What can I bake with minimal ingredients? Let me help you find baking recipe solutions for the ingredients you have on hand. Included in this list are my favorite minimal ingredient bread recipes, desserts, egg-free baking recipes, flourless recipes, and more.
Sometimes we’re faced with a situation where we don’t have many ingredients at our disposal. But we still need to eat. And, in some cases, we still want to bake. Here I’m sharing exactly what you can bake when you have minimal ingredients.
What is Minimal Ingredient Baking?
By minimal ingredient baking, I mean baking recipes that don’t call for a wide array of ingredients. These aren’t necessarily healthy recipes—instead, I’m sharing recipes that don’t take 12+ crazy ingredients.
I’m highlighting my peanut butter banana oatmeal bars here. (Pictured above.) While the ingredient list looks long, there’s a handful of substitutions you can make based on what you have. As a bonus, they’re naturally egg-free and gluten free (no flour) and if using dairy free chocolate chips, vegan as well. Feel free to use any milk you have, substitute canned pumpkin for the bananas or applesauce, leave out the chocolate chips, use almond butter for peanut butter, and skip the cinnamon and vanilla extract if needed.
More on Baking Substitutions
While some recipes can withstand ingredient substitutions, most traditional baking recipes cannot. Remember that baking is a science and certain ingredients are used for a reason. If substitutions have been successfully tested, you’ll see it written in my blog post or recipe notes. Otherwise, I likely haven’t tested it. And when making substitutions, the results will always differ from the original recipe.
For best results, stick to the recipe or find recipes using the ingredients you have.
Some helpful links:
Typically, sour cream and plain yogurt can be used interchangeably in baking recipes.
Minimal Ingredient Yeast Breads
The following 6 bread recipes require yeast. Most of the ingredients are repeated in each including yeast, salt, water, sugar, and flour. You can use bread flour and all-purpose flour interchangeably in these recipes. However, keep in mind that bread flour produces a chewier baked good while all-purpose flour creates a slightly flimsier baked good.
- Homemade Pizza Crust: water, yeast, sugar, olive oil, salt, flour
- Bread Bowls: water, yeast, sugar, olive oil, salt, flour, egg
- Focaccia: water, yeast, sugar, olive oil, salt, flour, herbs
- Artisan Bread: water, yeast, salt, bread flour
- Homemade Bagels: water, yeast, brown sugar, salt, bread flour, egg white, honey
- Sandwich Bread: water, milk, yeast, sugar, butter, salt, flour
If you have the ingredients from these recipes, you can also make my soft pretzels.
Minimal Ingredient Quick Breads (No Yeast)
The following 2 bread recipes are considered quick breads because they do not require yeast for leavening. Each are personal favorites and VERY simple.
- Biscuits: flour, baking powder, salt, butter, buttermilk, honey
- Irish Soda Bread: flour, baking soda, sugar, salt, butter, buttermilk, egg
- No Yeast Bread: flour, baking soda, salt, butter, honey/sugar, buttermilk
Buttermilk Substitution: If you don’t have any buttermilk, you can make a DIY soured milk. For every 1 cup of buttermilk, add 1 or 1 and 1/2 teaspoons of white vinegar or lemon juice to a liquid measuring cup. Fill with enough regular milk to yield 1 cup. Whisk together, then let sit for 5 minutes before using in the recipe. Whole milk is best, but you can use any fat or nondairy milk. The lower the fat, the less “rich” the baked good will taste.
Here are all of my Quick Bread Recipes.
Egg-Free Baking Recipes
The following 4 are my favorite minimal ingredient recipes for eggless baking (or no baking!). Most require pantry staples.
- Raspberry Streusel Bars: butter, sugar, brown sugar, vanilla, salt, flour, raspberry or any flavor preserves, oats, cinnamon
- Peanut Butter Bars: butter, graham crackers, confectioners’ sugar, peanut butter, chocolate chips
- No Bake Cookies: butter, sugar, milk, cocoa powder, peanut butter, vanilla, oats
- Pistachio Drop Cookies: butter, pistachios, confectioners’ sugar, vanilla, almond extract, flour (these are just like my snowball cookies)
Here are dozens more Egg-Free Baking Recipes.
The following 6 recipes are gluten free and made without regular flour. Many use the same ingredients which are mostly all pantry staples.
- Crème Brûlée: egg yolks, granulated sugar, heavy cream, salt, vanilla
- Lace Cookies: butter, brown sugar, almond flour, salt, corn syrup or milk, vanilla
- Chocolate Coconut Almond Tart: almonds, almond flour, maple syrup, coconut oil, chocolate, coconut milk
- Flourless Chocolate Cake: butter, chocolate, sugar, espresso powder, vanilla, eggs, cocoa powder, salt
- Almond Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies: egg, almond butter or peanut butter, brown sugar, baking soda, chocolate chips
- Caramel Corn: popcorn, brown sugar, corn syrup, butter, cream of tartar, salt, baking soda
Here are dozens more Gluten Free Recipes.
My Baked Oatmeal and Baked Oatmeal Cups are also naturally flourless recipes. Both use nothing but pantry staples. Plenty of ingredient substitutions listed in the posts, too!
8 Ingredient or Less Recipes
I have an entire page dedicated to recipes with 8 or less ingredients. You’ll find 80 recipes including dinners, desserts, breakfast, and snacks.
- Like lemon bars which uses butter, sugar, vanilla, salt, flour, eggs, and lemon.
5 Ingredient or Less Recipes
The following recipes are a few favorite 5 ingredient or less recipes. These are all flourless.
- Rice Krispie Treats: butter, marshmallows, vanilla, salt, crispy rice cereal
- Peanut Butter Fudge: peanut butter, butter, vanilla, confectioners’ sugar
- Chocolate Truffles: chocolate, heavy cream, butter, vanilla, optional toppings
- Salted Caramel: sugar, butter, heavy cream, salt
- Coconut Macaroons: egg whites, sugar, vanilla, almond extract, coconut, optional chocolate
- Maple Vanilla Baked Pears: pears (or apples), maple syrup, cinnamon, vanilla
You will also love my naturally gluten free Greek Yogurt Fruit Tart which uses cashews or walnuts, dates, yogurt, and any fresh fruit you have.
I can’t wait to hear which recipes you try!
Reader Comments & Reviews
Thanks Sally. This is really helpful.
Thank You for Sharing this informative Article! It is Very Useful To Everyone. Stay Healthy and keep Safe!
I’m stuck without vanilla or brown sugar. Sadly, I didn’t find a recipe here that fit but I appreciate the work that went into this site I found from google.
Hi Michelle, if vanilla isn’t the main flavor in a baked good you can often leave it out or substitute with maple syrup (or even bourbon) in a pinch. You may love these no-bake chocolate peanut butter bars as well- they’re a favorite!
Thanks so much for the recipes, I’ve been trying them during the pandemic. I personally really love the lemon bars, anyways I appreciate you putting all your recipes online. Thanks 🙂
Thanks Elizabeth! What a thoughtful comment. I appreciate it.
Is it possible to make your “Best Zucchini bread” without an egg? None are available near me but I have rest of the ingredients.
Hi Becky! I don’t recommend it. A flax egg substitute, often used in vegan baking, could work. Give it a quick internet search for exactly what you need to make the substitution.
I love your recipe for Salted caramel! This was the first time that I attempted to caramelize sugar and it was so easy. I followed your instructions to the letter and the result was stupendous.
I have used recipes from your site for several years. They are always good. While the bread machine has it’s place, today I decided to make your sandwich bread by hand. I have always been intimidated by bread made by hand. It was a success!!! I love your recipes they are good recipes with ingredients I can pronounce.
I’m so happy you had great success with my sandwich bread recipe! I just made a batch today, actually 🙂 Thanks for your positive feedback, Melissa!
This is so helpful! I can’t buy flour for a bit – so will turn to other ideas for treats to keep me busy in the kitchen.
I’m glad this was helpful, Stefanie!
Love your posts..especially this one. So needed and informative! Always put so many ideas out there, I call it “kitchen sink plus” so great. Thanks
Thanks so much, Jodi!
Awesome post Sally! When I “stocked up” I made sure to get flour, cocoa powder, choco chips, vanilla and sugar! You know.. the staples of a pandemic!
I’m so happy you found this post helpful, Andrea! Happy baking 🙂