta, or fold them into tacos. Served with a dipping sauce, they're also a great appetizer idea. 

Recipe: Grilled Shrimp

17. Gordon Ramsay's Scallops

Have a beautiful meal of pan-seared scallops and fresh salad for two ready in less than 20 minutes to enjoy for a light dinner or lunch. Our salad is made with Boston lettuce, radishes, peas, and a simple vinaigrette. (And you can always add in more veggies if you wish.) Plus, chef Gordon Ramsay's method for cooking these delicate scallops couldn't be easier. Once they're seared, finish them with a spritz of lemon juice. 

Recipe: Gordon Ramsay's Scallops

18. Instant Pot Smothered Pork Chops

Perfectly prepared pork chops are easy to achieve in your Instant Pot, and they cook through so fast. All of the steps for this dish happen inside the appliance, which means fewer dishes to clean up after dinner. Once the pork chops are finished, the cooking liquid with soy sauce, stock, mushrooms, and onion is whisked into a thick gravy. Serve smothered pork chops with mashed potatoes or stuffing. 

Recipe: Instant Pot Smothered Pork Chops

19. Air Fryer Chicken Breasts

Save space on the stovetop by using your air fryer to help get dinner ready. Recipe developer Susan Olayinka begins by coating whole, boneless chicken breasts with a robust blend of spices, including paprika and thyme. They cook in the air fryer for just 20 minutes, and develop a beautifully browned exterior in the process. While they cook, you can prepare a quick side dish like couscous, boiled new potatoes, or pasta. Or, shred the cooked chicken and whip up some easy tacos. 

Recipe: Air Fryer Chicken Breasts

20. Cabbage And Noodles

This vegetarian combination of egg noodles, cabbage, and onion is a satisfying dish to make for a simple, meat-free meal any night of the week. The vegetables are sautéed on the stove with butter and spices until they're tender and browned. Toss them with tender, cooked egg noodles and dinner is ready in only 20 minutes. You can also add diced, leftover chicken or ham to make a more filling meal, or serve the noodles as a side dish. 

Recipe: Cabbage And Noodles

21. Taquitos

Oven-baked taquitos are so simple to make and tasty that you can rely on this recipe for all kinds of occasions: A twist on Taco Tuesday dinner, as an after-school snack, for team dinners, or for late-night noshing. Use leftover shredded chicken breast (or any leftover meat) and toss it with spices, green chilies, and cheese. Roll the filling up inside flour tortillas and bake for a short time until the filling is warm and melted and the outsides are browned.  

Recipe: Taquitos

22. Instant Pot Red Lentil Dal

Dal is an Indian stew that can be made with different types of legumes, like the red lentils used in our recipe. They cook up quickly when made in an Instant Pot, in a broth of tomatoes, onion, curry, and coconut cream. Serve this vegetarian dish over white or brown rice for a warming, filling meal. Dal can also be frozen to have on hand for an easy dinner down the road.

Recipe: Instant Pot Red Lentil Dal

23. Cuban Sandwich

Stop at the deli on your way home to pick up salami, ham, and a loaf of French bread, and you'll be well on your way to making this 20-minute, broiled Cuban sandwich. The meats are layered with pulled pork, Swiss cheese, and pickles, then it goes into the oven for just a few minutes to melt and brown. Slice up the sandwich into six servings for dinner, a weekend lunch, or to feed your friends who are over to watch the game. 

Recipe: Cuban Sandwich

24. One-Pot Whole Wheat Pasta Carbonara

This classic pasta dish is so creamy, delicious, and indulgent that it's easy to assume it's a recipe fit only for special occasions or when you have lots of time to spend in the kitchen. In truth, pasta carbonara is easy to prepare and will be ready in only 20 minutes. Our recipe uses whole wheat spaghetti for extra nutrition, and it's cooked in the same pot you'll use to cook the pancetta and the sauce.  

Recipe: One-Pot Whole Wheat Pasta Carbonara

25. Air Fryer Salmon Patties

Old-fashioned salmon patties make a great dinner when paired with French fries, a salad, or buttered egg noodles. Stock your pantry with a few cans of pink salmon and a box of panko breadcrumbs, and you'll be ready to make this recipe anytime. The patty mixture includes mayonnaise, mustard, and spices for savory flavor and a texture that's soft inside and crispy on the outside. And because they're made in an air fryer, the salmon patties are ready in only eight minutes.

Recipe: Air Fryer Salmon Patties

26. 20-Minute Breakfast Tacos

It's fun to break up the weekly meal routine with a "breakfast for dinner" night. This is a great recipe to choose for these nights, for two reasons: First, instead of serving your family something overly sweet like pancakes with syrup, you can surprise them with this healthy, savory dish. And second, breakfast tacos filled with eggs, potatoes, peppers, and cheese take only 20 minutes to prepare. That's totally manageable, no matter how busy the weeknight. Of course, breakfast tacos are also tasty for breakfast!

Recipe: 20-Minute Breakfast Tacos

27. Instant Pot Mac And Cheese

Make the most delicious batch of homemade mac and cheese without turning on the oven or the stove. Elbow macaroni cooks up in just minutes inside an Instant Pot, then it's just a matter of whisking up the sauce of cream, Parmesan, and cheddar. Et voilà: Enough macaroni and cheese to feed four people. Enjoy it as is, or add seasoned, browned ground beef or diced chicken for a complete meal. 

Recipe: Instant Pot Mac And Cheese

28. Air Fryer Steak

For a fast dinner for two, plug in that air fryer and grab a juicy steak. It's coated with a savory spice blend before going in to cook, and when the steak is finished (which only takes 15 minutes) it's browned and has a flavorful crust. Try our blend of spices, or others like chili powder, cumin, rosemary, or a premixed steak seasoning blend. Serve the steaks with roasted vegetables, wild rice, or steak fries. 

Recipe: Air Fryer Steak

29. 20-Minute Tomato Bisque

It should come as no surprise that the flavor of homemade tomato soup will beat out the canned stuff every time. While many soup recipes require lots of prep and simmering time, this tomato bisque is a warm, comfort food option for any night of the week. Aromatics are briefly sautéed before the rest of the ingredients go in the pot to cook for just 10 minutes. Puree the soup in a blender or with an immersion blender, then serve it with croutons, crusty bread, and a sprinkle of shredded cheese. 

Recipe: 20-Minute Tomato Bisque

30. 20-Minute Tofu Tacos

To make these vegetarian tacos, pick up a package of tofu, some corn tortillas, and ingredients to make a simple coleslaw. We keep the seasoning on the cubed tofu pretty simple, but you can always add more zing with cayenne pepper, chili powder, cumin, and other taco seasonings. After pan-frying, the tofu cubes are crispy and delectable. The recipe makes enough to feed eight hungry people any busy night of the week.

Recipe: 20-Minute Tofu Tacos

31. Baked Tilapia

Tender fish filets come to the rescue again for a dinner that's ready in less than 20 minutes and loaded with flavor. Tilapia is brushed with butter, garlic, and seasonings, and then baked. It's as easy as that! While it bakes, prepare a side dish: Some sides that pair well with tilapia include Caesar salad, pasta, and brown rice. Leftover fish can be gently reheated in the microwave or oven, with a little lemon squeezed over it to help keep things juicy. 

Recipe: Baked Tilapia

32. Thai Basil Chicken

This dish is so flavorful you won't believe how quickly it comes together. Serve with a fried egg and cooked white or brown rice, it has plenty of protein and looks gorgeous on the plate. The ingredients include ground chicken, soy sauce, and garlic, and the dish is ready to serve in just 15 minutes. Don't forget the star of the dish: A bunch of fresh, Thai basil, which has a stronger anise flavor than Italian basil.

Recipe: Thai Basil Chicken

33. Jerk Salmon

Pair these strips of seasoned salmon with simple sides like cooked rice, roasted new potatoes, or tender biscuits. The fish is flavored with jerk spice, a Caribbean blend made with cinnamon, allspice, and fiery Scotch bonnet peppers. Our recipe includes a cool slaw to counteract the spicy fish, made from cubes of sweet mango, shredded cabbage, and cilantro. The recipe makes enough for four, whether for supper or a light lunch. 

Recipe: Jerk Salmon

34. Smoked Chicken Alfredo

Use leftover, pulled or smoked chicken to make an easy and filling meal. Don't for one second think that this recipe uses a jarred alfredo sauce: There's no need when making an alfredo sauce from scratch takes about six minutes. (It's a simple blend of cream, butter, Parmesan, and garlic.) Spoon the sauce and chicken over cooked fettuccine, then add some Italian bread and a bottle of red wine. 

Recipe: Smoked Chicken Alfredo

35. Baked Cod

Stash cod filets in the freezer to have on hand for this ridiculously easy dinner, one that bakes up in just 15 minutes. Lemon, garlic, and cherry tomatoes are all that's needed to bring out the flavor in the versatile fish. All that's left is to pair it with a salad, cooked couscous, or rice. You can even take a nod from classic fish and chips and make a side of French fries to go with your cod. 

Recipe: Baked Cod

36. 20-Minute Chimichurri Tacos

Chimichurri is an Argentinian condiment with the consistency of pesto, but it's made with garlic, parsley, and cilantro. It's bright, tangy, and flavorful, and that makes it perfect for these quick vegetarian tacos. The filling is a blend of cooked mushrooms and black beans. Top the tacos with salsa, avocado slices, fresh tomatoes, and several spoonfuls of chimichurri. The whole recipe, including making the chimichurri sauce, takes only 20 minutes. 

Recipe: 20-Minute Chimichurri Tacos