Pantry Staple Recipes for When the Fridge Is Empty


When you can’t pop out to the grocery store and you’re looking at an empty fridge, a pantry meal can save the day. We’ve found a bunch of easy recipes to help you turn basic ingredients into showstopping eats the whole family will love. Scroll on to discover your next go-to meal!
photo: Dinner Then Dessert Three-Ingredient Orange Chicken

If getting your fave Chinese takeout isn't on the menu, you can always turn to this super easy recipe! With just three ingredients (including frozen popcorn chicken), even the kiddos can help make it. Get the recipe from Dinner Then Dessert.


photo: It's Always Autumn French Onion Chicken and Rice Casserole

When you're desperate for a magical pantry meal, the magic word is casserole. This particular casserole includes a couple of cans of condensed soup and the rice you likely have on hand. It's creamy, comforting, and totally tasty. Get the recipe from It's Always Autumn.

photo: Salt & Lavender Easy Canned Tuna Pasta

Psst! That canned tuna in your cupboard is calling out for this easy dinner recipe. It takes just 15 minutes to make, and if you need to sub in dried parsley instead of fresh, that'll do just fine. Get the recipe from Salt & Lavender. 

photo: Fountain Avenue Kitchen Three-Ingredient Pizzadillas

If pizza is always a winner in your house, you've got to check out this recipe from Fountain Avenue Kitchen. It takes your fave pizza flavors and combines them with tortillas for a no-muss meal. And just like a traditional pie, these pizzadillas are easily customizable with what you have on hand. Get the recipe here.

photo: Gourmandelle Egg-in-a-Hole Toast

Do your littles get a kick out of breakfast for dinner? This recipe takes eggs and toast to the next level and is super easy to make—all you need is eggs, bread and seasonings of your choice! For the recipe, pay a visit to Gourmandelle. 

photo: Mountain Mama Cooks Crispy Bean and Cheese Tacos

Need a simple meal ASAP? Let's taco 'bout it. This idea from Mountain Mama Cooks has great flavors and just a few ingredients. Think of it as an elevated Taco Tuesday—and don't forget the salsa. Get the recipe here.

photo: Budget Bytes Five-Ingredient Butter Tomato Sauce

Sometimes all you need is a quick and delicious red sauce to turn your weeknight around. Cue this recipe from Budget Bytes, which tastes amazing drenched over whatever noodles you have in the cupboard. The sauce only sports five ingredients, and it's lick-the-spoon good. Get the recipe here.

photo: Lexi's Clean Kitchen Three-Ingredient Breakfast Skillet

We know this dish has "breakfast" right in the title, but there's no use limiting its deliciousness to just one meal. You can scramble this up on the quick with just a few basic ingredients, then add veggies for extra oomph and you'll have a dish that's irresistible. Get the recipe from Lexi's Clean Kitchen.

photo: Kitchen Simmer One-Pot Spaghetti with Hot Dogs

When all else fails, combine two of your kids’ favorite foods: spaghetti and hot dogs! You can always add in veggies like onions and bell peppers for an extra healthy kick. Best of all: this meal only requires one pot. Get the recipe from Kitchen Simmer.

photo: Dinner Then Dessert Five-Ingredient Asian Peanut Noodles

Craving some Asian flavors? Just grab the peanut butter in your pantry, plus a few other ingredients, and you can whip up noodles that are salty, spicy, and even have a kick of umami. Get the recipe from Dinner Then Dessert.

photo: For the Feast Egg Salad Finger Sandwiches
Want to class up your weeknight dinners or go-to lunch? This recipe is simple, elegant, and easy to put together. You can customize the ingredients to suit what you have on hand and even indulge your kids' preference for sandwiches sans crust. For the full how-to head over to For the Feast.
photo: Sarah Olson Slow Cooker Chicken and Gravy

Who says you can't have Thanksgiving in April? This recipe comes to us courtesy of Sarah Olson’s cookbook, The Magical Slow Cooker: Recipes for Busy Moms, and it couldn't be easier. Simply pack the ingredients into your slow cooker and voila! For the recipe, click here.

photo: Baking & Creating with Avril Slow Cooker Chicken Parm

This recipe may not be traditional, but it's definitely delicious! This version of chicken parm from Baking & Creating with Avril is off-the-charts easy—thanks to the Crock Pot—and it only has three ingredients! To snag the recipe, click here.

photo: A Southern Fairytale Baked Honey Mustard Chicken Tenders

Be clever with your condiments! This recipe from A Southern Fairytale makes great use of mustard and low-fat mayo, and it's a great way to use some other pantry staples like cereal. Get the how-to here.

photo: Amazing Almonds Crispy Parmesan Crusted Fish

Got mild white fish in the freezer? Well, this recipe is the perfect excuse to use it! With just a little extra magic (think panko crumbs, butter and parmesan), you can have a delicious and quick meal the whole family will love. Get the recipe from !Hola! Jalapeño.

photo: Table for Seven Crock Pot Sweet Pork

Psst! Erin at Table for Seven claims that this three-ingredient recipe is so simple, you can make it with your eyes closed. It sounds like the perfect weeknight meal to us. All you need is some brown sugar and your fave salsa, and you're set! Get the recipe here.

photo: Moms Who Think Crock Pot Lemon Chicken

If there's a reason you have a reasonably stocked spice rack, this is it. This recipe, courtesy of Moms Who Think, is a cinch to pull off and all you have to do is gather basic herbs. Did we mention it also uses your handy-dandy Crock Pot? For more, click here.

photo: Oatmeal with a Fork Apple Juice Chicken

You know that stockpile of juice boxes your family has been collecting? This sweet recipe, courtesy of Oatmeal With a Fork, puts them to good use! This chicken is flavorful and easy to make—and we’re willing to bet it’ll be a hit with kids and grown-ups alike. Get the recipe here.

photo: Jenny Bullistron Three-Ingredient Black Bean Soup

When it comes to this black bean soup, the magic number is three. That’s because it only has three ingredients—but a major taste that the whole family will love. Serve with a dollop of sour cream or salsa, or dress it up with some cheese, and this is sure to be a winner. Get the recipe from Honey and Birch.

photo: A Whisk and Two Wands Peanut Butter Banana Quesadilla

If your kiddos can’t get enough PB&Js, then you’ve got to check out this idea that gives the classic sandwich a creative twist. It works for just about any meal (hello upgraded lunchbox!), and you probably have all the ingredients already. Get the recipe from A Whisk and Two Wands.

photo: Kristine's Kitchen Blog Three-Ingredient Slow Cooker Taco Chicken

Grab that jar of salsa in your pantry and turn Taco Tuesday into a real fiesta. Bonus: this recipe uses your slow cooker so you can set it and forget it until dinnertime. Get the recipe from Kristine’s Kitchen Blog.

photo: Blog Chef Tuna Grilled Cheese

You know those cans of tuna hanging out in the back of your pantry? They’re great for upgrading a standard grilled cheese! It’s hearty enough to satisfy kids and easy enough to whip up when you need a meal PDQ. Get the recipe here.

photo: Apron Strings Tomato Basil Pasta

Just say no to piles of dirty dishes! This awesome pasta dish is a one-pot wonder for busy weeknights. If you’ve got pasta, canned tomatoes and veggie broth in your pantry, you’re already halfway there. Get the recipe here.

photo: The Perfect Pantry Crock Pot Nutella Bread Pudding

The perfect way to use up stale bread? This wow-worthy bread pudding. It’s got an awesome secret ingredient (Nutella!) and goes great with a scoop of vanilla ice cream. The only trick will be making sure it doesn’t get gobbled up in seconds! Get the recipe here.

photo: Sweet Phi Turkey Taco Salad

This too-easy idea sports only five ingredients—and if you don’t happen to have ground turkey, ground beef works just fine! Feel free add your own toppings suited to your kiddos’ taste buds! Get the recipe from Sweet Phi.

photo: Chelsea's Messy Apron BBQ Hot Dogs Over Rice

Got hot dogs and 30 minutes? Then this simple recipe is just what you need. Thanks to a homemade sweet BBQ sauce, this dish gets a bit fancier than your average hot dog meal—but it’s sure to please little palettes. Get the recipe from Chelsea’s Messy Apron.

photo: Prevention RD Tuscan-Style Sausage Soup

Great news! This recipe from Prevention RD uses ingredients you probably have on hand. And there’s a healthy twist: low-sodium chicken broth, whole wheat pasta, and lots of ways to change it up if you want to add your fave veggies. Get the recipe here.


—Abigail Matsumoto



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