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20 Go-To Recipes Every Twentysomething Should Know

From pasta, to chicken, to roasted veggies — these simple recipes will come in handy over and over again.

Cooking at home is challenging — we get it — and everyone needs a collection of staple recipes they can turn to over and over again.

So we rounded up 20 of our favorite staple recipes that just about everyone should know how to make. Pick a few of your favorites, bookmark them, and keep them in your back pocket.

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1. Roasted lemon chicken to pair with just about anything.

cafedelites.com

Why you should know how to make it: It's both simple and impressive, and relatively cheap to make. This recipe uses chicken thighs instead of a whole bird to make things more manageable for a beginner cook. You can pair it with veggies, grains, and anything else your heart desires.

Get the recipe.

2. A super simple pesto you can toss with pasta, over chicken, or spread on a sandwich.

thesuburbansoapbox.com

Why you should know how to make it: Pesto is super versatile and can dress up just about any meal. Toss it over pasta, spread it on salmon, or mix it with yogurt to make a creamy sandwich spread. It's easy to make, and you can stash it in your fridge for several days.

Get the recipe.

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3. Fluffy homemade pancakes you can make for just about any meal.

motherthyme.com

Why you should know how to make it: Homemade pancakes make the ultimate breakfast, brunch, lunch, and dinner (don't @ me). They're fairly easy to make, cook up quickly, and taste way better than the kind you make with store-bought mix.

Get the recipe.

4. Chicken stir-fry so you can use up all of the veggies in your fridge.

momontimeout.com

Why you should know how to make it: Stir-fry is the perfect meal to make when you have a fridge full of random items. This recipe, using chicken and veggies, is the perfect starting point. Using this recipe as a guide, you can throw in whatever protein or veggies you have on hand to create an off-the-cuff dinner that's satisfying and quick.

Get the recipe.

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5. Crockpot chili that's the perfect hands-off recipe for chilly nights.

chelseasmessyapron.com

Why you should know how to make it: Everyone should have a solid chili recipe up their sleeves. It's the perfect thing to cook on cold nights and makes great leftovers. This one is prepared in a slow cooker, so it's great for busy weeknights. You just dump everything in in the morning, turn it on, and come home to a warm dinner ready to be enjoyed.

Get the recipe.

6. Homemade garlic bread you can serve alongside pasta, salad, or just about anything else.

budgetbytes.com

Why you should know how to make it: Garlic bread complements pretty much every meal. It only requires five ingredients and minimal effort to throw together, and pretty much everyone will love it.

Get the recipe.

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7. Comforting spaghetti carbonara that comes together in no time.

gimmesomeoven.com

Why you should know how to make it: It's the ultimate empty-fridge pasta recipe that uses just a handful of basic ingredients such as eggs, bacon, and dried spaghetti. It's cheap, comes together quickly, and tastes amazing.

Get the recipe.

8. A simple one-pan salmon and green beans that's made entirely in the oven.

littlespicejar.com

Why you should know how to make it: Everybody needs a simple technique for cooking fish at home. This recipe marinates salmon in honey mustard and bakes it alongside green beans, but you can use just about any veggie you'd like.

Get the recipe.

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9. A simple omelet so you can quickly prepare breakfast before running out the door.

thekitchn.com

Why you should know how to make it: Cooking a perfect omelet is simple, but it takes practice. Once you get the hang of it, you'll be able to bust out an impressive breakfast for yourself or guests without a ton of effort.

Get the recipe.

10. An easy stovetop mac 'n' cheese so you finally stop eating the boxed variety.

thekitchn.com

Why you should know how to make it: Sure, boxed mac 'n' cheese is delicious, but you really can't beat a homemade version. This recipe only requires five ingredients and is made entirely on the stovetop, so you don't have to bother baking it.

Get the recipe.

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11. A foolproof recipe for perfectly cooked steak every time.

tasty.co

Why you should know how to make it: Steaks are expensive, so when you actually do splurge on them, it's important you know how to cook them properly. This recipe pairs them with a homemade garlic butter that keeps them nice and tender and full of flavor. Keep this recipe in your back pocket for those special occasions and people will be convinced that you're a pro chef.

Get the recipe.

12. An easy 20-minute tomato sauce you can toss over pasta.

foxandbriar.com

Why you should know how to make it: You can make this sauce ahead of time, stash it in your fridge, and toss it over pasta during the week. It's way better than the store-bought varieties, and not that much work.

Get the recipe.

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13. A homemade pizza recipe you can customize with your favorite toppings.

Vaughn Vreeland/BuzzFeed

Why you should know how to make it: Sure, ordering pizza is pretty much zero effort, but there's something special about making your own pizza. It tastes way better, and you can top it with whatever ingredients your heart desires.

Get the recipe.

14. A quick homemade hummus that comes together in no time.

cookingclassy.com

Why you should know how to make it: Hummus is the ultimate snack to have on hand. You can dip chips, veggies, pretzels, and just about anything else you can think of in it. It lasts for several days after you make it and can be customized with any flavor you can think of. Love red peppers? Add them in! Really into roasted garlic lately? Throw some cloves in as you blend it!

Get the recipe.

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15. A sheet tray of roasted veggies you can eat all throughout the week.

cookingclassy.com

Why you should know how to make it: These simple roasted veggies are seasoned with garlic and herbs and are a cinch to throw together. They go with just about any protein and make meal-prepping a breeze.

Get the recipe.

16. Perfectly moist grilled chicken you can make indoors — because who has an actual grill, anyways?

gimmedelicious.com

Why you should know how to make it: Grilled chicken is a simple go-to protein that you can pair with pretty much anything — and once you invest in a grill pan, you can make it indoors in no time. Throw it on top of rice, a salad, or in a sandwich — however you eat it, it's going to be good.

Get the recipe.

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17. A gourmet grilled cheese you can whip up in a matter of minutes.

Michael Graydon and Nikole Herriott / Via bonappetit.com

Why you should know how to make it: Because it'll become your new go-to snack for late nights, quick lunches, and everything in-between.

Get the recipe.

18. A delicious (and classic!) Caesar salad you can eat as a full meal, or pair with something else.

cookingclassy.com

Why you should know how to make it: Caesar salad is a classic for a reason. It's both hearty and light, flavorful, and relatively simple to throw together. If you choose to make your own dressing, you can get a head start and prepare it on the weekend, then just stash it in your fridge.

Get the recipe.

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19. Fluffy mashed potatoes you can serve alongside any ~fancy~ meal you're making.

Taylor Miller/BuzzFeed

Why you should know how to make it: Whenever you need to cook a fancy meal, mashed potatoes are the ultimate go-to side. They're decadent yet super easy to make, and they make any meal feel special.

Learn how to make four different kinds of mashed potatoes.

20. A signature chocolate chip cookie recipe you can bake for special occasions (or just because).

Lauren Zaser / BuzzFeed

Why you should know how to make it: Because cookies are the ultimate sweet treat to make for just about any occasion. Birthday party? Bring cookies. Celebrating a promotion? Bring cookies.

Get the recipe.

Looking for even more recipe inspiration? Check out these posts:

17 Easy Pantry Meals You Can Whip Up On Busy Nights

20 Cheap And Easy One Pot Dinner Ideas To Bookmark

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