Easy Yogurt Bark

Yogurt bark is a fun and easy frozen snack! Load up frozen yogurt with granola, fruit and toppings of your…

A Couple Cooks – Recipes worth repeating.

Yogurt bark is a fun and easy frozen snack! Load up frozen yogurt with granola, fruit and toppings of your choice.

Yogurt Bark

Here’s a fun and easy snack no one can turn down: Yogurt Bark! This play on chocolate bark uses frozen yogurt as the base. Mix Greek yogurt with a little honey and vanilla, then sprinkle with toppings of your choice: fruit, granola, chocolate chips, and nuts. Freeze it up and break it into pieces, and each bite is creamy and refreshing: perfect for kids and adults. Our son Larson adores this treat and honestly: I can’t resist it myself!

How to make yogurt bark: a few tips

What is frozen yogurt bark? It’s essentially chocolate bark that uses frozen yogurt as a base for “healthy” toppings like fruit, granola, and nuts. Mixing Greek yogurt with honey and vanilla gives it a subtly sweet flavor. Freeze it with toppings, and they give a pop of sweet, fruity brilliance that makes this treat hard to resist. Here’s the basic concept and a few tips:

  • Use a jelly roll pan (half sheet pan), size 10″ x 15″. This way you can spread the yogurt to fit the entire sheet pan. If you don’t have one, just use a baking sheet and spread to your desired thickness.
  • Mix Greek yogurt, honey and vanilla. If all you have is vanilla yogurt, you can use that too: just omit the sweetener and vanilla. You can also use plain yogurt.
  • Line the baking sheet with parchment paper or foil! This is key: otherwise the bark will freeze to the pan. Spread the yogurt onto the parchment paper in an even layer.
  • Top and freeze for 3 hours. This gets it good and frozen before digging in.
  • Break into pieces and serve! It does become melty after a few minutes, so eat it quickly.
Yogurt Bark

Frozen yogurt bark toppings

Frozen yogurt bark is fun because it works with just about any toppings you can imagine! Here’s what we chose (and why), and a few other ideas:

  • Sliced strawberries: You only need a few: slice them very thinly so they are easy to eat when frozen.
  • Granola: We used a purchased chocolate granola: use whatever you have on hand
  • Chopped pistachios: The fine dust of pistachios looks like all natural glitter!
  • Chocolate chips: Add a pop of richness with some mini chocolate chips
  • Crushed almonds or peanuts: Also add a nice flavor
  • Peanut butter: Drizzle a bit of peanut butter over the top for a creative twist
  • Other fruit: Blueberries are rather icy when frozen, so we tend to avoid them. Sliced bananas are great
  • Sprinkles: Why not?
Yogurt Bark

Storage info

Once the yogurt bark is frozen for 3 hours, you can cut or break it into pieces. Then store it in a sealed container for up to 2 weeks. After that, it becomes pretty icy and looks a little worn. Keep in mind it does melt immediately upon taking out of the freezer, so you’ll want to eat it fairy quickly (or encourage kids to do so).

More yogurt recipes

There’s so much you can do with yogurt! Here are all our best yogurt recipes for using up the yogurt container:

This yogurt bark recipe is…

Vegetarian and gluten-free.

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Yogurt Bark

Easy Yogurt Bark


  • Author: Sonja Overhiser
  • Prep Time: 15 minutes
  • Cook Time: 0 minutes
  • Total Time: 15 minutes
  • Yield: 16

Description

Yogurt bark is a fun and easy frozen snack! Load up frozen yogurt with granola, fruit and toppings of your choice.


Ingredients

  • 3 cups plain full-fat Greek yogurt ⁣
  • ⅓ cup honey⁣ (or ½ cup for a sweeter bark)
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 4 strawberries, thinly sliced
  • ¾ cup granola
  • 2 tablespoons pistachios, crushed
  • Other topping ideas: chocolate chips, peanut butter, crushed almonds or peanuts, sliced bananas, etc.

Instructions

  1. Line a jelly roll pan (aka half sheet pan, 10 x 15″)* with parchment paper or aluminum foil.
  2. In a medium bowl, stir together the yogurt, honey and vanilla extract. Pour it onto the sheet and spread into an even layer.
  3. Sprinkle the top with the thinly sliced strawberries, granola and crushed pistachios (or toppings of your choice).
  4. Freeze for 3 hours. Break or cut into pieces and serve. Store the pieces in a sealed container for up to 2 weeks.

Notes

*If you have a larger sheet pan, pour the yogurt to your desired thickness.

  • Category: Snack
  • Method: Frozen
  • Cuisine: Snack
  • Diet: Vegetarian

Keywords: Yogurt bark, frozen yogurt bark

A Couple Cooks - Recipes worth repeating.

Pizza Bagels

Pizza Bagels are a quick way to pizza night! They’re cheesy, tasty, and easily customizable: you’ve got dinner in no…

A Couple Cooks – Recipes worth repeating.

Pizza Bagels are a quick way to pizza night! They’re cheesy, tasty, and easily customizable: you’ve got dinner in no time.

Pizza bagels

We’re all about shortcuts around here…and this one is our best new dinnertime trick. Try Pizza Bagels! This genius concept uses a bagel to make the crust of the pizza pie. All you need are a few ingredients and they come out like a charm: fluffy, thick-crust personal pizzas, piled with toppings and smothered in gooey cheese. Here’s how to whip these up!

Ingredients for pizza bagels

Pizza bagels use a bagel to make the crust of a personal pizza: much in the same way as a tortilla pizza, pita pizza or naan pizza. They’re a little different from the mini bagel bites appetizer you might find in the frozen section. These pizza bagels are the size of a standard bagel and work as a quick dinner idea! Here’s what you’ll need:

  • Bagels
  • Pizza sauce: it’s best with Homemade Pizza Sauce!
  • Shredded mozzarella cheese
  • Grated Parmesan cheese
  • Olive oil and salt
  • Toppings of your choice (see below)
Pizza bagels

The basic idea

The basic idea for pizza bagels? Brush the bagels with olive oil (and sprinkle with a little garlic powder and salt). Bake them for 8 minutes at 400 degrees Fahrenheit, then add toppings and bake 6 to 7 minutes more until the cheese is melted. It’s so simple and customizable! See more on toppings below.

Recommendation: a great pizza sauce

The best way to get great flavor for these pizza bagels? Try our 5 minute Homemade Pizza Sauce. Of course, storebought pizza sauce works too. But we promise: this homemade sauce will blow your mind with the fresh, garlicky robust flavor. It takes only 5 minutes to make, so all you’ll need is a can of fire roasted tomatoes in your pantry. Here are a few notes on the sauce:

  • This pizza sauce takes 5 minutes in a blender (do it while the oven preheats). All you need are canned fire roasted tomatoes, garlic, oregano, salt and olive oil. Blend them up, and the flavor is life changing. Go to our Pizza Sauce recipe.
  • Fire roasted tomatoes are key for the flavor! This type of tomatoes are roasted on an open flame before canning, making them taste sweet right out of the can. Try them once, and you’ll never go back.
Pizza bagels

Pizza bagel toppings

Top these pizza bagels any way you like! You can go totally classic with pepperoni, or get more creative with veggie toppings of your choosing. Either way, be careful not to overload the bagel: use just enough toppings to lightly cover the top. Here’s what we did here, and then a few ideas for more creative toppings:

  • Smoky cherry tomatoes & basil: Thinly slice cherry tomatoes, then sprinkle them with salt, garlic powder and smoked paprika. It has a smoky vibe that’s similar to pepperoni! Top with fresh chopped basil.
  • Veggie supreme: Top with sliced olives, chopped green pepper and sliced red onion
  • Mini pepperoni
  • Prosciutto
  • Spinach
  • Bell peppers, chopped
  • Jarred artichoke hearts
  • Jarred roasted red peppers
  • Sautéed mushrooms
  • Pesto
  • Feta cheese, goat cheese, smoked mozzarella or smoked gouda

Eat pizza bagels right away

An important thing to note about pizza bagels: these do not work as leftovers! Pizza bagels become soggy after sitting for about 15 minutes. So, plan to eat them immediately after they come out of the oven! For big batches, try to only make enough to fit on trays in your oven at one time.

If you do happen to have a lag time between baking the pizza bagels and eating them, that’s ok! You can reheat them at 400 degrees until they crisp up again.

Pizza bagels

More shortcut pizza recipes

These pizza bagels go over well with anyone: especially kids! There are lots of other ways to make “shortcut” pizza! Here are a few more ways to try:

This pizza bagels recipe is…

Vegetarian. For gluten-free, use gluten-free bagels.

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Pizza bagels

Pizza Bagels


  • Author: Sonja Overhiser
  • Prep Time: 5 minutes
  • Cook Time: 15 minutes
  • Total Time: 20 minutes
  • Yield: 4

Description

These Pizza Bagels are a quick way to pizza night! They’re cheesy, tasty, and easily customizable: you’ve got dinner in no time.


Ingredients

  • 4 plain bagels
  • Olive oil
  • Garlic powder, for sprinkling
  • 1 cup Homemade Pizza Sauce
  • 2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese
  • Grated Parmesan cheese, for topping
  • Cherry tomatoes
  • Smoked paprika, for sprinkling
  • Basil
  • Other toppings: sliced black olives, green peppers, red onion, pepperoni, etc

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit.
  2. Brush the bagels with olive oil on the cut side and place them on a baking sheet. Sprinkle each with a pinch of garlic powder and kosher salt. Bake cut side up for 8 minutes until lightly crisp and golden brown on the bottom.
  3. While the bagels bake, prepare the toppings: thinly slice the cherry tomatoes and sprinkle each with a pinch of salt, garlic powder and smoked paprika. Chop the basil. Prepare any other toppings (if using, chop the green pepper and thinly slice the red onion).
  4. Remove the tray from the oven. Top each bagel half with about 2 tablespoons pizza sauce, 3 to 4 tablespoons shredded mozzarella cheese, and a sprinkle of grated Parmesan cheese. Add the seasoned cherry tomatoes and add a sprinkle of salt to the top of the pizza.
  5. Bake the bagels 6 to 7 minutes until the cheese is melted. Eat immediately (leftovers do not save well).
  • Category: Main dish
  • Method: Baked
  • Cuisine: American
  • Diet: Vegetarian

Keywords: Pizza bagels

A Couple Cooks - Recipes worth repeating.

Easy Ranch Dip

This homemade ranch dip recipe will amaze you! It takes just 5 minutes and tastes irresistibly creamy and fresh. Here’s…

A Couple Cooks – Recipes worth repeating.

This homemade ranch dip recipe will amaze you! It takes just 5 minutes and tastes irresistibly creamy and fresh.

Ranch Dip

Here’s our favorite trick that we come back to time and time again: this homemade Ranch Dip Recipe! In just 5 minutes you have a stellar dip that’s irresistibly creamy, savory and fresh. No ranch seasoning packet needed: this dip uses all seasonings you probably already have on hand in your pantry. It’s the perfect party dip to throw together at moment’s notice, or a healthy snack for kids. Even eat it as an easy side at dinnertime! Let’s get mixing.

Ingredients in this ranch dip recipe

This ranch dip recipe is quick and easy: and you won’t believe the fresh flavor! Thanks to the magic of Greek yogurt, this ranch dip is a bit lighter and fresher than those that use sour cream. It’s got ⅓ of the calories, but you’d never know it here! Combined with a little mayonnaise, it’s just as full flavored as any you’ve had. Here’s what you’ll need (see the recipe below for quantities):

  • Greek yogurt, 2% or whole milk
  • Mayonnaise: using this in combination with the yogurt adds a hint of richness
  • Onion powder
  • Garlic powder
  • Dried dill
  • Salt and pepper
  • Fresh chives (optional)

The fresh chives add a great nuance to the flavor, but if you don’t have them on hand you can omit them. We grow them in our garden every summer, but in the winter fresh herbs can be expensive at the grocery. Mix everything together in a bowl, and it’s done! Simple as that.

Ranch dip recipe

Ideas for dipping

What can’t you dip in ranch dip? While you might not need ideas, we’ve got a few standard and more creative ideas for making a ranch dip platter. Here are some for what to dip in ranch dip:

  • Carrot sticks or rainbow carrots
  • Celery sticks
  • Broccoli
  • Bell pepper strips
  • Cucumber slices
  • Kohlrabi sticks or jicama sticks
  • Potato chips
  • Pretzels
Homemade ranch dip

Other uses for ranch dip

Of course, you can also use this ranch dip in the same way you’d use a ranch dressing. (Or, head over to our Ranch Dressing recipe if that’s what you’re after!) Here are a few fun ways to use it:

More party dips

This ranch dip is the ideal dip for chips! Here are a few more party dips and fun ideas for easy snacks:

This recipe is…

Vegetarian and gluten-free.

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Ranch Dip

Ranch Dip


  • Author: Sonja Overhiser
  • Prep Time: 5 minutes
  • Cook Time: 0 minutes
  • Total Time: 5 minutes
  • Yield: 2 ¼ cups

Description

This homemade ranch dip recipe will amaze you! It takes just 5 minutes and tastes irresistibly creamy and fresh.


Ingredients

  • 2 cups (18 ounces) 2% or whole milk Greek yogurt
  • ¼ cup mayonnaise
  • ½ teaspoon onion powder
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 2 teaspoons dried dill
  • ½ teaspoon kosher salt
  • Fresh ground black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh chives (optional but recommended)

Instructions

  1. Mix all ingredients in a medium bowl. Serve immediately or refrigerate up to 1 week.
  • Category: Dip
  • Method: No Cook
  • Cuisine: Dip
  • Diet: Vegetarian

Keywords: Ranch dip, ranch dip recipe

A Couple Cooks - Recipes worth repeating.

Quick Tortilla Pizza

The tortilla pizza is a genius quick meal! It forms the crust of this crispy pie, ideal for an easy…

A Couple Cooks – Recipes worth repeating.

The tortilla pizza is a genius quick meal! It forms the crust of this crispy pie, ideal for an easy dinner or appetizer.

Tortilla Pizza

Need food…fast? There’s nothing better than a cheater pizza to the rescue, and this one is loads faster than delivery pizza. Try the mighty crispy Tortilla Pizza! This genius concept uses a tortilla to make the crust of the pizza pie, making for a delightful crunch for each bite. We love naan pizza and pita pizza, so it was time for testing it with a tortilla…which we like even better! Here’s how to make the best crispy tortilla pizza: ideal for weeknight dinners, kid foods or even a quick appetizer.

Methods for tortilla pizza

The most important thing when you use a tortilla as the crust for a pizza? Getting the tortilla very crispy. No one wants a wimpy pizza. There are three different methods for tortilla pizza, each of which have pros and cons. Here’s what to know:

  • Pizza stone (crispiest): The best method for a tortilla pizza is a pizza stone. While it’s special equipment, the pizza comes out the crispiest. (Here’s the pizza stone we have). You can cook about 2 to 3 tortilla pizzas at once on a stone, depending on your stone and the size of the tortillas.
  • Cast iron skillet (single serve): Don’t have a pizza stone? Make a tortilla pizza in a cast iron skillet. This method comes out very crispy. The only downside? You can only make one at a time.
  • Oven grates (multi-serving): Tortilla pizza comes out great cooked right on the oven racks! This version doesn’t come out quite as crispy, but it still tastes great. You can cook several pizzas at once, which is great for serving a family. Make sure to place a baking sheet in the oven to catch drips with this method.
Tortilla Pizza

Another key: a great pizza sauce

Picked your method? The only other trick you’ll need to make a killer tortilla pizza? Our 5 minute Homemade Pizza Sauce. Here’s the thing: storebought pizza sauce is fine in a pinch. But this homemade sauce will blow your mind with the fresh, garlicky robust flavor. It takes every pizza up a notch. And it only takes 5 minutes to make, so why skimp?

  • This pizza sauce takes 5 minutes in a blender. All you need are canned tomatoes, garlic, oregano, salt and olive oil. In fact, we have the recipe memorized. Take one bite from the blender, and it’s life changing.
  • It capitalizes on the magic of fire roasted tomatoes. Fire roasted tomatoes are key for the flavor here! They’re tomatoes that have been roasted on an open flame, making them taste sweet right out of the can. Try them once, and you’ll never go back.
Tortilla Pizza

Tortilla pizza topping ideas

When it comes to tortilla pizza, our favorite flavor is margherita: a great pizza sauce, mozzarella and Parmesan cheese, and fresh basil. But you can customize this any way you like! The only thing to keep in mind? Chop the toppings very small, and don’t overload the pizza. Because a tortilla is not as strong as a standard crust, you’ll need small and light toppings. Here are some flavor combination ideas (scale down the quantities for personal-sized pizza):

Gluten free options

What’s a good gluten free option for tortilla pizza? We don’t recommend using corn tortillas because of their strong flavor. But there are lots of grain free tortillas on the market that could work! Use your favorite brand: the thicker the better. The brand Siete has various options like almond flour tortillas or cassava flour tortillas. We have not tested gluten-free tortilla pizza, so let us know in the comments below if you have good options.

Tortilla Pizza

More pizza recipes

There are so many fun ways to make a pizza! Here are a few more alterative pizza ideas to add to your arsenal:

This tortilla pizza recipe is…

Vegetarian. For gluten-free, see the notes above.

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Tortilla Pizza

Quick Tortilla Pizza


  • Author: Sonja Overhiser
  • Total Time: 15 minutes
  • Yield: 4 pizzas
  • Diet: Vegetarian

Description

The tortilla pizza is a genius quick meal! It forms the crust of this crispy pie, ideal for an easy dinner or appetizer.


Ingredients

  • 8-inch flour tortillas* (the thicker the better)
  • ¾ cup Homemade Pizza Sauce (required!)
  • 1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
  • Grated or shredded Parmesan cheese, for sprinkling
  • Fresh basil, for garnish (optional)

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 450 degrees Fahrenheit with a pizza stone if you have one (or a cast iron skillet, if using).
  2. Make the Homemade Pizza Sauce.
  3. Brush both sides of each tortilla lightly with olive oil. Top each tortilla with 3 tablespoons pizza sauce and ¼ cup shredded mozzarella. Add a sprinkle of grated Parmesan and a small pinch of salt. Add additional bite-size chopped toppings if desired (but not the basil).
  4. Cook using one of the following methods:
    1. Pizza stone or cast iron pan (crispiest): Place as many pizzas as fit directly onto the preheated pizza stone, or place one pizza into the preheated cast iron pan. Bake 4 to 5 minutes until crispy and the cheese is melted.
    2. Oven rack: Place the pizzas directly onto the oven racks, placing a baking sheet underneath to catch any drips. Bake 5 to 6 minutes until crispy and the cheese is melted.
  5. Top with fresh basil, if using. Slice into pieces and serve.

Notes

*For gluten-free, use your favorite brand of grain free tortilla: as thick as possible. We don’t recommend using corn tortillas because of their strong flavor.

  • Prep Time: 10 minutes
  • Cook Time: 5 minutes
  • Category: Main dish
  • Method: Baked
  • Cuisine: Pizza

Keywords: Tortilla pizza

A Couple Cooks - Recipes worth repeating.

Healthy Banana Muffins

These healthy banana muffins have no flour: just rolled oats! The recipe is easy to make in a blender and…

A Couple Cooks – Recipes worth repeating.

These healthy banana muffins have no flour: just rolled oats! The recipe is easy to make in a blender and comes out irresistibly tasty.

Healthy banana muffins

Here’s a fan favorite recipe we can’t get enough of: these Healthy Banana Muffins! The idea was born when reader Lisa asked us, “Could you create more healthy muffin recipes?” We set about to create a muffin that was 1. easy to make 2. healthy 3. irresistibly good. It’s still a favorite to this day! My mom always has a batch in her freezer for healthy breakfasts. This healthy muffins recipe uses rolled oats and is easy to whip up in a blender. Throw them in the oven, and they come out fluffy and delicious! No one will believe the magic.

Healthy banana muffins recipe

Why make this healthy banana muffins recipe?

So, what’s so special about these muffins? There are loads of recipes all over the internet. But here’s why you should add this healthy banana muffins recipe to your arsenal:

  • They’re made with mostly oats and bananas: no flour! That’s right, there’s no flour at all in these muffins! It’s basically like eating oatmeal and a banana.
  • No refined sugar! They’re lightly sweetened with maple syrup. Most muffins are like eating a cupcake for breakfast. Instead, this recipe is lightly sweetened with maple syrup.
  • They’re blender muffins! If you haven’t made blender muffins before, it’s time to start! Somehow whizzing everything together in a blender makes for less mess than a normal muffins recipe.

What people are saying

After trying this recipe out for us, reader Lisa who requested these muffins loved them! In fact, she said “The healthy banana muffins were great and super easy to make. So easy that I’ve made them twice already! The entire family enjoyed the recipe — it’s a winner!

How to make banana muffins

How to make healthy banana muffins

We make these healthy banana muffins all the time and our Larson gobbles them up! Several of our family and friends do the same. And we feel good about serving them to him since it’s basically like eating oatmeal and a banana! (Not a cupcake.) Here’s how to make banana muffins, our way:

  • Add ingredients: Throw bananas, oats, maple, oil, and a few spices in a blender! (see the recipe below)
  • Blend: Blend until the batter is smooth. Pour into muffin cups.
  • Bake: Bake 35 minutes until fluffy and baked!

Storage and freezing info

Blending the oats in this way is basically like making oat flour while you make the batter (here are all our oat flour recipes for more with this concept). It’s the perfect go-to healthy snack or breakfast!

These healthy banana muffins also freeze well: just pop them in a freezer safe container and freeze for up to 3 months. Take out a few and pop them into the fridge for use in lunches throughout the week.

Healthy banana muffins

Variations on healthy blender muffins

Over the years, we’ve found readers love the healthy banana blender muffin concept. So of course we had to create a few variations on this recipe! Here are a few different flavors using the same blender muffin idea with rolled oats:

Healthy banana muffins recipe

This healthy banana muffins recipe is…

Vegetarian, gluten-free, and dairy-free. For vegan and plant-based, substitute 2 flax eggs for the eggs.

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Banana bread muffins | Healthy banana muffins

Healthy Banana Muffins (with Oatmeal!)


  • Author: Sonja
  • Prep Time: 10 minutes
  • Cook Time: 35 minutes
  • Total Time: 45 minutes
  • Yield: 9 to 10 muffins

Description

These healthy banana muffins have no flour: just rolled oats! The recipe is easy to make in a blender and comes out irresistibly tasty.


Ingredients

  • 3 large very ripe bananas (1 ½ cups mashed)
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2 cups rolled oats, plus more for topping
  • ¼ cup neutral oil (sunflower, vegetable or grapeseed)**
  • ¼ cup pure maple syrup
  • 1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • ½ teaspoon allspice (optional)
  • ¼ teaspoon kosher salt

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 350F.
  2. Place all ingredients in a blender, breaking the bananas into pieces as you add them. Blend everything on high for a minute or two until a smooth batter forms.
  3. Place 8 to 9 muffin cups into a muffin tin and pour the batter divided evenly between the cups; the amount of muffins will depend on the size of the bananas and type of oats*. Sprinkle the tops with extra oats and gently press them down.
  4. Bake for about 30 to 35 minutes* until a toothpick comes out clean. Remove from the muffin tin and allow them to cool a few minutes before serving. Store refrigerated or frozen.

Notes

*Note: The amount of muffins can depend on the size of the bananas and the type of oats. When we used sprouted rolled oats, we noticed the batter came out much thicker and only made 8 muffins. With large bananas and rolled oats, we got 9 muffins. We’ve had others get more than 9, anything up to 12; if so, bake for about 25 to 30 minutes until a toothpick comes out clean.

**One reader has tested these banana bread muffins with ¼ cup applesauce in place of the oil: she said both versions were good! The apple sauce version was nice and moist, dense but a bit flat. The oil version was great, lighter and a bit more dry. 

  • Category: Breakfast
  • Method: Baked
  • Cuisine: American

Keywords: Banana bread muffins, Healthy banana muffins, Banana oatmeal muffins, How to make banana muffins, Blender muffins, How long to bake banana bread muffins

A Couple Cooks - Recipes worth repeating.

Peanut Butter Energy Balls

This peanut butter energy balls recipe is the best easy snack! Healthy oatmeal balls pack protein and fiber into tasty bites. Here’s a healthy snack that’s so delicious, you might find yourself sneaking one for dessert. Try this peanut butter Energy Balls recipe! Yes, we can’t stop riffing on combinations of peanut butter and oatmeal, though any nut butter works here. Just mix a handful of simple ingredients together and bam! You’ve got an instant homemade snack that’s infinitely more delicious than store-bought granola bars or energy bites. Even better, they’ve got a good amount of protein and fiber for a tiny ball. We think they’re pretty darn perfect. Ingredients in the best energy balls recipe These energy balls are quick and easy to make, and full of very simple ingredients you might already have on hand. That’s very intentional, in fact. Years ago, we used to make energy ball recipes with trendy Medjool dates, a large variety of date with a sticky sweet, caramel flavor. We love them, but they can be hard at the grocery and very expensive. Also, I burned Alex out on Medjool date energy bites (oops!). Now we now want our energy balls recipes super […]

A Couple Cooks – Healthy, Whole Food, & Vegetarian Recipes

This peanut butter energy balls recipe is the best easy snack! Healthy oatmeal balls pack protein and fiber into tasty bites.

Energy balls

Here’s a healthy snack that’s so delicious, you might find yourself sneaking one for dessert. Try this peanut butter Energy Balls recipe! Yes, we can’t stop riffing on combinations of peanut butter and oatmeal, though any nut butter works here. Just mix a handful of simple ingredients together and bam! You’ve got an instant homemade snack that’s infinitely more delicious than store-bought granola bars or energy bites. Even better, they’ve got a good amount of protein and fiber for a tiny ball. We think they’re pretty darn perfect.

Ingredients in the best energy balls recipe

These energy balls are quick and easy to make, and full of very simple ingredients you might already have on hand. That’s very intentional, in fact. Years ago, we used to make energy ball recipes with trendy Medjool dates, a large variety of date with a sticky sweet, caramel flavor. We love them, but they can be hard at the grocery and very expensive. Also, I burned Alex out on Medjool date energy bites (oops!).

Now we now want our energy balls recipes super simple. Oatmeal, peanut butter, and honey are things we always have on hand…so why not use them? They’re beyond easy to make: and kids love them too! Here’s what you’ll need for these peanut butter oatmeal balls:

  • Old Fashioned rolled oats
  • Creamy peanut butter: no sugar added! Use sunflower butter for nut free
  • Honey: substitute agave syrup for vegan
  • Kosher salt
  • Cinnamon
  • Vanilla or chocolate protein powder: see notes below
  • Mini chocolate chips: make sure to get mini-chips! They’re best for keeping the balls tightly packed
Peanut butter energy balls

How to roll peanut butter energy balls

This energy balls recipe could not be easier: all you have to do is mix together the ingredients and roll them up! It’s that simple. Want them to look as beautifully uniform as the energy balls in the photo? Here are a few tips on rolling these energy bites:

  • Freeze the dough 5 minutes before you roll. Just a few minutes in the freezer firms up the texture so it’s easy to roll.
  • Use a cookie scoop (1 1/2-inch or #40). This is the magic behind making them look so uniform! A cookie scoop is perfect for proportioning out the dough. Don’t have one? No problem, just approximate.
  • Use mini chocolate chips. Using mini chocolate chips helps the entire texture to stick together well: large chips can cause fractures.
Peanut butter oatmeal balls

Use any nut butter you like: and some troubleshooting tips

These don’t have to be peanut butter energy balls, of course. You can use any nut butter you like: almond butter, cashew butter, pecan butter, or sunflower butter for nut-free! Here are a few notes if you use a different nut butter:

  • Make sure to use a creamy nut butter. You’ll want a nut butter with a nice creamy texture that will make the energy balls stick together.
  • You can use homemade, but be aware of texture. You can use homemade nut butter, but be aware: some homemade versions can be very dry.
  • If it’s too dry, add a little more honey or a few tablespoons milk. If you can’t get the balls to stick together, it’s ok: all nut butters have a different consistency. Just add a little more honey or your milk of choice (dairy or non dairy) until the dough is able to stick together.

Are these healthy energy balls?

These peanut butter energy balls come out 1,000 times more delicious than a store-bought granola bar. And guess what? They’re fairly healthy too. You can get a decent amount of protein in a few balls (which would equal 1 store-bought energy bar). Here are the particulars:

  • Protein: Each energy bite has 3 grams of protein of 6% of your daily need.
  • Fiber: Each energy ball has 1 gram of fiber or 5% of your daily need.
  • Fat: Each energy bite has 4 grams of fat or 5% of your daily allotment.
  • Calories: Each ball has 100 calories.

Of course when it comes to healthy snacks, carrot sticks or a handful of almonds are the healthiest. But if you’re looking for something irresistibly tasty and

Energy balls recipe

What protein powder to buy (or omit it!)

Here at A Couple Cooks we don’t usually include protein powder in our recipes. But for these peanut butter oatmeal balls we wanted to maximize the overall protein content! If you prefer, you can definitely omit the

Alex did a little research into how to find healthy protein powder; here’s what we found:

Energy ball flavor variations!

There are so many ways to mix up this energy balls recipe! As we’ve mentioned above, no need to make them peanut butter oatmeal balls, though that’s our favorite way. Here are a few ideas on how to vary the flavors:

  • Almond joy: Use almond butter instead of peanut butter, and add 1/4 cup shredded coconut (so delicious!). Remember if your almond butter has a dry texture, add a little more honey or a few tablespoons milk until the dough comes together.
  • Birthday cake: Add 1/4 teaspoon almond extract and 3 tablespoons all natural sprinkles.
  • Cherry vanilla: Substitute dried cherries for the chocolate chips (roughly chopped) and 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract.
  • Blueberry lemon: Substitute dried blueberries for the chocolate chips and add 1/2 teaspoon lemon zest.

There are so many more options…how would you customize these energy bites? Let us know in the comments below.

Peanut Butter Energy Balls

These peanut butter oatmeal balls are very similar to our oatmeal bars recipes! Because oatmeal, peanut butter and honey are the best classic combination, right? Try these fan favorite oatmeal bars:

This energy balls recipe is…

Vegetarian and gluten-free. For plant-based, dairy-free, and gluten-free, use agave syrup.

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Energy balls

Easy Energy Balls


1 Star2 Stars3 Stars4 Stars5 Stars (5 votes, average: 5.00 out of 5)

  • Author: Sonja Overhiser
  • Prep Time: 15 minutes
  • Cook Time: 0 minutes
  • Total Time: 15 minutes
  • Yield: 20
  • Diet: Vegetarian

Description

This peanut butter energy balls recipe is the best easy snack! Healthy oatmeal balls pack protein and fiber into tasty bites. 


Ingredients

  • 2 cups Old Fashioned rolled oats
  • 1/2 cup creamy peanut butter (no sugar added, or any nut butter or sunflower butter for nut free)
  • 1/3 cup honey (or agave syrup for vegan)
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/4 cup vanilla or chocolate protein powder (we use this one)*
  • 3 tablespoons mini chocolate chips

Instructions

  1. Mix all ingredients together in a bowl. Freeze the bowl for 5 minutes. 
  2. Roll the dough into 20 small balls, pressing the dough together with your hands. We used a 1 1/2-inch cookie scoop (#40) to make uniform balls. You can also make smaller balls if desired. (If the texture of your nut butter makes the dough very dry, add a little more honey or a few tablespoons milk of choice until you can press it together into a ball shape.) Refrigerate for up to 2 weeks. Enjoy!

Notes

*If you prefer, you can omit the protein powder from this recipe and still have a delicious snack. You can also add natural foods like chia seeds or flax seeds (2 tablespoons of each has 4 grams protein).

  • Category: Snack
  • Method: Raw
  • Cuisine: Snack

Keywords: Energy balls, Energy balls recipe, Peanut butter energy balls, Peanut butter oatmeal balls

A Couple Cooks - Healthy, Whole Food, & Vegetarian Recipes

Chocolate Covered Bananas

Frozen chocolate covered bananas are the perfect easy and healthy dessert! Store them in the freezer for whenever you crave a sweet bite. Here’s our new favorite treat that’s simple, healthy, and ultra delicious: Chocolate Covered Bananas! We know, this concept it not new or revolutionary. But man, is it perfect for a sweet treat craving! The crunch of a crisp dark chocolate coating around an icy banana makes magic. Here’s the new thing for us: making small chocolate covered banana bites! It gives you a healthy treat in the freezer anytime a chocolate craving hits. Surprisingly, this tiny bite satisfies like a legit chocolate dessert. How to make chocolate covered bananas Recently, my sister told us she’d been loading up on frozen chocolate covered banana bites from the store. Try them, then make your own recipe for it! she urged us. We grabbed a box and agreed: these are perfection! Dark chocolate plus icy banana is the ultimate treat, and a perfect healthy snack for kids too. The bite format of these is much more satisfying than a large frozen banana on a stick. Here are the basic steps for making homemade chocolate covered bananas: Slice the bananas into […]

A Couple Cooks – Healthy, Whole Food, & Vegetarian Recipes

Frozen chocolate covered bananas are the perfect easy and healthy dessert! Store them in the freezer for whenever you crave a sweet bite.

Chocolate Covered Bananas

Here’s our new favorite treat that’s simple, healthy, and ultra delicious: Chocolate Covered Bananas! We know, this concept it not new or revolutionary. But man, is it perfect for a sweet treat craving! The crunch of a crisp dark chocolate coating around an icy banana makes magic. Here’s the new thing for us: making small chocolate covered banana bites! It gives you a healthy treat in the freezer anytime a chocolate craving hits. Surprisingly, this tiny bite satisfies like a legit chocolate dessert.

How to make chocolate covered bananas

Recently, my sister told us she’d been loading up on frozen chocolate covered banana bites from the store. Try them, then make your own recipe for it! she urged us. We grabbed a box and agreed: these are perfection! Dark chocolate plus icy banana is the ultimate treat, and a perfect healthy snack for kids too. The bite format of these is much more satisfying than a large frozen banana on a stick. Here are the basic steps for making homemade chocolate covered bananas:

  • Slice the bananas into 1/4-inch rounds and freeze. Freezing for 45 minutes turns them into a sort of banana ice cream.
  • Melt chocolate. We like using a double-boiler method (more on that below), or you can use your microwave.
  • Dip and top. Use a jar or measuring cup for easiest dipping. It helps to have 2 people for this part: one to dip and one to top, since the chocolate hardens right away.
  • Freeze again! 30 more minutes in the freezer has them perfectly frozen! Then you can store them in container up to 1 month.
Frozen Chocolate Covered Bananas

Tips on melting the chocolate

Melting chocolate for frozen chocolate covered bananas might sound easy. But working with chocolate is easy to mess up! The chocolate can seize up if it gets any liquid in it, or if you overheat it. Here are a few things to know about melted chocolate:

  • Use the “double boiler” method. Our preferred method is simmering water, then placing a heat proof bowl or jar into the simmering water and stirring. Just make sure to use hot pads and don’t splash any of the water! Using this method, you can leave the bowl of chocolate in the warm water so it stays warm during the entire dipping process.
  • Or, use the microwave. This also works! Sometimes we accidentally overheat the chocolate this way, so we tend to avoid it. Melt it in a liquid measuring cup, heating for about 30 second intervals and then stirring several times until the chocolate melts.
  • For dipping, use a tall jar or measuring cup. It’s easiest to have a tall bath of chocolate to dip the bites into. So a tall jar is better than a shallow bowl.
Chocolate covered banana bites

Frozen chocolate covered banana toppings

Melting the chocolate is the only tricky part of chocolate covered bananas. Otherwise, it’s pretty simple: dip the banana on a fork, shake off extra chocolate, and slide it back on the parchment. Then add toppings right away, since the chocolate hardens quickly! Toppings are optional, of course. But they add an extra festive layer! Here’s what we used, and a few more ideas:

  • Crushed peanuts: crush them very finely so they’re the texture of confetti
  • Crushed pistachios: we love the festive green color
  • Other crushed nuts or seeds: like pecans, hazelnuts, or pepitas
  • All natural sprinkles: if you can, find a brand that’s colored naturally like these sprinkles: they’re dyed with vegetable dyes like beet and spirulina
  • Shredded coconut
  • Chocolate shavings or chunks
  • Freeze dried strawberries or raspberries
How to make chocolate covered bananas

Storage info

Once your chocolate covered bananas are fully frozen, you can place them in a freezer safe container. Here’s the best part: simply store them in the freezer for anytime a chocolate craving strikes! Homemade chocolate banana bites should be stable frozen for about 1 month. Of course, they’ll probably never last that long!

Let us know what you think about this treat! It’s a great healthy dessert for kids, and they can help with the topping process too. Our 3 year old son loved it! And we rarely feel bad letting him have another banana bite.

Chocolate covered bananas

More chocolate recipes

Are you a chocoholic? (Guilty, as charged). Here are a few more healthy and decadent ways to get your chocolate fix:

This frozen chocolate covered bananas recipe is…

Vegetarian, gluten-free, vegan, plant-based, and dairy-free (with dairy free dark chocolate chips).

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Chocolate Covered Bananas

Chocolate Covered Bananas (Frozen Bites!)


1 Star2 Stars3 Stars4 Stars5 Stars (5 votes, average: 5.00 out of 5)

  • Author: Sonja Overhiser
  • Prep Time: 1 hour 30 minutes
  • Cook Time: 0 minutes
  • Total Time: 1 hour 30 minutes
  • Yield: About 30 to 35 bites
  • Diet: Vegan

Description

Frozen chocolate covered bananas are the perfect easy and healthy dessert! Store them in the freezer for whenever you crave a sweet bite.


Ingredients

  • 2 ripe medium bananas
  • 1 1/2 cup dark chocolate chips* (5 ounces)
  • 1 tablespoon refined coconut oil
  • 1 pinch salt
  • Toppings (optional): 2 tablespoons each crushed peanuts, crushed pistachios, and all natural sprinkles

Instructions

  1. Freeze the bananas (45 minutes): Slice bananas into 1/4-inch rounds. Place them on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper and freeze for 45 minutes. 
  2. Melt the chocolate: Start a pot of simmering water. Place the chocolate in a glass measuring cup or large wide mouth jar, and place it into the simmering water. Very carefully, stir the chocolate until it melts, using a hot pad or gloves to hold the glass. Do not let any of the water splash, or it will split the chocolate. (You can also melt the chocolate in the microwave in a liquid measuring cup, heating for about 30 second intervals and then stirring several times until the chocolate melts.)
  3. Dip and top the bananas: Make sure your toppings are ready, if using. Leave the jar in the double boiler to keep the chocolate warm. Use a fork to dip each banana slice into the jar, then shake off excess chocolate.  Transfer the slice to the parchment lined baking sheet, using your finger to gently slide off the banana. Add toppings immediately (the chocolate freezes quickly) — this process is easiest with 2 people, 1 person to dip and 1 person to top. This recipe uses only 1 cup of chocolate for the bananas, but it’s nice to have extra chocolate to make the dipping process easier. You can dip pretzels or cereal into the remaining chocolate, or discard it. 
  4. Freeze: Return the bananas to the freezer and freeze for 30 minutes. Then transfer the banana bites to a freezer safe container.  Store up to 1 month.

Notes

*Only about 1 cup is used in the recipe, but you’ll need the extra to make the dipping process easier. Find extra items to dip into the remaining chocolate if you like (like pretzels, cereal, etc). 

  • Category: Dessert
  • Method: Frozen
  • Cuisine: Dessert

Keywords: Chocolate covered bananas, Frozen chocolate covered bananas, How to make chocolate covered bananas, Chocolate covered banana bites

A Couple Cooks - Healthy, Whole Food, & Vegetarian Recipes

Garden Vegetable Soup

This easy vegetable soup recipe is simple and satisfying! It’s a veggie-loaded homemade spin on canned soup that’s infinitely tastier. Craving simplicity? Meet this easy and satisfying Vegetable Soup! Sometimes you just need that classic noodle soup: you know, the your mom made you or the one you dumped out of a can after school? This recipe came from a day where Alex took stock of our pantry and whipped up a simple homemade vegetable soup. We’ve been making it ever since! This vegetable soup is loaded with colorful veggies and cozy spiral past, swimming in a bright yellow turmeric broth with tons of flavor. It’s like canned soup, but a homemade version that tastes infinitely better. Here’s how to make it! How to make vegetable soup This vegetable soup recipe is the very definition of simple. It’s a homemade version of canned noodle soup, but we’ve packed it full of healthy veggies and restorative spices. Here are the main steps for this easy vegetable soup (or jump right to the recipe below!): Prep the veggies: Dice an onion, bell pepper, carrots and celery. Sauté: In a large pot or Dutch oven, saute the veggies until tender, about 5 to […]

A Couple Cooks – Healthy, Whole Food, & Vegetarian Recipes

This easy vegetable soup recipe is simple and satisfying! It’s a veggie-loaded homemade spin on canned soup that’s infinitely tastier.

Vegetable soup

Craving simplicity? Meet this easy and satisfying Vegetable Soup! Sometimes you just need that classic noodle soup: you know, the your mom made you or the one you dumped out of a can after school? This recipe came from a day where Alex took stock of our pantry and whipped up a simple homemade vegetable soup. We’ve been making it ever since! This vegetable soup is loaded with colorful veggies and cozy spiral past, swimming in a bright yellow turmeric broth with tons of flavor. It’s like canned soup, but a homemade version that tastes infinitely better. Here’s how to make it!

How to make vegetable soup

This vegetable soup recipe is the very definition of simple. It’s a homemade version of canned noodle soup, but we’ve packed it full of healthy veggies and restorative spices. Here are the main steps for this easy vegetable soup (or jump right to the recipe below!):

  • Prep the veggies: Dice an onion, bell pepper, carrots and celery.
  • Sauté: In a large pot or Dutch oven, saute the veggies until tender, about 5 to 7 minutes.
  • Add spices: The blend of spices in this soup is so, so delicious! It brings in the savory vibe of canned soup.
  • Simmer: Add the broth and remaining veggies and bring it to a simmer. Once simmering, add the noodles and cook until tender, about 10 minutes. That’s it!
How to make vegetable soup

Best veggies for a vegetable soup

The goal with this vegetable soup? Pack it with quick-cooking veggies so it’s easy to make! Many vegetable soup recipes include potatoes or squash, and here’s the thing: hard root veggies take a long time to cook. So for this soup, we picked veggies that will cook up in no time! This recipe is an update to our previous version that loads it with even more veggies. Here’s what we think are the perfect quick-cooking veggies to include for the maximum healthy punch:

  • Onion
  • Bell pepper
  • Celery
  • Carrots
  • Garlic
  • Green beans
  • White beans like cannellini or Great Northern
  • Peas

Secret spice blend for the broth

It’s easy to make a vegetable soup recipe, but often the broth leaves something to be desired. Vegetable broth on its own is a little bland, so you’ve go to have a great blend of seasonings to amp up the flavors. Here’s what we included in this broth to make it satisfying and slurp-able:

  • Garlic powder
  • Dried basil
  • Dried oregano
  • Dried thyme
  • Ground turmeric

What’s turmeric? Turmeric is a bright yellow spice that’s part of the ginger family. It is most often used dried and ground, and has an earthy, almost mustard-like flavor. Because turmeric has some potential restorative properties and we love the flavor, we added a good amount of this golden spice to make for a vibrant broth. It looks bright and beautiful, and tastes great! Grab a jar and can use up the rest with these top turmeric recipes, from yellow rice to vegan nacho cheese.

Vegetable soup recipe

Variations on this vegetable soup recipe!

Because it has a short ingredient list, this homemade vegetable soup is easily customizable! Add any quick cooking vegetables you love, or other spices or seasonings. Here are a few ideas:

  • Chickpeas or kidney beans instead of white beans
  • Canned tomatoes: add a 15-ounce can diced or fire-roasted
  • Spinach, kale, or chard: add a few handfuls (chopped or baby greens) in the last 5 minutes
  • Frozen butternut squash: this soup works with frozen since it’s already partially cooked! Add it with the green beans
  • Pesto: Basil pesto adds big flavor to the broth! Add 1 to 2 tablespoons with the broth

What other veggies would you add? Let us know in the comments below!

Or, make it even simpler: noodle soup!

Want to make this more like straight noodle soup? This recipe is a spin on an older version of this recipe that was essentially onion, carrots, celery and noodles. Essentially, it was vegetable noodle soup! Want to make the old version?

  • Remove the red pepper, white beans, green beans, and peas, and make the recipe as listed below!
Easy vegetable soup

Make vegetable soup into a meal

This vegetable soup recipe is packed with healthy veggies and plant-based protein. Because here’s the thing: if you’re going to pend the time on a soup, why not make it filling enough for a meal? This soup works as an easy lunch or healthy dinner recipe! You can always top with grated Parmesan cheese or a dollop of Greek yogurt to make it more filling, or add an easy side dish. Here are a few ideas for making this easy soup into a meal:

Homemade vegetable soup

This vegetable soup recipe is…

Vegetarian, vegan, plant-based and dairy-free. For gluten-free, use gluten-free pasta.

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Easy Vegetable Soup


1 Star2 Stars3 Stars4 Stars5 Stars (88 votes, average: 4.25 out of 5)

  • Author: Sonja
  • Prep Time: 10 minutes
  • Cook Time: 25 minutes
  • Total Time: 35 minutes
  • Yield: 6
  • Diet: Vegan

Description

This garden vegetable soup recipe is simple and satisfying! It’s a veggie-loaded homemade spin on canned soup that’s infinitely tastier.


Ingredients

  • 1 medium yellow onion
  • 1 red bell pepper
  • 2 stalks celery
  • 3 medium carrots
  • 3 garlic cloves
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon garlic powder
  • 2 teaspoons dried basil
  • 1 teaspoon each dried oregano and dried thyme
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground turmeric
  • 8 cups (2 quarts) vegetable broth
  • 1 1/2 to 2 teaspoons kosher salt, to taste
  • Fresh ground black pepper
  • 1 1/2 cups frozen green beans
  • 15-ounce can white beans (cannellini, Great Northern or other), drained and rinsed
  • 1 1/2 cups frozen peas
  • 5 ounces pasta spirals (about 2 cups dry)

Instructions

  1. Dice the onion. Dice the bell pepper. Thinly slice the celery. Peel and thinly slice the carrot into rounds. Mince the garlic.
  2. In a Dutch oven or large pot, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add the onion, bell pepper, celery, carrots, and garlic, and sauté for 5 to 7 minutes until the onion is translucent.
  3. Add the garlic powder, dried basil, oregano, thyme, and turmeric and stir. Continue cooking for about 1 minute.
  4. Add the vegetable broth, 1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt,  frozen green beans, drained and rinsed white beans, and fresh ground pepper. Bring a simmer.
  5. Add the frozen peas and pasta and continue simmering until the pasta is cooked, about 10 minutes. Remove from the heat and allow to cool for several minutes. Taste and add the additional salt as necessary.
  • Category: Main Dish
  • Method: Stovetop
  • Cuisine: American

Keywords: vegetable soup, vegetable soup recipe, easy vegetable soup, homemade vegetable soup, How to make vegetable soup

Looking for more soup recipes?

Outside of this homemade vegetable soup recipe, here are a few of our favorite soup recipes:

Last updated: February 2021

A Couple Cooks - Healthy, Whole Food, & Vegetarian Recipes

Instant Pot Mac and Cheese

This Instant Pot mac and cheese recipe is cozy and cheesy: the ultimate comfort food! It’s fast and easy to whip up in a pressure cooker. There’s nothing more comforting than a good bowl of mac and cheese. Ever tried it in your pressure cooker? Turns out, Instant Pot mac and cheese is layer upon layer of cozy. The way the Instant Pot cooks pasta makes it soft and supple, which has a down-home sort of vibe to it. It’s not al dente, but it almost feels like an elevated version of box mac and cheese. The big selling point here? The method is very hands off: throw the ingredients in the pot and press Go! Nothing better than that. Here are all the cozy secrets to this method. Ingredients for this Instant Pot mac and cheese recipe This Instant Pot mac and cheese recipe might even better easier than cooking from a box. (Maybe?) You need only a few ingredients, and assuming you stock cheese and pasta: they might already be in your pantry. Here’s what you need: Short pasta: Sure, you can use macaroni. But our favorite pasta shapes for mac and cheese are any other short type […]

A Couple Cooks – Healthy, Whole Food, & Vegetarian Recipes

This Instant Pot mac and cheese recipe is cozy and cheesy: the ultimate comfort food! It’s fast and easy to whip up in a pressure cooker.

Instant Pot Mac and Cheese

There’s nothing more comforting than a good bowl of mac and cheese. Ever tried it in your pressure cooker? Turns out, Instant Pot mac and cheese is layer upon layer of cozy. The way the Instant Pot cooks pasta makes it soft and supple, which has a down-home sort of vibe to it. It’s not al dente, but it almost feels like an elevated version of box mac and cheese. The big selling point here? The method is very hands off: throw the ingredients in the pot and press Go! Nothing better than that. Here are all the cozy secrets to this method.

Ingredients for this Instant Pot mac and cheese recipe

This Instant Pot mac and cheese recipe might even better easier than cooking from a box. (Maybe?) You need only a few ingredients, and assuming you stock cheese and pasta: they might already be in your pantry. Here’s what you need:

  • Short pasta: Sure, you can use macaroni. But our favorite pasta shapes for mac and cheese are any other short type of pasta: shells, penne, fusilli, bowties, orecchiette and more. See below!
  • Sharp cheddar cheese: make sure it’s not aged
  • Monterey Jack cheese
  • Milk
  • Onion powder
  • Garlic powder
  • Seasoned Italian breadcrumbs (optional)
Mac and cheese Instant Pot

Pasta cooks to soft, not al dente in an Instant Pot

Over here, we’re sticklers for getting the perfect al dente when we cook our pasta. But here’s what to know about mac and cheese in the Instant Pot:

  • Cooking pasta in the Instant Pot comes out with a soft texture, not al dente. But here’s the thing: it’s still delicious! Cooking the pasta to a softer texture helps it to soak in sauces and it has more of a “down-home” cozy comforting vibe. Think of it as a totally different way to make a pot of pasta!
  • Leftovers of this Instant Pot mac and cheese work too. Even though the pasta comes out soft, leftovers work too! Add a splash of milk and reheat it in a skillet, and this tastes almost as good as new.

How to make Instant Pot mac and cheese: basic steps

There’s barely 5 minutes of hands on time here! It takes about 25 minutes to complete, but most of this Instant Pot mac and cheese recipe is hands off. That’s what makes it great as a quick weeknight meal, or to whip up for kids or as a side dish for a stunning main. Here are the basic steps to this recipe:

  • Pressure cook the pasta for 4 minutes. Remember that there’s a “preheat time” of about 10 minute before the Instant Pot gets up to pressure. This part takes about 15 minutes total.
  • Quick release! If you’re an Instant Pot pro, you’ll know: quick release recipes are the best! This means you don’t have to continue to wait for a natural release.
  • Switch to slow cooker mode and stir in the milk and cheese. Stir until they form a creamy sauce, just a minute or two.
Instant pot mac and cheese recipe

Bread crumbs optional!

If you’re a mac and cheese purist, there’s something so satisfying about topping this gooey, cheesy mess with crunchy breadcrumbs. The contrasting texture is extremely satisfying. But of course it’s not necessary! We like using seasoned Italian breadcrumbs because it adds a little nuance of herbs. They’re easy to find at the store, or you can make your own breadcrumbs and add Italian seasoning.

Best noodles for mac and cheese in the Instant Pot

You can use macaroni for Instant Pot mac and cheese…but what’s the fun in that? In fact, our favorite pasta for this comfort food is anything but macaroni. We love using a unique pasta shape to keep things interesting. Shells are a favorite around here: and while they aren’t unexpected, there’s something that’s even more homey about them than the typical mac. Here are our favorite types of short pasta for mac and cheese, in order of preference:

  1. Conchiglie (shells): what we used here
  2. Cavatappicork-screw shapes
  3. Orecchiette: ear shapes
  4. Gigli (Campanelle)lily shapes
  5. Penne: long thin tubes with diagonal ends
  6. Gemelli: twisted tube shapes
  7. Rigatoni: long thicker tubes
Instant Pot mac and cheese

Sides to serve with Instant Pot mac and cheese

If the idea of using your Instant Pot for mac and cheese is to not do any cooking: let’s stick with the theme! There are lots of ideas for adding nutrients and fiber to round out this pasta into a meal. Here are a few no-cook side dishes to serve alongside:

  1. Spinach salad: This Spinach Apple Salad is full of good-for-you ingredients and topped with a tangy dressing.
  2. Veggies & ranch: Go simple with this Greek Yogurt Ranch Dip and carrot sticks. Perfect for kids (and adults, really).
  3. Coleslaw: Try this Best Coleslaw with a tangy, creamy dressing.
  4. Celery salad: This Celery Salad with Apples is unexpectedly refreshing and a great counterpoint to pasta.
  5. Citrus salad: This Simple Citrus Salad is gorgeous, with beautiful colors and a citrus zing.

More Instant Pot pasta recipes

Want to keep cooking up pasta in your pressure cooker? Here are a few other ideas to try outside of this Instant Pot mac and cheese recipe:

Instant pot mac and cheese

A note on pressure cookers

All pressure cooker brands vary! Here’s the brand we use: the Instant Pot 6 Qt Programmable Pressure Cooker. We also have 2 Instant Pot sealing rings and use one for savory recipes and one for sweet recipes. This recipe is customized for a 6 quart pressure cooker. We also can’t speak to using other brands and types of pressure cookers for this recipe. Use them at your own risk!

This Instant Pot mac and cheese recipe is…

Vegetarian.

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Instant Pot Mac and Cheese

Instant Pot Mac and Cheese


1 Star2 Stars3 Stars4 Stars5 Stars (5 votes, average: 5.00 out of 5)

  • Author: Sonja Overhiser
  • Prep Time: 10 minutes
  • Cook Time: 15 minutes
  • Total Time: 25 minutes
  • Yield: 6 to 8 as a main, 10 to 12 as a side
  • Diet: Vegetarian

Description

This Instant Pot mac and cheese recipe is cozy and cheesy: the ultimate comfort food! It’s fast and easy to whip up in a pressure cooker. Stovetop variation below.*


Ingredients

  • 1 pound short pasta (shells, macaroni, penne, etc)*
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 8 ounces (2 cups) sharp cheddar cheese (not aged), grated
  • 8 ounces (2 cups) Monterey Jack cheese, grated
  • 1 to 1 1/2 cups 2% milk
  • 1/2 cup seasoned Italian breadcrumbs (or plain breadcrumbs, optional)

Instructions

  1. Place the dry pasta in the Instant Pot and stir in 4 cups water and the kosher salt, onion powder and garlic powder. Lock the lid of the Instant Pot. Place the pressure release handle (vent) in the “Sealing” position.
  2. Cook on High Pressure for 4 minutes: Press the Pressure Cook button, making sure the “High Pressure” setting is selected, and set the time. Note that it takes about 10 minutes for the pot to “preheat” and come up to pressure before it starts cooking. (During cooking, avoid touching the metal part of the lid.)
  3. Quick release: Vent the remaining steam from the Instant Pot by moving the pressure release handle to “Venting”, covering your hand with a towel or hot pad. Never put your hands or face near the vent when releasing steam. Open the pressure cooker lid. There will be water remaining, which is what is intended. 
  4. Slow cook and make the sauce: Switch to the “slow cook” setting on the Instant Pot. Stir the pasta, then stir in the grated cheese. Add the milk and continue to stir for a minute or two until the cheese melts to form a creamy sauce, adding more milk if necessary. Serve warm, topped with breadcrumbs.

Notes

*Stovetop variation: Cook the pasta to al dente in boiling water. Drain and return to the pot. Stir in the remaining ingredients and heat on low heat until the cheese melts and forms a creamy sauce.

  • Category: Main Dish
  • Method: Pressure Cooker
  • Cuisine: American

Keywords: Instant Pot Mac and Cheese, Instant Pot mac and cheese recipe, mac and cheese Instant Pot

A Couple Cooks - Healthy, Whole Food, & Vegetarian Recipes

Vegan Chocolate Pudding

This vegan chocolate pudding is so rich and chocolaty, no one will know its dairy free! Cocoa powder and oat milk combine into a decadent dessert. Bookmark this recipe stat. This vegan chocolate pudding is so creamy and rich, you’ll think it’s the real thing! The flavor is pure rich chocolate, and it gives you all those nostalgic Snack Pack-style vibes. (It did for us, at least.) The best part: there are no weird “tricks” to this dairy free chocolate pudding. Ever made pudding with avocado or tofu and while it’s good, deep down part of your brain is not quite convinced? This one tastes like the real thing — and it’s made with real ingredients, just like a traditional pudding. Ingredients for vegan chocolate pudding Like we said: there are no crazy ingredients for this easy vegan chocolate pudding. No avocado aftertaste, or weird tofu tricks for a pudding like consistency. This one is pure real ingredients! Here’s what you’ll need: Cocoa powder Cornstarch (or arrowroot powder) Granulated sugar (or coconut sugar) Oat milk or almond milk Semisweet vegan chocolate chips Vanilla extract Use your favorite non dairy milk (almond or oat milk) You can use your favorite non-dairy […]

A Couple Cooks – Healthy, Whole Food, & Vegetarian Recipes

This vegan chocolate pudding is so rich and chocolaty, no one will know its dairy free! Cocoa powder and oat milk combine into a decadent dessert.

Vegan chocolate pudding

Bookmark this recipe stat. This vegan chocolate pudding is so creamy and rich, you’ll think it’s the real thing! The flavor is pure rich chocolate, and it gives you all those nostalgic Snack Pack-style vibes. (It did for us, at least.) The best part: there are no weird “tricks” to this dairy free chocolate pudding. Ever made pudding with avocado or tofu and while it’s good, deep down part of your brain is not quite convinced? This one tastes like the real thing — and it’s made with real ingredients, just like a traditional pudding.

Ingredients for vegan chocolate pudding

Like we said: there are no crazy ingredients for this easy vegan chocolate pudding. No avocado aftertaste, or weird tofu tricks for a pudding like consistency. This one is pure real ingredients! Here’s what you’ll need:

  • Cocoa powder
  • Cornstarch (or arrowroot powder)
  • Granulated sugar (or coconut sugar)
  • Oat milk or almond milk
  • Semisweet vegan chocolate chips
  • Vanilla extract
Vegan chocolate pudding

Use your favorite non dairy milk (almond or oat milk)

You can use your favorite non-dairy milk in this recipe! Here are a few notes about the types of non dairy milk and what works the best in vegan pudding:

  • Oat milk: We like the consistency and flavor of oat milk: it’s one of our favorite vegan milk options! It’s our favorite for using in this pudding and has a neutral flavor. It’s also nut free.
  • Almond milk: Almond milk is a little thinner in consistency than oat milk, but it also works well in this pudding.
  • Soy milk: You can use soy milk for this pudding if you like! We haven’t tested it, but it should work in the same fashion.
  • Coconut milk: We don’t recommend coconut milk here: it can add a strong coconut flavor. It’s also higher in fat than the other milks. (Of course you can give it a try if desired.)
Vegan pudding

How to make vegan chocolate pudding: some tips

The method for making this vegan chocolate pudding is the same as a traditional chocolate pudding! You’ll whisk together cocoa powder, sugar, cornstarch, and milk until thickened, then remove from the heat and add chocolate. Here are some tips to keep in mind as you go about the process:

  • Whisk the dry ingredients fully, then gradually whisk in milk. The dry ingredients can make for lumps later if you don’t get them all whisked in.
  • Once it starts bubbling, stir often. Make sure to get into the edges of the pan so the pudding doesn’t stick.
  • The pudding will thicken fully as it cools. Pull it off the stove when it’s thick, but not fully set up into pudding consistency. See more below!

Troubleshooting: how to avoid lumpy pudding?

The biggest issue with making vegan chocolate pudding: the pudding can get lumpy! To prevent this, make sure to whisk all the dry ingredients well before starting the process: get out any clumps of cocoa powder and cornstarch. Then make sure to add the milk in gradually, whisking after each addition so that it becomes smooth. This is before you even apply the heat!

When you start heating the mixture, continue to stir often to prevent lumps. If you do all these things and end up with some minor lumps, it’s ok! It shouldn’t affect the overall flavor.

Dairy free chocolate pudding

Refrigerating makes it fully thick!

The trick with homemade vegan chocolate pudding is that it thickens fully in the refrigerator. It will thicken to pudding-like consistency after refrigerating for about 2 to 3 hours. Here’s what to know about this process:

  • Plan in advance for the refrigeration step! The hands on portion of this recipe takes only about 10 minutes. But the refrigerating takes a few hours. You may want to make this the day before you plan to serve and store in the fridge.
  • Press plastic wrap or wax paper onto the surface of the pudding. This prevents a film from forming on the top of the pudding. Once it’s cold, you can remove the wrap.
  • Speed up the process by refrigerating in small serving dishes. This can speed up the chilling by about 1 hour or so, depending on the size of the dishes. But you’ll still need to use small pieces of plastic wrap or wax paper for the tops.
Kid friendly
Vegan pudding is also an easy recipe to make with kids! Our 3 year old loved it

It’s kid friendly, too

This vegan chocolate pudding went over very well with our 3 year old! It’s an easy recipe you can make with kids. And it’s a great as a healthy dessert to serve to kids. We served it after a Friday night pizza party and it got rave reviews!

This vegan chocolate pudding recipe is…

Vegetarian, vegan, plant-based, dairy-free and gluten-free.

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Vegan chocolate pudding

Easy Vegan Chocolate Pudding


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  • Author: Sonja Overhiser
  • Prep Time: 2 minutes
  • Cook Time: 8 minutes
  • Total Time: 10 minutes
  • Yield: 6 to 8
  • Diet: Vegan

Description

This vegan chocolate pudding is so rich and chocolaty, no one will know its dairy free! Cocoa powder and oat milk combine into a decadent dessert.


Ingredients

  • 1/4 cup cocoa powder
  • 1/4 cup cornstarch (or arrowroot powder)
  • 1/3 cup granulated sugar (or coconut sugar)
  • 1 pinch salt
  • 2 1/2 cups oat milk or almond milk
  • 1/2 cup semisweet vegan chocolate chips
  • 1/2 tablespoon vanilla extract

Instructions

  1. In a medium saucepan with the heat off, thoroughly whisk together cocoa powder, sugar, cornstarch, and salt, working to remove all lumps. Gradually pour in the milk in small amounts, whisking after each addition until it is smooth.
  2. Turn the heat to medium and bring to a simmer, stirring frequently.
  3. Once it just starts to bubble on the edges, reduce the heat to low. Cook, stirring often, until thickened, about 2 minutes (make sure to stir into the edges of the pan so it doesn’t stick). The pudding will continue to thicken and set as it cools, so it doesn’t need to be fully thick at this point.
  4. Remove from the heat and stir in the chocolate chips and vanilla, stirring until fully melted.
  5. Transfer to a container and press plastic wrap or wax paper on the surface (this prevents a film from forming on the top). Refrigerate 2 hours until cold and set. Keeps for 1 week in the refrigerator.

  • Category: Dessert
  • Method: Stovetop
  • Cuisine: Vegan

Keywords: Vegan chocolate pudding, oat milk pudding, dairy free chocolate pudding

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