These delicious 3 ingredient recipes make life easy! Whether it’s for breakfast, lunch, dinner or snack, these simple concepts make cooking a breeze.
Cooking doesn’t have to be rocket science. In fact, simple combinations can make the most stellar flavors! Here’s a list of 3 ingredient recipes that proves you don’t have to buy loads of ingredients to make delicious and nourishing food. There are ideas for every time of the day: breakfast, lunch, dinner and even snack time. Nosh on tasty 3-ingredient bean dip, whip up a pot of pasta with emerald green pesto sauce, and even sear a fancy ahi tuna into buttery strips of deliciousness. We’re getting hungry, so…
Caveat: The recipes below do not count salt in the ingredient count, since it’s a staple in all kitchens.
And now…the best 3 ingredient recipes to make life easy!
Here's a stunning 3 ingredient recipe: pesto salmon! Bright green basil pesto goes hand in hand with tender baked fish to make a stunning dinner. Because really: what isn’t better with a little pesto on top? The savory, garlicky sauce makes the flaky fish pop: you’ll already be taking your second bite before finishing the first. It’s easy enough for a weeknight, but impressive enough to serve to guests.
Ingredients: Salmon, basil pesto, chopped pine nuts
Here's the ultimate easy recipe…3 ingredient peanut butter cookies! Sometimes baking takes lots of ingredients, time, and mess…but not here! This genius combination of three ingredients makes for the mostpeanut butter-y, chewy, sweet and salty flourless cookies you’ll have. Really. It seems unbelievable, but it makes this recipe perfect for whipping up on moments notice.
Here’s your new 3 ingredient recipe: garlic butter shrimp! The shrimp come out impossibly juicy with the best garlic flavor. The sauce it just the right amount of buttery: deliciously savory but moderate enough to be a healthy dinner idea. The best part? It takes under 10 minutes to make. Yep, that’s pretty unheard of in dinnertime territory. And it works for both weeknights or entertaining.
Ingredients: Shrimp, garlic, butter (skip the lemon)
It’s not superlative when we say this bean dip is the very easiest recipe we’ve ever created. Beans, salsa, and cheese come together into the creamiest, gooiest piping hot mess. Dunk in crunchy chips and it tastes remarkably like the queso from your favorite Mexican joint. With just 3 ingredients, the flavor is more irresistibly complex than you’d imagine. But to really understand the magic here: you’ve got to taste it.
Seared ahi tuna is one of the most delicious foods on the planet, and it literally cooks in less than 5 minutes! If you’ve never had ahi tuna, it’s time to start. NOW! Seared ahi tuna does not tasty fishy at all. So if you’re looking to convince someone ambivalent about seafood, seared tuna is a great place to start. The flavor is so delicious: it tastes buttery on the inside and salty savory on the outside.
Here's a 3 ingredient recipe that recreates the New York City bagel...in pasta form! Yes, take Everything Bagel seasoning and a little cream cheese, and you can make a stunningly delicious pasta. Everything Bagel seasoning is available at many grocery stores (or you can make your own).
The best way to make a fast and easy dinner with a 3 ingredient recipe? Pesto spaghetti! It’s herby, Parmesan-y, garlicky and always a crowd pleaser. We’ll show you the trick to getting a silky sauce covering all your noodles: no more gummy, dry pesto here! Serve them as is, or top with veggies or shrimp for a fast and easy dinner.
Here’s an easy 3 ingredient recipe that all cooks should know: 5 minute cannellini beans! It’s a lifesaver for weeknight cooking, or the perfect solution for adding plant-based protein to a meal. You’ll be amazed at the flavor you can coax out of one can of beans in just a few minutes. Throw it together in a skillet with a few spices and it tastes like it’s been simmering all day.
Ingredients: cannellini beans, olive oil, Italian seasoning (skip the chives)
Try these 3 ingredient sauteed peppers! Bell peppers aren’t always a go-to for people: you might first think of broccoli or asparagus when it comes to a side dish. But why not try bell peppers? They’re full of nutrients and especially high in Vitamin C: one serving of this recipe will give you a whopping 126% of your daily need. But even better: they’re full of sweet, tender flavor that makes every bite irresistible.
There’s not much better than a big pan of roasted cauliflower! Baking this vegetable in a hot oven transforms it into something transcendental. The flavor becomes sweet and buttery, and flavored with salt and garlic, it’s about as irresistible as French fries. (Just like this roasted broccoli.) If you’re new to the roasted cauliflower train: it’s going to blow your mind.
Ingredients: Cauliflower, olive oil, garlic (omit the lemon zest)
May we introduce these baked potato wedges, a perfect 3 ingredient recipe? Just like the shoes of the same name, this recipe will be your trusty side kick. It’s the perfect side dish for pairing with just about anything, from salmon to burgers. These babies are crispy on the outside, soft on the inside, and seasoned to perfection. Heck, we’re getting hungry just talking about it!
Ready to move to breakfast? These chewy oats are a 3 ingredient recipe with a porridge-like texture that feel like a cozy hug in the morning. They’re a fun way to mix up the standard Old Fashioned oats, and may have some slight benefits over them: though both are an incredibly healthy way to start the day! Alex and I used to avoid this type of oats because they take longer to cook. But here’s the thing: you can make a big pot of steel cut oats in 25 minutes and eat off of the leftovers all week!
Last up in our 3 ingredient recipes: avocado toast! Can a recipe be too simple? We don’t think so. Because, sometimes you just need a creative idea to mix up your everyday meals–and it doesn’t have to be rocket science! That’s where this avocado toast with egg comes in. Simple, beautiful, filling and it only takes 15 minutes to make.
Ingredients: Avocado, bread, egg (optional)
More easy recipes
Want a few more ideas? These easy recipes are also outrageously simple:
Brine the salmon: While the oven preheats, in a shallow dish stir together 4 cups room temperature water and 3 tablespoons kosher salt until it dissolves. Place the salmon in the water and wait for 15 minutes (this should be about the time it takes to preheat).
Bake*: Rub the bottom of a baking dish with oil. Pat each piece of salmon dry and place it on the pan. Sprinkle the salmon with 1/8 teaspoon kosher salt for each of the 4 fillets and fresh ground pepper. Cover pan with foil and bake the salmon for 10 minutes. Then remove the foil bake again for 3 to 6 minutes, depending on thickness, until just tender and pink at the center (the internal temperature should be between 125 to 130 degrees Fahrenheit in the center). A 1-inch thick fillet should cook in about 15 minutes total.
Serve: When the salmon is done, spoon the pesto over the salmon. Sprinkle it with chopped pine nuts and if desired, a bit of lemon zest. Serve immediately. (Leftovers can be stored refrigerated for 3 to 4 days.)
Sonja Overhiser is author of Pretty Simple Cooking, named one of the best healthy cookbooks of 2018. She’s host of the food podcast Small Bites and founder of the food blog A Couple Cooks. Featured from the TODAY Show to Bon Appetit, Sonja seeks to inspire adventurous eating to make the world a better place one bite at a time.
Alex Overhiser is an acclaimed food photographer and author based in Indianapolis. He’s host of the food podcast Small Bites and founder of the recipe website A Couple Cooks. Featured from the TODAY Show to Bon Appetit, Alex is author of Pretty Simple Cooking, named one of the best vegetarian cookbooks by Epicurious.