Whether you’re a college student learning how to saute for the first time or you’re lucky enough to live solo post-grad (dream life!), making the right amount of food for one person can be tricky, especially if you don’t want to eat the same pan of lasagna all week long. But ordering delivery for one is a checking-account killer, and dinners out with friends add up, so learning how to make your own grub is a valuable skill that’ll help you feel all grown up—and save you some bank, too.
The only thing is, a lot of cookbooks don’t keep the single person in mind. (Whyyy?) So we scoured the shelves for the best books for making the just-right amount of food—enough to fill you up for one night and give you just one day’s worth of leftovers. Better yet, none of the recipes in these picks is devastatingly difficult to master without a sous chef by your side.
There’s no shame in the solo-cooking game, says the Michelin-starred author of this genius book, which emphasizes that making a meal for one doesn’t have to be a sad affair. In fact, it can be empowering and a form of self-love. Lo’s recipes are inspired by her childhood (she’s first generation Chinese-American) and years traveling the world, and it shows in her super-simple dishes, like Broccoli Stem Slaw, Duck Bolognese (It. Is. So. Good.), and even Peanut Butter Chocolate Pie, which is so delectable that you wouldn’t want to share it anyway.Buy Now
Perhaps you’ve already heard of Roman’s Insta-famous cookies (you know the ones), but there’s so much more to this book than Salted Butter and Chocolate Chunk Shortbread. Her Slow Salmon with Citrus and Herb Salad is the easiest and most fool-proof way to make salmon (and alas, it’s also very Instagrammable). All 125 recipes are so easy to make and fun to read that we swear you might just delete your GrubHub account for good.Buy Now
She’s not just an amazing Twitter personality—Teigen is a certified chef, and she knows exactly what young people (heck, everyone) likes to eat at home. In her second book, she’s geniously peppered the text with solid tips and techniques for newbie chefs, like how to pit a mango or prep lemongrass. While her recipes are technically not designed for one person, well, we dare you to make her Scallop Linguine with Casino Bread Crumbs and not finish off the whole pan in one sitting.Buy Now
Indian food can seem intimidating to a new-to-the-game home cook, but Krishna’s recipes are totally approachable, fun, and won’t have you scouring the grocery story for hard-to-find ingredients. The whole book is a nod to her mom’s hybrid style of cooking: there’s an Indian spin on pizza made with roti (for nights when you #canteven), a Saag Paneer but with Feta, even Indian Gatorade, which you can keep in the fridge to accompany your delish meals all week.Buy Now
Don’t let the name of this book fool you—it’s packed with easy-to-make recipes that will satisfy college students and post-grads alike. Because who doesn’t love Anytime Waffles? The beginner-friendly recipes like Frambled Eggs (half scrambled, half fried) will help you master your breakfast game, but don’t worry, there are some more refined recipes, too, like a Zucchini and Squash Galette, which is a fancy way to get through Meatless Mondays without feeling like you’re missing out on anything. There are a ton of gluten- and dairy-free options, too.Buy Now
Cooking for hours just to feed yourself can sometimes feel like a total hassle, right? Enter the Instant Pot, which is a dream for making complicated meals in, well, an instant. Clark’s recipes are uncomplicated and fast. Even her Weeknight Chicken Parmesan, which we highly recommend, only takes 20 minutes total to whip up.Buy Now
“Now & Again: Go-To Recipes, Inspired Menus + Endless Ideas for Reinventing Leftovers” by Julia Turshen, $22.29 on Amazon
Okay, so technically this book provides menu plans that are great for feeding a crowd, however, the real genius part is that Turshen shows you multiple ways to reuse leftovers. And tbh, most of the recipes are so good that there aren’t leftovers when you’re making them for a group. But if you’re cooking solo, you should have enough left over to rework her Chicken and Black Eyed Pea Chili into the most delicious Chili Nachos the next day. Don’t sleep on the Skillet Cornbread with Cheddar and Scallions, either.Buy Now