Most families are all too familiar with the dreaded suppertime dance: combing through the pantry and refrigerator, hoping the ingredients for a quick, simple and nutritious meal will magically appear. I know — I’ve been there.
That’s why I constantly come back to these easy dinner recipes. Because each one requires just five ingredients (not including staples like salt, pepper and oil), these 27 natural recipes are perfect for those nights you need something delicious with ingredients you’re likely to have in the kitchen. You’ll never have a night when there’s nothing ready for dinner again!
27 Five-Ingredient Easy Dinner Recipes
1. Almond-Crusted Salmon
Get a healthy dose of protein, fiber and vitamin E benefits thanks to the nutritious almonds in this easy seafood recipe. Served on a bed of spinachor your other favorite leafy greens, you’ll have dinner on the table in no time.
Pro tip: Buy pre-chopped almonds to shave off even more prep time.
Photo: Almond-Crusted Salmon / Dr. Axe
Craving comfort food? This broccoli cheese soup hits the spot. Throw it in a stockpot, let it simmer for 15 minutes, and it’s ready to serve. The nutrition in broccoli is legendary, as it’s loaded with cancer-fighting antioxidants, fiber, and numerous vitamins and minerals.
Also, if you have extra ingredients on hand, including cooked chicken adds extra protein while sneaking a few extra veggies, like carrots or diced potatoes, and ups the nutritional content even more.
3. Cacio e Pepe with English Peas
You don’t have to hop on a plane to get a taste of Italy when you whip up this spaghetti. Reserved pasta water is the secret ingredient in this dish: You’ll use it to create a “creamy” cheese sauce and a pea puree. Be sure to use fresh peas and cheese — they’ll make a huge difference in taste.
Photo: Cacio e Pepe with English Peas / Katie at the Kitchen Door
This cauliflower soup is totally gluten- and vegan-free, making it an excellent main dish for eaters with restrictions. Caramelized onions pack in the flavor, while fresh rosemary adds the final (delicious) touch.
This is one of those easy dinner recipes that takes just minutes to prep, gets popped in the oven and forgotten about until the timer goes off. Coating breasts (or thighs) in ranch dressing keeps the chicken moist while it bakes in the oven. Top with your favorite cheese and turn the oven on “broil” for the last few minutes of cooking for a crisp topping. Serve with a side salad for a quick meal.
Pro tip: If you’ve got extra time, make your own clean, homemade ranch dressing. I like this one, which uses Greek yogurt and seasonings for a preservative-free topping.
6. Chicken in Creamy Green Onion Sauce
Less is definitely more when it comes to this chicken. Simmer chicken breasts in butter or ghee, and add chopped green onion, salt and sour cream. That’s it; you’re done! Keeping the chicken on low-medium heat ensures it cooks without drying out. The pan juices plus sour cream make a creamy sauce — you’ll have a hard time not licking the spoon! For a thinner sauce, just remove some of the pan juices before adding the sour cream.
Photo: Chicken in Creamy Green Onion Sauce / Low-Carb, So Simple!
7. Chicken Crockpot Curry
Prepare this simple curry before heading out for the day and have dinner waiting when you return. After all, the crockpot is tailor-made for easy dinner recipes! Chicken, coconut milk, curry powder and onion get dumped in the crockpot and cook on low for eight hours. You don’t even need to dice the chicken before adding — the slow cooking makes it super easy to shred at the end!
Pro tip: Add extra coconut milk and some of your favorite vegetables and eliminate the need to make a side! Some good ones would be potatoes, carrots, celery or cauliflower.
8. Chicken Tinga Tacos
This recipe does double-duty. Not only does it leave make chicken tinga, hot and smoky shredded chicken that’s perfect to use in tacos, burritos, wraps or any other recipe that calls for cooked chicken, but because it requires a whole chicken, you can make chicken stock from it as well. While it takes a bit of time to cook, most of it is hands-off. This chicken will take your favorite Tex-Mex recipes to the next level!
Photo: Chicken Tinga Tacos / Alexandra’s Kitchen
9. Chipotle BBQ Chicken Skewers
A little sweet, a little spicy, these chicken skewers are an easy dinner recipe you can make right on the grill (or in the oven). Use beef bacon and your favorite barbecue sauce in this one — I’m partial to my Sweet and Tangy Barbecue Sauce. Throw vegetables like nutritious asparagus, peppers and onions on the grill alongside the chicken, and you’ll have a full meal in no time.
Photo: Chipotle BBQ Chicken Skewers / A Spicy Perspective
10. Crispy Kale and Smoked Gouda Scrambled Egg Tacos
These scrambled egg tacos look so fancy, no one will know they took just 15 minutes to prepare. With scrambled eggs, crispy kale and cheesy Gouda goodness, what’s not to love? Wrap these in your favorite tortilla or pita bread. These are great as is, but if you’re feeling ambitious, add in onions and tomatoes for extra color and taste.
Photo: Crispy Kale and Smoked Gouda Scrambled Egg Tacos/ Baker by Nature
11. Italian Sausage and Kale Baked Ziti
Put a new twist on your regular ziti recipe with this sausage and kale version. Using an Italian variety lends lots of heat and flavor; turkey or chicken varieties will both work. With lots of garlic, fresh kale, stringy mozzarella and your favorite pasta, this is one of those easy dinner recipes you’ll love quickly assembling and everyone will enjoy eating!
Photo: Italian Sausage and Kale Baked Ziti / Gimme Some Oven
12. Lemon Chicken with Asparagus
Lemons, chicken, asparagus and a honey drizzle cooked in one pan. Enough said. Serve this restaurant-worthy dish with quinoa, veggies or just on its own. It’s that good.
Photo: Lemon Chicken With Asparagus / Pinch of Yum
13. Lemon Garlic Dump Chicken
Don’t let the word “dump” fool you: it just refers to how simply this easy dinner recipe comes together! Dump your ingredients — chicken breasts, minced garlic, olive oil, parsley and lemon juice — into a resealable bag. At this point, you can marinate the chicken for a few hours or make several batches and freeze some to have on hand for those crazy busy times!
To prepare, baking, grilling or cooking in a crockpot work equally well. It doesn’t get easier than this!
14. Parmesan Pecan Chicken Tenders
Serve these upscale chicken tenders as an alternative to nuggets for the kiddos — or, let’s be honest, when you have your own crispy chicken craving! A homemade pecan parmesan breading provides a crisp exterior while smoky paprika adds grown-up flavor. Cook in coconut oil instead of olive oil and serve with your favorite dipping sauce or my Homemade Ketchup Recipe.
15. Pesto Pasta Salad
Upgrade your usual pasta salad with this pesto version, perfect for a light dinner on summer nights. Using your favorite pasta as a base, add roasted red peppers, pesto, mozzarella cheese and arugula (or another leafy green favorite) for some bite. This dish will be a hit at your next cookout.
Pro tip: Subtly change the salad’s flavors by trying different types of pesto. Try this basil tomato pesto or my Cilantro Pesto recipes both taste delicious in this one.
Photo: Pesto Pasta Salad / Gimme Some Oven
16. Portobello Mushroom Pizzas
Satisfy everyone’s different pizza preferences by letting each family member make his or her own mushroom pizza! Portobello caps serve as your crust, lending mushroom nutrition benefits to this Friday night staple. Add your favorite toppings and pop in the oven for 15 minutes. There’s no need for greasy delivery pizza again!
Photo: Portobello Mushroom Pizzas / Morning Sunshine Kitchen
17. Quick Cilantro Lime Chicken
This zesty pan-fried chicken comes together quickly for an easily adaptable dinner recipe: use it in salads with benefit-packed avocado and a side of Mexican rice, as a filling for tacos, or in a fajita wrap. Scale back on the amount of limes if you’re not a huge citrus fan; two to three should be plenty.
18. Raw Walnut Tacos
Tacos are defined as easy dinner recipes and this one is vegan-friendly! Ground walnuts are used in place of ground beef and wrapped in lettuce for a fast, waist-friendly dinner the entire family will enjoy.
Photo: Raw Walnut Tacos / Dr. Axe
19. Roasted Garlic and Lemon Rigatoni with Brown Butter and Gruyere
This is one of those easy dinner recipes that feels decadent but is made with fresh, pronounceable ingredients. The small details matter here: roasting garlic while the rest of the dish cooks adds an unbelievable amount of flavor, while browning the butter gives it a rich, nutty taste. Use fresh lemon juice for this five-star easy dinner recipe.
Photo: Roasted Garlic and Lemon Rigatoni With Brown Butter and Gruyere / Baker by Nature
20. Roasted Harissa Chicken Breasts
If you’ve never tried harissa, get ready to be pleasantly surprised. The Mediterranean diet condiment is spicy, packed with flavor and keeps this baked chicken super moist. Don’t fret if you can’t find it at your local store, though; sriracha or hot sauce will work, too.
Brush your condiment of choice on the chicken breasts, top with sesame seeds and bake. While the chicken cooks, prepare your side and presto! Dinner will on the table in under half an hour.
Photo: Roasted Harissa Chicken Breasts / Eatwell 101
21. Skinny Pineapple Salsa Chicken
Sweet and spicy chicken is a breeze with this easy dinner recipe. Cook chicken with your favorite spicy salsa in the crockpot for 6–8 hours. Add in the health benefits of pineapple and zucchini during the last hour and enjoy — it’s that simple.
22. Spinach Parmesan Pasta
How can a handful of fresh, “boring” ingredients taste so good? You’ll wonder that after making this spinach Parmesan pasta. Suitable for vegetarians (vegans, substitute ghee for the butter), this combination of baby spinach, freshly cracked salt and pepper, garlic and grated Parmesan cheese (not the canned stuff!) is perfect for hectic nights when you still want to sit down for a good meal.
Pro tip: Watching your gluten intake? Make this with spaghetti squash instead of angelhair pasta.
Photo: Spinach Parmesan Pasta / Two Peas and Their Pod
23. Steak Rolls
Look away, vegetarians … this one’s strictly for the carnivores. Get your steak and veggies all in one with these ingenious little rolls. Wrap marinated grass-fed flank steak around nutrition-loaded onions, green beans and peppers (or whatever vegetables are on hand — eggplant and asparagus would be tasty, too) and secure with toothpicks. Brown in a pan and then finish off in the oven. I love these with a side of my Mashed Faux-Tatoes.
Photo: Steak Rolls / Maebells
24. Sticky Sesame Chicken
It’s a Chinese takeout fakeout with these sticky sesame chicken thighs. Simmer the homemade sauce in a saucepan (sub coconut sugar for brown) until thickened, then drizzle over chicken. Bake in a parchment-lined pan for easy cleanup and return to it in half an hour. Sprinkle with sesame seeds and serve.
I love this with steamed broccoli or quinoa. If you like things saucy, make extra sauce to pour on afterward!
25. Sticky Stovetop Balsamic Drumsticks
Restaurant-quality chicken made entirely on the stove with only five ingredients? Check. Balsamic vinegar adds a unique taste to a traditionally Asian-style dish. Dinner’s on the table in 30 minutes with this easy recipe.
Photo: Sticky Stovetop Balsamic Drumsticks / RecipeTin Eats
26. Turkey Burger on Greens
Skip the bun and enjoy this turkey burger right on a bed sautéed vegetables with this super-simple recipe. While I love red peppers, zucchinis and green onions in this one, use what you’ve got — either way, you’ll have a healthy, protein-packed burger and a lot of satisfied stomachs.
Photo: Turkey Burger on Greens / Dr. Axe
27. Tuscan Baked Fish Filets
This saucy fish starts off on the stove and gets finished off in the oven for a one-dish meal that’s bursting with flavor. With an Italian-style sauce, this is a fish dish that doesn’t taste or smell too “fishy,” making it a good bet for picky eaters. Note: please choose cod — tilapia is not your friend!