20 Tasty 5-Ingredient Recipes

by Mikey Rox on 29 April 2013 5 comments

I love to cook. But it can become a chore — and one that takes all the joy out of making a delicious meal — when I have million ingredients on the counter and a major mess to clean up afterward.

To keep cooking fun, I often search for recipe ideas (or come up with my own) that have five ingredients or less. Not only does that cut down my grocery bill, but it allows me to have a yum-in-my-tum dinner without taking up my entire evening and stressing me out along the way. Here are 20 of my fave five-ingredient recipes — with a free pass given to ubiquitous and necessary water, butter, oil, salt, and pepper. (See also: Six Tips for Making Cheaper, Faster, Better Meals)

1. Honey-Glazed Stuffed Chicken

Immediately this recipe for Honey-Glazed Stuffed Chicken sounds labor intensive. But it’s nothing like that bird you stuff at Thanksgiving. Instead, it calls for Boursin cheese with herbs, which is already prepared with multiple ingredients to cut down your kitchen time. Once the breasts are stuffed with the cheese, simply wrap in bacon and bake. As a finishing touch drizzle with honey. Yes, please.

2. Bacon and Egg Salad

This recipe for Bacon and Egg Salad calls for a half-pound of frisee, but you can use whatever lettuce you have on hand. I prefer a spring mix. After you cook the bacon, you’ll soften the shallots in the bacon grease, and then you’ll add two tablespoons of champagne vinegar, although apple cider vinegar would probably work nicely, too. To finish it off, toss the greens with the dressing and top with poached eggs.

3. Coconut Curry Chicken

When you want a taste of Southeast Asia on a budget, try this Coconut Curry Chicken recipe from Rachael Ray, which calls for white rice, curry powder, coconut milk, chicken breast, and five-spice powder, the latter of which you may be able to make from scratch with individual spices you have on hand.

4. Jerk Chicken Wings With Orange Glaze

Switch up your buffalo wing routine and replace it with this super easy recipe for Jerk Chicken Wings With Orange Glaze. In a plastic freezer bag, toss a pound of wings with jerk seasoning. I’ve found the McCormick brand jerk seasoning to be best, but you can use whatever you prefer. In an oven preheated to 425, bake the wings for 35 minutes. Remove the wings, brush them with a mixture of two parts orange marmalade and one part water that you’ve heated in the microwave for 15 seconds. Pop them back into the oven for 10 minutes more. When you take them out, brush them with the remaining glaze and serve with mixed greens dressed with an orange vinaigrette.

5. Crockpot Easy Beef Stew

Even though it’s spring, there are a few cold days lingering here and there. To hold you over until the warmth and sunshine stick around for good, feed your soul with this Crockpot Easy Beef Stew. Ingredients are super frugal — red potatoes, beef stew meat, canned diced tomatoes, and frozen stir-fry bell peppers and onions — but the meal will be restaurant quality.

6. Black Bean Quesadillas

Head south of the border for dinner without leaving your home with these Black Bean Quesadillas that pack a lot of protein. You’ll fill whole wheat tortillas with black beans, Monterey Jack cheese, salsa, and avocado before placing them on a heated griddled to get all warm and melty.

7. Cornmeal-Crusted Chicken Nuggets With Blackberry Mustard

The kid in me is still a fan of chicken nuggets, and it’s nice to find a grown-up version that’s fast and easy. Before frying your nugget pieces, just sprinkle them with salt and pepper and toss them with cornmeal. The berry mustard calls for fresh blackberries or raspberries, whole-grain mustard, and honey. Even though this take on a classic is a bit more adult, the kids will still love it. Serve with steamed broccoli and carrots.

8. Grilled Steak Balsamico

Dinner at a high-end steakhouse will set you back, but this recipe for Grilled Steaks Balsamico is a bit easier on your wallet. The steaks are first marinated in a mixture of balsamic vinaigrette and fig preserves for two hours and then grilled. Before serving, top the steaks with premade buttery garlic-and-herb cheese spread.

9. BBQ Chicken Thighs

This recipe for BBQ Chicken Thighs couldn’t be easier. Brine the chicken in a mixture of salt and water for at least three hours, then pop ’em in an oven for 35 minutes with the BBQ sauce spooned over top. Serve with a side of fresh corn on the cob. I like to sprinkle my cobs with grated Parmesan cheese after buttering them.

10. Posole

Posole is a thick and saucy Mexican soup that’ll stick to your ribs. The base of this recipe consists of stewed tomatoes with jalapeno peppers and spices, which you can find premade (probably from Del Monte) in your supermarket. To amp it up, season the base with a Southwest chipotle seasoning, add white hominy and bite-sized pieces of pork tenderloin. Sprinkle with chopped fresh cilantro before serving. If you want to be naughty, add a dollop of sour cream.

11. Easy White Pizza

Claire Robinson is the queen of five-ingredient recipes — she has her own Food Network show based on the premise — and it’s easy to see why with this recipe for Easy White Pizza. It honestly doesn’t get any better than fresh dough topped with ricotta and mozzarella cheeses that’s baked to perfection and finished off with fresh oregano. Put the Papa John’s guy on hold for tonight.

12. Spinach Ricotta Pie

This recipe for Spinach Ricotta Pie is a glorified quiche, in essence, and it’s filled with good-for you ingredients like spinach, artichokes, cheese, and eggs. Prep time is 15 minutes, followed by 45 minutes in the oven. Dinner is done in less than hour, and it’ll feed six.

13. Berry Chicken Salad

You’ve probably seen those commercials for Wendy’s chicken salad with fresh berries, but you can make you own without the temptation of a side of fries and a Frosty. This recipe for Berry Chicken Salad places grilled chicken on top of mixed greens that are garnished with raspberries, blueberries, and strawberries, and drizzled with Catalina or French dressing.

14. Five-Spice Tilapia

I’m not a fan of fish, but if I were this recipe for Five-Spice Tilapia would be on my menu. Tender tilapia is sprinkled with a five-spice powder, cooked to perfection then drizzled with a soy sauce and brown sugar glaze. Sautéed snap peas would pair nicely with this healthy, protein-packed dish.

15. Florentine Ravioli

Giada de Laurentis may have time to make ravioli from scratch — she should; she gets paid big bucks for it — but the rest of us do not. To serve a princely Italian dinner on pauper’s budget, start with frozen cheese ravioli that you’ll boil until tender then toss with chopped spinach, crushed red pepper, garlic, and grated Parmesan cheese.

16. Barbecue Shrimp

This recipe for Barbecue Shrimp is a staple in the Big Easy, which is quite fitting since you won’t break a sweat making it. In a preheated 425-degree oven, you’ll place shrimp and lemon in a baking dish and pour a mixture of butter and Italian dressing mix over top. Bake it covered for 25 to 30 minutes. Sprinkle with parsley as a finishing touch. Pair it with crispy garlic bread and a cold beer.

17. Refried Bean Poblanos With Cheese

I couldn’t create a whole list of five-ingredient recipes without including at least one vegetarian option. And you’re in luck with this one, because it’s totally fast — two minutes prep time; six minutes cook time. Fill poblano chiles with vegetarian refried beans, rice, picante sauce, and shredded cheese, and microwave (that’s right). Sprinkle the hot-and-bubbly peppers with cilantro for a little more Mexi-deliciousness.

18. Crispy Calamari With Pickled Jalapeno Dipping Sauce

Sometimes my husband and I like to have “appetizer night” at our house where we indulge in restaurant-type foods before settling in for a Saturday-evening movie on the couch. It goes without saying that this recipe for Crispy Calamari With Pickled Jalapeno Dipping Sauce will be served sometime soon. Fresh calamari is coated with salt, pepper, and panko breadcrumbs, fried, then dripped in a mayo-based jalapeno sauce. Can you say yum?

19. French Onion Soup

Total classic for a night when you need a little comfort from the inside out. Beef broth, sweet onions, red wine — that’s all that’s in this recipe for French Onion Soup. What more do you need? Oh, wait. It wouldn’t be complete if there weren’t croutons and cheese involved. Holla!

20. Grilled Pizza With Pesto, Tomatoes, and Feta

I love pizza so much that I couldn’t end this post without another delicious recipe. This time it’s Grilled Pizza With Pesto, Tomatoes, and Feta, which, let’s face it, were sent from the heavens to adorn a crispy dough together. Spread the premade pesto on the dough, top with slices of plum tomato and feta, and grill. Sprinkle with fresh, aromatic basil, and dig in. You know this isn’t complete without a glass of wine, right?

What are your favorite quick and easy five ingredient recipes?

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Guest's picture

My mother's cooking for us this month (cuz I'm having a baby!), and I'm forwarding this to her!

Guest's picture

Cooking that coconut curry chicken ASAP, it sounds delicious!

Guest's picture
Andrea

I cannot wait to try #1! Chicken, bacon and honey??? I am sold!

Guest's picture

If I had just looked at the names of the recipes and not the title of this article I wouldn't have guessed there were only 5 ingredients in each one. They sound delicious and like a more fancy dish. I absolutely love that, especially when I don't have time to cook but are expecting guests I want to impress.

Guest's picture

I love simple recipes that don't take a lot of ingredients, because when you want to make a meal you don't want to go to the store and have to buy a bunch of different packages of things to only use a little of each. The easy white pizza looks good, and I love chicken salad especially with some sweet elements like red grapes or craisins.