30 Recipes Everyone Should Know By The Time They're 30 (2024)

There are some basic, fundamental recipes that every cook should have in his or her tool belt. As cooks, we learn some of these in college, on a tight budget with limited time. As we get a little older, we start to find our favorite tweaks, substitutions and improvements. Ideally, by the time we hit 30, we have an arsenal of great recipes that we feel comfortable making anytime. This way, if you invite someone over for dinner, you don't have to panic and thumb through every cookbook you own (unless you want to).

In our minds, these are the 30 essential recipes every cook should know by the time they turn 30. If you can master these, you'll have most of the tools you need to learn any other recipe with relative ease. This list is tailored toward an omnivore, but there are plenty of vegetarian-friendly options here as well, in order of relative ease and simplicity. What do you think is the most important recipe you ever learned? Let us know in the comments!

1

Grilled Cheese

30 Recipes Everyone Should Know By The Time They're 30 (1)

Steamy Kitchen

Make 1,000 grilled cheeses. Make them when you are half asleep. Make them when you are drunk. Eat them for breakfast. Add ingredients. Fail a few times. Make so many grilled cheeses you could make them on one leg with one arm tied behind your back.

Get the Super Frico Grilled Cheese Sandwich recipe from Steamy Kitchen

2

Basic Vinaigrette & A Simple Salad

30 Recipes Everyone Should Know By The Time They're 30 (2)

James Ransom/Food52

3

Guacamole

30 Recipes Everyone Should Know By The Time They're 30 (3)

Simply Recipes

Want to throw a party? You need party dip.

Get the Perfect Guacamole recipe from Simply Recipes

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5

Scrambled Eggs

30 Recipes Everyone Should Know By The Time They're 30 (5)

Melanie Einzig/Food52

Breakfast is important, and scrambled eggs are the O.G.

Get the Soft Scrambled Eggs recipe from Food52

6

Brownies

30 Recipes Everyone Should Know By The Time They're 30 (6)

Brown Eyed Baker

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7

Mashed Potatoes

30 Recipes Everyone Should Know By The Time They're 30 (7)

Simply Recipes

We like to mix a little sour cream right into ours.

Get the Perfect Mashed Potatoes recipe from Simply Recipes

8

Green Beans

30 Recipes Everyone Should Know By The Time They're 30 (8)

Simply Recipes

You've probably eaten a lot of mushy, waterlogged, over-cooked green beans in your life. Your job is to make them better. Still slightly crunchy, bright, great hot or cold. GO.

Get the Green Bean Salad with Basil, Balsamic, and Parmesan recipe from Simply Recipes

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10

Sautéed Greens

30 Recipes Everyone Should Know By The Time They're 30 (10)

Emily Todd

You can follow this same process with any leafy green: spinach, chard, mustard greens, collard greens, broccoli rabe. The bottom line is that somewhere along the line, you're going to need to feed yourself some leafy greens, so they should taste good.

Get the Kale with Garlic & Red Pepper Flakes recipe from Habitually Hungry

11

Polenta

30 Recipes Everyone Should Know By The Time They're 30 (11)

svariophoto via Getty Images

Get The Only Polenta Recipe You'll Ever Need

12

Roasted Vegetables

30 Recipes Everyone Should Know By The Time They're 30 (12)

Steamy Kitchen

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13

Poached Salmon

30 Recipes Everyone Should Know By The Time They're 30 (13)

James Ransom/Food52

This is the easiest, most reliable and least smelly way to cook fish. Learn it, love it.

Get the Aromatic Poached Salmon with Rye and Caper Breadcrumbs recipe from Food52

14

Chicken Soup

30 Recipes Everyone Should Know By The Time They're 30 (14)

James Ransom/Food52

The real way. With a chicken.

Get the Reform Jewish Penicillin recipe from Food52

15

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17

Deviled Eggs

30 Recipes Everyone Should Know By The Time They're 30 (17)

My Well Fed Heart/Food52

18

Roast Chicken

30 Recipes Everyone Should Know By The Time They're 30 (18)

Simply Recipes

Roasting a chicken for someone at the right time can heal a broken heart, we swear.

Get the Keller’s Roast Chicken recipe from Simply Recipes

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20

Mac And Cheese

30 Recipes Everyone Should Know By The Time They're 30 (20)

Christopher Hirsheimer and Melissa Hamilton/Food52

No powdered cheese allowed.

Get the Classic Mac and Cheese recipe from Food52

21

Pancakes

30 Recipes Everyone Should Know By The Time They're 30 (21)

Crepes of Wrath/Food52

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22

Ratatouille

30 Recipes Everyone Should Know By The Time They're 30 (22)

Mimi Thorisson/Manger

23

Perfect Rice

30 Recipes Everyone Should Know By The Time They're 30 (23)

Willow Arlen/Will Cook For Friends

24

Tofu Stir-Fry

30 Recipes Everyone Should Know By The Time They're 30 (24)

Get the Tofu, Veggie and Sesame Fried Rice recipe

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25

Spaghetti And Meatballs

30 Recipes Everyone Should Know By The Time They're 30 (25)

James Ransom/Food52

27

Potatoes au Gratin

30 Recipes Everyone Should Know By The Time They're 30 (27)

Sarah Shatz/Food52

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28

Minestrone Soup

30 Recipes Everyone Should Know By The Time They're 30 (28)

Sarah Shatz/Food52

Here's why minestrone soup is one of the most important recipes you'll ever learn to make: it teaches you about using dried beans, different cooking times of different vegetables, layering flavors and improvising ingredients seasonally. Learn to make a great one and you'll be well on your way to cooking anything you want.

Get the Minestrone Soup recipe from Food52

30

Beef Bourguignon

30 Recipes Everyone Should Know By The Time They're 30 (30)

Simply Recipes

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