30 Amazing 5-Ingredient Recipes

Pico de Gallo Black Bean Soup


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Pico de Gallo Black Bean Soup

Fab Five

Just because you're short on ingredients, time, or counter space, doesn't mean you have to forgo cooking delicious meals at home — even if you're not able to grab everything you need at the grocery store. Based on tips from people who know a thing or two about cooking with limited ingredients, these kitchen and meal prep hacks focus on working with limited means in cookware, electricity, and even cooking surfaces and vessels. These dishes use just five ingredients other than basic spices and cooking oil, and can be made either in an instant pot, pressure cooker, one stovetop pan or pot, on an outdoor grill, or with no heat source at all.

Related: 40 Cheap and Easy One-Pot Meals

Instant Pot: Mac And Cheese

Instant Pot: Mac and Cheese

Mac and cheese is a major food group in the United States. Once you've mastered the basic recipe you can customize it with your choice of fresh seasonal vegetables or proteins. The entire dish can also be changed just by switching up the kinds of cheeses used.

Recipe: Food Network

One-Pan Meal: Chicken Veggie Skillet
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One-Pan Meal: Chicken Veggie Skillet

Using a piquant garnish such as the vinegary banana pepper adds a pop of flavor to a simple dish. Other topping ideas are capers, olives, and even anchovies.

Recipe: Unicorns In the Kitchen

Pressure Cooker: Frittata

Pressure Cooker: Frittata

The pressure cooker does double duty in this recipe. Sauté the veggies right in the cooker, then close it up and bake. This super cheap and high-efficiency food can be enjoyed anytime of day with a small salad for a surprisingly sophisticated meal.

Recipe: Kitschen Cat

Grilling: Barbecue Chicken

Grilling: Barbecue Chicken

A standby recipe, this easy chicken on the grill can be made in a large batch for a crowd or to have leftovers for the week. Switch up the sauce to suit local tradition and bring some variation to the dish.

Recipe: Simply Recipes

One-Pan Meal: Sausage And Potatoes

One-Pan Meal: Sausage and Potatoes

This can be brunch with eggs, or dinner with a side salad and a glass of riesling. Made from two ingredients that can be easily stored, it's an anytime meal for whenever and wherever hunger strikes.

Recipe: Kitchen Nostalgia

Instant Pot: Beef Stew

Instant Pot: Beef Stew

This calorically dense meal is delicious and a good way to get full from a one-bowl meal. Beef stew is a classic where it's best to make a large batch; it keeps well and actually improves as it sits for a few days.

Recipe: Migraine Relief Recipes

Grilling: Fish Steaks

Grilling: Fish Steaks

Fish is tasty and healthy, but can leave behind odors when cooked inside a small space — best to cook it when there's access to an outdoor grill. These easy fish steaks are versatile enough to tailor with favorite flavors.

Recipe: Epicurious

Instant Pot: Rice And Beans

Instant Pot: Rice and Beans

Rice and beans is a staple in most cultures, and happens to be inexpensive. This version gets bonus points for using dry beans, which are cheaper and contain less additives than their canned counterparts.

Recipe: From My Bowl

One-Pot Meal: Chili

One-Pot Meal: Chili

A large batch of chili can take on so many uses. After you get sick of eating chili on its own, it can be ladled over hot dogs or on to nachos, mixed with rice into burritos, and so much more.

Recipe: The Kitchn

Pork Tenderloin

Instant Pot: Pork Tenderloin

Bring this out to impress friends and prove that high-quality food can absolutely be made in limited space. Serve this with a light red wine or crisp off-dry white to take it to the next level.

Recipe: Savory Tooth

Tofu Stir-Fry

One-Pan Meal: Teriyaki Stir Fry

These days it's easy to find a variety of premade sauces in the international aisles of grocery stores. This stir fry is a good base to add different flavors, so you can eat whatever kind of cuisine you're in the mood for.

Recipe: Food.com

No Cooking: Coleslaw
Janna Danilova/istockphoto

No Cooking: Coleslaw

It's important to keep vegetables a steady part of the diet even when kitchen appliances — or time — are scarce. This recipe comes together quickly, especially if using precut vegetables, and will improve as it sits in the fridge over a few days.

Recipe: Litehouse Foods

Instant Pot: Chicken Tinga

Instant Pot: Mexican Chicken

This chicken recipe is delicious on its own for a protein-packed dish, but its real value is in how versatile it is. Added to such things as salads, pastas, sandwiches, rice bowls, it creates a satisfying meal no matter how you use it.

Recipe: Skinny Ms

Portobello Tacos

Grilling: Portobello Tacos

Who doesn't want taco night by the grill? For an easy meatless meal option, simply grill portobello mushrooms with just a bit of olive oil and salt and pepper, or use a favorite marinade. Once grilled, heat tortillas on the grill for a few seconds and load them up with the mushrooms and toppings such as salsa, lime, and avocado.

Pressure Cooker: Chicken And Rice

Pressure Cooker: Chicken and Rice

This heartwarming dish is delicious on its own, but also endlessly versatile. It can be a nutritional and inexpensive blank canvas for using local vegetables and spices, or any flavorings you have a craving for.

Recipe: The Foodie Eats

Grilling: Mexican Elotes

Grilling: Mexican Elotes

These delicious grilled ears of corn are a classic throughout Mexico and many neighborhoods in the United States. If you really want to get good at putting them together, take in an expert video; you'll see that having a stick or some way to mount the corn goes a long way.

Recipe: Bon Appétit

One-Pan Meal: Cilantro Lime Brown Rice Skillet

One-Pan Meal: Cilantro Lime Brown Rice Skillet

This bowl doesn't have to use chicken every time — switch up the protein to keep the dish interesting. This could also be made alongside grilled items.

Recipe: Sweet Phi

Instant Pot: Chicken Tikka Masala

Instant Pot: Chicken Tikka Masala

This Indian favorite — which may have been developed in Scotland — can be enjoyed anytime with this super-simple recipe. It requires some prep to make the masala paste, but those without time or space can always substitute a store-bought curry paste for a slightly different (but just as tasty) result.

Recipe: Pinch of Yum

Grilling: Coconut Curry Kebabs

Grilling: Coconut Curry Kebabs

Kebabs on a grill is a no-brainer, but can get a little boring. This recipe puts a flavorful spin on kebabs with coconut milk and curry paste, creating dynamic layers of flavor with a pop of zest from fresh limes.

Recipe: Once a Month Meals

Vegetarian Split Pea Soup

Pressure Cooker: Split Pea Soup

As is so often the case, this super comforting food is also a super budget food. The ham hocks are optional but add a lot of flavor, so if you omit them for dietary reasons, consider adding another smoked element, such as chipotles.

Recipe: Real House Moms

Pressure Cooker: Maple Vinegar Braised Parsnips

Pressure Cooker: Maple Vinegar Braised Parsnips

A sophisticated take on a basic vegetable that goes largely unnoticed, this recipe from pressure cooking maven Jill Nussinow is unique, with a gourmet flair. This can be enjoyed as a tasty snack, side dish, or the base of a full meal bowl.

Recipe: The Veggie Queen

Instant Pot: Black Bean Soup

Instant Pot: Black Bean Soup

The chorizo in this soup adds significant flavor, making it feel more like a meal than a starter. This hearty soup can also be dressed up or down, served simply or with a dollop of crema, cilantro, or other garnishes.

Recipe: Treasured Mom

No Cooking: Tuna Salad

No Cooking: Tuna Salad

Cans of tuna are cheap and easy to store, making this a good meal when other options are scarce. Tuna salad can be used to make sandwiches, to make a side salad into a meal, or as a snack with crackers.

Recipe: AllRecipes

Grilling: Oysters With Chorizo Butter

Grilling: Oysters with Chorizo Butter

Oysters are at once a primal and fancy food, and so uniquely satisfying to feast on. Simple grilled oysters without the chorizo would be a treat, but this extra-indulgent version is restaurant-quality cuisine. It requires the use of a cast iron pan for the chorizo, which is a must-have for indoor/outdoor cooking.

Recipe: Food & Wine

Banana Chia Pudding
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No Cooking: Chia Pudding

Chia seeds are small, inexpensive, and shelf stable, and chia pudding comes together in just a few hours. Combine a half-cup of chia seeds with 2 cups of coconut milk or similar milk product and 2 tablespoons of maple syrup or another sweetener. Stir well and let sit in the fridge. After just a few hours it's a creamy pudding that can be topped with fruits, nuts and jams.

No Cooking: Overnight Oats

No Cooking: Overnight Oats

There's a reason so many people have oatmeal for breakfast every day — it's a magic food, super healthy and super cheap. This recipe lets you enjoy oatmeal for breakfast with no heat required.

Recipe: Food Network

No Cooking: Fruit Salad

No Cooking: Fruit Salad

Keeping a fruit salad around encourages healthy eating any time of day. Adding fresh herbs such as mint or basil, or a simple dressing, takes it up a notch. The really adventurous can even try adding a spicy chili into their dressing for a sweet and spicy flavor.

Recipe: Add a Pinch

Pressure Cooker: Rice Pudding

Pressure Cooker: Rice Pudding

A dessert that gets better as it sits in the fridge, this is a great recipe to make in large batches and enjoy over a few days. Substitute coconut milk for a dairy-free and extra flavorful version.

Recipe: Pressure Cooking Today

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No Cooking: Fudge

Let's be honest, sometimes you just need chocolate,  and this fudge can do the trick. This also makes a nice homemade gift.

Recipe: Go RVing

Yogurt Parfaits

No Cooking: Yogurt and Granola Parfaits

Yogurt and granola is a nutritious breakfast, snack, or dessert that can be whipped up in a few minutes or made in advance. Add in seasonal and local fruit to complete the dish.