May 14, 2020

20 Recipes Every Beginner Cook Should Know

I frequently get asked for recipe recommendations for beginner cooks as I have a lot of friends who usually opt to order in and store their sweaters in their ovens, so this “roundup” is for them.
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Recipes Every Beginner Cook Should Know

I’ve assembled a list of some basic recipes that every beginner cook should know. From cooking simple chicken thighs to baking everyone’s favorite chewy chocolate chip cookies. It’s never too late to learn and cooking for yourself is a great way to save money.

Why Learn Beginner Recipes?

A lot of the techniques learned within the recipes listed below can be used as building blocks to make more complex recipes. Once you know how to make a few simple things then you can start to experiment. Substitute in various spices and seasonal ingredients, repurpose leftovers and create new recipes!

Whether you are just getting started in the kitchen or looking to expand your current recipe repertoire, these recipes are sure to be a hit.

Rosemary White Bean Dip

Rosemary White Bean Dip

Whenever anyone asks for an easy recipe to bring to a party or serve guests this is always my first recommendation!

Bruschetta with diced tomatoes on crostini


At its core this recipe is seasoned, chopped tomatoes over toasted bread. The Italian classic is easy to make and incredibly flavorful. It can be made year round though it’s best made during the summer months, peak tomato season.

Simple Salt & Pepper Cast Iron Chicken Thighs basic recipe every person should know

Simple Salt & Pepper Cast Iron Chicken Thighs

This simple chicken thigh recipe can be paired with everything from rice and vegetable and topped with alfredo pasta cream sauce or paired with a simple Caesar salad. Simply serve alongside seasonal roasted vegetables and a starch like a creamy mash potato for a more complete meal. If you prefer boneless chicken, check out this easy recipe instead.

cacio e pepe pasta recipe

Cacio e Pepe

This recipe is like adult home cooked mac and cheese! It’s a deceptively simple recipe with just a few ingredients but will impress a date or parents alike. This is the most simple, easy recipe of all beginner recipes!

Mexican Chicken Street Tacos recipe

Mexican Chicken Street Tacos

This recipe is full of flavor but is actually very simple! Plus you can serve any leftover chicken meat over lettuce, rice and beans for a burrito bowl.

Lemon and Garlic Spatchcocked Roast Chicken beginner recipes everyone should know

Lemon and Garlic Spatchcocked Roast Chicken

It’s great to know how to cook a whole chicken though simply roasting a whole chicken will take longer to cook than this method. Spatchcocking the chicken allows it to cook faster and is a great simple beginner recipe. The leftover meat can be added to soups or salads or chicken salad.

guacamole recipe


Everyone should know how to make guacamole! The Mexican favorite can be served as an appetizer, on top of burrito bowls or with tacos.

favorite Caesar Salad recipe with Chili Oil Croutons

Table-side Caesar Salad with Chili Oil Croutons

This salad comes together without any heavy dressings and is one of my favorite beginner recipes. The dressing is made in the bowl as you assemble the salad and topped with homemade croutons. The chili oil croutons are simply made in a flavored olive oil and cooked until crispy on a parchment paper lined baking sheet.

quick pickled red onions

Quick Pickled Onions

These onions can be used over everything, chicken dishes, stir fry, rice dishes, tacos and more to amp up their flavor. Quick pickling is an easy method and it can be used to prolong the life of seasonal vegetables like ramps or carrots to add an acidic burst of flavor.

Homemade Flour Tortillas

Homemade Flour Tortillas

You will never want to use store-bought tortillas again. They are surprisingly easy to make and come together with just a few ingredients: flour, salt, water & bacon fat (or vegetable shortening/ oil). Make these tortillas from scratch and serve them with your favorite taco filling recipe.

Miso Butter Sweet Potato Spears

Miso Butter Sweet Potato Spears

Miso butter has become a staple in my house and can be used for other vegetables as well as an alternative to this root vegetable. Try using the butter with carrots, broccoli or even peeled and cut russet potatoes.

cheesy garlic bread

Cheesy Garlic Bread

This buttery garlic bread pairs well with any pasta dish or salad! If you can make a grilled cheese sandwich then you can easily make this cheesy garlic bread!

Classic Ground Beef Chili topped with fritos

Classic Ground Beef Chili

This chili can be made in a large batch and served with everyone’s favorite toppings or over a baked sweet potato. I like using ground beef for a classic version. Try swapping the meat for a leaner meat like turkey or even moose meat.

Shrimp Scampi Risotto beginner recipes

Shrimp Scampi Risotto

Risotto can easily be doubled or tripled for larger dinner parties and this scampi sauce can also be served over pasta. Risotto is another flexible recipe – wilted or sautéed greens like rapini or spinach can be stirred in as well as sautéed mushrooms for a vegetarian variation or even roasted tomatoes.

Cedar Plank Salmon with Brown Sugar & Black Pepper

Cedar Plank Salmon with Brown Sugar & Black Pepper

This flexible recipe can be made on the grill or in the oven. Be sure to roast your salmon just until it’s cooked through but still a deeper pink inside. I usually roast mine at 400ºF for about 16 minutes and serve with a variety of toppings. Serve with roasted root vegetables like carrots or potatoes or over a stir fry for a more complete meal.

French onion soup beginner recipe

French Onion Soup

This soup tastes even better the next day and requires only a few simple ingredients. I think the base of the soup tastes even better after the onions have had a chance to sit and flavor the broth. This way it can easily be made ahead of time.

Diner-Style Buttermilk Pancakes

Diner-Style Buttermilk Pancakes

Guess what? You don’t need pancake mix! You probably have all the ingredients you need to make pancakes in your pantry already.

Veggie Frittata flexible recipe

Veggie Frittata

This is a great recipe because it’s so flexible – toss in whatever veggies (or even meat) you have leftover. Repurpose roasted vegetables from the night before to make a delicious breakfast.

Slow-Scrambled Eggs recipe

Slow-Scrambled Eggs

If you can cook rubbery, pale yellow scrambled eggs, you can cook these luscious eggs, all it takes is a bit of patience. Serve with bacon and buttered toast for a classic breakfast.

Grandma Mary’s Chocolate Chip Cookies

Grandma Mary’s Chocolate Chip Cookies

As Monica in the iconic show Friends says, “I want to be the mom that makes the world’s best chocolate chip cookies”. Except everyone should be able to make these chewy chocolate chip cookies! They’re gooey and best served warm. The dough can be made and shaped ahead of time as stored frozen until ready to use.

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