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The 35 Best Cooking for One Recipes

The 35 Best Cooking for One Recipes

The 35 best cooking for one recipes are helpful to reduce food waste, and enjoy cooking for one. In this list of 35 recipes, you’ll find easy one pot recipes, pantry recipes, vegetarian meals, and 15 minute dinners.

four dishes of food in a collage

[This recipe was originally posted in November 2021. It has been updated with more of the best cooking for one recipes, cooking instructions, expert tips, FAQ]

Cooking for one can be a big challenge, we’ve been taught to cook for a family, see recipes with 4-6+ servings, and don’t often think of cooking for one as being different than cooking for 4+. But it is, it needs to be.

There aren’t that many of us who actually look forward to eating the same dish 4+ days in a row. If this is you, not loving ALL THE LEFTOVERS, this list of the 35 best cooking for one recipes is for you.

Well, that + one or a few recipes with 4 servings, because leftovers are great too. It’s about balancing single serving recipes with leftovers. See tips below for more help to cook for one.

Make Cooking for One Easier

Here are a few articles and resources with tips to make cooking for yourself easy and more enjoyable.

One Pot Dinners

Some of the best cooking for one recipes can be made in just one pot or pan. Easy recipes can also be very tasty, as you can see with these easy recipes.

Creamy Mushroom Chicken with Rice

This comforting, cheesy, creamy mushroom chicken with rice is the perfect fall recipe. It’s done in about 25 minutes in just one pot, so you can have a delicious dinner in no time and with just a bit of clean-up.

Check out this recipe

mushrooms and chicken over rice on a white and grey plate

Creamy mushrooms and chicken are the ultimate comfort food. Serve this chicken dish over rice for an easy dinner.

One Pot Chicken Parmesan Pasta

Make this 20 minute, pantry ingredient, one pot chicken parmesan pasta with crispy breadcrumbs instead of traditional crispy, cheesy chicken parmesan without the extra time, steps, and mess.

Check out this recipe

square photo of spiral pasta with tomatoes on a black plate with a fork

This is one of my absolute favorite recipes, it’s ready in about 20 minutes, and is easy because you pan fry breadcrumbs on their own instead of bread the chicken. This saves you effort but keeps all the delicious flavor.

Cajun Foil Packets

Whether you’re camping or need a really easy dinner that requires zero clean-up, these super simple cajun foil packets are perfect. They’re filled with shrimp, potatoes, corn and other seasonal veggies.

Check out this recipe

corn, zucchini, potatoes, and sausage in a bowl

This cajun foil packet is a great oven dinner or camping dinner. By adding all ingredients to a packet of tin foil, it’s the easiest clean up and you can make more than one packet! This is such a great cooking for one recipe.

Delicata Squash Soup

Switch up your fall soup game with this easy 30 minute delicata squash soup. It’s vegetarian (vegan if you want!), hearty, and bursting with flavor. Serve it with a grilled cheese for a delicious cool weather dinner for one.

Check out this recipe

close up of delicata squash soup in a white bowl with grilled cheese

White beans, delicata squash, and more seasonal vegetables make this soup very comforting and tasty. It’s especially great served with a grilled cheese.

Chili without Tomatoes

This easy chili without tomatoes is perfect if you don’t have or don’t like diced tomatoes in your chili. In about 30 minutes you’ve got a hearty chili full of ground beef, beans, onion, green bell pepper, and warm comforting spices.

Check out this recipe

chili with toppings and slices of bread on side

Chili is such a delicious and comforting meal, but it can take lots of time and effort. This chili without tomatoes is so easy, flavorful, and ready in 30 minutes. Add tomatoes to this if you like them, but you don’t have to!

Vegetarian Chili

This easy vegetarian chili recipe will be a favorite of both meat eaters and vegetarians alike. It’s made with convenient canned beans and can be ready in under 30 minutes. Hearty and incredibly delicious!

Check out this recipe

Vegetarian chili in a red bowl with cheese and avocado on top

A good vegetarian chili leaves you not missing the meat at all, this is one of those recipes. It’s a great one from One Dish Kitchen.

Sheet Pan Maple Mustard Salmon

One pan meals are the best during this busy time of the year. In just 20 minutes, you’ll have maple mustard salmon- tender, flaky salmon and crispy shaved brussels sprouts. See, quick meals for yourself don’t have to be sad.

Check out this recipe

maple mustard salmon and brussels sprouts with a lemon wedge on a white plate

This maple mustard salmon is one of my favorite recipes. It’s made on one sheet pan, with vegetables, and is so easy. 20 minutes for dinner.

One Pot Chicken Bacon and Mushroom Pasta

Combine the best salty, earthy, and meaty flavors in this 20 minute creamy one pot chicken bacon and mushroom pasta. Quickly cook your pasta while preparing your mushrooms then add it back after cooking the meat and mushrooms for a super easy one pot dinner for one.

Check out this recipe

close up of pasta with mushrooms, bacon, and chicken with a fork in it

This recipe is awesome you can cook the pasta with everything instead of cooking it in a separate pot of water. Easy! It’s the ultimate delicious one pot dish.

Pork Stir Fry Recipe

Make a one pot simple stir fry with tender pork in. This pork, savory sauce, and rice are ready to eat in about 30 minutes.

Check out this recipe

pork and vegetables with cilantro over rice in bowl

If you want to include vegetables, nearly any vegetable would be great added to this simple pork stir fry recipe from One Dish Kitchen. It’s done in 30 minutes, so you can get back to whatever else you need to do!

Pantry Dinners

I live for pantry dinners. Having a well stocked pantry is essential to make a tasty dinner on days when you didn’t plan a recipe ahead of time. These Quick Pantry Dinners for One are great to get started.

Pantry recipes are essential great cooking for one recipes.

Pesto Pasta for One

Make this pesto pasta for one in just 10 minutes with pre-made pesto sauce, like this Arugula Basil Pesto or Pistachio Pesto. It’s a quick dinner you can throw together on days you didn’t plan ahead and want something equally easy and delicious.

Check out this recipe

pesto pasta with parmesan cheese on top

I like to make pesto with starting to wilt greens, then freeze it for later. This easy pesto pasta uses homemade or store bought pesto for a flavorful, easy dinner. I like to use arugula or spinach, and basil to make my pesto.

Black Bean Pasta

Shop your pantry to make this quick black bean pasta. In just 15 minutes, you can chop up some veggies, throw in canned black beans, tomatoes and other ingredients from your pantry to make a delicious dinner.

Check out this recipe

square image of black bean pasta with cheese in a bowl

Canned foods and random vegetables come together in this easy black bean pasta dish. It’s easy, and a great way to throw together a tasty pasta in just 15 minutes.

Easy White Bean and Farro Bowl

Clean out your fridge and pantry with this easy white bean and farro bowl. It’s packed with satisfying ingredients and subtle flavor.

Check out this recipe

white bean and farro bowl with carrots and leeks in a bowl, with ingredients on table

Swap the leeks for whatever vegetables you have on hand, although, when cooked in butter these leeks are SO GOOD! It’s a simple recipe with delicate flavors, but is satisfying and so tasty.

Easy Baked Salmon in a Bag

This easy baked salmon in a bag recipe is bursting with flavor and moisture, you wouldn’t believe how easy it is, or that it’s done in less than 25 minutes. It’s cooked in parchment paper to maintain moisture without any effort or clean up.

Check out this recipe

salmon with broccoli and lemon slices in parchment paper

Have you cooked salmon in parchment paper before? If not, try it! It’s a wonderful French method to lock in moisture. It’s one of my favorite cooking methods for frozen fish (which I use so much!)

Chicken Pecan Salad with Apples

This chicken pecan salad, just like other chicken salad recipes are fantastic throw together lunch or dinner. Use precooked chicken, crisp green apple, pecans, and a Greek yogurt/mayonnaise dressing for a tangy salad.

Check out this recipe

open faced chicken salad sandwich with sides on plate

Chicken salad is such an easy and flavorful recipe for one, plus the crunchy apples and pecans are so good! Using precooked chicken saves you time and effort. This salad is fantastic for a throw together lunch or dinner.

Canned Tomato Pasta

Make this easy canned tomato pasta with pantry ingredients. It comes together in just 15 minutes and doesn’t taste like you threw it together. Freshly cooked pasta, a can of tomatoes, Italian seasoning, basil, and Italian sausage are delicious in this meal.

Check out this recipe

simple pasta in a white bowl with sausage on top and ingredients behind

Don’t have any premade pasta sauce? Throw together this canned tomato pasta with a can of tomatoes, seasonings, and pasta. It’s ready in about 15 minutes and is very flavorful, making it a great cooking for one recipe.

Microwave Egg in a Cup

Easy microwave egg in a cup (or mug or bowl) is a super quick breakfast. Cook 1.5-2 minutes for fluffy souffle-like eggs. Add whatever toppings you like for a quick tasty breakfast in less than 10 minutes from start to finish.

Check out this recipe

close up of cooked eggs with spinach, tomatoes

These easy microwave eggs in a cup is a great component to a throw together meal. Enjoy them with toast in the morning or for dinner. Either way you’re bound to love them.

Dinner in 15 Minutes

These assembly style dinner recipes are great for very quick weeknight meals. No need to sacrifice on flavor when you’re tight on time. That’s what makes these 15 minute and under recipes some of the best cooking for one recipes.

Refried Bean Tacos

These refried bean tacos are hands down the easiest and most delicious 10 minute dinner. All you need to do is scour your fridge and pantry for a few essentials like refried beans, taco seasoning, veggies, cheese and salsa.

Check out this recipe

two tacos with red cabbage and cilantro on a plate

Grab a can of refried beans (or smash black beans or pinto beans so they don’t roll off your tortilla), some vegetables in your fridge, and cheese. Load up tortillas and squeeze lime and serve with your favorite salsa.

BLT Bagel

Need to use up cream cheese and bagels? This super easy BLT bagel is bursting with flavor and texture. It’s the perfect sandwich any time of the day.

Check out this recipe

close up of a blt on an everything bagel

Do you love bagel sandwiches as much as I do? They’re so good and easy. Level up a traditional BLT by serving it in an everything bagel, or whatever your favorite savory bagel is, it’ll still be great. And quick.

Air Fryer Frozen Salmon for One

This air fryer frozen salmon recipe is an easy 15 minute recipe for days you didn’t plan dinner. Add frozen vegetables and fries to the basket and make a whole dinner for one in your air fryer.

Check out this recipe

plate full of salmon, roasted broccoli, fries, bbq sauce

Remembering to defrost meat is hard, but it’s even harder when you are throwing together something without planning ahead of time. This easy easy air fryer salmon doesn’t require defrosting, and it’s still quick!

Chicken Bacon Ranch Sandwich

Make this easy chicken bacon ranch sandwich with leftover chicken (or freshly cooked) in about 15 minutes. Tender chicken, crispy and salty bacon, herby ranch, and gooey cheese make for the perfect filling in this sandwich.

Check out this recipe

chicken sandwich slices, stacked

This is one of my favorite ways to enjoy leftover chicken. Some seasoning is fine. Fresh vegetables, bacon, and ranch add lots of flavor to simple chicken. It’s such a delicious recipe for cooking for one to look forward to.

Trader Joes Sweet Potato Gnocchi and Sausage for One

Buy a bag of Trader Joe’s sweet potato gnocchi and make an easy one pan dinner for one in about 10 minutes. Add sausage and vegetables for a full meal. I’ll also share other Trader Joe’s products to eat leftovers with.

Check out this recipe

cut piece of sweet potato gnocchi on fork with food behind it

This easy sweet potato gnocchi and sausage recipe is so flavorful and easy. Cook it all together in about 10 minutes. You could cook in an air fryer or oven, but the stove is my favorite way for ease and texture.

Apple Omelette with Sharp Cheddar Cheese

Jump into New England fall with this delicious apple omelette with sharp cheddar cheese for a protein punch.

Check out this recipe

apple omelette on a plate

This simple apple omelet recipe is based on one super delicious omelet I had in New York City. I wouldn’t have thought apples, sharp cheese, and eggs would be so great together, but they are!

Chicken Cranberry Walnut Salad

This 15 minute chicken cranberry walnut salad is the perfect easy lunch. It’s got tender chicken, sweet chewy dried cranberries, and crunchy walnuts dressed in a mayo/yogurt dressing that’s wonderfully sweet and tangy. Make this chicken salad even quicker by using precooked chicken, it takes 5-7 minutes to assemble. Serve it over greens, in a sliced croissant, in a sandwich or a wrap for lots of options.

Check out this recipe

chicken salad over greens with crasins on top

Chicken salads are some of the best cooking for one recipes, add some dried cranberries and walnuts to make this chicken salad different than all the other ones. It’s a great winter recipe served on bread, salad, or in a wrap.

Chapati Roll with Summer Vegetables

This chapati roll, or rolex as it’s called in Uganda is the perfect super easy lunch or dinner recipe. All you need is an uncooked tortilla, eggs, cheese, and your fave seasonal vegetables.

Check out this recipe

slices of eggs rolled in tortilla

This hand held egg roll is a great breakfast, lunch, or dinner. It’s based on a delicious rolex that I enjoyed in Uganda. I like to use uncooked tortillas to get a more chapati feeling wrap than just tortillas. Use what you have though.

Light Pasta Carbonara

This healthy carbonara pasta is just as good as the best versions you’ve had, it just has less added fat without skimping on flavor or creaminess. Not only is this carbonara recipe healthy and delicious, it can be made in just about 15 minutes.

Check out this recipe

pasta with peas, prosciutto, and a poached egg in a bowl

Carbonara is such a lovely, comforting dish, it’s also quite easy. I like to add some lemon flavor to lighten it up, serve with whatever ham or similar product i have, and a poached egg on top. Yum!

Watermelon Chicken Salad

Bring watermelon onto your dinner plate with this easy watermelon chicken salad. It’s made with sweet juicy watermelon, tender chicken, peppery arugula, salty feta, and chewy barley. This salad is summer on a plate, no doubt!

Check out this recipe

large bowl full of watermelon, blueberries, feta cheese on a table

Get all the watermelon you can during watermelon season. I recommend enjoying it in this easy watermelon chicken salad. It’s such a flavorful, refreshing dish.

Vegetarian Dinners

Adding plant based meals to your rotation is a great way to switch up what you’re eating, save money, and eat more sustainably. These plant based meals are packed with flavor and texture, and are loved by meat eaters too.

Warm Harvest Bowl with Crispy Tofu

This vegetarian harvest bowl with tofu, apples and maple glazed winter squash is a great make-ahead meal for lunches during the week, or a delicious vegetarian dinner. Batch cook each ingredient to use it in even more recipes for the week.

Check out this recipe

warm harvest bowl with apples and squash with wild rice and barley on table

This is one of my favorite fall cooking for one recipes. It’s packed with fall flavors, lots of different textures, and is very satisfying. Use whatever vegetables you have, and definitely crisp up the tofu for it!

Cheesy White Bean Tomato Bake

Make this cheesy white bean tomato bake for a super easy dinner for one. It takes just 15 minutes and can be made with pantry ingredients and enjoyed with crusty bread.

Check out this recipe

square image of tomato and white beans in dish with bread

Who would have thought that you just need a few pantry essentials to make this cheesy, creamy, delicious white bean tomato bake. Dip crackers or toast into it for a more filling meal. It’s so good and comforting, without much effort.

Panko Tofu

Make panko tofu for one on the stove in 20 minutes (oven and Air Fryer instructions too). The tofu comes out soft with a delicious crispy crunch on the outside. I like to serve it with rice and vegetables and drizzle soy sauce and sweet chili sauce over.

Check out this recipe

three slices of fried tofu, broccoli in bowl

Hands down this is my favorite way to prepare tofu, you get such a nice crispy crust, and tender tofu. Add any sauce you like, but simple soy sauce and something spicy is delicious. It’s a great no plan dinner.

Easy Sweet Potato Soup with Tofu

Now that it’s soup season, whip up this easy sweet potato soup with silken tofu to warm up and feel super satisfied with the extra protein.

Check out this recipe

bowl of sweet potato soup with thyme garnish

Adding silken tofu to soups is a great way to add creaminess and protein to them. This sweet potato soup is extra creamy and thick thanks to the tofu. It’s such a tasty, simple fall or winter meal.

Instant Pot Recipes

I love my Instant Pot. I can make batches of rice, beans and pressure cook meat for future meals. It’s also a great tool to brown and also quickly cook other dishes, it’s so helpful to make cooking for one recipes.

Italian Beans for One (Instant Pot)

Italian beans for one is an easy one-pot vegetarian dinner that’s cooked in the Instant Pot. Cook white beans from dried to get tender, richly flavored beans. Add some vegetables and enjoy with crusty bread for a full dinner.

Check out this recipe

blue bowl full of white beans, vegetables and bread with butter

I can actually make beans from dry with my Instant Pot. Make this simple vegetarian dinner with hearty vegetables and enjoy it with some crusty bread. It’s such an easy and flavorful dish for a chilly night.

Chicken Fried Rice in the Instant Pot

Never have day old rice to make fried rice with? Make this super easy, one pot chicken fried rice in the Instant Pot. It just takes about 30 minutes, and is great for leftovers.

Check out this recipe

bowl of chicken fried rice with gold fork in it

Oh this chicken fried rice is so good! It’s easy, is made in an Instant Pot, and uses fresh rice instead of leftovers. But you can (and should use leftover rice-the flavor is great!) just add it later!

Pinto Beans and Rice (Instant Pot)

Pinto beans and rice comes together really quickly and cooks in the instant pot. This simple recipe is a great base to add lots of flavorful ingredients to. Use dried beans and brown rice and they’ll be done at the same time.

Check out this recipe

rice and beans, onions, salsa, avocado, lime wedges in bowl

You can cook your pinto beans and rice in the Instant Pot at the same time! Add your favorite toppings for a tasty bowl. I like adding Spicy Pickled Onions and salsa.

Instant Pot Chicken and Mushroom Soup

This creamy, comforting chicken and mushroom soup with wild rice is the perfect winter recipe to warm up with. It just takes about 15 minutes hands-on time and is ready to eat in about 50 minutes. Use frozen chicken to make it even easier!

Check out this recipe

close up of mushroom and wild rice soup in a bowl

Chicken and mushrooms is such a tasty flavor combination. This simple soup can be made entirely in your Instant Pot for easy clean-up and peak tastiness for an easy meal.


Why is cooking for one so hard?

It’s hard for lots of people, but it doesn’t have to be. It just takes a different approach to planning and cooking than cooking for more than one. Learn more about cooking for one in this article about Meal Planning for One.

Is cooking for one worth it?

The most important question to ask yourself is-do I like cooking? If you like cooking, than cooking for yourself can be worth it, you just may need to take a different approach to cooking, and to like it.

What are some easy recipes when cooking for one?

You can find 35 easy single serving recipes including ones you can make with just one pot or pan, recipes using pantry ingredients, and recipes that can be made in 15 minutes or less.

Did you make these cooking for one recipes? Leave me a comment & rating to share how they turned out!

Want to get more single serving recipes delivered to your inbox? Click here to download my Single Serving Cookbook.

Recipes are great, but you’ll need a simple 3 step process to create a meal plan that make cooking easy & helps you stop wasting food. Check out this expertly developed meal planning guide to get started.