•  Photo of pretty caucasian woman holding cooking ladle spoon while eating soup at home By Drobot Dean/adobe.stock.com

You would think cooking for one would be easier, but cooking for one, or even two, can have its own challenges. Typically, recipes are created for multiple people which can lead to food waste or confusion on how to cut down the recipe correctly. If you are cooking for one, try using these tips:

Plan Ahead:
Good planning can help reduce trips to the grocery store and limit food waste while saving you time and money. Plan ahead by:

  • Making a shopping list and planning out meals for the week.
  • Try to choose recipes that use some of the same ingredients.
  • Look for coupons and/or sale items before leaving for the grocery store.
  • Plan to buy only what you can use in a week or store safely.

Shop Smarter:

  • Purchase smaller sized items. Sometimes this may be more expensive, but if you end up throwing the food away, it's not a deal!
  • Try purchasing frozen or canned foods that have a longer shelf life. An added benefit of purchasing frozen foods is that you can thaw out only what you need.
  • Try purchasing produce at different phases of ripeness so you can eat them as they ripen.

Cook Once, Eat Twice:

Prepare a full size recipe and save the leftovers for another day. Make your leftovers even easier by freezing single servings in multiple containers so you can truly grab and go. Be sure to label leftovers with what they are and the date you made them.

Cut Recipes in Half:

Use these common measurements as a cheat sheet when cutting recipes in half:

When the recipe calls for: To cut in half, use:
1/4 cup 2 Tablespoons
1/3 cup 2 Tablespoons + 2 teaspoons
1/2 cup 1/4 cup
2/3 cup 1/3 cup
1 Tablespoon 1 1/2 teaspoons
1 teaspoon 1/2 teaspoon
1/2 teaspoon 1/4 teaspoon
1/4 teaspoon 1/8 teaspoon
1/8 teaspoon a dash

Whether you are reducing a recipe for one, trying to limit food waste or prepping a meal for another day, use these tips to help make cooking for one easy and convenient!


  1. Cooking for One or Two, University of Illinois Extension https://extension.illinois.edu/food/cooking-one-or-two
  2. Meal Planning, Choose MyPlate https://www.myplate.gov/tip-sheet/meal-planning

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Office: UNH Cooperative Extension, Taylor Hall, Durham, NH 03824