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Dinner and a movie date ideas for couples at every relationship stage

Dinner and a movie The Vow
Photo credit: Sony Pictures Entertainment

Whether you’re in a new relationship or have been married for decades, there’s no date night like dinner and a movie — especially when you don’t even have to leave the house. We have the perfect date ideas for couples just for you!

It’s easy for at-home date nights to turn into a routine, no-real-effort evening, but every couple needs to spice things up every once in a while. Instead of snuggling up on the couch in your matching PJs and ordering takeout from the Chinese food joint down the road, why not get dolled up and make a delicious home-cooked meal for a fancy themed dinner and movie night?


Want to see more? Check out our other Dinner and a movie features here!


Dinner and a movie: Your date night menu ideas

We’ve picked a perfect movie and dinner combo for you and your love interest to enjoy, no matter what stage you’re at in your relationship. So warm up the oven, light those scented candles and get ready for some Netflix and chill.

Who knows? It could be love at first bite — for you and the food, at the very least.

Keeping it casual: “Friends with Benefits” + easy burgers

MOVIE: “Friends with Benefits” (Don’t have it? Get it at Amazon or see more options)
RUNNING TIME: 1 hour, 49 minutes
YEAR OF RELEASE: 2011
RATING: R
STARRING: Mila Kunis, Justin Timberlake, Patricia Clarkson

“Just hanging out” or “friends with benefits”? No need to put a label on it. You and your boo are keeping things casual, so you’re looking for a laidback evening in (with a little bit of heat!).

We’re going a little obvious with our movie pick here, but there’s no need to be subtle. After all, you both know what “movie night in” is code for. “Friends with Benefits” is both funny and sexy, exactly like a friend with benefits should be. The film is a perfect depiction of a modern young romance and makes a great case for casual sex (who could forget that tennis metaphor?).

The big turning point in Jamie and Dylan’s relationship takes place over Fourth of July weekend, so why not treat your date to these easy yet satisfying sliders. This meal is delicious but simple, so you won’t look like you’re trying too hard.

MORE: Chardonnay cranberry-apple juice spritzer

The starring couple also loves to drink beer, and we know they’d drool over this cheesy beer fondue. Serve it with some bread before the main course (because we all know what you’ll be doing after dinner …).

Dinner and a movie cheesy beer fondue

Budding romance: “Crazy, Stupid, Love” + somethin’ spicy

MOVIE: “Crazy, Stupid, Love” (Don’t have it? Get it at Amazon or see more options)
RUNNING TIME: 1 hour, 58 minutes
YEAR OF RELEASE: 2011
RATING: PG-13
STARRING: Emma Stone, Ryan Gosling, Steve Carell, Julianne Moore

Your relationship is still in its starting stages, but things are looking good. You’re really trying to pull out all your best moves, but you also want to keep things light and fun. It’s a tricky balance.

For you and your tender romance, we recommend “Crazy, Stupid, Love.” This instant classic shows love from all its messy and wonderful angles and is also incredibly sexy. Can we get a praise-hands-emoji for shirtless Ryan Gosling?

This movie is both sweet and spicy, so pair it with a matching dish. We recommend this scrumptious pork tenderloin with a tangy rub.

Dinner and a movie sweet and spicy pork tenderloin

For cocktail hour, try your hand at our spicy frozen mango margarita — it’s the perfect balance of sweet mango and spicy tequila.

tequila spicy mango cocktail

Facebook official: “Notting Hill” + brownies

MOVIE: “Notting Hill” (Don’t have it? Get it at Amazon or see more options)
RUNNING TIME: 2 hours, 4 minutes
YEAR OF RELEASE: 1999
RATING: PG-13
STARRING: Julia Roberts, Hugh Grant, Richard McCabe

Once upon a time, it was called “going steady,” but now it’s all about that coveted Facebook status. Your profile officially says “in a relationship,” so things are getting real serious. It’s time to turn on the romance.

MORE: Turkey meatballs with Asian-style dipping sauce

Notting Hill” is a film all about love between worlds, the perfect modern fairy-tale where the boy and the girl always come back to one another in the end (swoon). Bonus points for this one if you have a few copies of “Horse & Hound” laying around.

Even if you can’t cook a full, fancy guinea fowl like Max, you can still serve a classic British dinner, such as classic prime rib with horseradish cream (always best paired with a side of mashed potatoes).

5D4B3812 - Classic Prime Rib Roast

For dessert, honor one of the movie’s most iconic scenes where the group shares sad stories in a twisted — but oh-so-funny — contest with these chewy fudge homemade brownies.

5D4A6267-Sprinkled-Sally-McKenney-Chewy-Fudgy-Homemade-Brownies-HIGH-RES--1400x933

You’ve put a ring on it: “The Proposal” + salmon piccata

MOVIE: “The Proposal” (Don’t have it? Get it at Amazon or see more options)
RUNNING TIME: 1 hour, 48 minutes
YEAR OF RELEASE: 2009
RATING: PG-13
STARRING: Sandra Bullock, Ryan Reynolds, Mary Steenburgen, Betty White

Congrats — you’re engaged! Wedding planning can be a lot of fun but also super stressful, so take a break from those Pinterest boards, cake tastings and flower arrangements to enjoy a funny rom-com together.

Distract yourself with the hilarious but charming plotline of “The Proposal.” After all, you might be a little stressed, but you’re not getting-married-to-your-Canadian-boss-so-she-doesn’t-fire-you stressed. You’ll both be laughing until you cry at Betty White’s gangster rap moment in the woods.

Pay tribute to Alaska, Andrew’s home and where he and Margaret eventually fall in love, with a delicious salmon dish like this stunning salmon yakisoba.

5D4B1827 - Salmon Yakisoba with Blood Oranges

Then — spoiler alert — honor Margaret becoming an American citizen with these American flag cupcakes.

Love and marriage: “The Vow” + easy clean-up

MOVIE: “The Vow” (Don’t have it? Get it at Amazon or see more options)
RUNNING TIME: 1 hour, 44 minutes
YEAR OF RELEASE: 2012
RATING: PG-13
STARRING: Rachel McAdams, Channing Tatum

Whether you’re newlyweds or you’ve been married for more than 20 years, a dinner-and-a-movie date night is perfect for injecting a little bit of romance into your routine.

And nothing says romance like a Nicholas Sparks movie. “The Vow” tells the story of a man who tries to make his wife fall in love with him all over again after she loses her memory in a car accident. Yep, get the tissues ready. You’ll remember all the reasons you fell in love and got married in the first place when you watch this tearjerker.

As a married couple, your lives are busy, so stick to something quick and easy like this creamy Instant Pot mac and cheese.

Instant Pot Mac and Cheese

MORE: Pioneer Woman’s creamy mashed potatoes will be the best taters you’ve ever tasted

But save room for dessert! One of the most romantic moments in “The Vow” is when Leo takes Paige out for dinner and gets her to play chocolate Russian roulette. Pay homage to the moment with these German chocolate cupcakes. Make the night even sweeter by seeing if you both can remember your vows from your own wedding.

We hope these picks have inspired you to have a romantic at-home date night. Let us know you and your boo’s top pick in the comments.

Couple watching movie

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