When life is busy (which, let's face it, is most of the time), we often find ourselves turning to one-pan meals to save a little time. Whether done in a sheet pan or a single pot or skillet, one-pan meals are the peak of convenience, saving time and effort at every step of the cooking journey, from prep to cooking to clean-up.
Danielle, author of Red Kitchenette, summed up our enthusiasm for sheet pan meals perfectly when she said, "I love the ease and simplicity of using only one pan. Metal is a great heat conductor so it always gives the food you’re cooking great caramelization. Cleanup is a snap. And requires very little effort. Chop your veggies, toss with your protein, oil, salt and pepper, place in oven and walk away. I love that especially if you have small children!!"
We're covering both sheet pan meals and one pot meals in this article, but if you prefer one over the other, it's often easy to adapt a recipe to one or the other. For example, check out Danielle's tips for adapting a roasting pan meal to work in a sheet pan:
Now, on to the recipes! These are some of our favorite recipes from our blogger friends as well as our very own KI users, and they're all perfect for an effortless weeknight meal.
This recipe comes from Danielle at Red Kitchenette. She loves to customize sheet pan chicken and veggies with whatever's in season—potatoes, carrots, and onions work year-round, while butternut squash, Brussels sprouts, and sweet potatoes are perfect during the winter months. Prefer it in a roasting pan? Check out this similar recipe over at Danielle's blog.
And if you're looking for something a little more summery, Danielle recommends shrimp with corn and tomatoes: "peeled and deveined shrimp with grape tomatoes and fresh shucked corn cut into smaller pieces tossed with evoo, salt and pepper is delicious and gets dinner on the table in minutes."
This dish uses smoked sausage, onions, and potatoes for a savory and hearty dinner that tastes amazing. In an hour, the onions are caramelized, the potatoes and sausage browned, and the whole dish mouth-wateringly fragrant.
Noodle dishes are not just super easy, but also super flavorful when made one-pot style. These pad thai noodles get the chance to soak up extra flavor from chicken stock and peanut sauce, and veggies simmer until soft at the very same time.
This delicious one-pot greek chicken with lemon rice dish comes courtesy of Brittany at A Healthy Slice of Life. It's super easy in a dutch oven, and cooks up in about 30 minutes. Just put everything in a pot and cook until you've got one delicious, savory, salty, and citrusy family dinner that's sure to satisfy everyone.
This dish is packed with different autumnal vegetables like brussel sprouts, parsnips, and butternut squash. Its lemony flavor brightens up the whole dish for something truly special. It makes the perfect side dish or main dish. You can add chicken breasts too for a more filling meal.
Here's another one-pot meal that's all done within just 30 minutes. These deconstructed enchiladas are full of delicious and healthy vegetables, including black beans, squash, and red pepper. For extra color and flavor, garnish with plenty of cilantro, or fresh oregano for the cilantro haters out there.
This is such an easy way to make fajitas. Sure to please just about anyone, these fajitas are deliciously seasoned and are great eaten with tortillas, avocado, and a little sour cream. Plus, it's ready in just 30 minutes.
Love these sheet pan meals but need a good pan to put them in? Head on over to How To Buy The Perfect Sheet Pan to find out all you need to know before buying one.
Or, if you'd rather your one-pot meals come together on the stove top (or be able to transition between stovetop and oven), then check out our guides to the 6 Best Dutch Ovens of 2017 and Best Cast Iron Pans for 2017.
Danielle Krupa, M.A., C.H.C., Chef, is the author of the blog Red Kitchenette, where she provides recipes and ideas for creating well-balanced, healthy and adventurous little eaters. She lives in downtown Manhattan with her husband and 2 daughters.
Brittany Dixon authors the blog A Healthy Slice of Life which focuses on healthy and natural food & lifestyle choices as well as chronicling her experiences as a stay at home mom. Her history as a certified health coach helps inform the content she puts out into the world.