5 Ingredients or Less: 25 Meals For All Taste Buds

Not everyone can keep a lot of different ingredients in the cupboards. And not everyone loves to spend a lot of time whipping up complex meals.

For that reason, I’ve complied a list of 25 meals with just 5 ingredients or less to inspire your creativity, and enable you to enjoy simple, and easy meals at home for the whole family.

It’s not for everyone perhaps, but if you sometimes struggle to come up with a varied weekly menu for your family, or if you just want to keep your cooking simple, these healthy meals with 5 ingredients or less, could provide the perfect option for you.

5 ingredient meals by Fish, Poultry, Red Meat, Pork, and Vegetarian.

Important: Flour, water, oil, butter, salt, and pepper are not included in the 5 ingredients (or less) ingredient count.

Fish Meals With 5 Ingredients or Less

#1 Lemon Baked Fish

Preparation time: 5 minutes
Cooking time: 20-30 minutes
Servings: 3

3 Ingredients:

  • 1 pound frozen fish fillets of your choice
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 3 tablespoons lemon juice
  • Salt and pepper
  • Fresh dill


  1. Oil a baking dish, and arrange fish in a single layer. Season with a little salt and pepper.
  2. Add a few drops of olive oil, and pour the lemon juice over. Scatter dill on top for flavour.
  3. Bake the fish at 350°F (180°C) for 20 to 30 minutes.
  4. Serve with juices from the pan.

Recipe source

#2 Indoor-Grilled Salmon

Preparation time: 20 minutes
Cooking time: 15 minutes
Servings: 4

1 Ingredient:

  • Four 5-ounce salmon fillets (about 1-inch thick), skin-on
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper


  1. Bring the salmon to room temperature 20 minutes before grilling.
  2. Preheat the oven to 450°F (230°C). Set a large cast-iron grill pan over low heat and pre-heat for 1 minute.
  3. Meanwhile, brush the salmon lightly with the oil, and season with salt and pepper.
  4. Raise the heat under the grill pan to medium-high. Place the salmon, skin-side up on the grill, at an angle across the ridges of the pan. Cook until the fish has distinctive grill marks, about 3 minutes. Cook 2 minutes more. Turn the salmon over, and transfer the grill pan to the oven. Continue cooking the fish in the oven for 2 to 3 minutes for pink inside, 5 minutes for medium, and 7 minutes for well done.
  5. Remove the fish from the pan, and let rest for 2 minutes, to finish cooking.

Recipe source

#3 Fish Cakes

Serve with steamed veggies, or a tossed salad.

Click here:  7 Low Carb Side Dishes You Need To Try

Preparation time: 5 minutes
Cooking time: 15 minutes
Servings: 4

4 Ingredients:

  • 425g tin of tuna
  • 1 large sweet potato, mashed with a little milk and olive based spread
  • 1 tablespoon sweet chili sauce
  • Breadcrumbs (enough to be able to shape the fish into cakes)


  1. Put sweet potato in a pot of boiling water and cook until tender. Mash with a little milk. Drain tuna well and add to mashed sweet potato.
  2. Add in the chopped onion and sweet chili sauce. Mix together well.
  3. Add enough breadcrumbs to make patties. Season with salt and pepper. Mold the mixture into patties.
  4. Heat around 2 teaspoons of oil in frying pan and cook the fish cakes for 5 -7 minutes, turning only once, until hot and golden.

Recipe source

#4 Lemony Tuna and Orzo Salad

Preparation time: 10 minutes
Cooking time: 10 minutes
Servings: 2

5 Ingredients:

  • 2 cups orzo pasta
  • 2 (5 ounce) pouches herb and garlic marinated chunk tuna, drained
  • 1 green bell pepper, chopped
  • 2 cucumbers, peeled and chopped
  • 1 cup creamy lemon salad dressing – substitute mayo for a low fat version


  1. Cook orzo according to package directions; drain well.
  2. Combine with remaining ingredients in large bowl and toss gently to coat.
  3. Cover and refrigerate for 3-4 hours before serving.

Recipe source

Which 5 ingredient meals (or less) take your fancy?

Poultry Meals With 5 Ingredients or Less

#5 Balsamic Chicken Salad

You could also try using a different salad dressing, or alternative vegetables in this super easy recipe.

Preparation time: 10 minutes
Serves: 4

4 Ingredients:

  • 10 oz. packet of baby salad greens
  • 2 (5 oz.) sliced pre-grilled chicken breast
  • 1/2 lb. cubed reduced fat cheese
  • 1/2 cup balsamic vinaigrette dressing


  1. Slice chicken breasts into strips.
  2. Toss with salad greens, cheese and vinaigrette dressing, serve.

Recipe source

#6 Pesto Chicken Packets

Preparation time: 20 minutes
Cooking time: 25 minutes
Servings: 4

5 Ingredients:

  • 4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
  • 8 plum tomatoes, sliced 1/2″ thick
  • 2 cups frozen asparagus pieces
  • 1/2 cup basil pesto
  • 2 tablespoons low fat mayonnaise


  1. Heat grill. Place 1 chicken breast half on 18×12″ sheet of heavy duty foil. Divide tomatoes and asparagus over chicken.
  2. In small bowl, combine pesto with mayonnaise. Divide this mixture over food on each sheet.
  3. Fold foil over chicken and seal edges, using double fold method.
  4. Cover and grill packets 6″ from medium coals for 25-30 minutes, or until chicken is no longer pink in center. You could also bake the packets in a preheated 450° degrees oven for 20-30 minutes, or until done.
Click here:  10 Ways to Make Vegetables Taste Good

Recipe source

#7 Chicken with Lime and Mango

Try serving with steamed potatoes, and salad or vegetables.

Preparation: 10 minutes, +15 minutes marinating
Cooking time: 15 minutes
Servings: 4

4 Ingredients:

  • 125ml lime juice
  • 2 tablespoons orange juice
  • 1 large mango, peeled and diced
  • 4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, about 600g


  1. Combine the lime juice, orange juice and mango in a shallow dish. Add the chicken breasts and turn several times to coat with the marinade. Cover and refrigerate for 15 minutes, or overnight.
  2. Remove the chicken from the marinade and place on a heated barbecue hotplate, or in a hot non-stick frying pan.
  3. Cook for 10-15 minutes, turning several times and brushing with the marinade.

Recipe source: Healthy Eating for Australian Families, Rosemary Stanton.

#8 Berry Chicken Salad

Cooking chicken in a salad dressing is an unusual way to add flavor, and reduce the calorie content.

Preparation time: 10 minutes
Cooking time: 10 minutes
Servings: 6

4 Ingredients:

  • 1 lb. boneless skinless chicken breasts, cut into strips
  • 1 cup Catalina or French salad dressing
  • 10 oz. packet mixed salad greens
  • 2 cups sliced strawberries, or blueberries, or raspberries


  1. In a large skillet, simmer chicken in 1/4 cup of the salad dressing over medium heat until chicken is cooked thoroughly.
  2. Toss greens, strawberries and chicken in large bowl with remaining dressing, serve.

Recipe source

#9 Minted Chicken Breasts with Cucumber Sauce

Preparation time: 15 minutes
Cooking time: 10 minutes
Servings: 4

5 Ingredients:

  • 4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
  • 1 1/2 cups plain yogurt
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1 cucumber, peeled, seeded, and chopped
  • 5 fresh mint leaves, minced


  1. Season chicken with salt, pepper, and cayenne pepper, and spread both sides with 1/2 cup yogurt. Cover and refrigerate for 1-2 hours.
  2. In a small bowl, combine 1 cup yogurt with cucumber and mint; mix well and refrigerate.
  3. When ready to eat, broil chicken 6″ from heat for 4-5 minutes on each side until browned and thoroughly cooked.
  4. Serve chicken with cucumber and mint sauce on side.

Recipe source

#10 Spinach Chicken Salad

Preparation time: 10 minutes
Cooking time: 10 minutes

4 Ingredients:

  • 6 cups baby spinach leaves
  • 2 cups chopped cooked chicken
  • 1/2 cup crumbled feta cheese
  • 1/2 cup tarragon salad dressing
Click here:  4 Ingredient Peanut Butter Cups


  1. Combine spinach, chicken, and cheese in large salad bowl.
  2. Drizzle creamy tarragon salad dressing over salad. Toss gently and serve.

Recipe source

#11 Saucy Salsa Chicken

This recipe would go well with rice, and a selection of steamed vegetables.

Preparation time: 10 minutes
Cooking time: 45 minutes
Servings: 6

4 Ingredients:

  • 6 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
  • 2 cups salsa
  • 1/3 cup brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons honey dijon mustard


  1. Preheat oven to 350° F. Combine all ingredients and place in 13×9″ pan.
  2. Bake for 40-45 minutes until chicken is thoroughly cooked.

Recipe source

#12 Grilled Turkey Tenderloin with Stuffing

Preparation time: 15 minutes
Cooking time: 30 minutes
Servings: 8

5 Ingredients:

  • 1/4 cup lemon juice
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme leaves
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried tarragon leaves
  • 3 (12 oz.) turkey breast tenderloins
  • 8 servings of stuffing mix


  1. Mix lemon juice, oil, salt, pepper, thyme, and tarragon in a glass baking dish. Add turkey tenderloins and turn to coat. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate at least 1 hour, but not longer than 24 hours.
  2. Brush grill rack with vegetable oil and heat grill. Grease a 9″ square aluminum pan and set aside.
  3. Remove turkey tenderloins from marinade and place directly on grill. Cover grill and cook turkey 4-5″ from medium coals for 15 minutes.
  4. Meanwhile, in large bowl stir stuffing mix together with amount of water called for on package. Spoon into prepared aluminum pan and cover with foil. Add pan with stuffing to grill rack.
  5. Brush turkey with marinade and turn. Discard remaining marinade. Cover and grill 10-15 minutes longer, or until center is no longer pink, or internal temperature reaches 180° F, and stuffing is hot and tender.
  6. Let turkey and stuffing stand for 10 minutes before serving. Cut tenderloins into 1″ pieces and serve with stuffing.

Recipe source

Which 5 ingredient meals (or less) take your fancy?

Click the next page to see red meat recipes with 5 ingredients or less…

Comments 25

  1. Family Nutritionist

    There are some great ideas here. Also, don’t forget meatloaf. You can do it in 5 ingredients if you like it plain, 6 if you want to add a seasoning (italian seasoning, curry powder, chili powder, or chipotle peppers, for example).

    Is your “kumara” my “sweet potato”? In the US’s New England, fishcakes were traditionally made from leftover salt cod (bacala) and mashed potato. This is an interesting variation.

  2. Melanie

    Hi guys,

    Thank you all for commenting!

    Lauren – I hope you enjoy!

    Tanya – Your site looks great, I’ll check out your recipes too.

    Family Nutritionist – I’ve actually never tried meatloaf, can you recommend a recipe? Yes, the kumara is sweet potato, or is it also called yam in the USA?

    Ruth – you can let me know if you do try any of them out!

  3. ruth

    hi mel, well I tried the chicken pesto parcels. Wonderful! similar to another dish I make stufing my chicken with mozerella and beef tonatoes and fresh basil leaves. so it was good having another variation.

  4. Melanie

    Hi Rebecca,

    Glad you found the recipes useful, I thought the berry chicken sounded great too.

    Hi Ruth,

    So the pesto parcels went well..that’s great news. Yes, I’ve had your stuffed chicken dish too, it’s delicious!

    BTW, thanks for the rice recipe, I’ve definitely had it once before, and it’s great. I’ll let you know how it goes. Thank you!

  5. Family Nutritionist

    In the US, “yam” and “sweet potato” can be confusing. The sweet potato is not a yam, but for some reason the red or orange sweet potatoes are called yams, especially in the South Maybe they taste something like real yams (which I’ve never had). So sometimes they are called “yam sweet potatoes”. And sometimes yams are called “yams (not sweet potatoes)”. But real yams are uncommon, except in groceries with lots of customers from the Caribbean.

    And the pale, whitish variety of sweet potatoes are always called sweet potatoes, but who eats them? Sweet potato pie, mashed sweet potatoes, sweet potato french fries, and are made with the orange sweet potatoes. Candied yams are made with the orange sweet potatoes, too.

  6. Melanie

    Hi Family Nutritionist,

    Thanks for linking to your meatloaf recipe. Since replying to your initial, I’ve had meatloaf at a friends house. It was great, and not at all what I had expected.

    Also, thanks for clearing up the extremely confusing “yam” issue!

  7. Karyn

    THANKS so much for these recipes!! What a wonderful and EASY idea – and healthy! I am not big on beef, but will use probably 75% or the recipes posted here!
    Thanks again,

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *