15 Filling Hot School Lunch Ideas | Back To School Recipes

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When I was a kid, my mom always had a list of easy hot lunch ideas for school. It was great because I never had to bring the same lunch to school every day. I guess this is one of the reasons I love to explore food. But anyway, I really did love hot lunch.

I still do even now as an entrepreneur who is already raising a family. Now in this article, I am going to share with you some of my favorite hot lunch ideas for school. As a matter of fact, these lunch ideas could even come in handy even for non-school venues, which is the best thing ever!

Filling Hot School Lunch Ideas

As a result, here are 15 hot meal school lunch dishes that you can prepare ahead of time and bring in a thermos or stainless steel lunch box.

15. Pasta e Ceci; a.k.a., Pasta and Chickpeas or Healthy Spaghettios

Looking for a delicious one-pot 30-minute vegetarian dinner your whole family will love? Pasta e Ceci; a.k.a., the classic Roman recipe for hearty pasta and chickpeas are the modern day healthy Spaghettios. And OH MY GOSH, they are good!

These are a great option to have especially for picky eaters. All you need to do is cook pasta with some chickpeas in it. This is a great way to stay healthy and is a delicious recipe for vegans!

Check it here.

14. Ham and Cheese Crescent Ring

Dinner doesn’t have to be fancy or expensive. This Ham and Cheese Crescent Ring uses just 3 ingredients and is on the table in less than 20 minutes.

This recipe is also a best replacement for cheese sandwiches, cream cheese tuna melts, and sloppy joes.

This is one of the best easy hot lunch ideas to do that includes instant noodles or pasta! If you are looking for a cheese recipe that will last for a couple of days.

Check it here.

13. Roast Beef And Cheddar Crescent Rolls

This easy lunch idea features soft, fluffy crescent rolls. It is among the great ideas to make as busy day meals or if you are looking for a few healthy lunch ideas. This Roast Beef and Cheddar Crescent roll will not disappoint!

This type of warm foods recipe is among the easy recipes you can do. You may pair the roast beef with a rice bowl and it can be made as hot school lunches for your kids.

Check it here.

12. Instant Pot Hamburger Helper

Instant Pot Hamburger Helper is an easy weeknight meal your family will love! Made with ground turkey or ground beef, cheese, noodles, and spices, this instant pot beef pasta salad will be a weeknight dinner winner!

If ever you do have dinner leftovers from this, simply reheat it and eat! You can also pair this instant pot with homemade chicken nuggets for a more cozy home-cooked meal.

Check it here.

11. Mandarin Chicken Stir-fry with Green Beans

This Mandarin Chicken Stir-Fry is an easy go-to weeknight dinner, and leftovers can easily be repurposed in a kid’s Thermos for stress-free lunch the next day. This is among the best recipes to try if you are an asian cuisine lover.

Stir fry is among simple recipes you can do for your family. You may also add your favorite ingredients, whether it’s blue cheese or regular.

Check it here.

10. Creamy Gnocchi Soup Recipe

Creamy Gnocchi Soup is delicious, easy and full of fresh flavors! This soup is perfect for a comforting dinner on a busy weeknight.

If you’re not a big fan of tomato soup, you can always choose this creamy soup slow cooker recipe. Whether it’s dinner or lunch time, this makes a great addition to your weekly menu.

Check it here.

9. Easy Instant Pot Stuffed Shells

Easy Instant Pot Stuffed Shells make the best comfort dinner recipe ! It’s a one pot magic of jumbo pasta shells, tangy tomato sauce, healthy vegetable filling and cheesy goodness.

Work lunches such as instant pot is great to store in room temperature, which makes them among the best hot lunch recipes to make.

Check it here.

8. One Pot Sausage And Veggie Pasta

I’m a fan of one pot dinners. I’ve always made it very clear that I hate washing up. Never more so than right now.

It seems like there are an extraordinary amount of dishes and cups and glasses and bowls at the end of the day. So this one pot sausage and veggie pasta is here to save you from washing up!

Check it here.

7. Instant Pot Chicken Fried Rice

If you are new to making takeout-style meals at home, Instant Pot Chicken Fried Rice is the perfect starter meal. It’s so easy to make, and the taste is incredible. You may never buy takeout fried rice again.

The best thing about pot recipes is being as creative as possible. For this recipe, you may add sweet potatoes, sour cream, bell peppers, use ramen noodles, or even hot dogs!

Check it here.

6. Baked Feta Pasta + Instant Pot Baked Feta Pasta

5 ingredient Baked Feta Pasta is a viral sensation! Creamy feta cheese and cherry tomatoes are seasoned with olive oil and baked into a simple yet elegant sauce that is bursting with flavor.

You’ll love this quick and easy pasta recipe. Plus, you get an Instant Pot Baked Feta Pasta too.

Check it here.

5. Air Fryer Turkey Meatballs

No matter if you’re meal prepping or looking for a quick dinner for yourself or the family, these air fryer Turkey Meatballs are the perfect answer. They’re seasoned just right, and pair well with all your favorite sauces, and they’re a quick fix in your air fryer!

Check it here.

4. Penne Pomodoro

Penne pomodoro is an easy pasta recipe that will please everyone in your family. Making this vegetarian pasta dish in the Instant Pot turns this meal into an easy one pot wonder, perfect for the busiest of weeknights or even for kids lunchbox!

Check it here.

3. Homemade Air Fryer Pizza Rolls

Homemade air fryer pizza rolls are an easy to make snack or midday meal that both kids and adults will love! You can make these rolls up in less than a half hour and freeze them for later or store them in the refrigerator. Who needs delivery or frozen food when you can have tasty homemade pizza snacks so fast?

Check it here.

2. Zucchini Macaroni and Cheese

This simple kid friendly Zucchini Macaroni and Cheese comes together in no time for a quick weeknight meal that the whole family will adore. This recipe is also perfect as a non sandwich lunchbox idea.

Check it here.

1. Creamy Mushroom Spinach Pasta

If there is one meal I can guarantee my family will eat it’s pasta. And this egg free Creamy Sauce Mushroom Spinach Pasta is always a winner at my house. It’s the perfect dish for busy weeknights as it comes together in no time at all. And it’s made from simple, easy to find simple ingredients.

The best thing about this recipe is you can make it in big batches and store for the rest of the week.

Check it here.

Why We Love Hot Lunch Ideas for School

Yeah, so it’s cold out. This gives us a really good reason to want to eat some hot lunch at school. But that’s not the only reason we love hot lunches. Here are a few others:

  • Food is simply more delicious when it’s hot

I’ve never really heard of anyone eating food straight out of the fridge (unless it’s ice cream or cake)! Most of the time, when we have leftovers, we’d want to heat the food using our good old microwave oven. 

There’s no way to explain it. People just love food that’s hot. It gives us the impression that the food is newly cooked (even when it’s not).

  • It’s free from bacteria

This may not be what you’re wanting to hear. But even though it’s disgusting to even think about it, let’s just get it out of the way. Bacteria and germs are everywhere. And if you want to eat something that won’t make you sick then you have got to find a way to heat it. 

This goes way back to the age of the cavemen. Why do you think people started to cook their food in the first place? Cavemen could simply just eat their raw meat. They have sharp teeth anyway. 

But raw food is just hard to digest and most people would get a tummy ache from it. So, when these cave people discovered fire, they never wanted to go back to eating raw food. They’ll always serve only food that’s cooked and hot. 

  • Hot food is easier to chew

I don’t know if this makes a lot of sense to you guys. But just think of it this way. If you serve hot food and then it stays too long on the table, it becomes stale. 

And then you have to reheat it so that you can get a taste of its juicy goodness once again. So, it’s just like that. If food isn’t hot then it’s just not any good. 

My Favorite Hot Lunch Ideas

It’s just like what I told you. I really have a thing for hot lunch. Would it even be a surprise to you that I really have a long list of hot lunch ideas? 

This is the part of this blog where we exchange ideas. Which hot lunch is your favorite? I’ll give you a chance to tell me what you think the best hot lunches are.

But let me go first. Here are some of my favorite hot lunch ideas:

  • Hash Brown Egg Cups

They don’t like the kind of meal that will get you full during lunchtime. But you’ll be surprised. These things are so full of it. It’s made of potatoes and eggs so you can bet that you’ll get all the carbohydrates and protein that your body needs. 

  • Beef and Beans Burrito

These are the kind of meals that you’ll often find in the fridge. But I can tell you that these things are even tastier when you serve them hot! Take it from me. I’ve eaten them for lunch almost all of my kid days. 

  • Mini Pancakes

These things are just simply delicious. This is most especially true if you can keep them hot up until lunchtime. 

  • Lasagna Rolls

These things are perfect if you need to fix something up for lunch that isn’t too complicated. Lasagna just needs the most basic of ingredients for it to be prepped up. Now, if you want to save even more time, I suggest that you get some already-prepared spaghetti sauce. It’ll make your life a whole lot easier. 

  • Turkey Noodle Soup

You can consider this one as sort of a budget meal but it never gets old for some reason. As a matter of fact, turkey noodle soup used to be a family favorite back when I was a kid. And I still serve it to my own kid these days and she loves it. Turkey noodle soup is best served with hot bread during winter and then a bowl of salad during the summer. 

  • Cheeseburger and Fries Casserole

If you’re making hot lunch for your kids, this would be perfect. That’s because this casserole combines two of their favorite meals: burgers and fries. What’s not to love? I bet us adults wouldn’t complain about having this for lunch either. 

It’s Your Turn Now

It’s your turn now to prep some hot lunch for school or even work. You can try out some of my favorites that I’ve mentioned in this blog or you can start your own hot lunch journey. Whatever it is, we would certainly love to hear about it. 

Let us know what hot lunch you’ve already tried in the comment section. We’d also love to hear what you think about the meals I shared here? Do love them just as much as I do?

Sure, some things taste better when they’re cold, but for the most part, hot food provides the best taste and eating experience. After a busy morning of classes and activities, your children may crave a hot and relaxing meal that is both appetizing and satisfying!

15 Hot School Lunch Ideas for Kids

15 Hot School Lunch Ideas for Kids

Here are 15 hot food school lunch recipes your kids will love!


  • Pasta
  • Chickpea
  • Ham and Cheese
  • Roast beef
  • Hamburger


    1. Choose any hot food school lunch ideas from the post that you like.
    2. Click on the link below the photo to get the full recipes and instructions.
    3. Try the best hot food school lunch recipes and share your photo under my pin on Pinterest!

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