65 Easy Birthday Dinner Ideas: From Drinks to Dessert

Celebrating the birth of your favorite person requires a bit of creative planning. And what better way to commemorate them than with the perfect meal? To help you achieve a menu to make their mouth water, we’ve gathered 57 of the best birthday dinner ideas. 

Perhaps you’re opting for a quiet dinner for two or need an entire birthday party dinner menu for friends and family. We’ve got you covered with recipes for the budget-conscious, the health-minded, the pickiest of eaters, crowds and more. 

Table of contents

1. Ramen

Bowls of ramen for birthday dinner ideas.

Category: Inexpensive birthday recipes 

A bowl of Japanese-inspired ramen makes for a stunning presentation on the birthday dinner table. An aromatic broth holds ramen noodles, chunks of chicken, piles of vegetables and a soft-boiled egg with a runny yolk.

2. Veggie enchiladas

Plate of loaded veggie enchiladas to celebrate a birthday.

Category: Inexpensive birthday recipes 

For vegetarians’ birthdays, these veggie enchiladas are a hit! They’re packed with a colorful mix of budget-friendly ingredients such as corn, zucchini, poblano peppers and black beans. Instead of a traditional red enchilada sauce, these are topped with an easy-to-make homemade tomatillo salsa. And bonus — you can make this recipe vegan by simply leaving out the cheese! 

3. Turkey-stuffed peppers

turkey stuffed peppers

Category: Inexpensive birthday recipes 

Comfort food like classic stuffed peppers is great for birthday celebrations. This version lightens up the original beef-based recipes by using ground turkey and an array of hearty vegetables. 

4. Roast chicken

roasted chicken for birthday dinner ideas

Category: Inexpensive birthday recipes 

Some chefs believe a perfectly roasted chicken is the ultimate meal. Since purchasing a whole chicken is more cost-effective than paying for packaged chicken breasts, this recipe allows you to create an elegant meal for a reasonable price.

5. Apple and bacon pork chops

apple and bacon pork chops

Category: Inexpensive birthday recipes 

Bacon makes everything better, right? That includes birthdays. Plus, pairing smoky bacon and sauteed onions and apples with seared pork chops will leave your house smelling amazing. This recipe has the added benefit of being paleo.

6. Pasta Bolognese

plate of pasta bolognese

Category: Inexpensive birthday recipes 

Taking the time to create a slow-simmered Bolognese sauce filled with ground meat, tomatoes, herbs and vegetables is an act of love for the person celebrating their birthday. Tossing it with pasta and pairing it with a salad makes for a robust Italian meal.

7. Chicken drumsticks

plate of chicken drumsticks with fresh herbs

Category: Inexpensive birthday recipes 

These chicken drumsticks are an inexpensive way to spoil your loved one with powerful flavor for their birthday dinner. Marinate the chicken in your choice of sauce to create a delicious flavor. Serve this entree with coconut lime rice.

8. Classic chicken tenders

crispy chicken tenders for birthday dinner

Category: Inexpensive birthday recipes 

You can never go wrong with classic chicken tenders if you’re looking for birthday dinner ideas. Serve these golden, crispy chicken tenders with various types of potatoes. Don’t forget to serve an array of dipping sauces, including honey mustard, ranch and ketchup.

9. Shrimp ceviche

shrimp ceviche

Category: Healthy birthday recipes 

Ceviche is a dish common in Latin America. It combines raw fish and seafood with herbs and vegetables in citrus juice. The acid from the juice begins to break down the seafood’s proteins, causing its texture to become firm and flaky. This ceviche recipe is perfect for summer celebrations with its vibrant flavors.

10. Chicken cacciatore

chicken cacciatore

Category: Healthy birthday recipes 

The Italian classic chicken cacciatore is a healthy celebratory meal that can be made in under an hour. With mushrooms, peppers and onions simmered in crushed tomatoes and wine, the chicken comes out tender and packed with flavor. This particular recipe also happens to be gluten-free.

11. Air fried salmon

air fried salmon with lemon and green beans for birthday dinner idea

Category: Healthy birthday recipes 

Salmon offers a lot of health benefits. It’s low in saturated fat, a great source of vitamins B12 and D, a great source of protein and is full of potassium. This air fryer salmon recipe is simple to put together and delivers a tasty and elegant birthday dinner.

12. Paella


Category: Healthy birthday recipes 

This hearty dish from Spain is chock-full of seafood, rice, vegetables and the taste of saffron. Paella also makes enough for a small crowd, perfect for sharing with birthday party guests.

13. Ratatouille


Category: Healthy birthday recipes 

With seven types of vegetables plus white beans and polenta, ratatouille is a hearty vegetarian meal that provides a bounty of flavor. Plus, it makes for an inspired choice for fans of the Disney film of the same name. Throw an elegant Disney birthday dinner with the dish and a movie.

14. Halibut with chili gremolata

halibut with chili gremolata

Category: Healthy birthday recipes 

Grilling fish is a quick and healthy option for a birthday dinner menu. Liven up your halibut with an easy gremolata full of bold flavors from Calabrian chilis, parsley and garlic.

15. Chicken casserole

birthday dinner chicken casserole

Category: Healthy birthday recipes 

Not sure what to do with your leftovers? This chicken casserole recipe delivers a cheddar-based cheesy casserole topped with crunchy breadcrumbs. This is also an excellent birthday dinner idea for a crowd.

16. Lemon and garlic chicken

lemon and garlic chicken

Category: Healthy birthday recipes 

Stick to your health goals while enjoying a tasty birthday meal with this lemon and garlic chicken. The blend of citrus and herbs creates an irresistible tanginess. Serve your chicken with seasonal vegetables and roasted potatoes — sprinkle rosemary and lemon on top to elevate the flavors. 

17. Tater tot casserole

tater tot casserole for birthday dinner

Category: Crowd-pleasing birthday recipes 

This recipe layers a mixture of ground meat and vegetables under a topping of tater tots and cheese. The simple nature of the ingredients in this tater tot casserole provides ample opportunity to doctor the recipe to suit the needs of your party guests.

18. Slow cooker pulled pork

slow cooker pulled pork

Category: Crowd-pleasing birthday recipes 

A birthday party is a perfect time to get your slow cooker out of storage to make mealtime less stressful for you as the host. This slow cooker pulled pork recipe creates a heaping pile of flavorful shredded meat that guests can use to make sandwiches, tacos and more. Not a fan of dark meat? Explore any one of our mouth-watering slow cooker chicken recipes for other easy birthday dinner ideas.

19. Spaghetti and meatballs

bowl of spaghetti and meatballs

Category: Crowd-pleasing birthday recipes 

The classic spaghetti and meatballs is always a crowd-pleaser. Whether you make your own or purchase frozen meatballs, guests will be happy with the familiar comfort food.

20. Monte Cristo sliders

Monte Cristo sliders for birthday dinner

Category: Crowd-pleasing birthday recipes 

Inspired by a similar sandwich popularized at Disneyland, these small bites feature thin layers of ham, turkey and cheese on soft rolls. Follow this Monte Cristo sandwich recipe for a tasty and easy birthday dinner idea. Try adding raspberry preserves inside the sandwich for extra flavor.

21. Vegetarian tostadas

Vegetarian tostadas

Category: Crowd-pleasing birthday recipes 

These sweet potato and black bean tostadas are easy to put together for a crowd. They’re also very adjustable to the various palates and dietary needs of birthday party guests.

22. Shrimp gumbo

bowl of shrimp gumbo

Category: Crowd-pleasing birthday recipes

A Cajun classic from Louisiana, gumbo is similar to a thick soup and is traditionally served over white rice. This shrimp gumbo recipe features a multitude of flavorful ingredients such as shrimp, crab meat, tomatoes, onion, garlic, celery and okra.

23. Giant cheeseburger

Giant cheeseburger

Category: Crowd-pleasing birthday recipes 

Sometimes a showstopping dish takes a birthday party up a notch. This enormous party-sized cheeseburger can fill that role. The massive oversized burger is made from a whopping three pounds of ground beef!

24. Pancakes

pancakes for birthday dinner

Category: Birthday dinner ideas for picky eaters

Breakfast for dinner is a great way to encourage picky eaters to dive in. Pancakes are easy to put together and can be a simple base for doctoring to suit the tastes of everyone. Top with berries and maple syrup or take them in a savory direction by using them to create a sandwich with sausage, eggs and cheese in the middle.

25. Chicken parm

Chicken parm on bed of pasta

Category: Birthday dinner ideas for picky eaters

Chicken parmigiana combines the classic and simple tastes of breaded chicken cutlets, rich tomato sauce and gooey melted mozzarella. With a short list of ingredients, this birthday dinner will be on the table in 30 minutes. Once you get cooking, be sure to consult our guide on how to thicken sauce in case your tomato sauce runs thin.

26. Design-your-own pizza pockets

personal pizza pockets for birthday dinner ideas

Category: Birthday dinner ideas for picky eaters

Pre-made pizza dough is available at most grocery stores these days, making this recipe easy. Picky eaters have the option to add their favorite pizza toppings to their own personalized pizza pockets

27. Steak bites with potatoes

steak bites with fresh herbs

Category: Birthday dinner ideas for picky eaters

Meat and potatoes are a favorite for many people, and this recipe is a great way to satisfy any birthday craving. A delicate balance of garlic, butter and herbs add bright and decadent flavors to this filling meal of steak bites and potatoes.

28. Chicken and waffle sliders

chicken and waffle sliders

Category: Birthday dinner ideas for picky eaters

Mention chicken and waffles and many people’s eyes light up. Make your waffles and chicken as big or small as you want. Be sure to keep the sauce on the side to cater to picky eaters.

29. Beef and broccoli

plate of beef with broccoli

Category: Birthday dinner ideas for picky eaters

Instead of going out for Chinese food for your loved one’s birthday, try making it at home. Classic beef and broccoli will come together quickly in your kitchen.

30. Hawaiian teriyaki turkey sliders

Hawaiian teriyaki turkey sliders

Category: Birthday dinner ideas for picky eaters

The combination of teriyaki and pineapple is a match made in heaven. Adding them to these small Hawaiian turkey burger sliders offers a tasty handheld birthday dinner.

31. Build-your-own tacos

Build your own tacos for birthday dinner

Category: Birthday dinner ideas for picky eaters

Looking for birthday dinner ideas for a picky eater? Save the day with a build-your-own taco station. Serve mouthwatering meat, including chicken and beef, and all the toppings. Enjoy your fiesta birthday dinner idea at home!

32. Shaved asparagus salad

Shaved asparagus salad

Category: Birthday dinner side dishes

Shaving raw asparagus thin creates delicate ribbons of refreshing flavor. Parmesan, golden raisins and pine nuts add contrast to this shaved asparagus salad, which is further complemented by a simple topper of lemon juice and olive oil.  

33. Scalloped potatoes

Casserole dish of scalloped potatoes.

Category: Birthday dinner side dishes

Scalloped potatoes are rich and decadent — perfect for a celebratory birthday dinner. While the flavors and textures are indulgent, the simple list of ingredients and prep required make it an easy addition to your menu.

34. Roasted zucchini with Parmesan breadcrumbs

Roasted zucchini with parmesan breadcrumbs

Category: Birthday dinner side dishes

Fresh zucchini topped with crunchy panko breadcrumbs, fresh herbs, Parmesan and garlic is a light accompaniment to menus with heavier entrees. As an added bonus, this roasted zucchini recipe is delicious when served hot out of the oven and at room temperature.

35. Cold peanut noodles

Cold peanut noodles

Category: Birthday dinner side dishes

When used in this savory dish, peanut butter combines with sesame oil and soy to bring sweetness and earthy nuttiness to this dish. Cold peanut noodles are great alongside a lightly glazed piece of fish or can be a meal by themselves. 

36. Greek salad

Large bowl of greek salad

Category: Birthday dinner side dishes

Cucumbers, tomatoes and red onions serve as the crisp and fresh vegetable base for this light Greek salad side. Kalamata olives and feta cheese add a nice salty contrast, which is also tempered by a tangy lemon vinaigrette.

37. Coconut rice with lime

Coconut rice with lime

Category: Birthday dinner side dishes

Cooking rice in coconut milk creates a flavorful and fluffy base for this dish. The acidity of lime juice and the brightness of fresh cilantro in this coconut rice recipe round out the flavor profile of this delicate side.

38. Warm Brussels sprouts slaw

Warm Brussels sprouts slaw

Category: Birthday dinner side dishes

Tossing thinly sliced Brussels sprouts fresh from the oven with a tangy orange-ginger dressing creates a warm Brussels sprouts slaw that is bursting with flavor. And, if this meal is celebrating someone who eats paleo, then this dish qualifies.

39. Creamy mac and cheese

Creamy mac and cheese

Category: Birthday dinner side dishes

You can’t go wrong with serving a large helping of this creamy mac and cheese recipe. The blend of cheeses and seasonings creates a birthday side dish that’ll melt in your mouth. Double or triple the recipe amount depending on the size of your celebration.

40. Baked rosemary chicken wings

Baked rosemary chicken wings

Category: Birthday party appetizers

Chicken wings make wonderful appetizers due to their small size and the ability to easily eat them with our fingers. This easy rosemary chicken wings recipe packs a ton of flavor into these tiny bites.

41. Quick marinated mushrooms

Marinated mushrooms on skewers for birthday dinner

Category: Birthday party appetizers

When time is tight for birthday party prep, this recipe for marinated mushrooms will be a lifesaver. They can be made ahead of time and stored in your refrigerator until it’s party time.

42. Tofu satay with peanut sauce

Tofu satay with peanut sauce

Category: Birthday party appetizers

Like a sponge, this tofu soaks up the flavor of the slightly spicy marinade it is doused in. Use this satay recipe but swap the chicken for tofu. Serve with a savory peanut sauce for dipping the skewers of tofu. Make it vegan and vegetarian by replacing the fish sauce with soy sauce.

43. Crab puffs

Crab puffs

Category: Birthday party appetizers

The magical combination of cream cheese, crab meat and scallions makes these fried crab puff dumplings addictive. With only a few ingredients, you can easily make these in advance and freeze them until needed.

44. Bacon-wrapped stuffed dates

Bacon wrapped stuffed dates

Category: Birthday party appetizers

Did you know that more than 90% of the dates harvested in America are grown in California’s desert region known as the Coachella Valley? These sweet fruits are the perfect vehicle for pairing with salty bacon and tangy goat cheese for a delicious small bite. The recipe for bacon-wrapped stuffed dates is simple and worth the effort.

45. Jalapeño poppers

Loaded jalapeno poppers

Category: Birthday party appetizers

If the birthday honoree is a fan of spicy foods, they may ask for their own stash of these jalapeño popper crisps. Slices of jalapeños are filled with mounds of cheese and topped with bacon, then baked until they melt together.

46. Spicy salmon cucumber stacks

Spicy salmon cucumber stacks

Category: Birthday party appetizers

Make your own spicy mayo to mix with leftover cooked salmon and then top cucumber rounds for an elegant birthday party appetizer. A quartered cherry tomato and a sprig of chive on top add to the classy display these spicy salmon cucumber stacks make when lined up on a platter.  

47. Spinach artichoke dip

Spinach artichoke dip with chips

Category: Birthday party appetizers

Whip up a batch of this spinach artichoke dip when it’s artichoke season for the ultimate birthday party appetizer. The creaminess of the cheese and rich flavors of the artichokes will have your partygoers coming back for seconds. Serve with crispy tortilla chips, chopped vegetables or breadsticks.

48. Deviled eggs

Plate of deviled eggs

Category: Birthday party appetizers

Deviled eggs are one of those appetizers folks are always satisfied with. This appetizer is great for mingling and munching. Garnish them with smoked paprika or fresh herbs to take them to the next level.

49. Peach Bellini

Peach Bellini

Category: Birthday dinner drinks

Created in Italy in the 1930s, this version of the classic Bellini recipe is a fruity blend of peach juice and sparkling wine. It’s a light and refreshing partner to any birthday meal.

50. Coquito rum punch

coquito rum punch

Category: Birthday dinner drinks

If you’ve had the pleasure of traveling to Puerto Rico, you may have experienced the coconut milk-based rum punch known as coquito. Commonly served during the winter holidays, the drink features a variety of spices, including star anise, cloves and 24 cinnamon sticks.

51. Old Smokeshow whiskey cocktail

Old smokeshow whiskey cocktail

Category: Birthday dinner drinks

For whiskey fans, this recipe is a spin-off of a classic old-fashioned. To achieve the unique smoky flavor, the juice from grilled oranges is used to make a charred orange vanilla syrup.

52. Red wine hot cocoa

Red wine hot cocoa

Category: Birthday dinner drinks

Birthday celebrations during colder months may wish for warm cocktails to serve party guests. This easy slow cooker red wine hot cocoa recipe adds in a bottle of red wine for an unusual yet delicious combination.

53. Vodka martini

Vodka martini

Category: Birthday dinner drinks

Step up the classiness of your birthday dinner with James Bond’s drink of choice. With only three key ingredients, vodka martinis are an easy cocktail to test out your preference for “shaken” or “stirred.” Check out the other types of martinis to find your signature cocktail.

54. Fruity frozen margaritas

Fruity frozen margarita

Category: Birthday dinner drinks

Take advantage of the frozen fruit in your freezer to make quick birthday cocktails. By using frozen fruit, you can cut down on the amount of ice when blending, thus limiting how watered down your fruity frozen margaritas will be.

55. Michelada


Category: Birthday dinner drinks

If the birthday honoree is more of a beer drinker, then this is the cocktail for them! The michelada is a beer mixed with hot sauce, soy sauce and Worcestershire sauce and served in a salt-rimmed glass.

56. Birthday mocktails

Birthday dinner mocktails

Serve a few birthday mocktail options for your non-alcoholic guests. Customize these drinks to pair well with the overall party theme — perhaps a virgin piña colada for a tropical party or sparkling apple cider for an autumn celebration.

57. Kahlua cream fudge brownies

Kahlua cream fudge brownies

Category: Birthday dinner desserts

The Kahlua glaze atop these decadent, moist brownies will satisfy both chocolate lovers and coffee lovers. Birthdays are a great occasion to level up your brownie game with this Kahlua cream fudge brownie recipe

58. Lemon meringue cheesecake

Slice of lemon meringue cheesecake

Category: Birthday dinner desserts

This show-stopping lemon meringue cheesecake will wow your guests when they see it. A classic cheesecake topped with a layer of lemon curd and a mountain of toasted meringue presents both an impressive visual and delicious taste.

59. Whoopie pies

Whoopie pies

Category: Birthday dinner desserts

You can transform a simple box of cake mix into the yummy cookies needed to make this whoopie pie recipe. Add a white chocolate cream cheese filling for the sandwich center, and you have a delightful birthday treat. 

60. Warm strawberry shortcake

Warm strawberry shortcake for birthday dinner dessert

Category: Birthday dinner desserts

Make the most of strawberry season and try this strawberry shortcake recipe. Sweet homemade biscuits serve as the base for a sweet strawberry gravy.

61. Flourless chocolate almond cake

Flourless chocolate almond cake

Category: Birthday dinner desserts

Based on a classic Italian flourless chocolate cake known as a Torta Caprese, this recipe is actually paleo, gluten-free and dairy-free! That means we can all have an extra slice of dessert, right?

62. Cake pops

Birthday cake pops with sprinkles

Category: Birthday dinner desserts

If birthday cake decorating isn’t your thing, then making your own cake pops is a great workaround. After baking a yellow cake box mix, you then crumble it and add a container of frosting. Mold the mixture into balls, dip them in a melted chocolate coating and voila!

63. Flan with bourbon whipped cream

Flan with bourbon whipped cream

Category: Birthday dinner desserts

This dessert demands a moment in the spotlight at your next birthday party. Unveiling this flan recipe that includes honey and almond flavors at the dinner table will impress your guests — and adding a dollop of bourbon whipped cream will be the metaphorical cherry on top.

64. Triple-layer lemon pie

Triple layer lemon pie

Category: Birthday dinner desserts

For the pie lover’s birthday, surprise them with this easy-to-make triple-layer lemon pie. The creamy and refreshing filling is nestled in layers between a buttery graham cracker crust. The sweet and tart flavor profile is a wonderful finale to a decadent birthday meal.

65. Chocolate fondue station

Chocolate fondue station

Round out your birthday dinner menu with a chocolate fondue station. Melt your choice of chocolate and heavy cream in a large pot. Serve with an assortment of fruits, marshmallows and pound cake for dipping.

65 Easy Birthday Dinner Ideas: From Drinks to Dessert

Recipe by InstacartCourse: RecipesCuisine: AmericanDifficulty: Easy

Choose one or more of the birthday dinner ideas for a delicious celebration.


  • Choose one of the birthday dinner ideas above.
  • Enjoy a tasty birthday dinner at home.

Once you pick the perfect birthday dinner recipes from this list, it’s time to start shopping for the big night. The Instacart team is here to help make your life easier. Shop from home for the ingredients you need and have them delivered to your door. Use the time you’ll save to go wrap that birthday gift you stashed in the closet!

Looking for birthday cake alternatives to take your party to the next level? Check out these recipes to sweeten up your loved one’s special day.



Instacart is the leading grocery technology company in North America, partnering with more than 1,400 national, regional, and local retail banners to deliver from more than 80,000 stores across more than 14,000 cities in North America. To read more Instacart posts, you can browse the company blog or search by keyword using the search bar at the top of the page.

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