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13 Super Easy Meals Teens Can Make Themselves

Whether it’s mom and dad’s night off or you want to learn how to cook on your own, these simple, no-fuss recipes are a delicious place to start.

Associate Digital Food Editor

Not every teenager can open a fine-dining restaurant at 17 like wunderkind chef Flynn McGarry (if you're not impressed by his age, he also started his own supper club when he was 11). But flying solo in the kitchen? Totally doable, especially with our foolproof dinner recipes (hey, you have to learn to crawl before you can walk!). Just consider them the first step on your way to becoming a top chef.

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Photography by: Bryan Gardner

1. Tacos

Instead of ringing the (taco) bell, try making your own hard-shell tacos at home. It’s quicker than going to the drive-thru and way more delicious.

 

Get Sarah's Tacos Recipe

2. Pizza

Making pizza is a cinch when you use store-bought dough and your trusty muffin pan. Or if you want to transform pita bread into pizza, you can't go wrong with this Mushroom-Leek Pizza.

 

Get the Mini Deep-Dish Pizzas Recipe
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3. Pancakes

One of our all-time most popular recipes, these classic pancakes are just as easy as using a boxed mix but so much tastier. Breakfast for dinner, anyone?

 

Get the Easy Basic Pancakes Recipe
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Photography by: Marcus Nilsson

4. Pasta with Fresh Tomato Sauce

Basically all you have to do is make salsa and boil spaghetti. When you’re ready for more, check out the rest of our no-cook pasta sauces that come together in a flash.

 

Get the Pasta with Fresh Tomato Sauce Recipe
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Photography by: Mike Krautter

5. Fried Rice

Turn up the volume on leftover rice with spicy-tangy kimchi and gochujang (Korean pepper paste). Top with a sesame oil-fried egg and toasted nori to tie all the flavors together.

 

Get the Kimchi Fried Rice Recipe
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Photography by: Romulo Yanes

6. Roasted Salmon

A technique you’ll come back to again and again! Butter, salt, and pepper are really all you need to bring out the flavor of fresh fish. Sprinkle with parsley if you’re feeling fancy.

 

Get the Roasted Salmon with Butter Recipe
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Photography by: Christina Holmes

7. Slow-Cooker Pulled Pork

Welcome to the magical world of the slow cooker -- you add a bunch of ingredients, leave the kitchen, and are rewarded with a delicious meal hours later. This fall-apart tender pulled pork is the perfect starter recipe. Once you get your feet wet, check out 6 Slow Cooker Secrets Every Home Cook Needs to Know.

 

Get the Easy Slow-Cooker Pulled Pork Recipe
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Photography by: Andrew Purcell

8. Ramen

Instant noodles don't have to be unhealthy! Ditch the sodium-packed seasoning packet that comes in the package in favor of fresh veggies, chicken broth, and canned tomatoes.

 

Get the Ramen Soup with Vegetables Recipe
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Photography by: Romulo Yanes

9. Chicken Nuggets

Trust us, chicken nuggets are a snap to make at home and so much better than anything you’ll find in the freezer section.

 

Get the Baked Chicken Nuggets Recipe
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10. Grilled Cheese

This four-ingredient wonder is classic comfort food at its finest. In this rendition, sharp grainy mustard cuts through the richness of gooey cheddar and buttery bread perfectly.

 

 

Get the Grilled Cheese with Grainy Mustard Recipe
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Photography by: Romulo Yanes

11. Sloppy Joes

Our lighter take on the deliciously messy sandwich swaps out ground beef for turkey and sneaks in some healthy sweet potato. Kale chips make a satisfying, good-for-you side dish.

 

Get the Turkey Sloppy Joes with Kale Chips Recipe
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12. Carbonara

Toss hot pasta with eggs, Parmesan, half-and-half, and crispy bacon for a decadent dinner you can get on the table in just 30 minutes.

 

Get the Spaghetti Carbonara Recipe
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13. Lentil Soup

Never settle for canned soup again! Whipping up your own is super quick (we’re talking 15 minutes from start to finish) and so much tastier. Start with this lentil version, then try our 15-Minute White-Bean Soup.

 

Get the 15-Minute Lentil Soup
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