Struggling to figure out what to cook with the random assortment of ingredients in your fridge and pantry? Harvested or got some fresh produce you want to do justice? Hoping to the make the most of what you got and limit what you waste? ChatGPT, a free chatbot you can interact with from your phone or computer, is here to transform your cooking experience by helping you whip up delicious meals using only what you have on hand. Here’s how you can use this AI tool to discover new recipes and make the most of your available ingredients.

Step 1: Inventory Your Ingredients

Take Stock: Before you start, gather a list of the ingredients you have or would like to use. Don’t overlook things like that half-used jar of capers or the spices you rarely touch. The more comprehensive your list, the better ChatGPT can help.

Consider Your Tools: Also, take note of the kitchen tools you have at your disposal. Do you have a hot plate, slow cooker, or blender? Sharing the cooking methods available to you – and highlighting what you are interested in using on this occasion – can craft the recipes ChatGPT suggests.

Step 2: Crafting Your Prompt

To get the most out of ChatGPT, how you ask your question matters. Below are some example prompts to inspire yours. Try interacting with the chatbot like you are chatting with a friend about what you should cook up for dinner, being upfront about your taste, time, and tool preferences:

  • Expiration Date Concientious
    • I have 2 chicken breasts, a head of broccoli, and a couple slices of cheese. What can I make? I do not need to use all of these ingredients in the recipe, but I would like to make sure I use the cheese because it’s going to go bad tomorrow.
    • This milk is about to go bad. I have some pantry staples like flour, and I would like to use it in the dinner I’m planning. I want to cook the chicken and frozen peas I have. I might want pasta.
  • Diet-Specific
    • What’s a good vegetarian dish I can make with potatoes, onions, and tomatoes?
    • I want to make sure I get enough protein today because I had a big workout. I have Greek yogurt, left over rice, a lemon, and some tuna. What could I make that tastes good but is focused on protein?
  • Time-Specific
    • I am trying to make a sweet snack in 10 minutes. What can I do with 2 apples and half a container of yogurt?
  • Tool-Specific
    • What can I cook in a rice cooker with rice and a container of chicken?

Step 3: Refining Your Search

Ask for More Options: If you don’t get the response you want, ask ChatGPT to try again. For example, “Can you give me a list of possible options?”

Narrow Down Options: If ChatGPT provides several suggestions, you can narrow them down by specifying a cuisine type or cooking time. For example, “Which of these can be made in under 30 minutes?”

Ask for Modifications: If a suggested recipe includes something you don’t have or goes down a cuisine route you don’t like, prompt alternatives. For instance, “What can I use instead of basil in this recipe?” or “I don’t want something sweet. Can you suggest some savory ideas?”

Step 4: Expanding Your Culinary Horizons

Experiment: Use ChatGPT not only to follow recipes but also to experiment with them. Ask how you can modify a dish to include more of what you like or how to adapt it to the cooking tools you have.

Learn: Beyond just recipes, use ChatGPT to learn cooking techniques that suit your available tools. For example, if you’ve never used a pressure cooker before, ask, “How can I make a stew using a pressure cooker?” If you want to work on some skills, ask, “I’m new to cooking, what is a recipe that can help me work on foundational skills?”


Using ChatGPT for cooking with the ingredients you have can simplify meal preparation, reduce food waste, and inspire creativity. With the right prompts, you can unlock a myriad of delicious recipes tailored to your exact situation. So next time you’re staring at a seemingly random assortment of kitchen ingredients, remember that help is just a prompt away!

Check out our past blog on using ChatGPT for planning holiday cooking!

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