20+ Birthday Dinner Ideas
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Making a great meal can be one of the best gifts to someone you love. Here are 20+ birthday dinner ideas that will make someone feel extra special on their big day. Our ideas are approachable, yet still delicious. We’ve also included side dish ideas to help take the brainwork out of planning the meal.
Small Ways to Make a Birthday Dinner Feel Extra Special
You don’t have to throw a huge party or spend a lot of money to make someone’s birthday dinner feel extra special. Here are a few simple ideas to add to your dinner.
- Tape a few balloons to the back of the chair where the special person will sit. Streamers will work too.
- Light a few candles in the middle of the table. Something about this makes a meal feel extra special.
- Light a birthday candle and put it in the middle of their entree.
- Have everyone at the table share one thing they appreciate about the person.
- Play their favorite music while you eat dinner.
- If it’s an adult, have the kids decorate their cake. It will be beautiful in its own way. 🙂
- Let the birthday boy/girl pick the dinner. Send them this list below to browse through!
20+ Birthday Dinner Ideas
We’ll bring the menu. You bring the gifts, candles, and fun!
1. Slow Cooker Balsamic Shredded Beef – Serve over mashed potatoes or polenta with our Roasted Broccoli.
2. Perfect Grilled Steak – Throw everything on the grill, including Corn on the Cob, Asparagus, and these Gourmet Grilled Peaches.
3. Homemade Pizza Party – Make pizza dough, pizza sauce, and have everyone add their own toppings. So fun!
4. Hearty Baked Penne Pasta – Serve with Texas Toast (aka the best garlic bread ever). This meal feeds an army!
5. Oven Fried Coconut Shrimp – Restaurant quality but easy to make at home! Dip in the Pineapple Chili Sauce from the recipe.
6. Sirloin Steak Kabobs – This marinade is to die for! Ultimate Bacon and Cheddar Stuffed Potatoes would be delicious with this. Could also make Honey Garlic Chicken Kabobs at the same time.
7. Smash Burgers – More casual but a total crowd-pleaser. Steak Fries or Maple Glazed Carrots would be the perfect side.
8. Pan Seared Pork Chops – Easy to make and liked by all ages. Serve with Autumn Chopped Salad and Crockpot Cinnamon Applesauce.
9. Breakfast for Dinner – My kids request this for their birthday dinners. Make Cinnamon Rolls and our Fancy Egg Casserole or 5 Ingredient Breakfast Casserole.
10. BBQ Salmon Bowls with Mango Avocado Salsa – A simple rub takes the salmon to the next level. Serve over Cilantro Lime Rice.
11. French Dip Sandwiches – Super easy and a fan favorite. Serve with Roasted Broccoli or Roasted Brussels Sprouts.
12. Carnitas – My favorite meal to make for large groups. Serve with Pickled Red Onions and Avocado Salsa.
13. Creamy Tuscan Chicken Pasta – An easy pasta with big flavor! Serve with a fresh salad with Homemade Croutons and one of these Homemade Salad Dressings.
14. Honey Garlic Chicken Kabobs – Sweet and savory. Kids love this one. Could also grill Sirloin Steak Kabobs and Corn on the Cob at the same time.
15. Ultimate Grilled Chicken Sandwiches – So much flavor is packed into this marinade! Cucumber Tomato Feta Salad makes a good summer side dish.
16. Easy Crockpot Ribs – Slow cooked until they fall of the bone. Serve with Maple Glazed Carrots, Baby Boiled Potatoes and our Grilled Peaches for a yummy combination!
17. Hawaiian Pork Tenderloin – An easy dinner that is a total crown pleaser. Serve with fresh Pineapple Salsa for a wow factor.
18. Pan-Seared Steak – Making a restaurant quality steak is easier than you think using this method. Top with homemade garlic herb butter and serve Crispy Smashed Potatoes on the side.
19. BBQ Shredded Beef Sandwiches – This recipe feeds a lot of people and has great flavor too. Serve with 5 Ingredient Coleslaw and 3 Minute Corn on the Cob.
20. Crockpot (or Instant Pot) Beef Short Ribs – A super easy, decadent recipe that results in a gourmet dinner! Serve over mashed potatoes with the sauce.
More Birthday Dinner Ideas
21. Taco Bar – If you need a more casual, buffet-type style meal, a Taco Bar would be a great idea. Serve with Mexican Chopped Salad, Pineapple Salsa and Guacamole.
22. Chicken Spaghetti – Comfort food to the max. I love this recipe! Serve with Honey Balsamic Brussels Sprouts.
23. Asian Turkey Meatballs – Would be a great appetizer or lighter dinner. Could serve with Fried Rice and/or Asian Slaw.
24. Crockpot Breakfast Casserole with Bacon and Gruyere – BFD for your BDAY! Guests will oooh and ahhhh over this gourmet casserole. It’s packed with flavor & color and feeds a crowd.
Need more meal ideas that work for large groups? We have a great roundup of those as well. See 20+ Meal Ideas for Large Groups.
Did you make this? Snap a photo and tag us on Instagram at @thrivinghome so we can see your creations and cheer you on!
20+ Birthday Dinner Ideas: The Perfect Steak Dinner
Pan Seared Steak that’s finished in the oven is one of the easiest yet impressive meals on this list of birthday dinner ideas. My son requests this every year.
This steak is delicious with our Twice Stuffed Baked Potatoes (make them ahead of time!) and Autumn Chopped Salad.
- 1–2 steaks (suggested: New York Strip) (Get meat you can trust here.)
- Steak seasoning
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- Pull the steaks out of the refrigerator about 20-30 minutes before cooking and let rest on counter.
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
- Pat steaks dry on both sides. Then, season generously with steak seasoning on all sides, rubbing it in with your fingers.
- Place an OVEN-SAFE, large, heavy-bottomed pan* over medium-high heat for just a few minutes. To test if it’s hot enough, sprinkle a little water on it. If it sizzles, it’s ready. (Note: Don’t leave your pan over this high heat for long at all or it will get too hot. Mine only took about 1-2 minutes to get to temperature.)
- Using tongs, place steaks in pan without letting them touch. You will hear them immediately start to sizzle. Let them sear on this first side (without moving them!) for 1-2 minutes. When they come away from the pan easily and have sufficient browning on one side, flip the steaks to another part of the pan where it’s really hot (not the same spot it was just in). Sear steaks for 1-2 minutes on this side until browned well. The goal of this step is to create a nice crust on the outside of your steak.
- Now, you’re going to finish cooking your steak in the oven. Transfer your oven-safe pan* directly to the preheated oven. Let steaks bake for 5-12 minutes, depending on the thickness of the steaks and how you like them done (medium-rare, medium, etc). Insert a digital meat thermometer into the thickest part of the steak to test for doneness near the end of the cooking time. You want to remove the steaks about 5 degrees sooner than the optimal finished temp, because they will continue to cook while they rest. So, remove the steak at the temperatures listed below for the perfect doneness.
- Once the steak is at your desired internal temperature, use oven mitts to remove the hot pan from the oven. Transfer steaks to a plate and cover loosely with foil. LET REST FOR 5-10 MINUTES so it finishes cooking and the juices can redistribute throughout the meat. (This is a very important step!)
- Enjoy the perfect steak!
Steak Doneness Temperatures: Remove steaks at these temperatures before resting for the perfect doneness:
- 115-125 degrees = Rare
- 125-135 degrees = Medium Rare
- 135-145 degrees = Medium
- 145-155 degrees = Medium Well
- 155-165 degrees = Well Done
*An oven-safe pan is one that is all metal and does not have rubber or plastic on the handle. If you don’t have an oven-safe pan, then preheat a metal sheet pan (with sides) in the oven. After the steak has been seared, transfer the steak using tongs to this hot sheet pan to finish in the oven. For easy clean up, you may want to cover it with foil.
We get our meat from ButcherBox*. The beef is grass-fed, grass-finished with no hormones or antibiotics and is absolutely delicious! We highly recommend this service to source DELICIOUS and HEALTHY meat–like heritage-raised pork, organic chicken, wild salmon, and uncured bacon–and have used it for years ourselves.
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