10 Easy Dinner Recipes for Beginners

New to cooking? We got you covered with tips for success in the kitchen and simple recipes to get you started, like an easy pasta sauce, the perfect quesadilla, and a sheet pan dinner made entirely on the same pan.

Easy Dinner Recipes for Beginners

If you don’t have a lot of confidence in the kitchen, not to worry! Instead, just keep cooking. Like any new skill, it’s all about practice. Good recipes help, too.

With that in mind, we’ve curated a collection of 10 easy recipes that are suitable for new cooks. You’ll find a classic pasta with Bolognese sauce that doesn’t take all day, a not-too-spicy avocado and bean quesadilla, a sheet pan chicken dinner, and a simple pan-fried steak, among others. Here are a few tips to help you find success in the kitchen, regardless of the recipe:

  • Read the recipe from start to finish before starting. That way, you’ll know what you’re getting into and can plan accordingly. 
  •  If you’re unfamiliar with a technique, search the Simply Recipes site. We have a lot of tips and tutorials that can help. Within the recipe, we try to include images with the methods to help guide you along visually. You can also do a Google search or look on YouTube for extra support. 
  • Be organized. Gather the tools, equipment, and ingredients you’ll need and set them neatly on the kitchen counter. A messy kitchen can make cooking harder. 
  • To minimize stress, try to cook when you don’t have a big time crunch. Put on music you love. Relax. Aim to make cooking a pleasant experience. That way, you will want to keep doing it. With time you will no longer be a beginner cook. 
  • Know that it’s normal to have failures along the way. With every attempt, you’ll pick up pointers for the next time you cook. 
  • Easy Tomato Soup

    Best Tomato Soup Recipe - bowls of tomato soup on table with bread
    Alison Bickle

    There’s no need to lean on canned soup when homemade soup is this easy (and so good!) Top it with anything you like, from grated Parmesan to buttery croutons. If you want to make the most of your cooking time, double the recipe and freeze the leftovers for next time.

  • Easy Avocado and Black Bean Quesadillas

    Easy Avocado and Black Bean Quesadillas
    Alison Conklin

    Add black beans and avocado to your quesadilla to transform this Mexican-inspired mainstay into a truly nourishing supper. Plus, you’ll learn how to get tortillas crispy in the process. For a quick side dish, slice one English cucumber (no need to peel or seed) and douse it with the juice of one lime. Season it with salt and chili powder to your liking.

  • Cheesy Quinoa Black Bean Stuffed Bell Peppers

    Quinoa Black Bean Stuffed Bell Peppers
    Elise Bauer

    This is one of those recipes that will make you feel like a gourmet cook, but it is quite simple to make. It’s just four core ingredients – bell peppers, cheese, black beans, and quinoa – plus a couple of seasonings. The bell peppers are the vessel that hold the fixings, and everything gets roasted in a hot oven until the cheese bubbles. Delicious!

  • Quick and Easy Bolognese Sauce

    A beautiful fast bolognese sauce on a blue patterned plate with noodles and fork.
    Sally Vargas

    Abolish any notions you have that a good pasta sauce takes all day to make. This is a simple spin on a classic Italian meat sauce. Chopping the onion, carrots, and celery is easy, since it only takes a few seconds in a food processor. Serve the sauce over any pasta shape you like with a side of steamed broccoli.

    Continue to 5 of 10 below.
  • Shrimp with Snow Peas

    Shrimp Snow Peas
    Elise Bauer

    Shrimp is one of the quickest to cook in the seafood case. It’s also easy to tell when it’s done, since the color changes dramatically from grey to pink. This recipe includes fresh ginger, which adds great flavor. Check out this tutorial for how to prepare ginger. Serve the shrimp over rice. You can cook your own or don’t be afraid to take a shortcut with store-bought pre-cooked rice. It’s usually found in the frozen foods section.

  • Easy Salmon Foil Packets with Vegetables

    Roast salmon filet on foil with roast grape tomatoes, chopped cilantro and thinkly sliced lime on top.
    Sally Vargas | Banner Art Credit: Elena Resko

    Wrapping fish in foil like a little present is a smart way to cook it. Salmon is especially forgiving for beginner cooks because it’s a fatty fish, so it’s harder to overcook. Here, the salmon is seasoned with a bit of mayo and harissa, a North African spice paste. If you can’t find it at the market, use a tablespoon of store-bought basil pesto instead. The flavor will be different, of course, but it will still be very tasty.

  • Cheesy Bruschetta Chicken Cutlets

    Cheesy Bruschetta Chicken Cutlets in a stainless steel skillet
    Coco Morante

    Everything that’s appealing about good, garlicky tomato bruschetta is transformed into a scrumptious chicken dinner. This recipe will take you no more than 20 minutes to make. Serve it with a crusty baguette to swipe through all those tasty pan juices.

  • Sheet Pan Chicken with Roasted Broccoli and Potatoes

    Roasted Sheet Pan Chicken, Sweet Potatoes, and Broccoli on a sheet pan

    The Spruce / Julia Hartbeck

    You only dirty one pan for this recipe, which is part of what makes it so appealing. Buy pre-cut broccoli at the market if you want to minimize prep time. Be sure to follow the first step of pre-heating the baking sheet before adding the chicken and potatoes – that’s what makes them golden brown and crispy.

    Continue to 9 of 10 below.
  • White Beans and Sausage

    white beans and sausage
    Elise Bauer

    Creamy white beans and Italian sausage make an excellent pairing and they come together with ease in this dish. Cook the beans from scratch or use canned beans. Serve it in a shallow bowl with grated Parmesan on top and a generous slice of toasted Italian bread.

  • Quick and Easy Pan-Fried Flank Steak

    Pan Fried Flank Steak
    Elise Bauer

    It’s handy to have a foolproof steak recipe in your back pocket. This one is done with flank steak, a thin, flavorful cut of meat that cooks quickly. Serve it with classic baked potatoes and a simple salad on the side.