15 of the Best 3-Ingredient Recipes

15 of the Best 3-Ingredient Recipes

Make something delicious from the stuff that's already in your pantry.

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Taffy Grapes
Photo: Marnie Shure

While there will always be a time and place for elaborate, show-stopping dishes, some of the biggest crowd-pleasers are the ones that keep things simple. A great recipe is not necessarily one with a lot of bells and whistles, so we’ve assembled a list of The Takeout’s best three-ingredient recipes to satisfy a range of tastes. They’re not only easy for beginners, but each one manages to wring maximum enjoyment from the minimal amount of pantry staples.

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Basic Roasted Chickpeas

Basic Roasted Chickpeas

Crispy roasted chickpeas
Photo: Derek Davis/Portland Press Herald (Getty Images)

Aside from the fiber and flavor, one of the best things about these crunchy roasted chickpeas is how easy they are to prepare as a snack. Once you have a good handle on the base recipe, you can take your chickpeas in any direction you please—sprinkle them with garlic powder, curry powder, or any other spices you love. Get the recipe for Crispy Roasted Chickpeas here.

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Peanut Butter Cookies

Peanut Butter Cookies

Peanut Butter Cookies
Photo: Lord Beard (Shutterstock)

In case you don’t already know the magic formula for foolproof 3-Ingredient Peanut Butter Cookies, here it is: a 1:1:1 ratio of peanut butter, sugar, and eggs, baked for 8-10 minutes until golden. This is the perfect dessert recipe to introduce your kids—or yourself—to baking, so what are you waiting for? Get the recipe for 3-Ingredient Peanut Butter Cookies here.

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Dump Cake

Dump Cake

Dump Cake
Photo: Marnie Shure

Dump Cake is charitably defined by Wikipedia as “an American dessert similar to a cobbler” and is made by dumping anywhere from three to five ingredients into a baking dish—no mixing bowl necessary. The result is the raw, uncut version of comfort food, a bowl of mush you can literally sink right into. Great weekend fare after a long five days at work. Get the recipe for Dump Cake here.

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Copycat Thin Mints Girl Scout Cookies

Copycat Thin Mints Girl Scout Cookies

Copycat Thin Mints cookies
Photo: Marnie Shure

No matter how scarce the Girl Scout cookies are in your area, you can enjoy this Thin Mints copycat recipe year-round, at a fraction of the cost of the genuine article. The buttery, crispy layers at the center of a Ritz cracker are the secret to the great texture of this “cookie,” and their slight saltiness perfectly complements the sweetness of the chocolate. Get the recipe for imitation Thin Mints cookies here.

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Chili Cheese Dip

Chili Cheese Dip

3-ingredient chili cheese dip
Photo: Marnie Shure, Graphic: Natalie Peeples

Three-ingredient chili cheese dip is the cherry atop the sundae of living as you wish to. It’s a one-sentence recipe, and you don’t even need to turn on your oven to make it, unless you are some kind of fancy bastard. (The microwave works great.) Sure, it’s not the most attractive dish, but dips aren’t about aesthetic appeal. Just surrender to the joy that comes from digging your chip deep into something gooey, unglamorous, lazy, and so very special. Get the recipe for Chili Cheese Dip here.

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Peanut Butter Bran Bars

Peanut Butter Bran Bars

Peanut Butter Bran Thingy
Photo: Marnie Shure

Not every recipe needs to be camera-ready, and these dessert bars, affectionately called Peanut Butter Bran Thingies, prove it. Even raisin haters will love the satisfying cereal crunch of the Raisin Bran and the rich, buttery smoothness in these gnarly-looking treats. Get the recipe for Peanut Butter Bran Thingies here.

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Copycat Walkers Shortbread

Copycat Walkers Shortbread

Walkers Shortbread next to Walk-Offs Shortbread
Left: Walkers Shortbread. Right: “Walk-Offs” Shortbread.
Graphic: Karl Gustafson

Flour, sugar, butter. Is shortbread actually that straightforward? It can be. Copycat Walkers Shortbread is inspired by the classic packaged shortbread brand, which has been in the game since 1898. It’s easier than you might expect to come up with something incredibly close to the commercial Walkers version, with its buttery, crumbly delights. Once you’ve got the basics, it’s pretty hard to do it wrong. Get the recipe for Copycat Walkers Shortbread here.

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Brie En Croute with Jam

Brie En Croute with Jam

Brie En Croute With Apricot Jam
Photo: Kevin Pang

Brie En Croute with Jam is great for whenever you’re supposed to bring a dish to someone else’s gathering or want to bring an air of sophistication to your next party or brunch. You only need three things: a wheel of brie, a tube of crescent rolls, and the jam of your choice. Going for something sweet? Use apricot, as we did in our original recipe. Something savory? Try some tomato-jalapeño preserves. And before digging in, don’t forget to take in the beauty of this fancy-as-heck dish. Get the recipe for Brie En Croute with Jam here.

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Clotted Cream

Clotted Cream

Image for article titled 15 of the Best 3-Ingredient Recipes
Photo: Nirad (iStock)

Clotted Cream is usually paired with scones and jam, so we can forgive its use of the unappetizing word “clot.” This is a time-consuming process (think two days) and produces a small yield, but it’s worth the trouble. It is, quite literally, all the fat, coaxed slowly out of the cream and skimmed off for your slathering pleasure. Exercise a little patience and you’ll be rewarded with thick, buttery goodness. Get the recipe for Clotted Cream here.

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Taffy Grapes

Taffy Grapes

Taffy Grapes in a bowl
Photo: Marnie Shure

Taffy Grapes are green grapes dipped in white chocolate or white candy coating (aka almond bark) and rolled in crushed peanuts. Somehow, the taste of this three-ingredient combo is a dead ringer for a taffy apple. You can enjoy this wildly popular treat any time of year, but it’s poised to become part of your spring and summer repertoire, perfect for toting to a backyard barbecue. Get the recipe for Taffy Grapes here.

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Homemade Tortillas

Homemade Tortillas

Four homemade tortillas on a plate
Photo: Aimee Levitt

It’s good to have a plan B just in case your favorite tortillas ever go out of stock, and this recipe for homemade tortillas can help you out in a pinch. If you want to go above and beyond, you can invest in a tortilla press for flattening the tortillas and a comal for cooking them, though a rolling pin and a cast iron pan will do. Tortilla making is one of those kitchen tasks, like dicing vegetables, that’s very easy to do, and also very easy to do badly—but it doesn’t take much practice to improve. Get the recipe for Homemade Tortillas here.

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Easy Homemade Flatbread

Easy Homemade Flatbread

Flatbread
Photo: Stacey Ballis

Flatbread doesn’t need multiple risings. Often it doesn’t need any rising at all. It’s super simple and fast, and people have been making some version of it since they figured out cooking over a fire. This recipe only requires two ingredients and 15 minutes, and from there, the possibilities are endless: Use it like a pocketless pita. Spread on some sauce and toppings for a pizza. Brush with butter and sprinkle cinnamon for a sweet treat. However you choose to experiment with this stuff, it could not be faster, easier, or more adaptable. Get the recipe for Two-Ingredient Flatbread here.

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Baja Sauce

Baja Sauce

Baja Sauce
Photo: Marnie Shure

Finally, a use for all those leftover red and green salsas from takeout tacos just sitting in your fridge: Baja Sauce. Its applications are wide-ranging, and the creaminess of the added yogurt softens the spiciness just enough to apply the sauce liberally without feeling like our mouths are on fire. Meanwhile, a kick of vinegar keeps it properly acidic to balance out the fatty flavors in a dish. Use as a sauce on fish tacos or as the dressing for a zesty slaw. Go forth and breathe new life into your leftovers. Get the recipe for Baja Sauce here.

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Vegan “Cheese”

Vegan “Cheese”

Image for article titled 15 of the Best 3-Ingredient Recipes
Photo: Danielle Guercio

Good news for anyone searching for non-dairy cheese options: vegan “cheese” can not only be delicious, it’s also extremely simple to create at home. This two-ingredient recipe takes no time at all, and tastes like a precursor to Cheez Whiz. This combo could switch up your dairy-free game, even if you are just pairing with cold cuts and not actually doing the no-animal-products thing. It goes beautifully on a crusty sandwich, grain bowl, or with an avocado and sliced tomato like a really hippie version of a caprese. Get the recipe for Vegan “Cheese” here.

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Jell-O Shots

Jell-O Shots

Festive Jell-o shots
Photo: Liz Miller

Jell-O shots get a bad rap, plain and simple. But we’re determined to turn that all around. The base recipe for these sweet treats is easy and straightforward, but with our recommended flavor and booze pairings you can take things up a notch. Get fancy with the garnishes if you feel up to it. Otherwise, save the frills and just get down to shooting your shots. Get the recipe for Basic Jell-O Shots here.

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