These Low-Stress Recipes Have Just 8 Ingredients (or Fewer)

From pastas and omelets to cookies for dessert, these recipes make for a shorter shopping list — and a faster trip to the grocery store.

We're all for cooking complex recipes, but sometimes, having a shorter grocery list is easier. (And, not to mention, usually less expensive, unless your list happens to be meat- or fish-heavy). So we've rounded up a series of dishes that call for just eight ingredients or fewer, ranging from cheesy omelets and fragrant scrambled eggs to pasta and congee. Some have short ingredient lists as-is, while others just squeak by if you don't count pantry staples like salt, pepper, and cooking oil. Read on to see the full spread.

Boursin Omelet

Boursin Omelet Recipe
Victor Protasio

If you have any Boursin (or other garlic-herb spreadable cheese) lingering in your fridge, this basic omelet from chef Michael Tusk is a great way to use it up. Serve it with a crusty baguette and a crisp salad.

Ande Ki Bhurji (Scrambled Eggs with Cumin and Fragrant Herbs)

Julie Sahni Ande Ki Bhurji Recipe | Scrambled Eggs with Cumin and Fragrant Herbs
Sarah Crowder

This traditional Indian scrambled egg dish includes almost an equal amount of fresh yellow onion to eggs. Combined with toasted cumin seeds, cilantro, and fresh green chiles, it's incredibly fragrant.

Belgian Waffles

Belgian Waffles
Abby Hocking

Chef Ludo Lefebvre's waffles are topped with strawberries and unsweetened whipped cream for extra indulgence.

Pasta with Sausage, Basil, and Mustard

Pasta with Sausage, Basil and Mustard.
© Greg DuPree

This tasty pasta recipe, named one of our 40 best, combines grainy mustard, hot Italian sausage, dry white wine, heavy cream, and basil for a quick meal that's ready in 20 minutes.

 Creamy Spaghetti Carbonara

Creamy Spaghetti Carbonara


This classic Italian dish benefits from six full ounces of delicious pancetta, plus seven other basic ingredients.

Easy Polenta

easy polenta recipe tips
Sarah Crowder

Unlike classic creamy polenta recipes, which require nearly an hour of stirring, our simplified version comes together off the stove — seriously, just put the lid on and walk away — and is practically effortless. It's a great blank canvas, too, since it's made with only broth, polenta, Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, salt, and pepper. Add sautéed vegetables on top, roasted pork or chicken, or even a simple poached egg with chile crisp and scallions.

Basic Chinese Congee


© Todd Porter & Diane Cu

This basic congee recipe, made with white rice, stock, salt, ginger, sliced green onion, and either sesame seed oil or soy sauce, can be adapted with all sorts of add-ins — Chinese sausage and mushroom, kimchi, and sweet corn, too.

Herbes de Provence–Crusted Branzino and Fingerlings

Herbes de Provence-Crusted Branzino and Fingerlings
Greg Dupree

This low-fuss sheet-pan meal gets flavor from herbes de Provence (we like Williams Sonoma's blend), Dijon mustard, butter, olive oil, salt, and pepper. You'll have dinner ready in just four steps and 40 minutes.

Sheet Pan Chicken and Mushrooms with Parsley Sauce

Sheet Pan Chicken and Mushrooms with Parsley Sauce
© John Kernick

Cookbook author Julia Turshen's sheet pan chicken gets extra flavor from roasted lemons and fresh parsley. The meal is ready in 45 minutes and yields four servings.

Roasted Side of Salmon

Roasting Side of Salmon
Christopher Testani

If you've got Dijon mustard, a side of salmon, light brown sugar, granulated sugar, and sea salt, you'll have everything you need for this recipe (plus, some cold water to brine the fish). Round out the meal with buttered steamed green beans.

Steak Au Poivre with Red Wine Pan Sauce

Steak au Poivre with Red Wine Sauce
Justin Walker

This steak gets served with a tasty red wine pan sauce, a combination of fond (browned bits leftover in the pan after searing meat), broth, shallots, red wine, and butter. It's all ready in 20 minutes — just the right amount of time to make some garlic-rubbed toasts and wilted spinach to go alongside.

Roasted Asparagus and Mushrooms

Roasted Asparagus and Mushrooms
Eva Kolenko

Syrupy aged balsamic balances the earthy mushrooms (either hen-of-the-woods, oyster, or morels) and charred asparagus. Top with a couple fried eggs, and it's a perfect spring dinner.

Supersimple Green Salad

Supersimple Green Salad
Ditte Isager

Cookbook author Nadine Levy Redzepi's salad is another versatile blank canvas. It's prepared with red leaf lettuce, romaine lettuce, and a mustard-vinegar dressing — feel free to add in a protein of your choice, like grilled chicken or chickpeas.

Vegan Caesar Salad with Chicories and Walnuts

Vegan Caesar salad with Chicories and Walnuts Recipe
John Kernick

The dressing for this vegan take on Caesar salad includes miso, lemon juice and zest, extra-virgin olive oil, cumin, and maple syrup.

Sopa de Ajo (Basque Garlic Soup)

Basque Garlic Soup
Greg DuPree

Smoked Spanish paprika and thoroughly toasted baguette give this quick soup deep flavor.

Two-Bite Parmesan Biscuits

Two-Bite Parmesan Biscuits
Caitlin Bensel

These biscuits are baked on a bed of grated cheese, resulting in a crispy crust on each.

Vanilla Ice Cream

Vanilla Ice Cream

© Caitlin Van Horn

Our simple vanilla ice cream recipe calls for just four ingredients — half-and-half, egg yolks, sugar, and a vanilla bean.

Lee Lee’s Double Chocolate Chunk Brownies

Lee Lee's Double Chocolate Chunk Brownies
Greg DuPree

This brownie recipe can be adapted according to what you have on hand — swap in light brown sugar if you don't have dark brown sugar and feel free to use chocolate chips, too.

Crunchy Peanut Butter Cookies

Crunchy Peanut Butter Cookies
© Tina Rupp

These cookies are flourless and ultra simple, requiring just smooth peanut butter, sugar, baking soda, and an extra-large egg. The finely chopped peanuts and mini chocolate chips are optional — but highly recommended.

Was this page helpful?
Related Articles