Skip To Content
    Updated on May 12, 2020. Posted on May 1, 2020

    21 Products That'll Help You Make Meals When You Don't Have A Lot Of Ingredients On Hand

    No fancy ingredients? No problem.

    We hope you love the products we recommend! All of them were independently selected by our editors. Just so you know, BuzzFeed may collect a share of sales or other compensation from the links on this page if you decide to shop from them. Oh, and FYI — prices are accurate and items in stock as of time of publication.

    1. A mini waffle maker that will churn out adorably-sized, perfectly cooked-through four-ingredient waffles in mere minutes — not to mention hash browns, paninis, biscuits, and even (gasp) PIZZA.

    Amazon

    Here's a BuzzFeed-tested recipe for four-ingredient banana waffles to get you started, plus a whole slew of inspo from an article on surprising things you can make in a waffle maker (waffled tomato grilled cheese, y'all).

    Promising review: "YES! Tiny Eggo-sized waffles! Put anything into it —hash browns, tater tots, waffle mix, canned biscuits! Add nuts and berries and things! It even comes with a little recipe booklet! It fits in the palm of your hand, you could literally stuff it in the back of a drawer, but you won't, because as soon as you get it everyone wants mini waffles for every meal. It heats up super fast and is a breeze to clean. If you're making a whole mess of waffles, be sure to give it a quick spritz of nonstick spray every couple waffles or so, so it doesn't rend your delicious waffles asunder. Excellent value." —Bryce Pierce

    Get it from Amazon for $14.99+ (available in nine other non-heart-shaped colors).

    2. A rapid egg cooker so versatile it can cook eggs in five different ways, all just using the steam from the water you measure into the machine. Breakfast for dinner just became breakfast for always.

    Amazon, amazon.com, amazon.com

    This is especially handy for those meals where you've got something in mind already, and just want to add a little more protein to it — like reheating leftover pizza, or jazzing up a salad. For more inspo, here are some budget-friendly egg recipes — including an avocado egg salad — to get ya started.

    Promising review: "You know those objects that are totally unnecessary, but you see them and fall in love and live forever in happiness with your random kitschy thing? This is that thing. I saw this egg cooker on a BuzzFeed list and, even though I am a fully functioning adult who has never had trouble cooking eggs before in my life, I knew I had to have it. I have not been disappointed. It makes especially lovely, perfectly round omelettes with minimal cleanup required. Hard and soft boiled eggs cook evenly and taste great. The poached eggs are tender and melt in your mouth over toast." —Sonnet A. Fitzgerald

    Get it from Amazon for $18.11 (available in four other colors).

    3. An air fryer you can use to cook a truly aggressive abundance of perfectly-crisped dishes using the power of rapid air technology, with *way* fewer ingredients than other cooking methods.

    Amazon, amazon.com

    Here's a bunch of three-ingredient air fryer recipes for inspo — a true game-changer for anyone running low on ingredients like flour and yeast right now. Plus, BuzzFeed assembled a list of copycat air fryer recipes you can make in lockdown, including copycat McDonald's fries, copycat KFC biscuits, and copycat Taco Bell crunch wraps.

    Promising review: "I have been thinking of getting an air fryer for a while now. The price point and the comments regarding customer service finally pushed me to purchase this fryer. Best cooking gadget I have ever purchased! I have had it for four days and have used it every day! I have made fries, fish, shrimp, potatoes, and bacon in this marvel! The flavor is amazing and I have not used any oil yet. I did purchase an accessory kit but have not used it yet — still making things as it came. I am great at burning things in the pan and in the oven. I really like how you can open the basket to check the food as it is cooking without losing the time or the temperature. I have not burned one thing! It is extremely easy to clean! It is large, but I WILL make room for it on my counter!" —CK

    Get it from Amazon for $74.99+ (available in four colors).

    4. An Instant Pot not only equipped to turn very few ingredients into full blown meals, but preprogrammed so you can whip up many of them by literally putting them in the pot and pressing a button.

    amazon.com

    Here are some cheap and easy Instant Pot recipes that should clock in under $10 each, including a two-ingredient coconut curry pork and a five-ingredient vegetarian chili.

    Promising review: "Who needs a kitchen anymore? To say that I love my Instant Pot is an understatement. I've had it for only two weeks and I swear I haven't touched my stove or pans. So easy to use and so many functions. You can sauté meat, make hard-boiled eggs, perfect rice and beans, steam vegetables in a matter of minutes. The Instant Pot community is large and there are always recipes to be shared. So simple to use and clean. I've made anything from perfectly hard boiled eggs whose shells just fall off on their own, to soups, Mongolian beef and spaghetti! I am so glad I jumped in the Instant Pot bandwagon and cannot wait to purchase accessories in the future to make cheesecake and other things." —yestfl

    Get it from Amazon for $48.79+ (available in three sizes).

    5. A microwave pasta maker to conveniently cook a foolproof base for a meal, whether you're down to two ingredients (pasta + sauce = ❤️) or mixing it up with a few more.

    Amazon

    For the pasta lovers out there, here are some hearty five-ingredient pasta recipes to give a try, like pasta bolognese and creamy sausage and tortellini soup. Pro-tip: this microwave pasta maker works on lasagna and ravioli, too!

    Promising review: "Boiling a huge pan of water, cooking pasta, draining pasta -- it's kind of a process. I didn't realize how messy and time-consuming it actually was until I got this. Last night, I put egg noodles in it, added some water, cooked for twelve minutes, drained, and added butter and chopped Spam with some salt and pepper, and that was a satisfying and filling dish. Good with leftover baked beans! After you experiment with the proportions and get familiar with using the cooker in your microwave, it's pretty much drama-free." —Amazon Customer

    Get it from Amazon for $14.99.

    6. A small but effective rice cooker that steams meat and veggies in one compartment while the rice cooks below, so you can make dynamic, satisfying meals with whatever you happen to have left in the fridge.

    amazon.com

    Here's a list of easy things to make in a rice cooker, including a five-ingredient mac and cheese and a three-ingredient shrimp and broccoli.

    Promising review: "For a novice rice-cooker it's a great machine. I was used to making the typical American quick-cook rice. Didn't know what I was missing until I ordered some REAL rice and utilized this cooker. Wow, what a difference. Good purchase, delivered quickly during these uncertain times, and easy to use. Good deal." —Richard G. Capitano

    Get it from Amazon for $38.42+ (available in two colors).

    7. A gorgeous Dutch oven designed to stand the test of time *and* the test of five-ingredient bread recipes. (It also has some big Le Creuset energy, but with a much more reasonable price tag — theirs run in the $350 range in this approximate size.)

    Amazon

    Here's a list of five-ingredient baking recipes, including Easy No-Knead Bread, No-Knead Crust Artisan Loaves, and a No-Knead Sourdough that can all be made in a Dutch oven; you can also snag The 5-Ingredient Dutch Oven Cookbook: One Pot, 101 Easy Recipes for everything from salmon to soup to chili from Amazon for $10.99.

    Promising review: "Let me say that I am a Le Creuset fan, I’m just not a fan of their prices. However, I got this Dutch oven about two weeks ago, and I have used it EVERY DAY since. I have used it to make stock, to make soup, to make marinara and meatballs and to bake bread! I love that the handle on the top is metal, so it’s completely oven proof. Cleaning it is a breeze, even if you manage to burn a little marinara on the outside of it. Honestly, you just can’t go wrong with this purchase." —Lori Horne

    Get it from Amazon for $41.49+ (available in four sizes and four colors).

    8. A set of non-stick, reusable toaster oven bags that will let you make grilled cheese, paninis, and toasted sammies right in the toaster — all you need is bread and whatever sandwich ingredients you have on hand.

    Amazon, amazon.com

    If you've got cheese and bread at the ready, you're more than halfway there on these — here's a giant list of grilled cheese recipes you can experiment on with these bad boys.

    (Psst — you can also use these to reheat french fries, pizza, and even mini tacos, and get all that glorious heat without them getting all soggy from the microwave. Leftovers just got lit.)

    Promising review: "I had no idea how well these would work. You can put toast or rolls or anything that will fit in the slot — even if it has jelly or spread or anything on it — in the bag in the toaster and it doesn't hurt the toaster, and the food comes out warm." —mare36

    Get a four-pack on Amazon for $7.99, or a ten-pack for $12.99.

    9. A sushi-making kit perfect for beginners, so you can take the fate of your rolls into your own hands by working with whatever ingredients you have on hand.

    Amazon

    If you're strapped on ingredients, there are plenty of things you can put in sushi rolls — aside from avocado, fish, and veggies, you can try mixing it up with fruit, nuts, or whatever meats you have on hand. It's important to note these inclusions are by no means how sushi is traditionally made, but quarantine sushi is a whole new ballgame, y'all.

    Promising review: "When people started talking about how even their child could make sushi rolls with this, I knew that I had to try it. I'm a decent cook, but when it comes to operating even the simplest of apparatuses, I'm not the most talented person. But, lo and behold, when I used this kit, making the rolls was easy and as quick as this task will ever get. I just stuff some pre-cut carrot matchsticks, some thin avocado slices, some thin (seeded) cucumber slices, and roll the nori and rice into a lovely roll. This one goes out to all those adults that never try anything new because why bother: You can do this!!!" —Mr. Martha Stewart

    Get it from Amazon for $24.95.

    10. An avocado slicer that'll more than earn its keep by taking care of those pesky pits and giving you perfectly-portioned slices for easy salads, sandwiches, and — of course — avocado toast.

    amazon.com

    This three-in-one tool can split an avocado with its pointy tip, remove the pit with its center, and make perfectly even slices with the bottom — a much safer alternative to using a regular knife and potential falling prey to the dreaded "avocado hand."

    Here's a list of creative avocado toast ideas for anyone in a rut, or a list of avocado recipes that aren't toast if you're over it. Plus, if you're low on butter, you can actually use avocado as a handy butter swap in baking by scooping and mashing it!

    Promising review: "So worth the space in the kitchen! This thing really does what it says. I love mine and use it all the time. Pit removal is super easy with this, no more knife-prying. I didn't think the cutting tool would be as effective as it is- but it works great as well. No complaints on this product — would buy again!" —K. Cyr

    Get it from Amazon for $9.99.

    11. A silicone muffin mold handy enough to cook single-sized portions of eggs, pastries, and muffins without a ton of nonstick prep, and with ridiculously easy cleanup.

    amazon.com, Via amazon.com

    Behold this list of muffin recipes that are four ingredients or less, including sweet potato applesauce muffins and cheddar broccoli egg muffins.

    Promising review: "OMGosh I love this thing!!! I've always wanted one but too lazy to get one and finally got one. I love love love it!!! I use it to make eggs, veggies, and muffins. Just spray a little Pam on it and the muffins puffed up so beautifully and they literally fell out of the silicone pan!! Love it!!! Highly recommend!!" —Julie Frey

    Get one from Amazon for $10.19.

    12. A set of stainless-steel cooking rings you can use to shape anything from eggs to salmon cakes to burgers to pancakes, so you can get creative with your leftovers. Veggies from last night? Boom, mini quiches. Fruit that's about to go bad? Pancake city, y'all.

    Amazon

    Promising review: "What I love about these molds are that they're easy to use for anything I want to be small and round. They lift up easy and make cooking easier. I use them for eggs, mini pancakes, mini cakes, burgers, everything. I like that they have a handle to pull up on too." —VeroTechno

    Get a set of four from Amazon for $10.50.

    13. A silicone baking mat for your sheet pan, so you can get experimenting with the ultimate cooking free-for-all: sheet pan dinners.

    amazon.com, amazon.com

    This list of quick and easy sheet pan dinners — essentially, dinners where you can put all the ingredients on a pan at once and cook 'em in one go — should get you started even if you only have a few ingredients on hand.

    Promising review: "Our hopes in purchasing this product was to eliminate the need of parchment or foil paper. So we put it to the ultimate test by making fathead dough and rolling it out directly onto the silicone baking mat. I could not believe it didn't stick during the rolling out or the actual baking process. We continuously put it to the test and we've not had any issues as of yet. We just love this great find!!!" —Amazon Customer

    Get a set of two from Amazon for $13.99.

    14. A pair of shredder claws to carve all your meats up faster than Wolverine can blink, so you can add a ton of versatile, minimal ingredient recipes to your lineup.

    amazon.com

    Here's a list of three-ingredient recipes to get you started, including one for shredded chicken and one for pulled pork that has root beer in it.

    Promising review: "My pork shoulder always tastes good, but I'm too lazy to pull or chop it properly. These claws really made short, pretty easy work of that job. I used them just as described: I put the meat on and took it off, cut off a portion, dug in, and started pulling. You can make your pieces as big or small as you like. Much easier than with a fork or knife. They just work. I think, after writing this, I'm going to go put a shoulder on right now." —Edwin C. Kebschull

    Get it from Amazon for $12.99.

    15. A magnetic microwave cover perfect for cooking *chef's kiss* perfectly baked potatoes, and for sparing you from the sadness of having to clean up your dinner before you've even eaten it.

    Amazon

    Here are a bunch of low-ingredient ways to eat a potato for dinner (RICOTTA + TOMATOES! My heart), not that you needed any more of an excuse for a tater night.

    Promising review: "I wish I'd bought one of these a long time ago. It keeps the microwave clean and you don't have to put paper towels over your food to cover while cooking. I did baked potatoes using the cover and it did a really good job. They didn't dry out like they usually do. I am extremely happy with this product! Great price too!" —Texas Tea

    Get it from Amazon for $7.99.

    16. A nine-in-one pressure cooker equipped to make *deep breath* stews, soups, rice, eggs, yogurt, porridge, and veggies, among a bajillion other simple, low-ingredient ideas you can try in the free recipe book it comes with.

    amazon.com

    Psst — this pressure cooker was also one of Oprah's Favorite Things in 2019!

    Promising review: This product it’s just so convenient and easy to use! I like to cook but not when I am alone (I get lazy), but this pressure cooker has saved my life from eating junk food to cooking delicious meals for myself again! I don’t have to be by the kitchen keeping and eye open that it wont catch on fire as the cooker is safe and it won’t burn my meals. It also has the option of keeping the food warm after it's cooked, which is super convenient for me as I always get caught up in something ending with a cold or reheated meal. Everybody can use it with ease and everything that comes out of it is delicious! I will keep experimenting with all of its nine cooking features and trying the recipes they post on IG." —Jorchual G.

    Get it from Amazon for $98.95+ (available in three colors and one other size).

    17. A panini press to make you gorgeous Panera-level sandwiches with whatever you happen to have stocked in the fridge.

    amazon.com

    Word to the wise — it'll also cook pizza and open-faced sandwiches. Infinite cheese toast = infinite possibilities. Speaking of, here are some easy, creative sandwich ideas with few ingredients for inspo.

    Promising review: "I am very happy with this panini press. I was a little leery because of the low price but my worry was unfounded. The packaging was easy to open and easy to remove the press. The plates heat up fast and are easy to wipe off. I was feeling lazy one day do I used this to cook burgers. It worked very well. I think I'll even try a steak on it! Very happy I made this purchase!" —Iowagal4

    Get it from Amazon for $32.75 (available in three colors).

    18. A veggie chopper that also spiralizes, juliennes, and slices, so you can try your hand at making veggies the main attraction when you're running low on other staples.

    Amazon, amazon.com

    Here's a list of five-ingredient recipes to make with a spiralizer from Spoon University that includes a template to guide you based on whatever you have on hand.

    Promising review: "This tool makes chopping so much easier. I also love the spiralizer attachment. It's easy to clean and even has cleaning tools. Best of all it all stores neatly inside of each other." —Liza

    Get it from Amazon for $24.97.

    19. A breakfast sandwich maker that can turn a mere four ingredients into a delicious square meal by simultaneously cooking an egg, toasting bread, warming precooked meat, and melting cheese into the perfect sammie in less than five minutes.

    amazon.com

    Promising review: "I am actually excited for my weekday breakfast now. These homemade mcmuffins are so good! My favorite version uses sliced tomatoes, Swiss cheese, and precooked bacon (from Costco). So many options, so easy! My kindergartener and my teenager both love it. I may have to buy another one for our family. It's also easy to clean with a quick wipe-down." —Joolie

    Get it from Amazon for $22.19.

    20. A set of porcelain ramekins for single-serving foods like mac and cheese, quiches, and desserts, so you can not only cook with fewer ingredients, but conserve what you have by only cooking what you need.

    amazon.com

    Promising review: "These ramekins are great! They are the perfect 4 oz size and look beautiful. I used them to make some creme brûlée and they came out so adorable. They come well packaged and are easy to clean. They bake well and are pretty nonstick. Overall I am very happy with my purchase." —adc.jdc.522

    Get a set of six from Amazon for $12.50.

    21. A yogurt maker that can make six-ounce containers of up to seven different types of yogurts at once, using a base of three or four ingredients plus whatever fruit or flavoring you have at the ready.

    amazon.com, amazon.com

    Here's a list of creative yogurt add-ins from Bon Appetit for anyone looking for ideas.

    Promising review: "Got my yogurt maker this week and tried it for the first time yesterday. Followed the instructions exactly, making my yogurt before bed. Eight beautiful hours later, I woke to perfect, creamy and thick jars of yogurt. For a single person, this small size appliance is just the right size. Easy to use." —Teresa Ali

    Get it from Amazon for $27.99.

    You channeling your inner Ina Garten while ordering these products:

    Food Network

    Reviews have been edited for length and/or clarity.

    Shopping for something specific? Check out BuzzFeed Reviews to find the best things for every budget!

    BuzzFeed

    Looking for more great Amazon finds? Check out some of our favorite cheap things to buy on Amazon, some of the weirdest things on Amazon you might actually want, or read through all the rest of our incredible Amazon product recommendations.

    Shopping Newsletter

    Find great products and the best-money saving deals around, delivered right to your inbox.
    Newsletter signup form