20 Easy Dinner Recipes for Busy Families (Gluten Free)

Getting dinner on the table can be a major struggle for busy parents in the evening! Dealing with dietary limitations can make the process even harder for families that need to cook gluten-free.

Knowing how stressful this can be, I’ve put together this list of 20 simple, low-effort meals that are either already gluten-free as written, or can easily be modified to be gluten-free. These are all recipes that I personally use and cook in my household as a regular basis as a full-time working mom to twin toddlers.

Dive in below to find some great new go-to meals for your family that will save your sanity and time!

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Chicken Dinners

Chicken Loretta

Baked chicken thighs in oven dish

This baked chicken recipe from Redhead Can Decorate is seriously one of the easiest meals you can make and it is delicious! The only modification you need to make it gluten-free is to use gluten-free breadcrumbs. I typically purchase this brand at my local Walmart and they last me a while.

Pressure-Cooker Chicken, Black Bean and Rice Burrito Bowls

This recipe found on Cook Fast, Eat Well is truly a one-pot meal recipe made in the instant pot. There’s not much prep work, really just cutting up your chicken and onion at the beginning. If you want to cut down on your work, buy pre-chopped onion at the grocery store. I know it’s more expensive, but I really hate taking the time to chop an onion, so I don’t mind paying a little more. You can also buy already-minced garlic in jars too (my family loves garlic so we purchase the giant Costco-sized jars).

No modifications are required to make this a gluten-free meal.

Mississippi Chicken

Baked chicken with ranch, banana peppers, and cheese.

This is one of my favorite recipes ever – I could eat it every week! If you like banana peppers then you’ll love this recipe from The Pinning Mama. There’s very minimal prep to be done before popping it in the oven. Just make sure the ranch dressing mix you purchase is gluten free. I’ve found that Hidden Valley’s boxes/packets are labeled as gluten free.

Cheddar Ranch Chicken Thighs

Baked chicken thighs on plate with cheddar cheese and ranch with a side of broccoli

Another recipe, courtesy of Midget Momma, for those of you that like ranch as much as my family does! Once again, just make sure that you purchase gluten-free ranch packets. The juices from the pan are great drizzled on top of rice, and leftovers (if there are any) heat up well!

Low-Carb Crack Chicken Casserole

Plain Chicken has a super simple casserole made with only 6 ingredients: eggs, chicken, cheese, ranch, bacon, and cream. These leftovers reheat well, and you can even freeze it for later!

I always purchase pre-cooked chicken and bacon to cut down further on prep time. My favorite chicken to use is the grilled chicken breast strips from Costco – I just use a whole pack. I use a pizza cutter to cut the chicken strips and bacon into smaller pieces to throw into the casserole.

Just be sure to double-check that the ranch dressing you are using is gluten-free.

Baked Chicken Fajitas

Baked Chicken with bell peppers, onion, and cheese

The only prep work you need to for this meal from Easy Family Recipes is cutting up your bell peppers and onions, so it only takes a few minutes to throw together. Make sure the seasoning you use is labeled as gluten-free, I typically purchase this taco seasoning at the grocery store to use in this recipe.

Crock Pot Pepper Jack Chicken

Crock pot meal of chicken, green beans, bell pepper, and pepper jack cheese

Coming from Recipes that Crock, this pepper jack chicken recipe goes great over a side of rice. The only prep needed for this one is to cut up your bell pepper, so it is super easy to throw together! If you prefer to cook this in an instant-pot, check out the alternate instructions here.

No modifications necessary to make this a gluten-free meal.

Two-Ingredient Salsa Chicken

This recipe from Lexi’s Clean Kitchen is seriously only 2 ingredients: salsa, and chicken. It doesn’t get easier than that. Throw them both in the instant pot for the simplest dinner you can possibly cook.

This is my go-to on nights when I have zero time. I always keep this heat & serve Mexican rice and frijoles rancheros made by Del Real Foods on hand to serve along with the chicken. They’re delicious and my 2 toddlers love the meal – especially the beans! My local Kroger always carries the Del Real products.

Instant Pot Chicken Taco Bowls

Chicken Taco Bowl made from rice, beans, corn, chicken, salsa

I love this recipe from Tastes Better from Scratch because it’s a dump-and-go for the instant pot. You’ll just need to shred the chicken at the end after it’s been cooked. Be sure with this recipe to purchase a gluten-free taco seasoning, such as the one the McCormick brand sells.

Instant Pot White Chicken Chili

bowl of white chicken chili with beans, corn, onion, rotel, and cream cheese

Oh my gosh this recipe from Natasha’s Kitchen is so rich, delicious, and easy! It’s a perfect choice for a cold winter day, and makes great leftovers too! For easy prep, buy the pre-chopped onions at the grocery store, and make sure your ranch dressing packets are labeled as gluten-free.

Side Note: One day I messed up and forgot to buy cream cheese for this recipe. I had a partially-used tub of the Philadelphia brand Chive & Onion cream cheese spread on hand. So, I dumped what I had left in and it turned out great! I might start using that instead of the regular cream cheese for future batches ๐Ÿ™‚

Slow Cooker Chicken Bacon Ranch Sandwiches

Dinner then Dessert has a super simple, no-prep, dump-5-ingredients-and-go slow cooker recipe that is delicious.

To adapt to gluten-free, you will need to make sure your ranch packets are labeled gluten-free, and use gluten-free buns.

Beef Dinners

One Pan Enchiladas

cast iron skillet with cooked ground beef, black beans, cheese, and corn tortilla strips

Guys, this recipe from Maebells is crazy good for how simple it is. Even the leftovers are great!

For gluten-free cooking, corn tortillas are usually labeled gluten-free, just double check before you buy them. Also, the enchilada sauce I use is made by Frontera and labeled as gluten-free. I buy them in bulk online usually, but also have seen it stocked in multiple grocery stores, including Target.

Slow Cooker Mongolian Beef

Bowl of rice topped with mongolian beef

This Mongolian Beef from Dinner at the Zoo is amazing!!! And shockingly easy!!! I honestly think it’s the best gluten-free Chinese meal I’ve been able to make at home. All you need to go along with it is some white rice and steamed broccoli.

To make this recipe gluten-free, the only substitution needed is to use gluten-free soy sauce. There are gluten-free low-sodium soy sauces out there, in fact I found a bottle the other day at Target!

I did have a little trouble finding the flank steak at my Walmart, so I ended up purchasing thin-cut beef top round (labeled at my store as Milanesa). I had no problems with it and it turned out fantastic!

Philly Cheesesteak Sloppy Joes

I’m someone who has never cared for regular sloppy joes. This recipe from TipBuzz, however, is very tasty and simple. The only prep work needed is dicing your bell pepper and onions (if you didn’t buy pre-diced).

Be sure that your Worcestershire sauce is gluten-free (French’s Worcestershire sauce is labeled gluten-free in the US). You’ll also need gluten-free buns if you are going to actually make a sandwich out of it.

Cheesy Crockpot Cowboy Casserole

Bowl with casserole containing ground beef, beans, potatoes, corn, topped with cheese

This is a delicious, flavorful casserole that is another perfect choice for a meal in the colder months! Prep work for it consists of slicing a few potatoes, dicing some onion, and browning ground beef. It’s a little more prep work than I usually prefer, but worth it in my opinion, especially since it’s a slow cooker meal.

To make this gluten-free be sure to buy gluten-free cream of mushroom soup (I actually substitute with gluten-free cream of chicken and it’s delicious). I’ve found gluten-free store-brand soups at Walmart and Kroger that are reasonably priced.

Note: Mrs. Dash does not contain gluten, but is not labeled as gluten-free as it is not produced in a gluten-free facility. I am not a celiac, therefore I use it. However, you may want to leave it out or substitute with a gluten-free product if you have celiac disease.

Picadillo (Instant Pot)

plate with rice, picadillo, and avocado

I don’t know how I lived my life before discovering this recipe. Throw some rice in the rice cooker while making this and you have an amazing meal! Prep work is a little more than most recipes on this list and consists of chopping onion, a bell pepper, tomato, and a little cilantro. But don’t let that deter you because this really is delicious and totally worth it (and prep’s not too bad if you buy pre-chopped onion)!

This recipe requires no alterations to prepare gluten-free. I’ve never been able to find the alcaparrado, but the green olive substitution listed has been working just fine for me.

Cauliflower and Ground Beef Hash

This recipe is so simple and easy to make – all you have to do to prep is remember to take your cauliflower out of the freezer to defrost beforehand! It’s only 4 ingredients, and nothing needs to be altered to make it gluten-free.

Note: I prefer to use a bag of frozen riced cauliflower instead of florets so that the flavors blend together better ๐Ÿ™‚

The Best Tater Tot Casserole

Casserole dish with hamburger, green beans, cheese, and onion topped with tater tots

This casserole is a hit with my kids (mainly because of the tater tots, but hey, I’ll take the win). Prep work consists of dicing an onion and cooking it with the hamburger in a skillet before transferring the mixture to the casserole dish along with the rest of the ingredients. It’s not too bad, especially if you don’t have to chop the onion yourself.

To make it gluten-free, make sure to use gluten-free Worcestershire sauce (like French’s) and gluten-free cream of mushroom soup.

Slow Cooker Beef Stroganoff

plate of beef stroganoff served over potatoes

This is an easy, minimal prep slow-cooker meal that makes a fair amount of meat! When I make this recipe, I usually end up freezing half of it to save for a crazy night when I have absolutely zero time to cook.

To make this recipe gluten-free, use gluten-free Worcestershire sauce (like French’s) and gluten-free flour (I’ve used several different brands with no problem). Instead of egg noodles, I will usually serve with an alternate gluten-free pasta, but you could choose from rice or potatoes as well.

Easy Gluten-Free Meatloaf

This has become my go-to gluten-free meatloaf recipe. Prep for it really isn’t too bad if you buy the pre-diced onions; doing that leaves you with just chopping the bell pepper. You may want to add some salt and pepper to the mixture, as the recipe does not call for any spices .

20 Simple Gluten-Free Dinner Recipes for Busy Parents

Do you have any other quick and easy gluten-free dinner recipes that you love? I’m always looking for more – share yours in the comments!

Gluten free dinner recipes

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