5 Tips for Cooking for One

One time I found this incredible looking recipe on Pinterest; it really looked delicious. I was super excited to try it out, so I printed it and went straight the grocery store. I did think that it was an unusual amount of groceries for only one recipe, but I checked out and lugged everything home nonetheless. Turns out it was a recipe a mom had made for a family of ten (TEN). I didn’t even make a dent it in at night and filled as many Tupperwares as I could to refrigerate for leftovers. Guess what I ate for the next week? Yep.
Louisa from Living Lou is back today with great tips for cooking for one. Perfect to keep in mind for singles living on their own or college students who are sick of the dining hall.
Five Tips for Cooking for One
Guest Post by Living Lou
Cooking for one person can be a challenge. It’s completely different from cooking for two people or for a family, and let’s be honest, most recipes you’ll find online or in cookbooks serve 4-6 people. If there is one thing I hate, it’s eating the same thing day after day, night after night, which happens often if you cook a full recipe meant to serve four. It gets old really quickly. While I am guilty of creating many recipes that serve 4-6 people, I’ve also been able to learn many tricks for cooking for one. 
If you don’t think cooking for one is worth it (I know, take-out is so easy and accessible), I challenge you to give it a try for one week (that includes packing your lunch). I know you’ll feel better and hopefully have a little fun along the way too. 
Here are my top five tips for cooking for one. 
1. Start meal planning
I know, this seems obvious, but plan your meals ahead of time. This will help you avoid over-buying produce, which I am completely guilty of. For example, if you’re going to be buying a bunch of kale, make sure you’ll be using it in three or four recipes throughout the week. 
2. Shop the bulk bins
I can’t repeat this enough: shop the bulk bins. It allows you to buy single servings of different ingredients like nuts, grains and dried fruits. I also try to buy the bulk produce (this is produce that doesn’t already come pre-packaged) because you can purchase the exact amount you’ll need, eliminating waste. Some of my favourites include brussels sprouts, mushrooms and green beans.
3. Find your favourite single-serving recipes
I’ve included my favourite single serving recipe at the end of this post for egg drop soup, but do some searching around online for single-serving recipes. There are also some great cookbooks specifically for single-serving recipes. 
4. Learn to scale down recipes
Exercise those math skills you said you’d never use again and get dividing and scaling down recipes. I’ve learned over the years that there are certain recipes which really lend themselves to scaling down, two of my favourites are these Lighter Tuna Salad Pockets and Miso Salmon Baked in Parchment. Make sure to read the recipe through thoroughly before making any adjustments. 
5. Stock your freezer
If you do decide to make a full recipe, freeze the leftovers. I find soups and stews lend themselves really well to this style of cooking. You can freeze single portions so on busy nights all you have to do is thaw one portion and you’re good to go. My recipe for Leek and Potato Soup is something that I’ll make often and freeze for later.

Egg Drop Soup for One
2 cups low-sodium broth (chicken or vegetable work fine)
½ tsp soy sauce
¼ tsp freshly grated ginger
½ tsp cornstarch
1 egg, whisked
1 green onion, sliced
Sriracha, optional
Bring broth, soy sauce and ginger to a boil. 
In a separate bowl, whisk cornstarch with 2 tbsp of boiling broth. 
Slowly whisk the cornstarch mixture into the broth. Continue whisking for about a minute or until it thickens slightly. 
Remove broth from heat, using a ladle, stir broth in one direction creating a whirlpool effect. Drizzle the whisked egg into the soup, continue lightly stirring in the same direction, about a minute or until egg is cooked. It should form silky ribbons. 
Top with green onion and sriracha, serve immediately. 
Be sure to check out my Instagram @livinglou for more food inspiration! 
Say Hello

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


Vanessa Rose Lang

This totally made me laugh because I am so guilty of this. I cooked some quinoa mac and cheese Thursday and I've been eating it as two of my three meals for the last three days! I hate throwing food out and if I freeze it I forget about it, so I will definitely keep these in mind!

Vanessa Lang Design


A great trick when cooking for one is to separate cooked ingredients (like ground turkey, or quinoa) and store them in the fridge for a different recipe the next night. Sure you're eating the same food 2 nights in a row, but you can switch up the flavor combinations and create something totally different!

Mandy Huey

I always end up buying way more food than I can cook/eat before it goes bad! Such a waste of money. I've been trying to be more responsible and reasonable with what I purchase now. The freezer is truly a college student's best friend!

Mandy |