If you’ve spent any time browsing the internet (or Pinterest), you’ll have noticed that there is a huge range of food blogs. Many of these have amazing and unique recipes. In fact, I’ve featured many examples of those recipes on this site, including gluten free dessert recipes, green smoothies and food-inspired cocktails.
But, food blogs often post complex recipes that will serve a whole family. That’s great if you have a good kitchen to play with, a cupboard full of ingredients and a family to feed.
That’s not the case for college students. Instead, students typically look for quick and easy meals. Additionally, students might be limited in the space they have to cook in and the ingredients they have at hand. So, where do you go to find recipes for quick student meals online?
For this list, I spent time looking at recipes across many different blogs. Some of the recipes I found are specifically targeted at students, but others aren’t. In all cases, these are relatively easy recipes that can be followed in just about any kitchen. I was also interested in finding some meals that aren’t typically associated with students. After all, why not do a little exploring and experimenting with your cooking?
Often the recipes are also great choices for a single person. This might mean that the recipe makes a single serving or that it makes leftovers that can be easily stored and reheated.
I know students are usually poor, but if you have about $100 to invest, I recommend looking into sous vide. You can cook much better cheap food like cheap steak, chicken breasts, and other cuts of inexpensive meat. It takes longer, but you can set it going for 30 minutes or an hour, study, then come back to a perfectly cooked meal. Just sear, then add sides!
Recipes For College Students
25. Crock Pot Beef Stew
Crock pots are something that students don't always have and most kitchens don't come with one by default. But, a crock pot is a really powerful tool for cooking as a student, particularly because of recipes like this one.
I found this particular recipe at iowagirleats.com and it's a great recipe because you're basically just throwing everything in the pot and letting it cook. Plus, you can even leave a crock pot going while you are out, so you can come home to a hot and hearty dinner.
24. Veggie Pita Pizza
Unless you're ordering them, making pizzas can be a lot of work and they tend to be pretty unhealthy too. This pita pizza recipe, from wellplated.com, is a great student alternative to the standard pizza. This recipe uses garlic spread as a base then follows up with vegetables and cheese.
If this looks too healthy for you, you can also vary up the recipe considerably. In fact, pita bread is a perfect option for a pizza base and you end up with a fast pizza that is just the right size for one person.
23. Chicken Cheese Pasta Casserole
Pasta bakes are always a great idea for students. After all, they are pretty easy to make and you end up with this big dish of food, which makes for great leftovers.
This particular recipe does involve cooking the meat and the pasta, but even then it's still a fairly simple dish to make. You can find all of the information you need for the recipe at jeanetteshealthyliving.com.
22. Simple Teriyaki Chicken Stirfry
Stir fries are actually an exceptionally easy and fast dish to make. That alone makes them such a great option for students. Plus, once you've mastered the basics, the options for your stir fries are pretty much endless.
You can even use packets of the sauce from the store if you're really in a hurry. But, this recipe from cafedelites.com isn't about shortcuts. Instead, the recipe is for a chicken stir fry that you make from the begging. And, as is always the case, there is something about making the sauce yourself that just makes the whole thing taste better.
21. Ham and Cheese Omelet
I love omelets because they are so quick and easy to make. Plus, you get a decent amount of protein from the eggs as well as any meat fillings, so omelets also tend to be a key source of energy.
But, if you don't make omelets often, they can seem a little tricky. This recipe from leitesculinaria.com offers a great introduction to omelet making. The recipe just contains 7 ingredients (including seasonings) and includes instructions about when and how to fold it, and what to do if you don't want a folded omelet.
20. Dr. Pepper Pulled Pork
Pulled pork is oh so popular and it can be a really good way to serve pork. Most people don't realize that pulled pork is also exceptionally easy to make, you just need a slow cooker.
This recipe, from seriouseats.com, is also a twist on traditional pulled pork because of the Dr. Pepper that's used. I love the idea personally and the Dr. Pepper would impart a different, but appealing, flavor.
19. 110 Calorie Crustless Veggie Quiche
Quiches can be a good option for a snack of a meal, but they're also a bit tricky. After all, it can often take quite a lot of effort to make a quiche, at least, that's the case with a traditional quiche.
This quiche is crustless, which makes the entire process of making it that much easier. That approach also makes the quiche much healthier. So, it's a good choice for anyone watching their weight. If you want to try this one out, you can find the recipe at sallysbakingaddiction.com.
18. Italian Pasta Bake
This recipe is another example of how pasta bakes can be versatile and a good choice for students. The recipe is also really simple, just using 5 ingredients.
You can check it out over at acedarspoon.com. This particular pasta bake recipe is worth checking out because the creator uses one ingredient that you don't often find in casseroles. That ingredient would help to make the casserole that much more appealing and would even make it a bit more filling too.
17. Yakisoba Noodle Stir Fry
Here's another example of a stir fry, although this one relies on yakisoba noodles. Those noodles aren't the most common, but you can normally find them in the produce section of grocery stores.
If not, you could also make this with similar noodles. In fact, you could probably even make the recipe with ramen noodles if you really wanted to. Regardless, all of the details can be found over at thewanderlustkitchen.com so go ahead and take a look.
16. Salmon and Potato Foil Packets
Without a doubt, baking fish in tinfoil is one of the simplest ways to make fish for dinner. This recipe goes a step beyond that though with the use of potatoes.
This idea is absolutely perfect for students because you end up with a single packet that contains everything you need for a meal. The end result is something filling that doesn't make much mess or require many ingredients. You can check out the full recipe at averiecooks.com.
15. Beef and Broccoli Stir Fry
Here's another example of a stir fry and, this time, we're looking at beef and broccoli. This is an especially easy recipe to make and the author estimates that it takes 15 minutes from start to finish. In this case, you can find the recipe at jocooks.com.
Now, the recipe is only for the stir fry component, not the rice that you see in the image. But, you could easy just use boil-in-a-bag rice or rice that just needs to be put in the microwave. Either way, the end result is an easy meal with minimal cleanup.
14. Baked Ham and Cheese Omelet
This recipe took me by surprise and I don't think I've ever heard of a baked omelet before. This recipe would be a really good option if you weren't any good at making omelets or if you wanted a larger serving that what an omelet offers. In some ways, it's also like a crustless quiche, but the creator's description suggests that the texture is more similar to an omelet.
It's also a very easy recipe to create and uses just 5 minutes of prep time. You can find the recipe at theseasonedmom.com and she also provides some substitutions in case you want to make a healthier version of the recipe.
13. Easy Parmesan Buttered Noodles
This recipe is a great reminder that simple can be a good thing, especially when it comes to food. I love the way the recipe looks in the bowl and it would be a good choice for a day where you don't want something that's too heavy to eat.
You could also make this recipe really quickly with fresh pasta, which cooks in just a few minutes. For this recipe, you can find all of the instructions and ingredients at foodiecrush.com.
12. Chicken Alfredo Baked Ziti
I showed a few baked pasta recipes before, but I'm quite taken with this one because it's an alfredo bake. I've always found that pasta with white sauce tends to taste better, especially when you are using chicken as the meat of choice.
This recipe doesn't use a sauce from a jar, but don't let that put you off. The alfredo sauce is still easy to make and the end result is completely worth it. You can find that out for yourself by looking at the recipe on gimmesomeoven.com.
11. Tomato Pesto Salmon and Rice
This recipe is another example of fish in foil that also acts like a complete meal. In this case, the fish of choice is salmon and the recipe uses rice as well. I've never actually seen rice in this type of recipe before, but I think it would work very well.
The tomato and pesto flavors are also really appealing and they would go well with the salmon and with the rice. If you want to give this recipe a try, you can find it at diethood.com.
10. Soul Food Mac and Cheese
I did an entire post on cheesy meals not so long ago, but I still had to include at least once example of mac and cheese on this list. After all, mac and cheese is a fairly staple meal for many age groups, including college students. I always find the dish incredibly comforting and I suspect that many other people do too. In this case, you can find the recipe at iheartrecipes.com.
Now, I will note that this recipe initially looks complicated. I promise it isn't. In fact, much of the complication just comes from the different varieties of cheese used. If you were in a pinch, you could probably compromise some of the taste and use a smaller selection of cheese.
9. Slow Cooker Beef and Cheese Pasta
I mentioned earlier that slow cookers are amazing tools for students and they are great for making stews and various types of roasts. But, this recipe is the first time that I've seen a slow cooker used for a pasta bake. This recipe does involve some precooking, but even then, it's an easy dish to make.
I love the way it looks on the plate. This recipe is also a great choice if you don't want to be running the oven or if you want a dinner that you can just come home to. The instructions and all of the ingredients for the recipe can be found at thecookingjar.com.
8. Vegan Stir Fried Udon Noodles
These noodles might be vegan, but they would work just as well for anyone who isn't vegan. I really love the simplicity of the recipe. Most of the ingredients used in it are the vegetables and you could switch these around based on what you had in the cupboard at the time.
This recipe would be a great alternative for anyone who loves Chinese food and wants a similar flavor at home. All of the information can be found at simpleveganblog.com, along with a wide range of other recipes.
6. Spaghetti and Eggs
If you've never tried it, spaghetti and eggs sounds like a really strange combination of flavors. However, this combination does actually work really well together. The author for this recipe comments that the egg yolk goes perfectly with the pasta sauce.
This recipe also feels like a perfect student dish. After all, the egg adds a bit more protein and flavor to a dish that would be fairly boring and typical otherwise. The recipe, at iamafoodblog.com, offers all the information you would need for the spaghetti portion of this recipe as well as for the egg.
6. Slow Cooker Rosemary Garlic Beef Stew
Slow cookers can be used for all types of dishes, but to me a stew just seems the most logical. This particular recipe comes from budgetbytes.com and the site even offers a breakdown of how much the individual ingredients cost.
So, the recipe ends up being great because it is easy to make and because it is fairly inexpensive. It does make a large amount of stew, but that will mean lots of yummy leftovers. It is also possible to get small crock pots, which work really well for students. If you have one of those, you could probably cut down the recipe to make something that fits for you.
5. Cheesy Bacon Chicken Casserole
To me, this recipe feels like an adult version of mac and cheese. Sure, it has chicken and some other flavors, but at its heart, it still retains the appealing elements of mac and cheese.
Plus, it looks amazing and gooey in the dish. Besides, students need comfort food just as much as the rest of us, and this casserole is certainly a comfort food. You can find all of the information you need for the recipe over at thecoersfamily.com.
4. Tuna Casserole with Potato Chips and Peas
To me, the idea of potato chips in a tuna casserole sounds strange, but the combination seems to be quite popular. This recipe came from wildflourskitchen.com and it would be a cool choice for any student.
At first glance, the recipe might look like it has a lot of ingredients, but it really doesn't. The dish itself is also fairly easy to make, which is always a plus. This is another recipe that makes good leftovers and would make enough for a group of people or just for a lot of leftovers.
3. Easy Baked Salmon
Here's another recipe for baking fish, but, this time, the recipe doesn't rely on tinfoil. The recipe is clever because you're cooking your fish and vegetables all together, so all the elements are getting some flavors from one another.
The end result makes for a quick and easy meal, especially if you throw in some boiled new potatoes or something else simple to finish it off. You can find all of the details for this recipe at sixsistersstuff.com.
2. Pesto Pita Bread Pizza
I know I already mentioned one pita bread pizza, but this one was too good to ignore. This time, it comes from yummyhealthyeasy.com and I think the recipe just ties in so perfectly with the name of the site.
In general, pita bread works exceptionally well as a base for a pizza, especially if you're serving just yourself. But, beyond that, I also really love the combination of flavors that this particular pizza recipe uses.
1. One Pot Chili Mac
One pot meals are always fantastic for students because there is so little cleaning up to worry about. Plus, it's better for the overall taste, because the pasta gets lots of flavor from all the other ingredients it is cooked with.
This is a more upmarket chili mac recipe too and Jenni from onesweetmess.com uses a range of ingredients to make this dish stand out.