Easy baking recipes you can make with pantry staples
Great for when you need a little baking therapy without stressing about an extra trip to the store.
Jen WheelerEditor / Chowhound
After 10+ years in customer service, Jen is now an editor at Chowhound and still can't believe she's basically living her childhood dream (of writing for Gourmet magazine). Naturally, she loves to eat, cook, read, and write. Baltimore-born and raised, Pacific NW-matured, she still prefers blue crabs to Dungeness.
Everyone responds differently to stress and anxiety, but it's not uncommon to want to bake when things feel uncertain (or downright scary). With coronavirus, quarantine and self-isolation the watchwords of the moment, it's prime time for self-soothing measures too. So if you're apt to tie on an apron and turn on your oven when you're in need of comfort, we have some easy baking recipes you can make with pantry staples.
See all of our sister site Chowhound's COVID-19 coverage for more information on what you can do when it comes to food, including for others in need right now -- and remember to wash your hands often. Then get them dirty with flour and butter and feel a little calmer, at least for a while.
Take pleasure in feeding your family too, if you're all at home together. If you're more isolated and feeling lonely, consider making a virtual date with a friend (or your grandma) to both bake something sweet -- or savory -- then hop on a video chat while you snack, have a cup of coffee or tea and catch up.
Most of these recipes do call for eggs, milk and butter, but not all of them do. And none are complicated, because for most of us, that's the last thing we need right now.
This small-scale dessert from from Scandi Bites by Trine Hahnemann is perfect if you don't have anyone around to help eat your baked goods and aren't great at self-imposed portion control (um, hello). The jam is made with frozen berries, but you can also simply spread on some store-bought stuff from the jar in your fridge. And while the pink sprinkles are delightful, you can use regular sanding sugar, turbinado sugar or whatever you have left from decorating Christmas cookies -- or nothing at all. Get the raspberry cake slices recipe.
If you have bananas that are going spotty, you know what to do: Make Chowhound's easy banana bread recipe. If yours aren't ripe yet, you'll have to wait a while -- but this is why it's worth getting in the habit of freezing any overripe bananas so you're ready to bake banana bread any time you fancy. (And depending on what's in your fridge and pantry, consider stuffed banana bread or banana bread mix-ins.)
These easy, vegan, gluten-free cookies (sweetened with maple syrup) are packed with protein, so you can feel good about snacking on them even in the a.m. They're also highly adaptable -- use another nut or seed butter, swap in agave nectar or honey for the syrup if you're out and if you don't have trail mix, stir up any combo of nuts, seeds, dried fruit or chocolate to make up the 1/2 cup total. Get the peanut butter trail mix cookie recipe.
Mocha pudding cake
If only something deep, dark and super rich will do, this foolproof, dump-and-stir, one-bowl cake is here for you. It separates into three layers as it bakes: a crusty top, cakey middle and gooey pudding-like base. If you don't want to include the brewed coffee, see some ideas for substitutions. And if you're out of fresh milk, try full-fat canned coconut milk in its place. Get Chowhound's mocha pudding cake recipe.
Chocolate crazy cake
No butter or eggs? No problem. "Crazy cakes" were popular during the Great Depression and wartime because they required no dairy -- nowadays, that makes them good vegan options too. In lieu of frosting, you can simply dust the whole thing with powdered sugar, pour some caramel sauce over your slice on the plate or break out the ice cream. Get the chocolate crazy cake recipe.
Easy skillet cornbread
If you're making a big pot of chili to last the week, there's no better partner than skillet cornbread. And if you only have regular milk, you can sour it with a little lemon juice or vinegar to use in place of the buttermilk that's called for. Get Chowhound's cornbread recipe.
Muffin pan popovers
These make for a fun, mini-souffle-esque side to any number of savory dinners, but also work as breakfast with a smear of jam. Best of all, you only need six ingredients and a standard muffin pan to make them. Get Chowhound's muffin pan popovers recipe.
Onion poppy seed quick bread
A bakery-style loaf of crusty no-knead bread is well worth making, but if you're still leery of working with yeast (or just don't have any in your pantry), try a savory quick bread instead. This one is speckled with caramelized onions and poppy seeds. Toast it as a side for soup, eat a slice with butter as a snack or use it for an upgraded grilled cheese. Get Chowhound's onion poppy seed quick bread recipe.