5 Essential Tips in Cooking for One

Tips from The Kitchn

I was excited to see requests for more tips on cooking for one. This is a topic I love talking about! I spent a number of years living on my own, and despite some wasted food and a seemingly endless stream of leftovers along the way, I managed to get cooking for one down to a science.

Here are five of the practices that were most helpful for me in cooking for just one.

When I was living alone a lot of people asked why I went through the "trouble" of preparing regular dinners when I was only cooking for myself. This always puzzled me. Honestly, I never thought twice about the fact that I was cooking for myself. It just felt like the natural thing to do. Yes, I do enjoy cooking, but more than that I really enjoy a good home-cooked meal at the end of the day. Plus, I'm not really into take out and even less into packaged freezer meals.

Cooking for one has its limitations and can be tough, but it doesn't have to be. Here's a few tips to make it a little easier for you.

1. Repurpose leftovers

Leftovers are an inevitable part of cooking for one. Instead of eating the same meal night after night, re-purpose your leftovers into a brand new meal, like tacos, quesadillas, a frittata or pasta.

2. Plan ahead

One of the keys to successfully cooking for one is planning ahead. Having a meal plan in place before your weekly grocery shopping trip will keep you on track with buying just what you need, and keeping wasted food to a minimum. This is especially helpful when it comes to perishable items, like produce and dairy.

3. Enjoy breakfast for dinner

You know those nights you want a simple, satisfying dinner but have absolutely no energy to cook? Breakfast foods are the perfect solution. It can be as simple as a few scrambled eggs with a side of mixed greens, an omelet, a frittata, or even a stack of pancakes.

4. Cook dinner on back to back nights

While I like leftovers, but I don't like eating the same dinner two nights in a row. Cooking dinner on back to back nights helps to change things up. For example, if you cook on Monday and Tuesday night, you can re-purpose Monday's leftovers on Wednesday and do the same with Tuesday's leftovers on Thursday.

5. Find cookbooks for the solo cook

There are a lot of great cookbooks dedicated to solo cooking. Here are a few of my favorites!

It's Reader Request Week at The Kitchn!

This post was requested by honeybun.

(Image credits: Emma Christensen; Faith Durand)