20 One-Pot Meal Ideas For Busy Weeknight Dinners

Simplify your weeknight cooking routine with 20 One-Pot Meal Ideas for Busy Weeknight Dinners. These easy and delicious recipes minimize cleanup while maximizing flavor, making dinner a stress-free affair.

5 Tasty ONE-POT Meals | What’s For DINNER?
One-pot meals are a convenient solution for busy weeknights as they require minimal cleanup.
Incorporating a variety of ingredients and flavors into one dish can result in delicious and satisfying meals.
Utilizing different cooking methods like simmering, sautéing, or baking can add depth and complexity to one-pot meals.
Adding herbs, spices, and seasonings can enhance the overall taste and make your one-pot meals more flavorful.
Experiment with different combinations of proteins, vegetables, and grains to create unique and balanced one-pot meals.
Batch cooking and meal prepping one-pot meals can save time and provide ready-to-eat options throughout the week.
Don’t be afraid to customize one-pot meal recipes to suit your dietary preferences and restrictions.

For even more time-saving meal options, check out 15 time-saving kitchen tools every home cook needs or learn mastering the art of slow cooking.

One Pan Roasted Chicken and Veggies

A cast iron skillet is the best type of pan to use for this one-pan meal. The thick metal conducts heat evenly, and it’s great for searing meat and vegetables.

In order to make sure your chicken cooks in time with your veggies, add them to the pan in order of how long they take to cook the green beans should go in first because they take less time than broccoli or carrots. 

Give them a chance to brown before adding anything else on top of them. Once they’ve softened up a bit, you can add more liquid (like chicken broth) and let it steam while everything else finishes cooking.

When you’re ready to serve yourself a portion of this delicious dinner, just scoop up some veggies as well as some tender white meat with each bite!

If you’re a busy home cook looking to save time in the kitchen, don’t miss out on our list of 15 time-saving kitchen tools that every home cook needs. These tools will help streamline your cooking process and make weeknight dinners a breeze.

Sausage and Kale Pasta Primavera

Prep time: 20 minutes | Cook time: 20 minutes | Total time: 40 minutes | 6 servings


1 pound gluten-free pasta, such as penne or rotini (about 4 cups)

2 cups baby kale leaves, chopped (4 ounces)

1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil  

1 pound Italian chicken sausage links, casings removed 

1 medium yellow onion, chopped into bite-size pieces (10 ounces)  

2 garlic cloves, thinly sliced crosswise

4 tablespoons butter or olive oil in total (2 tablespoons each)

1/2 cup white wine or vermouth plus 2 cups water or vegetable broth if not making vegan pasta primavera with tofu instead of meat products

Taco Noodle Skillet

Heat a large skillet over medium heat and add the oil, onion, bell pepper, and garlic to the pan. Cook until tender but not browned, 5 to 7 minutes.

Add the ground turkey (or beef) and cook until lightly browned all over, breaking up any clumps with a spatula as it cooks (about 5 minutes). 

If you want to make this dish vegetarian-friendly, substitute vegetable protein crumbles for the meat of your choice just be sure to drain them first!

Add ¼ cup water if needed; this will help keep everything from sticking or drying out while you’re cooking it through plus, it’ll give some moisture back into the vegetables at this point too! Cover with a lid so that steam helps soften everything even more in these next few steps…

Leftovers can be a great way to save time and reduce food waste. Discover 17 smart ways to use leftovers in your meal planning, and unlock the potential of leftover ingredients for delicious and efficient meals.

Sweet Potato Enchiladas

Use sweet potato tortillas instead of flour. They have less starch and are easier to digest, which means you can scarf down more enchiladas!

Use red bell peppers instead of green (and spinach instead of beans). Red bell peppers are sweeter than green ones, so they won’t be as acidic or spicy. Plus, adding a healthy salad to your plate will help balance out all the carbs you just ate.

Use corn tortillas instead of flour ones—you might be inspired by this article about how corn is actually good for us!

Use enchilada sauce instead of salsa when making your sauce base; it’s much healthier since it doesn’t have any preservatives in it like salsa does (but if you really want a kick then go ahead and add some jalapeños!).

Lemon Pepper Pasta with Asparagus and Bacon

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil on the stovetop.

While the water is heating up, chop and slice your vegetables, herbs and bacon into bite-sized pieces so that everything will cook quickly once added to the pot. You can also throw in some whole peeled tomatoes (canned or fresh) for extra flavor and color.

Once you’ve got all of your ingredients prepped, pour them into the pot with 2 quarts of cold water as soon as it reaches a rolling boil; add salt and pepper to taste at this point as well if desired just remember that pasta should always be seasoned after cooking since excess salt will make it more difficult for sauce or oil to adhere later on!

Take your meal planning skills to the next level with our secrets of meal planning like a pro. Learn the strategies and techniques that experts use to save time, money, and stress in the kitchen.

One Pot Barbecue Chicken Burrito Bowls

In a large pot, cook the rice according to the package instructions. Once it’s done and fully cooked, set aside to cool completely.

In another smaller pot, heat olive oil and cook the chicken breast until just cooked through. Remove from the heat and shred with two forks or by hand. Set aside

Add remaining ingredients except for avocado into the large pot of cooked rice then mix everything together well. Add more salt (or pepper) if desired!

Scoop onto plates then top with shredded cheese, sliced avocado pieces, chopped green onions and cilantro leaves if you wish!

Teriyaki Chicken Rice Bowls With Broccoli

In a large skillet, heat 1 tablespoon of vegetable oil over medium-high heat. Add chicken and cook until browned, about 4 minutes per side; set aside.

Add chopped broccoli to the same pan (no need to wash it) and saute for 2–3 minutes, until bright green but still crisp; set aside.

Return chicken to the pan with another drizzle of oil if not using nonstick spray and cook for another minute or so each side until cooked through; set aside again

Add cooked rice back into the pan along with soy sauce mixture (soy sauce through sesame oil), stir well until everything is coated in sauce

Fettuccine Alfredo with Roasted Shrimp and Broccoli

  • 4 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 pound shrimp, peeled and deveined
  • 3 cups broccoli florets
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 2 tablespoons butter (cut into cubes)
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Cook pasta according to package directions. Drain and set aside. Meanwhile in a large skillet over medium-high heat, add oil. Once hot add shrimp to pan and cook for 2 minutes on each side until golden brown; set aside. 

Add broccoli florets to saucepan with remaining ingredients except for butter; season with salt & pepper then stir together over medium heat until sauce thickens slightly, about 6 minutes or so. 

Turn off heat then add cooked pasta back into the pan along with shrimp (you can also add spinach if you’d like). Serve warm!

Save time and money with our collection of meal planning tricks. These tips and strategies will help you make the most out of your meal planning efforts, ensuring efficient and budget-friendly weeknight dinners.

Lentil Sloppy Joes

Lentils are an excellent source of protein and fiber, which makes them a great meat substitute. Not only will they help keep you full, but they’re also easy on your wallet—lentils cost less than $1 per pound.

Lentil Sloppy Joes are a healthy alternative to the traditional version because they have no bread crumbs or buns, and we use ground turkey instead of beef (although you could also use ground beef). 

The sloppy joes also have no added sugar, so if you have kids too picky for sweet sauces like ketchup or barbecue sauce then this is perfect!

One Pan Salmon and Asparagus Dinner

The next time you need a quick dinner that’s sure to please, try out this salmon and asparagus dinner. 

The ingredients are simple and easy to find, the preparation requires less than 30 minutes, and it makes for a healthy dish that everyone will enjoy. Here’s how to make it:

  • In a large skillet over medium-high heat, melt butter until foamy. Add garlic; cook until fragrant (about 1 minute).
  • Add spinach; cook for about 2 minutes or until wilted. Season with salt and pepper. Remove from heat.
  • Place fish fillets on top of the spinach mixture in the pan; season with salt and pepper on both sides of each fillet.
  • Drizzle balsamic vinegar over all four sides of each fish fillet; place asparagus spears around salmon fillets in one layer around them (no overlapping!). Cook for about 4 minutes per side or until desired doneness is reached (for thinner pieces of fish like tilapia or cod move fast!). Serve immediately!

Creamy Basil Pesto Chicken Pasta Bake


  • 2 tablespoons olive oil, divided
  • 1 pound boneless skinless chicken breasts, cut into bite-sized pieces
  • 1 teaspoon dried basil
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream (optional)
  • 12 ounces uncooked penne pasta, cooked according to package directions


In a large skillet over medium-high heat, heat half the olive oil until shimmering. Add chicken and sprinkle with basil. 

Cook until no longer pink in the center, about 6 minutes per side. Remove from pan and set aside while you make your sauce in the same pan (you may need to add more oil). Cook garlic for just a few seconds or until fragrant then stir in cream or milk if using. 

Simmer for 5-10 minutes or until thickened slightly then add cooked chicken back to sauce along with remaining tablespoon of olive oil and any juices that have accumulated around it on plate when setting aside earlier. 

Stir together well before pouring over prepared pasta and serving warm!

Thai Coconut Curry Ramen Noodles With Chickpeas

Add chicken, chickpeas and coconut milk to a large pot. Add 1 cup of water. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer for about 20 minutes until the noodles are tender. Season with salt and pepper and add lime juice if you like!

Chickpea Cauliflower Rice Curry

This one-pot meal is perfect for weekday dinners, but feel free to make it any day of the week. It’s packed with lean protein and fiber, so it will keep you full and energized all night long. 

Plus, the coconut milk adds a subtle sweetness that’s sure to satisfy your sweet tooth.


1 tablespoon olive oil or coconut oil

1 white onion or yellow onion, diced

2 teaspoons curry powder (or more if you like spicy food)

1 teaspoon turmeric powder (this gives the dish its vibrant yellow color)


Now that you’re armed with 20 easy one-pot meal ideas, it’s time to get cooking! Try out a few of these recipes over the next few weeks and see what works for your family. 

If there are still leftovers, throw them in a Tupperware container and take them for lunch tomorrow. Or if you have more space in your fridge, make another batch of something delicious from our list above! 

The best thing about these dishes is they don’t require any fancy equipment just pantry staples like olive oil, salt and pepper so anyone with some time can whip up their own tasty dish without breaking the bank on new equipment or ingredients. 

What do you think? Do any of these meals sound good enough to eat right now? We hope so! Happy eating, everyone.

Further Reading

Here are some additional resources for exploring more one-pot meal ideas:

Discover a collection of delicious one-pot meal recipes from Taste of Home, perfect for easy weeknight dinners that require minimal cleanup.

Check out Budget Bytes’ selection of one-pot recipes that are not only tasty but also budget-friendly, offering a variety of options for quick and convenient meals.

Explore MyRecipes’ assortment of one-dish weeknight dinners, providing a range of simple and flavorful recipes to suit different tastes and preferences.


What are the benefits of cooking one-pot meals?

One-pot meals offer several benefits, such as:

  • Simplified cooking process with fewer dishes to clean up.
  • Time-saving, as you can prepare and cook everything in a single pot.
  • Enhanced flavors, as ingredients cook together and exchange flavors.

Can I modify one-pot recipes to suit dietary restrictions or preferences?

Yes, one-pot recipes are often versatile and can be modified to accommodate various dietary restrictions or personal preferences. You can substitute or omit ingredients as needed, ensuring the recipe aligns with your specific requirements.

Are one-pot meals suitable for meal prepping?

Absolutely! One-pot meals can be great for meal prepping. You can make a larger batch and store leftovers for future meals, saving time and effort throughout the week. Just remember to properly store and reheat the meals to maintain freshness and quality.

How do I prevent ingredients from overcooking in a one-pot meal?

To prevent overcooking, it’s important to add ingredients in the proper order. Start with ingredients that take longer to cook and gradually add others that require less cooking time. Additionally, keeping the heat at a moderate level and occasionally stirring can help distribute heat evenly.

Can I freeze one-pot meals for later use?

Yes, many one-pot meals can be frozen for later use. However, it’s essential to follow proper freezing and thawing techniques. Allow the cooked meal to cool completely before transferring it to freezer-safe containers, and label and date them for easy identification. When reheating, ensure it reaches a safe internal temperature throughout.