30 Best Valentine's Day Recipes

Love is in the air as Valentine's Day rapidly approaches, meaning it's time to push lofty New Year's resolutions aside in the name of chocolate. Whether you are having a romantic dinner with a partner, showing your friends you care with a Palentine's Day feast, or stoking the fire of self-love, this special day is an ideal occasion to go all out in the kitchen.

Let's give a quick shout-out to Aphrodite, the Greek goddess of love whom PBS connects to the term "aphrodisiacs." Romantic mythology aside, many of these libido-arousing foods can cause a dopamine release in our brains, signaling satisfaction. Beets can boost your sex hormones, and asparagus has been eroticized for its (ahem) shape and energy-boosting nutritional content. But if veggies don't get you in the mood for love, that velvety chocolate mousse likely will.

Passion-inducing libations, sensually savory dishes, and decadent desserts all come together to create a culinary celebration of love in all its forms. Check out these Tasting Table recipes to set the mood — and the table — for Valentine's Day.

1. Tiramisu Cheesecake

Valentine's Day diners who can't agree on a sweet treat can solve their food lovers' quarrel with this decadent dessert duo. A chocolate graham cracker crust sets the base layer for this treat, which combines rich cheesecake with the classic flavors of Italian tiramisu.

Mascarpone and cream cheese flavored with Kahlua and vanilla are lightened with whipped cream to create a delicate cheesecake filling that covers a center layer of espresso- and Kahlua-soaked ladyfingers. It offers the best of both desserts in every bite.

Recipe: Tiramisu Cheesecake

2. Adonis Cocktail

Just as Adonis was passionately favored by Aphrodite, this aptly named cocktail might become your chosen one for a Valentine's Day drink. Smoky undertones of a dry Palo Cortado sherry meld with a touch of floral sweetness from vermouth to create a deeply complex love day libation. A dash of Angostura bitters adds herbal notes to the drink, which looks luxurious when garnished with an orange twist.

If you decide to follow this recipe to make a batch cocktail, it can be bottled and saved in the refrigerator to be enjoyed again and again. Just like love and fine wine, its essence will improve over time.

Recipe: Adonis Cocktail

3. Sheet Pan Steak Dinner

If tackling a sink full of dirty dishes doesn't turn you on, opt for this single-pan dinner solution on Valentine's Day. A thick New York strip is the cut of choice here, since its generous marbling can stand up to a broil while remaining tender and juicy. The savory steaks are cooked in the same sheet pan alongside herb-buttered sweet potatoes, oyster mushrooms, and broccolini.

This recipe offers everything you want from a special steakhouse dinner but cuts down on the mess in the kitchen so you can spend more time with your loved ones.

Recipe: Sheet Pan Steak Dinner

4. Classic Cacio E Pepe

A special thanks to Lady and the Tramp for making carb-loading romantic. You'd be hard-pressed to find a dinner date who would turn a nose up to noodles, especially when they feature the classic pairing of Parmesan and pepper.

Freshly cracked black pepper is sauteéd in rich butter before cooked bucatini pasta is added to the pan. The hollow tube-shaped noodles are ideal for soaking up the sharp, salty flavors of Pecorino Romano and Parmigiano Reggiano that make this simple Italian dish so satisfying.

Recipe: Classic Cacio E Pepe

5. Classic Crème Brûlée

The ever-popular crème brûlée satisfies all of the senses. Your mouth waters in anticipation as you crack the delicate caramelized sugar crust, giving way to a velvety egg custard flavored with vanilla. Every bite is a textural marvel that romances the palate. 

Impress guests by torching the dessert just before serving and watch them fall in love.

Recipe: Classic Créme Brûlée

6. French 75 Cocktail

The French 75 is a cocktail that caters to a variety of Valentine's Day events. The celebratory drink is bubbly enough for brunch yet perfectly refined for a romantic dinner. The classic recipe starts with a gin base that's combined with lemon juice and sweet simple syrup. After the mixture is given a quick ice shake, it's strained into a Champagne flute. Top it off with your favorite Champagne or sparkling wine and garnish it with a lemon twist.

This versatile libation can suit any mood with optional substitutions like cognac instead of gin or fruity liqueurs that pair with complimentary menus.

Recipe: French 75 Cocktail

7. Chocolate-Blood Orange Pots De Crème

If ganache and mousse had a baby on Valentine's Day, they would name it pot de crème. This dreamboat of a dessert is everything you want from a sweet treat — with decadent chocolate, rich cream, and a citrus burst from flavorful blood orange.

Sumptuous chocolate custard prepared with bittersweet chocolate and heavy cream is placed into individual ramekins before being topped with a whipped mascarpone that's sweetened with honey. Homemade candied blood orange slices adorn the fancy dessert, complementing the orange zest in each lush bite of pot de crème. This treat is the pot of gold at the end of the dinner rainbow.

Recipe: Chocolate-Blood Orange Pots De Crème

8. Simple Shrimp Bisque

If you need a Valentine's Day dish that is sure to please and ready on the fly but tastes like it took all day to make, go for this flavorful shrimp bisque. Rich yet delicate all at once, this potato-based soup is dotted with tender shrimp and finished with a generous pour of heavy cream.

This shrimp bisque is a tasty way to warm up your appetite as a first course, but it's also substantial enough to serve as an entrée. Guests will never know that its layers of flavor came together in about 30 minutes.

Recipe: Simple Shrimp Bisque

9. Classic Negroni

The deep red hue and complex flavors of the Negroni cocktail set the mood for Valentine's Day. The robust libation gets its vibrant color and signature taste from bitter orange Campari, an Italian spirit used to stimulate the appetite before a meal is served. Combining the aperitif with gin and vermouth creates a strong, tart cocktail that is a delight to folks who have acquired a taste for it.

You can play around with garnishes like a lemon peel or a grapefruit wedge instead of the usual orange peel. A wonderful way to enjoy the drink is to serve it alongside salty appetizers like prosciutto and cheese to excite your hunger for the night ahead.

Recipe: Classic Negroni Cocktail

10. Spicy Chocolate Cake

An ideal Valentine is one who's a little sweet and a little spicy all at once, just like this rich chocolate cake with a surprising kick. The chocolate is intensified by a spice blend of ground coffee, allspice, cinnamon, and habanero, ancho, and chipotle powders. An avocado-chocolate buttercream frosting is the literal icing on the cake that takes this dessert over the top.

Recipe: Spicy Chocolate Cake

11. Simple Spaghetti Carbonara

Spaghetti is a drama-free dish that pleases most palates, and this easy carbonara version ensures Valentine's Day satisfaction. The recipe keeps your grocery list short, but keeping it simple doesn't mean you have to compromise on flavor — choosing quality ingredients is key.

Eggs combine with Parmesan or Pecorino cheese to form the base, which is mixed with cooked spaghetti and salty pancetta bits crisped up with garlic and butter. A splash of pasta water keeps the noodles moist while also helping to form an irresistibly creamy sauce that everyone can enjoy.

Recipe: Simple Spaghetti Carbonara

12. Chocolate Gooey Butter Cake

Chocolate and Valentine's Day have always gone together, but this gooey butter cake takes the signature sweet to another level of indulgence. Your favorite chocolate cake mix — upgraded with a stick of butter — makes a fail-proof first layer that gets topped with a chocolate cream cheese mixture dotted with chocolate chips. After baking in the oven, the result is a sticky, sweet cake that will have everyone asking for dessert first.

This is a great cake to feed a Palentine's Day crowd, and any leftovers can be saved for later if you need a late-night energy boost.

Recipe: Chocolate Gooey Butter Cake

13. Sesame-Crusted Tuna Steak

There's something about seared tuna that makes it a very sexy choice for an intimate Valentine's Day meal. It's a high-end protein that provides stamina and won't weigh you down for certain amorous after-dinner activities.

Ahi tuna steaks are dipped in soy sauce and sesame oil, coated in flavorful sesame seeds, and quickly seared in a hot pan. Each tender bite of the fish is accompanied by the bold and nutty flavors of sesame and soy. Your palate — and your partner — will thank you.

Recipe: Sesame-Crusted Tuna Steak

14. Espresso Martini

It's love at first sip for coffee drinkers in search of a cocktail that can awaken their senses. When the robust, earthy flavors of espresso are paired with vodka, simple syrup, and rum-based Kahlua, a full-bodied drink that delivers a boost of energy is created.

Shake the concoction with ice, then strain it into a coupe or martini glass. For a garnish that's as special as the love you're celebrating, try serving the martini with rich chocolate-covered coffee beans on top.

Recipe: Espresso Martini

15. Mushroom And Roasted Garlic Risotto

Why kill the mood by braving restaurant crowds when you can snuggle up with your Valentine and tuck into a warm bowl of creamy risotto? Just like a relationship, this dish requires patience and attention, but the end result is a well-developed meal that's so worth the wait.

This slow-cooked Italian specialty is teeming with rich flavors from sweet roasted garlic, umami-forward mushrooms, and grated Parmesan cheese. Crisp white wine and savory chicken stock round out the comforting yet complex taste that comes through with each spoonful of arborio rice.

Recipe: Mushroom And Roasted Garlic Risotto

16. Classic Sidecar Cocktail

If all the sweetness of Valentine's Day gives you a toothache, opt for this tangy sidecar instead. This tantalizing libation is reminiscent of a whiskey sour, but cognac takes the place of whiskey, deepening the flavor of the cocktail. The brandy is complemented by Cointreau (or your favorite orange liqueur) and a sharp hit of lemon juice. Dress up your glass with a sugared rim to bring a sweet balance to the sourness of a classic sidecar.

Recipe: Classic Sidecar Cocktail

17. Chocolate Raspberry Cupcakes

Chocolate and raspberry are a match made in heaven when they come together in this Valentine's Day dessert. The addition of cocoa powder in the cake batter creates a base with deep chocolate flavor that isn't overly sweet. Each cupcake is injected with tart raspberry preserves, which are also used to flavor the cream cheese frosting that goes on top.

The cupcakes can be made ahead of time, lasting up to a week in the fridge. This leaves you with more time for your loved ones on Valentine's Day. When serving, garnish the treats with shaved dark chocolate and whole fresh raspberries so guests can get excited about dessert time.

Recipe: Chocolate Raspberry Cupcakes

18. Tender Chilean Sea Bass

A seafood dish feels fancy enough for Valentine's Day, and although fish doesn't appeal to every palate, Chilean sea bass is a mild variety that entices even the pickiest eaters. Rich butter is browned, bringing out nutty, caramelized undertones that are soaked up by the fish filets in the pan. Garlic, capers, thyme, and lemon juice join the sea bass, adding savory layers to its delicate flavor profile.

Watch your guests become enthralled with each flaky, buttery bite.

Recipe: Tender Chilean Sea Bass

19. No-Churn Vanilla Dulce De Leche Ice Cream

Few desserts delight diners more than a bowl of ice cream. With a few modified ingredients and techniques, you can surprise your loved ones with a homemade version of the frozen sweet treat — no churning necessary.

To start, cream is whipped until stiff peaks form, then the scrapings of a vanilla bean and condensed milk are folded in, along with crushed salted pretzels. After half of the mixture is poured into a loaf pan, dulce de leche is swirled in, and then the rest of the mixture is added. This is topped with more dulce de leche and crushed salted pretzels. Once everything is frozen, the result is a light, velvety ice cream with all the caramelized sweetness and textured saltiness that a dessert lover deserves.

Recipe: No-Churn Vanilla Dulce De Leche Ice Cream

20. Classic Caipirinha Cocktail

If you're looking to refresh your Valentine's Day drink menu, do it with Brazil's sweet and zesty national cocktail. The caipirinha starts with a generous serving of lime wedges muddled with sugar in a rocks glass. The cocktail is finished with ice and cachaça — a liquor described by recipe developer Christina Musgrave as "a cross between a rum and a tequila, with notes of spice and sweetness."

Recipe: Classic Caipirinha Cocktail

21. No-Bake Strawberry Cheesecake

Forget the water baths, long bake times, and cracks that make you feel like enjoying cheesecake is reserved for restaurant visits. This no-bake recipe gives you all the rich, creamy flavors you want from the beloved dessert with just 10 minutes of prep work.

Cream cheese, fresh strawberries, sugar, and vanilla extract are quickly blended together, forming a mixture that's folded with sweet whipped cream topping and strawberry jam in a bowl. This fluffy filling is then poured over a homemade graham cracker crust. After two hours in the freezer and 30 minutes of thawing, it's cheesecake o'clock. Plus, you can easily swap out the strawberries with your favorite fruit to suit your preference.

Recipe: No-Bake Strawberry Cheesecake

22. Daiquiri Cocktail

Despite its simple ingredient list, there's a party in every daiquiri. Boasting real vacation energy, the cocktail has an approachable flavor that's sure to please at large parties and intimate dinners alike. Light rum, lime juice, and Demerara syrup come together to make this sweet, citrusy drink that's garnished with a lime twist.

Recipe: Daiquiri Cocktail

23. Classic Chicken Cordon Bleu

If food is your love language, you'll be expressing your emotions loud and clear with this classic chicken cordon bleu. Your Valentine will see the effort that went into this romantic dish through every perfectly stuffed and breaded bite.

In the recipe, mildly sweet and nutty Emmental cheese, smoked ham, and fresh sage leaves are enveloped by pounded chicken breast. After being coated in seasoned breadcrumbs, the stuffed chicken is fried in a pan until the meat is cooked and the cheese is melted.

Recipe: Classic Chicken Cordon Bleu

24. Simple Vanilla Pudding

There's nothing wrong with keeping it vanilla for Valentine's Day. The flavor is a classic for a reason, and you can always rely on it to be delicious. This traditional recipe brings whole milk and egg yolks together to create a velvety pudding with sweet vanilla notes. Its versatile flavor allows it to be paired with everything from fresh fruit to chocolate. 

Best of all, this luscious treat comes together with just 20 minutes of hands-on prep. Of course, it needs to set in the refrigerator for at least six hours, so you'll have to find a way to pass the time with your sweetie while you wait.

Recipe: Simple Vanilla Pudding

25. Eggplant Gratin

This veggie recipe is ideal for a family-style Valentine's Day meal. The eggplant and tomato slices are seasoned with lemon, garlic, and thyme, then artfully arranged with crumbled goat cheese, which adds a creamy tang. After the dish is topped with panko breadcrumbs, it's baked until it's golden brown. This gratin is great to bring to parties or enjoy as a side dish at home; it's also hearty enough to be served as an entrée with some crusty artisan bread and a glass of wine.

Recipe: Eggplant Gratin

26. Best Coffee Custard

If you're ready to cook like the pros, wow your Valentine's Day guests by creating this delicate chocolate-dipped coffee custard adapted from James Beard Award-winning pastry chef Camille Cogswell. The recipe involves multiple steps, but the end result is a decadent dessert that tastes as good as it looks.

A rich coffee custard base is prepared, baked in molds, frozen, and dipped in homemade Magic Shell. After setting in the fridge, the treats are ready to serve with any topping of your choice. Your lucky diners will call you chef after enjoying the satisfying crack of the chocolate coating, followed by the first bite of silky coffee custard in this expert-level treat.

Recipe: Best Coffee Custard

27. Poached Branzino With Beurre Blanc

Branzino is trendy for a reason: The delicate white fish has a mildly sweet flavor that shines in a variety of sauces and garnishes. This recipe showcases the versatility of the fish with the use of flavors and ingredients gleaned from a few different cuisines.

First, the branzino filets are poached in white wine and Pernod, a fennel-flavored liqueur. Afterwards, the leftover liquid is used to create a French beurre blanc that's elevated with white soy sauce and the juice from yuzu, an Asian citrus fruit. The fish is plated with refreshing grated cucumber, peppery mustard greens, and a spoonful of sauce — all coming together to form an elegant Valentine's Day meal.

Recipe: Poached Branzino With Beurre Blanc

28. Classic Manhattan Cocktail

A classic Manhattan is a three-ingredient cocktail that's more straightforward than your last few blind dates, offering no-fuss drinkers a drama-free Valentine's Day beverage. Its dark tones and bold yet smooth flavors cut to the chase and set the mood for serious romance.

Rye whiskey and dry vermouth pair up to create a warm, slightly bitter spirit combo with fruity notes that play well with the herbal essence of Angostura bitters. A simple orange peel garnish adds a hint of acidic citrus.

Recipe: Classic Manhattan Cocktail

29. Easy Beef Wellington

When you're ready to go all out for your Valentine, nothing impresses quite like a thick slice of fancy Beef Wellington. Sure, it might look more intimidating than the senior you had a crush on in high school, but this approachable recipe with a pared-down ingredient list makes it easy to take on the challenge.

A well-seasoned, seared beef filet is placed on a flavorful bed of sautéed mushroom duxelle before being wrapped in buttery puff pastry. An egg wash creates a golden-brown crust on the exterior while the savory meat cooks to a perfect medium-rare. Slice generous portions and enjoy the satisfied oohs and ahhs from your beloved.

Recipe: Easy Beef Wellington

30. Simple Honey Cake

If you're looking for a sweet treat that won't wallop you with sugar, make a honey cake for your sweetie pie on Valentine's Day. You can throw this treat together in under an hour with ingredients you likely already have in the kitchen pantry.

The cake batter consists of simple ingredients that are sweetened with honey and elevated by a tangy kick of Greek yogurt, which also adds some protein. It's baked in a cast iron skillet to ensure you get a perfectly cooked dessert with irresistibly brown edges. To finish it off, try a garnish of fresh fruit, crushed pistachios, and extra honey.

Recipe: Simple Honey Cake