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1. Chocolate-Covered Strawberries
Name a better combo than fresh strawberries and chocolate, I dare you. It comes together easily, can be made ahead of time, and feels special — a fresh strawberry eaten in the depths of winter tastes like a stolen bite of spring. We give you lots of pointers to help you make these flawlessly — and for much cheaper than you can buy at a bakery.
2. Perfect Oven-Cooked Steak
Most of us don’t regularly cook steak at home, but it isn’t as hard as you might think — and it definitely says romance. This recipe, which uses your oven’s broiler, will give you the confidence you need to get a great sear and a tender interior. Whether you’re cooking this for your partner of 20 years or on a second date, we’ll help you make it perfect.
Credit: Photo: Joe Lingeman; Food Styling: Amelia Rampe
4. Pork Chops in Port Wine Sauce
Honestly, you can put this port wine sauce on any cut of meat and it will become an instant hit. I mean, look at that ruby hue! Pork chops taste delicious and the bone-in variety feels as luxe as steak with a much friendlier price tag.
Recipe: Pork Chops in Port Wine Sauce
Swoon! Creme brûlée is always romantic because it takes some effort and confidence to make at home. (But give it a try — it’s totally doable.) It’s special enough that you can make this one stunning dessert and then order take-out, and it’s still a special-occasion meal.
Recipe: How To Make Creme Brûlée
Duck is another great alternative to steak. We recommend starting it in a cold pan, to render the fat, so it comes out crispy on the outside and rosy on the inside. Fry a few cubed potatoes in the leftover fat and dinner is done.
Recipe: How To Cook Duck Breast
7. The Best Flourless Chocolate Cake
Flourless chocolate cake isn’t just for those avoiding flour — it’s truly a chocolate-lover’s dream. This decadent recipe serves 10 — so it’s a great dessert to make if you’re celebrating Valentine’s Day with friends.
Here is a thing that restaurant chefs don’t want you to know: Panna cotta is super easy and cheap to make. Look how stunning these orbs of sweet jellied dairy come out, especially topped with a little bit of cherry jam and some chocolate shavings.
Recipe: How To Make Panna Cotta
Credit: Photo: Joe Lingeman; Food Styling: Jesse Szewczyk
9. Mini Dutch Baby Pancakes
These mini Dutch babies often make an appearance at our family Valentine’s Day breakfast. They are cute and delicious and feel special, but are easy enough to make on the occasional weekday morning.
Recipe: Mini Dutch Baby Pancakes
10. Foolproof Chocolate Truffles
I was admittedly surprised that truffles made the list of our most popular Valentine’s recipes. I assumed they were mostly for holiday gift-giving. But truffles are a really smart move — you can make a batch for Galentine’s Day or gift these to your special someone instead of a box of chocolates.
11. Zuni Café Roasted Chicken
12. Classic French Palmiers
Palmiers are crispy, buttery cookies made from puff pastry and sugar. Because of how they’re folded, they end up baking into a sort-of heart shape. They pair well with Champagne and good conversation, making them the perfect end to a relaxed and romantic meal.
13. Dark Chocolate Pots de Crème
Mussels are a really great last-minute date-night recipe! They take just a few minutes to cook and go great with a big pile of fries, some good wine, and a loaf of crusty bread for sopping up their broth. Grab them fresh on your way home, and you’ll have a meal made for sharing.