Cooking on date night? Boss move. Preparing a meal together will bring you closer together as a couple, encourage conversation, and help both of you feel more comfortable with each other, especially if you haven’t been on a romantic date in some time.
You don’t have to be a master chef or even an amateur cook to pull off a great date night dinner. All you need are some ingredients, a little patience, and these tips for some romancin’ in the kitchen.
10 Ideas for What to Cook for Date Night
Whether you have been dating for a while but haven’t been on a romantic date in some time or it’s early in the relationship, date night cooking is guaranteed to break the ice. Here are some fun ideas, if you’re thinking about what to cook for date night at home.
Tip #1: Start with an appetizer.
Many of us are in a hurry to get dinner on the table, but starting with an appetizer can help keep things moving along. The next time you’re planning a romantic evening for two, here are a few ideas for simple appetizers to set the evening in the right mood:
- Fresh fruit dipped in chocolate
- Baked brie with sliced apples and crackers
- Fresh mozzarella and tomato slices with fresh basil leaves
- Sliced cucumber and cream cheese rolled in wonton wrappers
- Olives stuffed with blue cheese, wrapped in bacon and baked
Appetizers are often foods that you can make ahead of time and simply reheat before dinner is served, so it’s a good way to get your creative juices flowing and your taste buds ready for a fun evening ahead.
Tip #2: Beverage pairing is extremely important.
Beverage pairing is an important part of any dining experience, and there are many factors that go into your choices.
For example, where are you having your meal? If you are dining on the patio or by the pool, then perhaps an ice cold beer is appropriate. What type of cuisine will you be preparing? If there’s going to be seafood, then a nice crisp white wine will go well with it. If you’re serving a variety of foods and flavors, then maybe a sparkling wine will be best.
Of course, knowing your date’s wine preferences is also important. If they do not drink alcohol, then you may want to serve them water with their meal or offer sparkling cider or lemonade as an alternative, whichever will still pair well with each dish.
Tip #3: The main course could be something simple like pasta.
Pasta is a fantastic option, if you’re not sure what to cook for date night. It’s easy to make, delicious, and can be as simple or as fancy as you want. It’s also easy to pair with wine and goes well with a variety of other foods and flavours. If you don’t know what kind of pasta to use, just think about the theme of your date and go with that.
For example, if you’re seeing a movie at some point during the evening, then maybe you can make some penne or spaghetti with tomato sauce, pesto, or alfredo sauce. (Because who doesn’t love spaghetti?) Or how about gnocchi or tortellini? Perhaps some ravioli or lasagna, if time will allow.
Tip #4: Or pizza, if you’re feeling adventurous.
Whether you and your significant other are new to the pizza game or have been perfecting your crusts for years, there’s no doubt that making a pie is one of the most fun ways to spend a date night. You can buy some pre-made dough or make your own using flour, yeast, water and olive oil.
Open-faced Margherita is easy enough with just three ingredients: mozzarella cheese, basil leaves, and tomato sauce. The combination is so simple but so delicious! Or feel free to get creative with toppings. Try adding some chicken breast or shrimp for an even heartier meal.
While it may seem like nothing more than a round of culinary creativity in the kitchen, there are actually many date night cooking ideas when it comes to making homemade pizza. The best part? The recipe can be as simple or fancy as you want it to be — and it’s guaranteed to bring out the kids in you two lovebirds!
Tip #5: Love takeout? Use it as inspiration.
Feel like some Indian, Thai, Chinese, or maybe Mediterranean? If takeout is your usual go-to for date night, here’s an idea: Pick a dish or two from your favorite restaurant and use the recipe as a jumping-off point for your own unique creations.
Have fun with it! If a dish calls for an ingredient that is unfamiliar to you or something that’s not necessarily in your pantry (like tandoori spice paste), try substituting it with another spice blend. Add different vegetables or spices, swapping out meat for tofu or tempeh, and so on.
Be creative and resourceful with your date night cooking ideas. It’s just a recipe, after all, not a science experiment! The goal is to come up with something that tastes good, not necessarily to follow the recipe exactly.
Tip #6: Is it lobster season yet? Head over to the seafood market.
There’s nothing like fresh seafood on a date night. If that sounds like too much work, consider picking up some frozen lobster tail meat at the supermarket and making your own butter sauce from scratch. You can even add edible flowers for color and flavor.
Seafood can be tricky to prepare so maybe think about a backup plan, in case the meal doesn’t go as planned. If you’re cooking something complicated, make sure one of you has some cooking experience or even better, take a cooking class together and make a date night out of it.
Tip #7: Make a pot of chili. Enjoy with cornbread and a green salad.
This is a great date night cooking idea for a cold winter evening or if you’re looking for something filling. Chili doesn’t take that long to make and it’s easy to put together with just a few ingredients. You can serve it with cornbread, chips or crackers on the side, which makes for an even more complete meal than just having a bowl of chili.
If you’re looking for something fresh and healthy, opt for a green salad instead of chips. You can also consider making some fresh salsa, guacamole, or hummus.
Tip #8: Cook with aphrodisiacs, if you dare.
Talk about date night cooking ideas! There are many different types of aphrodisiacs – you might even find some in your kitchen! Hey, nothing too exotic… in fact, some of your favourite foods fall into this category: chocolate, for one. Try making some fondue or even just a mug of hot chocolate, complete with whipped cream and a dash of cinnamon.
You can also try dipping strawberries – another known aphrodisiac – in dark chocolate for an interesting treat. Come to think of it, a lot of fruit and vegies act as stimulants, like peaches, grapes, endive, figs, and asparagus.
Oysters and other seafood are also considered aphrodisiacs because of the zinc content. Serve some oysters on the half shell, with a side of champagne. If you know your way around the kitchen, you can prepare some oyster stew.
Tip #9: And don’t forget dessert!
You can’t spend all your time preparing a meal while neglecting the most important part of any dinner: dessert, of course! It’s time to spoil your partner with something sweet like chocolate truffles. All you need is some dark chocolate, heavy cream, and a touch of vanilla extract, then cut them up into bite-sized pieces and serve on a plate with some fresh raspberries or strawberries for garnish.
Or how about a fruit tart with mango and raspberry filling? You can also serve up some sorbet as an alternative if you don’t have time to bake it yourself. Feeling creative? Try making some homemade ice cream with chocolate chips and caramel sauce. If you want to go the extra mile, add a little touch of rum in there for an added kick! Best way to cap one of the best date-night home cooked meals!
Tip #10: Plan your next date night.
We trust dinner went well? Maybe staying in and making a beautiful meal together can be your new tradition as a couple. Next time, date night could kick off early, starting with a grocery run to pick out ingredients for a cuisine you’re both trying for the first time. Or you could watch a cooking show and try to recreate some of the recipes on your own. Learning how to cook is a fantastic idea, either way.
Whatever you decide, just keep it loose and don’t get too stressed out about it. Remember, the point of date night is to spend quality time together and enjoy yourselves. And don’t forget about a little romance! It’s easy to get caught up in the idea that date nights need to be extravagant and over-the-top. But really, they don’t have to be anything like that. And there are so many ways to do this, just look at all of these great date night ideas we’ve shared with you here.