15 Simple Skillet Dinners for Two

These recipes keep prep, clean-up, and leftovers to a minimum.

overhead angle looking down at a large bowl of broccoli and chicken stir-fry

Don't love leftovers—or dishes? Then these skillet dinners for two are designed with you in mind. Prep and clean-up are a breeze! From chicken skillet recipes to one-pan pastas to steak skillet dinners, each of these entrees serves two and requires just one pan to bring to the table. We're featuring everything from Mediterranean to Mexican to just-like-mom-made comfort food to prove that a dish need not require a lot of pans and tools to be downright delicious.

01 of 16

Pan-Fried Wild Salmon

Pan-Fried Wild Salmon
Deb C

Salmon for two in 20 minutes flat. This skillet dinner is a total catch! The three secrets for seared salmon success: Pat the fish dry before adding it to the pan so it gets golden brown and caramelized on the exterior, set the pan over medium-high heat and crisp up the skin separately after cooking the salmon for a crunchy "chip" to serve alongside.

02 of 16

Chef John's Chicken and Mushrooms

Chef John's Chicken and Mushrooms on a white plate
Chef John's Chicken and Mushrooms. Chef John

Chef John gave himself a huge challenge with this chicken dinner for two: whip up a chicken and mushrooms recipe with just those two ingredients (plus the essentials, of course, of butter, olive oil, salt, and pepper). And wow did he deliver with this surprisingly complex dinner for two that utilizes the chicken drippings to elevate the flavor of the mushroom sauce. Mission accomplished, we'd say.

03 of 16

Creamy Garlic Shrimp Toast

Creamy shrimp on toast on a white plate
Creamy Garlic Shrimp Toast. Chef John

In this simple recipe for two, butterflied shrimp are simmered in a garlicky cream sauce with a smoky paprika flavor and then served over thick slices of pan-toasted French bread. "Frying the toast in lots of clarified butter prevents it from getting soggy while it soaks up the garlicky sauce," says Chef John. "The sauce would also be good over pasta, rice, or potatoes. Instead of shrimp, you could use other types of shellfish, like scallops, lobster, or crawfish."

04 of 16

Sloppy Joe Sandwiches

closeup of a sloppy joe ona plate with carrots and pickle slices on the side and a ramekin of coleslaw in the background

Most sloppy joe recipes are designed to feed a family, but this quick and inexpensive ground beef skillet dinner is tailor made for two. Don't worry, it still includes the signature sauce made with ketchup, mustard, Worcestershire sauce, and more—the comfort food gang's all here. Recipe creator twinkleinyouri suggests, "In addition to putting it on rolls, try this slightly sweet beef mixture over rice, biscuits or baked potatoes."

05 of 16

One-Pan Orecchiette Pasta

One Pan Orecchiette Pasta
Linda T

"This delicious orecchiette pasta recipe only has a handful of ingredients, is very cheap to make, and most importantly, only uses one pan or pot for the entire procedure," Chef John promises. He means it; the pasta dinner for two can be made in a deep-sided skillet and requires only six ingredients, including pasta, sausage, arugula and Italian sausage.

06 of 16

Easy Chorizo Street Tacos

Easy Chorizo Street Tacos
Easy Chorizo Street Tacos | Photo by Yoly. Yoly

Speaking of sausage, chorizo (a spicy pork sausage popular in Spanish cuisine) is the star of these homemade five-ingredient tacos. Chipotle peppers in adobo sauce and onion are the only other elements you need to saute up for the skillet dinner recipe for two. Oh yes, and corn tortillas and cilantro for serving street taco-style! Enjoy with a side of chips and guac to round out the 20-minute meal.

07 of 16

Seared Ahi Tuna Steaks

Seared Ahi Tuna Steaks
Photo: Blaine Moats.

In a mere 17 minutes and in one skillet, you can "cook tuna that any restaurant would be jealous of," says Bethany. More than 500 five-star ratings confirm this to be true. Start with two 5-ounce high-quality ahi tuna steaks, season, sear to rare and prepare to feel like you and your dining partner are eating seaside. Try it over a fresh avocado-topped salad for a dinner for two that's heart-healthy, easy, and even easier to clean up after.

08 of 16

Baked Falafel

Baked Falafel
Photo by CCLoves2bake.

With the help of a food processor, you can whip up just-like-street-cart falafel batter with canned chickpeas, onion, garlic, and a variety of herbs and spices in a matter of minutes. One can of garbanzos yields just the right amount for two. Then instead of deep-frying the falafel, pan-sear and bake them so they're tender on the inside, crisp on the outside, and not one bit greasy. Tuck inside a warm pita or serve on top of big Greek salad with a generous helping of tzatziki sauce.

09 of 16

Mediterranean Stuffed Swordfish

Mediterranean Stuffed Swordfish

Cheesy spinach dip stuffed inside seared swordfish? What a catch. "This dish is delicious!" raves Carole. "We broiled the swordfish in our oven and it is easy to make. The stuffing is tasty. I recommend that you make a little extra and add the spinach mixture on top also." An 8-ounce swordfish steak is plenty filling for two once you pair it with the garlicky, feta-spiked spinach. Instead of searing in a skillet and finishing on the grill, we recommend accomplishing it all in one pan. Simply wipe out the pan after cooking the veggies and stuffing the fish, then cook them together in the same skillet.

10 of 16

Spicy Thai Basil Chicken (Pad Krapow Gai)

Spicy Thai Basil Chicken (Pad Krapow Gai)
Photo: Chef John.

Take a break from takeout tonight. Chef John's twist on Thai food can be on your table in 25 minutes. The umami-rich sauce caramelizes and glazes the chicken thighs as it all cooks together in one skillet. Enjoy over a prepared package of microwave rice and bring your appetite: split in half, each portion delivers 8 ounces of chicken and a whopping 50 grams of protein.

11 of 16

Filet Mignon with Rich Balsamic Glaze

Filet Mignon with Rich Balsamic Glaze

Light the candles, uncork a bottle of red wine and enjoy an elegant and romantic date night at home with this steak skillet dinner for two. Equal parts balsamic vinegar and red wine reduce down into a silky glaze once you incorporate the pan drippings. Start with a wedge salad and pair the filet mignon with a baked potato (psst...you can cook a potato right in the microwave!) for a steakhouse-like experience.

12 of 16

Cheesy-Crust Skillet Pizza

Cheesy-Crust Skillet Pizza
The Gruntled Gourmand

Love pizza, but not the carbs or gluten that comes along with the crust? This is the single-skillet recipe for you. Instead of flour, the base is made with melted shredded mozzarella cheese, which tastes great once topped margherita-style with tomato slices, fresh basil leaves, and fresh mozzarella slices. This vegetarian pizza recipe for two is keto-friendly, gluten-free and endlessly customizable. Customize your pies with ham, olives, red pepper flakes, caramelized onions, mushrooms, bacon, and sliced zucchini. Choose your own flavor adventure!

13 of 16

Broccoli and Chicken Stir-Fry

overhead angle looking down at a large bowl of broccoli and chicken stir-fry

This saucy skillet is nutritious, satisfying, and an absolute weeknight winner. Serve the stir-fry over fluffy rice, riced cauliflower, or noodles if you like.

14 of 16

Cast Iron Pan-Seared Steak (Oven-Finished)

Cast Iron Pan-Seared Steak (Oven-Finished)

Let the grill enthusiasts say what they well, there's no tastier steak than one prepared in a cast-iron skillet. Achieved a mouthwatering seared crust and perfectly cooked interior with this simple recipe.

15 of 16

Southeast Asian Style Chicken Rice

Asian rice bowl with chicken, red onions, and herbs
Chef John

This wow-worthy dish is one you'll continue to crave. The recipe contributor Chef John says, "I've mixed elements of Vietnamese, Thai, Indonesian and other Asian cuisines to make a delicious chicken and rice dish topped with a fresh herb salad."

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