56 of Mom’s Best 4-Ingredient Recipes

Updated: Feb. 28, 2024

Get the comfort of mom's kitchen without a lot of effort thanks to these recipes that come together with just 4 ingredients.

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Pigs in a Blanket

These baked hot dog sandwiches appeal to kids of all ages. Even my husband, Allan, admits to enjoying every bite! We like to dip them in ketchup and mustard. —Linda Young, Longmont, Colorado
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Mint Watermelon Salad

I invented this refreshing fruit salad one sultry afternoon while my friends were gathered around my pool. It was quick to prepare and disappeared from their plates even quicker. The kids loved it too! —Antoinette DuBeck, Huntingdon Valley, Pennsylvania
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Mashed Potatoes with Cheddar

Who doesn’t love fluffy, homemade mashed potatoes? Make them even better with sharp cheddar cheese. To get them really creamy, my mother's secret was to add whipping cream instead of half-and-half. —Darlene Brenden, Salem, Oregon
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Orange-Glazed Ham

This delicious ham looked like a sparkling jewel on the table when my mom served it for Easter dinner. The flavor of the spice rub penetrates through every tender slice. Even its enticing aroma while baking can't match the wonderful taste. —Ruth Seitz, Columbus Junction, Iowa
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Grilled Honey-Balsamic Glazed Fruit

One summer my mother-in-law made us grilled peaches basted with a sweet and tangy sauce. These are so good I'm always tempted to eat the whole batch. —Kristin Van Dyken, West Richland, Washington
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Fruit Juice Pops

I've used this recipe for years as a refreshing treat. My children enjoyed these pops more than any store-bought ones I ever brought home. They taste great with either pineapple or orange juice. Try freezing and serving in cups made from hollowed-out oranges. —Barbara Stewart, Garland, Texas
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Pizza Oyster Crackers

This quick and easy snack is a favorite of my kids. I always include a baggie in their lunch boxes. —Carol S Betz, Grand Rapids, Michigan
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Candied Acorn Squash Slices

This acorn squash recipe was passed down to me from my grandma, who always served it at Thanksgiving. Now I make it whenever I'm feeling nostalgic. —Rita Addicks, Weimar, Texas
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Easy Parmesan Biscuits

This recipe is simple but a delicious addition to any meal. The children love to dip the ready-made biscuits in butter and coat it with the cheese. Warm from the oven, one biscuit per person usually isn’t enough. —Linda Becker, Olympia, Washington
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Cheeseburger French Fry Casserole

Kids love this casserole because it combines two of their favorite fast foods. And I like the fact that I can whip it up with just a few ingredients and little prep time. It's a win-win for all! —Karen Owen, Rising Sun, Indiana
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Apple and Peanut Butter Stackers

The best way to get kids interested in cooking and eating right is to let them help. These apple and peanut butter "sandwiches" are one fun way to pique their interest and kitchen creativity. —Shirley Warren, Thiensville, Wisconsin
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Frozen Banana Cereal Pops

When we want a healthy snack, we dip bananas in yogurt, roll 'em in cereal, then freeze. Ta-da! —Scarlett Elrod, Newnan, Georgia
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Garlic Toast Pizzas

Between working full-time, going to school and raising three children, finding time-saving recipes that my family likes is one of my biggest challenges. These quick pizzas pack a huge amount of flavor. —Amy Grim, Chillicothe, Ohio
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Confetti Cake Batter Cookies

Mom and I took up cake decorating. Funfetti was our favorite cake, so we used the mix to make cutout cookies. Plain or decorated, they’re a fave at parties. —Danielle DeMarco, Basking Ridge, New Jersey
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Pickled Eggs with Beets

Ever since I can remember, my mother served this pickled egg recipe at Easter. It was a tradition that my family expected. I made them for my granddaughter the last time she visited and they were all gone before she left. —Mary Banker, Fort Worth, Texas
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Homemade Pear Honey

Pear honey is an old recipe that's been passed down through families. We especially like it with hot biscuits and butter. It's also good on pound cake or even ice cream. Make sure the pears you use are very firm. —Charlotte McDaniel, Jacksonville, Alabama
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Ham and Cheese Pockets

These unique sandwich pockets are filled with ingredients both kids and adults enjoy. —Callie Myers, Rockport, Texas
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Pecan Caramel Candies

Salty and sweet, these candies are the perfect little snack. Form a kitchen assembly line with your kids, and the making becomes just as fun as the eating. —Julie Wemhoff, Angola, Indiana
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Zesty Grilled Ham

If it's ham, my kids will eat it, but they like this kicked-up recipe best of all. Even the small ones eat adult-sized portions, so be sure to make plenty. —Mary Ann Lien, Tyler, Texas
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Marshmallow Puffs

With peanut butter, chocolate and marshmallows, these treats were very popular with our three kids as they were growing up—and now I make them for our two grandchildren. They're perfect for the holidays when time is so precious. —Dody Cagenello, Simsbury, Connecticut
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Grandma's Cranberry Stuff

What could taste better than turkey and cranberry on Thanksgiving Day? My grandmother's classic recipe makes the best cranberry stuff to share with your family and friends this holiday. —Catherine Cassidy, Milwaukee, Wisconsin
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Old-Fashioned Applesauce

We had all kinds of apple trees in the yard when I was growing up, so I don't know for sure which ones Mother liked best for applesauce. (Today I use Cortlands.) I do know that her applesauce was very white. The secret, she said, was to keep the apples in salt water while she peeled them so that they wouldn't darken. —Doris Natvig, Jesup, Iowa
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Sugar-Glazed Ham

This old-fashioned ham glaze gives a pretty golden brown coating—just like Grandma used to make. The mustard and vinegar complement the brown sugar which adds a tangy flavor to this glazed ham recipe. Be prepared to serve seconds! —Carol Strong Battle, Heathville, Virginia
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Chocolate Butterscotch Haystacks

My grandmother used to make this haystacks recipe to give to my cousin Vonnie and me when our parents didn't want us to have any more sweets. —Christine Schwester, Divide, Colorado
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Old-Fashioned Green Beans

Mom would prepare home-grown green beans using this recipe, and boy did they ever taste good. The bacon provides rich flavor and the brown sugar adds a touch of sweetness. This is one irresistible side dish. —Willa Govoro, St. Clair, Missouri
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Chocolate Peanut Butter Candy

With only three ingredients, these chocolate-swirl treats take just moments to whip up! If you have little ones visiting for the holidays, have them help you with the stirring. —Holly Demers, Abbotsford, British Columbia
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Salami Roll-Ups

These bite-size appetizers are a cinch to make with just four ingredients—even your kids can help you with them! —Jean Baffuto, Apache Junction, Arizona
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Scottish Shortbread

My mother, who is of Scottish heritage, passed this shortbread recipe, along with other favorite recipes, on to me. When I entered this treat at our local fair, it won a red ribbon. —Rose Mabee, Selkirk, Manitoba
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Mom's Fried Apples

Mom often made these rich cinnamon-sugar apples when I was growing up. I swear the folks at Cracker Barrel copied her recipe! —Margie Tappe, Prague, Oklahoma
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Corn Dog Twists

Kids will have as much fun making as they will eating these cute twists on hot dogs and buns! Set out bowls of relish, mustard and ketchup for dunkable fun. —Melissa Tatum, Greensboro, North Carolina
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Fudge Pops

This chocolate frozen dessert is the perfect summer treat! Invite your kids into the kitchen to help you stir the pudding. —Ruth Ann Stelfox, Raymond, Alberta
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PBJ on a Stick

Take the classic peanut butter and jelly sandwich on the go with these skewers. They also make easy snacks. —Sara Martin, Brookfield, Wisconsin
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Mint Sandwich Cookies

Canned frosting, peppermint extract and chocolate candy coating quickly turn crackers into these wonderful little no-bake cookies. My children and I like to assemble them for parties and holidays. I hope you and your family enjoy them as much as we do. -Melissa Thompson, Anderson, Ohio
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In-a-Pinch Chicken & Spinach

I needed a fast supper while babysitting my grandchild. I used what my daughter-in-law had in the fridge and turned it into what's now one of our favorite chicken and spinach recipes. —Sandra Ellis, Stockbridge, Georgia
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Soft Chewy Caramels

One of my first experiences with cooking was helping my mother make these caramels. We'd make up to 12 batches each year. Today, I do at least 95 percent of the cooking at home, but my wife does much of the baking. —Robert Sprenkle, Hurst, Texas
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Parmesan Baked Potatoes

It always amazed me that this simple recipe could make potatoes taste so good. Mom liked to make them for Easter because they were more special than ordinary baked potatoes. —Ruth Seitz, Columbus Junction, Iowa
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Frozen Chocolate Monkey Treats

Everyone needs a fun, friendly way for kids to play with food. These rich bites are nutty and yummy. Just coat bananas in chocolate and dip them into peanuts, sprinkles or coconut. —Susan Hein, Burlington, Wisconsin
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Dogs in a Sweater

For a new twist on an old favorite, try these skewered hot dogs wrapped with breadstick dough and baked. They're fun to dip in ketchup, mustard or ranch dressing. The dressed-up dog recipe comes kid-tested from the National Hot Dog and Sausage Council. —Taste of Home Test Kitchen
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Trail Mix Cookie Cups

My granddaughter helped create these cookie cups for the first time by using ingredients from my pantry and fridge. We used trail mix to jazz them up. —Pamela Shank, Parkersburg, West Virginia
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Pizza Chicken Roll-Ups

I love the chicken roll-ups my mom made for special occasions, filled with spinach and cream cheese. My own kids wouldn't eat those, so I came up with a pizza-flavored variety the whole family enjoys. —Tanja Penquite, Oregon, Ohio
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Hurry-Up Biscuits

When I was young, my mom would make these biscuits with fresh cream she got from a local farmer. I don't go to those lengths, but the family recipe is still a real treat. —Beverly Sprague, Baltimore, Maryland
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Pinwheel Mints

Both my grandmother and my mom used to make these eye-catching confections as a replacement for ordinary mints. When I offer them at parties, guests tell me the candies are wonderful, and then ask how I created the pretty swirl pattern. —Marilou Roth, Milford, Nebraska
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Peanut Butter Granola Pinwheels

I came across this easy and tasty snack while searching online for healthy munchies for kids. Great for after school, it's really quick to make and filling enough to hold the kids until dinner. To satisfy heftier appetites or to serve as a power lunch, cut each tortilla into fewer pieces or provide one per child. The recipe is easy to increase as needed. —Mary Haluch, Ludlow, Massachusetts
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Bacon Crescent Rolls

The mouthwatering aroma of warm bacon from these three-ingredient rolls will draw folks to the table. These are fun for children to prepare and such a cinch to assemble with ready-cooked bacon. —Jane Nearing, Indianapolis, Indiana
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Gooey Chocolate-Peanut Bars

These are so easy to make and take no time at all. They’re great to package up for those college kids looking for something from home. Everyone will want this recipe. —Elaine Grimme, Sioux Falls, South Dakota
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Easy Stuffed Shells

I threw this recipe together one day when we had unexpected guests. It was an immediate hit and is now a family favorite. Get the kids involved when putting together this simple, savory dish. —Dolores Betchner, Cudahy, Wisconsin
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Rocky Road Cookie Cups

Traditional rocky road ice cream has nuts, marshmallows and chocolate. Using prepared cookie dough makes it easy to put the flavors together in these fast, kid-friendly rocky road cookis. —Charlotte McDaniel, Jacksonville, AL
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Spinach and Turkey Pinwheels

Need an awesome snack for game day? My kids love these easy four-ingredient turkey pinwheels. Go ahead and make them the day before—they won’t get soggy! —Amy Van Hemert, Ottumwa, Iowa
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Peppermint Popcorn

Crisp and minty, this simple popcorn snack is a hit with all 10 of our children. For variety, use whatever kind of candy you like. —Shirley Mars, Kent, Ohio
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Saucy Grilled Pork Chops

My mamaw in Kentucky used this "dip," as she called it, on many grilled meats including chicken and steak. —Misty Schneider, Bayport, Minnesota
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Waffle-Iron Acorn Squash

I love to get the kids involved in cooking, and this squash is so simple even a small child can cook it with minimal adult supervision. The recipe is fun, fast and no-fuss, and doesn't use valuable oven space before big family meals. —Donna Kelly, Orem, Utah
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Blueberry Cream Pops

Blueberry-and-cream pops are such a fun after-school snack. Make them in the morning so the pops are ready to go when the kids come in the door. —Cindy Reams, Philipsburg, Pennsylvania
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