30 Easy Recipes for College Students

It’s that time again! Time to settle in for the semester and really hit the books. But don’t let food take a back seat. You need to keep yourself nourished and full of energy to make it through those classes, study sessions, and that part-time job, too.So, I’ve put together this list of 30 Easy Recipes for College Students to help you get through the semester without coming out the other side feeling like a casualty!

I know it’s easier to just stop and grab some fast food, but taking a few minutes to prepare a homemade meal can be both nutritious and therapeutic. Take the time to take care of yourself this semester!

Originally Posted 8-23-2014, updated 6-20-2021.

30 Easy Recipes for College Students

A bowl of Bowties and Broccoli with Post Title overlayed

And just as a side note, these are recipes for college students who have access to a kitchen, even if a very limited kitchen. With all the restrictions on equipment allowed in dorm rooms, dorm room cooking is a whole different beast. 

What Makes a Recipe Good for College Students?

I was a broke college student when I started this blog, so this is a category that I am very familiar with. To make the cut for this list of Easy Recipes for College Students, the recipes had to be simple (not many ingredients, no fancy equipment, and a simple preparation method), they had to strike a good balance between comfort and healthy (because let’s face it, when you’re stressed you want comfort but eating bad can make you feel worse), and they needed to make good leftovers.

I’ve divided this list into four categories: Easy Dinners, Snack Foods, Make Ahead Meals (including breakfast options), and Cold Meals (perfect for taking with you to school).

Easy Dinners

These super fast Curried Chickpeas with spinach are packed with flavor and nutrients, vegan, gluten-free, and filling! Plus they freeze great! BudgetBytes.com

Curried Chickpeas with Spinach

These super fast Curried Chickpeas with spinach are packed with flavor and nutrients, vegan, gluten-free, and filling! Plus they freeze great!
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Curried Chickpeas with Spinach – When the autumn nights start to get a chilly bite, warm up with a hot bowl of these hearty curried chickpeas with spinach. Packed with flavor, this vegan dish is delicious and filling enough to finally bring vegetarians and carnivores together over one meal.

 

Sweet, salty, rich, and crunchy, these Pork and Peanut Dragon Noodles hit all the bases. It’s fast, easy comfort food for busy nights! BudgetBytes.com

Pork and Peanut Dragon Noodles

Sweet, salty, rich, and crunchy, these Pork and Peanut Dragon Noodles hit all the bases. It’s fast, easy comfort food for busy nights! 
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Pork and Peanut Dragon Noodles – The next time you’re tempted to grab take out, try this incredibly simple noodle stir fry. It will satisfy those take out cravings, but you’ll have complete control over the ingredients. Add some simple steamed greens to round out the meal! (Or try the original, vegetarian version of Dragon Noodles)

 

Close up side view of a bowl of creamy pesto mac with spinach

Creamy Pesto Mac and Cheese with Spinach

A simple creamy sauce infused with basil pesto makes this Creamy Pesto Mac and Cheese with spinach the ultimate comfort food WITH a dose of vegetables!
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Creamy Pesto Mac with Spinach – Get your daily dose of vegetables right along with your cheesy comfort food. And the best part is that it uses frozen spinach, so you can keep it on hand to make whenever you need, without it going bad in the back of your fridge.

 

Beef and Cabbage Stir Fry

This fast and easy Beef and Cabbage Stir Fry is a filling low carb dinner with big flavor and endless possibilities for customization. 
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Beef and Cabbage Stir Fry – Grab a bag of coleslaw mix (shredded cabbage and carrots), and this meal is insanely fast and easy to make. Better yet, it’s full of fiber and protein, so you can help curb that freshman 15. ;) (Feel free to use ground pork, turkey, or chicken in place of the Beef, if preferred.)

 

Bowties and Broccoli

This insanely simple dinner "cheat" is ready in minutes and will keep you full for hours. Bowties and Broccoli is my go-to lazy weeknight dinner.
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Bowties and Broccoli – This has been my go-to “emergency meal” for decades. Literally. There’s nothing more satisfying than pasta with a little butter and Parmesan, and I add broccoli florets to balance things out, plus a little pepper and red pepper flakes for kicks. Insanely easy and all of the ingredients can be kept on hand pretty much indefinitely, so it’s ready to go whenever you need something FAST.

 

Close up overhead shot of a poor man's burrito bowl with melted cheese

Poor Man's Burrito Bowls

These easy no-frills burrito bowls are super fast and affordable. They're the perfect satisfying weeknight meal for times when money is tight!
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Poor Man’s Burrito Bowls – We all know burrito bowls are life (thanks, Chipotle!), but they don’t have to be fancy to be super delicious or satisfying. This is my pared down, no frills, as-simple-as-it-gets version of a burrito bowl because when you’re in college, ain’t nobody got time or money for all those fancy toppings! Bonus: you can meal prep these!

 

A stack of pizza melts, cut sides facing camera

Pizza Melt

Pizza melts are like a cross between your two favorite comfort foods: pizza and grilled cheese. They're fast, easy, and the perfect quick meal!
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Pizza Melts – Instead of ordering takeout, make an easy Pizza Melt to cure your pizza craving. You’ll get all that pizza flavor for a fraction of the price and with an easy single-serving portion size.

 

Easy pesto chicken and vegetables in a skillet with a spatula

Easy Pesto Chicken and Vegetables

This Easy Pesto Chicken and Vegetables meal prep is super fast and easy, and holds up well in the fridge for tasty lunches all week!
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Easy Pesto Chicken and Vegetables – This super delicious, healthy, and filling recipe comes together in minutes and only requires a few simple ingredients. Plus, the leftovers hold up great, so it’s perfect for your weekly meal prep!

 

Dragon Noodles

These sweet, tangy, and spicy Dragon Noodles take only a few minutes to whip up and will kill your craving for take-out.
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Dragon Noodles – And of course this list wouldn’t be complete without the classic Dragon Noodles. They’re faster than take-out, super delicious, and completely customizable. Throw in any vegetables you might in have in the fridge, or try changing up the sauce with a little peanut butter or lime. Browse through the comments to discover all the variations readers have made over the years!

 

Close up overhead view of a bowl full of vegan creamy mushroom ramen with chopsticks lifting some noodles

Vegan Creamy Mushroom Ramen

This incredibly simple Vegan Creamy Mushroom Ramen is a rich and flavorful 15 minute meal that only requires a handful of ingredients! 
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Vegan Creamy Mushroom Ramen – You only need about 15 minutes and a few leftover vegetables from your fridge to make this insanely creamy and delicious ramen. 

 

Sheet pan roasted kielbasa potatoes and green beans with a spatula

Sheet Pan Kielbasa Potatoes and Green Beans

Sheet pan meals don't get any easier or more delicious than this Sheet Pan Kielbasa Potatoes and Green Beans dinner.
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Sheet Pan Kielbasa Potatoes and Green Beans – This recipe only requires six simple ingredients and minimal chopping. It’s super filling and surprisingly big on flavor. This recipe will be a staple dinner during your college years and beyond!

 

Snack Foods

Three glass containers of the peanut butter lunch box lined up in a row

The Peanut Butter Lunch Box

This peanut butter lunch box is an easy no-cook lunch idea for school, work, picnics, or road trips! No reheating needed!
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The Peanut Butter Lunch Box – Pack up a few of these snack boxes to nibble on between classes, or for a quick meal between work and school. 

 

A stack of black bean quesadillas on a serving tray

Hearty Black Bean Quesadillas

These Hearty Black Bean Quesadillas are an easy vegetarian snack or light meal that are filling, flavorful, and freezer-friendly!
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Hearty Black Bean Quesadillas – Quesadillas are the perfect snack (just ask Taco Bell). This spicy vegetarian mix of black beans, corn, onion, and cheese is 100x better than anything you’ll get at the drive-through. More flavor, more fiber, more filling, and still extremely easy. Promise.

 

Spinach Feta Grilled Cheese

Take your grilled cheese game to the next level with this Spinach Feta Grilled Cheese, featuring garlic, red pepper, and TWO cheeses!
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Spinach Feta Grilled Cheese – Grilled cheese is the ultimate study/comfort food. Take it up a level with some frozen spinach, a little garlic, red pepper flakes, and feta. You now have a super fancy grilled cheese AND a good dose of vegetables. WIN.

 

Pizzadillas

All the cheesy toppings of a pizza stuffed into a fast, easy, and crispy quesadilla. Perfect for dipping in pizza sauce!
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Pizzadillas – When you have a pizza craving (when do you not have a pizza craving??) but don’t have the time or energy to make a homemade pizza yourself, pizzadillas are you quick and easy answer! Plus, without all that thick buttery crust, they’re probably a little more healthy, too. ;) No delivery fee for the win!!

 

Four cheese board lunch boxes lined up in a row

The Cheese Board Lunch Box

This easy no-cook lunch idea is perfect for the cheese lovers of the world! The Cheese Board Lunch Box makes a meal out of savory nibbles.
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The Cheese Board Lunch Box – You might miss the lunchables your mom used to pack for your lunch, but you’re an adult now, so let’s do it the grown-up way! A box full of crackers, cheese, meat, and a little fruit is a light meal that no one would turn down.

 

Forget frozen pizza rolls! These Pizza Roll Ups are the perfect last minute appetizer or indulgent snack on busy days! BudgetBytes.com

Pizza Roll Ups

Forget frozen pizza rolls! These Pizza Roll Ups are the perfect last minute appetizer or indulgent snack on busy days! 
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Pizza Roll Ups – OR make your pizza in roll up form. It’s still way faster and easier than making traditional pizza, and a LOT less expensive than ordering delivery. These are great for football parties, too!

 

Overhead view of a plate full of steak fries with three dipping sauces

Oven Baked Steak Fries

These incredibly crispy, thick cut, oven baked steak fries are seasoned to perfection with steak seasoning for maximum flavor in every bite! 
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Oven-Baked Steak Fries – It really doesn’t get any easier than this. These thick-cut steak fries are beautifully crispy and perfect for dipping in your favorite condiment (but definitely try them with some Comeback Sauce).

 

Freezer Ready Mini Pizzas

Freezer Ready Mini Pizzas are an easy and inexpensive snack to keep stocked in your freezer. A homemade and healthy option compared to frozen pizza.
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Freezer Ready Mini Pizzas – Keep a batch of these little pizza cuties in the freezer so you can have a quick pizza snack whenever you want! 

 

Make your own homemade freezer garlic bread slices, ready to bake on demand. Bake two or ten frozen slices at a time, ready in minutes! Budgetbytes.com

Homemade Freezer Garlic Bread

Make your own homemade freezer garlic bread slices, ready to bake on demand. Bake two or ten frozen slices at a time, ready in minutes! 
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Homemade Freezer Garlic Bread – Put down that box of frozen garlic bread! It’s far too easy and inexpensive to make your own! Keep these garlic bread slices in your freezer and on hand for anytime that you get a craving. They also make a pretty killer grilled cheese sandwich, too. Talk about study fuel!

 

Make Ahead Meals

Three rectangular glass meal prep containers with Ground Turkey Stir Fry and Brown Rice

Ground Turkey Stir Fry

This super easy Ground Turkey Stir Fry is a delicious and versatile answer to busy weeknight dinners. Try the suggested variations to make it your own! 
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Ground Turkey Stir Fry – This super simple stir fry was made for meal prep! You can add as many or as little vegetables as you want and serve it over rice, noodles, or sans-carb. It’s very flexible!

 

Overhead view of a Cottage Cheese Crab Bowl with a black fork in the side

Cottage Cheese Crab Bowl

This Cottage Cheese Crab Bowl is the perfect light, fresh, and filling lunch for summer. It also meal preps well, so pack a few to take to work for lunch! 
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Cottage Cheese Crab Bowls – These no-cook bowls are light, fresh, and kind of like a California roll, but bowl style! Plus there are plenty of ways to customize this bowl to make it fit your taste buds.

 

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

Scallion Herb Chickpea Salad

Light, bright, and full of spring flavors, this Scallion Herb Chickpea Salad will keep you full all afternoon. Serve as a sandwich, wrap, or salad! 
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Scallion Herb Chickpea Salad – This super easy and creamy chickpea salad is great as a sandwich or wrap, scooped up with crackers, or as a topper to a green salad, so you can eat it a different way every day of the week!

 

No Sugar Added Apple Pie Overnight Oats

No Sugar Added Apple Pie Overnight Oats are an easy, healthy, and delicious make-ahead breakfast that you can eat either hot or cold.
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No Sugar Added Apple Pie Overnight Oats – This is another great make-ahead breakfast option that can easily be made vegan by using almond or soy milk. You won’t believe how much this tastes like apple pie, even without ANY added sugar!!

 

Stacked sausage and egg breakfast quesadillas held close to the camera

Sausage and Egg Breakfast Quesadillas

Sausage and egg breakfast quesadillas are an easy and filling breakfast option that is also freezer-friendly, so you can stock up for later!
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Sausage and Egg Breakfast Quesadillas – These breakfast quesadillas are the perfect make-ahead breakfast for busy mornings! Keep a batch in your freezer to quickly reheat in a skillet each morning.

 

A tuna salad lunch box with tuna in a pepper and a cracker tipping into the salad

The Tuna Salad Lunch Box

This Tuna Salad Lunch Box is an easy make-ahead lunch idea with plenty of vegetables and protein to keep you full.
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The Tuna Salad Lunch Box – Here’s another great no-cook make-ahead lunch for your busy weekdays! 

 

Three glass containers filled with hummus lunch box ingredients

The Hummus Lunch Box

This Hummus Lunch Box is a cold lunch classic. With almost zero prep work, this is the fastest, easiest no-cook lunch around.
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The Hummus Lunch Box – These little no-cook Mediterranean-style snack boxes are perfect for a make-ahead lunch or a light afternoon study snack. They’re customizable, too, so make sure you click through to see all of the alternate ingredient ideas!

 

The Easiest Burrito Bowl Meal Prep that you can put together in about 30 minutes with minimal cooking, chopping, and nothing to pack on the side. Lunch can be easy and tasty! BudgetBytes.com

Easiest Burrito Bowl Meal Prep

The Easiest Burrito Bowl Meal Prep that you can put together in about 30 minutes with minimal cooking, chopping, and nothing to pack on the side. Lunch can be easy and tasty! 
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Easiest Burrito Bowl Meal Prep – I never get tired of burrito bowls, and thankfully they are just made for meal prepping. You can make a few for the week ahead, or stash them in the freezer for longer storage. Either way, it’s just a quick reheat to total burrito bowl bliss.

 

This Tuna and White Bean salad is mayo-free, but big on flavor. Whip up this salad in minutes to satisfy your hunger and tastebuds. BudgetBytes.com

Tuna & White Bean Salad

This Tuna and White Bean salad is mayo-free, but big on flavor. Whip up this salad in minutes to satisfy your hunger and tastebuds. 
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Tuna and White Bean Salad – Tons of protein and fiber to keep you full and fueled through a long day of classes! Pack it up with some crackers for dipping, or stuff it into a tortilla to make a wrap, and you’re set. Oh, and NO MAYO. ;)

 

This cold, refreshing, and highly flavored Curried Tofu Salad is the perfect quick fix for summer or cold-pack lunch. Budgetbytes.com

Curried Tofu Salad

This cold, refreshing, and highly flavored Curried Tofu Salad is the perfect quick fix for summer or cold-pack lunch. 
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Curried Tofu Salad – Super simple prep, and it holds up in the fridge for days! You can serve it over a bed of greens as a salad, or make it a wrap by stuffing it into a tortilla. So fresh and light, it won’t make you groggy in those afternoon classes. ;)

 

Close up side view of Mediterranean Tuna Salad in a bowl

Mediterranean Tuna Salad

This simple, fresh, and filling Mediterranean Tuna Salad makes an easy protein-packed make-ahead lunch for your workweek.
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Mediterranean Tuna Salad – This light, fresh, and protein-filled salad is an easy no-cook option for your busy week or when the weather starts to heat up outside. No reheating necessary!

 

Also check out my Meal Prep archives for plenty of ideas for packed lunches!

So there you have it, my top 30 Easy Recipes for College Students. What was/is your favorite recipes to help you get through the semester? Share in the comments below!