20 One-Skillet Dishes That Look Way Fancier & More Complicated Than They Are

Jess Richardson | Apr 10, 2019 Food & Party
20 One-Skillet Dishes That Look Way Fancier & More Complicated Than They Are
Image: iStock

20 Minute One Pan Shrimp and Orzo Dinner
iStock

We love dishes that seem a lot more complicated than they really are. Any recipe that can impress friends, family, our partners -- heck, even ourselves, while being extremely easy is precisely the kind of recipe we want to bookmark and never go back from. Sometimes it's just a tiny little twist, something incredibly small and uncomplicated, that lends a really simple, easy recipe a little flavor of elevation or luxury. Sometimes it's just pairing unexpected flavors in ways that really work, even though we might originally think they don't go together at all. 

We love playing with recipes that are just a little bit trendy, like throwing in a super on-trend cauliflower gnocchi (available frozen at Trader Joe's, not like it needs to be homemade), or cooking with a little shaved fennel to bring something simple a little higher.  

We're also fans of one-pot recipes, like this delicious one-pot taco salad recipe. It's full of fresh flavors, healthy proteins, and veggies -- it's easy to make, and easy to enjoy. And for home cooks looking to enjoy meals that require only one pot and take practically no time at all (hi, all of us), Instant Pot recipes are a great starting place.

To make matters even better, the recipes we've listed all take place in a single skillet, so they're not only easy and elevated, they're also incredibly low-mess and don't make us try to balance out a bunch of different cooking elements. For those of us who only have so much additional brainpower at the end of the day when we're cooking a weeknight meal, one skillet is about as much as we can really handle while trying to manage everything else in our lives.

  • One-Skillet Asiago Chicken Cauliflower Gnocchi

    1
    One Skillet Asiago Chicken Cauliflower Gnocchi with Sun Dried Tomatoes and Spinach
    iStock

    OK, this one skillet Asiago chicken cauliflower gnocchi with sun-dried tomatoes and Spinach is absolutely amazing -- and it feels so elevated, while still being incredibly simple and quick. Talk about a win/win.

  • Pan-Seared Scallops With Lemon Caper Sauce

    2
    Pan Seared Scallops with Lemon Caper Sauce
    iStock

    This recipe for pan-seared scallops with lemon caper sauce is so easy and elegant -- scallops are just so perfect looking, aren't they? This would be great for an easy dinner party, or just for a beautiful weeknight meal! This recipe calls for sea scallops, but subbing bay scallops would work!

  • One-Pan Garlic Herb Chicken & Asparagus

    3
    One Pan Garlic Herb Chicken and Asparagus
    iStock

    Um, yum. This one pan garlic herb chicken and asparagus makes clean-up a snap, and is totally healthy and delicious -- not to mention seeming like a lot more effort than it actually is. This one is part of our heavy rotation right now!

  • Steamed Mussels With White Wine & Garlic

    4
    Steamed Mussels with White Wine and Garlic
    iStock

    We love how simple and elegant this steamed mussels with white wine and garlic is! We used to think preparing seafood had to be really complex, but now we know it can be as easy as throwing a few ingredients in a pan! Great served with pasta or bread for dipping.

  • One-Pan Skinny Chicken Alfredo

    5
    One-Pan Skinny Chicken Alfredo
    iStock

    This one-pan skinny chicken Alfredo is not only quick and only dirties up one pan, it's also considerably healthier than a traditional chicken Alfredo (...admittedly, not that that would take too terribly much). 

  • Easy Skillet Lasagna

    6
    Easy Skillet Lasagna Recipe
    iStock

    We love lasagna as much as anyone, but what we don't love is doing a ton of prep and then waiting hours for dinner to be ready. This easy skillet lasagna recipe makes lasagna start-to-finish in 30 minutes. 

  • One-Skillet Salmon With Fennel & Sun-Dried Tomato Couscous

    7
    One-Skillet Salmon with Fennel & Sun-Dried Tomato Couscous
    iStock

    For the simplest dinner-party dish (or at home date night) this one-skillet salmon with fennel & sun-dried tomato couscous tastes and feels really elevated -- while taking minimal effort.

  • One-Skillet Salsa Pork Chops

    8
    One-Skillet Salsa Pork Chops
    iStock

    This family-friendly recipe for one-skillet salsa pork chops is bright, flavorful, and super low-effort -- not to mention low clean-up. Serve with a side salad or some cilantro cauliflower rice for extra flavor!

  • One-Pan Spanish Chicken & Rice

    9
    One Pan Spanish Chicken and Rice
    iStock

    A classic Spanish recipe similar to an easy version of a paella, this one-pan Spanish chicken and rice is such a tasty meal, and given that it's got a protein, starch, and vegetables, it's also complete -- although it can be served with some poached asparagus for a veggie boost!

  • 20-Minute One-Pan Shrimp & Orzo Dinner

    10
    20 Minute One Pan Shrimp and Orzo Dinner
    iStock

    There is nothing we don't love about this 20-minute one-pan shrimp and orzo dinner. It's tasty, it's easy, it's elevated, it requires so little work, and it's finished in a snap. We keep a big bag of frozen shrimp in our freezer just for recipes like this!

  • Easy Steak Fajitas

    11
    Easy Steak Fajitas
    iStock

    These easy steak fajitas are so simple but flavorful, they've totally become part of our regular dinner rotation. Plus, given that they're a great mix of protein and veggies, all that's needed are some warmed tortillas to make it perfect! Or, serve it over a rice or quinoa bowl.

  • Honey Garlic Shrimp Skillet

    12
    Honey Garlic Shrimp Skillet
    iStock

    This skillet dish combines three of our favorite things: honey, garlic, and shrimp. Yup, the honey garlic shrimp skillet is basically a trifecta of deliciousness. It would be so great with a salad or quinoa, too!

  • One-Pan General Tso’s Chicken Recipe for Two

    13
    One Pan General Tso’s Chicken Recipe for Two
    iStock

    We love Chinese takeout, but we don't love how unhealthy it is (and even cheap takeout is more expensive than cooking at home). This one-pan General Tso’s chicken recipe for two provides all the flavor of our favorite takeout item, for less money and fewer calories.

  • One-Pan Pork Chops With Balsamic Mushrooms & Onions

    14
    One Pan Pork Chops With Balsamic Mushrooms And Onions
    iStock

    We love the simplicity of this one-pan pork chops with balsamic mushrooms and onions, which comes out looking and tasting really fancy, but takes basically no time at all. Perfect for a little dinner party, especially served with baguette and a salad.

  • 10-Minute Italian Zucchini Noodle Skillet With Sausage

    15
    10-Minute Italian Zucchini Noodle Skillet with Sausage
    iStock

    This 10-minute Italian zucchini noodle skillet with sausage is so easy, it's worth buying a spiralizer for. For vegetarians, substitute veggie sausage or veggie meatballs -- we love the Quorn brand version.

  • One-Pan Crispy Peanut Tofu With Zucchini & Carrot Noodles

    16
    One-Pan Crispy Peanut Tofu with Zucchini and Carrot Noodles
    iStock

    This one-pan crispy peanut tofu with zucchini and carrot noodles is great for vegans, vegetarians, or a meatless Monday. Dousing veggies in a peanut sauce is a tried-and-true method for getting kids to eat their greens, too. 

  • One-Skillet Garlic Parmesan Zoodles

    17
    One Skillet Garlic Parmesan Zoodles
    iStock

    We fall back in love with zoodles every single summer (although they're great year-round, too). This one-skillet garlic Parmesan zoodles is incredibly simple but delicious -- and it can be dolled up simply with the addition of some poached bay scallops, chicken breast, or leftover steak strips. 

  • Chicken, Kale & Chickpea Skillet

    18
    Chicken, Kale, and Chickpea Skillet
    iStock

    This chicken, kale, and chickpea skillet is filling, delicious, and incredibly healthy, with complete proteins, lots of fiber, and great spicing (although it's not a spicy dish). This is a go-to weeknight meal!

  • One-Skillet Chicken Thighs & Mushrooms With Cauliflower Rice

    19
    One Skillet Chicken Thighs and Mushrooms with Cauliflower Rice
    iStock

    On nights we're feeling uninspired but still want to make something healthy, we keep turning to this one-skillet chicken thighs and mushrooms with cauliflower rice recipe. It's so flavorful and healthful, but without a lot of added fat or refined carbs.

  • One-Skillet Cauliflower Burritos

    20
    One Skillet Cauliflower Burritos
    iStock

    Cauliflower remains a trendy ingredient, and we can see why -- it's chock full of calcium, and it's mild enough that it takes on bold flavors well. We love this one-skillet cauliflower burritos for feeling on-trend without being difficult or complex.

More Slideshows