15 Skillet Recipes That Make the Best Dinner Ideas

Posted: October 22, 2021 10:50 am

Skillet recipes are the ultimate kitchen convenience. Dinner prep and cook time are much faster; clean-up is much easier; and, they do a good job of making sure everyone gets a hot meal in their tummy, no matter how busy the day is (yay!).

But, maybe lately skillet recipes have become a little too convenient. Maybe you have to cut some corners here and there to make up for a lack of ingredients, or you let the same recipe sit in the rotation for way too long, and your skillet game has gotten a little… well, let’s just say it. It’s gotten boring (boo!).

Well, fear not, for we have the cure for what’s ailing your culinary creative juices.

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These 15 dinner ideas are one skillet recipe wonders, with updated takes on flavor combinations and call-outs for the freshest and most flavorful ingredients. The best part? They taste like gourmet masterpieces while still being so easy! And they’re so perfect for fall, don’t be surprised if one (or more!) are the new weekly favorite.

1 – One Pan Chicken Enchilada Skillet Recipe

Let’s kick this off with a super-fast one-skillet take on a Mexican classic that everyone loves: enchiladas. This recipe uses ready-made flour tortillas cut into strips and then mixed into the sauce so you hardly even notice they aren’t individually wrapped in the traditional, more time-consuming method. This recipe may also be the fastest on our list, with the whole thing coming together in about ten minutes. Want to try this one-pan chicken enchilada skillet? Of course you do. Find this skillet recipe here. Hint: the recipe says the guacamole is optional — it’s not! Whip up a homemade batch, or use your favorite store-bought version, but either way, don’t leave it out.

2 – One Pan Garlic Chicken Pesto Pasta Skillet Recipe

You’d think anything that had garlic, chicken, pesto, and pasta in the name would be delicious, and you’d probably be right. This is an easy skillet recipe go-to that everyone loves. Or rather, used to love. Because who are we kidding, garlic chicken can be a little overplayed, right? But this recipe for one-pan garlic chicken pesto pasta, found here, puts life back in an old standby. You can certainly use a jar of pre-made pesto sauce, but if you can find the extra five minutes to whip up a fresh batch (try this fast recipe from bon appetit!), this recipe is next-level. Fresh basil is always the way to go. Hint: you’ll need a food processor or blender! If you don’t have one, you now have the perfect excuse to get one.

3 – One Skillet Vegetable Lasagna

Chef Gordon Ramsay may be famous for his carbonara, but he put a skillet lasagna on the map that deserves just as much love. This option removes the meat for our vegetarians out there, which you don’t even miss in this rich, flavorful, cheesy, saucy awesomeness. Bonus: this is a great option for a healthy skillet recipe that still has enough substance to be perfect for fall. A serving of this lasagna packs a whopping 21 grams of protein, and only 384 calories. Perfect a few hours before a workout! See the skillet recipe here.

4 – Stovetop Skillet Pizza

What list of food is complete without pizza? Pizza could find a way to be an answer on every list about food because… well, because. It’s pizza. And pizza is the best thing ever. There are other recipes out there that have you transferring the skillet to the oven, but not this one. This is a true one-skillet assemble, cook, finish, and serve, all from the stovetop. This method is especially nice in summertime when using your oven might cause a heat stroke. This recipe (click here to be linked) also works perfect for one or two people. If there are more, just double the recipe quantities (or triple!). For devotees of the broiled cheese: at the end, there actually are broiling instructions for after cooking, to brown the top of the skillet pizza.

5 – Skillet Shepherd’s Pie

Hamburger Casseroles are a popular dish to make in a skillet, so if you’re in the mood for something like that, this recipe, which you can find here, more than satisfies that craving while taking it up a notch in a few different ways. The key to this recipe going from pretty good to oh my god is the two “test kitchen tips” outlined in red after the instructions. Make those two substitutions and the flavors in this dish become so much more vibrant. Using ground lamb instead of ground beef not only offers a richer, more interesting flavor, it’s authentic to the dish. Few skillet dinners are as perfect for fall as skillet shepherd’s pie. Note: ground turkey also works great with Shepherd’s pie, for a lean and healthy skillet recipe idea.

6 – Savory Pudding, Sausage, and Tomatoes Skillet Recipe

If you’re English or a fan of English cuisine, this is right up your alley. This is inspired by a dish called toad-in-the-hole, which is sausages in Yorkshire pudding batter served with vegetables and onion gravy. The hardest part of this recipe is mixing the batter, and that’s easy. Once that’s done, just pour it over your seared sausages right in their pan and bake the whole thing. This recipe is a little on the older side, but just like Martha herself, it stands the test of time. And what a conversation piece! Find Martha’s version here.

7 – Skillet Pork Chops with Apples

Oprah is single-handedly responsible for many people’s favorite things, and this could be another! This is one of those dishes just thinking about makes your mouth water. Wait until you see the picture and skillet recipe, right here. This recipe takes an already-delicious dish and adds some complexity with the shallots and white wine. It’s a really fun and indulgent take on classic comfort food. Thanks, Oprah! Note: if you prefer to avoid cooking with alcohol, you can substitute the white wine with apple cider vinegar, or the beer with club soda or sparkling water.

8 – Tuscan Mac & Cheese Skillet Recipe

Who doesn’t love macaroni and cheese? It’s a love affair that starts in childhood and continues throughout life. In adulthood, we (hopefully) branched out from Kraft’s signature one-pot meal and discovered adult-friendly versions delicious in their own way. This recipe from Delish (here) is a standout because it’s so much more than the typical three or four kinds of cheese baked under some crushed crackers or bread crumbs. Roasted red peppers, spinach, and baby mushrooms add depth to the flavor profile in such a sophisticated way. Mac & cheese is so ubiquitous with kid-friendly cooking, it’s hard to imagine it could ever be elegant. This comes together so quickly and easily, and everyone you serve it to will love it.

9 – One Pan Creamy Chicken and Rice Skillet Recipe

Peanut butter and jelly. French fries and ketchup. Chicken and rice. Some things are just better together. Chicken and rice are definitely two of them, and they partner in such a seamless way that few other ingredients are needed. This skillet recipe from Girl Gone Gourmet uses shallots and a splash of white wine (easily substituted!) for a touch of sophistication. And the best part? No canned soup for the creamy base. Instead, it’s real heavy cream and freshly grated Gruyere cheese.

10 – Vegetable Stir Fry

Stir fries are traditionally made in woks, which are deeper and rounder than skillets. And while woks are fun, they certainly aren’t required as a stir fry can just as easily come together in a frying pan or skillet. This recipe from famed chef Emeril Lagasse uses a large array of brightly colored veggies that look like edible artwork on a background of Jasmine rice. It’s also super versatile and can easily accommodate a protein of your choosing.

11 – Quick and Easy Skillet Paella Recipe

It wouldn’t do to have a list of delicious skillet dinners perfect for fall without including the beloved Spanish dish, paella. In case you didn’t know, paella is a rice dish that includes some type of protein, herbs and spices, and a delicious toasty crust similar to the tahdig common in Persian food. It’s not uncommon to use a variety of proteins, and this recipe illustrates that with its use of chicken, shrimp, and turkey. And nothing takes rice to the next level like saffron. It’s not the cheapest ingredient, but it’s inarguably worth it. Get the recipe here.

12 – Blackened Fish Sandwich With Avocado and Cabbage Recipe

This easy skillet recipe, found here, may not cook entirely in a skillet like the others on this list, but it is so delicious, and such a great way to transition sandwiches from summer to fall, it couldn’t be left out. A cast iron skillet is best for this recipe, which you’ll use to blacken tilapia or catfish. Once that’s done, just assemble the sandwich! The blackening technique, avocado, red cabbage, and pickled onions create a flavor profile more than worthy of a home-cooked fall dinner for friends (or yourself!).

13 – Creamy Mushroom and Spinach Gnocchi Skillet Recipe

Gnocchi is amazing. Don’t let the complicated spelling deter you — learn how to say it so you can order it and buy it and eat it to your heart’s content. It’s easy: “NYOH-kee”. That’s it! Similar to dumplings in texture, they’re made from a potato-based dough. This recipe calls for store-bought gnocchi but they’re super easy to make from scratch (here’s a quick and easy recipe if you want to give it a try). Hint: be sure and get a wedge of fresh parmesan cheese and grate it at home. It’s a teeny bit of extra work for a huge payoff. Click here to get the recipe.

14 – One Pan Steak Dinner (or Honey Mustard Steaks)

The print version of this skillet recipe is here, but the chef who created this amazing dish also has a YouTube channel and you can watch or follow along via video if you prefer that option. Here’s the link to the video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1zzrg8ADuaM. He’s a little irreverent, but hilarious, and really fun to watch cook. Don’t be intimidated by the ingredients; they may sound a little more complicated and may not be sitting in your cupboard with the salt and pepper, but the first bite of this makes that extra trip to the store more than worth it. Once you have all the ingredients, it’s an easy enough recipe to work into a regular rotation, but it’s great for a special occasion too. If you’re a steak lover, this might be your new favorite.

15 – Chorizo Sweet Potato Skillet Recipe

If you’re one of the many people that has a hard time choosing between savory and sweet, and in fact enjoy both together, this is the perfect skillet recipe for you. Whether you’re familiar with chorizo or don’t even know what it is (it’s a spicy Mexican sausage!), you’re sure to love the sweet and savory flavor combination of chorizo cooked with the perfect fall root vegetable, sweet potatoes. The quality of the chorizo will make or break this dish, so it’s worth a trip to a butcher to get the best quality beef or pork you can find. The sharpness of the meat, cheese, rice, and beans is complemented perfectly by the softness of the sweet potato. This cozy dish not only tastes like fall, but looks like it too. You can find it here.

Any of these skillet recipes are sure to delight anyone’s taste buds. And with low prep times and easy clean ups, you’re in and out of the kitchen quickly, all primed to enjoy your evening with a delicious dinner in your belly. If you’ve never tried a skillet recipe, now’s the time! You won’t go wrong with any recipe on this list.

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