Our Easiest (Tastiest!) 5-Ingredient Dinners

fish and chips in a wire basket
Our Best 5-Ingredient Dinnersmike garten

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Staring down a fridge that's almost completely empty? No stress! There's a good chance you still may be able to cook up a complete dinner without having to make a special trip to the grocery store. The secret: Find a five-ingredient recipe that makes the most out of just a handful of ingredients.

When it comes to getting an easy dinner on the table, less is more — and these simple recipes are proof of that. From healthy air fryer salmon to kid-friendly chicken fajitas, every recipe requires just five ingredients or fewer (plus kitchen staples like salt, pepper and olive oil). That's because we came up with clever ways for some ingredients to do double duty, and leaned on a few power hitters that deliver tons of flavor to a dish, like harissa, pesto and teriyaki sauce.

This line-up of five-ingredient meals includes vegetarian recipes and vegan options, as well as selects for steak-lovers and fans of chicken breast dishes. Some recipes rely on pantry staples, so there's a strong chance you have everything you need at home already. We also included recipes for every time of year that feature a variety of seasonal produce — corn and zucchini for the summer, radishes for the spring and so on. When you're only using a couple of ingredients, it's extra important to choose high-quality ones and to opt for foods that are in season.

Harissa-Butter Steak with Carrots

A simple combo of butter and harissa instantly upgrades roasted carrots and seared steak. (P.S. Opt for a bunch of rainbow carrots to add a li'l more color to your plate.)

Get the Harissa-Butter Steak with Carrots recipe.

harissa butter steak with carrots
mike garten

Chorizo-Stuffed Zucchini

Zucchini boats provide a fun way to serve up dinner: Here, hallowed-out zucchini becomes an edible vessel for a delicious cheesy chorizo stuffing.

Get the Chorizo-Stuffed Zucchini recipe.

RELATED: 50 Best Zucchini Recipes of All Time

chorizo stuffed zucchini
mike garten

Air Fryer Fish and Chips

Salt and vinegar chips provide the crunchy, golden coating for fish fillets — as well as tons of flavor — in this 20-minute dinner.

Get the Air Fryer Fish and Chips recipe.

RELATED: 70+ Reasons to Love Your Air Fryer

fish and chips in a basket
mike garten

Creamy Kale Pasta

Each serving of this five-ingredient pasta dinner packs in 17 grams of protein — thanks to cottage cheese, Parmesan and kale getting blended into a dreamy sauce.

Get the Creamy Kale Pasta recipe.

RELATED: Try Our 5-Ingredient Meal Plan for Your Easiest Week of Dinners Ever

kale pasta on a plate
Mike Garten

Smoky Chorizo Tacos

Level up your Taco Tuesday by crisping up chorizo and cooked potatoes in a skillet. Throw some salsa verde into the equation for a welcome hit of acidity.

Get the Smoky Chorizo Tacos recipe.

five ingredient crispy chorizo tacos on a platter with dipping sauce
mike garten

Air Fryer Salmon and Swiss Chard

Hate doing dishes? You can whip up every component of this healthy (satisfying!) dinner in the air fryer. Start by air-frying the onions, then add the chard. Next, cook the salmon fillets until the skin crisps up. Easiest. Dinner. Ever.

Get the Air Fryer Salmon and Swiss Chard recipe.

RELATED: 45 Healthy Air Fryer Recipes for Any Time of Day

salmon and swiss chard on two plates
mike garten

Shrimp and Sweet Corn "Grits"

You'll want to wait for summer to make this recipe. Peak-season corn blitzes up into a sweet, creamy canvas for juicy shrimp and crispy bacon.

Get the Shrimp and Sweet Corn "Grits" recipe.

RELATED: 30 Seriously Easy Shrimp Recipes

shrimp and sweet corn grits in bowl with fork
Mike Garten

Pork, Pineapple and Onion Skewers

A bottle of teriyaki sauce takes this simple grilled dinner to the next level.

Get the Pork, Pineapple and Onion Skewers recipe.

RELATED: 30 High-Protein Meals That Are Filling and Easy to Make

pork, pineapple and onion on skewers
mike garten

Waffle Nachos

Everyone will request breakfast for dinner on the regular — if it means getting to dig into a pile of nacho fixings.

Get the Waffle Nachos recipe.

waffle nachos on a sheet pan
Mike Garten

Spinach Artichoke Chicken

The key player in this impressive chicken dinner is a package of Garlic and Fine Herbs Boursin cheese. It melts into the most luxurious creamy sauce that pairs perfectly with chopped spinach and canned artichokes.

Get the Spinach Artichoke Chicken recipe.

spinach artichoke chicken on a white plate
mike garten

Seared Salmon with Charred Green Beans

Who said health and convenience are mutually exclusive? Not us! This low-calorie, five-ingredient fish dish proves otherwise.

Get the Seared Salmon with Charred Green Beans recipe.

RELATED: 50 Low-Calorie Meals That Seriously Pack in Flavor

seared salmon with charred green beans
mike garten

Pea Pesto Pappardelle

Chances are you have most (if not all) of these ingredients in your kitchen already anyways.

Get the Pea Pesto Pappardelle recipe.

pea pesto pappardelle
Danielle Occhiogrosso

Paprika Chicken with Crispy Chickpeas and Tomatoes

This sheet pan dinner is surprisingly filling, thanks to the addition of fiber-packed canned chickpeas.

Get the Paprika Chicken with Crispy Chickpeas and Tomatoes recipe.

RELATED: 30 Sheet Pan Dinners That Make Cleanup a Breeze

paprika chicken with crispy chickpeas and tomatoes on a sheet pan
mike garten

Grilled Leek, Zucchini, and Ricotta Pizza

With store-bought pizza dough, there are endless possibilities for five-ingredient dinners. You can opt for the basic mozzarella, marinara and pepperoni toppings. Or, get creative with different cheeses and grilled or roasted veggies.

Get the Grilled Leek, Zucchini, and Ricotta Pizza recipe.

grilled leek, zucchini, and ricotta pizza on a piece of parchment paper
Danielle Occhiogrosso Daly

Instant Pot Beef Curry

A multi-cooker transforms just a handful of ingredients into a hearty, comforting meal. Don't own one? We give the step-by-step for whipping this up on the stovetop, too.

Get the Instant Pot Beef Curry recipe.

RELATED: The Best Multi-Cookers to Buy, According to Experts

beef curry over white rice
Mike Garten

Seared Scallops with Escarole Salad and Pesto Vinaigrette

Keeping a container of pesto in the fridge is always a good idea. You can brush some onto shrimp skewers while grilling, stir a tablespoon into scrambled eggs, spread on sandwiches, or turn into a flavor-packed vinaigrette (as we do here).

Get the Seared Scallops with Escarole Salad and Pesto Vinaigrette recipe.

seared scallops with escarole salad and pesto vinaigrette
mike garten

Sheet Pan Chicken Fajitas

This may just be the easiest way to cook up a batch of sizzling fajitas (read: on a single sheet pan). While you can eat the roasted chicken and veggies on their own, tortillas and lime wedges take things up a notch.

Get the Sheet Pan Chicken Fajitas recipe.

chicken fajitas in a sheet pan
Danielle Daly

Creamy Corn Pasta

Ditch the tomatoes and puree cooked corn, instead. Along with cheese and starchy pasta water, it blends into a flavor-packed sauce worth tossing any noodle into.

Get the Creamy Corn Pasta recipe.

creamy corn pasta

Apricot Grilled Pork Tenderloin and Peppers

Just one or two ingredients can take a dish from meh to amazing. Don't believe us? Stir together apricot jam and white wine vinegar to slather all over grilled pork, then circle back.

Get the Apricot Grilled Pork Tenderloin and Peppers recipe.

apricot grilled pork tenderloin and peppers on a white plate
Danielle Occhiogrosso Daly

Sesame-Crusted Salmon with Miso-Roasted Radishes

Look for radishes with leaves still intact. The tops are perfectly edible and help to bulk up radishes as a side. If you're only finding radishes without 'em, you can substitute baby spinach.

Get the Sesame-Crusted Salmon with Miso-Roasted Radishes recipe.

sesame crusted salmon with roasted radishes on a white plate
mike garten

Tomato Soup with Parmesan Crostini

Making tomato soup from scratch is actually fairly simple: Roast tomatoes, then mix with water and puree until smooth. Serve bowls with broiled slices of baguette (topped with grated Parm) for a nod to the classic grilled cheese and tomato soup combo.

Get the Tomato Soup with Parmesan Crostini recipe.

tomato soup with parmesan crostini
mike garten

Linguine Carbonara

There are so many classic Italian pastas dishes that coincidentally only call for a few ingredients, like cacio e pepe and carbonara. One key element required for all: Starchy pasta water.

Get the Linguine Carbonara recipe.

linguine carbonara on a white plate
Danielle Occhiogrosso Daly

Skillet Pesto Chicken and Beans

Once again, pesto is proving itself to be a handy ingredient for anyone looking to downsize their grocery list. Here, it's brushed all over chicken thighs to instantly add flavor.

Get the Skillet Pesto Chicken and Beans recipe.

pesto chicken and beans in a stainless steal pan
Danielle Occhiogrosso Daly

Pea and Ricotta Omelets

This hearty egg dish features frozen peas in two ways some whole peas are used in the filling of the omelet while the rest are mashed and mixed into the ricotta-egg base.

Get the Pea and Ricotta Omelets recipe.

pea and ricotta omelet on a black plate
mike garten

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