17 Baking Recipes for Total Beginners

You’ve just binged four seasons of The Great British Bake-Off and you’re officially ready to channel your inner Mary Berry. The only problem? Your baking repertoire is limited to box-brownies and frosting from a can. But here’s the great thing about baking: If you can follow instructions, you can do it. Here are 17 easy recipes to get you started.

5 Common Baking Mistakes

1. Miracle No-knead Bread

We’ve always been too intimidated to try our hand at homemade bread (all that kneading and proofing!), but this dead-simple recipe is a total game changer. All you have to do is mix the ingredients, leave them to rest for 12 to 18 hours and bake. Done and done.

2. Chocolate Dump Cake

OK, so the name is a bit unfortunate. But the concept is everything—just throw the ingredients into a bowl, pour into a pan, and voilà—you have chocolate cake. Fun fact: A little bit of espresso in the batter makes it taste extra chocolatey.

3. Quick & Easy Banana Muffins

Everyone knows that the best thing to do with overripe bananas is to make muffins. But everyone doesn’t know exactly how easy it is to do that. We like to throw in a handful of chocolate chips, because YOLO.

4. The Most Perfect (and Easiest) Sugar Cookie Recipe Ever

Baking cookies around the holidays is basically mandatory, so everyone should have a foolproof sugar cookie recipe on hand. This one is simple, versatile and pretty darn delicious. 

5. 4-ingredient Easy Vegan Brownies

These aren’t just crazy easy to make, they’re also actually quite healthy, with nut butter for protein and no added sugar. Throw them together and keep them on hand for nutritious snacks throughout the week. 

6. Pumpkin Pie With Cinnamon Roll Crust

The only thing intimidating about making a pie is the crust. This sneaky recipe avoids the problem with a store-bought one—but doctors it up to make it taste just like a cinnamon roll. We need this kind of sorcery in our lives immediately.

7. Foolproof Cheesecake

Cheesecake always looks super impressive, but it’s actually one of the most forgiving things to bake. Plus, the fruit topping hides any cracks or imperfections.

8. The Best Homemade Biscuits

These fluffy little biscuits are perfectly versatile—eat them for breakfast with butter and jam, or as a side with a big pot of chili at night. They take only ten minutes to bake, so we like keeping a batch of dough on hand (you never know when a biscuit emergency might strike).

9. Blueberry Almond Crisp

Fruit crisps are great projects for beginner bakers—they’re super forgiving, and there’s no fussy dough to deal with. Bonus: This one is totally gluten-free.

10. Coconut Cookies

These quick treats are kind of a sugar cookie-macaroon mash-up, and we are here for it. Plus, they use only one bowl, which means less dishes for you.

11. Oreo-stuffed Brownies

Fun fact: Making brownies from scratch is just as easy as making them from the box. Try this super-simple recipe (with an Oreo stuffed in every one!) and never go back to the powdered stuff again.

12. Cinnamon Sugar Swirl Coffee Cake

The cinnamon-sugar ribbon in the middle of this cake looks pretty impressive, but it’s actually dead simple to make. We won’t tell your guests if you don’t. 

13. Easy Zucchini Bread

Sure, you could turn all of your farmers market zucchini into zoodles or throw it on the grill for a healthy dinner. But we think this quick bread is just a little more delicious.

14. Chocolate 'high-ratio' Sheet Cake

Don’t worry too much about the “high-ratio” stuff—it’s fancy baking lingo for a super-moist cake that also feels light. All you need to know is that when you need a giant, classic chocolate cake to feed a crowd, this is the one for you.

15. Easy Lemon Bars

The hardest part of making lemon bars is the shortbread crust. So why not skip that part and use refrigerated sugar cookie dough instead? We got you.

16. Peach Cobbler

Once you’ve mastered drop biscuits (the easiest kind), peach cobbler is the logical next step. Just don’t skimp on the vanilla ice cream! 

17. Easy Cherry Skillet Cake

This is a great cake to make before you’ve built up your baking pan arsenal. We love it with cherries, but any seasonal fruit (blueberries, strawberries, etc.) would work.