A common barrier to cooking is seeing a mouthwatering recipe, only to click and discover it requires double-digit ingredients, two of which you’ve never heard of. It doesn’t have to be that way. Delicious, healthy dishes can be crafted from just three ingredients. Skeptical? Just check out this list and get cooking.

Note: Olive oil, salt, and pepper don’t count as any of the three ingredients since most people have those on hand all the time (along with beer, of course).


Vegan Pancakes
Photo: Sweet Simple Vegan

Nope, these flapjacks don’t call for boxed mix. Appropriate for Paleo and gluten-free eaters, free of added sugars, and spiked with nutty almond milk, this recipe will have you ditching premade varieties for good.

2. Peanut Butter Energy Bars
Photo: Minimalist Baker

Let the food processor do all the work to make these soft, chewy treats reminiscent of a peanut butter Larabar. Switch up the nut butter and dried fruit (or try fun ingredients like chocolate chips, crystalized ginger, or coconut) to ensure breakfast (or a snack) is never boring.

Sweet Potato Spinach Breakfast Hash
Photo: County Cleaver

Colorful and a good source of iron for energy and beta-carotene for eye health, this healthier version of hash calls for roasting the potatoes instead of frying them for a sweeter yet still crispy morning dish.

Banan Berry Smoothie
Photo: Aka Design

Making fancy smoothies sounds great and all, but let's face it: ain't nobody got time for that. This easy and classic recipe is perfect for a morning on the run or a lazy Saturday.

Cheddar Broccoli Egg Muffin
Photo: Fit Mama Real Food

Take everything that’s amazing about broccoli and cheddar soup and turn it into a morning meal you can eat with your hands. Genius.

almond butter granola bar
Photo: Diary of a Fit Mommy

One negative about most packaged granola bars: Those wholesome oats can be spiked with overly generous amounts of sugar. Take control with this recipe, adjusting the honey as necessary so it complements the almond butter perfectly.

baked eggs in avocado
Photo: White on Rice Couple

The idea of baking something already soft seems odd—until you eat it and realize how amazing warm, creamy avocado is. Especially when topped with an egg and bacon.

bacon and egg breakfast cups
Photo: Wonky Wonderful

This super-easy meal combines three of our favorites: eggs, bacon, and of course, bread. The blogger uses packaged rolls for the base, but if you're looking for a healthier swap, try using whole-grain bread or a whole-grain English muffin instead.

avocado smoothie
Photo: Omnivore's Cookbook

This drink gets nice and thick using avocado and banana. Use more or less milk to create your desired consistency, whether that’s drink-through-a-straw or eat-with-a-spoon.

flourless peanut butter muffins
Photo: My Whole Food Life

You won't be able to get enough of these chewy peanut butter muffins that pack in three easy ingredients: bananas, peanut butter, and dates. Try blending up the mix the night before so you can just pop 'em in the oven while you're getting ready in the morning.

vegan waffles
Photo: Luar and Wolffden

We usually think of waffles as part of a sit-down brunch, but this super-simple recipe is perfect for weekday mornings. You may even have these three ingredients (oats, plant-based milk, and vanilla extract) in your pantry already.

breakfast cookies
Photo: A Fit Philosophy

We’re never one to turn down cookies, but when you eat them in the morning, they'd better be healthy—and quick. Mash bananas and oats, sprinkle in some cinnamon (and any dried fruit you want), and bake. Then take one for the commute to work.


bbq-chicken stuffed sweet potatoes
Photo: The Comfort of Cooking

We kind of have a thing for sweet potatoes. And with 4 grams of fiber, more potassium than a banana, and only 103 calories per medium baked, who wouldn’t? Tangy BBQ sauce contrasts delightfully with the subtly sweet tater.

taco lime grilled chicken
Photo: Closet Cooking

This recipe is perfect for tacos, but you'll want to put this chicken on everything. Made with lime and taco seasoning, it's perfect to throw on top of a salad, on a wrap, or inside a DIY burrito bowl.

apricot glazed chicken
Photo: The Seasoned Mom

Jam isn't just for toast! This creative recipe uses apricot jam for a delicious marinade that you'll want to make over and over again. It may sound fancy, but this "apricot chicken" only takes five minutes to prep!

slow-cooker salsa chicken
Photo: Gimme Some Oven

You have two minutes prep work plus two minutes of shredding, while your slow cooker works for four to eight hours. We like that trade off! And since this really only requires two ingredients (chicken and salsa), you can wrap it up in a tortilla, put it atop quinoa, or serve with avocado (or anything else!) as the final ingredient.

easy roast chicken
Photo: Iowa Girl Eats

That’s right, a Sunday night dinner can be made from three ingredients (and two of them are salt and pepper!). If you have time, add some veggies to complete the meal.

grilled chicken skewers
Photo: Pinch of Yum

The secret recipe to this awesome grilled chicken? Soy sauce, honey, and smashed garlic. That's it! It tastes great on chicken, but it also tastes great glazed over salmon or shrimp.

marinated chicken
Photo: Get Sweet Smart

Simply combine Italian dressing and soy sauce to marinate this delicious chicken. Just check the ingredients of the dressing (it can pack in a lot of sugar!) or make your own for an even healthier version.

apple juice chicken
Photo: Oatmeal with a Fork

It may bring back memories of preschool snacks, but apple juice (we’re talking pure, unsweetened juice) is not solely for kiddos. It cooks down to a sweet, thick sauce similar to Chinese sauces—but is much healthier.


easy chili
Photo: I Heart Naptime

When comfort food cravings hit on cold winter days, cook up some ground beef and add a can of chili beans and chili-ready tomatoes. Then spoon up some warm-you-to-the-bone-and-soul food.

dried beef dip
Photo: My Baking Addiction

This awesome beef dip gotes great with veggies, toast, or tossed in a salad. Make a big batch so you can use the leftovers as a healthy snack.

Photo: Kitch me
Photo: Kitch me

Rubs are an excellent (and super-simple) way to infuse meat with loads of flavor. Here, garlic, thyme, and olive oil lend a classic, herby taste to your roast.

dijon-brown sugar steak
Photo: Iowa Girl Eats

Great for those meat and potatoes nights, this marinade balances savory and sweet, and works for any cut of steak.


peanut butter bacon and banana sandwich
Photo: Nancy's Cravings

A fancy-looking peanut butter and bacon panini?! Sign us up. This is a Snapchat-worthy recipe that only takes a few minutes to put together.

cajun dijon grilled pork tenderloin
Photo: Plain Chicken

Dijon mustard may taste great on sandwiches, but it's also a flavorful addition to any marinade. This recipe uses Dijon with orange juice and Cajun seasoning for a pork that has a unique citrusy kick.

gnocchi with chicken sausage and spinach
Photo: Family Food on the Table

Gnocchi might be hard to pronounce, but this recipe is easy to make. Just throw in some spinach and sausage for a quick and light Italian-inspired meal. Feel free to add lots of spices and chopped veggies if you have some more time.

pulled pork
Photo: Sweet Phi

Normally we don’t advocate soda, yet cooking with it in a slow cooker pretty much guarantees sweet meat that’s never dry—meaning there's less of a need to pour on extra sauce (and often sodium and sugar).

brussels sprouts with sausage
Photo: In the Kitchen with Kath

Three ingredients and one pot are all you need for this healthy, melty dinner. If you're feeling fancy, pick your favorite cheese and sprinkle it on top.


bacon wrapped buffalo shrimp
Photo: Cooking for Keeps

Hot sauce isn't just for chicken wings! These spicy shrimp have tons and a flavor, and they're wrapped in bacon. Can it get any better?!

tuna avocado salad
Photo: Live Lean Eat Green

While fresh food is always best, sometimes it's easier to turn to meals that come from a can. But we’re not talking high-sodium soup. Tuna, avocado, and lemon make for a quick and satisfying meal or snack.

seared ahi tuna steaks
Photo: Bowl of Delicious

Ahi tuna isn't just for fancy sushi restaurants. This easy recipe will make you feel like a chef, and, oh yeah, it only takes six minutes to cook! Just throw in some tuna steaks with soy sauce, olive oil, and spices, and you're all set.

salmon with pesto
Photo: Manila Spoon

This fish gets sweet and tender in the oven with a flavor boost from pesto and pecans. The blogger uses canned pesto, but if you have a little extra time, you can even make your own (we promise, it's easy!). Make a side of Brussels sprouts for a complete meal.

glazed salmon
Photo: Healthy Seasonal Recipes

In the Greatist kitchen, the only thing that runs out as fast as avocados is Sriracha. The signature sauce is good on everything, and it makes for an awesome glaze for this salmon recipe.

Vegetarian and Vegan

Bulgarian Shopska Salad
Photo: Wander Cooks

This dish may sound like something you haven't heard of before, but this recipe is simple: tomatoes, cucumber, and feta. It's a classic salad that's great on its own, tossed into some mixed greens, or on the side of grilled meat or seafood.

kale and avo salad
Photo: The Clean Dish

Kale salad doesn’t have to be complicated. Simply break down the fibrous leafy green with some avocado and lemon, and you have a delicious lunch that’s great to bring to work.

grilled peaches
Photo: Sunday Supper

This recipe takes three ingredients we love on their own (bread, peaches, and cheese) and combines them for ultimate flavor. Soft, sweet peaches; toasted bread; and gooey cheese can't be beat. Drooling yet?

cauliflower soup
Photo: Tori Avey

It makes sense: Cauliflower can stand in for creamy mashed potatoes and hide in super fudgy brownies, so of course the veggie turns into thick, puréed soup. And this recipe only takes 10 minutes to whip up.

easy tomato soup
Photo: Inspired Taste

OK, this isn’t really a recipe—it’s more of a formula for perfect tomato soup. But technically it’s three ingredients: onions, olive oil (which we consider a staple), and tomatoes (plus water)—all things likely to be in your cabinet. Pair with the grilled cheese above for easy, soul- and body-nourishing lunch or dinner.

Roasted Parmesan pesto potatoes
Photo: Two Peas and Their Pod

Potatoes are an awesome addition to any meal, but when you add in Parmesan and pesto, they become the star of the show. Eat this recipe as a snack, light meal, or on top of a green salad.

mac and cheese
Photo: Sweetest Kitchen

Mac and cheese doesn’t have to come from a box—but you already knew that, right? This recipe lets you take control, plus it takes no longer than the there’s-no-way-that’s-natural orange stuff. Simply cook whatever noodle you’re craving in your milk of choice and stir in your favorite shredded cheese. Then devour.

coconut lime quinoa
Photo: Simply Quinoa

Lime and coconuts aren't just for tropical drinks. This simple quinoa recipe is perfect for a quick dinner or a flavorful side dish. It also tastes great as the base of a burrito bowl.

black bean soup
Photo: Honey and Birch

Though the ingredient list is minimal, this soup is a nutritional knockout: Black beans are high in fiber, protein, iron, B6, and magnesium.


peanut butter cups
Photo: Eating Bird Food

How can three ingredients—sugar not included—taste like a Reese's cups? No idea, but after one bite, you won’t care.

oatmeal fruit crumble
Photo: The Kitchn

Baking doesn't require tons of steps. This recipe uses packaged oatmeal, butter, and fruit for a tasty single-serving dessert. Top with your favorite fruit or a dollop of Greek yogurt for a healthier swap on whipped cream.

flourless chocolate muffins
Photo: The Big Man's World

These Paleo muffins don't require any flour. Eggs, nut butter (the blogger chose homemade Nutella), and cocoa powder come together for a dessert that you'll want to have again and again and again.

salted banana peanut butter ice cream
Photo: A House in the Hills

If you haven’t tried to make gluten-free, dairy-free, no-sugar-added “ice cream” from frozen bananas yet, this will have you pulling out the blender or food processor. Top with the two-ingredient chocolate caramel sauce and crushed peanuts to fancy it up.

raw brownies
Photo: Vegu Kate

High in fiber and potassium, dates are a common binder (and natural sweetener) in vegan and raw desserts. Process them with antioxidant-rich cacao and heart-healthy walnuts for this no-bake number.

Photo: Yummy Supper
Photo: Yummy Supper

Free of flour (oh hey, gluten-free friends!), these cookies are dense, chewy, and only require stirring. And pressing down with a fork, if desired, to create the distinguishable lattice pattern on top.

strawberry banana popsicles

There’s no need to add sweetener when you make popsicles from whole, natural ingredients like frozen bananas, strawberries, and pineapple juice. Healthy, beautiful, and they taste just like summer.

two ingredient chocolate mousse
Photo: Oh, Lady Cakes

Easy, good-looking, and healthy is our kind of sweet. Simply combine melted high-quality dark chocolate and coconut-almond (or other) milk, pour into jars, and let chill in the fridge. The third ingredient for garnish is up to you.

Want More? Paleo Desserts That Only Use 3 Ingredients

Originally posted November 2014. Updated November 2016.

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