Dinner Tonight

Our Favorite Nigella Lawson Recipes to Make for Dinner (& Dessert)

You won’t actually need the meecrowavé for any of them.

January 28, 2021
Photo by Bobbi Lin

When looking to make a simple-yet-sublime dinner or dessert, open a Nigella Lawson recipe and you can rest (and cook) assured that the dish will be lick-your-plate tasty, but won’t leave your kitchen a mess or require a fourth trip to the grocery store. In fact, all but a couple of these recipes have been featured in the Genius Recipes column. Nigella’s just that good.

In an effort to lift your spirits when it comes to heading to the kitchen to make dinner yet again—the pandemic-induced cooking rut is real, folks—a hefty dose of Nigella is in order, and nothing else will do. Not to tell you what to do but I’d strongly recommend you make one of these dinner recipes tonight (there’s a springy one-pan chicken recipe and a super-simple vegetarian linguine). And while you’re at it, poke around the kitchen to see if you have the ingredients to make one of these brilliant desserts. Me, I’m going for a pasta-slash-chocolate loaf cake evening.

So let’s raise a glass (and maybe a fork as well) to Nigella and these eight recipes—none of which should be made in the meecrowavé.

Delightful Dinners

Chicken & Pea Traybake

Honestly, I’ve never seen anything that screams “spring” like this sheet pan dinner—but Nigella wouldn’t scream, she’d calmly and firmly declare it.

Linguine With Lemon, Garlic & Thyme Mushrooms

This vegetarian pasta, which is actually vegan if you skip the cheese, is just as good cold from a large container in the fridge at midnight (the best way to eat pasta, really) as it is served warm, and modestly, in bowls. I speak from experience.

Decadent Desserts

Very Smart Strawberry Streusel Cake

This very smart dessert—or, let’s be honest, breakfast—starts with a super-simple blender jam, middles with a streusel topping made from some of the dry ingredients, and finishes with a one-bowl cake batter.

One-Step, No-Churn Coffee Ice Cream

Is there anything more exciting than the promise of ice cream that is easy? I think not. I would also strongly recommend serving a scoop in a lightly toasted brioche bun.

Meringue Gelato Cake With Chocolate Sauce

“Fold store-bought meringue cookies into whipped cream” is in fact all I’d care to do on a Saturday night, thank you so much. I don’t recommend cutting and plating this one so much as I recommend grabbing a fork.

Dense Chocolate Loaf Cake

This recipe leaves you with a bit more batter than you’ll need to fill the loaf tin. I’ll be honest—if you haven’t eaten at least a spoonful of that extra batter before pouring the rest into half a muffin tin, I don’t know if we can be friends. [Editors’ note: While we cannot speak for Rebecca’s friend list, we actually don’t recommend you eat large quantities of raw egg and flour in cake batter.]

Dark & Sumptuous Chocolate Cake

This rich, fudgy cake is actually vegan, so if you don’t do dairy (that’s not me or Nigella, but I’m sure it’s one of you), you’re good to go.

No-Bake Nutella Cheesecake

Sometimes, you (or let’s be honest, I) need to make a cake; but sometimes, you (again, I) don’t want to go to the store. That’s when I turn to pantry and fridge staples and no-bake cheesecake. If digestive biscuits, cream cheese, butter, nuts, and Nutella aren’t staples in your kitchen, I suggest you alter that...and then make Nigella’s cheesecake.

Is there a Nigella recipe you make over and over (and over)? Tell us about it in the comments!

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Rebecca Firkser is the assigning editor at Food52. She used to wear many hats in the food media world: food writer, editor, assistant food stylist, recipe tester (sometimes in the F52 test kitchen!), recipe developer. These days, you can keep your eye out for her monthly budget recipe column, Nickel & Dine. Rebecca tests all recipes with Diamond Crystal kosher salt. Follow her on Instagram @rebeccafirkser.


leslie February 1, 2022
I make her Singapore salmon with noodles at least once a month! My teen loves it!
HalfPint March 24, 2021
I make the creamy lemon pasta that is in her first cookbook, How to be a Domestic Goddess:
1. Cook pasta (8 oz or so). Nigella's recipe used spaghetti (?). Any long pasta is good.
2.In a med-large bowl, mix 1 egg yolk with 1/2 c (or more)freshly grated parmesan or pecorino, 1-2TB cream, & lemon zest.
3.Add hot cooked pasta to the egg/cheese mixture and toss to melt the cheese & coat the pasta. Add little pasta water (hot) if it looks a bit dry.

This is amazing with fresh pasta, but dry pasta is also delicious. If I could, I would eat this every night.
Cy March 24, 2021
her first cookbook is “ How to Eat”. The domestic goddess cookbook is all baking recipes. I only know because I own all of her cookbooks :). The lemon pasta is a great recipe!
Cindy March 22, 2021
Love Nigella Lawson’s cooking. Her flourless chocolate cake is my constant go to.
epicharis March 22, 2021
Her rosemary loaf cake is one of my all-time favorites, and I make the "Jamaican black cake" in lieu of Christmas fruitcake every year. She's so great.
Kate P. March 22, 2021
I have been making Bang Bang Turkey every year since the recipe appeared. It’s a delicious and refreshing way to use left over turkey. The dressing is wonderful and a pleasant change after eating heavier meals in the fall. Thank you Nigella!!
Cy March 21, 2021
I’ve been a huge fan ever since a friend gift me the Nigella Summer cookbook many years ago. Asian ribs and the margarita ice cream? Yum. I just baked her Venetian carrot, which just happens to be gluten free. Delicious! Also a fan of her chocolate loaf cake and all her tray bake recipes. If you’ve never just read one of her cookbooks you are missing out. She’s a funny and talented writer
Ann March 21, 2021
Nigella's chocolate and raspberry pavlova - hands down favourite. I am not allowed to make any other kind of pavlova since making that one.
Cy March 21, 2021
The lemon curd pavlova with toasted almonds is great too!
Noelle C. March 21, 2021
We make Nigella’s Guinness chocolate cake and lemon meringue cake far more regularly than other cake recipes (with the exception of my mom’s mocha cake recipe that is a standard for all her kids).
piggledy March 22, 2021
I hope you’ll share the mocha cake recipe. Sounds great!
Noelle C. March 22, 2021
It's a standard Devil's Food cake, I think, with coffee instead of hot water:
3 c. flour
1/2 c. cocoa
2 c. white sugar
pinch salt
2 t. baking soda
1/2 t. baking powder
2 eggs
1 c. oil
1 c. buttermilk
1 c. hot coffee
1 t. vanilla

Combine dry ingredients. Make a hole in the centre. Add wet ingredients, coffee last. Mix until well blended. Pour in a greased and floured bundt pan. Bake 50-60 minutes at 350F.

It's a great moist, dense one-bowl cake that everyone requests for their birthday cake. Also makes great cupcakes. Finish with your favourite frosting and serve with vanilla ice cream.
piggledy April 20, 2021
Late, I know, but thank you for posting!
Juncoco March 21, 2021
Yes, just yesterday I made Nigella’s Slow Roasted Garlic and Lemon chicken, an often go-to, plus her no-churn ice cream for birthdays because it tastes like the ice cream of my childhood which was only for special occasions and therefore pure delight. I love Nigella!