Struggling for Friday night dinner inspiration? We've got all your needs covered, with recipes that rival that of any takeaway. Take inspiration from Friday night traditions such as Jewish Friday night shabbat and Swedish 'cosy Fridays', when the meal is a time to sit down and eat together, often with several generations of family. Alternatively, we have plenty of fun Friday night dinner ideas for two, including impressive steak dishes and special seafood pasta.


If you're looking to pull out all the stops, we've gathered a whole host of dishes with wow-factor to herald in the weekend – think cheese fondue, truffled mac 'n' cheese and even a paneer-filled curry pie.

Alternatively, if it was a long week and you have little energy, we've included quick and easy dinners that still feel like a treat. These include our speedy sausage stroganoff (ready in 20 minutes), fuss-free sausage, kale & gnocchi one-pot and microwave cheat's paella for a shortcut version of the classic.

For more Friday night ideas, tuck into our hit-list of the best comfort food recipes, fakeaway meals and sharing ideas.

30 easy Friday night dinners

1. One-pan nachos with black beans

Tray of black nachos with avocado, beans, tomatoes and sour cream

If you're after something casual, we suggest a colourful tray of nachos to share, with layers of black beans, salsa, avocado and melted cheese. It's a fun and fuss-free dish to start the weekend, and everyone will enjoy digging in.

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See more fun nacho recipe inspiration in our nachos collection.

2. Speedy sausage stroganoff tagliatelle

Tagliatelle in a pan with sausage, mushroom and parsley

Requiring just 5 minutes to prepare, our budget-friendly sausage stroganoff tagliatelle ticks all the boxes for a quick, low-cost and satisfying Friday night dinner. You could even substitute pork sausages for vegetarian to make it meat-free.

Discover plenty more stroganoff recipes for more ideas.

3. Vegetarian enchiladas

vegetarian enchiladas in a white oven dish

We're all for a comforting, cheesy dish to see in the weekend. These easy veggie enchiladas are seasoned chilli powder and filled with nutritious ingredients, such as carrots, tomatoes and pulses.

See more easy vegetarian dinners for dinner inspiration.

4. Classic cheese fondue

Large pot of cheese fondue next to a bowl of potatoes, bowl of gherkins, bowl of pickled onions, lettuce and chicory

If you're hosting friends for the evening, go for the ultimate sharing dish: classic cheese fondue. Enjoy with crusty bread, boiled potatoes, crudités and pickles.

See more feed-a-crowd dishes, including mains, sharing snacks and showstopping bakes.

5. Thai green chicken curry

Thai green curry in bowl with rice

Ditch the takeaway menu and impress friends and family by cooking a fragrant and creamy Thai curry. Easy and quick to make, it's perfect for entertaining without much effort required.

For more curry inspiration, browse our Thai green curry recipes and Thai red curry recipes.

6. Easy vegan tacos

Vegan summer dishes

These tasty vegan tacos – layered with smoky, sweet salsa made with roasted kiwi, tomato, garlic, coriander, bouillon and paprika, and topped with crunchy cabbage and roasted veg – offer something a little different to your standard dinners. The kiwi in the salsa provides a moreish, fruity element.

Catering for vegans? Check out our round-up of vibrant vegan recipes that are designed to impress.

7. Smash burgers

One smash burger on a board

For burgers with a difference, try using this method – ‘smashing’ the burger patties creates the ultimate crust. Serve the burgers in the buns of your choice with lettuce, gherkins, cheese and mayonnaise, ketchup or America mustard.

Find more burger ideas with our beef burger recipes, chicken burger recipes and vegetarian burger recipes.

8. Meze-style sharing board

Meze style sharing board featuring falafel, cucumber and radish

Share this colourful, meze-style grazing board with friends. This veggie version features cauliflower & feta fritters, carrot & tahini salad and falafel.

Discover more Friday night grazing board ideas, perfect for relaxed entertaining.

9. Teriyaki salmon

Bowl of teriyaki salmon in a bowl with pak choi and chopsticks

Ready in just 20 minutes, this salmon dish makes a perfect Friday night dinner for two, with salmon fillets dressed in a punchy sauce of sweet chilli, honey, sesame oil, mirin and soy. Serve with sesame pak choi for a speedy and satisfying meal.

For more fish suppers, check out our comprehensive salmon recipe collection, including poached, smoked, pan-fried, roasted or grilled options.

10. Caponata pasta

A large pot full of caponata pasta with basil and parmesan

Short on time? Make dinner in a flash with our easy vegetarian caponata pasta, ready in just 20 minutes. It's ideal if you're after a simple, budget-friendly dish, and it provides three of your five-a-day.

For more speedy meal ideas, browse our under 20-minute meals.

11. Sausage, kale & gnocchi one-pot

Gnocchi, sausage and kale in a pan and bowl

Friday nights are all about treating yourself, and this gnocchi one-pot with crunchy kale feels comforting and restorative in equal measure. Flavoured with chilli flakes and parmesan, it's a delicious way to welcome the weekend.

A comforting one-pot is a great idea if you're all for less washing-up on Friday nights.

12. Gnocchi fish pie

Gnocchi fish pie in a pot next to a plate of broccoli

A fun riff on a classic, this has 'Friday' written all over it. This pie replaces mash with gnocchi for next-level comfort. Plus, it only takes 30 minutes to make, so it's perfect for a family night in.

For a classic fish pie, see our collection of fish pie recipes, or take a look at our best-ever gnocchi recipes.

13. Chorizo & pea risotto

5-ingredient meals

Using simple storecupboard and freezer ingredients, our pea and crispy chorizo risotto is perfect if you're seeking comfort but don't quite have the energy. It's easy to assemble and can be on the table in just 35 minutes.

Try our pea risotto for a meat-free version, or see more of our best-ever risotto recipes.

14. Salt & pepper tofu

Salt and pepper tofu on white plate

Tofu gets a tongue-tingling kick and spicy warmth thanks to a mix of Sichuan and black peppercorns. Serve over crunchy vegetables, then scatter over coriander for a flavour-packed vegan dish.

Tofu isn't everyone's favourite, but it can be transformed into something delicious if you use the right ingredients. Try this tofu steaks with chips which is delicious and high- in protein. See our collection of tofu recipes that change the game.

15. Easy butter chicken

Two bowls of butter chicken served with rice, naan bread, chutney, coriander and lime wedges

Your go-to Friday night curry is transformed into a lighter treat with this easy butter chicken. It's high in protein and low in calories, plus you can marinate the meat the day before, leaving you with more time.

With 220+ ratings, it's proved to be a big hit with home cooks. Find more of our easy family curry recipes.

16. Paneer korma

Panner korma in a large pot next to a bowl of rice

Two popular Indian dishes combine in this creamy paneer korma, packed with the heady flavours of ginger and cardamom. Served with your choice of rice and naans, that's your Friday nights plans sorted.

We've got plenty more vegetarian curries for you to discover – check out our best vegetarian curry and vegan curry recipes.

17. Microwave cheat's paella

Microwave cheat's paella

Our shortcut version of a classic paella swaps the oven for the microwave, helping you save energy. Flavoured with paprika and lemon juice and filled with chicken and chorizo, it delivers on some of those traditional Spanish flavours.

The recipe is based on a 750W microwave. Find more of our microwavable meals for busy nights.

18. Birria tacos

Beef birria with lime wedges

These Mexican-inspired beef birria tacos are just the ticket for more adventurous cooks. A slow-cooked meat dish with chillies, tomato, onion and spices, these tacos require a little effort, but guarantee a flavourful meal.

For a full-blown Mexican-inspired feast, tuck into our easy Mexican, vegetarian Mexican and healthy Mexican dishes.

19. Salt & pepper chips

Salt & pepper chips in a small baking dish

These are no ordinary chips. Floury potatoes are cut into wedges or chips, then cooked and mixed with stir-fried peppers, garlic and chilli. Sprinkle over a punchy mixture of Chinese five-spice powder, sugar, salt, chilli flakes and peppercorns to finish. This recipe serves up to four as a side or snack – perfect to get you in the mood for the weekend.

Try more twists on everyone's favourite comfort foods with our best chip recipes, including crispy halloumi fries.

20. One-pot paneer curry pie

Paneer curry pot pie

Everyone's favourite vegetarian curry is transformed into a pie, delivering comfort in spades. Filled with a makhani-style filling and topped with a crisp puff pastry lid, it requires time and effort, but is a showstopper if friends are round for dinner.

Find plenty more inventive veggie pie recipes to get stuck into.

21. Chip shop curry sauce

Chip shop curry sauce in a jug

The beauty of this homemade curry sauce is its versatility: as well as drizzling over chips, it can be used to make katsu curry. It's a brilliant alternative to shop-bought sauce and much cheaper to make in bulk and freeze for later.

Check out our best fakeaway recipes for more homemade versions of your favourite takeaways, including chicken chow mein, doner kebab and classic fish & chips.

22. Smoked salmon & avocado sushi

Salmon and avocado sushi rolls

Making sushi at home is a fun Friday night activity. This simple recipe is surprisingly easy to achieve, and once you feel confident, you can start experimenting with different flavour combinations.

Try your hand at more fresh and fun sushi recipes.

23. Chicken pasta bake

Chicken pasta bake in a serving bowl and plate

Tuck into a bowl of gooey, cheesy chicken pasta for the ultimate Friday family dinner. With 589 ratings (and counting), you can be confident this bake will offer all the comfort you need for a Friday night in.

Find more bubbling pasta bake recipes for the weekend, including meat and veggie-friendly options.

24. Truffled mac 'n' cheese

Mac 'n' cheese in dish

Friday night calls for indulgence, and you'll get that with Tom Kerridge's ultimate truffle mac 'n' cheese, an amalgamation of all his favourite versions of this classic American dish.

Try our classic mac 'n' cheese if you'd prefer, or make more riffs on the classic with our best mac 'n' cheese recipes.

25. Authentic pad Thai

Authentic pad thai next to two wedges of lime and small bowl of peanuts

Friday night dinner for two is taken to the next level with this pad Thai, which calls for king prawns, tofu, pickled turnip and tamarind paste – it's a special dish that's packed with flavour.

26. Next level fried chicken

A tray of fried chicken pieces

Chicken thighs are fried to crisp perfection in this recipe. Assemble an American-inspired feast with sides of mac 'n' cheese, pickles and coleslaw.

Try more twists on fried chicken for future Friday nights in with our fried chicken recipes.

27. Meatball & garlic bread traybake

A deep frying pan with cooked meatballs, cheese and garlic bread in it, and a serving spoon

If you're craving a rich meatball dish, look no further than this traybake. Arrange meatballs over tomato sauce, then scatter over mozzarella, chunks of garlic bread and grated cheddar, and bake for 15-20 mins until golden and crisp. You can buy a pack of meatballs from the shops if you're running short on time.

If you're a purist when it comes to meatballs, try our spaghetti & meatballs, or take your lasagne skills to new heights with this three-cheese meatball lasagne.

28. Sweet & sour prawns

Sweet & sour prawns in a wok

You can make these sweet & sour prawns in less time than it would take to have them delivered. Tailor the dish to suit your tastes by swapping prawns for chicken or pork, if you like.

Looking for more prawn dishes? Tuck into our best prawn pasta recipes and prawn curry recipes.

29. Fajita-style pasta

Bowl of pasta with tomato, chicken and fajita seasoning topped with herbs and cheese

We've combined the flavours of a classic Mexican fajita with pasta to create this fun and easy Friday night dinner.

This pasta is sure to become a family favourite – you could even swap the chicken for halloumi to make it vegetarian.

30. Halloumi flatbreads

Flatbreads topped with halloumi and veg

Everyone can tuck into these veggie halloumi wraps served with crunchy slaw and a generous dollop of hummus.


Find more delicious wraps with our wrap recipe collection, featuring chilli chicken wraps and battered haddock & pesto wraps.

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