75+ Little Dinner Ideas for When You Don’t Want to Cook Whatsoever

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We’ve all been there. It doesn’t matter how full your fridge is — sometimes you just don’t have the mental or physical energy to turn on the stove or preheat the oven. In those moments, the best possible thing you can do for yourself is not cook. Here’s what we at Kitchn turn to when we’re having one of those yeah it’s not happening tonight feel-fests. (Confession: We are pro-microwave in this scenario, and also allow for frying eggs or very light sautéing.)


  • Ricotta toast with chili flakes and/or lemon zest and any fruit or veg
  • Toasted English muffin with PBJ
  • Hummus on toast, with an egg
  • Peanut butter and banana on toast
  • Cheese toast under the broiler
  • Tahini toast

  • Ricotta + dukkah + olive oil
  • Hummus + kraut/kimchi
  • Cinnamon toast
  • “Fresh bruschetta,” aka slices of tomato on toast with salt and vinegar
  • Avocado toast, duh
  • Smash an avocado, slather on toast and sprinkle with TJ’s bagel sesame topping
  • Cream cheese on toast with everything bagel salt

Canned or Cured Fish

  • Quickie tuna melts: tuna + touch of mayo + bread + cheddar + broiler for a few
  • Tuna lettuce wraps with jalapeños or celery (or over crackers)
  • Tuna with avocado, tomato, and almonds over lettuce — with oil and vinegar
  • Wasa cracker + hummus + tuna
  • Sardines on Wasa crackers with mayo, sliced radishes, and chives
  • Triscuits + sardines + mustard
  • Tonnato sauce with cucumbers and radishes
  • Smoked salmon chopped up with diced cucumber and dill
  • Jammy egg topped with anchovies and mustard

Dairy (We See You, Cottage Cheese)

  • Greek yogurt with granola and fruit
  • Greek yogurt mixed with leftover vegetables, harissa, and olive oil
  • Greek yogurt + fried egg (+ chili flakes or chili oil/crunch/sauce if you have it)
  • Cottage cheese, sliced tomato, Worcestershire sauce, flaky salt, and black pepper
  • Cottage cheese plus tomato, or zucchini or cucumber, or whatever veggies on hand
Credit: Joe Lingeman

Deli Meat

  • Ham or prosciutto wrapped around a fistful of greens or a piece of avocado
  • Ham or turkey rollups with cream cheese and a pickle or a cucumber inside (or a bunch of greens)
  • Honey ham rolled around arugula or spinach

Okay Fine, Some Vegetables

  • A bag of frozen vegetables sautéed with a fried egg
  • Steamer veggie bags with salt and pepper
  • Frozen peas mixed with a can of drained beans and lots of olive oil
  • Microwaved sweet potato with almond butter (or Greek yogurt and honey)
  • Lazy Hand Salad: Romaine leaves dipped into ranch or Caesar salad then into crushed crumbs from the bag of chips.
  • Snap peas and ranch dressing
  • Radishes, smeared with salted butter, with a side of French salt and at least half a bottle of rose.
Credit: Photo: Joe Lingeman/Kitchn; Food Stylist: Brett Regot/Kitchn

A Whole Section Devoted to Nacho-Adjacent Meals

  • Tortilla chips plus lots of shredded cheese, jarred salsa, and leftover veggies on a plate. Microwave for 1 minute.
  • Pita chips with plain yogurt, tomatoes, cucumbers, and za’atar. Dill if you have. Raw chopped garlic if you’re feeling ~dangerous.~
  • Potato chips with chutney and chopped red onion + parsley
  • Fritos with sour cream and jalapeños
  • Pepperoncini potato chips with a chunk or stick of cheddar cheese
  • Bean and cheese tostadas
Credit: Joe Lingeman/Kitchn

What Would in Happier Times Be a Cheese Plate

  • Crackers with cheese and prosciutto or apple slices
  • Crackers with Boursin or cream cheese (honey optional)
  • Melted cheese on Triscuits
  • Melted cheese over leftover rice with chopped tomatoes

Basic Necessities

  • Peanut butter off a spoon
  • Popcorn with nutritional yeast or mustard powder … and lots of butter (how to make any popcorn in the microwave)
  • Nuts of any sort: pistachios, peanuts, cashews
  • Eggs! Boiled, poached, scrambled
  • Copious amounts of chips and guacamole
  • Anything that can be hummus-ified: white beans, sweet potatoes, avocado, with pretzels and carrots and celery (and the basic here)
  • Cereal with banana, duh
  • Quesadilla with cheese, leftover meat if you have, and Cholula
  • Leftover rotisserie chicken with greens and a of drizzle olive oil
  • Pita bread with peanut butter and honey
  • Rice cracker with peanut butter and jelly
  • Goldfish
Credit: Lauren Volo

The Magical Fruit

  • Cannellini beans with olive oil, parsley and red onions
  • Chickpeas and cherry tomatoes tossed in lots of lemon juice, olive oil, salt, and pepper
  • Black beans with cumin and yogurt
  • Hummus topped with basically any leftover: vegetables, meat, eggs, a spoonful of chili.
  • Any beans, smashed into a tortilla with shredded cheese, heat in skillet or in microwave
  • Smashed chickpeas with mayo and hot sauce on crackers or lettuce cups
  • Drained and rinsed canned beans + any herbs you have + lemon + olive oil and salt
Credit: Joe Lingeman

Actual Fruit

  • Smoothies with a spoonful of tahini or peanut butter
  • Banana with peanut butter
  • Apple (or Asian pear, ice cold) with thick chunky almond butter
  • Sliced strawberries topped with a dollop of yogurt or sour cream and a handful of crushed nuts
  • Jarred grapefruit over yogurt or cottage cheese
  • Melon sprinkled with sea salt and olive oil

Bread, Noodles, Rice, Other Deliciousnesses

  • Freezer waffles plus PBJ or deli meat + cheese
  • No Effort, Very Good Mac and Cheese: Leftover pasta, a nub of cream cheese, a handful of shredded cheese, and a dash of garlic salt. Microwave and eat.
  • Soba noodles with boxed soup
  • An entire baguette dipped in good olive oil with Parmesan cheese and red pepper flakes
  • Rice cakes with peanut butter, raisins, and cinnamon
  • Rice + jarred kimchi + sesame seed sprinkle
  • Frozen brown rice microwaved for three minutes with fried egg and hot sauce
  • English muffin or bagel pizzas
  • Ramen with a soft-boiled egg, sliced scallions, and/or Sriracha
  • Frozen dumplings dipped in lots of black vinegar
  • Rice with soy sauce and scallions

What’d we miss? What’s your go-to no-cook dinner?