Chill Out With These 23 Lazy Dinner Ideas

The summer of staying out of the kitchen.

By Casey McKee
grilled salmon with peach salsa

Summer is the season of relaxing, indulging, and enjoying good company. In my book, there’s no time during the warmer months to waste the precious sunlight over an elaborate dish. When the time comes to conclude your day with something delicious, close your Pinterest app and scroll through these lazy dinner ideas for all the inspo you could ask for.

What makes a lazy dinner, you may ask? Simplicity and ease, of course. These recipes are packed with whole and healthy ingredients, and they only take 10-20 minutes to throw together. While some require a bit of prep time, these recipes still take the cake for being fan favorites, minus the hassle. If you’re ready to get back outside this season and out of the kitchen, read on!

23 Lazy Dinner Ideas to Enjoy All Summer Long

Hungry yet? With these lazy dinner ideas, your PM meal will be ready in a pinch. Expect minimal ingredients and short cook times. It’s never been easier to curate a satisfying and stunning dinner.

Pizzas & Pastas

spinach and ricotta pizza

Spinach and Ricotta Pizza

Why We Love It: Pizza is a no-brainer when it comes to lazy dinner ideas. But your pizza doesn’t have to be lackluster to be low-effort. This spinach and ricotta pizza exemplifies everything I look for in a savory pie that uses ingredients I always have on hand. What makes this pizza even easier? A homemade dough that can be kept in the freezer for whenever pizza night is calling your name.

Hero Ingredient: A good quality olive oil can elevate this ‘za.

creamy vegan pasta with tomatoes and basil_lazy dinner ideas

Creamy Vegan Pasta with Tomatoes and Basil

Why We Love It: Contrary to popular belief, pasta recipes can still be enjoyed throughout the warmer months. When your dish is on the lighter side, like this creamy vegan pasta, it’s easy to indulge without getting stuffed. Bonus points for only taking 15 minutes to construct this masterpiece!

Hero Ingredient: It’s always a cherry tomato girl summer.

bacon, apple, and sweet potato pizza

Bacon, Apple, & Sweet Potato Pizza With Crispy Sage

Why We Love It: If you want to wow a dinner crowd with simple and tasty ingredients, this pizza recipe is right up your alley. With crispy bacon and crunchy apples, it’s the perfect combination of savory flavors and superb textures.

Hero Ingredient: There’s something about sage in a sweet potato recipe that’s hard to beat.

eggplant and ricotta flatbread

Eggplant and Ricotta Flatbread Pizza

Why We Love It: If you haven’t tried making homemade pizza dough or just want a quicker option, this flatbread pizza will do the trick. Its sweet and creamy ricotta base is topped with charred eggplant, weaving flavor into every bite.

Hero Ingredient: Drizzle a bit of honey atop your pizza to complement the sweet ricotta base.

one pot summertime pasta_lazy dinner ideas

One-Pot Summertime Pasta

Why We Love It: Thank goodness for one-pan/one-pot recipes. This summer-inspired pasta packs in bold flavors from juicy sun-dried and cherry tomatoes, as well as nutrients from fresh corn kernels and herbs. Be sure to keep your veggies from overcooking by adding in your longer cook-time veggies at the beginning of your boil and fresher ingredients like herbs, peas, and corn near the end.

Hero Ingredient: Parmesan cheese adds an element of richness that’s key to making this pasta absolutely delish.

peach, pesto, and balsamic pizza

Pesto, Peach, and Balsamic Pizza

Why We Love It: Peaches are one of my favorite summer fruits. When the weather warms up, I keep this recipe on repeat—especially when I have some extra of this sweet fruit on hand. The pesto base, paired with creamy melted burrata, is the perfect combination for a light and summery ‘za that everyone will love.

Hero Ingredient: The balsamic drizzle is an absolute must.

creamy lemon pasta_lazy dinner ideas

Creamy Lemon Pasta

Why We Love It: While I love an elaborate, mouth-watering pasta dish, I find that sometimes, making a high-quality sauce takes an absurd amount of time. This dish captures the essence of the traditional Italian dish, pasta al limone, with a simple heavy-cream-based sauce and fresh lemon zest.

Hero Ingredient: Top with red pepper flakes for an added kick.

one pot garlicky mushroom pasta

One-Pot Garlicky Mushroom Pasta With Sausage & Arugula

Why We Love It: For a quick lazy dinner recipe idea that delivers plenty of flavor, this garlicky mushroom pasta is a must-try. It all comes together in 30 minutes, but it’s worth the extra cook time to help develop that luscious flavor.

Hero Ingredient: Baby Bella mushrooms are an immediate level-up.

Tacos and Sandwiches

sheet pan chicken fajitas_lazy dinner ideas

Sheet Pan Chicken Fajitas

Why We Love It: Sheet pan recipes are widely lauded for keeping dirty dishes to a minimum. But that’s not the only highlight of this sheet pan recipe—these customizable fajitas call for only five ingredients! Top with your favorite fresh veggies or homemade guacamole for Mexican-inspired flavors that are hard to beat.

Hero Ingredient: As any fan of Tex-Mex food knows, a good tortilla is everything.

pear, proscuitto, and mozarella grilled cheese

Pear, Proscuitto, and Mozzarella Grilled Cheese

Why We Love It: A repertoire of lazy dinner ideas wouldn’t be complete without a grilled cheese recipe. This one is a step up from the sourdough and sliced cheese we’re used to. With salty prosciutto and creamy mozzarella, it’ll be hard to throw together average grilled cheese after trying this sandwich.

Hero Ingredient: Fresh sliced pears give the perfect crunch to this classic sandwich.

lime-y chicken tacos with jicama and mint

Lime-y Chicken Tacos with Jicama and Mint

Why We Love It: Everyone’s favorite quick and easy dinner—tacos! These tacos, inspired by the El Santo from Fresa’s here in Austin, are everything I crave when I think of a fresh Mexican-inspired dinner. For the fastest cooking experience, all of your toppings can be pre-prepped so that more time can be spent on the delicious grilled chicken.

Hero Ingredient: The mint makes these tacos so unique.

chickpea salad sandwich

Chickpea Salad Sandwich

Why We Love It: Whether I’m enjoying these sandwiches al fresco by the pool or munching on one after a day at the beach, this twist on the classic chicken salad sandwich is a low-effort, high-reward dinner. Bonus points if you prepared the chickpea salad the night before and have everything ready to go when dinnertime hits.

Hero Ingredient: I love to serve this chickpea salad on fresh sourdough.

hoisin chicken cabbage tacos_lazy dinner ideas

Hoisin Chicken Cabbage Tacos

Why We Love It: As a personal fan of PF Chang’s lettuce wraps, these chicken cabbage tacos satisfy the craving without dining out. The fillings can be prepped and stored in advance, and you can even cheat a little and use a rotisserie chicken for the ultimate lazy dinner.

Hero Ingredient: Hoisin!

vegan chorizo tacos

Vegan Chorizo Tacos

Why We Love It: It isn’t always a walk in the park to find a delicious Mexican-inspired vegan dish here in Austin. But these tacos we found at The Well are an absolute gem and only require a short assembly if you make your tortillas in advance (or succumb to the HEB bakery tortilla craze).

Hero Ingredient: Chorizo oil? Yes, please.

black bean tacos with mango salsa

Black Bean Tacos with Mango Salsa

Why We Love It: Black bean tacos made their way onto my weekly dinner rotation when I first started college, and since then, they have become a staple in my diet. I love the concept of pairing these fresh and tasty tacos with a mango salsa or a homemade pico de gallo for added texture and brightness.

Hero Ingredient: A squeeze of lime will do.

chicken burger lettuce wraps

Chicken Burger Lettuce Wraps

Why We Love It: These chicken burgers are pure genius. They’re essentially a healthier version of your favorite burger that can be grilled in a pan or on an outdoor grill in a pinch. Simply grill your patties for three minutes per side, pair them with your lettuce wraps, and voilà! A new lazy weeknight staple.

Hero Ingredient: The blend of Asian-inspired spices give these chicken burgers a superior flavor.

Meat and Fish

grilled salmon with stone fruit salsa_lazy dinner ideas

Grilled Salmon with Stone Fruit Salsa

Why We Love It: This salmon recipe is so easy that it was a no-brainer to include it on this list of lazy dinner ideas. With five ingredients—including zesty chili lime seasoning and juicy peach salsa—it’ll always be one of my summer go-to’s.

Hero Ingredient: This simple peach salsa is to die for.

sheet pan chicken and veggies

Sheet Pan Chicken and Veggies

Why We Love It: Once again, a sheet pan recipe that slays—this sheet pan chicken and veggie recipe. It has it all, with a bit of citrus flavor, juicy baked tomatoes, and moist chicken that will leave you wanting more after every bite.

Hero Ingredient: Artichokes are my personal favorite touch to this dinner.

hot honey glazed salmon with coconut crunch

Hot Honey Glazed Salmon with Coconut Crunch

Why We Love It: What a stunner. This hot honey glazed salmon is tastier than it looks (if that’s even possible!). Plus, this bowl can be assembled in under 10 minutes. What more could you ask for?

Hero Ingredient: This coconut crunch is top-notch—and you’ll be tempted to put it on everything.

mediterranean baked salmon_lazy dinner ideas

Mediterranean Baked Salmon with Tomatoes, Olives, & Capers

Why We Love It: Whenever I’m feeling unmotivated but need a dinner on the healthy side, this is the recipe I turn to. In one pan—preferably a cast-iron skillet—you get your protein, fruits, and veggies. Proof that you can have it all.

Hero Ingredient: Lemon and salmon are a perfect pairing.

grilled yogurt-marinated chicken_lazy dinner ideas

Grilled Yogurt-Marinated Chicken

Why We Love It: Remember when I mentioned the lazy dinner ideas that take a bit of prep? This yogurt-marinated chicken is one of those, but I promise it’s worth the effort. Simply marinate your chicken the night before in a variety of herbs, spices, and Greek yogurt, and the next day, heat your grill or pan, and you’re good to go!

Hero Ingredient: Greek yogurt is a protein-packed, powerhouse ingredient—and it’s essential for giving this chicken its signature juicy bite.

thai chicken salad

Thai Chicken Salad

Why We Love It: Are you dying to feel like you’re on a tropical vacation while lounging around at home? If so, this recipe is for you. It’s the perfect way to use leftover chicken and get your greens in. Paired with a slightly sweet and spicy peanut sauce, you’ll want this salad every weeknight—and crave leftovers for lunch the next day.

Hero Ingredient: Freshly sliced avocado not only delivers a good dose of healthy fats but it also lends a little creamy contrast to this salad’s crunch.

baked pesto salmon_lazy dinner ideas

Baked Pesto Salmon with Broccolini

Why We Love It: This salmon recipe is the best single-serve lazy dinner idea. With only five ingredients, it’s hearty and packed with veggies and protein to keep you feeling light on nights when cooking isn’t the first thing on your mind.

Hero Ingredient: Homemade or store-bought, pesto is a must here.