40 of the best big family dinner ideas for delicious family meals any night of the week or for a special family gathering for a holiday or party.
If there are lots of mouths to feed at your nightly dinner table, you need all the big family dinner ideas you can get!
Or it is quite possible you're looking for a big family dinner idea that will let you cook a big batch of food you can freeze and reheat later OR split in half and share as part of a meal train dinner.
No matter your reason, these awesome family dinner recipes are easy to scale for whatever size you need.
Double batch, triple batch, or prep ahead and freeze, you'll be ready to feed an army of loved ones for a special meal.
- Very Easy Dinners
- Chili Bar Hot Dogs
- Spaghetti with Meatballs
- Crockpot Sloppy Joe's
- Taco Night
- Meatball Subs
- Chicken Chili
- No Cook Dinners
- Salad Bar
- Deli Sandwiches
- Ultimate Snack Board Night
- Make Ahead Dinners
- Make-Ahead Sausage Lasagna
- Make-Ahead Freezer Breakfast Burritos
- Classic Beef Bolognese
- Freezer Friendly Chicken Tetrazzini
- Freezer Friendly Tater Tot Casserole
- Stovetop Beef Stew
- Freezer Friendly Chicken Spaghetti
- Make Ahead Chicken Enchiladas
- Freezer Friendly Sausage Pasta Casserole
- Crockpot Dinner Ideas
- Crockpot Italian Beef Sandwiches
- Tuscan Chicken Pasta
- BBQ Pulled Pork Sandwiches
- Crockpot Chicken and Sausage Jambalaya with Rice
- Open Face Turkey Sandwiches
- Crockpot Spiral Ham
- Teriyaki Meatballs with Rice
- Crockpot Chicken Noodle Soup
- Crockpot Bourbon Chicken
- Sandwich Buffet
- Instant Pot Dinners
- Apricot Chicken with Herb Butter Rice
- Instant Pot Ground Turkey Soup
- Instant Pot Butter Chicken
- Easy Side Dishes
- More Family Dinner Ideas
- 💬 Comments
Very Easy Dinners
Feeding a big family night after night can feel exhausting.
Be sure to rely on these very simple dinner ideas, they're perfect for sprinkling into your meal plan all month long.
Chili Bar Hot Dogs
This thick chili is perfect for topping a hot dog and it could be made ahead and frozen. Just thaw and heat and serve with the hot dogs.
Or just do the chili bar itself with a big double-batch of the chili and plenty of toppings.
Spaghetti with Meatballs
This is my recipe for my favorite Italian meatballs in tomato sauce but you could easily use a giant bag of frozen meatballs and prepared jars of your favorite tomato sauce instead.
HINT: If serving kids, be sure to offer a short noodle like penne or farfalle, it is so much easier for them to eat.
Crockpot Sloppy Joe's
Pop this easy sloppy joe mix into your slowcooker for a satisfying meal your whole family will love.
Pair it with any of the simple side dishes mentioned at the bottom of the post and a pile of buns.
Tacos are super popular but could be tricky to make for a big family unless you do things in big batches.
My Mexican pulled pork carnitas would be an excellent choice. Then just stock up on store bought salsa, tortillas, and toppings.
My homemade Mexican rice would be a perfect side dish:
You could serve this as sandwich bar and put all the meatballs in a big slowcooker to keep warm and just serve the sub rolls on the side.
This healthy red chicken chili (with no beans) makes a giant serving you could easily freeze half or share with friends.
I love to serve it with sour cream, shredded cheese, and big bowls of tortilla chips for dunking.
No Cook Dinners
When the temperature rises or you're going to have an especially busy night, rely on an easy no cook dinner.
Simply place the food out for your family in a big buffet line and let everyone help themselves.
Just chop up a wide variety of raw veggies for the ultimate salad bar.
Add these tasty extras:
Head to the grocery store and pick up a fun variety of fresh sliced breads (rye, sourdough, white, honey whole wheat) along with a variety of deli meats and cheeses.
The key to this is all in the presentation and wide variety to make it interesting.
Use my list of finger sandwich recipes as an inspiring place to start.
Ultimate Snack Board Night
Snack boards are so fun for a big family because you can plan a much bigger variety of items on the board when you've got plenty of people to help you eat it.
Start with my cheddar snack board but then consider adding a hot dip like my jalapeño artichoke dip or this Swedish meatball sausage dip, they can both be prepped in advance and just popped into the oven.
Don't forget something sweet like my best cannoli dip with buttery cookies.
Make Ahead Dinners
Freezer friendly make ahead meals are excellent choices for the busy work week but I love them even more come holiday season.
I always prep ahead some of these casseroles and easy dishes for easy entertaining of our big family during the holiday season.
It's also nice to have a frozen casserole to share with a friend in need during a last minute emergency.
Make-Ahead Sausage Lasagna
You can freeze this awesome sausage lasagna in advance or make it a few days before you want to serve it and store it in the fridge.
Serve with homemade garlic bread and a big green salad.
Make-Ahead Freezer Breakfast Burritos
Surprise your family with a "breakfast for dinner" option. You could prep these burritos ahead and freeze them.
Classic Beef Bolognese
My hearty bolognese recipe isn't quick and easy but it does freeze really well.
Spend a lazy Sunday prepping it and freeze the whole batch in a big casserole pan or separate it into two smaller pans so you have one to share.
Serve with pasta, gnocchi, or as a chili with fresh bread for dunking.
Freezer Friendly Chicken Tetrazzini
We have a strict "no mushrooms" rule in our family, so this version of the classic make-ahead casserole is always a hit!
For a big family, you could make two pans and freeze them.
Freezer Friendly Tater Tot Casserole
You can completely assemble this Minnesota tater tot hotdish recipe and freeze it.
Bake it from frozen for an easy family dinner.
Stovetop Beef Stew
This freezer-friendly stew tastes amazing over mashed potatoes.
You could freeze it in advance and then buy refrigerated potatoes at the grocery store or plan to make my slowcooker mashed potatoes.
Freezer Friendly Chicken Spaghetti
The kids will thank you when you pull a pan of this hearty casserole out of the oven! You can prep it ahead and freeze it.
For big families, you could make two pans and freeze them. Serve with a pan of my easy roasted broccoli and carrots for a healthy side dish.
Make Ahead Chicken Enchiladas
These easy chicken enchiladas could be made in assembly line fashion and frozen in advance or prepped earlier in the day for baking at night.
As long as you have the assembly line going, it is just as easy to make two pans.
Freezer Friendly Sausage Pasta Casserole
My mom is famous for this easy pasta casserole with spinach and sausage. It is always a huge hit with a crowd.
Serve it with fresh pineapple, trust me it works.
Crockpot Dinner Ideas
Focus on time spent with your family, not time spent cooking! Pop these easy dishes into the slowcooker and let dinner cook itself.
Crockpot Italian Beef Sandwiches
You could actually plan to cook this Italian beef ahead of time, shred it, and freeze it in a large 9x13 aluminum pan.
Plan for fresh rolls and pickled peppers for topping. Personally I think, my chow chow recipe would be perfect.
Tuscan Chicken Pasta
You could easily double (or triple!) the chicken and sauce and let it cook in the slowcooker while you make a double (or triple) batch of the pasta in a big pot on the stovetop.
BBQ Pulled Pork Sandwiches
Plan a barbecue sandwich or platter night with cornbread, slaw, and baked beans.
If you're not a fan of pork, these slowcooker bbq chicken thighs would be a good alternative.
You could also make these slowcooker sweet potatoes for an easy side dish that tastes great with the meat piled up on top.
Crockpot Chicken and Sausage Jambalaya with Rice
You could make this dish with or without the shrimp depending on your family's preferences and budget. Frozen shrimp works just fine!
Open Face Turkey Sandwiches
These awesome turkey sandwiches start with my favorite slowcooker turkey breast recipe that would be super easy to pop into a Crockpot!
It's a fun way to serve turkey to the family, just used jarred gravy if you don't want to make it from scratch.
Crockpot Spiral Ham
Spiral hams come in such large sizes, they are the perfect fit for a big family.
Teriyaki Meatballs with Rice
Get a giant bag of frozen meatballs and pop them in the slowcooker with your favorite teriyaki sauce.
Hint: My homemade teriyaki recipe is thick and perfect for this and only takes a minute to mix together.
Serve them with fresh pineapple or my easy roasted peppers and pineapple side dish that would be easy to scale for a big family or split and share with friends.
Crockpot Chicken Noodle Soup
Everyone's favorite classic soup for good reason. Let this one simmer away in the slowcooker while you're busy doing other things for your family.
Serve with a smorgasbord of fresh breads, biscuits, or crackers.
Crockpot Bourbon Chicken
Another fantastic chicken recipe you could double to fit your big family's needs.
Instant Pot Dinners
Since Instant Pots come in various sizes, you'll love these easy recipes that let you double the quantity as you need.
These are perfect dishes for last-minute cooking at the end of the day.
The Instant Pot "Keep Warm" setting helps buy you all the time to gather the family that you'll need.
Apricot Chicken with Herb Butter Rice
Just add a green vegetable like green beans or asparagus to round out the meal.
The sauce for the apricot chicken makes a lot, you could definitely add more chicken to help it stretch even farther.
Instant Pot Ground Turkey Soup
This is one of my family's favorite soups and it can easily be scaled to fit your big family's needs.
Add a few loaves of fresh bread or biscuits.
Instant Pot Butter Chicken
If your big family likes things a little on the spicy side, this would be a fun alternative to the classic recipes on this list. Even my kids love this classic Indian dish!
Serve it with big platters of naan bread and bowls of jasmine rice.
Easy Side Dishes
Once you have your menu set, keep the side dishes extra easy and rely on easy to find staples:
- Fresh Bread
- Bagged Salad with a Dressing
- Frozen Vegetables
- Fresh Fruit: wash and present it in big bowls or pretty on platters
- Bags of Potato Chips
- Frozen French Fries or Tater Tots