Our Favorite Four-Ingredient Recipes for Those Times When You Need Meal Prep to Be Simple
From eye-catching appetizers to complete entrées, these 20 recipes, all made with just four-ingredients, are proof that delicious food doesn't have to be difficult.
Contrary to what some hungry family members might think, food does not just appear out of no where with little more than a magical incantation. The time it takes to plan, shop, prep, and cook for just one recipe is not trivial, which is why we've gathered together our favorite simple recipes for especially busy weeks. Not counting the basic pantry staples of salt, pepper, oil, and water, all 20 of these recipes use just four main ingredients. Don't believe us? Consider the easy, economical Tomato, Scallion, and Cheddar Frittata you see right here. The only ingredients you'll need to grab at the grocery store are eggs, tomatoes, scallions, and cheddar cheese.
Eggs are ideal for fast and easy meals, as further evidenced by our grab-and-go take on a breakfast classic: Our Florentine Egg Cup works just as well for your morning meal as it does for a family dinner. But it's not all about eggs here. Other patterns that we noticed while collecting the recipes for this gallery revolved around some kind of foundational carb, like pasta or toast. Whether you want to twirl a fork around saucy strands of spaghetti and zucchini for dinner or tuck into Brothy Beans and Greens on Toast, we'd like to give a special shout out to the pastas and breads that make fueling up an especially easy and enjoyable experience.
Several of these dinnertime recipes, such as the Roast Chicken with Parsnips and Swiss Chard and Ravioli with Tomatoes and Basil Dressing, can stand on their own as a complete meal—no small feat for such slim ingredient lists! A few other recipes, like our Crispy Brussels-Sprout Rosti, can either be enjoyed as lighter fare or embellished with easy proteins like rotisserie chicken, smoked salmon, or a fried egg.
And while a lot of attention is given to dinners with a low ingredient count, it's great to know about all of the desserts and snacks you can make with just four ingredients, too. One appetizer in particular, the Thyme-Scented Roasted Tomatoes and Cheese, will win over party goers with its beauty and substance. The Hazelnut Fudge recipe is a great recipe to keep in your back pocket for an easy gift you can make for friends and neighbors. Or in the case of our Cinnamon-Sugar Palmiers, you'll quickly see the value in always having a box of puff pastry in your freezer to be able to make super-simple desserts on a whim.
Mashed Avocado-and-Egg Toast
Ravioli with Tomatoes and Basil Dressing
Begin with store-bought fresh ravioli, purée basil and olive oil in the blender, add tomatoes, and boom: A light and lovely summer meal is on the table in a matter of minutes.
Easy Florentine Egg Cups
These adorable self-contained egg cups have just the right amount of nutritious ingredients to keep you going until lunchtime. Using frozen chopped spinach makes the prep work fly by.
Putting out a tray of this easy, delectable fudge that has a Nutella-like flavor profile will have friends and family begging you for the recipe. Lucky for all of us, there are only four ingredients they'd need to remember!
Brothy Beans and Greens on Toast
Roast Chicken with Parsnips and Swiss Chard
As the parsnips roast alongside seasoned chicken breasts, the oven concentrates their natural sweetness. Meanwhile, Swiss chard is quickly sautéed in olive oil on the stovetop, culminating in a nutritionally balanced meal you won't believe took just four ingredients to make happen.
Easy Peanut Butter Cookies
These irresistibly light cookies don't contain any flour, so make a batch if it's pure peanut butter flavor you're looking for.
Open-Faced Grilled Cheese with Apple and Bacon
When there's bacon involved, the rest is just window dressing. Feast your eyes on this fall-inspired grilled cheese that incorporates melty cheddar and tangy apples with bacon and nutty whole-wheat sandwich bread.
Thyme-Scented Roasted Tomatoes and Cheese
Crispy Brussels-Sprout Rosti
You can serve this crispy potato pancake as an elegant starter or bulk it up with a fried egg and a green salad and enjoy it for a main. Either way, its intricate appearance doesn't let on that it only took a handful of ingredients to make.
Make buttery French pastries with only four ingredients: sugar, cinnamon, frozen dough, and bittersweet chocolate.
Strawberry-Goat Cheese Tartine
Particularly suited for an afternoon pick-me-up, the flavors of fresh strawberries are enhanced here by roasting them in a little maple syrup. This special step can be done up to five days in advance, so a fancy toast like this one can be ready on demand all week long.
Barbecued Chicken on Garlic Toast
Using a rotisserie chicken and bottled barbecue sauce, these irresistible sandwiches are ready in just 15 minutes. Choose thick Texas toast or regular white sandwich bread to make the garlic toast.
Cool down on a hot day with these fun and delicious peach pops. Using guava and lime juice as complementary flavors to the peach gives these icy treats a tropical vibe.
Zucchini Pasta with Ricotta
Roast thin slices of zucchini in a hot oven to make them tender and sweet, then toss with cooked linguine, ricotta cheese, and lemon zest for a light and delicious vegetarian pasta dinner.
Movie Theater Style Popcorn
Whether you opt for classic butter or go with the spicy-maple variation, this popcorn will taste perfect with the few ingredients it requires; all you'll need is an ice-cold beverage to wash it down with.
Crunchy Roasted Chickpeas
Did you know that you probably have everything you'd need to make this crunchy, fiber-full snack sitting in your pantry? What are you waiting for! Grab that can of chickpeas and roast them up with your spice of choice until crisp and golden.
While the goal is to find ripe and juicy strawberries for this summer-y recipe, we are wise to the realities of this fickle fruit. This salsa helps even less than perfect berries look and taste their best no matter what season we're in with a little help from flavor enhancers like lime juice, onion, cilantro, and salt.