30 Easy Recipes For College Students: Cook On A Budget

When you’re living on your own for the first time and cooking for yourself, you quickly realize that instant ramen isn’t cut it. You’ll need fuel to go through a day of studying, going to class, working, and so on.

This article contains easy recipes for college students; they are inexpensive and simple to prepare, with few materials and no fancy culinary techniques. However, they’re still tasty and healthy selections you’ll want to consume.

Below are 30 easy meals for college students, whether you’re a college student or know some recent graduate, these recipes will help!

What Makes a Recipe good for College students?

To determine a good and easy recipe, the recipes must be:

  • Simple- not many ingredients, no fancy equipment, and a simple preparation method.
  • Have a balance between comfort and healthy
  • Needs to make good leftovers

30 Easy Recipes For College Students

To help you cook on a budget, I’ve grouped the recipes into different types (four types):

  • Easy Dinners
  • Snack Foods
  • Make Ahead meals

Easy Dinners

1. Chickpeas with Spinach in a Curried Sauce

Recipe: $4.68 / Serving: $1.17

Warm yourself with a hot bowl of these hearty curried chickpeas with spinach as the fall nights grow cool. This vegan cuisine is flavorful and satisfying, bringing vegetarians and carnivores together for the first time in one dinner.

2. Dragon Noodles with Pork and Peanuts

Recipe: $3.75 / Serving: $1.25

Try this simple noodle stir-fry the next time you’re tempted to order takeout. You’ll be able to satisfy your takeout desires while maintaining complete control over the ingredients. To complete the dish, serve it with some boiled greens.

3. Pesto Macaroni with Spinach in a Creamy Pesto Sauce

Recipe: $3.27 / Serving: $0.55

This Creamy Pesto Mac & Cheese with Spinach is the ultimate comfort meal WITH a dose of vegetables, thanks to a simple creamy sauce flavored with basil pesto!

Along with your cheesy comfort meal, get your daily dosage of vegetables. The best part is that the recipe uses frozen spinach, so you can prepare it whenever you want without worrying about it going bad in the back of your fridge.

4. Stir-fried beef and cabbage

Recipe: $7.14 / Serving: $1.79

This quick and easy Beef and Cabbage Stir Fry is a substantial low-carb dinner with plenty of flavor and personalization options.

This dinner comes together quickly and easily with a bag of coleslaw mix. Better still, it’s high in fiber and protein, so it’ll help you avoid the freshman. You can substitute ground pork, turkey, or chicken for the beef if you like.

5. Broccoli and Bowties

Recipe: $3.46 / Serving: $0.58

For decades, this has been my go-to “emergency supper.” Literally. Nothing beats pasta with a little butter and Parmesan, and I balance it up with broccoli florets, with a little of pepper and red pepper flakes for good measure.

It’s ridiculously simple, and all the components can be kept on hand for a long time, so it’s ready to go whenever you need something quick.

6. Burrito Bowls for the Poor

Recipe: $7.07 / $1.18 Serving

These no-frills burrito bowls are quick and easy to make. They’re the perfect filling weeknight supper when you’re on a budget!

Burrito bowls are legendary, but they don’t have to be fancy to be delicious and filling. This is my stripped-down, no-frills, as-simple-as-it-gets burrito bowl because nobody has time or money for all those expensive toppings when they’re in college!

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7. Melts of pizza


Try a simple Pizza Melt instead of buying takeout to satisfy your hunger. You’ll receive all the pizza flavors for a fraction of the price, and the portion size is perfect for a single serving.

8. Pesto chicken and vegetables are simple to prepare

Recipe: $11.07 / Serving: $2.72

This meal prep for Easy Pesto Chicken and Vegetables is quick and easy, plus it keeps nicely in the fridge for wonderful lunches all week!

This recipe is very easy to make, healthful, and full, and it only requires a few simple ingredients. The leftovers keep well, making them ideal for weekly meal prep!

9. Noodles with a Dragon

Recipe: $2.04 / Serving: $1.04

These sweet, tangy, and spicy Dragon Noodles are quick to make and will satisfy your take-out cravings.

They’re quicker than takeout, taste great, and are entirely customizable. Add any vegetables on hand, or try experimenting with the sauce by adding a little peanut butter or lime.

10. Ramen with Vegan Creamy Mushrooms


This amazingly easy Vegan Creamy Mushroom Ramen is a rich and savory 15-minute supper with only a few ingredients!

To make this extremely creamy and delicious ramen, all you need is 15 minutes and a few leftover vegetables from your fridge.

11. Kielbasa Potatoes and Green Beans on a Sheet Pan

Recipe: $9.47 / $2.37 Serving

Only six simple ingredients and minimum chopping are required for this dish. It’s really filling and has a surprising amount of flavor. This recipe will become your go-to meal throughout college years and beyond!

Foods For Snacking

12. Lunch Box with Peanut Butter

Recipe: $4.57 / Serving: $1.14

This no-cook peanut butter lunch box is perfect for school, work, picnics, or road trips! There’s no need to reheat!

Pack a handful of these snack packs for between-class snacks or a quick dinner between work and school.

13. Hearty Black Bean Quesadillas

Recipe: $4.70 / $0.47 Serving

These satisfying, tasty, and freezer-friendly Hearty Black Bean Quesadillas are an excellent vegetarian snack or light supper!

Quesadillas are a delicious snack. This spicy vegetarian blend of black beans, corn, onion, and cheese is a million times better than anything you’ll find at a drive-through. More flavor, fiber, and fullness while remaining super simple.

Read Also: 30 Budget Tips for College Students

14. Grilled Spinach Feta Cheese

Recipe: $3.40 / Serving: $1.70

With garlic, red pepper, and two pieces of cheese, this Spinach Feta Grilled Cheese will take your grilled cheese game to the next level!

The ultimate study/comfort food is grilled cheese. Add some frozen spinach, garlic, red pepper flakes, and feta to take it to the next level.

15. Pizzadillas

Recipe: $9.22 / Serving: $1.54

The cheesy pizza toppings are crammed into a quick, simple, and crispy quesadilla. It’s ideal for dipping in pizza sauce.

Pizzadillas are a quick and easy solution if you don’t have the time or energy to cook a handmade pizza. They’re also probably a little healthier because they don’t have that thick buttery crust. For the victory, there is no shipping fee!!

16. Recipe for the cheeseback lunch box

Recipe: $7.45 / $1.86 Serving

This simple no-cook lunch option is ideal for cheese lovers everywhere! The Cheese Board Lunch Box turns savory nibbles into a meal.

You may miss the launchable your mother used to prepare for your lunch, but now that you’re an adult, let’s do it the grown-up way! A simple meal of crackers, cheese, meat, and fruit is something that no one would refuse.

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17. Pizza Roll-ups

Recipe: $3.71 / $0.93 Serving

Don’t rely on frozen pizza rolls! These Pizza Roll-Ups are the ideal last-minute appetizer or luxurious snack on busy days!

Alternatively, make your pizza into a roll. It’s still a lot less expensive than ordering delivery and a lot faster and easier than baking traditional pizza. These are also fantastic for football gatherings!

18. Oven-Baked Steak Fries

Recipe: $0.94/ $0.47 Serving

These oven-baked steak fries are exceptionally crispy, thick-sliced, and seasoned to perfection with steak spice for maximum flavor in every bite!

It doesn’t get much simpler than this. These thick-cut beef fries are perfectly crisp and ideal for dipping in your favorite sauce.

19. Mini Pizzas in the Freezer

Recipe: $4.31 / $1.17 Serving

Freezer Ready Mini Pizzas are a convenient and economical snack to keep on hand. In comparison to frozen pizza, this is a handcrafted and healthier option.

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20. Garlic Bread from the Freezer

Recipe: $0.25 SLICE / $3.02

Make your own frozen garlic bread pieces you can bake whenever you want. Bake two or ten frozen slices at a time, and they’ll be done soon!

Put the frozen garlic bread box down! Making your own is too simple and inexpensive! Keep these garlic bread slices frozen and ready to eat whenever you have a need. They also provide a delicious grilled cheese sandwich. (https://cozumelparks.com)

Meals to prepare in advance

21. Stir-fried ground turkey

Recipe: $7.41 / $1.48

This delicious and flexible Ground Turkey Stir Fry is perfect for busy weeknight dinners. Make it your own by experimenting with the provided options.

This quick stir fry was created with meal planning in mind! You can add as many or as few veggies as you like, and serve it over rice, noodles, or without any carbohydrates. It’s extremely adaptable!

22. Crab Bowl with Cottage Cheese

Recipe:  $1.21 each.

This light, fresh, and hearty Cottage Cheese Crab Bowl is ideal for a summer meal. It also makes a great meal prep, so bring a few to work for lunch!

A stack of two halves of a Scallion Herb Chickpea Salad sandwich on wheat bread is grabbed by a hand.

23. Chickpea Salad with Scallions and Herbs

Recipe: $2.46 / $1.23 Serving

This creamy chickpea salad may be eaten as a sandwich or wrap, scooped up with crackers, or as a salad topper so you can eat it in various ways every day of the week!

24. Overnight Oats with No Sugar Added Apple Pie

No Sugar Added Apple Pie Overnight Oats are a quick, healthy, and tasty breakfast that may be eaten hot or cold.

Another fantastic make-ahead breakfast dish that can be organized by using almond or soy milk. You won’t believe how much this tastes like apple pie, even though it contains no added sugar!!

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25. Breakfast quesadillas with stacked sausage and eggs

RECIPE: $5.02 / $0.84 EACH

Breakfast quesadillas with sausage and eggs are a quick and hearty breakfast option that can also be frozen for later use.

These breakfast quesadillas are ideal for busy mornings since they can be made ahead of time! Keep a batch in the freezer to reheat in a skillet in the morning.

26. Lunch box with tuna salad

Recipe: $7.68 / Serving: $1.92

This tuna salad lunch box is a simple make-ahead lunch option packed with vegetables and protein to satisfy you.

27. Lunch Box with Hummus

Recipe: $8.04 / Serving: $2.01

This Hummus Lunch Box is a must-have for a cold lunch. This is the quickest and easiest no-cook lunch around, requiring little preparation.

They’re ideal for a quick lunch or a light study snack in the afternoon. They’re also adaptable, so be sure to click through to see all of the different ingredient options!

28. The Most Simple Burrito Bowl Recipe

Recipe: $9.05 / Serving: $2.26

The Easiest Burrito Bowl Meal Prep takes approximately 30 minutes to prepare with minimal cooking, chopping, and no side dishes. Lunch may be simple and delicious!

29. Salad with tuna and white beans

Recipe: $2.21 / Serving: $0.74

Mayo isn’t used in this tuna and white bean salad, but it’s flavorful. This tuna and white bean salad are free of mayonnaise yet packed with flavor. This salad can be made in minutes and will satisfy your appetite and taste buds.

30. Mediterranean Tuna Salad

Recipe: – $7.89 / $1.32 Serving

This Mediterranean Tuna Salad is a simple, fresh, and substantial protein-packed make-ahead lunch for your workweek.

This light, fresh, protein-packed salad is a quick no-cook choice for a busy week or when the weather begins to heat up outside. There’s no need to reheat!


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