50 Easy Recipes for College Students (2024)

When you're on your own and cooking for yourself for the first time, you quickly realize that instant ramen alone isn't going to cut it. You need nourishment to fuel a day spent studying, going to class, working, etc. Full disclosure: I was a college student only a couple of years ago. This collection is made up of recipes that I think the average college student would realistically make; cheap and easy recipes made with few ingredients and no ultra-fancy cooking methods. But they're still delicious and (sometimes) healthy options you'll actually want to eat. Whether you're a college student yourself, or you know some recent grads who could use a little help (send this to them!), here are 50 easy recipes for college students.

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Creamy Pesto Penne with Sausage

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50 Easy Recipes for College Students (1)

Packaged pesto makes this creamy, hearty pasta dish a breeze. For a lower-fat option, substitute fat-free milk. It all comes together in just 25 minutes: "Super easy and very quick as promised," says reviewer Rebecca Gavin Ruster.

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Delicious Avocado Sandwich

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As a college kid with limited time and money, it can be difficult to incorporate fresh, healthy ingredients into your meals. This simple sandwich does just that — fresh tomatoes, avocados, and provolone cheese are drizzled in balsamic vinegar and sandwiched between bread slices of your choice.

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Arugula and Hummus Mini Pizzas

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Naan (or you can also use pita bread) makes the crust for this no-bake pizza that's topped with hummus, arugula, dates, pumpkin seeds, and balsamic vinegar. If you have a little extra time, try toasting the naan in the oven or toaster oven first.

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Steamy Microwave Zucchini

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No need to spend time over the stove for a fresh veggie side dish. Here, zucchini, celery, onion, and mushrooms are steamed in the microwave and tossed with melted Cheddar cheese. To mix it up, experiment with different types of cheese like reviewer Jim: "Shredded habanero cheese is great if you want some spice."

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Creamy Blueberry Coconut Ricotta Bowl

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This creamy breakfast bowl may look like dessert, but don't be fooled — it's full of protein to keep you full all morning. "The creaminess of the ricotta, crunch of the coconut and almonds, and sweetness of the blueberries and honey worked perfectly together," says Allrecipes Allstar Happyschmoopies. "I would eat this for dessert!"

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Roasted Green Beans

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Recipe creator samanathon describes these oven-roasted green beans as "A great alternative to fast-food French fries." Serve this 4-ingredient recipe as a snack, appetizer, or side dish.

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Creamy Parmesan Polenta

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Prepared polenta is upgraded with the help of a little Parmesan cheese and paprika. Allrecipes Allstar Buckwheat Queen suggests serving this side alongside some baked chicken.

  • What Is Polenta and How Is It Made?

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Sriracha Scrambled Eggs

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Scrambled eggs day after day gets old. Sriracha brings its signature tang and spice to liven up the party.

  • How to Make Homemade Sriracha Sauce

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Inside-Out Grilled Cheese Sandwich

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What could make this dorm-room delicacy all the more enticing? Cook it with cheese on the outside too. Reviewer Coleykim says, "The cheese on the outside of the bread had an amazing crunch and a different almost smoked tasting flavor and crunch that offset the melted cheese inside."

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Toaster Oven Apple Crisp

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Some days call for comfort, but making a family-sized dessert isn't ideal for a college student. Fortunately, this single-serve dessert — which is made entirely in the toaster oven — gives you all the joy of mom's homemade apple crisp without the leftovers. Serve with a scoop of vanilla ice cream.

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Original Bar Cheese Spread

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Prepared cheese sauce is the base in this bar-inspired snack. Horseradish, Worcestershire sauce, dry mustard, and garlic powder add bite. Just be sure to plan ahead of time, the ingredients need time to mingle in the fridge before serving.

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Tomato Basil Salmon

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Keep frozen salmon on hand for this simple, 5-ingredient dinner. Salmon fillets are topped with basil, tomato slices, olive oil, and Parmesan cheese, before baking in the oven. Serve over rice.

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Garlic Roasted Broccoli

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Steamed broccoli in a bag is, well, sad. Instead, try roasting it for a veggie that is tender on the inside, and caramelized on the outside.

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Quick and Easy Mashed Sweet Potatoes

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Believe or not, this healthy side dish comes together in just 30 minutes. Unlike many other sweet potato side dishes which tend to be overly sweet, this recipe uses garlic, basil, and thyme for a more savory, robust dish.

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Emergency Chicken

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As the name recipe title implies, this chicken is ideal for when you need to throw dinner together in a pinch. Chicken is sautéed in a mixture of barbeque sauce, Worcestershire sauce, and garlic powder.

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Left Over Spaghetti Lasagna

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When mom's homemade lasagna isn't an option, make this "lasagna" using leftover spaghetti and prepared sauce. The layers mimic that of traditional lasagna, but with shortcut ingredients.

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Potato Chips

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"Make your own potato chips using your microwave. A tasty and easy alternative to store-bought potato chips (not to mention economical)!" says recipe creator Jessica. If you have one potato, vegetable oil, and salt, you have all the ingredients needed to make this homemade version of a classic snack food.

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Mexi-Chicken Avocado Cups

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Avocados are stuffed with a mixture of chicken, cilantro, and chili powder for a quick, easy, and healthy 10-minute dinner. This is a great way to repurpose leftover baked chicken from last night's dinner.

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Eggs n' Fries

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Frozen French fries are combined with scrambled eggs in this innovative breakfast that any college kid would be delighted with.

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Portobello Mushroom Caps and Veggies

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Large portobello mushroom caps make an excellent (and budget-friendly) alternative to steak. Each is sautéed, and topped with a flavorful mixture of garlic, onion, and green bell pepper.

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Kielbasa with Peppers and Potatoes

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This hearty, nutritious dinner is made with just four ingredients: smoked kielbasa sausage, red potatoes, red bell pepper, and yellow bell pepper. Serve over rice or quinoa.

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Tatertot Casserole

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What says comfort quite like this iconic casserole? Ground beef and cream of mushroom soup are topped with a layer of tater tots and sprinkled with Cheddar cheese. It's the perfect study break.

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Garlic Quinoa

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Quinoa is a protein-packed and fiber-rich addition to any diet, but it can be a bit...bland. This method for dressing up quinoa (without overpowering it) is a total game changer.

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No-Egg Blueberry Mug Cake

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Using ingredients you likely have on hand (except maybe blueberries), you can make this fruity dessert for one in a matter of minutes using your microwave. Reviewer Megan Riley says, "I'm kind of mystified this worked, but it did!"

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Polish Link Sausage and Cabbage

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Mild cabbage and spicy kielbasa were made for each other. What's the secret ingredient in this Polish dish? A can of beer.

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Scrambled Eggs in a Mug

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If you're running late for class, this is the breakfast you need to make. Crack an egg into a microwave-safe mug, beat, add milk, beat again, and microwave for 90 seconds. Bon appétit!

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Quick and Easy Mini Salsa Pizzas

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Whole-grain English muffins are topped with tomato salsa (yes, salsa), turkey bacon, and shredded Italian cheese. Bake under the broiler for five to 10 minutes, and you have a lunch or dinner that's even faster and easier than ordering pizza.

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Individual Microwave Brownie

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"This is a great quick fix for a chocolate craving!" says recipe creator Katrina DeFrang. "Because it's microwaved it is different than traditional brownie and has a very moist, pudding-like texture."

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Horseradish Pork Chops

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A bread crumb and horseradish topping gives baked pork chops a kick. Serve with wild rice and green beans, as recipe creator Kim Playfair suggests.

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Beef and Rice

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By adding a little ground beef for protein to a pre-packaged rice mix, you have a filling, delicious, and cheap dinner that's ready in just 45 minutes.

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Extra Easy Hummus

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If you have a blender or food processor, you can save some money by making your own hummus. All you need is canned garbanzo beans, garlic, cumin, salt, and olive oil. Serve with fresh veggies or pita chips.

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Fast and Easy Tofu Lo-Mein

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Takeout is convenient, but it can break a budget fast. Using packaged ramen noodles, frozen stir-fry vegetables, and tofu, you can make your own lo-mein to eat throughout the week.

  • 16 Quick Dinners That Start With Instant Ramen Noodles

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Easy Tuna Casserole

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"Tuna, macaroni, creamy soup, cheese and fried onions are all you need to make this super easy tuna casserole that I learned from my roommate. It's great as leftovers, too," says recipe creator LMCDEVIT.

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Meatball Sub Casserole

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Using shortcut ingredients like frozen garlic bread, prepared spaghetti sauce, and frozen meatballs, you can turn this favorite sub into a hearty casserole.

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Simple Ranchy Breaded Fish Fillets

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Tilapia is a budget-friendly way to sneak more seafood into your diet, and this recipe amps it up with Italian-seasoned bread crumbs and Ranch-style dressing mix.

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Turkey Burgers

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Ground turkey is a leaner alternative to beef, but still satisfies your hamburger hankering. Dry onion soup mix brings the flavor here.

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Yummy Pork Chops

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Italian-style salad dressing and soy sauce make an unlikely pairing, but they combine beautifully as a sauce for pork chops: "I'm a college student and I like to learn new recipes to cook for my friends. The entire time I was cooking I was afraid that the Italian dressing would be too overwhelming but it was perfect! The mix of dressing and soy sauce evened out nicely," says reviewer Kristian.

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Momma's Sloppy Joes

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Did you know this cafeteria classic can be made using condiments you likely have on hand? Beef or turkey can be used in this recipe.

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Healthy Peanut Butter Mousse

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Using peanut butter, Greek yogurt, sweetener, vanilla extract, and chocolate chips, this healthyish dessert comes together in a matter of minutes. "The tang of the yogurt nicely complemented the sweet chocolate," says Allrecipes Allstar Paula.

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Aimee's Quick Chicken

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50 Easy Recipes for College Students (40)

If you have chicken breasts on hand, you can make this dinner in a pinch using Dijon mustard, teriyaki sauce, bacon bits, and Parmesan cheese. Serve with a side of wild rice and veggies for a balanced meal.

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American Chop Suey II

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This all-American meal uses just four ingredients, but makes enough for you to have leftovers for days. "This is exactly how my mother used to make it and I really love it," says reviewer Sandy Sanborn. "Follow the no fail directions and you can't go wrong."

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No-Self-Control Cookie (Single-Serving Cookie)

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Whether you're penny pinching, or just don't need dozens of cookies on hand, this recipe yields just one cookie — yes, you read that right. It calls for micro-amounts of ingredients, like just 3 tablespoon all-purpose flour.

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Four-Ingredient Red Curry Chicken

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Curry doesn't have to be complicated or expensive. You can find cream of coconut, red Thai curry sauce, and dried rice stick vermicelli noodles in the international aisle or at Asian supermarkets.

  • 10 Thai Red Curry Recipes

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Simple Beef Stroganoff

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This is an easy, classic recipe that's good to learn how to make while in college. It uses budget-friendly ingredients, and can be easily customized to suit your taste.

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Baked Italian Chicken Dinner

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50 Easy Recipes for College Students (45)

Protein? Check. Vegetables? Check. Carbs? Check. This 5-ingredient dinner will fuel you all week long.

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Spaghetti Carbonara I

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While shortcuts and new takes on traditional recipes can be fun, sometimes it pays to know how to make a classic recipe. Fortunately, spaghetti carbonara is as easy as it gets.

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Easy Peezy Sweet Toasted Cheese Sandwich

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50 Easy Recipes for College Students (47)

Switch things up by using Hawaiian rolls in place of the more traditional white bread for your next grilled cheese sandwich. And forget standing over the stove, this recipe comes together in the toaster oven.

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Salted Chocolate-Peanut Butter Vegan Nice Cream

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50 Easy Recipes for College Students (48)

This dairy-free nice cream tastes like a peanut-butter cup, but in ice (nice) cream form! It's the cure to your late-night cravings.

  • 15-Minute Vegan Nice Cream Recipes to Curb Your Cravings ASAP

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Microwave Baked Potato

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Get baked potatoes in a fraction of the time by using your microwave. Reviewer VIOLETSIVA suggests wrapping the potato in microwave-safe plastic wrap to keep it from drying out.

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Avocado Toast (Vegan)

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Avocado toast has proven itself to be more than just a fad. It makes for a quick and easy breakfast or lunch. If you're not vegan, recipe creator Carolyn Monro suggests adding a fried egg on top.

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