The Single Girl's Guide to Cooking for One (and Loving It)

Dining solo is the ultimate test of willpower. After all, when you're only accountable to yourself, it's easy to find an excuse to forgo cooking a healthy meal and speed-dial takeout or heat up a frozen meal instead.

If you're on first-name basis with your local pizza place and use your freezer more than the fridge, it's time to step it up. Cooking for one is a skill everyone should master in their lifetime, so we turned to our favorite foodies to find out what they whip up when dining solo. 

Interestingly, one recipe was the most popular meal of choice: toast toppers. "My go-to when cooking alone is any kind of breakfast for dinner style recipe," says Tieghan Gerard of Half Baked Harvest. Laura Wright of The First Mess says gourmet toast is also perfect if you don't have time to shop. "Heartier toast is a great vehicle for singular meal cooking because it can catch all kinds of leftover small bits you have going on in the fridge."

Step up your game with these simple, single-serve recipes. Staying in has never looked so good. 

Turkish Fried Eggs in Herbed Yogurt

Half Baked Harvest

The Foodie: Tieghan Gerard of Half Baked Harvest 

"My go-to recipes when cooking alone are either big batch soups that I can eat leftovers of throughout the week or breakfast for dinner!" says Gerard, noting that this fragrant herb dish is among her favorites. "It's perfect for a solo dinner because it's healthy and quick to whip up—not to mention delicious!" she says.

It's perfect for a solo dinner because it's healthy and quick to whip up—not to mention delicious!

Williams-Sonoma Olivewood Spoons $80
Mauviel Copper Beating Bowl $75
Magnus Design Maple Wood Cutting Board $100

Lemon Ricotta Zucchini Pasta

Mitzy at Home

The Foodie: Alice of Mitzy at Home

"These days I rarely get to cook just for myself, but when I do I like simple recipes that are easy to make or recipes that give leftovers, so next day's dinner is covered, too." She notes that pasta is ideal as you can easily alter the recipe for a single serve. "This recipe is very forgiving, and that’s what I love about it the most. If you don't have zucchini, you can use cherry tomatoes or peppers or any other vegetable that can be quickly cooked in a pan with some olive oil."

Rosemary, Mushroom, and Chickpea Ragout on Toast

The First Mess

The Foodie: Laura Wright of The First Mess

"My go-to meal when I'm cooking for myself is basically anything I can pile up on a big rustic piece of toasted whole grain bread," she says. "Usually, I do a sauté of mushrooms, some kind of bean or lentil, shallots, lots of herbs, garlic, maybe some miso, and a splash of vegetable stock. Then, I pour that whole thing out onto the toast, grab my knife and fork, and sink into comfort food heaven."

Pasta con Ceci

Mark Weinberg/Food52

The Foodie: Kristen Miglore, Food52 creative director and author of Genius Recipes

The Recipe: Pasta con Ceci

"It's five-ish ingredients from the pantry, takes 20 minutes, and really does make you feel like you're on a balcony in Naples when you eat it, just like Victoria Granof says," Miglore explains. Alter the recipe for a single serve or follow her lead: "It makes just enough for a [dinner] serving plus lunch the next day, to keep that I'm in Naples feeling going at work." 

Loaded Sweet Potato


The Foodie: Danielle Duboise of Sakara Life

The Recipe: Loaded Sweet Potato

"When I'm cooking just for me, I usually make a simple sweet potato loaded with vegetables," Duboise says. This recipe calls for baking a sweet potato for 45 minutes, and then topping it with organic black beans, steamed broccolini, coconut flakes, and fresh chopped chives. "Drizzle with melted coconut oil and season with Himalayan salt—yum!"

Poached Eggs With Hot Smoked Salmon, Asparagus, and Dukkah

From the Kitchen

The Foodie: Sarah Tuck of From the Kitchen

The Recipe: Poached Eggs With Hot Smoked Salmon, Asparagus, and Dukkah

New Zealand native Sarah Tuck is another breakfast-for-dinner convert. "I think the trick is to keep things simple so that you can be bothered, without forgoing great flavors, and interesting textures," she says. "Keep some recipe starters and enhancers in the fridge so you can always whip something together," such as hummus, labneh, dukkah, and pesto.

Lagostina Martellata 5-Qt. Stewpot $180
Swiss Diamond Chef Knife $119 $80
The Wooden Palate Walnut and Brass Trivet $135

Related Stories