Cooking

You Need to Stop Making 3-Ingredient Recipes

Why use 3 ingredients when a few more would make everything better?
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Photo: Tasting Table

What do you get when you combine eggs, flour and Nutella? How about almonds, dates and raisins? Very mushy brownies and incredibly mediocre energy bars, that's what.

Three-ingredient recipes are an epidemic taking over our beloved Internet, and they must be stopped. Sure, there's something nice and simple about making a dessert or snack out of only three ingredients, but let's get real: There's a reason so many recipes call for more than just three ingredients.

Take, for example, the blasphemy that is this three-ingredient Thanksgiving stuffing, which boils down the best part of your holiday meal to only cranberry-nut bread, sausage and celery. Seriously. No sage, no chestnuts, no glossy onions. I admire the intention to take a normally stressful holiday and simplify it to just three ingredients per dish. Cool. But in reality, that seems the saddest stuffing recipe of all time. Not even some chicken stock to keep the thing moist? Hard pass.

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To make matters worse, the Internet can't seem to agree on what counts as an ingredient. Water? Nope. Oil? Yes. Salt and pepper? Of course not. But sugar? That counts.

My objection is simple: Why are we counting? Yes, you could use just three ingredients to make a dish. Or you could use a few more ingredients, and it would be much better. I’m not suggesting going overboard: An endless laundry list of ingredients is daunting to everyone, but even six or seven can really get the job done. Without adding any extra effort, you're completing the recipe while still maintaining the integrity of the dish. Challenging yourself to boil down a recipe to just three ingredients is a fun game, but it’s one I don't want to play.

Yes, the draw of saving a little time and money with these three-ingredient wonders is completely understandable, but in the end, a few extra dollars and minutes could mean the difference between a mediocre meal and a stellar one. Whether you're a new cook or an experienced one, you don't need to feel confined by the rule of three.

Now, before you race to Facebook comments to point out our hypocrisy, we must acknowledge that, yes, there are quite a few three-ingredient recipes on this site. We're guilty, and we're not afraid to admit it. Sometimes you see a bandwagon, and you just want to jump on to see what it’s like. Still, we must say: At least we're not asking you to eat "cookies" made of egg whites, sugar and hazelnuts.

My plea to end the three-ingredient trend isn’t aimed at making your life harder. But since you're going to the grocery store anyway, why not just pick up a few more ingredients and really try? In the end, it's the taste that counts, not the ingredients you counted.

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