21 Simple Recipes That Only Need 5 Ingredients

Simple, Budget-Friendly, and Delicious

Basic oven-baked pasta in a baking dish and served on a plate

The Spruce / Ahlam Raffii 

Who says dinner needs to be complicated to be delicious? These recipes with five ingredients or less come together quickly but taste like you put loads of time and effort into them. Each needs only a handful of ingredients (plus salt, pepper, and cooking oil in some cases), so they won't strain your family budget. You'll find easy recipes here for satisfying weeknight meals plus side dishes, mains, and desserts that you can feel proud to serve when entertaining guests or just having a night at home.

  • 01 of 21

    Grilled Salmon in 7 Easy Steps

    Grilled salmon topped with bits of fresh lemon and served with leafy greens

     The Spruce / Leah Maroney

    Perfectly grilled salmon is worthy of center stage on your dinner plate. Served with a simple salad and/or a grain like rice or couscous, it's a simply delicious dish. You can also use grilled salmon in pasta dishes or for a tasty sandwich.

  • 02 of 21

    Homemade Baked Chicken and Potatoes

    Homemade baked chicken with potatoes on a black plate

     The Spruce

    Baked chicken and potatoes, ready in 30 minutes, is a weeknight savior. Add a tossed salad or a green vegetable for a complete family meal. Use chicken thighs or breasts, and feel free to swap the garlic powder for dried rosemary or thyme.

  • 03 of 21

    Spinach Casserole

    Serving spinach casserole from a glass baking dish

    The Spruce

    Using frozen spinach and just a few other common ingredients, this spinach casserole is a tasty last-minute side dish. Serve it with roasted chicken, fish, or a steak dinner. There are plenty of variations included in the recipe in case you want to mix things up.

  • 04 of 21

    Easy Classic Fettuccine Alfredo With Variations

    Fettuccine Alfredo in a white sauce topped with freshly grated cheese

    The Spruce

    Creamy, silky fettuccine Alfredo is one of the most delicious pasta recipes ever invented and a snap to prepare in about 15 minutes. Cook the pasta and stir the white sauce together at the same time for a quick meal. Top with cooked broccoli or chicken if you like.

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  • 05 of 21

    Roasted Cauliflower Steaks

    A roasted cauliflower steak on a marble board

    The Spruce / Pete Scherer

    Sliced thick, seasoned, and roasted, cauliflower has an almost meaty texture. Serve cauliflower steaks with pesto, chimichurri, or romanesco sauce, or coat in a spice rub much like actual beef.

  • 06 of 21

    Cornflake-Crusted Baked Cod

    Cornflake-crusted baked cod with a side of green beans

    The Spruce

    This five-ingredient recipe for cornflake-crusted cod will please even picky eaters. It tastes enough like fish sticks that kids won't hesitate to gobble their dinner, but it's a healthier alternative that's free of added preservatives. Make it with any firm-fleshed white fish, such as cod, halibut, or haddock.

  • 07 of 21

    5-Ingredient Slow-Cooker Beans With Bacon

    5-ingredient slow-cooker beans with bacon in a serving dish

    The Spruce / Diana Rattray

    After frying some bacon, all this recipe requires is adding a few ingredients to the slow cooker and leaving it to cook until hot and flavorful. Serve the slow-cooker beans with burgers, pulled pork sandwiches, or anything from the grill.

  • 08 of 21

    30-Minute Mexican Enchiladas

    30-minute Mexican enchiladas topped with fresh avocado and parsley

    The Spruce

    Mexican-style enchiladas are an easy, cheesy family meal that requires only a handful of ingredients. They bake up quickly in your oven, and you can easily spruce them up with a little bit of beef or chicken if you prefer a meatier casserole. The dish freezes well for up to three months.

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  • 09 of 21

    Make-Ahead Cheesy Scrambled Eggs

    Make-ahead cheesy scrambled eggs on a plate with a fork

    The Spruce

    Super easy, delicious, make-ahead scrambled eggs is a wonderful time-saver. Heavy cream, sour cream, and cheddar make them extra creamy. Prepare them the night before, store in the fridge, and simply reheat at breakfast time.

  • 10 of 21

    3-Ingredient Crock Pot Turkey

    3-ingredient crock pot turkey with gravy and cranberry sauce

    The Spruce / Julia Hartbeck

    Main dishes don't get any easier than this 3-ingredient crock pot turkey. Your slow cooker does all the work of transforming a frozen turkey breast, canned cranberry sauce, and onion soup mix into a wonderful dinner.

  • 11 of 21

    5-Ingredient Vegetarian Oven-Baked Pasta

    Basic oven-baked pasta in a baking dish and served on a plate

    The Spruce / Ahlam Raffii 

    Always a crowd-pleaser, this vegetarian pasta bake takes just 15 minutes to put together and can easily be customized. If you're a meat eater, add some cooked ground beef or sausage. Or add sautéed spinach or zucchini to make it a complete meal.

  • 12 of 21

    Easy 4-Ingredient Pork Roast

    Simple seasoned pork roast with garlic and a meslcun mix

    The Spruce

    Fresh garlic and seasoned salt are all you need to season this juicy pork roast. It's a simply delicious centerpiece for your next dinner, and leftovers can be turned into sandwiches. Use a meat thermometer to ensure you don't overcook your pork.

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  • 13 of 21

    4-Ingredient No-Bake Key Lime Pie

    4-ingredient no-bake Key lime pie in a graham cracker crust

    The Spruce

    Even if you don't feel like turning on the oven, you can make a picture-perfect pie. This classic, custardy Key lime pie needs only four ingredients, including the premade graham cracker crust. As it chills in your fridge, the acid from the lime juice cooks the egg yolks instead of baking.

  • 14 of 21

    Slow-Cooker Barbecued Pork Spareribs

    Slow-cooker barbecued pork spareribs over macaroni and cheese paired with coleslaw

    The Spruce

    Thanks to bottled barbecue sauce, you only need five simple ingredients to make succulent, melt-in-your-mouth pork spareribs. Leave them to cook all day to ensure they're nice and tender and serve with coleslaw and potato salad or on top of a pile of mashed potatoes.

  • 15 of 21

    Slow-Cooker Spaghetti and Meatballs

    Slow-cooker spaghetti and meatballs in a white dish

    The Spruce

    This fabulous recipe for slow-cooker spaghetti and meatballs tastes like it came straight out of the kitchen of an Italian restaurant. Frozen cooked meatballs are an easy shortcut that makes this mostly hands-free recipe even easier.

  • 16 of 21

    Easy 3-Ingredient Coconut Macaroons

    Easy 3-ingredient macaroons on a dessert plate
    The Spruce

    Coconut macaroons couldn't be simpler. With just three ingredients, they're also vegan and gluten-free. To make them extra special, once the macaroons are cool, dip them partway in melted chocolate.

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  • 17 of 21

    Beef and Vegetables Stir-Fry

    Beef and vegetables stir-fry over white rice with chopsticks

    Jjpoole / E+ / Getty Images

    Have leftover steak or roast beef in the fridge? Skip delivery and make this tasty, nutritious, filling beef and vegetable stir-fry. It's super quick to make with store-bought sauce and packaged frozen mixed vegetables. Serve with cooked rice or noodles for a kid-friendly dinner.

  • 18 of 21

    Grilled Rosemary Garlic Shrimp

    Marinating the rosemary garlic shrimp before grilling

    Robert Ingelhart / Getty Images

    For an easy, delicious appetizer, you'll love these plump, juicy, grilled skewered shrimp. They only require a few ingredients and take just a few minutes to cook on the barbecue. To avoid skewers burning, soak them in warm water for half an hour before using.

  • 19 of 21

    4-Ingredient Curry Roasted Cauliflower

    Indian roasted cauliflower topped with bits of fresh parsley

    Maria Lapina / Getty Images

    Roasted cauliflower cooked with curry seasoning makes a flavorful side dish for roast chicken or pork. Curry powder is a combination of several spices, making it a quick and easy flavor-booster for veggies and meat dishes.

  • 20 of 21

    Stuffed Baked Potatoes

    One cheesy stuffed baked potato

    Gareth Morgans / Getty Images

    If you're a fan of pub-style twice-baked potatoes, you'll love these cheesy stuffed potatoes. They go great with chili or a meaty main dish. To ensure the shells hold together, be sure to let the potatoes cool before slicing them open.

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  • 21 of 21

    Fastest Cheesecake

    Fastest cheesecake scattered with fresh raspberries, blueberries, and a sprig of mint

    Arx0nt / Getty Images

    If you think cheesecake has to be challenging or time consuming, think again. You only need about an hour and four ingredients to whip up a perfectly light and fluffy cheesecake. For an elegant presentation, scatter fresh berries over the top or drizzle with chocolate ganache.