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64 Kid-Friendly Dinner Ideas That Adults Will Love

From super-fast faves to long-cooking classics, these are recipes the whole fam with love.

Headshot of Christopher MichelBy Christopher Michel
bagel pizzas on a tray with a variety of toppingspinterest icon
Ian Palmer

Easy, healthy, kid-friendly dinners are possible! If you've got a young 'un at home who tends to pick at their plate—or turn their nose up at anything green—you know how hard it is to find family-friendly meals that everyone can eat.

To help, we've assembled this big list of our favorite kid-tested (and approved) recipes—that moms and dads will get behind as well. From classic casseroles to stove-top mac and cheese (with a few veggies stirred in) to quick-cooking air fryer recipes, this list is sure to have something that'll make everyone in the house say "yum!"


Classic Stuffed Shells

classic stuffed shells
Becky Luigart-Stayner

Stuffed shells, filled with spinach, three kinds of cheese, and doused in tomato sauce, is a classic, delicious, easy-to-make weeknight dinner that you can be sure the kids will want to eat.

And it's pretty budget-friendly, too!

Get the recipe for Classic Stuffed Shells.


Classic Tuna Macaroni Salad

classic tuna macaroni salad
Becky Luigart-Stayner

If you have fond memories of eating tuna salad as a kid, it's time to share the joy with your own young 'uns. And there's no kid-pleaser like a pasta dinner with elbow macaroni!

Get the recipe for Classic Tuna Macaroni Salad.


Lasagna Soup

lasagna soup
Becky Luigart-Stayner

If they're begging for lasagna but you just don't have the time, give this 25-minute recipe a whirl. We're pretty sure the kids'll love it.

Get the recipe for Lasagna Soup.

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Tuna Melt

tuna melt
Becky Luigart-Stayner

The underrated tuna melt, that staple of diners everywhere, deserves to be making a big time comeback.

First, it's as tasty as can be. Second, it's easy to make, and third, you probably have most of the ingredients in your fridge or pantry right now. What are you waiting for?

Get the recipe for Tuna Melt.


Stovetop Cheeseburgers

stovetop cheeseburgers on a tray with waffle fries near by and condiments and toppings surrounding
Ian Palmer

If your home-burger experience is limited to cooking it on the grill, then you'll want to give this a try. It's easy, fast, and super yummy.

Get the recipe for Stovetop Cheeseburgers.

Looking for more ground beef recipes? Click here!


Tater Tot Casserole

tater tot casserole in a baking pan
Ian Palmer

Known around the Upper Midwest as "hot dish," this pure comfort-food classic is one of our favorite ways to get picky eaters to stop, well, picking, and clean their plates.

Get the recipe for Tater Tot Casserole.

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Cornflake Crusted Fish and Chips

cornflake crusted fish and chips in a serving tray
Ian Palmer

Nothing beats fish sticks for that certain kind of kid—but that doesn't mean you need to get the frozen stuff. This recipe allows you to adjust the seasoning however you like, and at 20 minutes from start to finish, it's also plenty fast!

Get the recipe for Cornflake Crusted Fish and Chips.

Get more fast dinner recipes here.


Bagel Pizzas

bagel pizzas on a tray with a variety of toppings
Ian Palmer

Whether you need a last-minute dinner or a lightning-fast snack, nothing beats this yummy dish. We've even got a sneaky-smart way to keep it a little less messy—and cook it faster.

Get the recipe for Bagel Pizzas.


Easy-Peasy Stovetop Mac 'n Cheesy

mac 'n cheese with peas in bowls on a table with a kids game
Ian Palmer

This classic kid food (which, we'll admit to enjoying just as much as adults) is made with real cheese, but all in one pot—so it's easier than the boxed stuff. How? Check out the recipe to find out!

Get the recipe for Easy-Peasy Stovetop Mac 'n Cheesy.

Get more mac and cheese recipes here.

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Slow Cooker Beef Tacos

slow cooker beef tacos
Becky Luigart-Stayner

One of our favorite responses to the picky-eater conundrum is make the meal a choose-your-own adventure. Slow-cook beef until it's fall-apart tender, then set out an array of toppings and your favorite tortillas, and everyone gets to include (or leave out) whatever they want!

Get the recipe for Slow Cooker Beef Tacos.


Loaded Potato Bar

loaded potato bar
Becky Luigart-Stayner

Another perfect picky-eater meal, we love to make a big batch of twice-baked potatoes and then everyone choose their toppings. Broccoli, sour cream, guac, mushrooms... there's no arguing when everyone gets to add what they want!

Get the recipe for Loaded Potato Bar.


Tortellini Meatball Soup with Crispy Panko Topping

tortellini meatball soup with crispy panko topping
Becky Luigart-Stayner

Here's a recipe to please both kids and adults. Cheesy tortellini and yummy meatballs are surefire hits, but the recipe has enough elegance to make mom and dad smile, too.

Get the recipe for Tortellini Meatball Soup with Crispy Panko Topping.

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Marinated Air Fryer Chicken Thighs

air fryer chicken thighs
Mike Garten

Bone-in chicken thighs come out moist and juicy every time, and this marinade is absolutely delicious (trust us!).

Get the recipe for Marinated Air Fryer Chicken Thighs.


Air Fried Bourbon BBQ-Glazed Pork Chops

air fried bourbon bbqglazed pork chops
Mike Garten

This homemade bbq sauce makes quick cooking chops so yummy they'll disappear from the plate in minutes!

Get the recipe for Air Fried Bourbon BBQ-Glazed Pork Chops.


Air Fryer Mac and Cheese with Cornflake Topping

air fryer mac and cheese with cornflake topping
Mike Garten

Baked mac & cheese is a surefire hit in our house, but making it can be time consuming. Not with an air-fryer though!

Get the recipe for Air Fryer Mac and Cheese with Cornflake Topping.

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Crispy Gnocchi with Sausage and Sage Brown Butter

crispy gnocchi with sausage and sage brown butter
Hector M. Sanchez

Pillowy puffs of potato pasta are kid-faves. Rich brown butter and sautéed sausage make this comforting meal a delight for the whole fam.

Get the recipe for Crispy Gnocchi with Sausage and Sage Brown Butter.


The Smartest, Tastiest Chicken Quesadillas

the smartest, tastiest way to make chicken quesadillas
Ian Palmer

The secret to these super delicious, easy-as-pie weeknight quesadillas? A quick sauce made from flour and stock flavors the cooked veggies and helps them to stick together, so they don't fall out as you're eating.

Get the recipe for Chicken Quesadillas.


Sesame Chicken Meatballs

two servings of sesame chicken meatballs over rice
Ian Palmer

Why are meatballs such a fun food? These playful spheres are dressed in a sweet honey-ginger sauce, just like the the take-out they're inspired by, for a kid-friendly food that adults will like, too.

Get the recipe for Sesame Chicken Meatballs.

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Sweet-and-Sour Chicken Meatballs

sweet and sour chicken meatballs
Ian Palmer

We also turned an even sweeter takeout classic, sweet and sour chicken, into a meatball. Who can resist that? (You're welcome.)

Get the recipe for Sweet-and-Sour Chicken Meatballs.


Swedish Meatballs with Chicken

swedish meatballs with chicken
Ian Palmer

But of course the all-time best meatball is the Swedish variety. You can make these with beef but we think ground chicken tastes every bit as good, and is a bit healthier.

Get the recipe for Swedish Meatballs.

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