30 Recipes to Master Before You Turn 30

Every home chef learns at their own pace, but at a certain point, it's time to really own your signature dishes. So, we're going back to the basics with this collection of fundamental dishes that can serve as the building blocks of your recipe repertoire. From classic breakfasts to stand-out sauces to your (not-yet) famous chocolate cake, these dishes will take you far in your home cooking career. These are some of our top-loved and top-made recipes, so let's just say the whole community agrees: It's time to learn these culinary staples!

a high angle view of two bowls of the best damn chili each topped with a dollop of sour cream.
Photo: Dotdash Meredith Food Studios
01 of 30

Juicy Roasted Chicken

top-down view of a whole roast chicken on a plate

Every home chef needs a roast chicken recipe in their back pocket, and this one results in the juiciest chicken of all. With just five ingredients, it's shockingly simple to make, but never fails to impress. "I've probably used this recipe twice a month for the last 5 years (or more)," shares one Allrecipes community member. "When I have company, I know this recipe will be perfect. I love it!"

02 of 30

Real Hummus

close up on a bowl of hummus
Dotdash Meredith Food Studios

Creamy, smooth, and thick, this easy app is the perfect dip to whip up for all sorts of occasions (and everybody knows homemade goes above and beyond the store-bought stuff). Served with warm pita bread, it simply doesn't get better.

03 of 30

Chicken Noodle Soup

close up view of chicken noodle soup in a pot with a wooden spoon

A good chicken noodle soup is food for the soul, so it's important to make it right. With this shortcut recipe, you can have a flavorful, belly-warming soup on the table in just 40 minutes. User shannomac comments, "Easy to make and tastes like you spent hours making it."

04 of 30

Best Scrambled Eggs

looking at a plate of scrambled eggs with a side of toast
Dotdash Meredith Food Studios

If you've made it past your 20s without learning how to make a proper plate of scrambled eggs, it's definitely time to pick up the skill. Easy and filling, this meaty, cheesy scrambled egg recipe will carry you through many mornings (and breakfast-for-dinners) to come.

05 of 30

Best Damn Chili

a high angle view of two bowls of the best damn chili each topped with a dollop of sour cream.
Dotdash Meredith Food Studios

There are a million ways to make a delicious chili, but if you don't have your go-to recipe yet, this is the one to claim. One Allrecipes member shares, "I have used this recipe for 3 years now when I wanted to learn how make chili from scratch. I'm so glad I found this! It is an awesome and flavorful chili that my family LOVES!"

06 of 30

The Best Banana Bread

When life gives you brown bananas, you're going to want to know how to make this delicious banana bread. Moist, fluffy, and full of flavor, this classic banana bread will never go out of style.

07 of 30

Absolutely Fabulous Greek/House Dressing

low angle looking into a bowl of salad topped with greek dressing
dotdash meredith food studios

A good salad dressing can complement any greens and veggies you throw its way. That's why we love this zesty, light, and easy Greek dressing. Recipe creator Danielle M. claims that this is the 'secret' recipe from the pizzeria she works at. She says it's so tasty that, "people offer to buy it constantly, but if we sold it we wouldn't be able to make enough to use in the restaurant!"

08 of 30

Best Marinara Sauce Yet

overhead view of marinara sauce in a large skillet
Dotdash Meredith Food Studios

This is the kind of sauce that makes everybody in the house wonder when dinner will be ready. Rich, herbaceous and hearty, this 'Sunday sauce' is the best type of comfort food, and one you'll make for years to come. "After making this sauce I may never be able to eat sauce from a jar ever again. This was truly an amazing Italian sauce," shares an Allrecipes member.

09 of 30

The Perfect Basic Burger

looking at a perfect basic burger on a plate

When cookout season comes around, it's essential to know how to make a good burger, and this simple, no-fuss recipe makes stand-out burgers every time. The secret is incorporating breadcrumbs in the patty to keep the burgers tender and juicy while cooking. Load them up with your favorite toppings, and you have the complete recipe for a perfect, warm summer night.

10 of 30


a low angle, close-up view of a bowl of fresh guacamole topped with diced tomatoes and parsley and served with tortilla chips.

Nothing you'll pick up from the store will ever compete with a homemade guacamole, and when it's this easy to make, you might as well say goodbye to the store-bought stuff for good. Leaving more than 6,000 5-star reviews, our users agree this recipe is one of the easiest and tastiest you can find.

11 of 30

Perfect Baked Potato

a close up view of a split baked potato dressed with salt, butter, and chives

Not only are baked potatoes easy, affordable, and almost impossible to mess up, they also happen to be one of the most comforting sides you can bring to the table. With a crisp, golden skin, and light, fluffy inside, a perfectly baked potato is customizable to everyone's tastebuds.

12 of 30

Butter Flaky Pie Crust

close up view of a buttery flaky pie crust
Lindsey Hayes

A dependable pie crust recipe is a cornerstone of holiday baking, and we happen to have the butteriest, flakiest recipe of them all. Get this pie dough down, and you'll impress your guests for years to come. "Very easy recipe!," says user Clara. "I have been wanting to make my own pie crust, like, forever!"

13 of 30

Perfect White Rice

Simple white rice can be the base of hundreds of easy and delicious dinners, and this recipe will help you nail the perfect light and fluffy texture every time. Don't worry—it's a lot easier than you think! "WOW! Where has this recipe been all my life?," says user Rebecca from LA. "This will be my new go-to rice recipe for sure."

14 of 30

Good Old-Fashioned Pancakes

stack of good old fashioned pancakes on a plate with butter and syrup
Meredith Food Studios

There's no easier way to brighten weekend mornings than with these fan-favorite pancakes. Fluffy, golden, and buttery, this steamy stack is proof that sometimes, the simplest recipes are the most fabulous (just ask the 13,000 5-star reviewers!).

15 of 30

Grilled Cheese Sandwich

For an easy, go-to lunch that never disappoints, the grilled cheese sandwich is a classic. This 3-ingredient recipe is all about the technique to achieve a perfectly gooey center and crispy crust. "I learned in a restaurant that if you use a larger pan and leave the sandwich open in the pan on low heat to fry...the cheese will be melted perfectly and the outsides will be perfectly golden," according to user Chandra Davidson.

16 of 30

Baked Salmon

a top down view of two baked salmon filets each in a foil packet with lemon slices on top served with roasted asparagus.
Danielle K

For an easy, healthy, no-brainer meal, this baked salmon dish is one to keep in your rotation. Recipe creator LADYBLADE shares, "This was my first time making fish and it was a hit. Even my 9-year-old daughter who wouldn't ever dream of eating fish had half of my portion!"

17 of 30

Mushroom Risotto

If you've ever been intimidated by risotto, let this easy recipe assure you that the creamy rice dish is just as doable on a weeknight as it is for a fancy occasion. Whether you serve as a side or main course, this filling and flavorful dish turns out beautifully every time.

18 of 30

Shrimp Scampi

Simple but elegant, this butter and garlic-flavored shrimp dish will be your new favorite way to serve seafood. Plate the succulent shrimp over pasta and pair with a salad and garlic bread for a light, yet decadent dinner.

19 of 30

Roasted Vegetables

roasted potatoes, carrots, and bell peppers on a white ceramic serving dish
Sayeh Sadegh

The easiest way to turn a main dish into a meal is to add these classic roasted veggies to the menu. "Colorful, tasty, and full of flavor, these caramelized roasted veggies deserve a place on your plate," says the recipe creator. Pro tip: they can even be made ahead and reheated before serving!

20 of 30


close up view of Pesto in a bowl

Whether stirred into pasta, spread over sandwiches, or spooned over potatoes, this fresh and flavorful sauce has more uses than we can count, making it one of the best cooking tricks to master. User Autumn E. Kramer raves, "Have been using this recipe for YEARS...and is the BEST recipe!!!"

21 of 30

Mom's Favorite Baked Mac and Cheese

high angle looking at a casserole dish of mac and cheese with a spoonful resting inside

If there's a more cherished dish to bring to a potluck, we don't know it. This simple, classic, just-like-mom-used-to-make mac and cheese never fails to steal the show. User Tiffany Malen says, "The flavor is amazing and I always get a lot of compliments!"

22 of 30

Sirloin Steak with Garlic Butter

close up view of sliced Sirloin Steak with Garlic Butter on a plate with flowers in the back
Cindy Capps Lepp

Nothing wows quite like a steak dinner, but when you're paying big bucks for a pricey piece of meat, the last thing you want to do is butcher the preparation (pun intended). This top-rated recipe promises a melt-in-your-mouth steak with restaurant-quality flavor, so you can be sure to impress at your next special occasion meal.

23 of 30

Southern Pimento Cheese

Southern Pimento Cheese
Southern Pimento Cheese | Photo by Holiday Baker.

A staple on almost any tailgating, potluck, or holiday spread, homemade pimiento cheese never disappoints. Luckily, it's super easy to make for crowds—plus, you get the added bonus of being everyone's favorite person at the party. User Susan Hissam writes, "This is the best pimento cheese ever! It's perfect. That's all I can say about it. Every time I serve it I'm asked for the recipe (which I gladly share)."

24 of 30

Easy Fried Rice

an overhead view of a large plate of easy fried rice
Dotdash Meredith Food Studio

When you're craving the crispy, savory taste of fried rice, this simplified recipe is the place to turn. This shortcut version uses leftover rice, a few eggs, and a handful of veggies to make a mealtime masterpiece. User Sue Kohlert says she's made this recipe many times, adding, "It turns out excellent every time, and it couldn't be easier. I usually make the rice a day or two ahead. Sometimes I toss in pork or chicken. Great recipe!"

25 of 30

Easy Homemade Pizza Dough

a top down view of a fresh baked homemade pizza topped with tomatoes, olives, onions, and mushrooms.
Vilma Ng

This quick and easy dough doesn't require any rise-time, yet it yields a soft and chewy crust that makes the perfect base for your favorite pizza toppings. One Allrecipes member comments, "Made this recipe three times and I'm obsessed with how easy, delicious, and fool proof it is." Master this recipe, and pizza night can be a weekly occurrence in your kitchen.

26 of 30

Best Chocolate Chip Cookies

a close up view of a pile of best ever chocolate chip cookies with one broken in half
Dotdash Meredith Food Studios

Nothing shines in your recipe collection like a signature chocolate chip cookie, and this one, with its crisp edges and chewy centers, is one of our all-time favorites. In fact, more than 14,000 Allrecipes members agree, giving this recipe a 5-star rating. Hey, it might be time you adopt it as your go-to as well.

27 of 30

Toasted Garlic Bread

Sure, this dish might seem like a no-brainer, but a thick, crispy slice of garlic bread is tough to beat. The perfect addition to any Italian meal, this leveled-up bread is easy to make and even easier to devour. Melty mozzarella on top is optional, but highly recommended.

28 of 30

Chef John's French Omelette

close up view of Chef John's French Omelette on a plate with toast and spinach
Chef John

According to Chef John, this recipe is "10% ingredients and 90% technique, so it does take a bit of practice to perfect." However, if you follow the steps exactly, you'll be able to make an incredible, impressive omelette in no time. "You'll be amazed at just how delicious these few ingredients can be when elevated using this method," he adds.

29 of 30

Easy Crispy Baked Chicken

This easy chicken dinner is elevated with cracker crumbs to create crave-worthy flavor and texture. By breading and baking the chicken breasts, you get the irresistible crunch of fried chicken with a method thats way easier (and healthier) to achieve. Pro tip: use cheesy crackers (like Cheez-Its) to incorporate even more flavor!

30 of 30

One Bowl Chocolate Cake

We have dozens of chocolate cake recipes in our collection, but it's the delicious taste and ease of this recipe that makes it our tried-and-true. For every occasion that requires a cake, whether it be a birthday, anniversary, or bake sale, this rich and moist chocolate cake will win hearts every time.

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