27 One-Pot Meals So You Can Ditch Those Dirty Dishes
Who's got time for dishes? Not us. With these 27 one-pot dinners, avoid lengthy cleanup and the dry, cracked hands that come with washing dishes — and still put a delicious meal together.
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The rule in my house is that when one person cooks, the other person cleans. And since I’m the primary cook — at least during the week — the hubs might do dishes five or six nights a week. I can usually sense a mixture of gratitude and grumbling when we have a delicious new dinner that takes two huge pots, the wok, the rice cooker, and a sheet pan to come together. And the abiding relief when it’s one of my go-to one-pot dinners.
Every busy cook has a handful of these one-dish recipes in their repertoire: a yummy braise, a quick curry, some ingenious pasta dish. Just add some crusty bread or naan or pita or tortillas — or, if you're willing to stretch the definition of “one-pot” to include the rice cooker, that too. Toss together a salad and pour some wine, and you could even call it a dinner party.
That said, one-pot wonders aren’t necessarily no-prep or no-work wonders. In fact, some of my favorites have you prepping multiple veggies, browning meat, sautéing aromatics, or cooking grains or starches for a certain amount of time, in a certain amount of liquid, in batches. It’s worth the effort though — and technically, there’s still just one pot in the sink when it comes time to tidy up. And if your partner is anything like mine, they’ll thank you for it.
Here are 27 one-pot dishes that span the globe and satisfy. You can't go wrong with fewer dirty dishes.
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Vegetarian one-pot recipes
These hearty vegetarian entrees can easily be modified to meet vegan requirements
Does it get any better (or easier) than this? Sauté spinach and garlic, add tomatoes, chickpeas, and lemon, then bake it all with feta for less than 10 minutes. This Yummly original recipe is vegetarian — but endlessly riffable. (Vegan? Swap out the feta. Want more protein? Just add chicken!) Served with crusty bread or pita, it’s a meal that everyone — even a kid — could love.
Fresh herbs make all the difference in this one-pot recipe, adding pops of bright Italian flavors to the creamy tomato base. To keep things simple, Gal on a Mission has you cook the tortellini right in the soup. Readers have added everything from sausage to black beans to zucchini to make this "super easy comfort food" dish their own. Thirteen thousand saves by Yummly users can’t be wrong!
Vegans, do not fear: This one-pot mushroom stroganoff recipe from Flipped-Out Food does the trick. Use a dairy-free sour cream for the sauce and nutritional yeast instead of Parmesan cheese to finish it off.
This healthy, chana masala-esque dish from A Pretty Life in the Suburbs comes together with about 10 or 15 minutes of prep, then 40 hands-off minutes on the stovetop. Serve with rice or naan — or both!
One-pot dishes aren’t just weeknight heroes; they're more or less the norm in cultures around the world. Case in point: peanut stew, a staple across much of Africa. While there are countless regional variations, this recipe from Making Thyme for Health features sweet potatoes and collard greens cooked in a stew base of ginger, onion, jalapeño, tomato paste, and peanut butter. Bonus: It’s vegan and gluten-free.
There are countless dishes that claim to be the original one-pot dinner, but I’m going to put my money on risotto. In this super easy mushroom risotto recipe from the BBC, the dried porcini mushrooms are a must. You'll notice the ingredients list also calls for chestnut mushrooms; this is the common British name for cremini or baby bella mushrooms.
For anyone who loves breakfast for dinner, Shakshuka is the one-skillet dish for you. The spices in this recipe, from Girl with the Iron Cast, really make it a winner.
One-pot chicken recipes
There’s a reason chicken is often considered the go-to weeknight dinner for busy people: It’s easy to prep and makes everyone happy. Check out these chicken recipes with global flavors. Plus, a recipe that calls for turkey because — hey — it’s poultry, too.
Perhaps I just overly romanticize anything French, but coq au vin always sounded so fancy that I didn’t think it could be weeknight fodder. Lo and behold, it can. While this recipe from Vikalinka isn’t exactly a 20-minute meal — it requires rendering bacon, browning chicken, making a roux, and sautéing vegetables — it’s so, so worth it. And the 55 minutes it spends bubbling away in the Dutch oven lets you catch up on tasks around the house while enjoying the aroma.
There are countless amazingly delicious arroz con pollo recipes out there, but this one from Epicurious is the one I return to time and again. (Full disclosure: I skip the Sazón seasoning). Whatever recipe you follow — including those no-recipe recipes stored in your head — the concept is a one-pot winner: Brown chicken thighs and remove; sauté aromatics; add tomatoes, broth, and rice; nestle the chicken back in; and let simmer.
Any recipe with “lazy” in the title gets extra special consideration mid-week. This deconstructed chicken enchilada dish from Everyday Dishes skips all the dipping and rolling: Simply let 1/2-inch strips of tortillas disintegrate into the sauce to thicken. It may not be authentic, but this Mexican-inspired recipe gets top marks for ease — everything happens in one skillet.
This one-pot chicken and couscous dish from Chef Times Two is similar in concept to arroz con pollo: Just sub in Israeli couscous and tweak the flavor profile. The turmeric gives it a gorgeous golden hue, and the combination of fresh dill, mint, parsley, and chives at the end keeps the dish nice and bright.
This Mediterranean chicken dish is similar, in theory, to arroz con pollo, but with a distinct flavor profile from sun-dried tomatoes, artichokes, and mushrooms. One tip: If you find that your rice isn’t fully cooked the first time you make it, soak the rice for 15 minutes beforehand.
People go wild for this easy chicken dish from Gimmedelicious. It’s dead simple and takes just 25 minutes to make — a perfect weeknight dinner combo. Simply sauté the chicken breasts until cooked through, remove to make a decadent cream sauce, return the chicken to the pan, and serve with a side dish of rice or bread to sop up the sauce.
Jessica Merchant at How Sweet It Is has a similar I-cook-you-clean arrangement as I do — which is to say, her husband loves this one-skillet meal. Technically the pasta is cooked in a separate pot, but if you're like me, you always have extra pre-cooked pasta stashed in the fridge. In that case, this combination of chicken, mushroom, chickpeas, kale, and cooked pasta comes together in no time, in one measly skillet.
This one-pot dinner from Picky Palate is a real winner with kids — which isn’t such a surprise when you consider the ingredients: bacon, chicken, rice, and cheddar cheese. You can even cheat a bit and use rotisserie chicken to save time.
Poulet is a cookbook by Cree LeFavour dedicated to all things chicken, all across the globe. This Thai recipe involves simmering a whole chicken in coconut milk along with garlic, ginger, bok choy, bell pepper, mushrooms, and turmeric. Serve with fluffy jasmine rice, fresh mint, and cilantro.
I’ve probably made a version of this dish — chicken, potatoes, and green beans — a thousand times, but never thought to do it in one skillet before. Duh. The reduction of white wine and chicken stock leaves the chicken incredibly moist.
One-pot beef recipes
Ground beef cooks up quickly, while stew meat takes a little longer to break down, but is totally hands-off when cooked in an Instant Pot or slow cooker. Whatever cut of beef and cooking method you choose, you’ve got an easy, iron-rich one-pot meal.
In the words of one Yummly reviewer, “So quick and easy! My husband barely took breaths in between bites, so I’d say it’s a hit.” This Taste and Tell recipe is truly one-pot: You cook the rotini right in the beef broth along with the beef, then add the sour cream and cooked mushrooms at the end.
Or maybe chili is the original one-pot meal? This recipe, from Whiskey and Soba, is a solid contender for the beef and red bean variety of chili, but is more of a weekend project, clocking in at 2 hours and 40 minutes. But if you really want to make it a weeknight meal, check out the slow cooker option at the end of the recipe.
For a sure-fire one-pot meal — in half the time — you can't beat a pressure cooker meal like this classic savory beef stew by Carmy.
I was a skeptic about one-pot pasta — until I made it myself. While this recipe calls for ground beef, you can really riff to your heart’s delight — swap in ground chicken, turkey, or sweet Italian sausage, or no meat at all for that matter. The broken spaghetti cooks right in the sauce.
One-pot sausage recipes
From Italian to Creole, sausage lends flavor and versatility to dishes around the world
In this well-loved dinner recipe from Salt and Lavender, shelf-stable potato gnocchi is cooked right in the creamy tomato sauce.
This rich and satisfying one-pan recipe from Leite’s Culinaria is like shakshuka on steroids — if by steroids you mean lots of zucchini, eggplant, red peppers, and chorizo.
My first thought was: What?! And then: Oh, wow. This is everything you love about lasagna — creamy ricotta, fresh basil, sweet Italian sausage, bowtie pasta, crushed tomatoes, mozzarella, cooked pasta — layered in a cast-iron skillet. Ten minutes in the oven and you’re ready to eat.
It’s hard to imagine packing more into a one-pot dinner than a classic jambalaya. Full of chicken, Andouille sausage, and shrimp, the Cajun/Creole holy trinity (onions, celery, bell pepper), and tomatoes, herbs, and rice, this recipe from Beach House Kitchen is super satisfying.
One-pot fish recipes
Fish takes center stage in these easy dinners with even easier cleanup
When my husband first told me that, in college, he used to make salmon in his rice cooker, I almost called him a liar. I didn’t — and good thing, too, because it’s not just possible, it’s super easy and delicious. In this true-to-form one-pot dish from MyRecipes, you steam salmon over partially cooked rice, wait 7 minutes, scatter peas over the rice and salmon, wait another 3 to 5 minutes, then drizzle everything with a simple soy-based sauce before serving.
Not only are the dirty dishes virtually non-existent, but canned tuna makes quick work of this yummy main dish. Kids can skip the artichoke hearts and tomatoes, while parents can enjoy the mature flavors of a dinner that satisfies everyone in the house.
More easy dinners
Check out these additional meal ideas for non-stop dinner inspiration: