5 Ingredients or Fewer

5-Ingredient (or Fewer!) Meals to Get You Back in the Cooking Game

Fuss-free recipes that pack a big punch.

January  3, 2019
Photo by Julia Gartland

After the busiest of Decembers—filled with gift shopping and cookie swaps, traveling to see family and holiday dinners—I’ve finally had a chance to catch my breath. I'm refreshed, recharged, and ready to ease into the new year. And there’s no better place to start than in the kitchen.

For me, that's where everything begins, from whipping up a hearty breakfast to get me out the door to wrapping up the day over a quiet dinner. My time in the kitchen doesn’t mean elaborate or complicated feasts (not always, at least!). Most nights, I just want an approachable meal that requires as little effort—and as few ingredients—as possible. Which is where these twelve recipes come in. They’re simple without feeling uninspired, they only need a handful of ingredients (five or less— not counting salt, pepper, and cooking fat), and they help get me back into tip-top cooking shape.

Go ahead and give 'em a weeknight whirl, and let them carry you right into the new year, too.

Grab Your Fork & Knife

A recipe that has it all: It's simple, fast, delicious, and good lookin,' too. Butter makes the skin extra-crispy, while the saltiness of the miso is balanced by the sweetness of the honey.

A garlicky marinade is the secret to this juicy, flavorful pork tenderloin.

A no-flip version of the classic Spanish potato-and-egg dish. Finish it off with a quick spin under the broiler, and dinner (or breakfast, or lunch) is served.

Skirt steak's new best friends? Fish sauce, brown sugar, lime, and garlic.

Throw 4 ingredients into a bag with chicken, and let the marinade do its thing overnight.

Best in a bowl

The New York Times gave the world this magical recipe back in 1999—with just three ingredients and 15 minutes, you can conjure dinner out of thin air.

Instead of pasta and tomato sauce, consider saucing your rice. This 4-ingredient dish is just as comforting—plus, it tastes even better with an egg on top.

A take on a classic Roman pasta, this version features zucchini, which helps thicken the sauce and makes it extra-luscious.

Goat cheese adds bright, tangy flavor to this cozy dish. Up the ante with a handful of fresh herbs, or top with leftover roasted vegetables or shredded chicken.

Sandwiches & Such

Fluffy, custardy scrambled eggs meet all-American grilled cheese.

This BLT loses the mayo but keeps the flavor, thanks to bacony toasted bread.

Here’s your ticket to pear-adise: three slices of bacon, two different cheeses, and one juicy pear sandwiched between flour tortillas.

What's your best post-holiday recipe? Share your tips in the comments section below.

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A New Way to Dinner, co-authored by Food52's founders Amanda Hesser and Merrill Stubbs, is an indispensable playbook for stress-free meal-planning (hint: cook foundational dishes on the weekend and mix and match ‘em through the week).

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Katie is a food writer and editor who loves cheesy puns and cheesy cheese.


Pauline R. January 6, 2019
Katie thank you for putting these recipes together, I can see at least two of them on my menu this week. Thank you for the inspiration and best wishes for 2019
Nancy K. January 6, 2019
Also thought this was a vegan site. Would appreciate vegan ideas as well. Thank u
JG January 6, 2019
I was hoping to see some vegan 5-ingredient dishes.
JG January 6, 2019
Thank you for the link, I make a similar tomato soup include sauteed cilantro stems and then a cilantro topping when served. I will try this one because I like the idea of thickening it with bread.
Stillmeadowlark January 6, 2019
Love your ideas and the whole shall I say minimal (aka uncluttered) postings. Just forwarded this episode to five friends, who all feel best in the kitchen. Keep up your good job.