Meals should not be brief. We like to linger at the table, sneaking cold potatoes with our fingers and refilling our wine glasses and talking and talking and talking. But recipes? Those can be brief—and maybe they should be, letting the ingredients or the technique speak the loudest. Simple recipes like thick, buttery salad dressing that make a salad into a real side dish. Simple and delicious light biscuits easy enough to make any morning of the week. Super-creamy ice cream that’s no-churn to boot. For these 31 easy recipes with no more than 3 ingredients, the magic is in their simplicity. Peruse our 31 favorite 3-ingredient recipes (dashes of salt and pepper don’t count), and find a new addition to your minimal effort repertoire (a very important repertoire to have).
One bunch of super ripe bananas is all you need to make creamy, sweet “ice cream.” Add flecks of chocolate or a few spoonfuls of peanut butter to the mix to change up the flavor while still keeping it at under three ingredients.
Sweet, dark grapes like concords work best for this one-ingredient jam. The fruit cooks for hours, bringing out its natural sweetness and concentrating the flavor as it thickens.
Few things are simpler and more delicious than crispy cheese. Frico are made by baking grated cheese in little mounds so that salty and savory little crackers are formed. Use good-quality cheese, since it’s the only ingredient.
Use good chocolate with plenty of cocoa butter to make this beautifully caramelized sauce that’s so much better than plain white chocolate. Sandwich it between shortbread cookies, drizzle cupcakes, dip doughnuts, or use to top chocolate ice cream.
Use your favorite variety of apple to make crisp and naturally sweet apple chips. This recipe is a great way to use up a glut of fruit from apple picking.
A nifty science trick allows you melt chocolate into water, whisk it as it cools, and just like that you’ve made a creamy vegan mousse. The better the chocolate, the better the mousse—we recommend around 70 percent.
If you have trouble finding crème fraîche in your local grocery store or balk at the price tag, you can make your own at home with just two ingredients. Plan ahead since the mixture needs to sit about 24 hours until thick and creamy.
If you’re lucky enough to have your hands on some perfectly ripe summertime tomatoes, don’t bury them in a sandwich or pasta. Slice them just so and drizzle with browned butter straight from the pan before devouring.
Pour this melty chocolate and coconut oil mixture over ice cream and watch it form a crispy, cracky shell right before your eyes (like… magic!). It’s as simple as melting the ingredients in the microwave, and leftovers can be reheated again for later use.
Melted white chocolate and crushed Oreos form a crunchy, creamy bark that kids and adults will love. Make a big batch and store excess in the fridge for an anytime treat.
Avocado and lemon juice are blended with a little water to make a creamy, healthy dressing that you can drizzle on salads, grain bowls, or vegetable side dishes. Customize the recipe by adding spices like cumin or fresh herbs.
For when you need biscuits right now, mix up this two-ingredient recipe and enjoy the warm, fluffy results in mere minutes. Self-rising flour already has the leavening agent built in, so all you have to do is add heavy cream.
Sweet, crunchy, nutty, and chewy—with just two ingredients, almond brittle is more than the sum of its parts. Watch carefully when making the caramel, and don’t stir it once melted, or risk ending up with a crystalized mess.
While deep frying can lead to some fussy moments in the kitchen, these little artichokes are simply trimmed, added to the hot oil, and cooked without the need for batter. Starting at a lower temperature and then cranking up the heat yields crispy leaves and tender interiors.
The techniques used in this recipe is key to perfectly smooth polenta. You can swap some of the water for stock or milk or even add cream, but there’s no need. Serve as a base for saucy stewed meat or bolognese.
These fries are steamed first before being tossed with a little oil and finished in a high-heat oven, making them tender inside and crisp on the outside. Season to taste with salt and serve with plenty of ketchup.
Roasting red peppers intensifies their flavor while mellowing out their bite. They’re a cinch to make and can be tossed in salads, added to sandwiches, blended into soups, or used to make sauces and dips.
Tangy, creamy buttermilk is the ideal counterpoint to sweet, juicy peaches in this no-fuss sherbet. No ice cream maker needed—simply combine the sugar and buttermilk and add to a food processor along with frozen peaches.
Ultra thin and crispy, these homemade crackers will make your next appetizer spread or snack time extra special. Roll them out super thin and then enjoy watching them puff and brown through the oven door.
You only need a few ingredients to make torrone, and no special equipment is required—just plenty of patience. The key is to cook it slowly over a bain marie while stirring until it achieves that perfect nougat texture.
Home gardeners know that peak summertime means you’re often swimming in squash and zucchini. Turn the vegetable into a buttery spread (without any actual butter) that you can spread on toast, pizza, or sandwiches.
Making your own frozen yogurt is as simple as whisking together plain yogurt, sugar, and salt and churning the mixture in an ice cream maker. Pretend you’re at the froyo shop and load it up with toppings.
Walnuts, eggs, and sugar are all it takes to make this moist, nutty cake. Line your pan with parchment or use a springform pan and let the cake cool completely before removing for the best results.
For Molly Yeh’s salty-sweet take on shortbread, use pretzel flour (pretzels ground up into a fine, flour-like powder). To make uniform, perfectly sized bites, press the mixture into a mini muffin tin.
Swap out boring old butter with whipped marrow for a burst of beefy, fatty flavor on toast, pasta, roasted veggies, or steak. Have the butcher canoe the bones for you for easy access to the marrow.
Swap the store-bought stuff for fruit leather made with just fresh fruit, honey, and lemon. You can swap out the raspberries for other fruit like peaches and blueberries.
Have you ever eaten a truffle and thought “I wish I could eat an entire slice of this?” Then make this rich torte that has the texture and flavor you’re looking for but on a (thankfully) larger scale.
Cooked over a hot grill with a hint of rosemary, arrosticini are delightful served as an appetizer or as part of a dinnertime spread. Add a pinch or two of chili flakes for a little heat.
Made with fresh tomatoes, butter, and onion, this recipe is an internet favorite for good reason. Use the best tomatoes you can get, whether they are fresh or canned, like whole San Marzano tomatoes.
This cheery pink vegan pudding has a delicate, summery flavor that’s refreshing on a hot day. Use a ripe, sweet, juicy watermelon for the best tasting dessert.
Whip up these gluten-free crackle cookies when you need a last-minute sweet. You can bake them in muffin tins to keep them perfectly round or let them go more freeform on a baking sheet.
Have you found any magic 3-ingredients-or-fewer recipes? Let us know in the comments!