While there are a few plugins that provide shortcodes for displaying list of x number of recent posts, you will have more control of the HTML output by registering your own shortcode.
This members-only tutorial provides the steps to register a custom shortcode that outputs an unordered list of latest posts in WordPress.
will output 3 latest posts.
A num parameter can be passed to specify the desired number of posts that should be shown.
Install and activate Code Snippets plugin.
Go to Snippets > Add New.
Title: [Shortcode] Display a List of Latest Posts using [latestposts num="x"]
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