18 Date-Night Recipes for a Cozy Meal at Home

18 Date-Night Recipes for a Cozy Meal at Home

Overhead view of a fork of moussaka on a plate
Serious Eats / Amanda Suarez

Winter is upon us, and it’s hard to do anything during these cold, dark days except sit on the couch and watch endless amounts of TV. If you’re in a relationship, you may find it hard to even get out of the house and head to a nice restaurant for date night. So why not have date night at home? Doing so can be a fun way to change things up with a long-term partner, or can even help you impress the person you’ve been seeing for just a few weeks. Whether you’re planning for Valentine’s Day or just another Friday night, these date-night recipes—like citrusy red sangria and a quick Thai shrimp stir-fry—will help you put a lovely meal on the table for your special someone, no matter the occasion.

Drinks

Red Sangria

A glass of sangria adorned with an orange wedge.
Serious Eats / Amanda Suarez

Citrusy, sweet, and strong, this sangria is an ideal accompaniment to your date-night meal.

Pomegranate Rouge

Pomegranate rouge cocktail garnished with a lemon twist.
Debbie Wee

A subtly sweet and lightly tart drink perfect for every occasion.

Appetizers

Oysters Rockefeller

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Vicky Wasik

For better and brighter oysters Rockefeller, lose the spinach and cream, prepare the topping in stages, then serve as a stand-out appetizer.

Classic Creamy Carrot Soup

Carrot soup in a white bowl.
Debbie Wee

Roasted carrots, simmered carrots, and carrot juice bring forth sweetness in this comforting appetizer.

Ukoy (Filipino Shrimp and Vegetable Fritters)

Filipino Ukoy fritters on a a blue plate with dipping sauce and beer on the side
Vicky Wasik

These crisp, juicy shrimp and vegetable fritters are paired with a spiced vinegar for dipping.

Mains

Sole Meunière

Sole Meuniere on a dark green plate on a marbled countertop
Serious Eats / Amanda Suarez

This classic preparation is quick, easy, and arguably one of the best ways to serve delicate fillets.

Moussaka

Overhead view of a fork of moussaka on a plate
Serious Eats / Amanda Suarez

A classic Greek dish made of rich, hearty layers of potato, eggplant, and tomato-based meat sauce, blanketed in creamy béchamel.

Goong Pad Nam Prik Pao (Thai Stir-Fried Shrimp With Chile Jam)

Shrimp Stir-Fry put on a yellow plate
Serious Eats / Vicky Wasik

A savory-sweet Thai stir-fry made with shrimp, oyster mushrooms, long beans, and nam prik pao.

Malloreddus Alla Campidanese (Sardinian Ridged Pasta With Saffron and Pork Ragù)

Overhead view of Malloreddus alla Campidanese in a white bowl on a titled background with pink floruishes surrounded by the pot and two wine glasses
Serious Eats / Lorena Masso

Tuck into this rich Sardinian dish of homemade semolina pasta swathed in a hearty pork ragù.

Braised Chinese-Style Short Ribs

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Emily and Matt Clifton

These fork-tender ribs are braised with soy sauce, orange, and 5-spice powder for a comforting meal that’s bursting with flavor.

Pasta alla Gricia

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Vicky Wasik

Guanciale, black pepper, Pecorino Romano, and pasta come together in a study of delicious minimalism.

Salads and Sides

Trevisano Radicchio Salad With Satsumas, Pistachios, and Calabrian Chile Vinaigrette

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Vicky Wasik

Forget winter with this bright and citrusy chicory salad. The dressing brings together satsumas, pistachios, and Calabrian chile and takes the salad to the next level.

Chinese Eggplant Salad

Overhead image of eggplant salad on a grey stoneware plate with chop sticks
Serious Eats / Amanda Suarez

A bright and spicy side dish, this salad is served cold and can stand on its own when eaten with flavorful stir-fries and braised meats.

Lyonnaise Potatoes

finished lyonnaise potatoes
Vicky Wasik

A buttery union of crisp potatoes and meltingly tender onions—perfect next to meat dishes like steak or ribs.

Sous Vide Glazed Carrots

A round white porcelain plate holding multi-colored sous vide glazed carrots. The plate is on a dark blue textured surface and there is a small white bowl holding chopped parsley in the top left corner of the image.
Serious Eats / Eric Kleinberg

Sous vide carrots are intensely flavorful and perfectly cooked—every time.

Desserts

Basque Cheesecake

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Vicky Wasik

Basque cheesecake boasts a creamy center and a deeply caramelized “burnt” top and bottom, thanks to a high-temperature bake—no crust required.

Eggless Chocolate Mousse

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Vicky Wasik

The creamy toffee notes of homemade condensed milk set this recipe apart from the custardy, yolk-rich profile of traditional chocolate mousse. 

Ginger Spice Brownies

Ginger spiced brownies laid out on a slice of parchment paper.
Liz Voltz

A complex blend of spices complements the rich chocolate in these brownies and adds warmth.