37 Quick Lunch Ideas You Can Make in 20 Minutes or Less

Lunch gets a bad rap: Breakfast holds the title for "most important" meal of the day; and if we're going to pull out all the stops, it's going to be for dinner. But what about lunch? It's time we stop dismissing lunch as an after-thought and start treating it with the respect it deserves — it's the meal that gives us the mid-day boost we need to keep going. That said, you don't have to spend your Sundays meal-prepping to have healthy and satisfying lunches throughout the week. These quick and easy lunches are ready in 20 minutes or less and aren't accompanied by lengthy ingredient lists. So stop with the sad PB&Js already, you deserve tastier.

Easy Chorizo Street Tacos
Photo: Allrecipes Magazine
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Sweet and Spicy Turkey Sandwich

Sweet and Spicy Turkey Sandwich
Skylar Christensen

Pepperjack cheese and strawberry preserves mingle on this turkey sandwich for a sweet and savory lunch. Reviewer Jillian says, "I would have never thought to pair turkey, pepperjack cheese, and strawberry preserves but this definitely works and is a nice departure from your 'run of the mill' turkey sandwich."

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Mexi-Chicken Avocado Cups


"This buttery avocado bowl came together with the chicken, cilantro, chili powder, and lime to make the perfect nutritional meal," says reviewer bd.weld. "Be sure to keep the chicken moist so you don't have dry tasting chicken. This would work as well with leftover turkey, or by adding diced onions."

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Cheesy-Crust Skillet Pizza

Cheesy-Crust Skillet Pizza
The Gruntled Gourmand

No pizza dough? No problem. This pizza is made entirely in a skillet using mozzarella cheese as crust. Reviewer Theresa Ann Berry-Wilson says, "It is quick and easy to make, great for quick lunch…"

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Easy Chorizo Street Tacos

Easy Chorizo Street Tacos
Allrecipes Magazine

Get street-style tacos without ever leaving your house. Mexican chorizo brings the heat here. "I made this for Sunday family lunch and everyone loved them," says reviewer NoTimeMom. "Plus this was so easy and quick."

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Apple and Bacon Grilled Cheese

Apple and Bacon Grilled Cheese

Honeycrisp apples and bacon help to upgrade your grilled cheese game. "This is a nice twist on traditional grilled cheese and it was a perfect combination of sweet and salty," says reviewer Jillian. "I used thick sliced whole grain bread, but whatever bread you use this is bound to be delicious."

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Cream of Mashed Potato Soup

Creamed of Mashed Potato Soup

Use last night's mashed potatoes to make today's lunch with this five-ingredient recipe. Reviewer lovestohost says,"This is a great way to repurpose leftover mashed potatoes and is easily customizable to ingredients on hand."

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Easy Mini Bagel Pizzas

Easy Mini Bagel Pizzas
House of Aqua

Recipe creator LEANANSIDHE describes this as, "A homemade take on a frozen favorite." Simply arrange bagels on a baking sheet, add pizza toppings, and bake!

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Simple Egg Salad

Simple Egg Salad
Baking Nana

Chopped cucumber gives an added crunch to this five-ingredient egg salad. Reviewer Christina says, "This was tasty, and couldn't have been easier!"

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Summer Cucumber Jicama Salad

Summer Cucumber Jicama Salad

This light and refreshing cucumber salad makes for a light lunch or side dish that will keep well in the fridge for days. Reviewer Katzmagick in the Kitchen says, "I bought jicama for the first time, always thought it was a strange thing. But if you haven't tried it, this is a good recipe. The lemon tones down the jicama's sweetness. Nice balance of flavors."

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Arugula and Hummus Mini Pizzas

Arugula and Hummus Mini Pizzas
Kim's Cooking Now

Spread hummus on naan bread and top with arugula, dates, and pumpkin seeds and drizzle with balsamic vinegar to make this no-bake "pizza." Reviewer Kim's Cooking Now says, "What a great snack (or light lunch - which is what this was for me today)! You get the sweetness from the chopped dates, the garlicky flavor from the hummus and then the peppery arugula!"

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Grilled Turkey and Swiss Sandwich

Grilled Turkey and Swiss Sandwich

Reviewer Jillian says, "Fabulous sandwich! I love anything with Swiss so I had to give this a try...I added some thin sliced tomato and a couple of slices of bacon which proved to be wonderful additions. No matter what you add, you can't go wrong. Perfect with a side of fresh fruit!"

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Orange, Fig, and Gorgonzola Salad

Orange, Fig, and Gorgonzola

If you're lucky enough to get your hands on some fresh figs during their short season, what better way to put them on display than this colorful salad? Reviewer Christina says, "I've been eyeing my dad's fig tree waiting to get the perfect fig to make this salad...delicious! I didn't have any fresh oranges, so I used mandarin oranges, and they worked out fine."

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Ham and Dill Pickle Spread

Ham and Dill Pickle Spready
It's A New Day

"Dill makes a difference! This ham salad with dill pickle is great for full sandwiches, and can also be used for tea sandwiches or as a snack spread on crackers or chips," says recipe creator kdsmom. "It is best with deli ham that is cooked rather than smoked or honey-baked."

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Heavenly Chicken Garlic Sandwiches

Heavenly Chicken Garlic Sandwiches

Melted garlic butter takes regular hoagie rolls over the top. "I only had hamburger buns so I toasted them at 350 degrees F for 5 minutes, then I brushed with the garlic butter and added the chicken and mozzarella cheese and baked as directed," says reviewer DREWSWIFE. "It was delicious! I will definitely be making this again."

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Caprese Salad Sandwiches

Caprese Salad Sandwiches
Baking Nana

Your favorite summer salad is served sandwich-style for a refreshing yet filling lunch. Reviewer MsZabeth says, "I love this combination of flavors and so does everyone I make this for. I make it as more of an open-faced sandwich and use Italian bread which I toast for a few minutes on each side before I put the mozzarella, tomato, and basil on top."

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Kale Salad with Pineapple Dressing

Kale Salad with Pineapple Dressing
Jennifer Baker

Don't let looks deceive you, kale is packed with nutrients to keep you feeling full. Reviewer hollyglightly says, "I feel like you have to make this a day ahead and let the lemon juice and pineapple enzymes do their work to soften and remove bitterness from the kale. It's decent the first day, but amazing on the next! So if you have time, MAKE AHEAD. Cheap, tasty and sure to please lots of folks."

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Rick's Big Bad Bean Burrito

Rick's Big Bad Bean Burrito
Baking Nana

Recipe creator Rick O' Leary describes this as "a full meal in wrap." This is a simple bean burrito recipe that leaves nothing out.

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Crystal's Quick Avocado Salad

Crystal's Quick Avocado Salad

Corn and avocado come together for a light salad that can be enjoyed on its own or with chips or pita bread. "Nice and refreshing...I will be making this again," says reviewer Christina.

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Tuna Lime Tostadas

This fast and vibrant recipe is a great way to put the can of tuna kicking around in your pantry to delicious use. Better still, it's ready to eat in 10 minutes.

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Vegetarian Chickpea Sandwich Filling

This meat-free alternative to chicken salad is an easy and inexpensive option to add to your lunch rotation. Lemon and dill give the mix a delightfully bright and fresh flavor, but feel free to incorporate any favorite herbs or seasonings to make it your own.

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Quesadillas I

This speedy quesadilla recipe offers the perfect template for customization. Add whatever ingredients you love and have on hand; for example, shredded leftover chicken. "This was a perfect quesadilla. My first with avocado but certainly not my last. Delicious with fresh pico de gallo," says home cook gapch1026.

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Cucumber Sandwich

Pack in your veggie servings with this fresh and nutritious vegetable sammie. It's easy to pack to-go and makes for a lunch worth looking forward to.

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Turkey-Pesto Toasterdilla

You're only 4 ingredients away for a toasty, cheesy, utterly satisfying mid-day meal. Feel free to swap the turkey for sliced ham, chicken or roast beef.

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Shrimp and Peanut Butter Noodles

This satisfying noodle bowl can be whipped up in a matter of minutes the night before and enjoyed chilled the next day, or make and eat it fresh!

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The Best Chicken Salad Ever

Put leftover grilled or rotisserie chicken to work in this crave-worthy chicken salad recipe. Use your favorite creamy bottled salad dressing to bind the chicken, celery, and onion.

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Tuna Panini Melt

You can't beat the classics and this cozy tuna melt proves it. You can definitely toast your sandwich in a skillet if you don't have a panini press (or don't feel like pulling it out).

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Busy Day Lunch Salad

The name says it all. This easy, throw-together salad delivers just the right kind of fuel and flavor to help you power through a hectic afternoon.

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Pita Pizza

Pita bread makes the perfect foundation for a quick and easy lunch pizza, featuring your favorite toppings. Some Allrecipes users suggest toasting the pita a bit on its own before adding the toppings to create a stronger base.

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California Club Chicken Wraps

If you don't have cooked chicken on hand, sliced turkey lunchmeat would also work great in this tasty wrap. To prep bacon quickly, try cooking it in the microwave.

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Spinach Salad with Chicken, Avocado, and Goat Cheese

To make throwing together your lunch salads even easier the day of, consider prepping a large batch of vinaigrette at the start of the week. You can also reach for your favorite bottled dressing if you prefer!

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Baja-Style Chicken Bowl

"This made a quick and easy lunch. I cooked white rice fresh while the chicken was cooking, and added the salsa in with the corn and chicken," says Allrecipes community member McEmmy. "I ended up having extra corn and chicken mix leftover that made a great toasted sandwich the next day."

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Best Ever Tuna Salad

This community-favorite tuna salad features a surprise ingredient that puts it over-the-top: canned crab meat. Of course, if you don't happen to have a can on hand, you can replace with more tuna or omit. But it might be worth picking up on the week's grocery run for next time!

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Skillet Burrito Bowl

Skipping the tortilla makes for a burrito lunch that's easy to pack and easy to enjoy anywhere. Add in cubed avocado, shredded lettuce, and whatever other fresh touches you might have on hand.

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The humble BLT is here to remind you that lunch doesn't have to be fancy or complicated in order to be fantastic.

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Sesame Noodle Salad

This simple noodle is a huge hit with reviewers. It's a great place to incorporate whatever veggies you have hanging around in your fridge — from raw bell pepper to leftover steamed broccoli.

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Turkey Wraps

close up view of Turkey Wraps on a blue platter with a tomato and lettuce

"Delicious wrap sandwich! Perfect for lunch on the go!" says reviewer Jillian. "I cut the recipe in half so I'd have one and my husband could take the rest to work."

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Avocado Toast with Egg

No need to limit avocado toast to the breakfast table. This quick, nutritious option makes for a satisfying meal any time of day.

Updated by
Darcy Lenz
Darcy Lenz

Darcy Lenz is a food writer, senior editor, and recipe developer at Allrecipes. Her specialty is baking, but she enjoys all types of experimentation in the kitchen. Her work has been featured in Cooking Light, Coastal Living, MyRecipes, Women's Running, The Pioneer Woman, and more.

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