18 Make-Ahead Valentine's Day Dinners and Desserts for Two

chicken parmesan with parsley garnish on a white plate
Photo: fabeveryday

Most years, Valentine's Day falls on a weekday. And when you've had a long day on the job, going out for a dinner reservation or even cooking a romantic meal at home can feel more like an obligation than a celebration. The solution: make your Valentine's Day dinner and dessert in advance for an easier, more enjoyable night come February 14. We've compiled a list of date night-approved recipes you can make a day or two before the holiday or make to freeze. And whether you take on the cooking and cleaning to give your beloved a break or prepare the meal together, you're both in for a treat with these recipes.

01 of 18

Chef John's Lobster Mac and Cheese

stuffed lobster tail on top of mac and cheese
Nikki Chaney

There's no doubt, Chef John's Lobster Mac and Cheese will always impress. "You can actually prep these ahead and bake before that romantic, possibly Valentine's, dinner. You probably want to take them out and let them warm up for 30 minutes before baking," Chef John says.

02 of 18

Cannoli Cream Dessert

Layering buttery graham cracker crumbs with a sweet ricotta mixture mimics the flavor of a cannoli without the effort. Recipe contribtuor Lillian calls this two-serving dessert "perfect for a romantic evening!"

03 of 18

Coconut Chicken Curry (Make-Ahead Freezer Meal)

Coconut Chicken Curry (Make-Ahead Freezer Meal)

Ingredients like creamy coconut milk, spicy red curry paste, sweet potatoes, and brown sugar combine in a chicken dish so flavorful that you won't think anything of it being frozen. Thaw 24 hours in advance, cook the curry on high for four hours, and serve it over rice and topped with fresh cilantro and green onions.

04 of 18

Kevin's Sea Shells

Stuff large pasta shells with shrimp, sliced mushrooms, and an ultra-creamy sauce for a decadent dinner that many home cooks have made for their significant others, receiving rave reviews. It serves nine, so consider dividing the recipe into portions to freeze separately for easy thawing down the road.

05 of 18

Strawberries Romanov

Vanilla ice cream, whipped cream, sour cream, and orange liqueur combine in a sauce that complements tart-sweet strawberries well. Shave some semisweet chocolate on top for more Valentine's Day flair.

06 of 18

Cheesy Polenta Casserole

If polenta isn't part of your regular meal rotation, this Italian-inspired vegetarian casserole will change that. It's easy to make, and even easier if you make it ahead of time.

07 of 18

Chef John's Crab Cakes

This recipe maintains an average rating of five stars from home cooks who say it really shows off the crabmeat and even beats crab cakes they've ordered in restaurants. You can prepare these crab cakes the day before you cook them — time in the refrigerator will actually help them hold together while frying.

08 of 18

Spicy Honey-Peanut Baked Chicken Thighs

It just takes 10 minutes to prep our Spicy Honey-Peanut Baked Chicken Thighs, and marinating the chicken overnight will afford you an extra-easy dinner on Valentine's Day. Serve it over rice, noodles, or potatoes, all of which you can prep ahead, too.

09 of 18

Mini Cherry Pies

"I used to always make a traditional cherry pie and there would always be half a pie left over after serving. I love this mini version because I can make just two at a time. Perfect for me and my husband when we are eating dinner together," recipe contributor Lisawas says.

10 of 18

Vietnamese Aromatic Lamb Chops

Marinating these lamb chops overnight in chili powder, garlic, sugar, soy sauce, and citrus juices, you'll have most of the work done for you on Valentine's Day. Just roast the lamb chops in the oven for 20 to 30 minutes and brighten them with fresh cilantro before serving.

11 of 18

Spinach and Ricotta Tortellini

spinach ricotta tortellini
Carson's Mommy

Partner up to make pasta for a date at home ahead of time, then enjoy the finished product on Valentine's Day. "Serve with your favorite sauce. Great with a simple butter and sage sauce or with your regular tomato sauce," recipe contributor Alemarsi says.

12 of 18

Mini Cheesecakes III

These top-rated mini cheesecakes hold up well in the refrigerator, and as a six-serving recipe, you can enjoy them after Valentine's Day, too.

13 of 18

Cedar Plank Salmon

"This was an absolute hit! I made it for my boyfriends family," home cook MaggieMay says. "I changed a couple of things. I made the brine and marinated in a large tupperware container for two days before grilling and I also added three gloves of fresh garlic minced. I'm a garlic lover. We always soak the cedar plank for at least eight hours before using on the barbeque."

14 of 18

Make-Ahead Freezer Chicken Parmesan

chicken parmesan with parsley garnish on a white plate

Prepare chicken Parmesan for the freezer by dividing the breaded and baked chicken, tomato sauce, and mozzarella cheese into separate bags. Reviewer Iluv2cook says it's "worth the extra wait."

15 of 18

Quick Keto Chocolate Mousse

Quick Keto Chocolate Mousse
France C

You don't have to follow a keto diet to find our Quick Keto Chocolate Mousse delicious. While you can whip up this dessert in just 10 minutes, the refrigerator will keep it nicely cool and preserve its consistency.

16 of 18

Garlic Shrimp Pasta Bake

If you're feeding a family, our Garlic Shrimp Pasta Bake makes six servings, and easily reheats from the refridgerator. Be warned, however, that you may not want to share this five-star recipe with more than one person once you taste it.

17 of 18

Strawberry Heart Bark

Pieces of swirled white and dark chocolate topped with freeze dried berries
Allrecipes Magazine

Give yourself and your sweetheart a treat you can enjoy all week with this semisweet chocolate and white chocolate bark. Decorate it with freeze-dried strawberries and add a sprinkling of conversation hearts for the occasion.

18 of 18

Beef Bourguignon I

Marinating beef, carrots, and onions in wine and cognac with parsley, bay leaf, garlic, peppercorns, and salt for two days certainly pays off with this classic French dish. Finish preparing the recipe on Valentine's Day or the day before. It serves eight, but trust us: you'll want leftovers.

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