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35 Fun Dinner Ideas That Will Surprise Your Family

I think I have answered the “What’s for dinner” question so many times that it is embedded in my brain. Sometimes I don’t even want to think about the answer. If you are looking for fun things to eat for dinner, here are some ideas for you to explore. 

Make cooking fun again! Fun for you and fun for your family. Keep them guessing the answer to that question. Make it a fun and exciting surprise so they all come to the dinner table with anticipation knowing it will be something delicious and different!

1. Crockpot Garlic Bbq Chicken

You can set your crockpot in the morning on your way out and have dinner ready when you get back. Think outside the box.

You can use your bbq chicken to make crispy taquitos, in quesadillas, make pulled chicken and coleslaw sandwiches, as part of a bowl with white rice, pickled onions, black beans, and lettuce, or make bbq chicken tacos with grilled corn, cotija cheese and a dollop of sour cream.

2. Blackened Chicken Taco Bar

Set the table taco-bar style with this delicious Cajun blackened chicken, guacamole, shredded lettuce, sliced jalapenos, pickled onions, grilled corn, shredded cheese, fajita-style sauteed veggies, pico de gallo, sour cream, or your favorite taco toppings!

This is such a fun dinner idea for the family! Each family member can make their signature taco.

3. Crescent Roll Taco Ring

The way you present the meal is 50% of the success, and this taco ring looks incredible!

This is one of those fun meals to make that guarantees great results. Using refrigerated crescent roll dough makes it super easy and you can put anything you want inside your ring. This recipe is meaty, cheesy, and delicious!

4. Loaded Pulled Pork Tater-Tots Nachos

Have you heard the term “Totchos”? If you’re looking for creative dinner recipes, this is it! Totchos are like nachos but with cooked tater-tots instead of tortilla chips.

The concept is so cool and fun, the kids will love pulling the cheese and pork-loaded crispy tater-tots. You can use your favorite toppings too!

5. Chicken Parmesan Calzone Recipe

Making fun dishes for the family just got easier with this recipe. Chicken Parm Calzone is the coolest way to eat chicken parmigiana, and the best part is you don’t have to make anything from scratch.

Use store-bought pizza dough, chicken tenders, and pizza sauce and dinner will be ready in no time! The secret? Add salsa and cheese to the inside and the outside of the calzone for extra yumminess!

6. Easy Homemade Three Meat Pizza

Make dinner fun for the kids by inviting them to make this pizza with you. Cooked ground turkey, bacon, and ham make this meat-lovers pizza fun for the whole family to make.

Use store-bought pizza crust and sauce, and let them do the “cooking”. Part of the fun is waiting (or watching) for the cheese to melt!

7. Chili Pot Pie With Cornbread Crust

This is one of my favorite fun dinner recipes. We all love chili and cornbread, and the best way to enjoy it is to make individual pot pies!

We love to eat while watching tv and this way each family member can have their pie and not make a mess! You can make each pie with their favorite things inside!

8. Bacon Wrapped Chicken

If you want to impress your family and friends, this bacon-wrapped chicken will do the trick. Sprinkling brown sugar on top will make the crispy bacon get a glazed coating that is irresistible!

Believe me when I say this chicken is to die for! This will become one of the family favorites!

 9. Chicken Parm Meatballs

No need to wash dishes! Bring the skillet to the table and let them dig in. The meatballs are nestled over tomato sauce, topped with mounds of melted mozzarella, and baked to gooey perfection.

All you need is great crusty bread to sop up all the amazing sauce and cheese and a side salad. Italian feast!

10. The Best Steamed Bao Buns

If you’re feeling a little adventurous and love Asian food, homemade bao buns are a great hit!

Making the dough and steaming the buns can be a little time-consuming, but the amazing results are worth it. Pickled veggies and your protein of choice finish this amazing meal, and once you learn how to make them, every time it becomes easier!

11. Taco Bell Crunch Wrap Supreme

I’m sure that easy fun dinner ideas in your kids’ minds include takeout!

We know takeout is not always the healthiest alternative, so this homemade copycat Taco Bell Crunch Wrap Supreme is a great and healthy alternative that will make both you and your kids happy! The bad thing is, they will want this all the time!

12. Easy Shrimp Tacos

Taco Tuesday just got a makeover with these amazingly delicious shrimp tacos. Easy fun dinner ideas are what we are all looking for, so save this recipe.

Well-seasoned shrimp that are cooked to perfection and wrapped in warm flour tortillas along with cabbage, avocado, and bell pepper get even better when drizzled with a tangy and spicy sour cream sauce!

13. Three Ingredient Balsamic Jam Pork chops

Sounds fancy, right? Well, they are! These pork chops taste like a million bucks but are so easy to make you won’t believe it. All you have to do is make a glaze by reducing balsamic vinegar and mixing it with your favorite fruit jam.

This is used to brush the seared pork chops and makes the most amazing coating!

14. Teriyaki Chicken On A Stick

Teriyaki chicken on a stick is a creative dinner recipe that turns an all-time favorite into a fun dinner idea. Anything on a stick is fun for the kiddos, and this will definitely make their night.

You get to make your own teriyaki sauce, which will be much better than store-bought for sure. Then all you have to do is brush and grill!

15. Air Fryer Pizza Rolls

Who doesn’t like pizza rolls? The ultimate fun dinner idea for kids is always pizza (well, for me too!), and pizza rolls are a fun twist to regular pizza. You can stuff them with all your favorite toppings, and use refrigerated pizza dough to make it easy for you. Stuff, roll, and air-fry. It’s that easy!

16. Filet Mignon Recipe in Mushroom Sauce

Looking for the perfect date night dinner? Make it a fun evening by cooking together! Give the guest a glass of wine, play some nice music, and make it together.

This is one of those dishes that have to be cooked and consumed right away, so make it fun for both of you. The mushroom sauce is so good, you will want to spoon it over mashed potatoes!

17. Beef Bourguignon

This all-time favorite is famous for a reason. Julia Child made this dish popular and her recipe is easy and fail-proof. The secret lies in the quality of the meat you use, but since it is slow-cooked, the beef will always be tender.

Make it ahead of time and enjoy a glass of wine or two with your guest knowing dinner is ready and waiting for you!

18. Crab Cakes

Make your dinner a fun event by making it finger food. You can make crab cakes big or small. If you make them small enough to be considered finger food, you instantly made your dinner recipe fun and easy to eat.

Make crab cakes for game night and gather the kids around the dinner table to play and eat simultaneously!

 19. Pad Thai

Pad Thai is my favorite Thai dish. I order it every time, so learning to make it myself is a big thing! This recipe is easy and quick, and you can make it a fun dinner with the kids by letting them help you cook it.

The results are amazing and you will never go to a restaurant again because making it at home will be way easier, cheaper, and healthier!

20. Classic Baked Ziti

Baked pasta is, in my opinion, one of the fun dinner ideas for guests. It is perfect for a dinner party because you don’t have to be in the kitchen when your guests arrive.

Place it in the oven just as the doorbell rings, and dinner is done a few minutes later without you having to be slaving over the stovetop! Saucy and cheesy, this dish will be loved by all!

21. Easy French Onion Soup

French Onion Soup can be a meal in itself and when done the old-fashioned way can take hours to make, but this recipe is easy and quick. By using shredded gruyere cheese you elevate the flavor of the soup and it really tastes like you got it in a French restaurant!

22. Easy Seafood Paella Recipe

Paella is one of those recipes you cook for a bunch of people. The rice is slow-cooked and the ingredients have to be added at different times, so it’s one of those dishes you have to pay attention to.

If you ask yourself how do I make dinner fun again when having friends over, invite them to cook with you!

23. Easy Tandoori Chicken

Tandoori chicken requires little prep time. The chicken has to be marinated so bring the kids into the kitchen and let them mix the yogurt marinade for this amazing dish, let them pour it in and then all you have to do is pop it in the oven!

They get to learn about spices and how they make food taste amazing!

24. Korean Spicy Pork Bowls

This recipe is also on my “fun dinner ideas for guests” list. I love to have each guest arrange their bowl however they like it. I cook the pork, rice noodles, and rice, and let each guest add whatever they want.

Toppings are optional and they can add sesame seeds, sriracha mayo, teriyaki sauce, and green onions. Custom-made bowls are amazing!

25. Domino’s Philly Cheesesteak Pizza

Another great copycat recipe that’s super fun to make with the kids. Again, if you ask my kids “What is the most fun food to make?”, they will definitely say pizza.

Make it a bit more interesting for adults as well as for kids and add steak! Let the kids help with making the dough or prepping the veggies!

26. Falafel Burgers

I like to keep things interesting at my house, so I’m always thinking “What are some wacky dinners”? For my kids, green burgers are a hit.

They don’t know what’s in them, but they love the green color and I love that they’re healthy and nutritious. It is so easy to please them with little things like this!

27. Sheet Pan Chicken Fajitas

Again, the fun thing about making a sheet pan fajita dinner is that you get to serve the meal directly out of the pan, and everyone can customize their own fajita “taco”.

Give them flour tortillas and different toppings so everyone can get creative with their dinner. When we share out of one pan, conversations just flow easier, in my opinion!

28. Citrus Coconut Steamed Cod

I have a hard time making my kids eat fish, but when I make recipes like this delicious citrus coconut cod, they just gobble it up.

This is not your regular bland fish recipe, the sauce is full of amazing flavors like orange, ginger, coconut milk, sweet chili sauce, mandarin oranges, soy sauce, almonds, cilantro, and sesame oil. Just amazing!

29. Sausage Tomato Coconut Curry

Sometimes the most common of ingredients can get a fun makeover. Who knew chicken sausages could be used to make such a flavorful dish?

Elevating simple ingredients into amazing exotic recipes can make dinner fun again and this recipe is the prime example!

30. Mongolian Beef

Treat your family to a meal that can be even better than ordering takeout. Make it an “out to dinner but at home” meal. If your family members are fond of Mongolian beef, make it at home and surprise them with the most delicious homemade version!

31. Steak With Chipotle Lime Chimichurri

If you have never tried chimichurri, you are in for a big surprise! This deliciously tangy concoction made with parsley, cilantro, red onion, garlic, oregano, olive oil, lemon juice and zest, and wine vinegar makes steak taste like heaven!

Adding chipotles to adobo makes it even more delicious. You will want to slather it on everything!

32. Sweet and Spicy Chicken

We all get bored with plain-tasting chicken dinners. Make chicken meals fun again with this sweet and spicy chicken made with a surprising ingredient.

Peach preserves! When you mix them with salsa and taco seasoning, your chicken comes alive with flavor. Goodbye, boring chicken dinners!

33. Cheeseburger Quesadillas

My gosh is this dish a fun way to eat a burger? Forget about making patties, just brown the hamburger, mix it with a little ketchup and mustard, and assemble your quesadillas with big flour tortillas, meat mixture, cheese, diced onions, and pickles.

Place them on the griddle and enjoy a fun, easy, and very different cheeseburger!

34. Bang-Bang Chicken

Bang-bang sauce has to be one of the most delicious sauces you can make for finger food. I can imagine making bang-bang shrimp, steak bites, tofu, you name it!

Making dinner fun is not that hard when you have a finger-licking good sauce to dunk your favorite protein in! The chicken definitely tastes better with it!

35. Taco Sticks

Want a way to make dinner time fun again? Finger food is the funniest way to enjoy a meal and these taco sticks are no exception.

Refrigerated pizza dough can be very versatile and using it to wrap hamburger and cheese sticks is just genius. I bet your kids and guests will be asking for more, so you might want to double the recipe!

So, as you can see, dinner can be made fun again for you and your family. Just a few adjustments and regular, everyday ingredients can be transformed into very enjoyable meals that everyone can enjoy.

And what better way is there for promoting good conversation than enjoying amazing food together, right?

Fun Dinner Ideas

35 Fun Dinner Ideas That Will Surprise Your Family

Sweet and Spicy Chicken
5 from 2 votes
Prep Time 20 minutes
Total Time 20 minutes
Course Dinner
Cuisine American
Servings 4 servings


  • 1 lb chicken breasts, cut into 1 inch pieces
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • ¼ cp cornstarch
  • Vegetable oil for frying
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 tsp freshly grated ginger
  • 1 tsp red pepper flakes

For the sauce:

  • 6 tbsp rice vinegar
  • 6 tbsp soy sauce
  • 3 tbsp brown sugar
  • 3 tbsp peach preserves
  • ¼ cp water
  • 1 tsp cornstarch


  • Season the chicken cubes with salt and pepper. Place them inside a zipper bag along with the cornstarch and shake until all pieces of chicken are evenly coated.
  • In a small bowl, mix the sauce ingredients and set aside
  • Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat and add enough oil to cover ½ inch up the sides of the skillet.
  • Once the oil is hot, fry the chicken cubes until browned and crispy. Remove and set aside.
  • Discard half of the oil and add sautee the garlic, ginger, and red pepper flakes for about 30 seconds
  • Add the chicken back to the skillet and pour in the sauce
  • Cook everything together until the sauce thickens and the chicken is glazed. Serve over white rice
Recipe Rating


Friday 14th of June 2024