21 One-Pot Dinners to Pull Out for Weeknight Magic

21 One-Pot Dinners to Pull Out for Weeknight Magic

This article was originally published in September 2018. It has been updated to include even more of our favorite one-pot dinner recipes.

Some people (like my roommate) wake up as the day goes on. By the time they get home from work, they’re ready to tackle a workout, dinner, and a couple of episodes on Netflix.

I am not one of those people. By the end of the day, my energy is spent and I’m easily overwhelmed. Juggling multiple steps and a mess of pots and pans can send me into a spiral. I need a no-fuss, streamlined strategy. I need a one-pot wonder.

My favorite one-pot (or one-pan) meals, like soups, stews, pastas, and curries, don’t demand spinning plates. They usually entail a simple, soothing formula, building layers of flavor in one heavy-bottomed vessel. They leave me full and my kitchen (relatively) clean. Below, I’ve gathered 21 of our best no-mess masterpieces.

Bonus: Many of these are make-ahead! So maybe I can squeeze in after-work exercise, too—or better yet, some Netflix time.

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1. One-Pot Garlic Parmesan Pasta (a.k.a. the Lazy Cook’s Fettuccine Alfredo)

This comforting one-pot dish calls for cooking the pasta directly in a mixture of milk and broth, resulting in a creamy, alfredo-esque sauce. It’s one of those meals that’s perfect when you need low-maintenance and quick (but cozy and satisfying, too).

2. One-Pot Squash & Barley Bowl With Miso

Filled with squash, barley, and leafy greens, you’d never guess this soup comes together in just 45 minutes. The secret? Miso and tamari—fermented, savory ingredients that make it taste like it’s been simmering for hours.

3. One-Skillet Sausage, Peppers, Potatoes, and Onions

Inspired by the classic combo of sausage, peppers, and onions, this skillet meal calls for just
four ingredients (plus salt and olive oil), one pan, and under an hour of your time. It’s the very definition of weeknight cooking.

4. Dad’s Favorite Seafood Stew

Made with tomatoes, fish stock, and white wine, this seafood stew has a light and mild flavor. It’s also wildly popular—we’re talking 4.7 stars and a whopping 215 reviews—and is ready in minutes.

5. Cavatappi with Sun-Dried Tomatoes, Brie & Arugula

As former Food52 Food Editor Emma Lapperuque points out, this pasta dish captures the essence of summer cooking, but because it relies on sun-dried rather than fresh tomatoes, it’s just as delicious year-round.

6. One-Skillet Succotash Pot Pie

The filling for this vegetable-focused pot pie from Sohla El-Waylly comes together entirely in a cast-iron skillet. All that’s left to do is add a puff pastry lid and pop the whole thing in the oven.

7. Nigel Slater’s Really Good Spaghetti Bolognese

Technically you’ll need a second pot to boil the pasta, but this Bolognese is so good, we’ll let it slide. (Or, if you’re super committed to the one-pot thing, you could just eat the sauce on its own, we won’t tell.)

8. Poor Me Chicken & Biscuits

“If you’re sick, sad, or have a case of the Mondays, this is possibly the world’s most perfect comfort food,” writes recipe developer Niknud of this easy and adaptable biscuit-topped chicken dish. “It’s warm, soothing, and carb-y and made all in one pot so there’s no trashing your kitchen. ‘Cause if you are sad or sick or grumpy, lots of dirty dishes can make you sadder or sicker or grumpier (that’s a well-known scientific fact).”

9. Purnima Garg’s Eggplant & Tomato Curry

Deeply flavorful and aromatic thanks to mustard seeds, cumin, coriander, and garam masala, this is one of those dishes that no one—not even you—will believe only took 30 minutes to make.

10. One-Pot Butternut Squash Mac & Cheese

Mac and cheese is one of the most comforting dishes on the planet. The one thing to make it even cozier? Adding fall-friendly butternut squash, which gives the pasta a vibrant orange hue and extra-creamy texture.

11. Victoria Granof’s Pasta con Ceci

Pasta con ceci, or pasta with chickpeas, is one of those dishes that’s always reliable, affordable, and satisfying. This version only calls for five ingredients, meaning it’s also a breeze to make.

12. Brussels Sprouts Hash & Eggs

Here, eggs are cooked directly in the four-ingredient hash for a streamlined cooking process. Just serve it with toast to complete the breakfast-for-dinner theme.

13. Jerk Pork Stew

This dish was actually a finalist in our recipe contest “Your Best One-Pot Meal,” so it’s guaranteed to deliver. It’s not the fastest recipe on this list—you do have to start marinating the meat a day in advance, and it takes a while to braise—but all of the cooking is hands-off and super low-maintenance.

14. Jamie Oliver’s Crispy Chicken Legs With Sweet Tomatoes & Basil

Filled with fresh tomatoes, basil, and a whole head of garlic, this chicken dish is one to make before summer’s end.

15. One-Pot Kale & Quinoa Pilaf

With its protein-rich quinoa base and additions like goat cheese and pine nuts, this pilaf is substantial enough to serve as a main.

16. One-Pot Penne With Sausage, Pumpkin & Fennel

Cooking the pasta directly in a combination of chicken stock and reduced white wine ensures that it’s flavorful from the inside out. Pumpkin purée, meanwhile, acts as a clever shortcut to a rich texture and cozy fall flavor.

17. Martha Stewart’s One-Pan Pasta

Martha Stewart’s one-pan pasta is a longtime community favorite. With its short, unfussy ingredient list and quick cooking time, we understand why.

18. One-Pan Gnocchi With Chorizo & Artichokes

“To me, in order for a dish to act as a weeknight dinner it must meet a few requirements: ingredients that are easily acquired or already exist in the pantry, minimal clean-up involved, and it must come together quickly,” says recipe developer Alexis deBoschnek. “Chorizo does a lot of the leg work here in terms of flavor, so much so that you only need to add salt, pepper, and a pinch of oregano.”

19. One-Skillet Bacon-Wrapped Chicken With Dates, Arugula & Blue Cheese

The secret to juicy, never-overcooked chicken breast? Wrapping it in bacon, naturally. To complete this devils on horseback-inspired dinner, pair the chicken with a simple-as-can-be date and blue cheese salad.

20. One-Pot Millet Pilaf With Vegetables & Turmeric

“This pilaf often becomes a one-pot meal in my house,” says Amy Chaplin of this simple, adaptable pilaf. “You can also use what you have on hand: Add curry powder, chopped fresh ginger or garlic, or both. Use cabbage, turnips, sweet potato, or cauliflower in place of the carrots and squash and celery—basically any vegetable that can withstand 30 minutes of simmering can be used here.”

21. One-Pot Tomatoey, Cheesy Pasta With Shallots

This is one of those recipes where the title says it all. It’s spicy, intensely tomato-flavored, and relies on pantry staples, like shallots and tomato paste, that we always keep on hand.

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What’s your favorite one-pot (or pan!) dinner? Share in the comments below!

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