30+ Best Recipes for Beginner Cooks

Feeding yourself and your family is an essential life skill. But where do you start if you've never picked up a kitchen knife before? For beginner cooks young and old, we've compiled a list of delicious, must-know recipes to help you grow your culinary IQ and master the key techniques.

Curated by Ethan Johns

Lemon & Garlic Roast Chicken

"This is the best roast chicken I've ever had. I stuffed the chicken cavity with a sliced whole onion and lemons, and I stuffed sliced lemon under the skin of the breast meat. I've never had chicken this moist and so flavorful!"


Spaghetti & Tomato Sauce

"This was my first attempt at making spaghetti sauce from scratch, and this was a wise choice. This recipe was absolutely perfect!"

-Christina Chavez


"My 12-year-old son likes to learn to cook stuff himself, and he followed the recipe and instructions under my supervision. These pancakes were quick and easy to make for him, and turned out to be good with whipped cream and maple syrup."

-Robert H.

Perfect Stovetop White Rice

"I know for some it may not be a big deal, but for me, learning how to cook perfect rice is a big deal. I made this recipe tonight, and I'm so happy with the result."

-Kelti A.

Chinese Fried Rice

"Really easy, really fast, really great fried rice recipe. No need for takeout after you try this one!"


Poached Eggs

"Swirling the water is far more important than the vinegar. The swirling forces the whites back onto themselves instead of spreading out and turning frothy."

-Jennifer D.

Banana Bread

"My 10-year-old daughter was looking for something to make and found this recipe. She made it all by herself and it was wonderful!"


Tender Pot Roast

"This pot roast recipe delivered the most flavorful and tender pot roast I have ever made. It was truly the perfect choice for the first meal made in my new home to break in my new kitchen!"

-Bev I Am


"Wow! I always wanted to make one of these, and after all was said and done I found myself licking my plate then saw my wife doing the same. Divine... The kids couldn't get enough either."

-The Zhack

Classic Baked Macaroni & Cheese

"Excellent macaroni! It's important to cook the flour and butter mixture for a few minutes before adding the milk and cream, to get rid of the "flour" taste. It's standard when making a roux or bechamel."



"This is without a doubt the best lasagna I have ever tasted. I can't rave about it enough. I love the mixture of ground beef and Italian sausage in the sauce. Rich and cheesy as well."


Perfect Burgers

"This is the ultimate burger recipe. I was just bemoaning the fact that burgers made at home never seem to be as good as the ones at the burger joint when I came across this. These are the best burgers we have ever made."

-Phoenix M.


"These literally are the best brownies. I've been making the recipe for years, following it exactly, and I've never been disappointed. I do always double the recipe and bake by checking every couple minutes."


Dutch Apple Pie

"I'm 42 and this is the first homemade apple pie I've ever made, and will be the only recipe I will ever need! My family ate the entire thing in two sittings and said it was better than any pie they've had anywhere."

-Coley E.

No-Fail Buttery Flaky Pie Crust

"I love to bake but was always afraid of making pie crust. Not any more! This dough turns out wonderful! It's easy to handle, rolls out well and the taste and texture are fantastic!"


Basil Pesto

"First time I have made my own pesto and it came out great! Spread it on slices of french bread, topped with sliced Roma tomatoes and mozzarella cheese and popped under the broiler."

-deb k

Salmon & Asparagus in Foil

"This recipe changed the way I think about cooking fish. I make this at least every other week. It's great exactly as written, or you can experiment with different spices and sauces."

-Chef ChelseaBuns


"This was my first time making any sort of bread, and I used this recipe as a test for my new KitchenAid mixer. It took a while, but the result was an incredibly soft and delicious brioche that I am more than ecstatic about."


Alton Brown's Omelette

"I had never made an omelette before, so this was the perfect recipe for me—it was easy to follow and the results were delicious! I use to think that omelettes were hard to make; boy was I wrong!"


Chicken Enchiladas

"Amazing! I'm a beginner and knew absolutely nothing about enchiladas; this recipe was so easy and it tasted so good! I took the advice of another cook and used rotisserie chicken and doubled the cheese!"


8 Vinaigrette Variations

"I have been looking for a great vinaigrette recipe and this one is perfect as you start with the basics and learn that the options are limitless. I will definitely try all the variations."


Soft Chocolate Chip Cookies

"I always turn to this recipe whenever I'm preparing a care package. The cookies stay softer so much longer than my usual recipe. It is also fun to use M&M's instead of chocolate chips if they are for a party."

-Marg CaymanDesigns

Southern Fried Chicken

"You have revolutionized the method and taste of my fried chicken! This was the easiest, less messy, most delicious fried chicken I have ever made."


Chicken Noodle Soup

"Followed this recipe for my first time making chicken noodle soup and it was a success! I used raw chicken breasts and cooked it for about 30 — 40 minutes. I added the noodles for the last five minutes so they were perfect and al dente."


Mashed Potatoes

"A great change from ordinary mashed potatoes. Who would have thought the simple addition of garlic and parmesan cheese would make such a difference."


Beef & Broccoli Stir-Fry

"This was absolutely awesome! The beef was also very tender! First time that I made a beef stir-fry where the meat wasn't kinda chewy. The long marinade is definitely the key to this recipe. I will use this recipe exclusively from now on."


Whipped Cream

"Simply wonderful! I'd never made whipped cream before, but this gave me the confidence to do it."


Pan-Seared Steak

"I tried this tonight as we were having severe thunderstorms and don't know if I will ever grill a steak again. I prepared it exactly as suggested, and the result was amazing!"

-Craig O.


"Excellent biscuit recipe. It was very easy to put together. After mixing them, I threw the biscuits into the freezer for a few minutes while my oven was preheating. It helps them bake up nice and flaky."


Moules Marinières

"This was my first time making mussels. Your pictures and instructions were awesome, thank you! These turned out perfect. They were so delicious and tender. I think the tarragon and butter pair well and gave it a wonderful flavor."


Smashed Potatoes

"Smashed potatoes might be my favorite way to enjoy potatoes! I normally fry my potatoes after boiling them, but loved roasting these. They turned out great! Super crispy on the outside and soft and fluffy on the inside. Potato perfection!"