16 Recipes for Dining Solo
Whether you’re looking for a comforting brunch or want a low-key dessert, these recipes are perfect for one person.
Having leftovers at the end of a meal is something to be cherished. A few extra helpings of stew to get you through busy weeknights; a casserole that can stretch just enough until you have time to make it to the grocery store. Enjoying them saves you time and also helps ensure that nothing you’ve made has gone to waste.
However, there are also times—especially when you live alone—when a single-serving meal can really come in handy, and that’s when we turn to these recipes. Spanning breakfast (think stovetop frittata and omelets) to dinner (hello, sheet pan salmon) to dessert (yes, it is entirely possible to make one single chocolate chip cookie), this roundup offers several different options ideal for one person. Most serve one, and a few are portioned so that you can have an individual serving with leftovers to spare. Many can also be scaled up, in case you need extra. Read on for the full spread.
This simple omelet (pictured) can do triple-duty as a breakfast, lunch, or dinner, and it’s described in the recipe’s headnote as “the sleeper hit of chef Michael Tusk’s French-inflected bar à vin menu at Verjus in San Francisco.” Garlic-and-herb spreadable cheese (e.g. Boursin) is the star, paired with caramelized onions for a savory filling. It all gets finished with a little unsalted butter and a sprinkle of chives (and salt, if you like), and if you go the lunch or dinner route, you can serve it with a salad, baguette, and a glass of Chardonnay.
Food & Wine senior food editor Mary-Frances Heck also crafted a single-serving recipe for a French rolled omelet, calling for wooden chopsticks to beat the eggs, help turn the outer edges of the omelet into scrambled eggs, and tuck the edge of the omelet. The omelet itself includes a mix of fresh herbs (tarragon, chives, and flat-leaf parsley are a good bet), and you have the option to add cheese if it pleases you.
Get the Recipe: Boursin Omelet
Get the Recipe: French Rolled Omelet
Stovetop Asparagus Frittata
While many frittata recipes yield multiple servings, such as this brussels sprout, bacon and Gruyère frittata from Food & Wine’s Justin Chapple or 1995 Best New Chef Anne Quatrano’s frittata with fresh herbs, 1990 BNC Nancy Silverton’s stovetop asparagus frittata (pictured) is single-serving, piled with asparagus, prosciutto, crème fraîche, and more. It comes together in just 30 minutes, so you can enjoy it as a weekend brunch or whip it up for a quick weeknight dinner.
Get the Recipe: Stovetop Asparagus Frittata
Phoenicia Diner's Breakfast Skillet
Rounding out our egg options is this breakfast skillet from Phoenicia Diner, a beloved restaurant in the Catskills. The recipe, from Melchor Rosas, has a short ingredient list featuring flaked smoked trout, crème fraîche, finely grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, and chives. To make the dish, all you need to do is heat the butter in a cast-iron skillet, add in the eggs and accoutrements, and cook, serving with more snipped chives and toast for the finishing touch. It’s meant to serve one, but you can always double, or even quadruple it if need be.
Get the Recipe: Phoenicia Diner's Breakfast Skillet
If you’re looking for a caffeine boost, Shelly Westerhausen’s single-serving smoothie features a shot of espresso, pairing it with plain yogurt, maple syrup, milk, almond butter, and ice.
Get the Recipe: Almond-Espresso Smoothie
Sausage, Kale, and Potato Skillet Supper
Klancy Miller, author of Cooking Solo: The Fun of Cooking for Yourself, combines red potato, smoked spicy Italian sausage, thinly sliced red onion, and lacinato kale in this one-skillet (and single-serving!) recipe. It only takes 25 minutes to make, and it can be doubled as well. If you do decide to scale up, Miller recommends using a larger skillet.
“Another overlooked advantage to cooking for oneself is that you have the freedom to make whatever you please,” Miller writes in the recipe headnote. “You don’t have to compromise or worry about whether or not someone else approves of your menu. In short, you can allow yourself the pleasure of giving into your cravings.”
Get the Recipe: Sausage, Kale, and Potato Skillet Supper
Sheet Pan Salmon with Brussels Sprouts
This super quick salmon recipe is also Miller’s, and just like the skillet supper, it all comes together in one pan—in this case, a quarter sheet pan in the oven. You start by making the sauce, and (separately) tossing the cut vegetables with olive oil and salt. Then, add the salmon fillet to the sheet pan, place the vegetables around it, and drizzle on some of the sauce. Sprinkle the salmon with sesame seeds and you’re all set to bake. Once it’s done, a little more sauce and salt round it all out.
Get the Recipe: Sheet Pan Salmon with Brussels Sprouts
Grilled Chicken with Banana Pepper Dip and Fattoush
Anita Lo, a 2001 BNC, has a book for cooking solo, too—Solo: A Modern Cookbook for a Party of One—that includes this grilled chicken with banana pepper dip and fattoush. The creamy, cheesy dip (a mixture of banana peppers, feta cheese, and lemon juice) is a perfect match with grilled chicken, and as a bonus, you can use leftovers as a sandwich spread or enjoy it with pita crackers and crudité.
Get the Recipe: Grilled Chicken with Banana Pepper Dip and Fattoush
Carnitas and Chutney Grilled Cheese Sandwich
This recipe from 1997 BNC Raphael Lunetta is ideal if you want a single-serving meal with leftovers you can repurpose. The carnitas component of the recipe yields enough for 12 sandwiches, while the sandwich portion itself is scaled for one. You can use the extra carnitas for more sandwiches, or as a building block for other meals. The recipe also suggests substituting leftover pulled pork for the carnitas “for a quick sandwich fix,” if you’d rather just stick to the one sandwich.
Get the Recipe: Carnitas and Chutney Grilled Cheese Sandwich
Single Serving Tortilla Soup
Molly Yeh’s tortilla soup recipe bills itself as “perfect for one large dinner or two light lunches or appetizers,” yielding 1-2 servings. You can make it a day in advance for easy prep, but if you do so, wait to add the garnishes until you are ready to serve.
Get the Recipe: Single Serving Tortilla Soup
Chocolate Chip Cookies
Instead of churning out several dozen chocolate chip cookies (which is never, ever a bad thing), this recipe (pictured) from Justin Chapple is ideal for when you just want one cookie for a quick snack. All you need is a toaster oven and 20 minutes, and you’ll end up with a warm, chocolaty treat. Alternatively, you can also give Anna Painter’s chocolate chip cookie in a mug a shot. It’s ready in 10 minutes and adaptable with different fixings, such as M&Ms or a combination of quick-cooking rolled oats, cinnamon, and raisins.
Get the Recipe: Chocolate Chunk Cookie for One
Get the Recipe: Chocolate Chip Cookie in a Mug
Mini Chocolate-Hazelnut Cheesecakes
Grace Parisi’s mini cheesecakes come together in a muffin tin (as opposed to a springform pan you’d use for a standard cheesecake), and can be refrigerated in an airtight container for up to three days. Ultimately, you’ll end up with 12 individual cakes—did we mention the batter includes Nutella?—which you can snack on as you please.
Get the Recipe: Mini Chocolate-Hazelnut Cheesecakes