Dirty dishes are generally unavoidable when you’re cooking, but there is no rule that says you can’t use fewer dishes when life calls for it. And I would say life most definitely calls for it right now. My favorite solution is to grab my Dutch oven and lean hard on one-pot dinners, which promise easy cooking, easy clean up, and a satisfying meal. There are a lot of great options that fit the bill: saucy vegetable pastas, loaded pots of soup, creamy rice casseroles, and braised meats.
Here are 12 dinners that everyone will love and won’t keep you at the sink after dinner.
1. Easy One-Pot Beef Goulash
Not to be confused with stew-like Hungarian goulash, this version is for anyone who loved Hamburger Helper as a kid. It’s basically a homemade version that checks all the comfort-food boxes: saucy macaroni, crumbles of ground beef, and generous pockets of creamy, melted cheddar.
Get the recipe: Easy One-Pot Beef Goulash
2. Creamy Wild Mushroom One-Pot Pasta
You’ll add the linguine and cooking liquids (in this case, chicken broth and heavy cream) directly to the pot with the sautéed mushrooms, then boil until the noodles are al dente and the liquid has thickened into a silky sauce.
Get the recipe: Creamy Wild Mushroom One-Pot Pasta
3. One-Pot Creamy Broccoli Pasta
This is a family favorite — creamy cheese sauce covers tender broccoli and noodles. Buy pre-shredded cheese to avoid dirtying a grater, too.
Get the recipe: One-Pot Creamy Broccoli Pasta
4. One-Pot Cabbage & Sausage Pasta
This skillet pasta strikes a sweet spot between winter and spring — hearty cabbage and sausage get tossed with vibrant peas and egg noodles to a stunning effect. I serve it with a sprinkle of sharp cheddar for my two kids.
Get the recipe: One-Pot Cabbage & Sausage Pasta
5. Easy One-Pot Chicken Taco Soup
This is how you can do taco Tuesday without dirtying a ton of dishes. This soup is as easy as it is satisfying and full of flavor.
Get the recipe: Easy One-Pot Chicken Taco Soup
6. One-Pot Creamy Cajun Chicken & Rice
This spicy take on chicken and rice is full of warming peppers, creamy rice, and caramelized chicken — and it only takes a single pot.
Get the recipe: One-Pot Creamy Cajun Chicken & Rice
7. Easy One-Pot Chicken Teriyaki with Vegetables and Rice
Skip takeout for this one-pot teriyaki. Another one of my family’s favorites, it’s so easy to throw together any night of the week. When we’re really busy, which is often, I use frozen vegetables to cut down on prep time.
Get the recipe: Easy One-Pot Chicken Teriyaki with Vegetables and Rice
8. One-Pot 30-Minute Zoodles and Meatballs
Only recently have I come to appreciate frozen meatballs for quick dinners. Whether you find a brand you love or you make and freeze your homemade meatballs, this zoodle dinner is any easy winner.
Get the recipe: One-Pot 30-Minute Zoodles and Meatballs
9. One-Pot Tomato Chickpeas and Orzo
Orzo and a couple of cans of chickpeas are cooked together in a simple garlic and onion-infused tomato sauce until it’s a creamy mess that’s almost reminiscent of risotto.
Get the recipe: One-Pot Tomato Chickpeas and Orzo
10. Last-Minute Spicy Coconut Wonton Soup
This soup starts with frozen wontons that get cooked in a creamy coconut broth. You can add mushrooms and snap peas as the recipe calls for, or your family’s favorites.
Get the recipe: Last-Minute Spicy Coconut Wonton Soup