12 One-Skillet Meals I Keep Coming Back to Again and Again

updated Jun 25, 2021
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My 12-inch cast iron skillet is my very best friend in the kitchen and a close second is its 12-inch stainless steel counterpart. Both pans cook more meals than any others thanks to their ability to go from stovetop to oven and sometimes to the table to serve. In general, one pan meals are ideal for weeknight cooking; they make dinner possible on busy nights and they cut down on dishwashing. But one skillet meals mean you can start on the stovetop and finish in the oven for more flavor and texture.

These 12 recipes are the one skillet meals I keep coming back to over and over, because I love making them, and my family loves eating them.

1. Stovetop Skillet Pizza

Here are three things that make skillet pizza great: it’s fast, you don’t have to heat up the whole house to cook it, and it’s pizza. I like to break out two skillets and make two pizzas, so my family of four gets a half-pizza each. And that way everyone gets to choose which toppings they want on their half, as well.

Recipe: How To Make Stovetop Skillet Pizza

Credit: Christine Han; Food Styling: Pearl Jones

2. Easy, Creamy Beef and Shells

If you grew up on Hamburger Helper (*raises hand*) and are nostalgic for that creamy, meaty pasta dinner, this is the recipe for you. Not only is it an easy way to use up ground beef, but it leans on your pantry, so it’s easy to keep ingredients stocked for making it.

Recipe: Easy, Creamy Beef and Shells

Credit: Joe Lingeman

3. Weeknight Orzo Paella

This mild paella is a wonderful way to introduce kids to the dish. The combo of shrimp and sausage are delicious, but the orzo and peas are plenty filling if your young eaters aren’t game for seafood.

Recipe: Weeknight Orzo Paella

Credit: Olive & Mango

4. Vegetarian Skillet Pot Pie

Vegetables are hard to resist when they’re covered in rich gravy and flaky puff pastry! This skillet meal is vegetable-forward and doesn’t include pasta but is still impressive enough for weeknight dinner guests — even if it’s just the neighbor kids.

Recipe: Vegetarian Skillet Pot Pie

Credit: Joe Lingeman

5. One-Pot BBQ Chicken Burrito Bowls

Chicken burrito bowls are one of those meals that keep us from ordering Chipotle takeout every week. This basic formula can be adapted to whatever protein or vegetables you have on hand and comes out delicious every time.

Recipe: One-Pot BBQ Chicken Burrito Bowls

Credit: Joe Lingeman

6. Easy Shrimp Fried Rice

Here’s another opportunity to get shrimp in front of the kids without worrying that there won’t be enough other food on the plate if they decline it. Plus it’s a great way to use up leftover rice.

Recipe: Easy Shrimp Fried Rice

Credit: Faith Durand

7. Gnocchi Skillet with Chicken Sausage & Tomatoes

No-boil gnocchi recipes are my favorite. Yes, they are faster. But they also work well with frozen or cauliflower gnocchi which can occasionally come out slimy when boiled. The cherry tomatoes are a must, but any kind of sausage you like works for this skillet.

Recipe: Gnocchi Skillet with Chicken Sausage & Tomatoes

Credit: Rikki Snyder

8. Sweet Potato Skillet with Baked Eggs

Oh, you want a breakfast for dinner that isn’t just pancakes? Let me introduce you to this sweet (potato) little dish. My kids are obsessed with the ranch-flavored potatoes, but I can’t get them to stop picking out the kale.

Recipe: Ranch Sweet Potato Skillet with Baked Eggs

Credit: Joe Lingeman

9. Philly Cheesesteak Pasta Skillet

Creamy and cheesy pasta is what skillet meal dreams are made of! It doesn’t hurt that this one is also loaded with sweet peppers that kids actually like to eat. The leftovers pack well for school lunch, too — if there are any.

Recipe: Philly Cheesesteak Pasta Skillet

10. Egg Roll Skillet

Can I let you in on the secret that makes this a super-easy crowd pleaser? The vegetables are pre-shredded slaw. I like to grab broccoli slaw for my family, but classic coleslaw is wonderful with the ground pork and sauce here.

Recipe: Egg Roll Skillet

Credit: Lauren Volo

11. Weeknight Skillet Lasagna

You know the satisfaction of tucking into a slice of slow baked lasagna? I pinkie promise this skillet version delivers on all that in one-third of the prep and cooking time. Steam a bag of green beans and dinner is done.

Recipe: Weeknight Skillet Lasagna

Credit: Photo: Joe Lingeman/Kitchn; Food Stylist: Pearl Jones/Kitchn

12. Creamy Mushroom and Asparagus Dumpling Skillet

Admittedly, I haven’t tried this recipe on my family yet, but I’m bookmarking it for spring asparagus! And because it is just three shortcut ingredients it’s worth giving a shot. Try it with me — and tell me what you think in the comments!