2-Ingredient Recipes That Couldn't Be Easier To Make

Settling in and tackling a big cooking project is the perfect way to spend the day. Not every time-consuming recipe needs a ton of ingredients. After all, sourdough bread is essentially just flour, water, and salt; however, the complexity comes in when you consider the time and mastery needed. On the flip side, there are recipes with lengthy ingredient lists but a relatively simple methodology for bringing them all together. So, if you merge both extremes, you land in the middle with a delicious, easy recipe requiring minimal ingredients. How about only two ingredients?

Combining a mere two ingredients can produce a dish that's more than the sum of its parts — like cheddar and apple slices or peanut butter on a graham cracker. The blend of flavors and textures transforms both ingredients into something interesting and satisfying. Beyond simple snacks, there are an abundant number of recipes that quickly come together with just two ingredients. Here are some of our favorites. 

Ganache: chocolate and heavy cream

There is something almost magical about combining chopped chocolate and warm cream. The cream mingles with the bits of chocolate, softening them just enough so that after a few minutes, you can whisk them together into a gloriously thick and shiny sauce called ganache. "Sauce" may not be the right word based on how easily ganache clings to a spoon. Plus, as it cools and the chocolate hardens, it becomes pudding-like in texture. Ganache is usually made with a 1-to-1 ratio of cream to chocolate, but that can be adjusted for a slightly thicker or looser final result.

Even though it tastes delicious when eaten straight off a spoon, there are a ton of other ways to use this dessert sauce. If you cool it and whip it with an electric mixer, it becomes a light and fluffy frosting for cakes or cupcakes. Or, you can refrigerate it until it's firm, then roll it into balls for a satisfying plate of chocolate truffles waiting to be adorned with additional flavors or a special coating. Alternatively, you can cook it until it's thickened but still pourable and drizzle it over the top of a cake. Let the sauce gently drip over the edges for a simple but elegant decoration. 

Chocolate mousse: chocolate and eggs

While a whipped ganache made with chocolate and heavy cream is silky and smooth, it lacks the signature lightness of a mousse. Classic chocolate mousse is made from chocolate, cream, sugar, eggs, and butter, but you can make a luscious chocolate mousse with only two ingredients

Since there is no added sugar, make sure to start with good quality, sweetened chocolate, like semi-sweet or bittersweet chocolate. You'll also want to separate your whites from the yolks because each performs separate functions in the recipe. To make the mousse, melt the chocolate and whisk in the egg yolks to create a smooth base. Then, whip the egg whites to stiff peaks and fold them into the base. This is the most critical part of the process because the beaten egg whites will suspend the chocolate base in its tiny air bubbles. If the whites are overbeaten, they become clumpy and will not fold in smoothly. Then, just chill the mousse to set.

Bacon-wrapped dates: bacon and dates

The mixture of something sweet and something salty satisfies two cravings at once. While a plate of crispy bacon is a standout breakfast or snack option by itself, combining it with another ingredient that offers a different texture and sticky sweetness turns an already amazing food into something exceptional.

Bacon-wrapped dates are nothing new. There are countless versions filled with different cheeses or nuts. They're a popular offering on Spanish tapas menus and may include variations like Devils on Horseback, which uses prunes instead of dates. 

Dates have a long pit in the center that needs to be removed before you wrap them. While this creates a natural pocket for blue cheese, goat cheese, Parmesan, Manchego, or crunchy Marcona almonds, these are just extras. Leaving them out doesn't deter from the essence of the recipe.

For the best bacon-wrapped dates, look for soft, plump dates and choose a classic cut sliced bacon versus a thick cut. The bacon needs to be fully cooked and crisp without the date drying out.  Just wrap half a slice of bacon around a date, secure the ends of the bacon with a toothpick, and bake. Be wary of cooking the bites for too long, as this may cause the natural sugars to over-caramelize and taste burnt.

Ice cream bread: ice cream and self-rising flour

This shortcut recipe is perfect for someone who loves baked goods but doesn't have the patience or pantry space to gather a bunch of baking essentials and carefully measure each one of them. The idea behind the combination of ice cream and self-rising flour is that each one is itself a mixture of ingredients. Self-rising flour is all-purpose flour with salt and baking powder added to it. Ice cream is cream, milk, sugar, and, often, eggs. If you list all of the components separately, it quickly looks like a standard cake recipe. Combining these two ingredients together just expedites the process. 

Bake your melted ice cream and flour mixture in a loaf or cake pan until dry and golden. Vanilla ice cream makes a simple, classic cake, but the formula leaves plenty of room for experimenting with other flavors, like coffee and chocolate, or something less expected, like green tea or pistachio. If you choose a flavor with large chunks, such as pistachios, strain the melted ice cream and chop the nuts so they don't sink to the bottom of the cake, or give them a pulse in a food processor to break them up.

No-churn ice cream: heavy cream and sweetened condensed milk

No ice cream maker? No problem. This method of making ice cream isn't as traditional as taking a custard base and then churning it in a machine until it's aerated and thick, but it is just as delicious and only requires heavy cream and sweetened condensed milk.

Sweetened condensed milk is thick, syrupy, and very sweet and should not be confused with evaporated milk — which lacks the same viscosity and sugar. The sweet dairy product also has a concentrated toasted milk flavor, which adds a unique taste that is strong enough, even when cut with heavy cream, to flavor the ice cream.

The heavy cream needs to be whipped into firm, stable peaks before it's folded into the condensed milk. The mousse-like result is then frozen until it's firm enough to scoop — which skips the churning process. While just two ingredients are enough, it's easy to go one (or more) steps further to add flavors like dulce de leche, coffee, or vanilla or stir in crunchies like crushed cookies, toasted chopped nuts, or chopped chocolate.

Creamed spinach: frozen chopped spinach and Boursin cheese

Creamed spinach is rich, luscious, and a sneaky way to get in some leafy greens. Making a good version of classic creamed spinach at home takes a little more work than you may realize. You'll need to chop fresh spinach (mature spinach will hold up better than baby spinach) and cook it before simmering it in a from-scratch, roux-based cream sauce. The good news is that there is a faster way to bring steakhouse-quality creamed spinach to your table.

You can make a two-ingredient creamed spinach in a few minutes with only frozen chopped spinach and Boursin cheese. Using frozen spinach reduces the prep work because you only need to thaw and squeeze out any excess liquid. Boursin, a soft, seasoned cheese, is the real game-changing ingredient. The texture is like a cross between whipped cream cheese and goat cheese. As it warms, it softens in a very creamy buttery spread. It is also flavored with garlic and onions, which replace the need to chop and saute fresh versions of each. Warm the thawed spinach and cheese with a splash of water until creamy and saucy, and adjust with a little more salt and pepper to taste.

Sour candy grapes: grapes and Jell-O powder

If you picture glossy grapes coating in a crisp sugar shell, you may envision sweet and crunchy Tanghulu – which is not a new treat but has recently been all over social media. But, cooking sugar to a hard crack stage, around 300 F, can be tricky and a little dangerous. You can instead pair grapes with Jell-O powder for a no-cook, sweet and tart treat.

The two main ingredients in Jell-O are gelatin and sugar, along with added flavors and colors. Jell-O powder is very concentrated, so although it's sweet once it's diluted with water, it also has a unique tartness. All you have to do is roll wet grapes in your choice of flavored Jell-O until they're well-coated. Then, set them aside until the Jell-O sets into a crisp, sugary shell. It's both fruity and candy-like and makes for an easy, colorful, and delicious treat. 

Simple grilled or baked fish: fish and mayonnaise

Even people who don't like mayonnaise will be surprised to learn that the condiment is the secret weapon for perfectly crisp salmon – and it won't leave a residual eggy taste. Mayo also prevents the fish from sticking to the grill grates while it's cooking and will help the fillets crisp up in the oven, too.

Prepared mayonnaise is made from oil, eggs, vinegar, lemon juice, sugar, and salt. It is thick and emulsified, so it will not slip off the fish before or during the cooking process or separate into an oily mess. The oil in the mayonnaise creates a nonstick barrier that also prevents the outside of the fish from drying out. The salt, sugar, and lemon all add flavor and seasoning, and once they are cooked, the mayonnaise flavor changes as the sugar caramelizes and the lemon softens. This creates the perfect layer of seasoning and a brown exterior on the outside of the fish.

Fool: heavy cream or whipped cream and jam

Fool is a classic British dessert that's easy to make. Fool desserts are traditionally made with cooked custard and fruit, but it's more common now to use whipped cream instead. The cream and fruit can be swirled together or layered in a serving dish for a colorful, showstopping dessert. 

Making your own cooked fruit mixture isn't hard, but you can save time by picking up a store-bought replacement: prepared fruit preserves or jam. Using jam makes this a no-cook recipe that can be assembled in about five minutes. It also lets you create a dessert using fruits that might not currently be in season or available fresh. The jam aisle at the supermarket is massive and has everything from classic strawberry to blends like four-fruit or mango-peach. 

To make a fool, whip the heavy cream to firm peaks, taking care not to overwhip, and fold in the jam until partially blended. You can also swap the heavy cream for pre-made whipped cream. If the idea of folding gives you flashbacks to that well-known scene from "Schitt's Creek," try laying the dessert instead. Make the fool ahead of time and chill it in individual serving cups, or eat it right away.

Chia pudding: chia seeds and sweetened milk

Chia seeds may look like poppy seeds, but these nutrient-dense seeds are very different. You can sprinkle them raw into salads or yogurt, but they have even more utility when they're soaked in liquid. Chia has a strong gelling power that turns a thin liquid, like milk, into a wobbly, thick pudding.

You can harness the chia's capabilities with a fruit jam or try an easy, no-cook pudding. All you need to make a classic chia pudding recipe is chia seeds, milk, a sweetener like maple syrup, and vanilla. It's hardly a long list of ingredients, but you can cut most of those extra ingredients by using sweetened or flavored milk. Swap out your regular milk with vanilla or chocolate milk, or use a non-dairy replacement for a unique flavor. Stir or blend the chia seeds with the milk of your choice and chill until it sets into a pudding.

Pizza dough: Greek yogurt and self-rising flour

Classic pizza dough doesn't have many ingredients, but it does require working with yeast and allocating a significant chunk of time for the dough to rise before it can be stretched, topped, and baked. You can instead make a two-ingredient pizza dough to shave off time while still getting the satisfaction of making your own homemade dough. 

The self-rising flour already has salt, and instead of yeast, it has baking powder to give it a little lift. The yogurt turns the dry flour into a dough and provides enough acidity to activate the leavening agent. All you have to do is stir the two ingredients and briefly knead them. Kneading helps fully hydrate the flour and strengthens the dough by developing the gluten. That way, the dough won't tear when you go to stretch it. It will also get you the chewiness you expect from a pizza crust. While it may not taste exactly the same as a traditional pizza dough, this two-ingredient recipe is an amazing option when you are short on time or out of yeast.

Ice cream sandwiches: gelato and brioche

In America, an ice cream sandwich is often a rectangle of vanilla ice cream between two sticky, chocolate wafer cookies or a circular slab of ice cream between two chocolate chip cookies. But in Southern Italy, you'll find brioche con gelato — which throws the American notion of ice cream sandwiches out the window.

The treat, which is often enjoyed for breakfast on a hot day in Italy, is nothing more than a scoop or two of gelato on a soft, buttery piece of brioche bread. But the beauty of this treat is in the details. The main difference between gelato and ice cream is gelato is denser, so it can stand up to bread without being squished out the sides. Brioche is also tender and fluffy because it's enriched with butter and eggs. The bread also absorbs the melty drips of gelato so they don't run down your arm. It's an amazing combination, with or without the hot Italian sun above you.

Strawberry frozen yogurt: frozen strawberries with sugar and Greek yogurt

Greek yogurt is a versatile ingredient, but it is too sour and plain for a sweet treat. If you have ever sweetened it, spread it on a baking sheet, and frozen it into bark, you know that even without churning it, freezing yogurt makes, well, frozen yogurt!

To make something scoopable, creamy, and fruity, all you need is one other ingredient and a food processor. Frozen sliced strawberries with sugar are perfect for a frozen dessert. The smaller berry pieces blend quicker and easier than frozen whole berries. Plus, the sugar mixes with the berry juices to create a syrup, so it's already dissolved and ready to be mixed. 

Although berries are naturally sweet, sugar is critical for a good texture in a frozen dessert. Sugar helps lower the freezing point and prevents it from freezing too hard. All you have to do is blend the berries with the sweetened liquid and Greek yogurt until smooth and thick, and then freeze the mixture until it's firm enough to scoop.

Biscuits: heavy cream and self-rising flour

There are many different styles of biscuits, from crisp and flaky ones to soft and tender varieties. Typically, a flaky biscuit is made by working butter into a mixture of flour, salt, baking powder, and sometimes sugar until the butter is in small pieces. Then, buttermilk, milk, or cream is mixed in before the dough is rolled and punched out. The little bits of butter melt and release steam as the biscuits bake. 

But this recipe for two-ingredient biscuits simplifies things even further. Self-rising flour already contains flour, salt, and baking powder, so it can save you the headache of sourcing and measuring your extra ingredients. Heavy cream is rich and adds fat and moisture to the recipe, just as you would get from the butter. 

Gently mixing and kneading these two ingredients together adds some layers to the biscuits. While the two-ingredient biscuits may not be as intensely layered as a butter-based biscuit, they will still yield a tender and fluffy treat that comes together quickly. They are also a great base should you want to go beyond the two ingredients and spruce them up with cheese, cut-up ham, or fresh herbs.