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15 No-Fail Recipes Even Beginners Can Master

Embarking on the journey to becoming a skilled home cook can be intimidating, but don’t worry, everyone has to start somewhere. By focusing on basic cooking techniques and using simple ingredients, even beginners can master the art of cooking. We have compiled 15 recipes that are perfect for those who are just starting. These tried and tested favorites are forgiving of minor mistakes and are guaranteed to produce consistent results, which will give novice cooks the confidence boost they need.

Approach these recipes with the mindset that cooking is not just about feeding oneself but also about acquiring valuable skills that extend well beyond the kitchen. Each recipe serves as a mini-lesson in cooking, helping to build a solid foundation from which to expand one’s culinary capabilities. Breaking down each recipe into clear, easy-to-follow steps makes them less daunting and more enjoyable. This select group of recipes is here to prove that with a bit of dedication and the right guidance, anyone can prepare a meal worth sharing.

Mexican street style corn soup in a white bowl on a white plate.
Mexican Street Corn Soup. Photo credit: Cook What You Love.

Chicken Salad with Cranberries & Walnuts

Balancing sweet and nutty flavors, this salad offers a fresh take that’s both satisfying and simple to prepare. It’s a versatile dish that can be served on a bed of greens or sandwiched between crusty bread. The combination of textures keeps every bite interesting, and it’s just as suited for a weekday lunch as it is for a weekend brunch. Most importantly, it’s a straightforward recipe that even the newest cooks will find manageable.
Get the Recipe: Chicken Salad with Cranberries & Walnuts

Tacos Dorados

Far from ordinary taco nights, Tacos Dorados push the envelope with their crispy bite and warm fillings. They are fun to make, even for those who are just getting comfortable navigating the kitchen. The crunch that comes with each serving is a crowd-pleaser and provides an excellent base for various toppings. Beginner chefs will take pleasure in the satisfying experience of cooking up a meal that looks impressive and is easy to assemble.
Get the Recipe: Tacos Dorados

Air fried chicken fries with dipping sauce on a wooden cutting board.
Air Fryer Chicken Fries. Photo credit: Cook What You Love.

Air Fryer Chicken Fries

There’s something about crispy chicken that seems to bring people together and using an air fryer makes it almost foolproof. These chicken fries come out perfectly golden every time, with minimal fuss and a cleaner kitchen to boot. They make a great snack or can be quickly turned into a casual meal with your favorite sides and dips. The best part is, beginners can achieve results that look like they require pro skills, but all you need is an air fryer and this no-complications recipe.
Get the Recipe: Air Fryer Chicken Fries

Brisket Fried Rice

Combining rich flavors with the practicality of a one-pan dish, brisket fried rice is a dream for any new cook. It’s a hearty plate that welcomes creativity without the pressure of perfection. Quick to whip up, this meal is great for using up leftovers and turning them into a dish that’s entirely its own thing. It’s proof that you don’t need complicated techniques to create a meal that’s full of flavor and sure to be a hit.
Get the Recipe: Brisket Fried Rice

Overheat shot of steakhouse pasta salad.
Steak & Pasta Salad. Photo credit: Cook What You Love.

Steak & Pasta Salad

A steak and pasta salad blends hearty and light elements to create a balanced dish that doesn’t skimp on satisfaction. It’s as easy as cooking pasta and grilling a steak, which means it’s hard to go wrong. The final result is a meal that suits both casual lunches and dinner parties without demanding too much time or effort. Beginners will appreciate this recipe’s forgiving nature and the freedom to customize it to their liking.
Get the Recipe: Steak & Pasta Salad

Tortellini Soup with Kale & Chicken

This soup brings warmth and comfort to any table with minimal effort and a lot of flavors. It’s a one-pot wonder, simplifying both cooking and cleanup, perfect for those who might be a bit hesitant about tackling complicated dishes. The combination of tender tortellini, hearty chicken, and nutritious kale ensures a satisfying meal every time. For someone just starting, this soup is a promising step toward more advanced cooking endeavors.
Get the Recipe: Tortellini Soup with Kale & Chicken

A Pastrami Reuben sandwich on a plate with chips and pickles.
Pastrami Reuben Sandwich. Photo credit: Cook What You Love.

Pastrami Reuben Sandwich

Crafting a Pastrami Reuben sandwich is like building a masterpiece with layers that each add their distinctive touch. It’s a deli classic that might seem fancy, but it’s straightforward and foolproof – ideal for beginners looking to impress. The key to success here is balance, ensuring that each element complements the others just right. And making one is a breeze – once you’ve mastered this, you’re well on your way to conquering the sandwich world.
Get the Recipe: Pastrami Reuben Sandwich

Dutch Oven Carnitas

Carnitas made in a Dutch oven is a perfect start for those eager to try slow cooking without stress. The process is more about patience than skill, letting time and low heat do most of the work. The result is tender, flavorful pork that can be used in a variety of ways, from tacos to bowls. It’s a great way to build confidence in the kitchen, as the oven takes care of the intricacies while you get the credit.
Get the Recipe: Dutch Oven Carnitas

Two bowls of cream onion soup on a wooden table.
Cream of Onion Soup. Photo credit: Cook What You Love.

Cream of Onion Soup

Cream of onion soup is a classic that’s unexpectedly easy to nail on the first try. It’s a comforting bowl of warmth, ideal for cooler days or when in need of a soothing meal. The smooth blend of flavors offers a homely yet rich taste, with a texture to match. It’s a gentle introduction to soups that will encourage any beginner cook to explore more in the realm of homemade comfort food.
Get the Recipe: Cream of Onion Soup

Texas Roadhouse Chili Copycat Recipe

Recreating a favorite, like the Texas Roadhouse chili, at home brings a sense of achievement that’s hard to match. This recipe lets you in on the secret to making a robust chili that mirrors the restaurant’s favorite. It’s hearty, packed with flavor, and surprisingly straightforward, showing that making something special doesn’t have to be complicated. With this dish, beginners will learn the joy of cooking something that fills the house with enticing aromas and a bowl with rich taste.
Get the Recipe: Texas Roadhouse Chili Copycat Recipe

Two bowls of cream of butternut squash and sweet potato soup on a wooden table.
Cream of Butternut Squash & Sweet Potato Soup. Photo credit: Cook What You Love.

Cream of Butternut Squash & Sweet Potato Soup

This soup is a smooth concoction that’ll help any rookie cook make a statement in the kitchen without much hassle. The rich texture and depth of flavor make it seem like it took hours to create, yet it’s pretty uncomplicated. It’s an excellent way to incorporate more veggies into your diet while still packing in loads of flavor. Plus, it’s a dish that feels special enough to serve to guests but simple enough not to stress over.
Get the Recipe: Cream of Butternut Squash & Sweet Potato Soup

Cuban Sandwich Casserole

Create a Cuban sandwich casserole and discover how layers of simple ingredients can come together to create something incredible. It’s a twist on the beloved sandwich, transformed into a casserole that’s both inventive and easy to make. Each slice comes packed with the familiar flavors of a classic Cuban, yet there’s no fuss involved in putting it together. For those looking to step up their cooking game, it’s a straightforward dish that delivers on taste.
Get the Recipe: Cuban Sandwich Casserole

Al pastor chicken quesadillas pulled apart.
Chicken Al Pastor Quesadillas. Photo credit: Cook What You Love.

Chicken Al Pastor Quesadillas

Discover the joy of Mexican flavors with chicken al pastor quesadillas, a dish that’s as fun to make as it is to eat. The quesadilla is a staple that welcomes experimentation while still being forgiving for those who aren’t seasoned chefs. They cook up quickly, offer a meal that’s both filling and flavorful, and never fail to please a crowd. Starting with this recipe, beginners can easily gain the confidence to try more adventurous meals.
Get the Recipe: Chicken Al Pastor Quesadillas

Mexican Street Corn Soup

A dish that captures the essence of the beloved street-side favorite in a bowl. This dish is all about bold flavors combined in a straightforward, smooth soup that’s perfect for any level of cooking skill. It’s a vibrant meal that transitions well from summer to autumn, bringing a bit of sunshine to colder days. Moreover, it’s an engaging recipe for beginners to practice balance in seasoning and gain experience with texture.
Get the Recipe: Mexican Street Corn Soup

Baja fish tacos on a white plate.
Baja Fish Tacos. Photo credit: Cook What You Love.

Baja Fish Tacos

Baja Fish Tacos is about packing in flavor without the intricacies of complex cooking techniques. They’re a lively dish that’s as easy to customize as they are to prepare, which is great news for newbies. Frying fish might seem advanced, but this recipe makes it as basic as possible while delivering fantastic flavor. It’s an excellent stepping stone for beginner cooks looking to explore different cuisines and cooking methods.
Get the Recipe: Baja Fish Tacos

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