57 recipes everyone should know how to cook

Victoria sandwich
(Image credit: TI Media Limited)

From cottage pie to roast chicken, we’ve rounded up 57 easy and basic recipes everyone should know how to cook including simple recipes for beginners.

If you want to improve your cooking skills but don’t know where to start, we’ve got plenty of dishes to choose from. Our collection includes a variety of different recipes both savoury and sweet. For example our mouth-watering chocolate fudge cake, classic rhubarb crumble, and flavoursome spaghetti Bolognese, which are all ideal for beginners.

And it's not just about making full meals either. These basic recipes everyone should know how to cook include tray bakes (opens in new tab), delicious brunch ideas (opens in new tab) and popular sides too like our traditional roast potatoes (opens in new tab).

Roast potatoes, which you can see being made in the video above, are served as part of a classic roast dinner (opens in new tab) spread. Perfecting the skill of achieving soft on the inside, crisp on the outside potatoes is much easier than you may think with our step-by-step video guide.

See more of our recipes everyone should know how to cook below…

Recipes everyone should know how to cook: Simple recipes for beginners

Victoria sandwich

(Image credit: TI Media Limited)

Try our classic Victoria sponge recipe (opens in new tab)

Skill level: Easy

Everyone loves a classic Victoria sponge, especially when it's homemade. This is definitely one of the first recipes everyone should know how to cook when first starting out. You'll feel like a pro in the kitchen once you've made this delightful treat and you can get your whole family to sample some too. Our simple all-in-one method makes this recipe as easy as pie.

Once you've mastered a Victoria sponge you can have a play around with the recipe just like we've done with these Victoria sponge recipes with a twist (opens in new tab). You could fill your cake with chocolate spread and cream or decorate with fondant and sugar sprinkles.

Cottage pie

Cottage pie

Try our classic cottage pie recipe (opens in new tab)

Skill level: Medium

Smothered with a creamy mash topping and packed full of tender meat and gravy, cottage pie is another classic dish to master. We're rating this dish as a medium skill level just as you have two things to watch over and make at the same time, but if you've got multitasking down to a fine art, this recipe is going to be an easy one for you.

Once you've mastered the basics of making a cottage pie you could add chilli powder to the mix to spice things up a bit. Replacing the beef with lamb turns the dish into a shepherd's pie and you could swap the mash for sweet potato instead and experiment with different vegetables too - the possibilities are endless.

Chocolate chip cookies

Chocolate chip cookies

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Try our classic chocolate chip cookies recipe (opens in new tab)

Skill level: Easy

A batch of freshly made chocolate chip cookies will beat a pack of shop-bought any day. Just cream the butter and sugar and chuck in the rest of the ingredients and mix - it really is that simple. You can even get the kids to help you make them too. Make up a big batch of cookie dough, wrap in cling-film and freeze - you can then bake up a batch of cookies whenever you fancy them.

Once you've mastered these sweet treats you can swap the chocolate chips for Smarties, white chocolate chunks or even nuts and fruit.

Lasagne

Lasagne

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Try our classic lasagne recipe (opens in new tab)

Skill level: Medium

A lasagne is perfect for preparing in advance, in fact it usually tastes better when made the day before. Just rustle up this layered dish ahead of time and pop into the oven a little while before you want to eat it, then sit back and relax.

Once you've mastered our classic lasagne recipe there's no stopping you! Turn your lasagne into a meat-free feast (opens in new tab) for the whole family or a super healthy option (opens in new tab) packed with plenty of veggies. You could even top your lasagne with mozzarella balls and pesto for a fancy finish.

Roast chicken

Roast chicken

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Try our classic roast chicken recipe (opens in new tab)

Skill level: Medium

There's nothing quite like a traditional roast chicken with all the trimmings to get the whole family round the table on a Sunday. Streaks of bacon, a smidge of butter and homemade stuffing is all you need to add a mass amount of flavour to your bird. Just remember to keep a watchful eye on the clock when it comes to cooking.

Once you've mastered this classic roast chicken recipe it's time to up the ante. Stud with cloves of garlic (opens in new tab), smother with a balsamic glaze (opens in new tab) and get experimenting with flavours.

Stuffed chicken breast

Stuffed chicken breast

Try our classic stuffed chicken breast recipe (opens in new tab)

Skill level: Medium

If you fancy trying something new with your chicken breasts, stuffing them is a great choice. You can add so much flavour to your chicken and you can sneak in some veggies for the kids too. Stuffed chicken breasts make an impressive option if you're cooking for friends as they look fancier than they are. Just choose your fillings, flatten your chicken breasts, pop the filling in and roll up tightly and wrap in cling film. Pop in the fridge and remove the cling film before cooking.

Once you've mastered the art of stuffing a chicken breast it's time to experiment with the different fillings. Choose from a variety of veggies, cheese or even nuts and fruit. Serve alongside new potatoes and handfuls of fresh salad leaves for a healthy finish.

Chicken and mushroom pie

Chicken and mushroom pie

Try our classic chicken and mushroom pie recipe (opens in new tab)

Skill level: Medium

Pies are much easier to make than you may think especially if you cheat and use ready-made pastry. Making the filling from scratch is the most important part of the pie - you can control what goes in, be it fresh veggies or a homemade sauce. Knowing what goes into your pie and opting for homemade instead of shop-bought is definitely the healthier option.

Once you've mastered this classic chicken and mushroom pie it's time to expand and make other pies like our cheese pie (opens in new tab) (suitable for vegetarians!), the Hairy Bikers' favourite; steak and ale pie (opens in new tab) or even teach yourself how to make the pastry from scratch using our simple puff pastry recipe (opens in new tab).

Chocolate fudge cake

Chocolate fudge cake

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Try our classic chocolate fudge cake recipe (opens in new tab)

Skill level: Easy

If you fancy trying your skills at making a cake why not let it be a chocolate one? Everyone should know how to bake a chocolate cake and if you don't you're going to have some rather disappointed kids, so it's time to roll up those sleeves, crack some eggs, melt some chocolate and get whisking.

Once you've mastered our recipe you'll be eager to experiment. Melted chocolate or cocoa powder make the base of most chocolate cakes so you could play around with different varieties of both. Smother your chocolate cake in chocolate spread, melted chocolate or make your own chocolate ganache (opens in new tab), top with M&Ms, sprinkle with sugar strands or you could even turn it into a chocolate fingers cake (opens in new tab).

Stir-fry

Stir-fry

Try our classic chicken stir-fry recipe (opens in new tab)

Skill level: Easy

They're quick and easy to make and great for the whole family as you can pretty much put whatever you like into a stir-fry. All you need is some veggies, your favourite meat, some stir-fry sauce (be it soy sauce, black bean or sweet and sour) and last but not least - a wok. Cook your meat first, add in the veggies and sauce and stir until combined and delicious. This is a great recipe everyone should know how to cook as it's just so easy.

Once you've mastered our chicken stir-fry (by following our simple recipe, it's ready in 20 mins) you can swap the chicken for different meats such as beef or pork. You can add more spices to the mix or try a different variety of vegetables. Try Ken Hom's beef and orange stir-fry (opens in new tab) or even a spicy Thai prawn stir-fry (opens in new tab).

Macaroni cheese

Macaroni cheese

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Try our classic macaroni cheese recipe (opens in new tab)

Skill level: Easy

Packed with a creamy cheesy sauce with a crunchy topping, macaroni cheese is hard to beat on a cold winter's day. It's easy to adapt to suit everyone's taste buds including those fussy eaters you might have in the family.

Once you've mastered this classic creamy delight you can start being sneaky, adding in some veggies for a vegetable macaroni cheese (opens in new tab) twist. Or if you want to turn it into a lower fat wonder swap cream for low-fat spread and use reduced fat cheese instead, just like our low-calorie macaroni (opens in new tab).

Apple pie

Apple pie

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Try our classic apple pie recipe (opens in new tab)

Skill level: Medium

If you've never made apple pie from scratch before, you should definitely give it a go. All you have to do is prepare the filling, roll out the pastry, assemble and cook. We've given this classic a rating of medium in terms of skill level just because it makes the pastry from scratch, but you can use shop-bought if you wish.

Once you've mastered our favourite apple pie recipe, try adding in some other fruits like blackberries or strawberries for an even sweeter treat. You can make the shortcrust pastry from scratch too, you could even experiment with different types of pastry as your topper including puff and filo pastry.

Crumble

Crumble

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Try our classic rhubarb crumble recipe (opens in new tab)

Skill level: Easy

Nothing beats a delicious, buttery crumble packed with fresh fruit and topped with a crisp combination of flour, oats, butter and sugar. If you don't know how to make a crumble, it's time to learn. Our step-by-step picture recipe makes this classic even easier breaking each step down.

Once you've mastered this classic rhubarb recipe you could try other variations like swapping the rhubarb for apple instead or adding fresh blackberries to the rhubarb mix. Or turn your sweet crumble into a savoury dish, just like our sausage and bean crumble recipe (opens in new tab).

Risotto

Risotto

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Try our classic mushroom risotto recipe (opens in new tab)

Skill level: Medium

Risotto is much easier to make than you may think. All you need is some risotto rice and stock and you're ready to go. We've only rated this dish medium because you have to have a little patience when it comes to cooking. Risotto is best cooked on a low heat and stirred every now and then make sure you give it some love and don't rush it.

Once you've mastered our mushroom risotto you can add some ready-cooked chicken for texture and protein. You can add other veggies too like spinach, leeks and asparagus. Swap the white rice for brown for an even healthier spin or stuff your risotto in half peppers, top with cheese and cook in the oven.

Muffins

Muffins

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Try our classic blueberry muffins recipe (opens in new tab)

Skill level: Easy

Whether you opt to eat your muffins for a breakfast treat or an afternoon snack, everyone should know how to bake muffins as they're super easy to make. Just cream the butter and sugar, add all of the other ingredients, whisk together, pop into muffin cases and bake.

Once you've mastered the basic blueberry muffin recipe you can swap the blueberries for raspberries, strawberries or even nuts or chocolate chips instead. They're so easy, even the kids can get involved in making them.

Spaghetti Bolognese

Spaghetti Bolognese

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Try our classic spaghetti Bolognese recipe (opens in new tab)

Skill level: Easy

An Italian dish that's become a firm favourite with British mums, a good

spaghetti Bolognese recipe is a must in everyone's list of trusted meals. It's the perfect option when the kids have friends round after school as it doesn't take too long to rustle up. Homemade sauce is best but if you're short on time a jar of ready-made sauce will do the job.

Once you've mastered this classic spaghetti Bolognese recipe you could swap the beef mince for pork or turkey mince instead for a healthier spin. You could also swap the spaghetti for penne or fusilli too. We've even got a veggie option, try our meat-free spag bol (opens in new tab).

Cheesecake

Cheesecake

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Try our classic cheesecake recipes (opens in new tab)

Skill level: Easy/Medium

The thought of making a cheesecake can be rather daunting especially if you've never made one before. The great thing about cheesecakes is that they have different levels. Some cheesecakes can be really easy to make like our easy malteser cheesecake (opens in new tab) and some can develop your baking skills that little bit further like our American baked cheesecake (opens in new tab), either way, making a cheesecake has never been easier.

Once you've mastered the art of making a no-bake and a baked cheesecake you can experiment with different flavour combinations like blueberry and chocolate or white chocolate and cream. Top with fresh berries, curls of chocolate or spoonful's of whipped cream and enjoy.

Salad

Salad

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Try our classic salad recipes (opens in new tab)

Skill level: Easy

Salads are one of the simplest recipes everyone should know how to cook. Fresh salad leaves, drizzle of salad dressing and your favourite meat - be it chicken, beef or fish. If you don't know how to make a simple salad by now, it's time for you to take note and try one of our classic recipes like our delicious Caesar salad (opens in new tab).

Once you've mastered a classic salad, get creative. Try making your own homemade dressings (opens in new tab), bejewel your salad with pomegranates, top with croutons or dust with Parmesan cheese.

Flapjacks

Flapjacks

Try our classic flapjack recipe (opens in new tab)

Skill level: Medium

Everyone loves a gooey, sticky flapjack - especially when it's homemade. Just heat up the butter, sugar and golden syrup on the hob, add in the rest of the ingredients and bake until golden.

Once you've mastered your flapjack-making skills take your creativity to the next level. Try out different flavours like apple, cinnamon, orange or even carrot. Add some sweet treats to the mix too like dried apricots, white chocolate chips or you could even make flapjack a healthy energy-boosting bar (opens in new tab) for your lunch time snack by adding banana and mixed seeds. By far one of the best recipes everyone should know how to cook.

Chocolate brownies

Chocolate brownies

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Try our classic brownie recipe (opens in new tab)

Skill level: Medium

Brownies are just delicious. They're easy to make and the smell of these mouth-watering treats will fill your kitchen. Our classic brownie recipe is one of the best and has been tested out by many members of the GoodtoKnow team. Just melt the chocolate, add all the ingredients together and pour into a tin and bake. Make a big batch - everyone is going to want to sample these treats.

Once you've mastered the chocolate brownie it's time to turn up the heat and jazz up those chocolate brownies. Pop some Creme Eggs or other sweet treats on top, or add some nuts like pecans or walnuts. You could even add some peanut butter to the mix to make our peanut butter swirl brownies (opens in new tab).

Beef Wellington

Beef Wellington

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Try our classic beef Wellington recipe (opens in new tab)

Skill level: Medium

A beef Wellington doesn't have to just be for Christmas or special occasions. It would make a great alternative to Sunday roast or a very delicious mid-week treat if you prepare in advance. Some shop-bought pastry will speed up the process too.

Once you've mastered the impressive Wellington you can play around with the pastry making things like steak and vegetable pasties (opens in new tab). You could even teach yourself to make the pastry from scratch too with our shortcrust pastry recipe (opens in new tab).

Fish cakes

Fish cakes

Try our classic fish cakes recipe (opens in new tab)

Skill level: Easy

Lots of kids won't eat fillets of fish, but fish cakes in breadcrumbs always go down well. Served with a salad or veg, this recipe gives a well-balanced family meal that's really easy to make. So if you've never made fish cakes before, give it a go. Just add the ingredients into a bowl, roll into cakes and cook until golden.

Once you've mastered the skills of making a classic salmon fish cake you can move onto other versions or swap the salmon for different fishes like cod, haddock or tuna.

Cupcakes

Cupcakes

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Try our classic cupcake recipe (opens in new tab)

Skill level: Easy

If the thought of making cupcakes scares you - think again! You might have seen all those professional looking ones in the bakeries or online but don't worry they're not as complicated as they look especially when you start with the basic recipe. You could be a cupcake pro in no time.

Once you've mastered making the sponge for the cupcakes you can move onto decorating them (opens in new tab). Start off easy by using icing sugar, food colours, icing pens and sugar strands. Then you can move onto fondant and sugar paste and begin to get crafty with your designs. Don't forget flavour is just as important as looks so why not try making chocolate cupcakes (opens in new tab) or even gluten-free (opens in new tab)!

Steak

Steak

Try our classic steak recipe (opens in new tab)

Skill level: Medium

Steak is usually saved for special occasions like Valentine's Day or dinner parties. If you've never made steak before, now is your time to get practising so you can impress not only your loved ones but yourself too. Steak is so much easier to cook and prepare than you may think, it's just all about timings when it comes to the cooking - and whether you want it rare, medium or well done.

Once you've mastered the timings of a good steak and have made a delicious mushroom and cheese sauce to accompany it you could rustle up some other sauces like our sweet plum sauce (opens in new tab). You could even chop your steak up and add it to your salad (opens in new tab).

Trifle

Trifle

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Try our classic trifle recipe (opens in new tab)

Skill level: Medium

There's only one reason we've rated this classic a medium in terms of skill level and that's because it's all about timings and being patient. You have to wait for every individual layer to set and if you rush it, it could end in disaster. Our classic recipe however is not as complex as the rest and is perfect if you've never made a trifle before. It only has 3 layers - sponge, custard and cream.

Once you've mastered our basic trifle you can step it up a gear and make something a little bit more complicated with different layers like jelly, fresh fruits and blamanche. We've got so many trifle recipes (opens in new tab) to choose from.

Bread

Bread

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Try our classic white bread recipe (opens in new tab)

Skill level: Medium

Fancy trying something new this month? How about baking your own bread? Nothing beats the smell of warm bread baking in the oven. It might sounds daunting to make with all the kneading and proving and yeast action going on, but bread is actually rather simple to make.

Once you've mastered our classic white loaf bread recipe you'll be ready to give Paul Hollywood a run for his money. You can make individual bread rolls, you could try making soda bread (opens in new tab) or you could take your skills to the next level and make a delicious Italian focaccia (opens in new tab).

Pizza

Pizza

Try our classic pizza recipe (opens in new tab)

Skill level: Easy

There's more to pizza than a takeaway. Homemade is by far the best and it's so

much healthier for you too. You can add whichever topping tickles your fancy and you can make the base from scratch or opt for a speedy shop-bought version instead. Either way pizza is a really simple recipe -so simple in fact, you could make it with the kids.

Once you've mastered this Italian favourite you could make your own pizza dough (opens in new tab) and can experiment with different toppings and flavour combinations. Try different cheeses; swap mozzarella for Cheddar or goat's cheese. You could add fresh veggies like peppers, mushrooms, onions or even asparagus. And if you want to go that one step further you could add flavour to the base too when making the dough from scratch - hints of rosemary or basil in the dough will transform your pizza.

Cauliflower cheese

Cauliflower cheese

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Try our classic cauliflower cheese recipe (opens in new tab)

Skill level: Easy

Cauliflower cheese is the perfect side dish to serve alongside your Sunday roast. It?s really easy to make and only takes 10 mins to prepare. Whip up the sauce, chop the cauliflower, combine the two and pop in the oven. It's an all-round pleaser that's well worth knowing how to cook.

Once you've mastered this delicious side dish you can add other veggies to the recipe too like tomatoes or broccoli. You could also try using different cheeses swapping the Cheddar for Stilton or Parmesan cheese.

Mash potato

Mash potato

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Try our classic mash potato recipe (opens in new tab)

Skill level: Easy

An easy recipe you should know how to cook, everyone loves a creamy, buttery mash potato with their meals every now and then. It's hard to get the perfect mash potato but our recipe gives yo uperfect results every time. All you have to do is boil the potatoes until soft, drain the water and then mash until your heart's content. A dash of milk and a knob of butter will transform your mash making it smooth and creamy.

Once you've mastered the art of mashing a potato it's time to add some more flavour. Add spring onions and cheese for cheese and onion mash or add a spoonful of wholegrain mustard for an extra kick.</