Chicken stuffed with pesto and cheese on a white plate on a slate table.

3-ingredient recipes you can make right now

Written by:
August 20, 2021

3-ingredient recipes you can make right now

Cooking can take a lot of time and labor. Researching recipes, making grocery lists, and shopping all have to take place before preparation for dinner even starts. Then there are the recipes themselves, which can range from simple and brief to complex and fussy, with hours of preparation or long cooking times. 

Cooking can also be much easier than all that. There is no shortage of simple, delicious, and easy meals for days when you want a home-cooked meal without performing a ton of labor. To help you on this home cooking journey, Stacker has compiled a list of 50 recipes that you can make with only three ingredients. Scouring, we've found some of the best breakfast, dinner, snack, dessert, and drink options for you, all of which require limited ingredients. Assuming you have a handful of kitchen essentials to get started, including cooking oil, salt, and pepper, these dishes can be made even if you haven't been able to make it to the grocery store in weeks. They're also perfect for cooks who may not be very confident in their skills just yet. Click through the following slides for some inspiration for your next meal.

Wheat-free banana pancakes

Breakfast has never been easier than these "wheat-free banana pancakes." With just a large banana, a single egg, and a teaspoon of butter, you can whip up this delicious breakfast in less than 10 minutes. If you have a few more ingredients on hand, reviewers report that cinnamon, vanilla, and even a teaspoon of standard pancake mix will add a little pizazz to this healthy option.

Egg in a hole

Cooking this simple breakfast in a little bacon grease really ups the flavor on this classic option. However, if you don't have bacon grease on hand, or prefer a vegetarian variation, this runny eggs-in-toast dish can be cooked in melted butter instead.

Avocado cheddar toast

Avocado toast can be as simple or elaborate as your heart desires, but this cheddar cheese version is perfect for when your fridge is looking pretty empty. Use whatever bread you have on hand, and top it off with a little salt and pepper (or "everything but the bagel" seasoning) for the perfect mid-morning snack.

Simple sausage casserole

This "simple sausage casserole" is made with a crescent roll crust, and would serve as the perfect weekend brunch entree. Slices of the sausage and cream-cheese stuffed dish reheat well in the microwave, meaning that leftovers could easily last you all week.

Quick and easy home fries

These "quick and easy home fries" are made with russet potatoes, butter, and a little bit of salt and pepper. Whether you eat them as a stand-alone breakfast or alongside some scrambled eggs and bacon, these home fries are sure to keep you full all morning long.

Keto cheesy bacon and egg cups

"Keto cheesy bacon and egg cups" are the perfect make-ahead breakfast for those following a low-carb or keto diet. Assemble bacon, eggs, and cheese in a muffin tin and bake until set. The leftovers can be stored in the fridge and reheated in the microwave for the rest of the week's breakfasts.

California smoothie

This "California smoothie" makes a great light breakfast option or afternoon snack. Frozen strawberries, lemon yogurt, and orange juice can be quickly blended together for a fruity treat that's bound to start your day off on a sunny note.

Dalgona coffee (whipped coffee)

Chances are if you've spent any amount of time on the internet during the coronavirus pandemic, you've run across this whipped coffee recipe. Requiring just a handful of ingredients, and a little elbow grease, this "Dalgona coffee" is the perfect stay at home pick-me-up.

Beer bread

The taste of this three-ingredient bread can vary wildly depending on the type and flavor profile of the beer you use, which makes this recipe one you can bake over and over without getting bored. Commenters report that the "beer bread" is best served warm, with a thick spread of soft butter.

Chef John's corn tortillas

The perfect addition to any Taco Tuesday, these homemade corn tortillas go well with everything from pork carnitas to sauteed veggies. The main ingredient in these tortillas is masa harina, which is a naturally gluten-free flour made of corn soaked in lime water. Masa harina can be found at most grocery stores.

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Two-ingredient pizza dough

If your local pie shop is temporarily closed due to the coronavirus pandemic, this two-ingredient pizza dough will go a long way toward helping you fill those cravings. Made with self-rising flour and Greek yogurt, the trick to making the dough cook perfectly is baking it in a 500-degree Fahrenheit oven.

Easy 3-ingredient cheese pinwheels

Just because large parties are on hold for now, it doesn't mean we have to stop enjoying those special celebration appetizers. Take, for example, these "easy 3-ingredient cheese pinwheels." They're typical party fare, but super easy to whip up at home if you find yourself missing cocktail hour finger foods.

Parmesan thyme crisps

These "Parmesan thyme crisps" are perfect for those following a keto diet. Made with shredded parmesan cheese and fresh thyme leaves, the high-fat, moderate-protein, and low-carb snacks come together in a few minutes. Even better, you can switch up the flavor profile a bit by mixing in different herbs and spices.


Simply roasted artichokes

For the uninitiated, roasting an artichoke can seem like a daunting undertaking. This recipe, with its handful of simple ingredients and precise directions, makes it easy for even the most amateur chefs. Extra garlic can be added for those who really love the flavor.

Roasted butternut squash puree

This "roasted butternut squash puree" makes a tasty alternative to traditional mashed potatoes. It can be eaten as a side dish with a steak or on its own as a filling and healthy afternoon snack. While the best season for the veggie is fall, many grocery stores carry the squashes year-round.

Cheesy kale chips

These "cheesy kale chips" don't actually include any real cheese. Instead, the vegan snack is made with nutritional yeast, which gives it that classic cheese taste without the added calories or animal products. While they take some time to make, the finished product is well worth it, according to reviewers.

Black-eyed peas spicy style

Black-eyed peas are a traditional Southern side dish. Already prepared varieties like the canned black-eyed peas used in this recipe can typically be eaten without any additional prep work. However, tossing in a little onion and jalapeno can switch up the flavor and eliminate mealtime boredom.

Onion rings

A burger joint staple, onion rings might not be the healthiest vegetable option, but there's no denying that they're a delicious one. This three-ingredient onion ring recipe calls for pancake batter to make the sweet breading. Depending on the size of your pot, the whole onion can be fried up and ready to go in less time than it takes for your eyes to stop watering.

Quick pasta sauce

During the coronavirus pandemic, many grocery stores have been running out of staples like rice and pasta sauce. If you haven't been able to find your favorite sauce brand on store shelves near you, this quick, homemade version is a great alternative. The sauce would also be a great vehicle for those almost-expired roasted veggies lurking in the back of your fridge.

Basic pasta recipe

This simple homemade pasta recipe can be doubled or tripled depending on the size of your household. Made with a few basic pantry staples like flour, salt, and eggs, the fresh noodles can be topped with your favorite store-bought or homemade sauce.

Bucatini cacio e pepe

"Bucatini cacio e pepe" is a basic and easy pasta dish; the sauce is made with pecorino Romano cheese and pasta water. Created by Roman sheepherders, the classic Italian dish can be enjoyed plain or dressed up with red pepper flakes, prosciutto, or peas.

Fried cabbage and egg noodles

This German recipe browns shredded cabbage in a swath of butter before mixing it with pre-boiled egg noodles. The result is a hearty, vegetarian meal that doesn't require too much prep or time spent pouring over the stove. Onion and red pepper flakes are highly praised additions for those who want to spice the "fried cabbage and egg noodles" recipe up a little more.

Eggplant and goat cheese lasagna

Instead of classic lasagna noodles, this "eggplant and goat cheese lasagna" uses thinly sliced eggplant, layered with sliced goat cheese and vegetable pasta sauce. It's a healthier and lower-calorie twist on an old Italian favorite and an excellent dish for those who can't stomach one more noodle during the coronavirus quarantine.

Quick tuna salad

Most of us probably have a can or two of tuna lingering in the back of a cupboard somewhere. The product's long shelf life makes it a perfect pandemic food, and with this three-ingredient tuna salad, it's easy to use some of those cans up in the long stretch of time between grocery stock ups. Snack on it with crackers or make it a meal by spreading it between two slices of homemade beer bread.

Salmon with brown sugar glaze

Spicy Dijon mustard and sweet brown sugar come together to make this delicious salmon glaze, made sticky by broiling in the oven. While many seafood recipes require an extensive list of ingredients to get the "perfect" flavor, this easy recipe only requires three but doesn't fall short on that highly sought-after taste.

Spicy lime grilled shrimp

This "spicy lime grilled shrimp" is marinated in a mixture of oil, lime, and cajun seasoning before being tossed on the grill. The summery seafood option goes great paired with a side of rice, on top of pasta, or rolled up in a homemade tortilla.

Three-ingredient baked chicken breasts

While this "three-ingredient baked chicken breast" recipe might not be the most experimental recipe on our list, it does result in an incredibly moist piece of chicken. While the recipe only calls for salt and butter, you can up the flavor by tossing in any other spices you might have crowding up your cabinet. The finished product can be eaten as a stand-alone entree or shredded up and thrown into a salad or soup.

Barbeque bacon chicken bake

As this "barbeque bacon chicken" bakes in the oven, the juices from the bacon are soaked up by the uncooked breasts, giving the finished product a unique, juicy flavor. If you live somewhere warm enough to grill outdoors, this recipe also works well on the barbeque, where the sauce can be brushed on in the last few minutes. Finally, paired with a low-carb, sugar-free barbeque sauce, this recipe works well for those following a keto diet.

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Pesto cheesy chicken rolls

If you're looking for an Italian-inspired dish that isn't pasta-based, these "pesto cheesy chicken rolls" are sure to hit the spot. Stuffed with a basil pesto and mozzarella mixture, these thinly sliced chicken breasts would be great dipped in some marinara sauce or sliced up as cold lunch leftovers.

Crunchy French onion chicken

This grown-up version of chicken strips relies on French-fried onions for its pop of flavor. While the original "crunchy French onion chicken" recipe calls for the chicken to be baked in the oven, cooking it in the air fryer would undoubtedly leave you with an even crispier coating.

Fiesta slow cooker shredded tacos

Whether life is busy and hectic, requiring you to run around all day, or you're stuck at home during a world-wide pandemic, slow cooker meals are great because they allow you to fix it, forget it, and go about your day. These shredded chicken tacos come together in the slow cooker with the help of chicken broth, a packet of taco seasoning, and 6 to 8 hours. Mix the finished product with some toppings in a tortilla or toss the meat in a soup or on top of a salad.

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Crispy baked chicken thighs

While many of the chicken-based recipes on our list so far have called for chicken breasts, this "crispy baked chicken thighs" recipe calls for a different cut of meat. Dark meat chicken thighs are often more tender and cook considerably faster. Using bone-in and skin-on thighs, this recipe results in a moist, almost "fried" tasting entree.

Turkey burgers

Ground turkey, salt, pepper, and onion soup mix come together to create this delicious turkey burger recipe. Rather than the standard preparation method of frying the burgers in oil, these are cooked in water, which makes them substantially healthier. You can either eat these between two buns or break one up to add a little protein to your lunchtime salad.

Yummy pork chops

Marinades are a great way to add a little flavor to your meat without necessarily adding a ton of ingredients to the list. The marinade for this pork chop recipe is made with Italian dressing, soy sauce, and a little bit of black pepper. Cooking the pork chops on a skillet on the stovetop helps to give the outside of a meat a bit of crisp while keeping the inside juicy and tender.

Brown sugar ham steak

For many Americans, brown sugar glazed ham is a holiday staple. This version is better proportioned for one or two than an entire ham would be. The "brown sugar ham steak" is cooked on the stovetop in around 20-minutes, making it an easy weeknight dinner.

Easy two-ingredient pulled pork

This tender, flavorful pulled pork makes a great sandwich filling. A pork loin and a bottle of your favorite barbeque sauce are all you need. Place the ingredients and a bit of water in a slow cooker, and let the appliance do all the heavy lifting.

Easy rib eye roast

Ribeye may not be the most inexpensive or easily accessible cut of meat, but if you can get your hands on one, it's well worth the effort. This "easy rib eye roast" is covered in butter and garlic before slowly cooking in the oven, resulting in a truly flavorful and juicy entree.

Instant Pot corned beef

Traditional corned beef can take hours to cook on a stovetop, but this Instant Pot version comes together in just about two hours. If you want to make the complete feast, you can add carrots, potatoes, and cabbage to the bottom of the pot as the meat rests after cooking. The beer and spice remnants in the pot will add a little extra flavor to the veggies.

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Roasted cauliflower steaks

These cauliflower steaks make a great alternative to a classic meat entree. Doused in olive oil and lightly seasoned, these oven-roasted steaks are the perfect amount of crispy. The recipe is simple enough that you can dip in your favorite sauce without worrying about clashing flavor profiles.

Fruit dip

Whip up a bowl of this creamy brown sugar dip to make an afternoon snack feel more luxurious or to convince a picky eater to down their daily serving of fruit. While the fruit dip takes literal minutes to make, it does need to chill in the fridge for an hour before eating, so be sure to plan accordingly.

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3-ingredient cake mix cobbler

Typically, a fruit cobbler recipe will have an ingredients list a mile long. With this "cake mix cobbler," the list of ingredients is short and sweet: yellow cake mix, peaches in a light syrup, and butter. The finished product is delightfully authentic and close in taste and texture to more complicated versions.

Brownie mix black bean brownies

If you've been looking for a new way to use up some of those cans of beans you've stocked up on, these "brownie mix black bean brownies" are it. The beans don't add any flavor to the dessert, but they do provide a level of fudginess and moisture that's unrivaled by any other brownie recipe.

3-ingredient cookies

These "3-ingredient cookies" are perhaps the healthiest dessert option on our list. Made with bananas, oats, and chocolate chips, they contain very little added sugar. The cookies have a gooey texture when baked, so if you're a crispy cookie fan, you might consider skipping this recipe.

ABC pudding

"ABC pudding" or avocado banana chocolate delight, is a finger-licking good vegan dessert option. The avocado, which makes this pudding rich and thick, might seem like a strange addition to some, but that worry is for naught as the flavor is completely undetectable in the finished product.

Hazelnut palmiers

Eating Nutella straight out of the jar can undoubtedly be a guilty (or not-so-guilty) pleasure for some chocolate-loving folks. If that includes you, you're sure to love these "hazelnut palmiers" that are made by simply spooning generous amounts of the chocolate hazelnut spread in puff pastry dough. The light and fluffy cookies are addicting, so consider yourself warned.

Apple cinnamon chimichangas

This Mexican-inspired dessert calls for canned apple pie filling, tortillas, and an abundance of cinnamon sugar. The "apple cinnamon chimichangas" are best eaten warm and would pair nicely with a drizzle of honey or a scoop of vanilla ice cream.

Pumpkin cake

Bakers have two options when it comes to this fall-themed dessert: either follow the two-ingredient recipe to a T or add two eggs to the batter to make the finished product considerably more moist. Made with just the cake mix and pumpkin puree, the dessert is relatively low in fat (4.3 grams per serving).

Easy 3-ingredient copycat butterfinger

If you happen to have some candy corn still hanging around from Halloween, you can whip up these "easy copycat butterfingers." All of the ingredients are melted in the microwave rather than on the stovetop, making this a great recipe to make with kids.

Peanut butter cookies

These three-ingredient peanut butter cookies only take 10 minutes to bake, which makes them a perfect treat to satisfy any late-night sugar cravings. To amp the flavor up even more, one creative baker suggests dipping the finished cookies in melted chocolate, which reportedly makes them taste "exactly like a Reese's Peanut Butter Cup."

3-ingredient tastes-just-like-sangria

With summer approaching, sangria is becoming an increasingly popular happy hour option. Traditional sangria requires quite a bit of prep time to allow all the fruits and liquids to blend together. This "3-ingredient tastes-just-like-sangria" recipe allows wine-lovers to skip the waiting period by utilizing ginger ale and limes.

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