No matter your current weekday situation, these 35 hot lunch ideas will have you looking forward to your midday break when you can dig into a delicious hot meal.
There are options for lunches that can easily be warmed up at work or prepared quickly if you work from home.
Some are meal prepped while others can be a quick adjustment to your leftovers from the night before.
One thing that all of these recipes have in common, is that they are all delicious lunches that will warm you up and leave you happy and full.
If you have a Thermos, you can enjoy some Chicken Taco Soup or Turkey Kale Chili.
Want to meal prep your lunch?
Buffalo Chicken Meatballs and Asian Pot Roast are two great ideas.
If you work from home and want something simple to put together, try making Egg Roll In A Bowl or warming up some Sloppy Joe Stuffed Peppers.
Whatever route you decide to go for your lunch, there is sure to be something on this extensive list to provide you with exactly what you need for your lunchtime meal.
Beware, these will look so good, your coworkers will be begging for a bite of your food!
Burrito bowls are great for your weekday lunch since you can mix and match what you include to transform the flavors into something completely new!
Plan ahead so you can slow cook your carnitas for seven to eight hours to give them the full flavor and allow them to fall apart.
As you pack your lunch, remember to keep your ingredients separate so you can warm up what needs to be reheated, keep the chilled ingredients cold, and prevent your meal from getting soggy.
Simple hot lunch ideas do not have to mean simple in flavor.
This quesadilla is not complicated and can be prepared in under ten minutes but it is spicy, cheesy, and so appetizing.
If you have access to a cast iron pan, it is very easy to reheat the quesadillas to get a crispy exterior but if you are in the office, a microwave can also be used!
Add in a side of pico de gallo for a bit of freshness to go with your cheesy lunch.
Instant noodles are a go-to inexpensive meal but they are often not filling.
By making your own instant noodles in a mason jar or meal mug, you can customize your noodles with all of the veggies or protein that you love.
When it is time to enjoy your lunch, just add some boiling water and let your noodles steep for a few minutes.
Rather than venturing out to a Chinese restaurant for some Fried Rice, make yourself a small portion by using a mug!
If you have an egg, some rice, and veggies, you can easily make a small meal for yourself in about five minutes!
Just beat your egg, mix in your ingredients, and microwave your fried rice in a microwave-safe mug.
Your lunch will taste freshly cooked even if you only spent a few minutes microwaving it all.
Spend a day on the weekend making a huge batch of these Hot Pockets, and they will last in your freezer for about three months.
This will be a handy freezer-friendly meal to grab and pack during busy mornings.
Even if you are rewarming these hot pockets from being frozen, they take little time to microwave back to freshness.
A thermos will be your new best friend for preparing an easy hot lunch.
Your chicken stew can be kept warm in the thermos and your pastry crust can be wrapped up separately to prevent it from getting soggy.
This is a classic comfort meal that can be enjoyed in the office or on the go for a hot and filling lunch.
You may make this pasta with the intention that it will be meal prepped for your upcoming lunches but there are no guarantees that you won’t finish it before the week is over.
The lemon sauce in this recipe has some tartness to balance with the creamy burrata and the earthy shallots and zucchini.
Add a side of pine nut and basil to top your pasta and you will fall in love with this simple lunchtime meal.
Elevate your ham and cheese sandwiches to the next level by turning them into these sweet and savory sliders.
These sliders are still great when prepared a couple of days in advance or when frozen and allowed to thaw overnight.
If you are working from home, these can be baked in the oven for about 20 minutes and they will taste amazing with little prep work the day of.
If it is Sunday and you are wondering, “What should I make for lunch this week?” these enchilada lunch bowls should be your answer!
When lunchtime comes around, you will have a hot and flavorful meal full of cheese, veggies, and seasonings that will leave everyone around you jealous of your amazing meal.
If you have Pyrex dishes, that is great for this but you can always use plastic lunch containers and scoop this in once it has cooled down.
Since this recipe doesn’t include any ingredients that need to stay cold, the entire dish can be popped straight into your microwave or oven.
Indian dishes can be great for meal prepping ahead of a busy week.
The flavors seem to get deeper and stronger the day after they are cooked and they can easily be made vegan or vegetarian.
If you own an instant pot, let that do all of the hard work with cooking this meal and simply place your finished meal into your containers for the week.
A side of warm naan or pita is great for finishing off the creamy tomato sauce used in this recipe!
If you’re working from home and having a Chinese food craving, this recipe will satisfy you without forcing you to head out to a restaurant or wait for your delivery to arrive.
It takes less than 30 minutes to cook this and you can keep the cutting board and knife tucked away since there is pretty much no prep work involved in this.
At the end of the meal, you only have one dish to clean, meaning you have more time to rest and enjoy your break and less time spent scrubbing over the kitchen sink.
A chicken shawarma quinoa bowl is a tasty and balanced option for your warm lunch ideas.
Be sure you keep your chicken separate from your quinoa salad so you can warm it up and leave the rest of your bowl fresh.
Make sure you have a side of tahini and naan to pile on the Middle Eastern flavors in your bowl.
13. Mini Lasagnas
These freezer-friendly Mini Lasagnas are great for an easy grab-and-pack lunch during a busy morning.
You get personal-sized lasagnas that are easily cooked through in the microwave once they are removed from their loaf pan and placed on a microwave-safe dish.
Once your coworkers see how handy these delicious mini lasagna pans are, they will be begging you to bring a few extra for them.
If you are craving a hot sandwich, a Turkey and Apple Panini may be just what you need.
The tartness of a sliced green apple complements the savory melty cheddar cheese.
A panini press is a great tool for this but if you don’t have one, you can use a griddle or skillet.
If you need to package and transport your panini, try to wrap it up tightly and keep it in the fridge or you can prepare your ingredients ahead of time.
Assemble the sandwich right when you are ready to press or grill it.
This soup is full of a thick and creamy broth, loaded with shredded chicken, and chock full of beans, corn, and peppers.
Your favorite toppings will make a great addition to this soup but even if they are left out, this flavorful soup will stand well on its own.
Using a crockpot or instant pot can make this easy recipe that much easier but cooking it on the stove is always a safe bet in preparing this.
This soup is another reason to invest in a quality thermos but as long as you warm it up before enjoying it, it will still make a filling and satisfying meal.
16. Asian Pot Roast
This Asian-style Pot Roast is perfect for adding to your list of things to make for lunch to warm you up during the cold winter months.
The pot roast is covered in a myriad of spices that are soaked into the roast and sauce as it sits in the slow cooker.
A side of vegetables and rice makes this a great meal packed full of protein and veggies.
Having a busy workday does not mean you shouldn’t enjoy a hot and tasty lunch, even if you are on the go.
Your pasta can cook wonderfully being microwaved in a mug.
Once your pasta is ready, add in your tomatoes, spinach, and chicken, heat it up a bit more, and add your garnishes for an easy and portable hot meal.
Here is another great bowl recipe for some hot lunch ideas for work.
It’s very easy to turn this into a balanced and colorful meal by adding some sauteed veggies and rice or quinoa to your Tupperware.
Even if you enjoy this every day for the week, you won’t get tired of this.
If you want to make this your go-to meal prep for lunch, try switching out the vegetables or type of grains you include with your chicken.
If you are following a keto or paleo meal plan, this pad thai recipe can easily be adjusted to fit your needs.
Switching out traditional noodles for spaghetti squash noodles is a small switch that lowers your carb count.
Spaghetti squash instead of grain noodles won’t feel like you are missing out on anything but gives you a nice tender texture and absorbs a lot of the rich sauce.
If you prepare your spaghetti squash ahead of time, you can assemble this the day of to save a lot of time and energy.
Whether you are working from home and want a quick vegetarian pizza for lunch or you made this for dinner and want to save some for lunch the next day, this pizza is a total winner.
You have a touch of sweetness from the caramelized onions and some earthy flavors from the mushrooms.
A sprinkle of thyme gives a touch of mintiness and some red pepper flakes give you a bit (or a lot) of heat!
If you have access to an air fryer, that is a great way to warm up your leftover pizza but unwrapping foil and microwaving it isn’t a bad idea either.
We don’t have enough grilled cheese recipes included as lunch ideas for adults.
This one in particular has some sharpness from the blue cheese but a balance of honeyed sweetness from the fig spread.
Use your skillet or panini press once again for this.
If you want to make it the night before or the morning of, just be sure to wrap it up to keep it fresh and warm it up when you are ready to eat.
This dish is a nice fusion of many different types of Asian cuisine.
The basmati rice gives some Indian and middle eastern flair while the coconut mango is reminiscent of eastern Asian dishes.
When portioning out this rice bowl, you can put everything together in one container or you can separate your hot and cold ingredients so you get the right temperature for the right ingredients.
You want to make sure you have a quality container to preserve all of the deliciousness of this one-skillet meal.
A glass container with a leak-proof lid will ensure this doesn’t make a mess and won’t release toxins as it is microwaved.
Investing in some premium microwave-safe containers will pay off since you will want to make this dish every week for your lunch.
You get your protein from the beef, some veggies from the zucchini, and some carbohydrates from the potatoes, making this an all-around balanced meal!
If you are watching your carb intake, these stuffed bell peppers are calling your name!
These are an amazing choice for hot lunch ideas for home since you can freeze or refrigerate these peppers.
All you need to do is put them back in the oven for a bit and add some parsley if that is what your tastes prefer.
Just because you are cutting down on carbs doesn’t mean you are going to miss out on taste with these stuffed bell peppers!
This one-skillet recipe is an effortless way to enjoy your favorite classic pasta.
Using a warmed thermos makes this an excellent option for the days you need fast lunch ideas.
Since everything in this meal is made in one dish, the flavors meld together as more ingredients are added to the skillet.
Two qualities of this flatbread make it stand out.
One is how quick it is to get yourself a tasty lunch.
Another is how you can use up leftover chicken and veggies taking up room in your fridge.
Using kale or spinach with diced tomatoes gives you a colorful flatbread that can make you feel good about eating your veggies!
Nothing satisfies quite like a bowl of warm chili on a cold winter day.
With the proper storage containers, you can enjoy your hot chili for lunch in the midst of frigid weather.
This recipe is very simple to make.
Just add everything to a slow cooker and let it cook for the day!
28. Beef Meximelt
This copycat of Taco Bell’s classic recipe is your key to making some hot lunch ideas for home.
The key to getting this like the fast-food restaurant’s burrito is to make your ground beef small, so using a potato masher can help you get the right consistency.
This comes together fast when made the day of but can also be frozen and saved for another day when the cravings hit.
Whether you decide to freeze these meatballs or leave them in the fridge, they will taste amazing when they are reheated!
It is super easy to make these Whole30 or paleo, and they are already gluten and grain-free so they are perfect for anyone who may have dietary constraints.
Keep in mind, there is a generous amount of hot sauce included within these meatballs so they will pack a fiery punch!
Mexican Picadillo is full of hearty meat and potatoes packed with an abundance of spices.
If you start your week with a big batch, you can easily make small adjustments to turn your Picadillo into tacos, burritos, or any other dish for your weekly lunches.
Even if you serve this on top of some rice, it makes for a filling and delightful meal.
This vegetarian bowl doesn’t have any meat but that does not mean you will leave your meal hungry.
This is a balanced Moroccan-inspired bowl that is perfect for meal prepping ahead of a busy week.
You really only need a single sheet pan to prepare everything in the oven, then containers to store it all for your daily lunches.
Adding cooked quinoa to a salad does wonder for the flavor and for filling up your stomach!
Combine that with roasted vegetables topped with harissa paste, and a bit of tomato puree, you end up with a unique salad that will have you switching from lettuce to quinoa.
This is easy to store in the fridge and heat up when it’s time to eat, but you could always enjoy it cold as well!
If you have some chicken and potato leftovers, you can easily turn them into a paleo casserole!
This recipe is not only a great hot lunch idea due to the temperature, but it also includes some heat from the spicy cream sauce used for it.
This is a comforting dish that can last you for a few days if you make a big batch!
These roll-ups taste great even after freezing and reheating making them a solid choice for quick lunchtime meals.
After you have fun making the original recipe, you can add all types of extra goodness so each batch will taste like something new.
Make this even easier on yourself and use canned or rotisserie chicken.
Both options will still result in a flaky and creamy roll-up.
Bento boxes are great for organizing and storing your food and ensuring you have a fresh lunch waiting for you.
This bento recipe uses steamed rice, gyoza, and a salad to go with the fried chicken.
There are so many different types of bento boxes with different compartments and materials so there is a world of options for creating your own lunchtime bento box meal!
The bottom line
Lunchtime is one of the best parts of our days because it means we get a chance to take a break and enjoy some delicious foods!
We shouldn’t be limited to only packing cold lunches that can stay fresh in a fridge, so these 35 recipes will give you so many new options for hot lunch ideas!
- Carnitas Burrito Bowls
- Spicy Chicken Ranch Quesadilla
- Homemade Sesame Ginger Instant Noodles
- Fried Rice In A Mug
- Homemade Hot Pockets
- Kale Chicken Pot Pie
- Lemon Zucchini Burrata Pasta
- Ham And Cheese Sliders
- Make-Ahead Enchilada Lunch Bowls
- Chicken Tikka Masala
- Egg Roll In A Bowl
- Chicken Shawarma Quinoa Bowls
- Mini Lasagnas
- Turkey & Apple Panini
- Chicken Taco Soup
- Asian Pot Roast
- Pesto Chicken Mug Pasta
- Honey Lemon Chicken Bowls
- Spaghetti Squash Pad Thai
- Caramelized Onion And Mushroom Pizza
- Prosciutto Provolone Fig Grilled Cheese
- Coconut Mango Chicken Bowls
- Beef And Zucchini Skillet
- Sloppy Joe Stuffed Bell Peppers
- Chicken And Broccoli Alfredo
- Chicken Flatbread
- Turkey & Kale Chili
- Beef Meximelt
- Buffalo Chicken Meatballs
- Moroccan Chickpea, Sweet Potato, And Cauliflower Bowl
- Roast Vegetable Quinoa Salad
- Loaded Chicken And Potato Casserole
- Chicken Crescent Roll-Ups
- Japanese Fried Chicken Bento
- Skim through our Hot Lunch Ideas list.
- Select the recipe you’re looking for.
- Prep the ingredients as instructed.
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