Meal Plan

23 of Our Favorite Recipes Made with 3 Ingredients or Fewer

August 28, 2017

Meals should not be brief. We like to linger at the table, sneaking cold potatoes with our fingers and refilling our wine glasses and talking and talking and talking. But recipes? Those can be brief—and maybe they should be, letting the ingredients or the technique speak the loudest. Thick, buttery salad dressing. Light biscuits easy enough to to make any morning of the week. Super creamy ice cream that's no-churn to boot. For these 23 recipes, the magic is in their simplicity: They each have only 3 ingredients or fewer.

One ingredient:

The Kitchn's One-Ingredient Ice Cream by Genius Recipes

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Ice cream 

More: One-ingredient ice cream can be made with more than just bananas.


Sugarfree Grape Jam (Scrucchiata) by Emiko



Two ingredients:

Homemade Crème Fraîche by A Cozy Kitchen

Creme Fraiche


Hervé This' Chocolate Mousse by Genius Recipes



Brown Butter Tomatoes by Amanda Hesser



Magic Shell by Marian Bull

Magic Shell


Cookies and Cream Bars by Sarah Jampel

Cookies and Cream Bar


Everyday Avocado Dressing by Jessie Snyder | Faring Well



King Arthur Flour's Never-Fail Biscuits by Genius Recipes



Torrone Siciliano (Italian Almond Brittle) by Emiko



Carlo Middione's Polenta Facile by Genius Recipes



Three ingredients:

Peachy Buttermilk Sherbet by Alice Medrich

Torrone Sardo (Sardinian Nougat) by Emiko



Jennie Cook's Zucchini Butter by Genius Recipes

Zucchini butter


Brigadeiro (The Favorite Brazilian Sweet) by My Sweet Brigadeiro


Homemade Frozen Yogurt by Sarah Jampel

Frozen yogurt


Calabrian Walnut Cake (Torta di Noci) by Emiko



Dan Leader's 4-Hour Baguette by Genius Recipes



Pretzel Shortbread Cookies by molly yeh



Rose Levy Beranbaum's Chocolate Oblivion Truffle Torte by Genius Recipes



Arrosticini (Barbecued Lamb Skewers) by Emiko



Marcella Hazan's Tomato Sauce with Onion and Butter by Genius Recipes



Watermelon Pudding (Gelo d'Anguria) by Emiko

Watermelon pudding


This story originally ran September 4, 2016.

Have you found any magic 3-ingredients-or-fewer recipes? Let us know in the comments! 

See what other Food52 readers are saying.

  • melissa
  • BarbaraJoy
  • boulangere
Writing and cooking in Brooklyn.


melissa September 30, 2016
My go-to dinner when I can't be bothered: boil soba noodles; rinse under cold water; toss with soy sauce and sesame oil. That's the minimum. If you want, you can add whatever's on hand (I love roasted red cabbage, sesame seeds, cilantro, etc).
BarbaraJoy September 5, 2015
Roxanne Gold has been my trusted cookbook author for 3 ingredient recipes for years. She has changed the way I cook eat and the way I eat! It definitely is a whole food approach and much healthier and very tasty!
boulangere September 4, 2015
If one prepared all of these at once, they wouldn't add up to a meal, with the possible exception of Marcella hazan's pasta sauce. X number ingredients or less recipes seem to be designed to get one out of the kitchen, not invite one into it.