30-Minute Recipes That Will Save You Time In The Kitchen

Sometimes, you need to eat, but you just don't have an hour to spend in the kitchen. After all, you have so many other things to think about; whether it's work, taking care of your kids, doing your schoolwork, or enjoying your evening, there are nights when a big, elaborate dinner is out of the question.

On nights like these, you may think that takeout is your best option, but with the right recipes, you can easily make dinner at home. Turn to these simple recipe ideas from Mashed that take no more than a half hour, so you can chow down in no time.

And don't assume that these dishes are going to be less than tasty just because they come together quickly. In fact, some of these recipes might become go-to meals in your home, like spicy Chicken Fajita Pasta, a rich Lamb Stew, Tofu Nuggets, or a Skillet Lasagna. There are many cooking methods to choose from too, including an air fryer, Instant Pot, and stovetop. Check out our round-up of 30-Minute Dinner Ideas and make some of these delicious and filling recipes for yourself and your family tonight.

30-Minute Chicken Pot Pie

Chicken pot pies are not usually considered to be a quick-to-prepare dinner dish, and that's why this recipe from recipe developer Stephanie Rapone is genius. It's like a deconstructed version, with the chicken, veggie, and gravy stew prepared on the stovetop and puff pastry squares bake in the oven. Put them together in bowls, and dinner is on the table in just a half hour.

Recipe: 30-Minute Chicken Pot Pie

Coconut Shrimp

You may expect to be able to make something like a pasta dish in 30 minutes, but coconut shrimp? It may sound too good to be true. However, this recipe proves that it can happen. You'll only need a few ingredients from your pantry in addition to the shrimp, which you then just combine and fry up. Just remember to watch them while cooking, lest you end up with the dreaded rubbery shrimp. This dish will have your mouth watering pretty quickly, and it's sure to be a hit with the entire family. 

Recipe: Coconut Shrimp

Oven-Roasted Beef Tenderloin

A beautiful beef roast may be the furthest thing from your mind when trying to think of easy, 30-minute meals to make on busy weeknights — and yet, that's exactly what this recipe is. The beef tenderloin has a simple spice rub and takes just 20 minutes in the oven. Our recipe gives you the temperatures for a rare, medium-rare, or medium-well roast. Serve slices with mashed potatoes, wild rice, or steamed veggies.

Recipe: Oven-Roasted Beef Tenderloin

Chickpea Curry

These days, more and more people are making meat-free meals, including weekly Meatless Mondays. You don't have to be vegetarian or vegan to see the benefits of this kind of practice, though. It will help you eat more veggies, it's better for the environment, and it expands your culinary horizons. For a veggie dish the whole family will love, try this chickpea curry served with rice and naan. It may sound complicated, but you can make it in less than half an hour. Leftovers are perfect to take to work the next day.

Recipe: Chickpea Curry

30-Minute Fried Rice

There's something about fried rice that just about everyone loves. It's salty and savory, and it takes an already amazing ingredient — rice — and totally takes it to the next level. You may think you can only get good fried rice from your local Chinese restaurant, but you can easily make it well at home. And since it comes together quickly, you can whip some up any time. Just be warned that your family is going to ask for it all the time.

Recipe: 30-Minute Fried Rice

30-Minute Sloppy Joes

When it comes to the ultimate quick and easy dinner, sloppy joes are at the head of the pack. If you're looking for a recipe that's inexpensive (not to mention one that your family is almost guaranteed to love), then you simply have to turn to this dish. There's a good chance you already have most of the stuff to make this recipe in your kitchen as we speak, including ground beef, onion, ketchup, and Worcestershire sauce.

Recipe: 30-Minute Sloppy Joes

30-Minute Po'boys

If you've ever been to New Orleans, then you know about one of the most glorious sandwiches that has ever come out of these United States: the po'boy. You can make po'boys with a variety of ingredients: Our recipe uses large, peeled shrimp. This delectable sandwich may look like it takes hours to make, but actually, it's just 30 minutes. We show you how to make a quick remoulade sauce and the seasoned batter for your fried shrimp. 

Recipe: 30-Minute Po'boys

30-Minute Turkey Meatballs

Meatballs are notorious for taking a long time to prepare. It's not just the cooking — you also have to prep all the ingredients, mix them, and then shape the meatballs ... and that's before you cook them. Naturally, that means many people never try making their own. All the more reason to give this easy, 30-minute recipe a try. Pair the flavorful, oven-baked meatballs with pasta and jarred sauce, rice and gravy, or on hoagie rolls with melted cheese. 

Recipe: 30-Minute Turkey Meatballs

Green Chile Black Bean Burgers

Though frozen, grocery store black bean burgers are convenient, they also tend to lack in flavor and texture. So instead, make black bean burgers at home that taste incredibly delicious, can be as spicy or mild as you want, and best of all, are ready in only 30 minutes. The blend includes brown rice, panko breadcrumbs, and salsa, and they bake up in the oven. Serve the burgers with a salad, tater tots, or sweet potato fries. 

Recipe: Green Chile Black Bean Burgers

Air Fryer Pasta Skewers

Remember when pasta skewers were a thing on TikTok? Not every food creation that goes viral on the platform is worth remembering, but pasta skewers are an exception. They're a fun dinner option that your family will love to help put together. Our pasta skewers are topped with a simple mixture of sauce and cheese; add even more toppings like sausage crumbles, cubed mozzarella, and diced veggies. Cook the skewers in an air fryer and serve with garlic bread.

Recipe: Air Fryer Pasta Skewers

Egg Drop Soup

You know when you're just dying for delivery, but you should be saving your money? When you consider that you can make this egg drop soup in 30 minutes in your own kitchen, you may forget about take-out food altogether. The base soup is made with just six ingredients, including eggs to thicken the broth. Bulk it up with veggies, tofu, or shredded meat. You can tuck into a bowl of this savory soup in less time than it'll take for delivery.

Recipe: Egg Drop Soup

30-Minute Twice-Baked Potatoes

This is a clever way of turning a simple potato into a filling meal, loaded with any toppings you love. The potatoes are cooked once while whole to soften the insides, and the timesaver here is your microwave oven. The spuds steam-cook in the microwave in only 10 minutes. Blend the cooked potato with add-ins like cheese, bacon bits, cooked sausage, taco-spiced ground beef, and chopped green onions. Pop them in the oven to melt the cheese, and they're ready to eat.

Recipe: 30-Minute Twice-Baked Potatoes

Pistachio-Crusted Salmon

Making a fast, weeknight dinner doesn't always mean relying on processed, boxed, or frozen ingredients. This salmon recipe is a fresh and healthy option that's packed with flavor and needs only a simple side dish like steamed new potatoes or angel hair pasta with butter. Pick up a large salmon filet, top it with a coating of crushed pistachios and mustard sauce, then bake. It's a simple dish that feeds four. 

Recipe: Pistachio-Crusted Salmon

Instant Pot Turkey Soup

When you find yourself with leftover cooked turkey (or chicken breast), it's a great excuse to make a big batch of soup in your Instant Pot for dinner. While many homemade soups prepared on the stove have a long simmer time, in an Instant Pot, it takes only 20 minutes. Throw in carrots, celery, and any other veggies you like. Frozen, chopped veggies are a great timesaver with recipes like this. 

Recipe: Instant Pot Turkey Soup

Pan-Fried Tuna Patties

Skip the ground beef for a change and make tuna burgers instead. They're a tasty way to incorporate more fish into your diet and a fantastic option for those who eat fish every Friday. Canned tuna is combined with breadcrumbs and zesty seasonings like sriracha and Dijon mustard. Change the seasonings up any way you wish.)Once they're fried, serve them on buns or just on the plate with sides like salad, French fries, or egg noodles. 

Recipe: Pan-Fried Tuna Patties

30-Minute Tortellini Skillet Lasagna

Just add a side of garlic bread or Texas toast, and dig into this easy skillet meal. It's certain that your family or roommates will be asking for this delicious recipe often. Use a good quality marinara sauce like Bove's or Rao's — They're worth the higher price for a dinner that will taste the very best. Other ingredients include cheese tortellini, Italian sausage, and a cheese blend of ricotta and Parmesan. 

Recipe: 30-Minute Tortellini Skillet Lasagna

Spicy Shrimp Bowl

Now that you know that shrimp are easy to prepare in a hurry for easy lunches or dinners, let's look at more delicious shrimp dishes, like this spicy shrimp bowl. Pick up raw, deveined shrimp at the market; they're a great time-saver since they're ready to throw in the pan. Whisk up a sriracha and garlic marinade and let the shrimp soak it up for just a few minutes. After stir-frying the shrimp and chopped vegetables, serve them with cooked rice.

Recipe: Spicy Shrimp Bowl

30-Minute Chilaquiles

If your family loves Mexican food, they'll really be psyched about this recipe: one that can be served for dinner or breakfast. Chilaquiles is a traditional dish made with fried tortilla pieces; the rest of the ingredients vary from cook to cook. Our version includes fried eggs, avocado slices, and cotija cheese. The whole dish is ready on the stove top in 30 minutes and makes enough to serve four. Add more of your favorite toppings like cilantro, salsa, refried beans, or pulled chicken. 

Recipe: 30-Minute Chilaquiles

Rosemary-Grilled Lamb Chops

Because lamb chops are lean, they should only be cooked for a short time in order to keep them tender and flavorful. That means that they're perfect for nights when you're short on time to make dinner, but still want something that's restaurant-quality and delicious. Our recipe uses a bundle of fresh herbs to baste the lamb chops with butter while they grill, and they're finished in less than ten minutes. Pick up a premade salad at the store or make a pot of quick-cooking egg noodles to enjoy with this speedy dinner.

Recipe: Rosemary-Grilled Lamb Chops

30-Minute Mushroom And Egg Strata

Stratas are a brunch and holiday breakfast favorite, but because they're so chock full of savory ingredients, they're also a delicious choice for dinner. And since this recipe is ready in only a half hour, you can throw it together any night of the week. Our meat-free strata is loaded with sautéed mushrooms, spinach, and big chunks of baguette that soak up the egg and cheddar batter. 

Recipe: 30-Minute Mushroom And Egg Strata

Air Fryer Tofu Nuggets

Pick up a package of pre-pressed tofu for this recipe to save yourself the time required to press the water out of regular tofu. With this step eliminated, you can quickly coat and fry chunks of tofu to make these crispy and zesty nuggets. An air fryer cooks the tofu nuggets in a short time, and without the mess or greasiness of deep frying. Serve tofu nuggets with dipping sauce and a side of French fries, or pile them into soft rolls or chalupas.

Recipe: Air Fryer Tofu Nuggets

Chicken Enchiladas

This is a recipe to make with leftover chicken from yesterday's dinner, or with meat from a rotisserie chicken from the store. From there, it's just a matter of filling tortillas with shredded chicken, beans, cheese, and any add-ins that you love. The rolled up enchiladas bake in only 20 minutes. They're filling on their own, but sides like microwavable Spanish rice, refried beans, or salad are great sides to add. 

Recipe: Chicken Enchiladas

Instant Pot Kung Pao Chicken

The ingredient list for this one looks long but don't let that deter you. If you're a fan of stir-fries and other Asian-inspired dishes, you probably have many of these on hand already. They go into your Instant Pot along with cubed chicken breast, peppers, and onion, and almost like magic emerge as a delectable, homemade Kung Pao. The whole recipe is ready in 30 minutes. Serve it with white or fried rice. 

Recipe: Instant Pot Kung Pao Chicken

30-Minute Gazpacho Soup

Not all dinners have to be served hot, especially during the dog days of summer when turning on the stove or oven is the last thing you want to do. Gazpacho is a savory, delicious cold soup made with tons of fresh vegetables like tomatoes, peppers, and corn. It's seasoned very simply with salt and pepper and blended to make a creamy texture. Serve gazpacho with buttered slices of crusty bread, and a glass of red wine. 

Recipe: 30-Minute Gazpacho Soup

Air Fryer Mac And Cheese

Homemade mac and cheese isn't usually fried ... and yet, incredibly, you can use your air fryer to make some for dinner. The trick is using a heatproof bowl or dish that fits inside your air fryer basket. Blend the ingredients together in the dish, and use the air fryer to cook it until the noodles are soft and the sauce is creamy and cheesy. You can add some protein too, like chopped bacon, diced ham, or shredded chicken. 

Recipe: Air Fryer Mac And Cheese

30-Minute Tuna Pot Pie Casserole

Tuna comes to the rescue once again to create a meal that's comforting, full of veggies, and ready in a snap. This shortcut pot pie starts on the stovetop, where the vegetables are quickly sautéed and the gravy whisked together. It all goes into a casserole dish, with refrigerated biscuit dough for the top crust, and then to the oven. No sides are necessary, because this casserole is a complete meal.  

Recipe: 30-Minute Tuna Pot Pie Casserole

30-Minute Sausage Ragú

Our recipe uses pork sausage for this rich ragú sauce, but you can also use turkey, chicken, or meat-free sausage crumbles. Choose a good, flavorful marinara sauce, like Rao's or Bove's, or homemade marinara; this is what brings the whole dish together, so don't skimp on quality. While the ragú simmers, you can easily cook up some pasta or rice to serve with the sauce, and make some garlic bread, too. 

Recipe: 30-Minute Sausage Ragú

30-Minute Lamb Stew

Recipe developer Jennine Bryant created this easy, weeknight dish that has all the flavors of traditional Greek moussaka, but is ready in a fraction of the time. The ingredients include ground lamb, eggplant, tomatoes, and fresh basil leaves. From start to finish, it takes only a half hour to create this flavorful meal for four. Serve it with bread or pitas on the side. The leftovers are also delicious.  

Recipe: 30-Minute Lamb Stew

Instant Pot Red Beans And Rice

Here is a hearty, spicy, and vibrantly-flavored dinner that's a New Orleans favorite. This Instant Pot recipe does have one night-before step, but it's a simple one: Cover red beans with water and let them soak overnight. After that, you can make this dish in just 30 minutes. Red beans and rice includes fiery Andouille sausage, tomato sauce, and onion. Served with quick-cooking or microwavable rice, and you have a complete meal. 

Recipe: Instant Pot Red Beans And Rice

30-Minute Stuffed Peppers

Building up your collection of easy, vegetarian dinner recipes? Add this one to the list. Stuffed peppers have been around for more than a century, and even though the filling is often made with meat, swapping in a vegetarian filling is a cinch. Our recipe uses rice and cooked beans, plus a flavorful tomato sauce and herbs. Top the peppers with grated cheese, or for a vegan version, use dairy-free cheese shreds.

Recipe: 30-Minute Stuffed Peppers

30-Minute Baked Feta Pasta With Roasted Veggies

How many of the viral TikTok recipes from the last few years have you tried? Baked feta pasta became so popular thanks to the platform that stores were regularly selling out of feta cheese. The truth is that feta pasta is actually really good — and easy to make for dinner. Veggies and feta bake up together with Italian herbs while you cook the noodles.

Recipe: 30-Minute Baked Feta Pasta With Roasted Veggies

Chicken Yakisoba

The Japanese dish yakisoba includes stir-fried veggies and meat tossed with soba noodles. A rich sauce of garlic, ginger, and soy sauce brings the whole thing together. The process of stir frying the ingredients goes quickly, so have anything prepped and ready to go before you turn on the burner. MasterClass shares that traditional garnishes to try with yakisoba include pickled ginger, aonori (a type of dried seaweed), and sliced green onions. 

Recipe: Chicken Yakisoba

Southern Fried Pork Chops

Ho-hum pork chops for dinner? Not with this recipe. Bone-in pork chops are coated in a zesty, spicy batter and then fried until the coating is browned and crispy. You'll have six, succulent pork chops ready in only a half hour. Since the chops cook so quickly, keep the sides simple. A fresh salad, steam-in-the-bag vegetables, Stove Top stuffing, or instant mashed potatoes are excellent choices. 

Recipe: Southern Fried Pork Chops

Jerk Pasta

Use leftover chicken breast to make a spicy pasta dish for dinner or for lunch. Our recipe builds the jerk seasoning from scratch with spices like cinnamon, nutmeg, and cumin. Add diced Scotch bonnet peppers too if you'd like for more heat and a more authentic jerk flavor. The creamy sauce, shredded chicken, and strips of bell peppers are tossed with penne pasta. The dish is ready in less than 30 minutes and makes enough for eight servings. 

Recipe: Jerk Pasta

Air Fryer Frittata

When you only need dinner for one or two people, a frittata is an excellent choice. Pair it with a salad, tater tots, or a crusty bread with butter for an easy, veggie-packed meal. Instead of a long bake in the oven, making a frittata in your air fryer means it's ready in only 15 minutes. It's full of bell peppers and mushrooms, and you can always add in ingredients like diced ham, crumbles of cooked sausage, or a handful of shredded cheddar cheese.

Recipe: Air Fryer Frittata

Chicken Piccata

This recipe comes together even faster than many of the others in this collection: only 20 minutes! Chicken piccata is a classic Italian dish with bright flavor from fresh lemon and tangy capers. Our recipe shows you how to slice regular chicken breasts into thinner halves that cook up quickly. Or, just pick up chicken breast cutlets to save a few minutes. Chicken piccata works with many sides like pasta, cooked rice, or roasted potatoes. 

Recipe: Chicken Piccata

Instant Pot Swedish Meatballs

Tonight's dinner can feel just like a trip to an IKEA store, except instead of getting one Swedish meatball on a toothpick, you'll have a whole plateful. Use an Instant Pot to put together this comfort food meal fast. The meatballs are a simple combination of ground beef, herbs, onion, and garlic. Once they're cooked, whisk the gravy together right inside the Instant Pot. Egg noodles are a delicious side, or try the meatballs with mashed potatoes or spooned over French fries. 

Recipe: Instant Pot Swedish Meatballs

30-Minute Polenta Lasagna

Polenta is available to purchase in many forms, but the pre-cooked version sold in tubes is so convenient; just slice off what you need to make your meal. In our recipe, slices of polenta are layered with ground beef, cheese, and pasta sauce to make a fun twist on traditional lasagna. Best of all, it's ready in just a half hour: That's unbelievably fast for lasagna. Add a salad and a few slices of garlic bread for a complete dinner.

Recipe: 30-Minute Polenta Lasagna

Beef Stroganoff

This recipe takes only 30 minutes, which makes it perfect for a family dinner after work and school. With tender pieces of beef combined with noodles in a rich mushroom sauce, this dish is also indulgent enough to make for a special occasion or even a dinner party. Pick up a sirloin or ribeye steak and cremini mushrooms; other ingredients like beef stock, onion, and sour cream are likely on hand already. You'll have enough Beef Stroganoff to feed six.

Recipe: Beef Stroganoff

30-Minute Chicken Ramen

You may recall from college or the first few years of living on your own that instant ramen noodles are one of the cheapest and quickest ways to get food in your belly. This recipe shows that those same, humble noodles can be the base of a tantalizing ramen bowl, chock full of healthful ingredients like shredded chicken and sliced veggies. Recipe developer Ksenia Prints builds the soup using three kinds of stock, mushrooms, and aromatics. Incredibly, this delicious and gorgeous meal for two is ready in just a half hour.

Recipe: 30-Minute Chicken Ramen

30-Minute Pasta Bolognese

Traditional Bolognese is a thick meat sauce that hails from Northern Italy, and when made authentically can take hours to simmer. Our recipe takes inspiration from this classic for a sauce that's easy to make on even the busiest of weeknights. It includes pancetta, ground beef, carrots, and crushed tomatoes. Serve your Bolognese over tagliatelle, fettuccine, or another type of thick and sturdy pasta that will hold up under this rich sauce.

Recipe: 30-Minute Pasta Bolognese

Balsamic Caprese Pasta Salad

A dish that features fresh basil and tomatoes is perfect for summertime when fresh garden produce is abundant. But since many supermarkets stock an impressive amount of good-looking veggies year-round, this is a tasty recipe to make any time of the year. The pasta salad includes a tangy, balsamic dressing and fresh mozzarella. Make it a meat-free dinner or an easy lunch that you can take to work all week.

Recipe: Balsamic Caprese Pasta Salad

Chicken Fajita Pasta

Enjoy the flavors of fajitas in a whole new way: By folding them into this cheesy pasta dish that makes four, filling servings. The recipe calls for cooked chicken breast, which can be leftover from yesterday's dinner or sliced from a grocery store rotisserie chicken. There are sliced peppers and onions, of course, and they're all combined with a taco spiced cheese sauce. This recipe is a family-pleaser for sure.

Recipe: Chicken Fajita Pasta