Student News

Quick and Easy College Meals

You don’t have to be a chef to get creative with meals in college.

Kathryn Knight Randolph

July 29, 2023

Quick and Easy College Meals
Ready to be your dorm’s Top Chef?
Most college students don’t have access to a full-fledged kitchen in their residence hall. Even students that live in an apartment may find that their culinary ambitions are somewhat limited by meager offerings. Cooking in college requires some creativity. But if you have the right recipes, you can make everything from breakfast to dessert right in your dorm room.

Easy Meals for College Students

There are plenty of easy meals for college students to make with a few supplies and small appliances. Before you pack for your college dorm room or apartment, however, be sure that you’re allowed to bring appliances, like microwaves, air fryers, or Instant Pots.
Some colleges and universities ban specific small appliances because they can be a fire hazard. College apartments, on the other hand, may have offer more freedom in what you can bring.

Easy Breakfast Recipes

We all know breakfast is the most important meal of the day. Start the day off right with one of the following dorm room breakfast recipes:

Muffin Tin Eggs

If you have access to an oven, these Muffin Tin Eggs from The Toasted Pine Nut will give you a great protein boost each morning.

Omelet in a Bag

What works for camping can work in a college apartment for a student who’s on the go, too! Omelets in a Bag from All Recipes only requires a Ziploc bag, the ingredients, and a stovetop.

Waffle Maker Hash Browns

This breakfast option is perfect for the dorm, as long as you’re permitted to bring waffle makers. A Waffle Maker Hash Brown from Food Network includes ham and cheese in the recipe, making it a savory meal to enjoy on the walk to class.

Yogurt Parfait

You just need a mini refrigerator for this recipe. Simply add granola and berries to yogurt for a quick and easy college meal.

Muffin in a Mug

Finally, for breakfast, do a little baking to make your favorite muffin flavor. All you need is the ingredients, a coffee mug, and a microwave for this Muffin in a Mug recipe from Budget Bytes.

No Cook Meals

Don’t have the capacity to cook in the dorm rooms? No problem.

Overnight Oats

Overnight oats are an easy way to create a healthy breakfast. You simply soak oats in milk overnight, and finish with your favorite toppings. Check out these ideas from Feel Good Foodie.

Chickpea Tuna Salad

This healthy lunch (or dinner) requires no cooking at all. Plus, it’s filled with protein and omega-3s that will help power your brain for those classes and study sessions. Find the Chickpea Tuna Salad recipe on Real Simple.

California Roll Wraps

Who doesn’t love sushi? You can create one of the most popular rolls – sans rice – with this California Roll Wrap recipe from Taste of Home. Just keep all the ingredients in your mini fridge!

No-Bake Energy Balls

Snacks make those extra-long study sessions more tolerable. They can also help you pivot from classes to extracurriculars with a renewed zest. Make these Energy Balls from Insanely Good Recipes to help you survive busy college days.

Caprese Stuffed Avocados

Avocados may not be in your student budget on a weekly basis, but if you come across a good sale or want to treat yourself, try this no-cook Caprese Stuffed Avocado recipe from Delish.

Easy Microwave Meals

Just about every college residence – in the dorms or apartments – has a microwave. Microwave meals call for easy college meal prep in a time crunch, which students know all too well.

Mac and Cheese in a Mug

You’ll find that you can make just about anything in a mug. For some quick comfort food, try this recipe for Microwave Macaroni and Cheese in a Mug from Bigger Bolder Baking.

Microwave Mug Pizza

Like we said, you can make any meal in a mug. Pizza is undoubtedly the most common college meal, and you can make it right in your dorm room. No more paying and waiting for pizza to be delivered. Use this recipe Microwave Mug Pizza recipe from Bigger Boulder Baking.

Microwave Fried Rice

Another top delivery item to the dorms is Chinese food. Now you can save money and make some fried rice from the convenience of your microwave with this Fried Rice recipe from Tasty.

Microwave Baked Potato

A baked potato makes a great base for any meal – breakfast, lunch, and dinner. It all depends on the toppings. Use this Microwave Baked Potato recipe from All Recipes and then top accordingly.

Microwave Chili

Want to feel like you’ve gone home for the weekend? Bring the comforts of home to your dorm room with this Microwave Chili from BBC Good Food.

Instant Pot Recipes

While some dorms may not allow Instant Pots, you can most likely bring one to your college apartment. Instant Pots are a great way to get breakfast, lunch, or dinner fast. The recipes below are great for beginners, requiring little time and just a few ingredients.

Instant Pot Chicken Marinara

This Instant Pot Chicken Marinara recipe only calls for three ingredients. It’s a great starter for anyone that has little experience with an Instant Pot. Plus, you can get fancier with the recipe as your comfort level with the appliance increases.

Chicken Enchilada Soup

It’s Taco Tuesdays with a twist! This Chicken Enchilada Soup from Delish is perfect for fall and winter nights on your college campus.

Instant Pot Shredded Chicken

Much like the baked potato, shredded chicken is a great base – or starter – for any meal. Shredded chicken can be used in salads, soups, casseroles, and on sandwiches. The Recipe Rebel provides a great Instant Pot Shredded recipe.

Shortcut Instant Pot Spaghetti

Did you know you can make anything in an Instant Pot? It’s true – even spaghetti. Check out this Instant Pot Spaghetti recipe from The Kitchn.

2-Ingredient Salsa Verde Chicken

If you want something easy and healthy, you can’t go wrong with Salsa Verde Chicken with Our Balanced Bowl. It’s also easy on your student budget.

Easy Air Fryer Recipes

An air fryer is also a small appliance that you’ll need permission to bring to the dorms. However, it can likely be used in college apartments. Also, like the Instant Pot, an air fryer is extremely easy-to-use and can come in handy for every meal as well as snacks!

Air Fryer French Fries

Can you even have a list of air fryer recipes if it doesn’t include fries? You can make your own French Fries from the Food Network or use your air fryer to reheat French fries from takeout orders.

Crumbed Chicken Tenderloins

You can also just call these “chicken nuggets.” Cooking your breaded chicken in an air fryer will result in a healthier, more-adult spin on an old classic. Check out these Crumbled Chicken Tenderloins on All Recipes.

Air Fryer Apple Chips

Don’t binge-eat potato chips during your study sessions; try apple chips instead. This Apple Chip recipe requires just a few ingredients and an air fryer.

Air Fryer Garlic Bread

You know what would go perfect with your Instant Pot Spaghetti? Garlic Bread in the air fryer.

Air Fryer Cauliflower Bites

Finally, you’ll fall in love with cauliflower with this Cauliflower Bite recipe from Ahead of Thyme. With lots of flavor and so little time, you’ll have this healthy snack ready in no time.

Rotisserie Chicken Meals

Remember those chickens your Mom or Dad would bring home from the grocery store for dinner? You can use those too for your cheap and easy dinners at college.

Pulled BBQ Chicken Sandwiches

You can dress these up or keep it simple. Shred the chicken and add BBQ sauce – or use this Pulled BBQ Chicken Sandwich from Food Network.

White Chicken Chili

This White Chicken Chili recipe from The Pioneer Woman will be on repeat throughout the fall and winter. Using rotisserie chicken makes this recipe much easier and faster.

BBQ Chicken Pasta Bake

Don’t worry – making a casserole doesn’t mean you’re a grown-up. Instead, it’s a quick, easy dinner option that could feed everyone in your apartment. Try this BBQ Chicken Pasta Bake from Tasty.

Chicken Enchiladas

Throw these Chicken Enchiladas from Ahead of Thyme together in a few minutes once you’re home from classes and extracurriculars. They also make enough to have leftovers throughout the week.

Rotisserie Chicken Salad

Finally, Rotisserie Chicken Salad is a classic. Make this on Sundays and use it for lunch during the week. Switch it up by making it a wrap, sandwich, or served on top of greens.

Vegetarian Meals

If you’re a college student and a vegetarian, no problem. While you may lack options in the food hall on campus, you can make your own in the dorm room or in the college apartment.

Quick and Easy Vegetarian Ramen

Ramen is another popular college dish. Try this Quick and Easy Vegetarian Ramen from Ahead of Thyme on the stovetop in your apartment.

Tomato Mozzarella Bread

Make your own vegetarian pizza with this Tomato Mozzarella Bread from Hurry the Food Up.

Easy Pearl Couscous with Chickpeas

Grateful Ginger provides easy, vegetarian college recipes, like Pearl Couscous with Chickpeas. These recipes are quick, simple, and budget-friendly for students.

Veggie Tacos

Make Taco Tuesday vegetarian-friendly with this Veggie Taco recipe from Taste of Home.

Crunchy Thai Peanut and Quinoa Salad

This Crunchy Thai Peanut and Quinoa Salad from Cookie and Kate recipe is about to become your new favorite. It packs a lot of flavor and is extremely good for you!

Easy Dessert Recipes

Finish off the day with a delicious dish from your dorm room. These recipes require minimal tools and space, making them perfect for any dorm room chef.

1-Minute Microwave Brownie in a Mug

Noticing a theme? You really can make anything in a mug. Start with this Microwave Mug Brownie from Bigger Bolder Baking and then try the cake in a mug.

Air Fryer Brownies

If you have an air fryer, you might as well use it for dessert, too. You can make this small batch from Taste of Home and keep it all to yourself.

S’mores in the Microwave

S’mores don’t have to be relegated to campfires. Use this microwave recipe to bring the great outdoors inside.

Ultimate Mega Chocolate Chip Cookie

If you want to make friends fast in college, try these Ultimate Mega Chocolate Chip Cookies from Rodelle Kitchen. Everyone will be lining up to be your best friend – or to grab a cookie.

Puppy Chow

Finally, who doesn’t love puppy chow? These Puppy Chow recipes from Spoon University will enable you to make an old classic new again with different flavor combinations.

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Kathryn Knight Randolph

Associate Content Editor

Kathryn Knight Randolph is the Associate Content Editor at Fastweb. She has 17 years of higher education experience, working first as an Admissions Officer at DePauw University before joining Fastweb. In b...

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