Sometimes you don’t have the time, the energy, or the willingness to make a complex dinner. Or it’s early in the morning and you just want to have something healthy to eat without having to combine twenty different ingredients to make it taste good.

Or it’s a public health emergency that causes everything to shut down and people to hoard. Life can be weird sometimes. At the time of writing this, the entire world is dealing with the coronavirus.

Thankfully, if the history of cooking and food has taught us anything, it’s that sometimes keeping it simple is the best way to go. As long as you have what many would consider being basic ingredients, you can still make great food without much effort that will taste fantastic.

Do you have a good variety of groceries on hand? We have you covered if you’re getting bored with the same meals:

We’ve collected 10 recipes that can be made with 8 ingredients or less. Of those 8 ingredients, we’ve done our best to limit the ones you may need to go out and buy to 1 or 2 per recipe. We included 2 bonus recipes at the end that require a few fresh ingredients you may have on hand already!

Delicious Recipes Using Pantry Ingredients

3 Ingredient Mexican Rice

3 ingredient mexican rice

Able to serve as the base for many a meal, as well as being tasty all on its own, this 3 ingredient Mexican rice takes what you have in your pantry and combines it to make a super easy, super quick rice.

You can top it with chopped spring onions and tomatoes for a healthy rice bowl, or use it as the base for rice burritos or vegetarian tacos.

Make it: 3 Ingredient Mexican Rice

Freezer Meatball Stew

Bowl of meatball stew with biscuits

When you need to have something that takes minimal prep time and maximum flavor, nothing really beats frozen meatballs. They can be added to sauces, to stews, served on their own, or mixed in with a variety of items to make pretty much any dish. By raiding your pantry, you can actually make a very filling, very tasty meatball stew!

This stew also lasts very well in the fridge, up to 5 days. It can be served on its own, beside rice, with slightly stale toasted bread to use up said bread… the variations are limitless.

Make it: Freezer Meatball Stew

Simple Burrito Bowls

burrito bowl with rice, beans, and veggies

Who in the South doesn’t like a little tex-mex in their day? Then again, who in America doesn’t love it? It’s as much a part of American identity as the Fourth of July, the Stars and Stripes, and the American muscle car. And the best thing about this recipe is, like many things American, you can customize it to be perfect for you. What is presented here are only the recommended ingredients, and what one would expect to find in many households in the South.

The joy of this recipe is that it takes a grand total of maybe 30 minutes to prep, cook, and serve. As well, as stated before, you can mix it up in your own way. Want it spicier? Add some jalapenos to the rice along with the salsa. Too spicy? Take out half the spices from the dressing.

Make it: Easy Burrito Bowls

Tuna Salad Wraps

Tuna wrap on a plate

If you need to empty out the pantry a little, or just use up some vegetables that are still good but have no recipe to be used in, these easy to make wraps are both healthy and filling. They are also easily modified to suit your specific tastes or needs.

You can even add a spicy kick to your tuna mix by using hot sauce or sriracha during the mixing phase, as the original recipe calls for. While the tuna mix can be stored in the fridge, the wraps themselves need to be enjoyed immediately otherwise the tuna will eventually cause the tortillas to become soggy.

Make it: Spicy Tuna Wraps

Chickpea Salad

Chickpea salad in a food processor

Dried chickpeas, or canned chickpeas, a common find in many pantries, and usually sit there for an extended period of time as they rarely, if ever, go off. By using these chickpeas with a few simple ingredients, you can make a salad that serves as a perfect sandwich filling, or a dip to enjoy with pita chips.

Make it: Chickpea Salad

Pantry-Raid No Bake Peanut Butter Oatmeal Bars

Baking pan with peanut oatmeal bars

When you look in your pantry, you probably see a bag of oats, some honey, maybe a jar of peanut butter. Congratulations, you can make a tasty and easy dessert, one that is packed with good fats, natural sugars, and grains, that also satisfies the sweet tooth we all secretly have.

It will also give your jaw a great workout, because these bars are chewy! If you want to add a bit of a savoury kick, add in half a cup of raisins when you add the oats.

Make it: No-Bake Peanut Butter Oatmeal Bars

Empty-The-Freezer Honey Teriyaki Meatballs

Bowl of pasta with meatballs and vegetables

There are times when you open your freezer and sigh. You have that bag of mixed vegetables you bought to use for that one dish that you never actually got around to making. You also might have a pack of Swedish or Italian meatballs in there, waiting to be added to a pasta dish. Yet, these two freezer items can be combined in a way you would never think of to make a delicious Japanese bowl that is simple to make, and has flavor all across the spectrum.

Make it: Empty-The-Freezer Honey Teriyaki Meatballs

Vegan White Bean Italian Soup

Bowl of italian white bean soup

Fear not, vegans! We haven’t forgotten about you!

This is also a superb soup for non-vegans, as it’s one of those hearty soups that sticks to you all the way down, and radiates warmth on a cool spring day or when the winter winds blow. It’s also gluten-free, nearly fat free, oil free, high in legume-based protein, and adheres to the strictest of vegan practices.

Make it: Vegan White Bean Italian Soup

One-Pan Italian Chicken Skillet

Skillet with chicken pasta

Not only is this recipe healthy and delicious, it’s also extremely easy to make. As well, using only one skillet for the entirety of the cooking makes it super easy to clean up afterwards. As well, it’s a great recipe to get rid of some frozen chicken and frozen spinach from your freezer, just thaw them both out overnight in the fridge. If you really want to kick it up a healthy notch, you can substitute zucchini in place of the pasta, either in chunks or in shoestrings to make zoodles.

Make it: One-Pan Italian Chicken Skillet

Curried Chickpeas & Spinach

Pan with curried chickpeas and spinach

You do not need to sacrifice flavor and nutrition when it comes to this simple dish. Easy to put together with common pantry ingredients, this will be a nice explosion of flavor to treat the family too. It also freezes well, talk about a perfect dish!

Throw this on top of pasta, rice, quinoa, even mashed potatoes. It’s versatile and inexpensive.

Make it: Curried Chickpeas & Spinach

Recipes That Need Minimal Extra Items From The Grocery Store

Loaded Sweet Potato Skins

Baked sweet potato skins with bacon and cheese

We all love a snack, especially when we have nothing else to do around the house except kick back and watch a movie. However, most of the time, snacks can be somewhat unhealthy. This recipe gives you a healthy alternative that still satisfies the crunch a snack should have, but also packs a ton of flavor, and only uses 8 ingredients total.

Make it: Loaded Sweet Potato Skins

3 Ingredient Mushroom Quiche

Mushroom quiche in a pan

Quiche is one of those foods that is nearly impossible to get wrong. It also keeps extremely well in the fridge, so you can make it ahead of time and eat as much or as little as you need throughout the week. It is also a food that can be had for breakfast or for dinner, and pairs well with a whole variety of sauces and side dishes.

Make it: 3 Ingredient Mushroom Quiche

Mom’s Oven-Roast Chicken

Oven roasted chicken on a cutting board

Quite possibly the easiest recipe on this entire list, oven-roasted chicken is extremely simple to make, extremely difficult to mess up, and leaves you with delicious leftovers for lunches and suppers for days to come. As well, this comes from one of our very own staff, so it’s a Sports Mom special recipe!

What you need:


  • 1 chicken, giblets removed
  • Salt
  • Pepper
  • 3 cloves garlic, peeled
  • 1 or 2 large onions
  • 1 cup of chicken broth, or water if broth is not available


  • Roasting pan, or a deep sided pan
  • Cooking twine to truss the chicken


  1. Wash the chicken inside and out, and pat dry with paper towels. You want the chicken to be as dry as possible after washing.
  2. Preheat oven to 450 F
  3. While oven is coming up to temperature, slice onion into 6-8 fairly thick slices, at least ¼ inch thick, preferably ½ inch thick.
  4. Place onions on the base of the pan, where the chicken will be resting. The idea is to use the onions to keep the chicken from touching the base of the pan.
  5. Salt and pepper the inside of the chicken, then toss in the cloves of garlic inside. Truss the base of the drumsticks together. You want to keep the thighs and drumsticks as reasonably tight to the body of the chicken as possible.
  6. Place the chicken on the onion slices, breast side up. Adjust the slices and chicken as needed to keep it off the base of the pan.
  7. Salt and pepper the entirety of the chicken that is possible. You are looking to get a decent distribution, making sure to get seasonings down onto the wings and inside the thigh gaps.
  8. Pour half a cup of the chicken broth or water into the base of the pan. You want the broth or water to be about halfway up the onion slices.
  9. By now, the oven should have finished preheating. Place the chicken into the over and let it roast for 20 minutes.
  10. Reduce the temperature to 350 F. Check to make sure the broth/water has not completely disappeared. This broth/water layer is to ensure that the pan drippings do not burn and pass a burned taste up into the chicken.
  11. If you have a meat thermometer, you want to cook the chicken until the internal temperature of the deep breast is 165 F.
    1.  If you do not have a meat thermometer, a rule of thumb is 20 minutes per pound of chicken once the heat is turned down. As an example, a 4 pound chicken would be 1 hour and 20 minutes cook time.
  12. Remove the chicken from the oven. Let it sit for a minute, then transfer it to a cutting board or large plate, and let it rest at least 10 minutes.
  13. Remove the garlic from the inside of the chicken. If you want, you can then mash them up and mix with butter or margarine to make roast garlic butter for bread.

Voila! Oven-roasted chicken. If you want to make gravy to go with it, you have the pan drippings in broth/water, which you can strain out into a pan or measuring cup, and mix together with pinches of flour until it starts to thicken to your desired consistency.