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.

Omelets

Boursin Omelet Recipe
Victor Protasio

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-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). If you go the lunch or dinner route, you can serve it with a salad, baguette, and a glass of Chardonnay.

Former 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.

Stovetop Asparagus Frittata

Frittata with asparagus, prosciutto and crème fraîche.
© CHRIS COURT

While many frittata recipes yield multiple servings — such as this brussels sprout, bacon, and Gruyère frittata from Food & Wine culinary director at large Justin Chapple or 1995 Best New Chef Anne Quatrano's frittata with fresh herbs — chef 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.

Phoenicia Diner's Breakfast Skillet

Phoenicia Diner's Breakfast Skillet
© Cedric Angeles

Rounding out our egg options is this breakfast skillet from Phoenicia Diner, a beloved restaurant in the Catskills. The recipe, from chef 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.

 Strawberry, Banana, and Almond Butter Smoothie

Strawberry, Banana and Almond Butter Smoothie
© Lucy Schaeffer

This fruity single-serving smoothie is made extra creamy with the addition of almond butter. Enjoy it for breakfast, after a workout. or anytime you need a substantial snack.

Sausage, Kale, and Potato Skillet Supper

Sausage, Kale, and Potato Skillet Supper
Jen Causey

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."

Sheet Pan Salmon with Brussels Sprouts

Sheet Pan Salmon with Brussels Sprouts
Antonis Achilleos

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.

Grilled Chicken with Banana Pepper Dip and Fattoush

Grilled Chicken Breast w/ Banana Pepper Dip Recipe
Photo by Tara Donne / Food Styling by Chris Lanier / Prop Styling by Raina Kattelson

Anita Lo, a 2001 F&W Best New Chef, 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.

 Individual Chicken Pot Pies

Individual Chicken Pot Pies
© Scott Hocker

OK, so this recipe yields four personal pot pies, each baked in its own self-contained eight-ounce ramekin for super convenient portioning. The dish is table-ready in just an hour and calls for a cup of shredded rotisserie chicken, which could easily be subbed out for leftover chicken you may already have in the fridge. If you'd prefer to make only two pies, you can certainly cut the recipe in half.

Single Serving Tortilla Soup

Single Serving Tortilla Soup
© Molly Yeh

Blogger Molly Yeh's tortilla soup recipe bills itself as "perfect for one large dinner or two light lunches or appetizers," yielding just one or two servings. You can make it a day in advance for easy prep, but if you do so, wait to add the garnishes until you're ready to serve.

Cocktails

Mezcal Negroni
Victor Protasio

Plenty of our favorite cocktail recipes are single serving, including bartender Chuck A. Rivera Rodriguez's strawberry daiquiri, mezcal aficionado Yana Volfson's mezcal negroni (pictured), and the ever-refreshing Tom Collins cocktail.

Chocolate Chip Cookies

Chocolate Chunk Cookie for One
© Con Poulos

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 try recipe developer Anna Painter's chocolate chip cookie in a mug. 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.

Mini Chocolate-Hazelnut Cheesecakes

Mini Chocolate-Hazelnut Cheesecakes
© Fredrika Stjärne

These 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.

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