When you’ve got to know your match over a few dates and things are going well, it might be time to invite them over for an at home date if you are feeling comfortable and safe. What better place to deepen your connection than in the comfort of your own place? It’s a relaxed and cozy environment that might also save you money on expensive date nights in town. We love the idea of cooking for each other—it’s romantic, intimate, and fun. From DIY pizza to fusion feasts and dessert parties, our list of cooking date night ideas is sure to heat things up.
Pizza is a crowd-pleaser that is easy, cheap, and quick to make. Grab your favorite toppings from the local store or farmer’s market including passata, a selection of cheeses, meats, veggies, herbs, spices, and anything else that takes your fancy. Don’t forget to stock up on dips too—you don’t want to run out of crust-dunking options. Buy ready-made dough or go the extra mile and make it yourself (find a simple recipe online), then get stuck in. An interactive cooking idea that’s pretty hard to mess up, eat your pizza snuggled in front of a movie.
Make your favorite movie snacks
Most of us will have done a movie date night, but what about taking it to the next level and making your own favorite movie snacks too? Forget store-bought popcorn and candy, we’re talking homemade dips to go with your chips, nachos (loaded with cheese, beans, peppers, guacamole, sour cream, jalapenos, and anything else you can think of), popcorn chicken, hot dogs, chocolate-chip cookies, rocky road… the list goes on. You’ll have certainly earnt your movie and chillout time once you’ve cooked up this lot.
Go alfresco with a barbecue
We could make a joke about grilling your new connection, but we’ll refrain… A barbecue is a perfect summer date night idea [link to summer date ideas] as the nights get longer and warmer. Head to the butcher for some choice cuts, load up on veggies and all the other trimmings you’ll need from the supermarket—buns, sauces, and salads, then fire up the grill in your backyard and get barbecuing. We like this idea because it creates a super-casual environment with something to focus on. Better still, there’ll likely be leftovers for lunch the next day.
Have an at home picnic
Thought picnics were only for after you’ve been on a long hike or bike ride? Think again—who says you can’t have a picnic in your own backyard or even the front room? Pick up fresh bread, artisan meats and cheeses, salads, spreads, sweet treats, and cold drinks from the supermarket or farmer’s market then head home. Dig out a picnic blanket and lay it either in your garden, on your balcony, rooftop, or simply in the living room, unpack your spread, and tuck in. Bonus points for adding fairy lights or lighting candles for extra atmosphere.
Travel the world with a global feast
Lockdown taught us many ways to travel without leaving our homes, and one of these ways was through our stomachs. Choose several different dishes from around the world—think Italian nibbles, a Japanese appetizer, Chinese main, and French dessert, then cook up an international storm in your kitchen. Not only can you bond with your date through cooking together, but you’ll also get to sample global dishes and potentially pick up some new culinary skills too.
Get nostalgic with family favorites
Get to know each other better by cooking your favorite recipes from your childhood. It might be your grandma’s pot roast, your uncle’s jambalaya, your brother’s chicken and waffles, or your mom’s key lime pie. This nostalgic cooking date night idea will introduce your date to your family and memories via your tastebuds, and help you to form a deeper bond. Your family will also likely be thrilled to know that you’re keeping those traditional recipes alive for the next generation.
Cool off with an ice-cream evening
If you’re a couple of big kids, why not have an ice cream night? This cooking date idea requires you to hang out twice–once to make the ice cream, and then to eat it together once frozen–which is a bonus if you get shy about asking when you’ll see your date again. Pick your favorite ingredients, such as fruit or chocolate, get a shedload of cream and sugar, as well as some eggs, and you’re good to go. No ice cream maker is required, but it will speed up the process.
Throw a pasta party
Pasta is a great cooking date night idea because there’s an endless variety of dishes to make meaning that there’s something for everyone. Those who prefer to focus on creating delicious sauces can buy their pasta from the store, while foodies might prefer to make it themselves. You’ll need to get your hands on a pasta-making machine or a very large rolling pin, as working the dough into pasta is not the easiest task—but putting in the extra effort (whilst making mistakes along the way) adds to the fun. Most things can be rectified by throwing extra cheese at the problem…
Sweeten things up with dessert night
While our parents might have told us that we weren’t allowed dessert unless we’d finished our main, we’re adults now and if we want to only eat dessert, we shall. A decadent date night idea for those with a sweet tooth, choose three to five of your favorite desserts and spend the evening mixing, baking, decorating—and eating. Pecan pie, chocolate fudge brownies, New York cheesecake, bananas foster, beignets, cookie dough… Nothing is off the cards here.
Fill your boots with a dim-sum buffet
A dumpling a day keeps the doctor away… Hm, maybe not, but we can think of few things more delicious than a plump and perfectly formed dumpling, dunked into soy sauce. If you’re up for the challenge and want to make your dim sum from scratch, broadly, there are four steps: making the dough, mincing the filling, forming the dumplings, and cooking them in a skillet or pot of water. However, you’ll find plenty of ready-made options in the supermarket –especially if you’ve got a Chinese supermarket nearby–so if you’re looking for an easy win, grab a variety of flavors, some dim-sum baskets, dipping sauce, and you’re good to go.
Up the romance with a chocolate fountain
It might be cheesy–or should we say chocolatey–but few things scream ‘romance’ like a chocolate fountain. Buy one, rent one, or simply melt a large bowl of chocolate and dip yummy things in it while cozied up on the couch. We’re talking strawberries, grapes, marshmallows, and cookie dough—really, anything you can spear on a skewer is fair game.