Sometimes figuring out what to cook for date night is harder than the actual cooking itself. Finding a meal that’s easy and fun to cook, affordable, and most importantly, delicious, can be a challenge. Oftentimes it can be so much of a challenge that we opt to just order in. However, we compiled the best date night recipes that meet all of the above criteria. Getting creative in the kitchen can make date night more fun and having themes to revolve your meal around is sometimes the most perfect date. But, other times just whipping up a quick, yet delectable, meal is the way to go for date night. You won’t want to ever stop cooking with your beau after trying these recipes. 

1. Charcuterie Board

Ali McCarthy

There is no better way to kick off date night than crafting together a charcuterie board with your date. This guide to making a charcuterie board will set your date night up perfectly. It’s fun to get creative together and make the board, while it’s also amazing to have something to munch on while you’re cheffin’ up the main dish.

2. Butternut Squash Soup

If you make this with your date, you are guaranteed to impress them with your cooking skills. This soup is flavorful, filling, and is a perfect side to pair with any of the entrees mentioned.

3. Vietnamese Summer Rolls 

These Vietnamese summer rolls are a perfect meal for your date night in. You can each fill your roll with whatever you want personally, from an assortment of veggies and meats, to noodles and nuts. You can set everything up buffet style to fill your rolls however you'd like.

4. Baked Feta Pasta 

If you didn’t make this recipe at some point over the pandemic, where were you? We’re here to report back that this dish is delicious, easy to make, and done in under an hour. All you need is olive oil, fresh tomatoes, a block of feta, garlic, pasta, and seasonings like basil, oregano, garlic salt, and pepper. It’s quick, easy, and absolutely delicious. This dish is a crowd pleaser, and is affordable for two broke college love-birds. 

5. DIY Pizzas

Making a pizza together is romantic and tasty. This spicy Mexican-style cauliflower pizza crust recipe is a great way to make a creative crust. Top the crust with tomato sauce, cheese, pepperoni, olives, banana peppers, onions, or whatever you and your date are craving. Either make one big pizza together, or work on your own next to each other — you can't go wrong either way. Pop ‘em in the oven, and sip on some cabernet while your ‘zas are roasting. 

6. Crispy Gochujang-Glazed Sweet Potato Tacos

Photo by Emily Dorio

This dish is a mouthful — literally! These delicious tacos might take a little longer than some of the other recipes, but let me tell you, it’s worth the wait. Full of flavors and a sweet yet spicy kick, there is no doubt in our minds that this dish won’t impress you or your date. Pair these tacos with a margarita and you have transported to the beaches of Mexico.

7. Pad Thai

As far as comfort food goes, pad Thai is probably at the top of my list for winter comfort foods. This recipe is relatively easy to make, filled with flavors, and won’t disappoint. With a date it’s even more fun so you can chop away together, and stir the pot with a buddy.

8. Fettuccine Alfredo 

Nothing screams date night like a fettuccine alfredo does. Creamy, delicious, and fun to make with a date, this is the perfect dinner this winter!

9. One Pan Shoyu Garlic Glazed Salmon 

If you really want to impress your date, this meal is the one for you. Although it might sound intimidating, it’s fairly easy to cook, and all you need is one pan.

10. Chana Masala

Photo by Sanam Patel

If you want a real kick of spice for date night, try making this chickpea curry dish. The longest part about this recipe is chopping up all of the fresh vegetables, but that’s the fun in having a date — to do it together. Bonus points if you use a heart shaped baking dish like they use in the recipe, it’ll take date night to the next level.

11. Steak 

Impress your date by putting together a nice steak dinner. With a few ingredients, a few minutes on the stovetop, and some butter basting, boom — you have yourself a tasty steak for two. 

12. Caramelized Red Onion Pasta

Photo by Michał Korkosz

This caramelized onion pasta dish doesn’t take too long to whip up and will leave you in the best food coma. The sweet caramelized red onions, fresh cheese, and herbs come together to create the quintessential pasta for your date night.

13. Buffalo Wings

These crispy spicy baked wings take little effort to make and sides like carrots and celery sticks to dip into ranch or blue cheese make it more of a meal. Turn on Hot Ones and have a wing-inspired date night in!

14. Chocolate-Covered Strawberries

What’s more romantic than dipping fresh strawberries in chocolate, and feeding them to each other afterwards? This recipe is the perfect way to end your date night, and it gives all the tips you need to keep the kitchen clean while doing so.

15. Trader Joe's Sweet Treats 

After an evening full of cooking, eating, and cleaning, the last thing you and your date want to do is start it all over again. That’s why Trader Joe's desserts exist. The cookie butter cheesecake bites are heaven in a bite, and the hold the cone mini ice cream cones are a fan favorite.