• Cacio e pepe is just one easy win. (Tammi Kwok)Source: Tammi Kwok
Sometimes you don't want to muck around with 15 different ingredients.
22 Jul 2021 - 11:55 AM  UPDATED 28 Jul 2021 - 9:53 AM

While it's true that recipes with a huge list of ingredients are often surprisingly simple to make, sometimes you don't want to take the risk. A dish with five ingredients or less is always a sure thing for simplicity.

Grab your ingredients (you'll only need one trip) and crack out one of these beauties for dinner tonight. They're so straightforward you'll swear your stopped time.

One quick word before we launch: we haven't included the holy trinity of oil, salt, pepper in our 'five'. We figure nothing good ever comes out of a kitchen without this trio as a base... fair enough?

Rigatoni alla Gricia

Pasta alla gricia: An iconic Roman dish of pecorino cheese, pepper and guanciale or cured pork jowl.

Right now an esausta mamma is cooking up this pasta in her apartment by the Piazza di Spagna, knowing that despite it taking only 15 mins to pull together, everyone will love it and there will only be one pan to wash up at the end. Yep, it's that dish.

Spicy sausage and ricotta pasta

My penne con ‘nduja e ricotta features two traditional Calabrian ingredients of opposing flavors, mild ricotta and spicy sausage. The sausage cooks down to create a colourful, rich sauce. 

Pumpkin soup

Margaret Fulton's pumpkin soup

Every cook needs a good pumpkin soup recipe up their sleeve for busy, over-it kind of nights. It's simple to make and oh-so soothing to eat.

Broccoli, lemon and parmesan soup

Plenty of Parmesan makes the soup rich and savoury. Don’t forget some good, crusty bread to wipe your bowl clean!

Batata harra

Crispy potatoes roasted with fresh lemon, spicy garlic, coriander and hot pepper flakes - this Lebanese dish serves up a flavour bomb.

Quiche Lorraine

Sure, if you made your own pastry you'd be well over the five-ingredient quota. Which is why you don't have to.

Japanese egg salad sandwiches

A classic lunchbox sanga with sweeter Japanese-style mayonnaise and thick slices of ham.

Chips with cheese sauce

This is by no means a traditional Argentine recipe, although in recent years there has been a considerable surge in craft-beer breweries and bars, and they often serve this dish along with popular ‘para picar’ (nibbles for sharing).

Cacio e pepe

Cacio e pepe is just one easy win.

This is one of the most traditional dishes of the Lazio region. It’s so simple and requires just five ingredients. It was developed in that area due to the abundance of shepherds in the region who produce Cacio (Roman cheese). Mmm... cheese!

Spaghetti aglio e olio

This dish is a great example of Italian cooking philosophy. Just a few simple, good-quality ingredients can create something truly unforgettable.

Potato tortilla

Potato tortilla

Remember when we mentioned that mamma in Italy? Well, this is the Argentinian version. Mamá, Plaza del Congreso, exhausta.

Amy Schumer's potato skins

Baked and then triple-fried to make them beautifully crisp, these potato skins are loaded with all the good things. 

Egg and bacon pies

Egg and bacon pies

If these little pies don't make you do a happy dance at the end of the day, we've failed. Four ingredients, 10 minutes of prep and bacon.

Caramelised onion, potato and feta tart

The creamy feta is cut through by the caramelised onions in this fancy-yet-fast savoury tart.

Oven-baked chicken

You can always rely on a chicken traybake to be fuss-free and this one is no exception. Big flavours like olives and lemon give you plenty of bang for your fiver.

Braised chicken (pollo in potacchio)

To make a traditional pollo in potacchio, the chicken must be cooked with very little sauce – the wine, tomatoes and chicken juices make the charred skin very tasty, while the inside remains surprisingly tender.

Peynirli hangel

From the hills of northeastern Turkey comes a recipe that will make blue cheese lovers swoon. It's basically fresh homemade noodles with butter and crumbled blue cheese (any soft blue will do). Don't mess with perfection, right?

Caramelised grapefruit, blue cheese, rocket and watercress

This bitter salad adds hits of sweetness and creaminess from grapefruit slices and blue cheese. You’ll need a domestic blowtorch for this recipe.

Cong you tofu

We're cheating just a little bit here because this Chinese table pleaser uses two types of soy sauce (light and dark), which technically brings the ingredient count to six. But then, we figure most of us will end up using one or the other, so five it is!

Tofu doughnuts

These tofu doughnuts use the silken variety to make a sweet batter that's then deep fried and dusted with cinnamon, icing sugar or sweetened kinako (soybean) powder.

Four-ingredient flan

Finish your meal with a Filipino leche flan-inspired dish that will take you five minutes to prepare. It's hard to believe this thing of beauty is constructed from only four ingredients, but that's the magic of sugar for you... and Adam Liaw.

Italian almond biscuits (ricciarelli)

You can practically taste the Italian grandmotherly love in these gluten-free almond biscuits. Be sure to share them with the passion any good nonna would.

Yuzu cheesecake

Japan's iconic citrus, yuzu, has a flavour similar to lemon but with a hint of the herbal, piney edge of a mandarin. It's perfect spin for a spin on a regular lemon cheesecake.

Around five
Wagyu scotch fillet with potato gems

This was a dish we created that made a premium product with simplicity of adding potato gems and greens. Perfect for the entire family. Simple and fast.

Havuc (carrots, carraway and yoghurt)

Havuc is a simple and rich Turkish dip made with shredded carrot, garlic toum and Greek yoghurt. Perfect served with warm pita bread.

Dhal salon

Dhal is an essential during a family get together and is eaten with rice or roti, a true comfort dish that's also vegan-friendly.

Silken tofu with orange and ginger syrup

Tofu is such a wonderful ingredient to use for its versatility. This is a cheat’s version of tau hu nuoc duong that is easy to make at home. 

Chunky Greek oven chips with feta

To keep the chips extra crisp, remember to pat the potato dry with paper towel prior to baking. Simple and quick to prepare, you’ll never revert to fried again!

Homemade rice noodles

You can make these steamed noodles as thick or as thin as you like.

Paris mash

Parisian chef Joël Robuchon created pommes purée in the early 1980s. In France, the puree is made with ratte potatoes, medium-starch fingerlings. Guillaume has dubbed it 'Paris Mash' because "when I first moved to Australia, my mum would send me copies of the tabloid magazine, 'Paris Match' so I would know what was going on in my home town," he says. "It morphed into a dish."

Home-style tomato noodle soup (sopa de fideo de mi casa)

We've served this simple yet popular Mexican noodle soup with grated cheese, but you can add some freshly squeezed lime juice to it.

Taglierini with porcini mushrooms (taglierin con porcini)

Taglierini pasta is a thinner version of tagliatelle.

Fettuccine napoletana (tomato sauce)

This classic Italian pasta dish of fettuccine with Napoletana sauce is confirmation that the simple things in life are often the best (and even better if you know a few tricks!). In this recipe, Maurizio Esposito shaves his garlic into very thin discs using a mandolin slicer, prefers shallots to onions for their sweetness, mashes up the best-quality Italian tinned tomatoes with his hands, and tears the basil, adding it last so it stays fresh and green.