Keep the cooking (and the subsequent dishwashing) at a bare minimum tonight.

By Antara Sinha
Updated August 10, 2020
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When it comes down to weeknight cooking, let’s be real: Most of the time it’s not the act of cooking that’s the real hassle, it’s the cleanup. These dinners all come together in one sheet pan—and maybe a bowl or two for mixing—but we’re keeping the dishes to a minimum. They’re flexible enough for a big family meal on a busy Tuesday night, to the weekend warrior cook who’s batch-prepping their meals for the week.

Greg DuPree

And keeping convenience in mind, many of the proteins, vegetables, and herbs are easily swappable in these recipes for what you prefer and already have stocked in your kitchen. From reworking Sunday-night favorites like classic eggplant parmesan to be more school-night friendly, to a complex and elevated steak dinner that can do the job on both hectic evenings or a leisurely dinner with company, these six recipes are simple, speedy, and as hands-off and hassle-free as we could make them. 

The Family Favorite That’s Weeknight Friendly 

This classic family-favorite dinner comes together mess-free, with minimal dishes left in the sink in its aftermath. With no deep frying involved, and just one skillet and sheet pan, it’s the ideal crowd-pleasing weeknight meal for hectic evenings—but impressive enough to earn a spot on the table at a weekend dinner party. Once you pick up your produce, you’re likely to have the majority of these ingredients on-hand in your pantry; your favorite store-bought marinara sauce is the easy shortcut to make this Tuesday-night friendly. Make sure to let your eggplant drain thoroughly for the perfect charred texture. 

Get the Recipe: Sheet-Pan Eggplant Parmesan

Greg Dupree

The Speedy Dinner You’ve Probably Got Most of the Ingredients For 

Assuming you’ve got some staples like salt, pepper, and oil, all you need to shop for is a flaky white fish of your choosing (we like branzino or trout), mustard, herbs de Provence, and potatoes. Herbes de Provence, a blend of spices including lavender, thyme, and fennel, does most of the heavy lifting flavor-wise for this foolproof sheet pan dinner. Simple, quick, and non-fussy, this one-and-done sheet pan dinner will be on repeat for weeknights to come. 

An Impressive Steak Dinner That Feels Like Eating Out 

Perfectly cooked hanger steak may play the lead in this sheet pan dinner, but beautifully tender-crisp bok choy and a zesty, umami-packed compound butter are the real show-stoppers. This is the dinner recipe to keep in your back pocket when you need an elevated, impressive meal but don’t want to spend the rest of the evening loading your dishwasher—and leftovers are a bonus. Keep extra lemon-miso butter on-hand to add to pasta, brush onto roasted vegetables, spread onto warm biscuits, or serve with seafood. 

© John Kernick

The Speedy Chicken Dinner That’s Ready in Under an Hour

Just minutes to assemble, no finicky ingredients to shop for, family-friendly, and minimal cleanup—this easy chicken dinner is a winner and your busy weeknight lifesaver. Roasted lemons add a caramelized depth that brings out the best in meaty mushrooms. Don’t have chicken thighs in your freezer? The parsley sauce is tangy, herby, garlicky, and versatile enough to use on any protein or vegetable of your choosing. The best part: The whole dinner can be on your table in 45 minutes.

Photo by Jennifer Causey / Food styling by Rishon Hanners / Prop styling by Audrey Davis

A Fresh, Spring-Inspired Dinner

The best of spring—sugar snap peas, asparagus, radishes, and tons of herbs—all shine in this colorful, simple sheet pan dinner. The spicy-sweet mustard glaze comes together in less than a minute and is made up of pantry staples, making this dish adaptable enough to riff on with whatever fresh produce, herbs, or protein you’ve got at home. It all comes together in one sheet-pan and we’ve perfectly timed each roast to give you the time you need to prep each ingredient.  

The Dinner You Can Toss in One Pan and Forget About

It doesn’t get more hands-off than this. Coil the sausage, toss in the apple mixture, and stick it in the oven. Sweet, roasted apples balance the spicy sausage, and a little bit of lemon zest brightens up the whole meal.This cozy, simple dinner is great for fall, but if you’ve got apples and you’ve got sausage, it’s delicious any day of the year. Stick to Honeycrisp or Pink Lady apples for this dish—they hold their shape better and won’t get mushy in the oven. 

A No-Fuss Pizza You'll Make Again and Again

Score two balls of store-bought pizza dough, and you're minutes away from homemade pizza—no pizza peel required. This recipe involves the ingenious technique of stretching two balls of room-temperature dough from opposite sides of a sheet pan to meet in the middle, creating a giant grandma-style pizza crust that you'll top with sliced scallions, salami (or your favorite meatless alternative), jarred good-quality pizza sauce or tomato sauce, and plenty of mozzarella and parm. A final topping of fresh greens or herbs like parsley and basil adds just the right amount of freshness to a weeknight pizza dinner.