I find it very refreshing to know that every family trying to figure out dinner struggles. From
meal planning to prepping to grocery shopping, it’s all kind of chaotic, and I find that the simpler, the better. (Especially if you have picky kids anyway.) Sticking to five-ingredient meals, from desserts to breakfast to dinner, means you can give yourself an easier grocery shopping list and less time stressing at 5 p.m. Five ingredients sounds so specific that it almost feels impossible to do, but there are a surprising amount of five-ingredient meals and recipes to try for the entire family.
And trust me, as a mom of three, I’ve struggled a lot with figuring out budget-friendly recipes. I get real tired real quick of casseroles featuring rice and canned soups, and can only have so many of those types of dinners before I’m ready to pull out a cookbook with extensive recipes that require a $100 grocery trip. But this list of five-ingredient meals is a good mixture of super easy kid-friendly recipes like pizza chicken casserole, but also has some fun favorites sprinkled in, like pumpkin cinnamon rolls and coconut curry.
So whether you need something for lunch, a quick dinner before soccer practice, or want to make a sweet treat that doesn’t require half the pantry, this list of five-ingredient meals is for you.
1 Coconut Curry
coconut curry featured on Yummly is, of course, only five ingredients, but it’s also incredibly filling thanks to the chickpeas and broccoli. This is an easy one to double up for leftovers or lunches if you want, and it’s super quick to pull together. 2 Teriyaki Chicken
This teriyaki chicken recipe featured on Yummly could not possibly be any easier. All you need are some pantry staples like soy sauce, brown sugar, garic, and ginger to make this flavorful sauce over chicken breasts. Throw a bag of frozen veggies in the microwave to steam and add some rice, and you’ve got a gourmet meal ready to go in no time.
3 Pizza Chicken Casserole
I mean, casseroles are usually pretty flavorful and full of cheese, but this
pizza chicken casserole featured on Yummly is like the ultimate comfort food. Tons of mozzarella cheese, cream cheese, and marinara sauce over chicken with garlic make for an epic dinner. 4 Instant Pot Carnitas
I love the idea of making these
five-ingredient Instant Pot carnitas for a week of lunches, but they’re obviously great for any time of the day. Using oranges and limes, this recipe is super budget-friendly and doesn’t skip out on any flavor. 5 Italian Sausage & Kale Baked Ziti
OK, to be fair, a lot of five-ingredient meals are going to require pasta so that they are nice and filling, but this
baked ziti recipe from Gimme Some Oven is especially good. With italian sausage and kale (and of course, lots of cheese), this five-ingredient recipe kind of breaks the mold and packs a lot of flavor. 6 Pizza Poppers
Another pizza recipe, but these
five-ingredient supreme pizza poppers featured on Yummly are literally so easy to put together, it’s hard to believe they’re also delicious. Rolling out crescent roll dough and adding in the toppings is really all you need to do — and you can feel free to customize them. But a note: on their own, these are really best as an appetizer or heavy snack, so maybe put together a salad or some veggies on the side to go with them. 7 Chicken Soup
Who doesn’t love a great
chicken soup recipe? This one from Yummly is full of protein thanks to the chicken breast and great northern beans, and you can really jazz it up with some toppings you already have in your fridge like avocado or sour cream. 8 Rolo Cookies
If you love an uncomplicated dessert, these five-ingredient Rolo cookies from Yummly are too perfect. Using a boxed cake mix and a couple of other pantry staples (plus Rolos), you and your family can make some delicious, easy cookies for a family movie night or just a sweet treat.
9 Chicken Parmesan Lasagna
OK, remember what I said about pasta? Here’s another five-ingredient pasta recipe that goes above and beyond noodles and sauce. The
five-ingredient chicken parmesan lasagna from Yummly can be made on the stove or in your slow cooker, so it even has the added benefit of being done at 5 p.m. thanks to just a little bit of work on your part in the morning. 10 Baked Tortellini Casserole
Yes, we’re still sharing pasta recipes, but stick with me. This five-ingredient baked tortellini casserole from Yummly is
so good. Using both spaghetti sauce and alfredo sauce, it’s hard to believe such a decadent dish is only five ingredients. Add in some sausage links and tortellini (and cheese, always) and this is a super filling meal everyone will love. 11 Crispy Potsticker Brie Bites
I love the idea of these
five-ingredient crispy potsticker brie bites from Cooking for Keeps for a heavy snack or a light dinner. They’re also super festive and look great for a holiday party, but delicious bites of brie are always in season, so feel free to make whenever. 12 Airfryer Zucchini Fries
Another heavy snack idea (or a great dinner side) is this recipe for
airfryer zucchini fries from A Pretty Life in the Suburbs. Zucchini are usually pretty cheap for produce, so it’s nice to think of this easy five-ingredient meal as an appetizer or for kids who love a crunch, but need some extra veggies. 13 No-Bake Peanut Butter Oat Squares
These no-bake peanut butter oat squares from Cookies and Cups are so easy and also so delicious and filling. Even better: they only have three ingredients. With peanut butter and oatmeal, these actually feel like a fairly good-for-you treat, and the honey is a great way to add some sweetness without going overboard.
14 Banana Pancakes
Who doesn’t love pancakes? These
banana pancakes from Cookie and Kate are easy, budget-friendly, and help you combat food waste by using super ripe bananas that might’ve been ignored by the family the rest of the week. 15 Chicken Guacamole Taquitos
Give me all the taquitos. If you’re having a relaxing family movie night or planning for a party, these
chicken guacamole taquitos from Gimme Some Oven are a great five-ingredient meal to pull together. You can even freeze these and save them for future lunches or dinners. 16 Lemon Chicken With Asparagus
Talk about a one-pan meal, this
lemon chicken with asparagus from Pinch of Yum is so flavorful and easy. Add some mashed potatoes on the side if you want, but I think this is a filling enough meal all on its own. 17 Skillet Gnocchi
OK, OK, let’s do another pasta dish! But this
five-ingredient skillet gnocchi from Two Peas and Their Pod is so lovely. Fair warning: there’s no meat in this one, but it’s still a great weeknight meal that you could pair with some chicken or sausage if you wanted. 18 Peanut Butter Cookies
Peanut butter is definitely a theme in easy, cheap desserts, and these
peanut butter cookies from Cookie Named Desire prove that. There are only three ingredients, and the recipe makes the chewiest, most delicious treats. 19 Sheet Pan Sausage & Potatoes
Sheet pan meals had a huge moment a few years ago and I think it’s time to bring them back, especially when the sheet pan only has five ingredients. This
sheet pan sausage and potatoes recipe from Averie Cooks is a great one to customize — make it spicy, add extra garlic, whatever you want — and can reheat beautifully for lunch the next day. 20 Pumpkin Cinnamon Rolls
Making a fancy breakfast, especially on the weekends, can take a lot of time and money and ingredients, but not this one. These
five-ingredient pumpkin cinnamon rolls from The Comfort of Cooking are so easy and will fill your entire house with the best smells. 21 Potato & Corn Chowder
I love a hearty soup! This
five-ingredient potato and corn chowder from The Modern Proper is so good and is full of so much stuff, honestly. Five ingredients is only five ingredients, but the way each of these ingredients works with the other makes for a super hearty and filling recipe. 22 Chili Cheese Dip
Whether you want a heavy appetizer or just a yummy side (maybe to go with those taquitos), try this
chili cheese dip from Willow Bird Baking. Added bonus: it really only requires two ingredients.
These five-ingredient meals are perfect if you’re looking for some budget-friendly recipes or if you just want to make meal time a little bit easier for you and your family.