It’s the big day, and you’re pulling out all the stops. What better way to celebrate than with a delicious, home-cooked meal? We’ll bring the menu; you bring the candles and gifts. From homemade pizza to whole roast chicken, here are 50 birthday dinner ideas that the special person in your life will love.
1. Moules-Frites (Mussels and Fries)
Sure, it’s not a round-trip ticket to Paris, but it’s definitely the next best thing. Don’t skimp on the lemon-herb aioli…or the white wine.
2. Whole Roasted Chipotle Chicken
A surefire way to impress? Roast a whole bird. Ina Garten and her hubby would be so proud.
3. Pomegranate-Sumac Chicken with Roasted Carrots
But if you don’t want to roast an entire chicken, marinate just the legs in buttermilk, sumac and pomegranate molasses for a sheet-pan dish that’s easy and delicious.
4. French Onion Brisket
Brisket and birthdays are a match made in heaven. This one features caramelized onions for a modern twist.
5. Chrissy Teigen’s Cheesy Chicken Milanese
If you’re going all out, who better to lend a hand than Chrissy Teigen and her crispy, indulgent chicken?
6. Cheater’s Spicy Sausage Pizza with Burrata
All we want on our birthday is a creamy puddle of burrata and a fork.
7. Perfect Meatballs with Cherry Tomato Sauce
They’re even better than reservations at a fancy Italian restaurant.
8. Fried Chicken BLT with Jalapeño Honey
This sandwich needs no introduction. Make it for the comfort-food obsessed guy or gal in your life.
9. Flank Steak Tacos with Cucumber Salsa
One year older? That means you can eat one more taco than last year.
10. Cheater’s Slow-Cooker Beef Bourguignon
Trust us, no one will know it only took you ten minutes of prep. Happy birthday to you.
11. Sticky Asian Meatballs with Udon Noodles
Nothing against regular spaghetti and meatballs, but you can eat those on any old Tuesday.
12. Lobster Risotto
A birthday is just the excuse you were looking for to make this dish, isn’t it?
13. The Ultimate Chicken Potpie
Love is assembling and baking a chicken potpie from scratch (and telling absolutely no one you used store-bought puff pastry).
14. Easy Skillet Linguine with Trumpet Mushroom ‘Scallops’
These “scallops” have a secret: They’re actually mushrooms, sautéed until delightfully golden and crisp.
15. The Ultimate Pasta Pie
Who knew your trusty springform pan could do all this? Feel free to mix it up by trading marinara for pesto or Italian sausage for chopped meatballs.
16. Slow-Cooker Korean Short Rib Tacos
These fall-apart-tender ribs only taste like you stood by the oven all day. The secret? Your trusty slow-cooker.
17. Cheater’s Sicilian-Style Pizza with Jalapeños and Honey
We got you a gift…in the form of cheese pulls and pepperoni cups. You’re welcome.
18. Gnocchi Mac and Cheese
Our two favorite pasta dishes wrapped up in one? Aww, you shouldn’t have. (But we're so glad you did.)
19. Pistachio-Crusted Pork Tenderloin with Apple and Escarole Salad
This is not your mother’s pork tenderloin. (Sorry, Mom.) Instead of dry and bland, it’s tender, delicate and practically melts in your mouth.
20. Pomegranate-Maple Glazed Lamb Chops
These lamb chops have all the celebratory vibes, but are as easy to cook as chicken. We won’t tell if you won’t.
21. Pan-Roasted Chicken with Shallots and Dates
If we could eat only one dish for the rest of forever, this caramelized and sweet roasted chicken skillet just might be the one.
22. Cheater’s White Wine Coq au Vin
Julia Child-level flavor without all the fuss.
23. Skillet Steak with Asparagus and Potatoes
With a dish this impressive (that’s also surprisingly foolproof), we might never go back to restaurant steak again.
24. Pork Scallopini with Lemon, Capers and Radicchio
Twenty minutes and five ingredients means you can make a homemade dessert, too.
25. Skillet Gnocchi with Sausage and Broccoli Rabe
They’ll probably ask if you spent all day making this. Just nod and say yes.
26. Cheater’s White Pizza with Béchamel Sauce
Some nights call for salad. This is not one of those nights.
27. White Risotto with Corn, Carrots and Kale
If you’re looking to give someone a hug in a bowl, look no further than this veggie-packed risotto.
28. Smoky Eggplant Pasta with Pounded Walnut Relish, Mozzarella and Basil
Don’t be surprised if this one gets requested again next year. You can thank the rustic eggplant sauce, not to mention all that cheese.
29. Salmon and Fennel Dinner Salad
Don’t be fooled by the name: This roasted salmon dish is hearty, filling and downright luxurious.
30. Ina Garten’s Baked Pasta with Tomatoes and Eggplant
A cozy, cheese-laden baked pasta from the Contessa herself? Don’t even bother with a separate present.
31. Whole-Wheat Feta Tart with Caramelized Onions and Herbs
If you can’t eat a pie made of two different types of cheese on your birthday, when can you?
32. Cheater’s Skillet Paella
You make the paella; we’ll bring the wine. Everyone else is on gift duty.
33. Cacio e Pepe
Simple can also mean show-stopping, and this dish is proof.
34. Foolproof Cheater’s Confit
Tonight’s the night to go out of your way and find duck legs. We promise it’s worth it.
35. Ultimate Cheese Plate with Roasted Grapes
It’s their party and they can eat charcuterie for dinner if they want to.
36. Grilled Flank Steak with Lemon-Herb Sauce
Summer babies really lucked out, huh? P.S., the marinating time is a solid excuse for a pre-dinner cocktail.
37. Crispy Baked Fish Tacos with Cabbage Slaw
Sure, you could order tacos from your fave local cantina. But you can also pull 'em off yourself—no messy frying required.
38. 30-Minute Cheater’s Beef Stroganoff
Feeding six people in just a half-hour? It's easier than you think.
39. The Ultimate Party Sub
Picnic party, anyone? We'll bring the prosecco.
40. Ravioli Lasagna
Casseroles are our BFFs when it comes to feeding the fam. And this cheesy pick is sure to become one of your kids' favorites after just one bite.
41. Mexican Street Corn Dip
Picky party guests? Tortilla chips smothered in Monterey Jack cheese sauce will save the day.
42. 30-Minute One-Pot Cheater’s Bouillabaisse
One slurp and voilà, you're in Provence. (And what's equally awesome is what little clean-up is required after you've cooked the big birthday meal.)
43. Baked Quinoa Chicken Nuggets
Go ahead, give the kids what they really want. Only make it a little healthier.
44. Italian Bruschetta Bar
Don't fuss over how it looks—a random arrangement is the best way to convey that "relaxed afternoon in a vineyard" vibe.
45. Salmon Burgers
Our philosophy? Light and tangy coleslaw tastes good on everything.
46. Lemon and Herb Roast Chicken
Many a memorable meal has begun with a whole roast bird. Wow the whole table with this five-ingredient recipe that screams celebration.
47. Crispy Cauliflower Tacos
Don't sweat it if the guest of honor is a vegetarian. These tacos, filled with baked cauli florets, homemade queso and scallions, just might convert the rest of you anyway.
48. Pan-Seared Scallops with Citrusy Corn Succotash
Scallops might feel intimidating, but they're actually a cinch to prepare. This recipe only calls for a two-minute sear per side, so you'll spend minimal time in the kitchen on the big day.
49. Mini Bacon-Wrapped Meatloaf
The only dish more classically comforting than meatloaf? A personal mini meatloaf wrapped in bacon, duh. Don't forget the mashed potatoes.
50. Mac and Cheese with Crispy Parmesan-Phyllo Crust
Personally, we'd rather receive a bouquet of Parmesan-kissed phyllo rosettes than real flowers. (But on our birthday, we'll take both.)