Last Minute Dinner Ideas for Picky Eaters

25 Scrumptious Last-Minute Dinner Ideas For Picky Eaters

Picky eaters are the hardest to impress! So if you are a picky eater yourself or have a picky eater to feed at home, then this article is for you. In this article, I have picked up some of the most amazing last-minute dinner ideas for picky eaters. 

Creamy-baked spaghetti, oven-baked hot dogs, grilled cheese sandwiches, and pizza pasta bake are some of my favorite dinner ideas for picky eaters. Cooking for picky eaters can be a little difficult at times. However, this article will make that task a little easier!

In this article, I tried to include both vegetarian and non-vegetarian recipes. So even if you are cooking for a vegetarian or vegan person, you can cook something amazing for them. 

 With these yummy recipes, you can make your very picky eaters not so picky! These recipes are curated in such a way that they include different tastes that would be suitable for everyone. So read on and find out which one your family would love.

Last Minute Dinner Ideas For Picky Eaters

Here are some of the best recipes you could try cooking for your picky eaters. Most of these are easy to make and have a very pleasing taste which everyone would love! However, choose the suitable one according to your preference. 

1. Creamy Baked Spaghetti 

Creamy Baked Spaghetti
Image Credit – buns in my oven

If it’s a laid-back afternoon and you are looking for last minute dinner ideas for picky eaters, try this baked spaghetti. It has a very mild yet vibrant taste. With a punch of delicious sauces and a little creaminess, this dish is a must-try for everyone. 

The making process and the ingredients needed to make this dish are quite easily available. Start off by cooking the noodles. To this, add sauces and cooked beef! Mix everything well and add the cheese.

 Add cheese, sour cream, and cottage cheese, and make the recipe so creamy that no one would dare ask you for more cheese! Bake it and enjoy it with your friends and family.

Get The Recipe Here – buns in my oven

2. Chicken Nuggets 

Chicken Nuggets
Image Credit – thriving home

Having a picky eater at home can be a little irritating sometimes. If they are in the mood to have something from outside, make sure to give them this chicken nugget. Chicken nuggets are a great last-minute dinner for picky eaters and can be prepared in just 30 minutes.

Store-bought, frozen chicken nuggets are definitely an option. But the ingredients in it can be a little confusing. So if you have some chicken left in your fridge, try this easy chicken nugget recipe. For this recipe, you will only need a handful of ingredients. 

Panko, seasonings, chicken, and some cheese? Mix all of that together and make small chicken balls from it. Fry it in the oil, and enjoy it with your favorite sauce!

Get The Recipe Here – thriving home

3. Oven Baked Hot Dogs

Oven baked hot dogs
Image Credit – my forking life

Hot dogs are something everyone would love. So if you have only a little time on your hands, then try this oven-baked hot dog. It is extremely easy to make. Hot dogs are one of those foods that everyone would love and are a great dinner idea for picky eaters.

So if you are really worried about what to cook, try this oven-baked hot dog. To make this recipe, place the hot dogs in the oven and bake them for some time. While it’s getting ready, make the sauce you want to add!

Place the baked hot dogs in between the bread. Add some dipping sauce in between them, place the baked hot dogs, and have it!

Get The Recipe Here – my forking life

4. Cheeseburger And Fries Casserole 

Cheeseburger And Fries Casserole
Image Credit – Easy Budget Recipes

If you have some kids coming over for dinner, then it is best to try this cheeseburger and fries casserole. It’s filling and tasty, and it combines two of our favorite food items: french fries and cheesy meat gravy!

I often make this a little ahead of time before my guest arrives. Since we are talking about picky eaters here, let me give you a small tip. Let them mix the fries and cheese according to their liking, rather than you doing it for them. 

There are very few dinner recipes that are this easy to create. To make this recipe, just cook some french fries and ground beef gravy. Layer the fries over the beef gravy, top it off with lots of cheese, and just bake!

Get The Recipe Here – Easy Budget Recipes

5. Grilled Cheese Sandwich

Grilled Cheese Sandwich
Image Credit – The Recipe Critic

If you are trying too hard to impress your picky eater guest with distinguished dishes yet are failing miserably, I think you need to go back to basics. People could hate a slow-cooked beef ragu, but not an easy grilled cheese sandwich!

I mean, who hates a sandwich? When nothing else works, going back to basics is something you can apply to cooking too! Well, I hope everyone knows how to make a sandwich. Still, if you are looking for a last minute dinner idea for picky eaters, refer to the site below!

 For making this recipe, just mix some mayonnaise, sauces, and seasonings in a bowl and spread a lot of cheese. Take a spoonful of this mixture and spread it between the bread. Toast it and serve it with your favorite dipping!

Get The Recipe Here – The Recipe Critic

6. Mini Chicago Hot Dog Slider 

Mini Chicago Hot Dog Slider
Image Credit – Bon Appeteach

Chicago sliders are quite famous and are loved by most people. But if you think Chicago hot dog sliders are too common to offer to a picky eater, try the mini version!  It’s much more convenient and easy to eat, and it looks adorable!

This dish cannot be completely categorized under the dinner menu, but if you want to serve an appetizer before dinner, look no further! Chicago is undoubtedly known for their classic dishes like pizza and sandwiches, but these hot dog sliders would stand out as one of the best dishes. 

To make this recipe, just bake some buns. Cook some smoky hot dogs. While it’s getting ready, prepare the toppings. Serve hotdogs and toppings between two bread slices, add some mustard sauce to it, and have it! Isn’t this an easy dinner idea for picky eaters? I think it is!

Get The Recipe Here – Bon Appeteach

7. Fried Chicken

Fried Chicken
Image Credit – House of Nash Eats

Fried chicken for dinner is something we all love! So if you are looking for an easy dish to make this Sunday, try this popular recipe for Southern fried chicken. 

I know, you might have had multiple kinds of fried chicken before this but this one is a classic recipe and is worth trying! With its crispy outer covering and spicy and juicy inner part, this fried chicken will be a good option to try on a Sunday night. 

Just like all other fried chicken recipes, the most important thing to keep in mind is that the longer you marinate the chicken the better it will taste. So if you are planning to make the dish, start preparing ahead of time. 

Get The Recipe Here – House of Nash Eats 

8. Baked Ravioli 

Baked Ravioli
Image Credit – Midwest Foodie

Pasta is undoubtedly one of the best meals to have at any time of the day. But impressing a picky eater with some regular pasta dishes can be hard. So if you have some ravioli with you, make sure to try this baked ravioli recipe. 

If you have just twenty minutes on hand, make sure to try this recipe. The best part about this recipe is that you don’t have to cook ravioli and other ingredients separately. Cooking together makes our cooking process much easier and more fun.

To make this recipe, add spinach, pasta sauce, oregano, thyme, garlic powder, parmesan cheese, ravioli, salt, and pepper to a casserole. Add some water to it and cook until the ravioli are well cooked. Spread some cheese on top of it and serve!

Get The Recipe Here – Midwest Foodie

9. Cheeseburger Sliders

Cheeseburger Slider
Image Credit – Vindulge

Cheeseburgers are something everyone would love. So if you are looking for last-minute dinner ideas for picky eaters, then make sure to try this easy cheeseburger slider. More cheeseburger sliders demand a lot of time, but not this recipe. 

There is something special about classic dishes like cheeseburgers. It’s juicy, creamy, and has the solid taste of beef patties. If you are planning to make this recipe, make sure to cook it ahead of time and just heat it before serving.

For this recipe, start by cooking the beef. Add some onion and seasoning to it to make it more tasty. Just cut some bread, add some cheese in between two slices along with the beef patties, and warm it until the cheese is well melted.

Get The Recipe Here – Vindulge

10. Macaroni And Cheese 

Macroni And Cheese
Image Credit – theBakerMama

Looking for an easy dinner idea for picky eaters to cook in under 20 minutes? Why don’t you try some mac and cheese? If you are thinking it’s too common to cook, then let me remind you that it’s something most picky eaters would like because it contains the fewest ingredients. 

Just as their name suggests, macaroni and cheese are filled with so many creamy and cheesy flavors that no one would hate them! Also, if you cook this for dinner, it could easily be used as a morning breakfast.

For  this recipe, cook the macaroni according to the package instructions. In a bowl, mix some onion powder, flour, salt, and pepper. Heat some butter in a pan and cook this flour mix in it. Slowly add milk to it until it thickens. 

To this, add a lot of cheese. Add more salt and pepper to this to adjust the taste. Add the cooked macaroni to this and mix everything well! 

Get The Recipe Here – theBakerMama

11. Beef Quesadilla 

Beef Quesadilla
Image Credit – Chelsea’s Messy Apron

Not in the mood to cook something usual? I get it; that’s why I bought this really special Mexican dish here for you. If you’ve already had beef quesadillas before, you’ll know how tasty they are.

But if you are new to this dish, it’s nothing but some tortillas filled with cheese and sometimes vegetables or meat! Sounds easy, right? It is! But the taste it offers is something everyone would love, so it would be a great dinner idea for picky eaters. 

In a word, we can describe a beef quesadilla as nothing but an explosion of flavors. For this recipe, start by heating some tortillas. In a pan, add some oil, cook the vegetables and ground beef. Cook well, and serve hot!

Get The Recipe Here – Chelsea’s Messy Apron

12. Pizza Pasta Bake 

Pizza Pasta Bake
Image Credit – Salt & Lavender

Picky eaters are quite tricky. When you cook pizza, they ask for pasta, and when you have pasta, they want pizza! The situation might get even worse! So if you are looking for a last-minute dinner idea for a picky eater, include this pizza pasta bake recipe!

Does it taste like pizza? Yes! Does it taste like pasta? Again yes! There is no need to compromise on the dish they want or its taste. Moreover, this dish is quite tasty and extremely easy to make. 

To make this recipe, cook some pasta. Add some marinara sauce and pepperoni to it, and mix everything well. Spread this on a baking tray. Top it off with some cheese and leftover pepperoni. Bake for some time and serve warm!

Get The Recipe Here –  Salt & Lavender

13. Cheeseburger Biscuit Cups 

Cheeseburger Biscuit Cups
Image Credit – Together as family

If you have some little kids coming over for dinner, then you would be really puzzled regarding what to cook for them. If that’s the situation, then make sure to try this easy cheeseburger biscuit cup!

With its crispy outer layer and juicy and creamy inside, the cheeseburger biscuit is here to stay. It is one of the easiest and tastiest dinner recipes you can cook in under 30 minutes. For this recipe, make sure to grab some ground beef!

Cook the ground beef. Add sauces like Worcestershire sauce, brown sugar, ketchup, and mustard to it. Cook everything together. Add the biscuits to a muffin cup. Add a slice of cheese to it and place some beef gravy on it. Bake it and enjoy!

Get The Recipe Here –  Together as family

14. Chicken Burrito 

Chicken Burrito
Image Credit – recipetineats

I think, by far, we haven’t talked about many chicken dishes. Hence, here is a great chicken dish to try out! If you are looking for something that is quite filling and, on the other hand, easy to make, a burrito is what you should make!

Does the burrito need a special introduction? Anyone who loves Mexican cuisine would love this burrito for sure. So if you have some chicken, some seasonings, and rice, get ready to wrap up the day with this filling wrap. 

For this recipe, marinate the chicken in some cayenne pepper, onion powder, salt, and pepper. Fry it in a skillet. In the same pan, cook some onions, garlic, and capsicum. Add the beans and chicken to this and mix well. Fill up the tortillas with the mix and enjoy!

Get The Recipe Here – recipetineats

15. BBQ Cheddar Meatloaf 

BBQ Cheddar Meatloaf
Image Credit – soulfully made

Bringing new flavors to the table is hard. But if you are planning to introduce some new tastes to picky eaters, it can be harder. But there is no way anyone could hate this BBQ cheddar meatloaf, and that’s why I think this recipe works great as a dinner idea for picky eaters.

This is one of those meals my family enjoys. Meatloaf in itself is a little heavy. However, if you are not in the mood to make an elaborate dinner, try this mini meatloaf. It has a delicious taste of cheese, meat, and bacon and is a great dish to impress everyone.

This meatloaf recipe contains all the same regular ingredients as all meatloaf recipes. Breadcrumbs, spices, eggs, sauces, ground meat, etc. But what makes this recipe so special is the little switch it makes.

Have you ever tried chili sauce in place of ketchup? If not, this recipe holds a lot of such switches, which make it more delicious and stand out from the rest of the meatloaf recipes. So today, give this one a try!

Get The Recipe Here – soulfully made 

16. Walking Tacos 

Walking Tacos
Image Credit – The Girl Who Ate Everything

If you are looking for a recipe that you could take with you on a walk or a match night, then try the walking tacos. Tacos are something we are all familiar with! But have you tried mixing any kind of chip with some creamy beef gravy?

If your answer is yes, this recipe will help you perfect the dish; if it’s no, then you are going to thank me later for introducing this dish. For this dish, just empty half of your favorite chip packet.

Add the taco meat mix to it. Add the taco meat mix to it. Add all of your favorite seasonings. Mix everything well, add in some cheese, and enjoy! This can be customized according to one’s liking and is a great dinner idea for picky eaters.

Get The Recipe Here – The Girl Who Ate Everything

17. Fried Ravioli 

Fried Ravioli
Image Credit – Dinner At The Zoo

Just wanted to snack around or wanted to make some really good appetizers that are good enough to impress the picky eater at your home? If you have some ravioli pasta lying around, you are sorted!

Fried ravioli is nothing but ravioli pasta coated in some bread crumbs and seasoning and deep fried in oil. It’s crunchy on the outside and extremely flavorful, so much so that it would be hard to resist it when offered for the second time. 

Mix some eggs and milk in a bowl. In another bowl, take some bread crumbs along with your favorite seasonings. Take the cheesy ravioli, dip it in both bowls, and deep fry it in oil. Enjoy with some ketchup.

Get The Recipe Here – Dinner At The Zoo

18. Vegan Stuffed Shell 

Vegan Stuffed Shell
Image Credit – The Simple Veganista

Now that we have talked about dishes that are mostly prepared with meat, let’s look at a recipe that is vegetarian, or more specifically, vegan! If you are looking for dinner ideas for picky eaters who are vegan, this could be the dish they will love for the rest of their lives.

Not just vegetarians; everyone who loves the stuffed shell would love this recipe. It comes with the goodness of spinach, the cheesy taste of ricotta, and the most comforting taste and aroma of pasta sauce!

So if you are looking for a comfortable meal, try this recipe. Just cook the pasta according to the package instructions and combine some ricotta cheese with some spinach. Spread some pasta sauce over the bottom of the baking tray.

Spread the pasta shells over it and fill it with the spinach ricotta mix. Bake it for some time and serve it warm with some freshly chopped vegetables.

Get The Recipe Here – The Simple Veganista

19. Chili Cheese Dogs 

Chili Cheese Dogs
Image Credit – The Recipe Critic 

If just hot dogs are not great dinner ideas for picky eaters, then try these chili cheese dogs. Also, if you have so many people to feed, then this chili cheese dog could be your savior, as you can make a lot more of it by simply adding some ingredients to its fillings.

Chili cheese dogs are one of the easiest meals you can cook. All you need are some hot dog buns, hot dogs, chili, some cheddar cheese, and some toppings. Feel like you have all of it at home? Then, don’t waste your time and start making this recipe!

Just add the hot dogs between the bread. Throw in some cheddar cheese along with all your favorite toppings, bake it, and serve it hot!

Get The Recipe Here – The Recipe Critic

20. Tater Tots 

Tater Tots
Image Credit – Damn Delicious

I’m not saying I’m against store-bought tater tots! But if you haven’t tried the homemade version yet, you are definitely missing out on a great dish. So if you have some time to spend, get some potatoes and make the tater tots from scratch.

Potatoes are something we have with us all the time. So grab some potatoes, boil them, and grate them. Just mix the grated potatoes with some flour, garlic powder, onion powder, and dill.

Deep fry them in oil and serve them hot with some parsley! The best thing about homemade tater tots is that you can adjust the flavor according to your preference! If your picky eater loves spices, try adding a little oregano to the mix to make it more flavorful.

Get The Recipe Here – Damn Delicious

21. Creamy Pizza Soup 

Pizza Soup
Image Credit – The Best Keto Recipes

If you have someone in your family who recently joined the gym, you know how picky they can be when it comes to food! But do they love good food? Yes! So to tackle the situation, let’s cook something amazing today. 

Pizza is a regular food for a lot of people. But if you are in the mood to have something that tastes like pizza but is much healthier and more comforting, try this creamy pizza soup. It’s healthy, tasty, and tastes almost like pizza.

For this recipe, just cook some bell peppers, mushrooms, and onions in some oil. Add Italian sauce, pizza sauce, chicken broth, diced tomatoes, and pepperoni to it. Cover and cook for some time. Serve it hot and add some cream cheese for the best taste.

Get The Recipe Here – The Best Keto Recipes

22. Sloppy Joe Pasta 

Slopy Joe Pasta
Image Credit – Taste & Tell

We all love the sloppy joe burger. But imagine getting the same taste from a bowl of pasta. If it sounds even better, this recipe is curated specially for you. Sloppy Joe pasta is a perfect bowl of comfort food with all the goodness of meat and the taste of flavorful pasta. 

This is one such recipe I often cook when I don’t know what to cook for my guests. This is a perfect last-minute dinner idea that can be prepared in under half an hour. This recipe doesn’t require too much effort; just mix all the ingredients in the right way and enjoy the dish!

I often go for penne pasta whenever I cook this recipe. However, if you do not have it, you can use some kind of pasta to cook this recipe! It’s absolutely easy to make and a great recipe to serve to a group.

Get The Recipe Here –Taste & Tell

23. Corn Dog 

Corn dogs
Image Credit – Jo Cooks

Corn dogs are one of those foods that we all buy at carnivals! It’s something all of us would quite enjoy. So if you have a picky eater to feed, make sure to include this homemade corn dog on their menu to impress them!

With a crispy outside and juicy and tender sausage inside, this recipe gives you the perfect way to cook the hot dog. For this recipe, combine corn flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt. Add some buttermilk, eggs, and honey to it. 

Pour this batter into a glass. Dip the hot dog into this and deep fry it in oil. This recipe is too easy and works as a great appetizer for all your dinner parties.

Get The Recipe Here – Jo Cooks

24. One Pot Cheesy Beef Macaroni 

One Pot Cheesy Beef Macaroni
Image Credit – Yes To Yolks

This might not be a dish you’ve had before! The cheesy beef macaroni is definitely what we had multiple times. It’s a regular dish with great taste. So I think it would be a perfect dish to be included under the last-minute dinner ideas for picky eaters. 

But this recipe here is too easy to cook and can be done in a single pot! So even if you are not in the mood to cook something very vibrant tonight, you can easily make this and make your guests happy.

This beef macaroni is filled with the taste of juicy beef and cheese, so much so that you would fail to see any of the veggies added to it. So if you have a picky toddler at home and are looking for ways to feed them vegetables, then this is one recipe you should absolutely try!

Get The Recipe Here – Yes To Yolks 

25. Baked Fish Sticks 

Baked Fish Sticks
Image Credit – The Recipe Critic

If there is one dish that one’s whole family enjoys regardless of their age, it would be fish sticks. Crispy and flavorful on the outside and extremely moist and soft on the inside, fish sticks are a great last-minute dinner idea for a picky eater.

Even people who hate fish in general will love these baked fish sticks. So if you have kids who are picky eaters, this dish would be a great way to incorporate fish into their meals. Just mix the flour with the seasoning in one bowl.

In another bowl, beat some eggs and milk. Dip the fish in the flour, then in the egg and milk mixture, and fry it. Your baked fish sticks are ready to serve! Serve it along with some mayonnaise or ketchup to enjoy it in its best flavor.

Get The Recipe Here – The Recipe Critic 

Printable Version

Last Minute Dinner Ideas for Picky Eaters

25 Last-Minute Dinner Ideas For Picky Eaters

Creamy-baked spaghetti, oven-baked hot dogs, grilled cheese sandwiches, and pizza pasta bake are some of my favorite dinner ideas for picky eaters. Cooking for picky eaters can be a little difficult at times. However, this article will make that task a little easier!


  • Creamy Baked Spaghetti
  • Chicken Nuggets
  • Oven Baked Hot Dogs
  • Cheeseburger And Fries Casserole
  • Grilled Cheese Sandwich
  • Mini Chicago Hot Dog Slider
  • Baked Ravioli
  • Cheeseburger Sliders
  • Macaroni And Cheesy
  • Beef Quesadilla
  • Pizza Pasta Bake
  • Cheeseburger Biscuit Cups
  • Chicken Burrito
  • BBQ Cheddar Meatloaf
  • Walking Tacos
  • Fried Ravioli
  • Vegan Stuffed Shell
  • Chili Cheese Dogs
  • Tater Tots
  • Creamy Pizza Soup
  • Sloppy Joe Pasta
  • Corn Dog
  • One Pot Cheesy Beef Macaroni
  • Baked Fish Sticks


  • Select the recipe you want to cook.
  • Click on the recipe link.
  • Follow the steps mentioned in the recipe.


Feeding picky eaters can be a little tricky at times, especially if you have toddlers at home. The best way to make them eat food is by cooking them their favourite foods. So if you are really confused regarding what they would like, make sure to try any of these recipes. 

Some of the recipes that I have shared here are recipes which we all are familiar with! Sometimes while trying hard to impress your picky eaters with new dishes, you often forget to experiment with common tastes. 

But I have also picked some of those recipes which are not very common yet very tasty. So go through all these 25 recipes and cook the one according to your preference!

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ’s)

What should a picky eater have for dinner?

Creamy-baked spaghetti, oven-baked hot dogs, grilled cheese sandwiches, and pizza pasta bake are some of my favorite dinner ideas for picky eaters.

How do you feed picky eaters on a budget?

Cook for them! Choose any of these recipes and change it according to their liking.

How long does picky eating last?

Children are the one who often shows this habit. Mostly as they grow up they became less picky!








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