31 Easy Friday Night Dinner Ideas

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What better way to kick off your weekend than with a delicious home-cooked meal? I know sometimes I struggle trying to find a fun meal to make for Friday so I have gathered some of the best easy Friday night dinners that will keep the cooking simple and the whole family happy.

Chicken pizza, chicken teriyaki, shrimp, and stuffed shells.


This list of dinner ideas features some of our family’s favorite meals. These tasty dinner recipes are made with simple ingredients, including pantry staples and other budget-friendly items. 

Best of all, most of them can be made in about 30 minutes or less. They’re a lifesaver when you’re short on time or when you simply want to make something quick and easy.

Whether you’re whipping up a casserole or making a copycat version of your favorite fast-food meal, any one of these easy Friday night dinners is sure to be a crowd pleaser. I hope you love them as much as we do!

Easy Friday Night Dinners

Baked pasta with sausage and melted cheese.

1. Baked Mostaccioli

Baked Mostaccioli is a comforting pasta casserole loaded with cheese, sauce, and Italian sausage. If you can’t find mostaccioli at the store, any tubular pasta like penne or ziti will work just fine. For best results, cook your pasta al dente –– it will continue to soften as it bakes in the oven.

Skillet with pasta, ground beef, and cream sauce.

2. Beef Alfredo

Creamy, savory, and ready in just 30 minutes, this ground beef alfredo is so comforting and easy to whip up. Made with simple ingredients, this recipe is perfect if you have a pack of ground beef in the refrigerator.

Bow of egg noodles topped with creamy ground beef mixture.

3. Homemade Hamburger Helper

This homemade Hamburger Helper stroganoff is full of flavor and is a great budget-friendly meal for family dinner. The combination of sour cream and cream of mushroom soup makes this dish perfectly rich and creamy.

Plate of turkey meatballs.

4. Turkey Meatballs

Skip the oven and cook your meatballs in the air fryer! This mess-free recipe comes together in half an hour. We absolutely love meatballs because they’re not only delicious on their own, but can also be used to make several other easy Friday night dinners. 

Skillet with pasta, shrimp, asparagus, and diced tomatoes.

5. Shrimp Scampi

Recreating Olive Garden’s shrimp scampi recipe at home is simple. Serve up some angel hair pasta with tomatoes, tender-crisp asparagus, juicy shrimp, and a flavorful sauce made from white wine and lemon. This copycat recipe tastes just as good as the version served in the restaurant.

Bowl of pasta salad.

6. Pepperoni Pasta Salad

A classic pasta salad is sure to be a crowd pleaser. This colorful pasta salad recipe features chopped salami, pepperoni, cheese, and an assortment of rainbow veggies. The best thing about this recipe is that it’s so easy to personalize with any of your favorite ingredients.

Spatula with tater tot casserole.

7. Sloppy Joe Casserole

Here’s a twist on your classic sloppy joes! In this easy recipe, sloppy joe meat, tater tots, and cheese come together to create the heartiest dinner casserole. This loaded casserole has everything there is to love about sloppy joe sandwiches but in a layered casserole form.

Pork noodle casserole in a casserole dish.

8. Pork Casserole

One of the best ways to use up leftover pork tenderloin is by tossing it into a casserole. Filled with creamy noodles, veggies, cheese, and pork, this dish is so satisfying and easy to prepare in just half an hour. I love using cream of mushroom soup for an extra rich flavor, but you can also use cream of chicken soup if you prefer.

Three gorditas and bowl of salsa and sour cream.

9. Cheesy Gordita

Satisfy your Taco Bell cravings with this copycat cheesy gordita crunch recipe. To keep things simple, I recommend using a fajita-size tortilla for the outer shell so that it matches the size of the crispy taco shell on the inside. Load up your gordita with your favorite toppings and enjoy!

Casserole dish with cooked enchiladas.

10. Enchiladas

Enchiladas are one of my family’s favorite Friday night dinner ideas. These cheesy beef enchiladas are made with seasoned ground beef and mixed with cream cheese for an extra creamy consistency. While enchiladas are delicious on their own, we love serving them with Mexican rice and refried beans to make the meal complete.

Kielbasa wit peppers and onions.

11. Sweet And Sour Kielbasa

This easy crockpot recipe is the perfect balance between sweet and sour flavors. Best of all, you only need 6 ingredients to make it! Toss sliced kielbasa sausage, bell peppers, sweet onion, pineapple, BBQ sauce, and brown sugar into your crockpot and let it cook to perfection. This is one of the best easy Friday night dinners because of how easy it is to prepare.

Hand holding buffalo chicken wrap.

12. Buffalo Chicken Wrap

Ready in 10 minutes, these buffalo chicken wraps are packed with tangy flavor and the perfect kick of spice. You can shred your own chicken after cooking it, or if you need a shortcut to save time, use a rotisserie chicken from the store. Be sure to add some lettuce and cheese to your wraps, then dip them in either ranch or blue cheese dressing.

Cast iron skillet with meatballs in cream sauce.

13. Swedish Meatballs

Swedish meatballs are sure to be a crowd pleaser, packed with plenty of spice and smothered in a creamy and tangy sauce. This recipe uses homemade meatballs, but you can also use frozen meatballs and simply make the sauce from scratch. Our favorite way to serve these meatballs is on top of egg noodles, but they taste fantastic with mashed potatoes or rice too. 

Salmon and asparagus on a plate.

14. Salmon

Tender baked salmon is a treat that will practically melt in your mouth! This salmon recipe is flavored with simple seasonings and a little bit of lemon juice. For best results, we prefer to cook our salmon at 400 degrees F. The exact amount of time needed to cook your fish will depend on how thick it is, but you can use a meat thermometer to know when it’s ready.

Sloppy joe sandwich on a plate with potato chips.

15. Sloppy Joes

Sloppy Joe sandwiches are always sure to be a hit with the kids. No need to use canned sloppy joe sauce when you can use this homemade recipe! Made with simple ingredients, sloppy joes are so easy to assemble and are the perfect balance between sweet and savory flavors.

Skillet with ground beef, tomatoes, and macaroni.

16. American Goulash

American goulash is a classic comfort dish made with pasta, ground beef, and tomatoes. One of the best things about this dish is that it can be made in one pot, keeping the whole cooking process simple with minimal cleanup. This recipe is also easy to personalize by adding your favorite veggies or a can of Rotel tomatoes to make it spicy. 

Sheet pan BBQ chicken pizza in a pan.

17. BBQ Chicken Pizza

There’s no need for takeout when you can make a delicious sheet pan pizza at home! BBQ chicken pizza is one of our favorite easy Friday night dinners, covered in a sweet and tangy barbecue sauce and topped with bits of pineapple. This easy pizza recipe is ready in under an hour and can easily be customized to include any toppings that you love.

Spoon holding chicken stuffed shells.

18. Chicken Stuffed Shells

Topped with buttered bread crumbs, these stuffed shells are the ultimate comfort food. This recipe for creamy jumbo shells is filled with chicken, broccoli, cheese, and a rich homemade alfredo sauce. For best results, we recommend cooking the shells al dente –– they will continue to soften as they bake.

Chicken teriyaki with broccoli.

19. Chicken Teriyaki

A quick and easy recipe that the whole family is sure to love is homemade teriyaki chicken. This teriyaki recipe is sweet, savory, and slightly salty, bringing all of the best flavors together in one amazing dish. Toss your teriyaki chicken in a skillet with your favorite veggies, then serve over a bed of steamed rice.

Plate of chicken marsala with mushrooms.

20. Instant Pot Chicken Marsala

One of the best Friday night dinner ideas that you can make in the instant pot is chicken marsala. Tender chicken and cremini mushrooms taste incredible when cooked in a sauce made with garlic, chicken broth, marsala wine, and heavy cream. Thicken the creamy sauce with cornstarch for easy drizzling.

Green plate with chicken croquettes.

21. Chicken Croquettes

My mom’s famous chicken croquettes are among my all-time favorite recipes. These croquettes, or “chicken cakes” as I like to call them, are tender on the inside and have a crispy panko coating after being fried. Flavored with a combination of savory spices, these little bites are a crowd pleaser that will satisfy your taste buds.

Pan with bbq shrimp, sliced lemon, and piece of bread.

22. BBQ Shrimp

New Orleans-style shrimp is buttery, lemony, spicy, and loaded with delicious BBQ flavor. Made with simple ingredients and ready in half an hour, this tasty shrimp dish will taste incredible served over rice. We also recommend dipping crusty bread in the amazing BBQ sauce!

Pork chop on a plate with asparagus.

23. Baked Pork Chops

These oven baked pork chops are a lifesaver when you’re looking for easy Friday night dinners. Pork chops can easily be overcooked, but we found that cooking them at 375 degrees F is the best way to keep them tender and juicy. Paprika, garlic powder, and onion powder give these pork chops a simple but satisfying flavor.

Fried rice with a spatula.

24. Sheet Pan Fried Rice

Here’s a recipe that will help you use up some leftover rice! This sheet pan fried rice gets its bold flavor from the combination of sesame oil and soy sauce, and is loaded with classic ingredients like veggies and egg.

Piece of breakfast pizza.

25. Breakfast Pizza

Breakfast for dinner is another one of our favorite Friday night dinner ideas. Top your pizza crust with eggs, sausage, and cheese, then pop it in the oven until melty and golden. Homemade pizza is one of the best recipes for families as it’s so easy to personalize with everyone’s favorite toppings.

Tater tot nachos on a baking sheet.

26. Totchos

Totchos are a twist on your typical nachos, using tater tots as the base instead of tortilla chips. Made with crispy tots, seasoned ground beef, and plenty of cheese, these totchos are a great family meal that you can make with just a handful of ingredients. Add your favorite toppings and enjoy!

Wooden spoon with rotini pasta cheese casserole.

27. Taco Twist

This taco twist casserole is made with twisty rotini pasta, cheese, and ground beef flavored with taco seasoning. We love this recipe because of its bold savory flavor, as well as how easy it is to make. 

Cooked steak on a plate.

28. Ribeye Steak

Ribeye steaks certainly sound fancy, but they’re actually so simple to make for easy Friday night dinners! Tossed in olive oil and your steak seasoning of choice, ribeye steaks will take about 10 minutes to cook in the air fryer. 

Sliced tuna on a plate.

29. Tuna Steak

Here’s a recipe that’s just as beautiful as it is delicious. This simple air fryer recipe will give you a gorgeous seared tuna steak in almost no time at all. The flavorful marinade is made from pepper, garlic, lime juice, sesame oil, soy sauce, and green onion and pairs well with a variety of side dishes.

Hand holding cheeseburger wrapped in foil.

30. Cheeseburgers

Instead of grilling your burgers, try baking them in the oven! Baked cheeseburgers are flavorful and juicy, all without the hassle of firing up the grill. Make a whole batch of savory homemade burger patties in 15 minutes with this hands-off recipe.

Wooden spoon with chicken and stuffing.

31. Chicken Stuffing Bake

This comforting casserole is made with just a few simple ingredients: chicken, your favorite stuffing, broth, cream of chicken soup, sour cream, and salt and pepper. Feel free to use boxed stuffing mix, or homemade stuffing if you prefer.

Heather’s tips for a fun Friday night meal

Friday’s are great because you know the weekend is right around the corner. Make your meal extra special with a few of these tips.

  • Make it a game night. Enjoy your dinner and then break out your favorite board game or card game.
  • Get out the fancy dishes. Don’t save your nice dishes for holidays. Use them for your Friday night meal.
  • Name cards. Make name cards for each persons seat and write a little note or joke on each card to read at dinner.

More easy dinner ideas

Did you make any of these delicious Friday night dinner recipes?

Let me know if you made any of these. You can tag me on Instagram @foodlovinfamily


Thank you for visiting Food Lovin’ Family! With 3 kids I know it can be hard getting food on the table. Here you will find easy and delicious recipes that the whole family will enjoy.

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