Making dinner can be exhausting, especially when you have to do it every single night. It can be especially challenging if you’re trying to cut down on food waste and want to avoid buying specialty ingredients that you’ll only use once.
To make things easier, here are six recipes that only need three ingredients to make a complete dish. There are also ways to modify them, depending on your preferences and what you have laying around. Just note that the three-ingredient “rule” doesn’t include pantry staples like olive oil, salt, and pepper.
Easy 3-ingredient dinner recipes
How to make three-ingredient mac & cheese
If you’re craving mac and cheese, you can make a three-ingredient dish using just pasta, milk, and shredded cheddar cheese. This recipe, which is from the website Tasty, has you boiling the pasta in milk for ten minutes, after which you remove it from the heat and stir in shredded cheddar cheese. As one commenter notes, you do have to be very careful and watch the pot the entire time to keep the milk from burning. You can check out the recipe here.
How to make tomato-cheese toast
This recipe from EatGood4Life has you putting your provolone cheese and tomato slices on bread and under the broiler for 6-7 minutes. The cheese gets melty and a little bit crispy, and the tomatoes offer a contrast in taste and texture. Add black pepper on top to round out the taste, and you have an easy, fast meal. As the author notes, this can be made gluten-free if you use a gluten-free bread. You can check out the recipe here.
How to make teriyaki chicken
This recipe from Tasty combines soy sauce and brown sugar to make a teriyaki sauce. To make this dish, you’ll sear chicken thighs in a non-stick fry pan and add the soy sauce and brown sugar, after which you cook it until the sauce has reduced to a thick glaze. You can check out the recipe here.
How to make mixed mushroom sheet pan gnocchi
This recipe from the website The Kitchn combines sliced mushrooms, shallots, gnocchi, olive oil, salt, and pepper, which you’ll then bake on a baking tray at 200°C for 15-20 minutes. The combination manages to be crisp and tender all at once. As one commenter notes, it’s important to use a large enough sheet pan that you can spread it out. And depending on the brand of gnocchi you use, this can be a vegan dish. You can check out the recipe here.
How to make Dijon pork chops
This recipe from Taste of Home calls for mixing Dijon mustard with bread crumbs, which you then use to coat pork chops. After that, you bake the pork chops at 180°C until they’re done. Based on feedback from commenters, it works to play with the type of mustard and bread crumbs you use. It’s a combination that can also work with chicken tenders. You can check out the recipe here.
How to make cacio e pepe
The classics are a classic for a reason. In the case of cacio e pepe, all you need to make this dish is pasta, Pecorino Romano cheese, and grated black pepper. This recipe from The Kitchn suggests making a smooth paste from the Pecorino Romano cheese and ground black pepper. After that, toss the paste with the cooked pasta, adding in a small amount of the reserved pasta water. You can check out the recipe here.
How to make pasta con aglio e olio recipe
Similarly, Stanley Tucci’s take on pasta con aglio e olio is another simple recipe you can whip up in minutes if cheese isn’t your thing. All that’s required is pasta, garlic and olive oil – perfection.
This article on easy dinner recipes has been updated since its original publish date.