Do you have the local pizza place on speed dial? Does the owner of your favorite Chinese restaurant know you by name? Are you such a frequent flier at the local drive-thru you’ve resorted to wearing a disguise?
Look, we get it: Outsourcing dinner to professional chefs is easy and delicious. But it’s also expensive, and a tasty dinner shouldn’t have to be either. You can actually get the same results at a fraction of the cost — and unhealthy add-ins — just by cooking at home. It just takes the right recipe to make it happen.
Whether you dine out for the pomp and circumstance of an expertly cooked steak or you just love the comforting flavors of delivery pizza, the recipes below will help you bring it all home. Try your hand at one (or more) of the following creations, and soon you’ll be breaking that pesky takeout, delivery, and dining out habit once and for all.
Four-ingredient slow-cooker fajitas couldn’t be easier for dining in
If Mexican food is your jam, these slow-cooker fajitas are the perfect way to bring that flavor home. With just four ingredients and ten minutes of hands-on prep work, this recipe ticks two boxes: ease and deliciousness. Simply prep the beef, veggies, and spices in your handy-dandy slow cooker before work in the morning, and come dinnertime, all you need to do for tender, ultra-flavorful fajitas is warm up a couple of tortillas. And if you really want that restaurant-style feeling, toss together some homemade guac or a quick pico de gallo for even more flavor. Garnish with lime wedges and fresh cilantro, and you’ll truly have a meal that’s as good as takeout.
The easiest enchiladas ever for when dining out won’t do
Are enchiladas more your jam? Then this easy enchilada recipe is sure to become a fave, not in the least because it relies on one of our favorite shortcut ingredients: store-bought rotisserie chicken. Since the chicken is already cooked, all you need to do is shred it and toss it with a rich, savory sauce spiked with chili powder, garlic, cumin, and oregano. Gooey melted cheese and bright red onion and cilantro add balance to this delightful dish perfect for feeding a crowd — or for leftovers.
This English fave will soon become a dining in staple
If you live in the British isles, chances are you’ve visited your share of "chippies," or storefronts selling batter-fried fish with hearty portions of chips. Stateside, we often need to hit up a pub or restaurant to get our fill, and that can get expensive. Luckily, these fish and chips are fairly simple to make at home, and since you control the quality of the fish in your own kitchen, it’s often even tastier.
To make this recipe, you’ll batter cod with a paprika-scented beer batter, frying it up alongside potatoes that are par-cooked in the microwave. This handy shortcut ensures you end up with fries that are crispy on the outside and tender on the inside: perfect when dipped in ketchup or tartar sauce or drizzled with malt vinegar. Serve with a glass of lager, and enjoy!
Neapolitan pizza is a cinch to make at home
Pizza fans: Put down that takeout menu. You can make an easy, cheesy Neapolitan pizza at home with just a little bit of forethought. Consider making the dough for this pizza during the weekend, when you have extra time. Store it in the fridge for up to two days before tossing, layering on tomato sauce and mozzarella, and baking it until golden brown and delicious.
If you’ve got kids at home, this recipe is a great option for getting them involved in the kitchen. Not only can they help you with the dough tossing, but you can let them pick their favorite toppings and dress up their pizza any way they like.
How Chicago deep-dish fans can cure their homesickness, even when dining in
If you’re a born-and-bred Bears fan, you don’t need to travel home for a hit of nostalgic flavor. Making the dish Jon Stewart famously denigrated as "a cornbread biscuit you’ve melted cheese on" admittedly takes a bit of time, but you’ll be rewarded with a gooey, cheesy, satisfying pizza. (Despite what Mr. Stewart thinks.)
Chicago deep dish pizza, for the uninitiated, is a thicker, heartier pie than some may be used to. The cornmeal-scented dough is pressed into a cast iron skillet and filled with cheese before being topped with homemade tomato sauce. While it may seem backwards at first, trust Chicagoans: cheese fans will fall head-over-heels for this upside-down pizza.
This sesame chicken will open a whole new world of possibilities for dining in
If Chinese takeout is your jam, why not try your hand at homemade sesame chicken? This recipe sees flavorful chicken thighs lightly breaded and fried before being dunked into a homemade sauce blending the savory flavors of soy sauce, sesame, and garlic with a hint of sweetness thanks to honey and brown sugar. Sprinkle with fresh scallions, and your family will confuse it for their favorite takeout.
Fried rice is the perfect side for restaurant-style at home
To accompany your sesame chicken, why not cook up some homemade fried rice? This recipe makes use of leftover cooked rice, which is then sautéed with veggies, egg, garlic, ginger, and soy sauce. The recipe also calls for chicken breast, which easily makes it a complete dinner on its own. If you’re serving it as a side, you can easily leave out the chicken if you prefer. Either way, it’s sure to be delicious — and way less greasy than your usual takeaway.
Pop-in-your-mouth homemade potstickers for some dining in fun
Wonton wrappers are filled with seasoned cabbage and ground chicken and then fried on just one side to make these ultra moreish potstickers. Seriously, folks: You won’t be able to eat just one. (And frankly, no one’s asking you to.)
The flavorful dipping sauce is just as important as the dumplings themselves, with its combo of salty soy sauce, bright vinegar, aromatic ginger, and sesame seeds. Drizzle any leftovers over white rice for a flavor explosion in mere minutes.
Homemade chicken tenders way better than at the bar
Is bar food your go-to fave? Then look no further at this delightful recipe for crispy, tender chicken fingers. A true chicken tender is made with the aptly named chicken tenderloin, rather than the sliced breasts used to make other fingers. This recipe stays true to tradition, rewarding you with the tenderest chicken fingers ever. A coating seasoned with paprika, garlic, mustard, and both black and cayenne peppers catapults them to the next level.
Spicy wings perfect for dining in on Game Day
If you’re more of a wings kinda person then this hot wings recipe is for you. Deviating from the Buffalo tradition of Frank’s Red Hot, these wings are first marinated in Tabasco-tinged buttermilk before taking a trip through some spiced flour and a dip in the deep fryer. Once they emerge, crispy and golden brown, they’re doused with a sweet-and-spicy sauce made with more Tabasco, brown sugar, and spices. Once you’ve tried these wings, it’ll be tough to go back to the ones at your local bar.
This White Castle copycat will have you saying bye-bye to the drive-thru
If burgers are your takeout go-to, we’ve cracked the code to your faves!
First up: White Castle’s signature steamed sliders. This copycat recipe calls for steaming the beef patties in onion-scented water for maximum flavor. Enjoy plain or with the toppings of your choice. And when you’re making these fast food recipes at home, you get to control the quality of the main ingredients. Choose high-quality ground beef, and be prepared to fall even more in love with these bitty burgers.
An In-N-Out copycat as good as the real thing is the solution for dining in blues
In-N-Out is a California staple for a reason, and thanks to this copycat burger recipe, you’ll never have to sit in the drive-thru line again.
Start things off by stirring together the signature In-N-Out spread: a combo of mayo, ketchup, relish, sugar, and vinegar. Spread on a bun layered with a beef patty, American cheese, lettuce and tomato, it’s as good as — if not better than — the original. Double up on burgers and cheese for the secret menu 2×2. Don’t worry — we won’t tell the real secret!
This prime rib gives you a true steakhouse experience at home
Dining out at steakhouses can become an expensive habit, but your red-tinged bank statements will be but a memory once you’ve tried this succulent prime rib recipe. Rubbed with herbs and served with not one but two sauces, this prime rib will conquer your heart (and your wallet will thank you for it).
Of course, if you want to take advantage of a portion of those savings, we’ve got a few ideas. Opt for the very best-quality, dry-aged beef you can find at the butcher, and you’ll be wowed and rewarded with a prime rib that surpasses any you’ve ever tried before.
Copycat Cheesecake Factory fare for dining in with style
Ready for dessert? We’ve got you covered there too! Everyone’s favorite Cheesecake Factory cheesecake is well within your reach thanks to this copycat recipe. Be sure to plan ahead when making this cheesecake: it’ll take a bit of time before it’s ready to devour. Once baked, it needs to cool at room temperature for several hours and chill at least four before it can be sliced and served. Your patience will be rewarded the moment you dig into this rich, creamy, luxurious dessert that’ll have you wondering why you ever ate at restaurants in the first place.