Date Night Recipes That Are Sure To Impress

Standing in stark contrast to the traditional restaurant and movie theater pairing, date nights at home can actually be super romantic. Not only is dining-in far more intimate than being in a crowded restaurant dining room, but in the time of COVID-19 and social distancing, a home-cooked meal is a safer choice for a special occasion.

When planning your date night, consider how willing your partner is to participate in meal prep. If you're both into cooking, why not choose a recipe that you can make together? That way, the prep itself becomes part of the date. If your special someone isn't much of a cook (or your kitchen is too small to fit both of you comfortably at the same time), a make-ahead meal might be a more welcome choice. Either way, be sure to save room for dessert — we've got some phenomenal options picked out for you.

Pizza is a date night no-brainer

Homemade pizzas are a great date night meal option in more ways than one. Not only is pizza a crowd-pleaser that anyone will enjoy, but making the pizzas themselves can be a fun date night activity. 

For this Neapolitan pizza recipe, consider making the dough in advance. That way, when your date begins, you can work together to toss the dough and dot it with your favorite toppings. Pour some wine while the pizza bakes, and voila — dinner is served.

Chicken cordon bleu is sure to impress

There's nothing sexier than melted cheese, right? Trust us: your date is sure to be impressed when this chicken cordon bleu is sliced open to reveal a Swiss cheese and ham filling. A truly delicious surprise!

Consider taking care of tenderizing the chicken breasts in advance, so that all you need to do before serving is bread and fry. Oh ... and maybe skip the garlic for a first date? Your call.

Osso buco is the ideal make-ahead date night meal

Rich and hearty, ossobuco is a delicious Italian dish that's sure to show off your culinary prowess. And best of all? It's easy to make in advance: the perfect meal for when your kitchen is too small to cook together. 

Since ossobuco only gets better with time, consider making it a day or two ahead of the big day. That way, all you'll need to do on date night is reheat it and let its wonderful aroma tantalize your special someone.

A vegetarian dish that'll conquer even an omnivore's heart

Eggplant parmesan is a date night go-to for more reasons than one. Not only is it richly flavorful and beautiful when assembled in stacks, as in this recipe, but this luxurious dish is easily made in advance and simply reheated in the oven, cutting down on effort and stress on the big night. Consider garnishing with a bit of fresh basil just before serving to truly wow your date.

Chicken piccata is an easy date night staple

When it comes to date night meals, sometimes it's nice to pick something that isn't too complicated. That way, you can spend more time talking and less time slaving! This tasty chicken piccata ticks that box, taking just about 20 minutes from start to finish. There is a bit of garlic in this recipe, but don't sweat it: if you're both eating it, neither of you needs to fear garlic breath.

Simple is best with this caprese salad

If you're early in your courtship, this caprese salad could be the ideal choice for your date night starter: it's a perfect blend between the freshness of ripe tomatoes and the richness of fresh mozzarella cheese. A drizzle of balsamic vinegar and good quality olive oil really seals the deal. The resulting salad is tasty without being overly filling, and best of all, it's super quick to make, so you spend less time in the kitchen and more time with your date!

Cioppino makes any night a special occasion

If you want to make your date feel super special, Italian-American cioppino is a great option. This seafood stew was first invented by fishermen in San Francisco. It marries clams, mussels, shrimp, and fish in a fennel-scented tomato broth that's richly flavored without being overly heavy. Serve it with a side of San Francisco sourdough bread and a glass of chilled white wine, and await your sweetie's applause and accolades.

Risotto perfect for Valentine's Day

In his risotto recipe, Chef Gordon Ramsay toys with a classic by flavoring mushroom risotto with red wine rather than white. The result has a slightly pinkish hue perfect for Valentine's Day. It's admittedly more hands-on than some of the other options on this list, but if your kitchen is big enough to welcome both you and your date, it can be fun to trade off the stirring task while you chat. Serve with glasses of the same red wine you use in this risotto — the perfect pairing!

Wow-worthy pasta that couldn't be easier to make

Rich, creamy, and utterly decadent, fettuccine alfredo is an Italian-American classic for a reason. A parmesan cream sauce is spiked with nutmeg and enriched with an egg yolk to become a heavenly topping for fettuccine pasta in this restaurant-worthy recipe. When you excuse yourself to the kitchen for under ten minutes and emerge from the kitchen bearing plates of this pasta for your date, you'll be praised as a sorcerer! (Don't worry: We can keep this recipe's simplicity our little secret.)

Chateaubriand is sure to impress

If your date is more at home in a steakhouse than anywhere else, this homemade Chateaubriand is the perfect dish to impress. 

Chateaubriand is traditionally made with center-cut beef filet mignon. It's a cut that's not quite as flavorful as some fattier steaks, but what it lacks in beefy oomph, it more than makes up for in melt-in-your-mouth texture. In this recipe, a garlic-shallot topping adds an extra punch. Serve with your favorite steakhouse sides like twice-baked potatoes or sautéed mushrooms, and get ready for a wow-worthy dinner date.

Prime rib is a feast fit for a king

Another recipe for the meat lovers, this rich, hearty prime rib is perfect for a special occasion like a birthday or an anniversary. Picture this: a hearty roasted cut of bone-in beef, served alongside not one, but two sauces. With its rich marbling, prime rib stands up equally well to the piquancy of a blue cheese sauce and the slightly spicy zing of horseradish cream.

This roast takes several hours to prepare, but don't let that stop you! Not only is it relatively hands-off once it's in the oven, but any leftovers make delicious sandwiches the next day. Send your date home with something to remember you by!

Cream puffs are a perfect dessert for your date

These cream puffs are the perfect date night dessert: light, fluffy, and just rich enough. We recommend that you make the puffs themselves a few hours before your date arrives. Making the filling can be a fun activity to do together, piping it into the puffs and digging in before they go soggy. Drizzling with chocolate sauce (either homemade ganache or store-bought syrup) will make this classic French dessert even more decadent!

Super simple chocolate-covered strawberries

It's a cliché for a reason: chocolate-covered strawberries are just decadent enough to make for the ideal date night dessert. And this recipe just couldn't be simpler! 

To make these strawberries extra special, choose whatever toppings you and your S.O. like, from crushed Oreos to shredded coconut. Making them in advance will allow the chocolate shell to really set. From there, it's a simple case of serving them to your honey!

Tiramisu is the pick-me-up you need

Tiramisu is an ideal date night dessert for a reason. Not only does the jolt of espresso provide the perfect pick-me-up (lending the dessert its name), but it's easily made in advance, meaning you've got more time to spend with your date and less time in the kitchen. 

Tiramisu actually gets better with time, so consider making this a day in advance. Top with a bit more grated chocolate just before serving, and you'll have your date wrapped around your little (lady)finger.

Breakfast of champions

Sometimes it's fun to meet up with a date for breakfast, or even to make breakfast for dinner — and nothing says "I'm a catch" like whipping up eggs benedict from scratch.

To make this brunch time favorite, homemade Hollandaise sauce is ladled on top of English muffins stacked with Canadian bacon and perfectly poached eggs. The sauce itself can be a bit finicky, so be sure to practice ahead of time. A sprinkling of chives is the perfect finishing touch.