How to Create a Romantic Dinner: 5 Tips & 25 Recipes

My 5 best tips for creating a romantic dinner are little ways to stop you from falling into that rut. These are things you can cook and ways you can dine so the two of you spend time together and focus on each other at dinner, which is a great place for romance to begin on an otherwise busy day.

Romance shouldn’t be hard work for a couple who love each other. When two people know each other well it should be easy to laugh, talk, flirt, hold hands and gaze into each other’s eyes. And yet, when we’re so busy, it can be difficult to let that easy romance happen. We fall into our ruts of talking about the kids and work and then watching television in bed instead of focusing on each other.

It doesn’t have to be that way. Here are my 5 best tips for having a romantic Valentine’s dinner together. I hope you have a wonderful time together!

5 Ways to Add Romance to Dinner and 25 Recipes to Try Together by www.cookthestory.comPin this to your Valentine’s Day Board!

Romantic Dinner Tip #1: Interact with the food, interact with each other

It’s so often the case that we fall into the trap of talking about the kids, the same old work issues, etc.. Instead cook up some food that makes you interact with it and with each other. It gives you something to do with your hands, it lengthens dinner giving you more time to talk and the food itself is a great conversation starter.

And it’s fun!

If you don’t know what I mean about interactive food, it’s things like Fondue or fajitas where you’re actively doing something at the table other than just eating. It can even be as simple as cheese and crackers but where the cheese is in big chunks and you need to slice wedges off with a knife as you go (pick up a cracker, spread it with some preserves, pick up the knife, cut a piece of cheese, put the cheese on top of the preserves. See, lots more to do than just lifting your fork to your mouth).

Romantic Dinner Tip #1b: Cook together (or not!)

Part of interacting with the food and with each other could mean that you cook together. But for some couples this is not an ingredient for blissful romance but instead fires up the fights and frustrations. It’s the latter for me and my husband. But we do like to watch each other cook.

So we talk while one of us does the cooking. The other person is in charge of pouring wine, keeping the music going, setting the table and complimenting the cook on how amazing everything smells and looks.

Here are some interactive dishes that are great for sharing at the table whether or not you cook them together:

Easy Hot Beer Cheese Dip

Hot Beer Cheese Dip

15 Minute Bouillabaisse

Homemade Classic Bouillabaisse, made in just 15 minutes

Bahn Mi Tacos

Banh Mi Tacos on the Grill

Apple and Bacon Jam Canapés

Sweet Onion and Bacon Jam with Apple Slices on Bread

Romantic Dinner Tip #2: Make a meal of small nibbles.

A meal of small nibbles stretches your romantic evening out longer. Also, putting a plateful of little tastes in front of the two of you means that you’re sharing (and thus interacting as in #1 above). If it’s a plateful of finger foods, all the better.

There’s something sweet and special about sharing finger foods. Often your hands touch when reaching for the food. Having something to do with you hands makes silences less noticeable and can even help start up a conversation (about something other than the kids).

Perhaps more importantly, a meal of small nibbles leaves room for breaks. You can stop after your first round of nibbles for a dance to a favorite song or to go sit outside and look at the stars or to…erm…go spend time together someplace more comfortable. If you had instead sat down to a big meal, you wouldn’t get up halfway through to go and do anything.

Here are a few recipes for romantic nibbles that you can share:

Brie, Pear and Cranberry Pizza Bread

Brie and Cranberry Bread

Quick French Onion Soup

Quick French Onion Soup Recipe

Crispy Wontons with Asian Salsa

Healthy appetizer recipes like these crispy Asian wonton bites are a big hit at holiday parties. Get the recipe from

Apricots with Goat Cheese and Rosemary

Apricots with Goat Cheese, Almonds and Rosemary

Raspberry Baked (or Grilled) Brie

Grilled Raspberry Brie Cheese

Romantic Dinner Tip #3: Make sure it’s a quick and easy dinner to prepare.

If you spend half the day making your romantic meal you’re going to be exhausted by the time you finally sit down together to eat. If you’re exhausted you’re not going to be relaxed and happy. If you’re not relaxed and happy you’re not going to feel romantic. If you’re not feeling romantic there will be no romance.

Also, I find that if I’ve worked a lot on a meal it’s hard for my husband to relax and talk with me. I think he feels pressure to really concentrate on the food and make a big deal about it. For a romantic dinner, I want his focus on me more than on the food.

We often think that effort and hard work shows our partner how much we care. But talking with them and making time to listen  shows caring just as much. If you want to put in effort and hard work, why not make a simple dinner and then afterwards offer your sweetie a massage?

A partner rubbing my shoulders is definitely more romantic than a partner who frantically ran around the kitchen trying to make an elaborately perfect meal.

Two of my own favorite easy dinners are:

Roasted BLT Chicken Dinner

BLT Chicken

Easy Raclette at Home

Having a romantic dinner, tip #3: Make a quick and easy meal so that you're relaxed and happy when you sit down together. Try this easy and fun recipe for Raclette by

One of the simplest romantic dishes is pasta, especially if it has a bit of a creamy sauce. Here are some easy creamy pasta dinners:

Easy Pasta Carbonara

Carbonara with Greek Yogurt


Shrimp Scampi Pasta Bake

Shrimp Scampi Pasta Bake

Spinach and Artichoke Pasta Bake

Spinach and Artichoke Pasta Bake Recipe

Eggs Benedict Spaghetti

Eggs Benedict Spaghetti

Romantic Dinner Tip #4: Make sure to get in the romance-type-stuff before you fill up too much.

Have you ever finished off your Valentine’s Day dozing in front of the TV instead of awake between the sheets? And then you end up wondering why romantic nights never turn out the way you’d hoped?

The reason this happens is often because we fill ourselves up with too much food and wine during our romantic dinner. At the end of the evening we’re happy but too full and tipsy to make a move.

My advice? Go to the bedroom before dinner, or, even better, share your appetizers in the bedroom. That way if you find yourselves sluggish after dinner it won’t matter because your Valentine’s Day has already been a romantic success.

Here are some portable dishes that you can try together:

Caesar Salad Spring Rolls

Caesar Salad Spring Rolls Recipe - A healthy, vegetarian appetizer or lunch box meal that's fun to eat.


Zucchini Tapenade and Feta Cheese Bites

Easy Zucchini, Tapenade and Feta Bites

Mini Prosciutto and Melon Phyllo Cups

Prosciutto with melon appetizer recipe - Prosciutto and melon are tucked inside of phyllo cups for an easy, elegant appetizer.


Dark Chocolate Greek Yogurt Fruit Dip

Dark Chocolate Greek Yogurt Fruit Dip with Cinnamon

Mini Loaded Baked Potato Bites

Baked Potato Bites: A healthy appetizer recipe and an easy appetizer recipe too!

Romantic Dinner Tip #5 (I’ve saved the best for last!): Go on a culinary adventure together at the dinner table.

Do try something new. But make sure you go about it in the right way. Do not find some new whacky idea on pinterest, shop for it, make it and then spring it on your partner in a “Surprise! Guess what we’re trying tonight!” kind of way.

That puts pressure on both you and your partner. If your sweetie doesn’t really like the new thing, then he’ll feel awkward saying so. And if you’re unsure whether he likes it or not, you spend the meal worrying and asking, “Do you like it?”

Trust me, that uncertain questioning tone is not romantic.

What you should do is talk together about the meal beforehand and try to think of some new little twist on an old favorite that you can easily make together. Or maybe there’s a fruit or vegetable you haven’t tasted before or a spice or a type of cuisine.

Go into it together.

Then you can talk about what you expected and how it met or didn’t meet those expectations. Neither of you is caught surprised or needing to explain why you didn’t like something and nobody has hurt feelings when their partner doesn’t like the new thing that was sprung on them.

Here are some simple recipes that give you some new things to try out:

If you’ve never had poutine before, now’s the time. Make a nice plate of this and put it between you. The stringy melted cheese is totally sexy.

Buffalo Chicken Poutine

Buffalo Chicken Poutine

Or instead of trying a new dish, try a new technique. This recipe involves spatchcocking a chicken. That word is so fun to say! lol.

One Pan Spatchcocked Chicken with Asparagus, Potatoes and Lemon

Spatchcocked Chicken Dinner


Or try a new and exciting flavor combinations:

Scallops Skewers with Butternut Squash and Basil

Landscape 1 Scallop Skewers (20) edit Landscape 600px watermark

Have you heard people talking about how good chocolate and spicy heat go together but have been afraid to give it a try? This cake is so quick and easy to make (it’s done in 1 minute in the microwave) that if you decide that the flavor combination is a no-go for you, you can whip up another spice-free cake in minutes. A fun taste test with no risk since you still get your chocolate fix either way.

Mexican Hot Chocolate Mug Cake

Mexican Hot Chocolate Mug Cake


Cardamom is a spice that we in North America don’t use very often. But once you try it, you’ll fall in love. Here it has a subtle note with the chocolate. A romantic introduction indeed.

Chocolate Fondue with Cardamom and Orange Liqueur

Chocolate Cardamom Fondue

Those are all of my tips and my list of favorite romantic dinner recipes.

I hope you have a romantically delicious Valentine’s Day with your sweetie!

This post was originally published in February, 2013. Revised January, 2016.

8 Responses to “How to Create a Romantic Dinner: 5 Tips & 25 Recipes”

  1. Annie Frances — May 26, 2016 @ 5:49 pm (#)

    My boyfriend’s birthday is coming up and I want to cook him a romantic dinner.  I like your tip to make a meal of small bites.  I definitely think that amps up the romance and allows for good conversation.  I think I’m going to get a recipe for mini tacos (his favorite) and cook that.  Thanks for the help!

    • Christine Pittman — May 29, 2016 @ 6:25 am (#)

      Annie, How fun! I hope you have a romantic evening!

  2. Irish — February 9, 2016 @ 10:58 am (#)

    I’ll try to put this to good use imadyimtele.

  3. Mary @ LOVE the secret ingredient — January 27, 2016 @ 2:49 pm (#)

    LOL! Love reading the tips. And these dishes all look like home runs to me!

  4. Susi — February 16, 2013 @ 5:46 pm (#)

    It’s the same for hubby and I… we cannot cook together- well. It’s either him or I. For years we made lamb chops, grilled asparagus and stroganoff noodles for Valentine’s Day – the first meal hubby cooked for me on Valentine’s Day many years ago. :)

  5. Katie — February 14, 2013 @ 4:11 pm (#)

    Great tips! Happy Valentine’s Day!


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