Summers mean trips to the public library to pick up books to read poolside and making s’mores with friends in the backyard. It’s all about enjoying the nice weather while it lasts.
Summers are not about being stuck in the kitchen, cooking anything elaborate or complicated. For breakfast, lunch, dinner, and even drinks, we’re looking for low-lift recipes that require little effort and as few ingredients as possible, because who wants to make a trip to the grocery store? We rather finish the book we borrowed from the library.
Which is where these 23 recipes that call for five ingredients or less come to the rescue. We got you covered, from dips, snacks, and cocktails to dinners and frozen treats. We’re talking a two-ingredient magic shell for your favorite pint of ice cream, a reliably delicious three-ingredient salmon dinner the whole family will love, Jennifer Garner’s five-ingredient lemony pasta, and much more. They’re easy without feeling uninspired and call for ingredients we likely have in the pantry.
1. 2-Ingredient Hot Fudge
Ice cream sundaes are nothing without hot fudge. All you need are two ingredients probably already in your pantry: sweetened condensed milk and chocolate chips. After trying this fudgy goodness, your kids will never again request the store-bought stuff.
2. 1-Ingredient Chocolate Mousse
Chocolate mousse seems so fancy—and complicated to make. Thanks to this recipe (and a French chemist’s discovery), you can whip up a delicious chocolate mousse in minutes using only one ingredient.
3. 3-Ingredient Salmon Dinner
For us, salmon is the king. It is flavorful, easy to cook, and even those who don’t like seafood like salmon. This three-ingredient salmon is writer Coco Morante’s go-to family recipe—her kids love it!
4. 3-Ingredient Crème Brûlée
Who knew that ice cream, eggs, and sugar were all you needed to make one of the most impressive desserts you can make at home? This recipe is too good to be true (thank you, TikTok!)—it’s delicious and so easy.
5. 3-Ingredient Salad Dressing
Never buy bottled dressing from the grocery store again! This homemade version is cheaper, tastier, and can be altered to match every salad and palate present. It’s so easy to put together, a kid could make it (and does!).
6. 3-Ingredient Banana Pancakes
As a runner, I always crave bananas in the morning. Whether it’s on nut butter toast or chopped in yogurt, it’s my wake-up special. When my bananas ripen too quickly, it’s not time to give them up to compost. Instead, I mash them into the easiest, most scrumptious banana pancakes.
7. 3-Ingredient Trader Joe’s Margaritas
I crave Margaritas in the summer, and most of the time, I’m too lazy to make them from scratch and too budget-conscious to order one from the bar. TJ’s comes to the rescue with this affordable, easy, and delicious three-ingredient Margaritas. I’m making them all summer long!
8. Jennifer Garner’s 5-Ingredient Pasta
Are you looking for a quick and easy weeknight dinner? This is it! Jennifer Garner made this pasta to promote her show and share a delicious five-ingredient pasta with the world—everyone wins.
9. 2-Ingredient Chicken Marinade
Use up the plain yogurt and spices in your pantry to elevate your grilled chicken. This simple marinade takes seconds to mix together and adds both moisture and flavor in a way that seasoning alone can’t beat.
10. 3-Ingredient No-Churn Ice Cream
You read this right—three ingredients! Get ready to always have a tub of homemade ice cream sitting in your freezer this summer. With the help of a mixer, you can easily churn out this creamy ice cream. No ice cream maker needed.
11. 2-Ingredient Magic Shell
“The ‘magic’ part of this ice cream topping is that it turns from glossy to matte, liquid to solid right in front of your eyes the moment it hits the cold ice cream,” shares contributor Devan Grimsrud. Next time you serve your family and friends ice cream, pull this card out of your sleeve.
12. 1-Ingredient Watermelon Granita
Take one of the many watermelons you buy during the season, cube it, and stick it in the freezer. Whenever you need an icy treat to cool down, whirl the frozen watermelon in the food processor.
13. 3-Ingredient Pizza Beans
While contributor Stephanie Ganz has entered her “bean era,” her kids have not. Try her cheesy, baked bean pizza that her bean-hesitant kids enjoy. It’ll be ready in 20 minutes.
14. 3-Ingredient Trader Joe’s Dip
Once again TJ’s has made our jobs too easy with this spicy corn dip. “It’s out-of-this-world delicious, so easy to make, and I have yet to meet anyone that won’t go back for more,” shares senior editor Myo Quinn.
15. 3-Ingredient Fro-Yo
You don’t need to wait in the frozen yogurt self-serve line ever again. Make this easy frozen fruit that only calls for yogurt, honey, and whatever frozen fruit you have around.
16. 5-Ingredient Corn Salsa
Chips and dips are a must for any gathering. Try this easy summer salsa in under 10 minutes, and make a giant batch because your crowd will devour it.
17. 4-Ingredient Frutero-Inspired Watermelon Salad
This spiced watermelon salad is inspired by the fruteros vending food on the streets of Los Angeles. “My pantry is always stocked with chamoy and Tajín for when the mouth-watering craving for tart, spicy, and sweet fruit kicks in,” shares contributor Kat Thompson.
18. 2-Ingredient Low-Key Trader Joe’s Salad
Trader Joe’s toasted sesame salad dressing is just as good as any homemade one. For nights when you want a quick, low-effort salad, grab a bottle and a bag of greens, and make this salad that senior editor Myo’s kids can’t get enough of.
19. 3-Ingredient Vanilla Coffee Creamer
Buying store-bought coffee creamer every week isn’t cheap, and neither is stopping by the local coffee shop every morning. Instead, try this easy, affordable alternative to sweeten up your coffee—it’s as good as any store-bought creamer!
20. 5-Ingredient Pickled Red Onions
“Pickling red onions helped me get over my fear of pickling,” shares contributor Ashley Rodriguez. Throw the ingredients into a mason jar, add boiling water, wait, and you’ll be rewarded with the best topping for salads, sandwiches, tacos, pizza, and so much more.
21. 4-Ingredient Trader Joe’s Monkey Bread
These gooey, donut-like cinnamon-sugar clusters of dough may be Trader Joe’s Test Kitchen’s best work. We can’t get enough of this sticky delight, and you’ll love it too.
22. 2-Ingredient Chocolate-Covered Potato Chips
We were skeptical about dipping potato chips in melted chocolate. We’re glad we tried it because it’s delicious—a little sweet, a little salty, and the best snack for movie night or game-watch party.
23. 3-Ingredient Spiked Pink Lemonade
If you’re craving lemonade, but want a little something added to it—perhaps, vodka?—try this refreshing cocktail. Make one glass for yourself or a big batch for your friends and family. The recipe scales easily either way.