15 Dishes that You Should Definitely Make at Least Once

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Whether you are an expert cook or a novice, some recipes never get old. There is always something new to learn or improve with basic recipes.

The following list explores such dishes that every cooking enthusiast should try at least once.

1. Pancakes

Pancakes are a staple breakfast item made from pantry staples like flour, eggs, and milk.

The process is simple, you combine the dry ingredients and wet ingredients separately and mix them in the end.

Let the batter rest for some time before pouring a spoonful on a grill or frying pan and cooking it on medium heat.

Though it’s not a complicated recipe, the following tips will help you get it right:

  • Avoid overmixing the batter.
  • Rest the batter for enough time.
  • Pour the batter into a pan that is already heated.
  • Flip it when the bubbles appear and pop.

2. Mashed Potatoes

Mashed potatoes are a comforting dish that is easy to prepare.

It’s made by whipping together simple pantry ingredients like potatoes, cream or milk, butter, herbs, and salt.

The simplest way to make mashed potatoes is to boil the potatoes till soft. Then, dry them and mash them with milk, butter, and herbs.

Depending on your preference, you can make it soft and airy or lumpy by choosing a suitable tool for mashing.

So, you can either choose a hand mixer, traditional potato masher, or whisk.

3. French Fries

The traditional way to make French fries is to deep fry potato slices cut into long sticks.

You can either do this on the stovetop or in an electric deep fryer. However, you can also make healthier versions by using an air-fryer or oven.

There are many recipes for French fries. You can either work with fresh-cut potatoes or first boil them gently till the insides cook.

French fries are a perfect side dish for burgers and sandwiches. You can also enjoy them on their own.

4. Cookies

One of the easiest things to bake is cookies. Basic cookie dough requires a handful of ingredients, most of which will be available in your pantry.

You can make a basic cookie dough with ingredients like sugar, unsalted butter, vanilla extract, flour, eggs, and milk.

Mix all the ingredients, separate into equal size balls, shape into cookies, and bake them in a hot oven. The process is that simple.

Additional ingredients like chocolate chips, oats, enriched flour, baking powder, and toppings can make this item more exciting.

5. Fried Rice

Fried rice is a flavorful rice dish made with rice, a variety of chopped vegetables, eggs, and meat or seafood. It’s easy to prepare.

The process is to assemble all the ingredients and simply toss them together with oil and seasonings until they combine.

You can easily make fried rice with leftover rice or even fresh rice. It works as an excellent side for Asian and Chinese dishes.

Variations can include herbs and sauces like soy sauce or chilly sauce for added flavor.

6. Stir-Fried Vegetables or Meat

Another Asian-inspired recipe that can be put together in minutes is a stir fry.

It’s a quick and nutritious dish made by cooking a mix of fresh vegetables or meat in a flavorful sauce.

Stir-fries are typically made in a wok or hot pan by tossing the different ingredients around in hot oil till they are cooked and well combined.

You can also do this in a frying pan in the absence of a wok.

For the non-vegetarian version, you can add pieces of chicken or seafood with the vegetables to create a one-pot delicious dish.

7. Roast Chicken

The traditional Sunday roast is comfort food that is widely enjoyed by all.

It uses a whole chicken infused with herbs and spices, and roasted in the oven to perfection. The preparation is simple.

You must clean the chicken and rub it with the herb mix. You can stuff the chicken if you prefer, but this step is optional.

Once the chicken is ready, place it in a hot oven and roast it for a few hours till the juices run clear.

Though it takes time, you don’t have to supervise it. This dish yields large servings, and you will have enough leftovers to last a few more days.

8. Spaghetti Bolognese

This classic Italian dish is a favorite among pasta lovers across the world.

It is made by cooking beef in a rich tomato-based meat sauce and pouring it over cooked spaghetti.

The tomato sauce is made with traditional herbs and Italian spices like oregano and basil.

The quality of the tomatoes will decide the quality and flavor of the tomato sauce.

If you don’t use beef, you can alter the recipe for chicken or even make a vegan or vegetarian version.

9. Cheesecake

A cheesecake is a delicious sweet dessert with one or more layers. The main layer is a thick mixture of soft, fresh cheese, eggs, and sugar.

It will usually have a biscuit or crumb base on which the soft cheesy layer appears.

The base is traditionally made of graham crackers held together by melted butter. The filling is heavy, smooth, and decadent.

There are multiple variations and recipes for cheesecake. Some of them do not even need baking.

10. Brownies


Brownies are easy-to-bake sweets that can be either fudgy or cakey, depending on the recipe.

They are made with ingredients like eggs, cocoa powder, milk, and flour.

The batter is easier to prepare than the cake batter since there isn’t much whipping and beating involved.

Though brownies look like flattened cakes, they are usually denser and more flavorful.

Brownies have glossy skin on their upper crust with a thick brown chocolatey taste.

The insides are also usually soft, with an intense chocolate flavor.

There are several recipes for brownies, and they are the perfect comfort dessert. They go well with ice cream or can be had on their own.

You can also make non-cocoa versions of brownies called blondies using the same technique.

11. Cakes

Cakes are made with flour, sugar, and other ingredients mixed in a specific ratio and baked in the oven.

The mixing process and ingredient ratios will differ according to the recipe.

But it typically involves combining the dry and wet ingredients separately, mixing them, and baking the cake batter in the oven.

Cakes can be considered as modifications of bread.

However, there are several recipes for cakes, and you can make them as simple or as elaborate as you choose.

You can eat cakes without frosting. But you can also make it tastier with decadent frostings like buttercream, fondant, and other decorations.

Depending on the ingredients used for the batter and the decoration, you can have different types of cakes like chocolate cake, honey cake, banana cake, and more.

12. Bread

Homemade bread is very different from store-bought varieties. It tastes better and is fluffy, soft, and free from preservatives in packaged versions.

You can control the ingredients and use healthier options like whole wheat flour and nuts or seeds in the bread dough, instead of refined flour.

One of the key ingredients to make homemade bread, apart from flour, is yeast.

Yeast is the rising agent that helps the bread dough rise and become aerated.

You can also add ingredients like bananas, zucchini, nuts, and seeds for added flavor and nutrition.

13. Pizza

If you have an oven at home, you should try making pizza at least once.

The pizza dough is a combination of yeast, flour, baking powder, and/or baking soda.

There are various versions of the recipe depending on whether you want the crust to be thin or soft and fluffy.

You can also buy a pre-made base and add the toppings before baking.

Once you prepare the base, you can experiment with the toppings. Some of the most used toppings are mushrooms, olives, peppers, and chicken.

The main ingredient, however, is cheese which forms the topmost layer.

The recipe will also include tomato sauce and Italian herbs, like oregano, parsley, and thyme.

After assembling the pizza base and ingredients, you can bake it in an oven for the recommended duration.

The cheese will melt, and the pizza base and toppings will be properly cooked.

14. Omelet

A basic but hearty egg-based recipe that you can put together with just a few ingredients is an omelet. The main ingredient of an omelet is eggs.

You can add fillings like vegetables, meat, herbs, and seasonings to the whisked eggs to make your omelet base.

Once you beat all the ingredients together, pour it into an oiled frying pan and let it cook.

Once the base is cooked, flip it over and let the other side cook as well.

You can also take it up a notch and transform a simple omelet into an elaborate dish like a frittata or shakshuka by adding ingredients like potatoes, cheese, and spinach and baking it in an oven.

15. Caesar Salad

A Caesar salad is a classic salad recipe that appeals to everyone. It uses croutons, romaine lettuce, and Parmesan cheese.

But the star of this salad is a tangy dressing made with garlic, mustard, Worcestershire sauce, and lemon juice.

To make a Caesar salad, simply assemble all the ingredients and toss them together with the sauce.

You can also add extra ingredients like shredded chicken or cooked eggs into the salad for added protein.

It’s a perfect dish to enjoy on its own. You can also have it as a side dish.

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