4 Rules for Calling Your Recipe "Simple"

By: Kimberly Harrington  |  Friday, March 3, 2017

Everyone loves to refer to their recipes as "simple." Simple is fun, simple is promising, simple is sexy. Simple is the word I most want whispered in my ear when I'm feeling overwhelmed and yes I've been married for almost 20 years and have two school-age kids, why do you ask?
Well, there are rules about calling your recipe simple and you should definitely follow them and not waste even two minutes wondering who I am or what makes me qualified to come up with these rules. In my experience, questioning leads to answers and/or existential sadness.
Related: Genius One-Pot Pastas
1. Your recipe should have fewer than five ingredients. Why five? Why not! You don't know who I am and I decided five! Let's face it, any more ingredients than that isn't simple, it's just another to-do list. No thank you!
Related: Our Best 5-Ingredient Dinners
2. Your recipe should actually be easy to make. You shouldn't need a degree in the culinary arts to make dinner. Just to choose a 100% completely random example, could a 10 1/2-year-old and a 12 1/2-year-old who look 50% like me make it?
3. Your recipe shouldn't require special equipment. Me: "Does this say 'paddle attachment'?" Me: "Does this say 'cheesecloth'?" Me: "Does this say 'double boiler'?" Also me: "If I order Chipotle online right now, can it be ready 15 minutes and one shopping trip ago?"
4. Your recipe should obviously result in something that's delicious. Let's face it, even this gal right here could pen a recipe that's just two ingredients: cardamom and compost.
But it takes real talent to parlay just a handful of ingredients into something so good, people want to return to your table again and again and not just for the free alcohol. Remember: those who can, DO. Those who can't, WRITE RULES FOR OTHER PEOPLE TO DO.
Editor's Note: We're certain this recipe for 5-Ingredient Lemon-Sopressata Chicken fits your definition of "simple," Kimberly. Have the 10 1/2- and 12 1/2-year-old make mashed potatoes and a salad to go along with it.