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21 Cheap and Easy Student Recipes that Taste Great

Being a student is tough – trust me, I would know, I’m a student too! You want quick and easy student recipes that taste good but don’t take a lot of time or ingredients to make.

Here are a bunch of quick and easy student recipes that I know you’ll be trying even when you do have the time to spend hours cooking.

TIP: to make cooking quicker, make sure to have all your ingredients ready and chopped. It’ll make cooking much easier!

Grocery Shopping Trip: if you want to find really cheap, affordable groceries, try going to grocery stores and cafes right before they close. They usually have left over ingredients, like bread, available and they’re heavily discounted, and sometimes even given for free! Grocery stores usually also have a section of discounted foods and groceries that are very close to their expiration date. So you’ll have to use the ingredients right away, but it’ll be super cheap!

If you like food, you’ll love these recipes!

Cheap and easy student recipes that will make cooking fun.

1. 3 – Ingredient Mac & Cheese

This recipe is so easy and affordable, AND it only requires three ingredients. All you need is milk, elbow pasta, and cheddar cheese and you get this creamy, delicious, and easy student recipes. Check out the full recipe here.

PS even the full recipe is about five lines, so you know this one’s easy and quick!

This recipe is especially great for students because it’ll fill you with the carbs and it’s hearty too, with the milk and cheese mixture.

2. Baked Sweet Potatoes with Smoky Beans

Sweet potatoes are an awesome easy student meal idea. They’re easy and delicious.

It does take a while for the sweet potato to cook in the oven, between 45 minutes and an hour, but you can do other things in that time. You don’t have to constantly check on the potatoes. Just pop them into the oven for 45 minutes, and then check to see if they’re ready.

This recipe serves two people, so you can have half and save the other half for later. Plus, this dish is vegetarian and under 500 calories!

3. Fried Rice

This dish is super fast and easy. What’s really great about this recipe is that you can use leftovers and add whatever you like to it.

This recipe takes so much better with leftover rice but you can use a new batch too. If you make a new batch of rice, it’ll take longer but it’s still super easy. With an old batch of rice, this recipe only takes 10 minutes!

The full recipe is here on Serious Eats.

If you want an easy recipe to make plain rice and don’t have any rice leftovers to use, check out this recipe.

4. 10-Minute Garlic Noodles

Garlic noodles are the ultimate easy student recipes idea. They’re quick, easy, and so delicious! This recipe from Crunchy Creamy Sweet is perfect on it’s own or with leftovers.

You need only a couple of ingredients – noodles, garlic, olive oil, butter, soy sauce, sesame oil, and Parmesan cheese – and it takes a short 10 minutes.

I’ve made a variation of this recipe with only olive oil, garlic powder, and cheese, and of course the noodles, and it was delicious.

Garlic noodles don’t need a lot of ingredients and are always a safe and delicious choice for a night after long study hours and classes.

5. Chicken Stew

This hearty, healthy recipe is going to keep you full and you can use scrap ingredients. Of course, this recipe by delish lists standard chicken stew ingredients like carrots and celery, but you can essentially use any vegetables you want to make the broth.

And if you don’t have any vegetables, then you can use Knorr chicken cubes to create the broth with more ease. The recipe by delish is made from scratch, but you can easily modify it. Use chicken cubes for the broth, frozen chicken instead of fresh, and voila! there’s any even easier chicken stew recipe.

This recipe serves four, which is great for students because you can save the other three portions for the next day.

Prep time is only 10 minutes, and even though the whole recipe takes 45 minutes, you don’t need to watch over it, which is convenient so you can get other work done.

6. Overnight Oats

The full recipe for these easy overnight oats in on FeelGoodFoodie. This recipe is great because it goes into detail about every related to overnight oats and gives very specific, detailed instructions.

I love overnight oats, they’re super filling and delicious. The only ingredients that are a MUST are oats and milk, and then you can add a bunch of toppings.

Some popular toppings are chia seeds (most people usually put them in with the oats and milk), Greek yogurt, nuts, and fruits.

7. 3 – Ingredient Tomato Soup

This recipe by Inspired Taste is great because it’s super easy and is best with canned tomatoes, which are really cheap. You’ll need a pot and a blender, but that’s as complicated as it gets.

With this tomato soup you can toast some bread and it’s a great, warm meal that will remind you of home, especially great if you’re away from home at college or univesity.

If you’re feeling extra fancy, you can make an easy grilled cheese sandwich to dip into this soup.

8. Veggie Fajitas

This recipe by Olive Magazine is really easy and only takes half an hour. It’s also really great if you don’t have fresh produce, because you can use frozen vegetables for this recipe and they’ll turn out great.

The recipe also has an avocado salad on the side, which only requires avocados, tomatoes, red onion, jalapenos (skip them if you don’t like spice), coriander, and lime. The exact measurements are here with the rest of the recipe.

9. 30 – Minute Sloppy Joes

This is an awesome, healthier sloppy joe option with turkey – which is leaner and better for you – and the sauce has much lower sugar in it than most sauces.

If you want a delicious, healthy option for a student meal, look no further. The full recipe by ambitious kitchen takes only half an hour and you can use the homemade sauce for so much more than just burgers. You can use it in tacos, on top of pasta as a pasta sauce, and even on its own.

This recipe has 4 servings so you can use for future use! Plus, it’s less than 500 calories and has more than 30 grams of protein.

10. Grilled Cheese Hot Dogs

Confused on whether to have a hot dog or a grilled cheese sandwich? Well, with this recipe, you can have both at the same time!

This recipe is really easy and only takes 20 minutes. The basic ingredients you need are hot dog buns, hot dog sausages, and cheese and essentially any toppings you’d like.

Grilled cheese hot dogs are great, easy student recipes that take no time at all and are super yummy.

11. One Pot Chili Pasta

This one pot chili pasta recipe by Budget by Tes is only $1.08 a serving and it’s really easy and delicious. In terms of cheap and easy student recipes, this recipe is a great idea.

You can freeze this dish, too, and have it frozen for up to 3 months, which is great for students because you can just reheat it whenever you need.

This recipe is very in-depth and gives you instructions and tips on everything you could possibly need to make this dish. You have to try this student meal idea!

12. Naan Bread Pizza

Naan bread is AMAZING. If you haven’t tried it already, you NEED to! This bread is a staple in many South Asian households, including mine, and it’s delicious to have with practically every meal.

This recipe was submitted by a student on All Recipes and it’s an easy, delicious, and cheap student meal idea.

It takes only 10 minutes, and you probably already have the ingredients in your pantry.

Plus, this Naan Pizza uses store bought naan bread which is great for students. If you really want to jazz up this dish, use garlic naan bread instead of regular naan bread and it’ll make a subtle, but noticeable difference. Some places may not have garlic naan, so you can chop up a few cloves of garlic and sprinkle them on top of the naan and then pop it in the oven for a few minutes before making the pizza.

Orrr you could sprinkle some garlic powder on the naan for that yummy garlic flavor.

13. Breakfast Burrito

Breakfast burritos are perfect for any time of day – not just breakfast – and are really easy too.

If you want the simplest form of a breakfast burrito, just heat up a tortilla, put some scrambled eggs on it, a little cheese, and voila! one easy and cheap breakfast burrito, perfect for students.

This recipe by Natasha’s Kitchen goes in-depth on the ingredients you need, substitutes for certain ingredients, and even how to make freezer-friendly versions of this breakfast burrito.

The best part about this recipe is that instead of a boring, regular breakfast burrito, you fry the burrito in this recipe so it’s crispy on the outside and gooey on the inside.

This is an awesome easy student recipes idea you have to try.

14. Instant Ramen Made Fancy

I wrote an article about how to elevate instant ramen and I think it’s a great student hack. Instant ramen/cup noodles are a staple in most students’ diets and lets be honest, they can get pretty boring, pretty fast.

These easy hacks will elevate your cup noodles, and it will feel like you aren’t eating the same meal over and over again.

A great way to elevate your cup noodles is through adding vegetables, which I discuss in this article. Adding vegetables to your ramen is such an easy, fun way to make the noodles more delicious. You can even fry up some frozen vegetables, like corn, pea, and carrots mixtures.

Another way to cook your noodles is to fry them after boiling the noodles in their packaging containers. I love doing this! It gives your noodles crunch and adds flavor from the oil and frying.

Make sure to check out this article on how to make your cup noodles less boring.

15. Chili Nachos

Nachos are fun, delicious, and a great meal for after a night out. Here’s an easy and quick chili nacho recipe that will only take 22 minutes to make!

This dish is great for a quick after class meal and also really great to make if you have friends over.

What’s really great about nachos is that you can customize them to your taste. The only base you have to have is tortilla chips and chili, but the toppings and types of cheese is all up to YOU.

Get creative and crazy with this delicious, student-friendly recipe!

16. Cheesy Pizza Pasta Bake

This recipe by Two Healthy Kitchens takes only half an hour, and is great for the days you have no time between studying and working, and you want something quick and easy to cook up.

It’s also very cheesy, so if you like cheese, you’ll love this recipe! The recipe uses turkey pepperoni but you can substitute it with any meat you like.

Plus, this pizza bake yields 10 cups, so you’ll have plenty of leftovers to enjoy the next few days.

This recipe is a must for students – you have to check it out!

17. Quinoa Tabbouleh Salad

This salad by Joyful Healthy Eats is super refreshing and takes only 20 minutes. Quinoa is high in fiber and protein and will keep you full for many hours after you eat it.

Tabbouleh is a Middle Eastern dish with tomatoes, mint, parsley, lemon juice, bulgur, and olive oil. For this salad, to make it a quinoa tabbouleh salad, you just substitute the bulgur with quinoa and you have a delicious salad!

Even though it’s a salad, you can tightseal and refrigerate it for up to 5 days – perfect for leftovers!

This dish is especially great for the summer, so if you want a recipe to cool you off and refresh you, this is it.

18. Vegetable Pad Thai

Pad Thai is a great ‘out-for-dinner’ meal, but you can make it for cheap at home! This vegetable Pad Thai recipe by Yummy Healthy Easy is delicious and so, so easy to make at home.

This Pad Thai dish has vegetables, but you can put anything in that you like. Chicken and beef goes really well in Pad Thai, too, but it might be a bit expensive for a student budget.

You can use frozen vegetables for this dish, which are really affordable and last forever!

Try this vegetable Pad Thai and I bet you won’t miss take-out food!

19. Cheesy Veggie Home Fries

My mouth is watering at just looking at the picture of these cheesy veggie home fries by Sweet C’s.

This recipe requires a cast iron skillet, but most students – including myself – don’t have them, so just use a regular pan and put a little oil on the bottom to make sure nothing sticks. Oil the pan (or using butter) also really helps in doing the dishes!

Also, the fries in this dish are cubed but I like to cut them vertically. I also cut the vertical potatoes in half, so they look like half sized french fries. Personally, I think they taste better that way, but it’s completely up to preference.

20. Mushroom Rice Pilaf

This mushroom rice pilaf is delicious, filling, and easy to make. The full recipe is on Erren’s Kitchen and it breaks down everything you need to know for this recipe.

This recipe is unique because it uses both dried and fresh mushrooms, but you can do this dish even if you only have one (fresh would be preferred to dried, though). You can even use frozen mushrooms – just have mushrooms, lol!

Pilaf uses stock in the rice, and even though a lot of recipes make their own stock, it can be a bit of work and takes time. As a shortcut, use Knorr chicken cubes for instant broth that tastes like you’ve been making it for hours.

21. Chorizo Tostadas

Tostadas are just fried tortillas and they’re incredible! Trust me, once you have tostadas, it’ll be hard to eat plain tortillas.

They use canned beans – great for student budgets – and they can be completely customized. You can add certain things, take away others – it’s all up to YOU.

The full recipe is on bonappetit and it breaks down everything you need to do. The chefs at bonappetit use chorizo, but you can use any type of meat you like. Ground turkey or beef is delicious with tostadas!

I hope these 21 cheap and easy student meal ideas make your meal time more exciting and fun. Being a student – on a student budget – can be tough, and I hope these recipes make your life easier and yummier!

If you liked this article, I think you’ll love this article on salads that are easy and delicious.

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