18 Lunch Recipes Ready in 20 Minutes or Less

Ready for lunch? Here are 18 quick lunch recipes you can make ahead or on the spot. The best part? They're all satisfying and easy to make.

Easy Lunch Recipes Ready In 20 Minutes or Less

Simply Recipes

Making lunch instead of ordering takeout saves money and often helps you eat healthier. Whatever the case, nothing beats a simple homemade lunch. Whipping up a quick, satisfying lunch is easy when you combine trusty canned ingredients like beans and tuna with fresh ingredients like produce, cheese, and bread. These 18 recipes are the key to a good, homemade lunch every day, whether you're at home or in the office.

Ready? Let’s dig in!

Robin Shreeves joins Sara Bir in compiling this list.

  • Quesadilla

    A plate of quesedillas and toppings.
    Sally Vargas

    Quesadillas are good anytime! They might seem like a no-brainer, but our quesadilla recipe has a few little tricks up its sleeve to make the toastiest quesadilla ever. Throw in some leftover cooked meat or vegetables for an upgrade.

  • White Bean and Tuna Salad

    White Bean Tuna Salad
    Elise Bauer

    Hold the mayo with this tuna salad. We like to use tuna packed in olive oil, but if all you have on hand is tuna packed in water, add a little extra olive oil for the best results.

  • Chickpea Salad Sandwich

    Side view of chickpea salad sandwich on a plate with chips.
    Sally Vargas | Art Banner Credit: Elena Resko

    Open a can of chickpeas and you’re halfway done with this vegetarian take on chicken salad. Not into sandwiches? Just enjoy the chickpea salad mixed in with lettuce or arugula.

  • Loaded Veggie Sandwich

    Loaded Veggie Sandwiches Stacked on a Cutting Board

    Simply Recipes / Alison Bickel

    Pile juicy tomatoes, crisp cucumbers, crunchy sprouts, pickled onions, lettuce, and creamy avocado high between two pieces of rustic bread spread with a mixture of mustard and mayo. Boom. One guilt-free lunch, ready to eat.

    Continue to 5 of 18 below.
  • Mediterranean Chickpea Salad

    Weeknight Mediterranean chickpea salad on a white plate with a fork and set on a white table with drinks and the serving bowl pictured behind it.
    Alison Bickel

    Full of canned chickpeas, artichoke hearts, cucumbers, tomatoes, olives, and more, this is one nutrition-packed salad. Top with an easy red wine vinaigrette, then sprinkle with feta. Easy, flavorful, and takes just about 15 minutes.

  • Avocado Toasts with Olive Relish

    Avocado Toast with Olive Relish

    Pull together a zingy olive relish using fresh tomatoes and a kiss of balsamic. Your standard avocado toast will get a colorful, piquant upgrade.

  • Grilled Cheese Sandwich with Mozzarella, Red Peppers, and Arugula

    Recipe for Mozzarella Grilled Cheese with red peppers and arugula
    Alison Bickel

    These colorful grilled cheese sandwiches use jarred roasted red peppers and baby arugula for quick assembly. Make sure to use firmer (low-moisture) mozzarella for these, not the fresh kind.

  • Three Bean Salad

    3 bean salad recipe
    Elise Bauer

    Equally sweet and vinegary, this is a classic summer salad for picnics and cookouts. But you can pull it together in a snap using canned beans. It keeps well, so it’s handy for a few more days of bean-y lunches. To make it heartier, add a sliced hard-boiled egg on top and serve with a few crusty slices of bread.

    Continue to 9 of 18 below.
  • Cucumber Sandwiches

    Triangle cut cucumber tea sandwiches are stacked on a cake stand and encircled with fresh herbs. Sliced cucucumbers are visible inside each one.
    Sally Vargas

    Yes, you can serve these at a tea party or you can enjoy them as a simple lunch with fresh and cooling cucumbers. Be a rebel and keep the crusts on, why not!

  • Zucchini Noodle Salad

    Asian Zucchini Noodle Salad
    Elise Bauer

    Put a dent in your surplus of garden zucchini with this zucchini noodle salad. Prep the veggies and then mix together a dressing that gets a savory boost from roasted sesame oil. This recipe is best eaten right after you make it.

  • Classic Tuna Melt

    slices of tuna melt sandwich piled on top of one another
    Sally Vargas

    A tuna melt is like a deluxe grilled cheese with a tuna salad made from canned tuna added in. Our version uses thick Italian bread and cheddar cheese, plus a super flavorful mayo-based dressing for the tuna salad. It's fantastic.

  • Chicken Wrap with Black Beans and Pickled Red Onions

    Chicken Wraps with Black Beans and Pickled Red Onions on a Plate with Cilantro and More Pickled Onions

    Simply Recipes / Sally Vargas

    Make use of leftover chicken in this wrap that comes together surprisingly quickly. With the help of your microwave, picked onions take less than 20 minutes to make, as does a simple avocado sauce to use as a spread. Chicken, refried beans, cheese, and lettuce complete this flavorful wrap made with your choice of tortilla.

    Continue to 13 of 18 below.
  • Homemade Pizza Bagel

    Pizza bagel on a sheet pan.

    Simply Recipes / Nick Evans

    Pizza bagels aren't just for kids, although they're a great idea if you're making lunch for yourself and some kids. Start with any savory bagel, and top with pizza sauce, mozzarella, and pepperoni. Then bake for about 10 minutes.

  • Best Ever Tuna Salad Sandwich

    4 Great Add-ins for Tuna Salad
    Elise Bauer

    This tuna salad has a secret ingredient...cottage cheese. If you're tired of the same old tuna salad, it's a game changer. Red onion and celery give the sandwich some crunch, and capers give it perfect saltiness. You have to try this one.

  • Quick and Easy Egg Salad Sandwich

    Egg Salad Sandwich

    Simply Recipes / Mihaela Kozaric Sebrek

    Make a batch of hard boiled eggs on the weekend (they'll keep in the fridge for up to 1 week if you leave them in their shells) to have on hand for quick lunches. Then use a few for this easy egg salad that has mayo, onions, and a dash of optional curry powder to make one tasty sandwich.

  • Italian Sub Sandwich

    Side view of an italian sandwich on a platter that is cut into slices. Meat, cheese and toppings are layered on the sandwich.
    Nick Evans

    Loaded with salami, turkey breast, pepperoni, and, of course, banana peppers, this sandwich is as good (or better) as you'll get from a deli. Made on a large loaf of Italian bread, it feeds at least 4 people so if you're making lunch for the family to take to work and school, this does the trick.

    Continue to 17 of 18 below.
  • Easy Croque-Madame (Ham and Grilled Cheese Sandwich with Fried Egg)

    croque madame sandwich
    Sheryl Julian

    Ham and cheese get the French treatment. Gruyere and deli ham fill the inside of the sandwich. Mayo is on the outside. Fry the sandwich in butter and top with a sunny-side-up egg. Trés bon!

  • Kid-Friendly Wraps

    cream cheese, ham, and grated carrot tortilla rollup on plate
    Elise Bauer

    Anything that can go on bread can go in a wrap. Here are two wraps labeled kid-friendly, but you don't stop loving PB&J or ham and cheese just because you grow up. Here, the ham and cheese gets an upgrade with cream cheese instead of American or Swiss, plus adds some grated carrot for crunch.