Flavor-Packed Dinners You Can Make with Five Ingredients or Less

classic margherita pizza
Paola + Murray

When you don't have time to head to the grocery store to pick up a long list of ingredients for dinner, these simple recipes are just what you need. From no-fuss pasta dishes and delicious pizzas to sheet-pan dinners and seasonal soups, each of the recipes were highlighting here can be made using only five ingredients—not counting the kitchen staples that are salt, pepper, oil, and water.

As we make our way into winter, when the days feel shorter with the sun setting earlier, more often than not the last thing you want to do is make a meal that has a bunch of different ingredients and moving parts. Luckily, you can still put together a delicious dinner without needing a plethora of flavor elements. We pair a few staples with some other flavor-packed ingredients and fresh foods in these recipes, and the results show that it doesn't take much to make a delicious meal. One tasty example is our Classic Margherita Pizza, pictured here. Store-bought marinara sauce is spread over store-bought pizza dough and sprinkled with mozzarella, and parmesan cheeses then scattered with fresh basil leaves before being baked to crispy, cheesy perfection.

Looking for a dish where healthy protein is the star? Try salmon, which really doesn't need much beyond salt and oil to shine. It makes for a filling dinner when roasted alongside a few colorful vegetables. Or perhaps you want something comforting on a cold day? If that's the case, opt for our one-pan pasta where a few fresh herbs, plenty of grated cheese, oil, and lemon juice great a cozy entrée.

These recipes show how handy it is to keep your pantry and freezer well stocked. Chances are you can make a complete meal using a few ingredients and foods you already have. In the meantime, our favorite five-ingredient dinners will be your guide to making incredible, flavorful meals with minimal elements.

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Chicken with Provencal Vegetables

Andrew Purcell

In addition to using minimal ingredients, this sheet-pan meal is a breeze to clean-up. Once the chicken is golden brown, let it rest for a few minutes while your potatoes bake for a bit longer and get extra crispy.

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Cheater's Mac and Cheese

Cheater's Mac and Cheese recipe
Con Poulos

The secret to this five-ingredient, 20-minute macaroni and cheese is cream cheese. It makes a creamy sauce in next to no time. Adding Parmesan amps up the cheesy flavor.

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Tagliatelle with Herbs and Buttery Egg Sauce

Jonathan Lovekin

A double dose of smooth and creamy egg flavor is featured in this elegant dish. Tagliatelle (a type of egg noodle) is coated in a silky sauce made with eggs and melted butter. The final creation is topped with fresh herbs.

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Basic Chicken Soup

basic chicken soup
Diana Chistruga

Humble chicken soup often calls for a variety of vegetables, herbs, and spices, but it doesn't need all of them to be tasty. This simplified version is one of our favorites—a chicken cut into pieces boils in a pot of water with vegetables and aromatics, forming a satisfying broth.

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Brothy Beans and Greens on Toast

brothy beans and greens on toast served with lemon wedges
Con Poulos

Turn toast into a nutritious, fiber-packed dinner by topping it with dark leafy greens that have been sautéed in garlic, and cooked beans. A squeeze of fresh lemon juice over the meal adds a welcome brightness.

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Salmon with Fennel, Bell Pepper, and Olives

Johnny Miller

Another sheet-pan meal, this dish makes use of fennel—a beloved ingredient during colder months. When roasted, it becomes soft and sweet.

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Roasted Pumpkin Soup

Roasted Pumpkin Soup

Once a chill hits the air, we're craving this comforting soup. An added plus? It's completely vegan because its creaminess comes from the sugar pumpkin (or butternut squash if you go that route).

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Wild Salmon, Asparagus, and Shiitakes in Parchment

Wild Salmon, Asparagus, and Shiitakes in Parchment
Raymond Hom

Baking salmon filets, asparagus, and shiitake mushrooms in parchment paper parcels doesn't require many extra ingredients for flavor because the fish and vegetables steam in their own juices which limits the need for added fat.

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One-Pot Pasta with Broccoli and Lemon

one pan pasta pot spoon
Bryan Gardner

Streamlined prep and easy clean-up are defining features of one-pot meals. Here, a family-friendly meal of tender broccoli florets and penne pasta is brightened with lemon, garlic, and plenty of parmesan.

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Sauteed Chicken in Mustard-Cream Sauce

Sauteed Chicken in Mustard-Cream Sauce

While the combination of ingredients in this dish may have originated in France, they're perfect for your own kitchen. Take the mustard-cream sauce to the next level by adding fresh tarragon and the brown bits that accumulate on the bottom of the pan after sautéing the chicken.

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Quick Broccoli Frittata

quick broccoli frittata served with avocado
Frank Frances

Breakfast for dinner, anyone? This frittata recipe was created with convenience in mind, but it doesn't slouch on flavor. Sharp white cheddar melts perfectly into the eggs, while the broccoli adds freshness and added nutritional value.

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Prosciutto Mozzarella Pizza

Roland Bello

Slightly sweet and perfectly salty, prosciutto elevates a basic mozzarella pizza. Opt for store-bought pizza dough to keep this dish under five ingredients.

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Roast Spatchcocked Lemon Chicken

spatchcocked chicken
Chris Court

Three ingredients (plus oil, salt, and pepper) are all it takes to make a beautiful roast chicken. Spatchcocking the bird—a technique that requires splitting and flattening the chicken—exposes the skin so it gets extra crispy. Serve with a side of roasted vegetables.

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Loaded Baked Sweet Potatoes


Add filling ingredients to a baked sweet potato transforms it into a hearty as well as nutritious meal. Here, cannellini beans provide protein while broccoli rabe adds a dynamic flavor that's slightly bitter and somewhat nutty.

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Simple Risotto

simple risotto in pot

While there are plenty of risotto variations, arborio rice, stock or broth, a touch of wine, and plenty of Parmesan are key to making this creamy Italian dish. Once you try our simple take on the dish, you can always add more ingredients like mushrooms or peas.

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