If you've made it to adulthood without ever getting comfortable in the kitchen, you might think that it's too late for you to learn how to become a great cook. But as someone who only started cooking very recently, I'm here to tell you that's definitely not the case. There are so many foolproof recipes even the worst cooks can't mess up, and if you start with the right ones, your culinary skills will multiply in no time.
Though it might be tempting to begin with something fancy and impressive when you're whipping up a home-cooked meal, starting with super easy recipes is a better idea. It'll help you master basic concepts like chopping and steaming veggies, browning meat, and seasoning to taste. Once you've got the essentials down, you can build toward more and more complicated meals — but honestly, sometimes simple meals are so delicious that you'll fall back on your favorites time and time again.
There's no special equipment needed for any of the recipes on this list, so if you haven't got an Instant Pot or a slow cooker, no worries. Many of them also call for basic ingredients that may already be hiding in your pantry. Making these 10 recipes doesn't take a ton of time or special skill, but they'll taste like you spent hours perfecting them.
1. Cheesy Spaghetti
If you don't have a lot of experience cooking, pasta dishes are a great place to start. Almost anything can be delicious when it's slathered in cheese, am I right? This million dollar spaghetti recipe from Tastes Better From Scratch is easy to throw together, and has lots of rave reviews from people who've tried it out.
2. Marinated Salmon
This baked salmon recipe from Eating Richly calls for just five ingredients and six steps. It includes helpful tips on cooking temperature and how to prepare your cut of fish. It's so easy that the author says it may actually be a good option for letting kids try their hand at helping in the kitchen.
3. Spanish Rice
Spanish rice is a quick, easy, filling and cheap side dish — what more could you ask for? This recipe from Five Heart Home walks you through seasoning it just right, with ingredients that you probably already have on hand.
4. Shrimp Bake
It really doesn't get much easier than sheet pan dinners. This sheet pan shrimp boil with corn and sausage from No. 2 Pencil is a perfect summer dinner, and all you really have to do is toss all your ingredients in oil and seasoning and pop them in the oven.
5. Veggie Quesadilla
This veggie quesadilla recipe from A Couple Cooks is packed with veggies. It's an ideal meal for when you need dinner on the table fast — it comes together in less than 15 minutes, and much of that is simply waiting for your sweet potato to cook in the microwave.
6. Chicken Parmesan Casserole
If you find yourself relying on store-bought rotisserie chicken for dinner, this chicken parmesan casserole from Thriving Home helps you put an even yummier spin on it. Simply shred the chicken and top with lots of cheese and the other ingredients, and you'll have a hot meal in less than a half hour.
7. Beef Stir Fry
You'll need just two ingredients to season the beef for this stir fry recipe from The Girl on Bloor. You can use pretty much any combination of veggies you have on hand to round it out, including frozen.
8. Roast Chicken
Classic roast chicken may seem intimidating if you haven't tried to make one before, but it's so much easier than you think. You only need five ingredients to season it in this recipe from The Country Cook. Reviewers who've tried it say it's super easy and comes out tender and juice.
You don't need to figure out how to fire up the barbecue to make delicious ribs. The trick in this recipe from Butter Your Biscuit is to keep your oven temperature low and cook the ribs for longer.
10. Garlic Potatoes
If you're making the roast chicken or the ribs above, these easy garlic potatoes from Damn Delicious are a great side dish. Chopping up the potatoes is probably the hardest part of the recipe, and that's not hard at all.