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 spaghetti carbonara 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.
If you have any Boursin (or other garlic-and-herb spreadable cheeses) lingering in your fridge, this basic omelet from Michael Tusk is a great way to use it up. Serve it with a crusty baguette and a crisp salad.
Get the Recipe: Boursin Omelet
Scrambled Eggs with Cumin and Fragrant Herbs (Ande Ki Bhurji)
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.
Get the Recipe: Scrambled Eggs with Cumin and Fragrant Herbs (Ande Ki Bhurji)
Chef Ludo Lefebvre's waffles are topped with strawberries and unsweetened whipped cream for extra indulgence.
Get the Recipe: Belgian Waffles
Classic Spaghetti Carbonara
Spaghetti carbonara is a famously simple dish, requiring sliced pork (either pancetta, guanciale, or bacon), eggs, cheese, pasta, and a touch of salt and pepper. We have a few riffs on the recipe, including a smoky version that swaps Parmesan for gouda and uses slab bacon.
Get the Recipe: Classic Spaghetti Carbonara
Pasta with Sausage, Basil and Mustard
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.
Get the Recipe: Pasta with Sausage, Basil and Mustard
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 just broth, polenta, Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, salt, and pepper. Add sautéed vegetables on top, roasted pork or chicken, or even a simple poached egg with chili crisp and scallions.
Get the Recipe: Easy Polenta
Basic Chinese Congee
Todd Porter and Diane Cu’s 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.
Get the Recipe: Basic Chinese Congee
Turmeric and Coriander Roast Chicken
Our recipe adapts Maydan’s roasted chickens (cooked on a hearth) for the backyard grill, and it’s pretty simple. Just grab a whole chicken, ground turmeric, coriander seeds, garlic cloves, grapeseed oil, kosher salt, and extra-virgin olive oil. In three steps, you’ll be ready to eat.
Get the Recipe: Turmeric and Coriander Roast Chicken
Herbes de Provence–Crusted Branzino and Fingerlings
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.
Get the Recipe: Herbes de Provence–Crusted Branzino and Fingerlings
Sheet Pan Chicken and Mushrooms with Parsley Sauce
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.
Get the Recipe: Sheet Pan Chicken and Mushrooms with Parsley Sauce
Roasted Side of Salmon
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.
Get the Recipe: Roasted Side of Salmon
Steak Au Poivre with Red Wine Pan Sauce
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.
Get the Recipe: Steak Au Poivre with Red Wine Pan Sauce
Grilled Lamb Kebabs with Smoky Tomato Sauce
This recipe from Musa Dagdeviren got a resounding five-star rating from our readers. The lamb is marinated in olive oil, garlic, and Aleppo pepper for flavor.
Get the Recipe: Grilled Lamb Kebabs with Smoky Tomato Sauce
Roasted Asparagus and Mushrooms
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 very springy dinner.
Get the Recipe: Roasted Asparagus and Mushrooms
Supersimple Green Salad
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 on in a protein of your choice, like grilled chicken or chickpeas.
Get the Recipe: Supersimple Green Salad
Romaine Salad with Cracked Olives and Salted-Lemon Yogurt
This refreshing salad from chef Biju Thomas gets a punch of citrusy flavor from preserved lemon. Top with some oil-packed canned tuna for a light but satisfying dinner.
Get the Recipe: Romaine Salad with Cracked Olives and Salted-Lemon Yogurt
Vegan Caesar Salad with Chicories and Walnuts
The dressing for this vegan take on Caesar salad includes miso, lemon juice and zest, extra-virgin olive oil, cumin, and maple syrup.
Get the Recipe: Vegan Caesar Salad with Chicories and Walnuts
Harissa-Spiced Carrot Soup with Almonds and Rosemary
Aside from water, extra-virgin olive oil, and kosher salt, you’ll only need six ingredients for this quick soup: large carrots, chicken broth, harissa paste, unsalted butter, marcona almonds, and fresh rosemary leaves.
Get the Recipe: Harissa-Spiced Carrot Soup with Almonds and Rosemary
Basque Garlic Soup
Smoked Spanish paprika and thoroughly toasted baguette gives this quick soup deep flavor.
Get the Recipe: Basque Garlic Soup
Marinated Artichoke Hummus
Justin Chapple adds jarred artichoke hearts, plus a little of the marinating liquid, to hummus for extra brightness and tang.
Get the Recipe: Marinated Artichoke Hummus
Two-Bite Parmesan Biscuits
These biscuits are baked grated cheese, resulting in a crispy crust on each.
Get the Recipe: Two-Bite Parmesan Biscuits
Vanilla Ice Cream
Our simple vanilla ice cream recipe calls for just four ingredients—half-and-half, egg yolks, sugar, and a vanilla bean.
Get the Recipe: Vanilla Ice Cream
Lee Lee’s Double Chocolate Chunk Brownies
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.
Get the Recipe: Lee Lee’s Double Chocolate Chunk Brownies
Crunchy Peanut Butter Cookies
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.
Get the Recipe: Crunchy Peanut Butter Cookies