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Whether you have an apartment, a dorm fitted with a kitchen, or just a mini fridge and a microwave, this college cookbook is for you. From making a yummy, home-cooked meal to spicing up snack time, we have just the college recipes to hit the spot. Even if you aren’t a self-proclaimed chef or a connoisseur of the kitchen, we got you. These college recipes are easy, straightforward, and delicious!
Even if your dorm/living situation doesn’t have a full kitchen, or if you are on a meal plan at school, having some snacks that you can throw together is a MUST. Sometimes we get tired of the cafeteria food. Sometimes we crave something other than packaged chocolate bars and potato chips. Sometimes, we want something that tastes fresh and is made just for us.
Whether you’re a pro in the kitchen, or new to cooking, these college recipes are the way to go. They are super simple, don’t require lots of ingredients or equipment, and they taste amazing. We all know that not all dormitory kitchens are created equal—some dorms don’t have any kitchen at all. But, most dorms allow at least a mini fridge and microwave (which you can get for super cheap on Facebook marketplace).
We understand the struggle, and we’ve prepared for variety in the kitchen-situation. We’ve got college recipes for a full kitchen, only a microwave, and ones where no cooking is needed at all. Everyone deserves to have good food and great snacks—that becomes so much easier when you know how to make it!
Best College Recipes for a Full Kitchen
Having a full kitchen at your disposal is a blessing. Having complete control over what you eat and when, as opposed to a meal-plan system where you eat what is made by the cafeteria when they make it, means a lot more freedom to make what you like. But it also means that you have to make it—and find out what you like.
That can be difficult to do, and deciding what to eat every day can be tough—a lot of times, you’ll draw a blank. Here are a couple college recipes that you can never go wrong with:
Who doesn’t love mac n’ cheese? It’s the perfect go-to for ages 1-100. Creamy, cheesy, and fresh-off-the-stove, this mac n’ cheese is one of many top tier college recipes. In my humble opinion, while the box mac n’ cheese may be easier, homemade mac n’ cheese will always take the crown. It’s just better. What’s more, you get to decide what kind of cheese goes into it—and how much. The heavier the hand with the cheese, the better the dish. Just saying.
For those days when you’re low on ingredients, this chicken hits the spot and requires only 5 ingredients (and one of those is the chicken). It’s a quick fix for a tight spot—like when you forgot to go grocery shopping and your fridge is nearly empty.
This combination is the ultimate comfort meal. Stressed for finals? Had a rough day? Cold out? Grilled cheese and tomato soup is the answer! Best part? It’s super easy! (My advice for this one? Use whatever cheese you like: American cheese is not for everyone. Also keep in mind this recipe feeds four, so you may want to cut it in half once or twice…)
Rice is such a diverse and beautiful food. It can be soup, it can be a side, or it could be the whole meal. This easy fried rice dish uses fresh or leftover rice, and a couple other ingredients to make a savory and packed meal. The recipe calls for sesame oil, but keep in mind that you can use whatever oil you have, it just impacts the taste a little. I use olive oil. Additionally, what you put in your fried rice is up to you—don’t like carrots? Don’t use them.
Parmesan-Crusted Chicken Thigh
This is a personal favorite of mine (because it’s so easy).
Preheat your over to 375* F. Take some thawed chicken thighs and rub them down with a little olive oil—no measuring needed, just make sure they are good and coated. In a bowl, mix some breadcrumbs, salt, pepper, and whatever other seasoning you like (I use oregano, Italian seasoning, and garlic powder), and then pour some (however much your heart desires) parmesan in and mix together.
Take your oiled chicken, roll it in the parmesan mixture, and place in a greased baking dish. Bake for 30 minutes, take that sucker out, and enjoy with whatever you want—or by itself! I often have it with some cooked broccoli and pasta but do what you want.
Note: if you don’t like parmesan, baking it with just the breadcrumbs and seasoning is totally fine. Make it yours!
Best College Recipes for a Microwave
When your dorm is not fitted with a full kitchen, do not despair—you too can still cook for yourself. Microwaves may not have the space and authentic heat that ovens do, but they still get the job done. You can make most of the same stuff in a microwave that you can make in an oven—just, less of it.
Here are some of the best college recipes for microwaves to spice up your regularly scheduled meal plan.
That’s right, our favorite cheesy heaven is available in microwave size (and not just the individual cups you can buy at Walmart). Like I said, homemade mac n’ cheese will always beat packaged mac n’ cheese in flavor and inherent goodness, and because of that, you don’t deserve to be limited just because you only have a microwave. This microwave mac n’ cheese is really simple, and while it does call for cornstarch, it can be made without it. (Again, cheddar is what the recipe calls for, but use what you like.)
Did you know you could bake a potato in a microwave? I didn’t either. The craziest thing is how easy it is. It takes about 10 minutes to “bake” and the only other things you need are whatever toppings you like on your baked potato. This recipe calls for a russet potato but should you long for a different kind of potato, I’m sure there is a way to bake them too.
Scrambled eggs, the basic breakfast that we take for granted when we can no longer fry them up with ease. Not to fear, the answer is here. With just a mug, an egg, and a little bit of milk, breakfast can be served in about a minute and a half (plus prep time).
We didn’t forget about dessert. When that craving for chocolatey goodness hits, the brownie knows no competition. No oven, no problem. This microwave brownie recipe is the perfect “college cooking” answer to that chocolate craving—simple, quick, and delicious!
What is college without pizza nights? Sure, you could order pizza in, but is that really cost-effective every time you want a pizza? On a college budget, you are much better off making your own pizza. But what if you don’t have a full kitchen? Pizza in a mug is here to save your Friday night.
Best College Recipes for No-Cooking
What about those microwave-less dorms? Or those days when you want something that you can just throw together super quick, no heat required? We have the perfect college recipes for that too. Many of these recipes will call for ingredients that need to be refrigerated. If you don’t have a mini fridge, many dorms will have a fridge that is for common use available somewhere, just make sure you label what is yours.
Overnight oats are a super easy meal to throw together and leave for later, as the name implies. This recipe calls for apples and nuts, however, those can be substituted for whatever you like in your oatmeal. If you’re a fan of blueberries, throw some blueberries in there—make it yours.
Looking for a quick way to prepare a healthy meal? This recipe for DIY salad in a jar is super easy and great for planning meals ahead of time. Again, I would recommend using the dressing you like and the salad toppings you want in your salad in a jar. The neat thing about this is that you can shake up all the ingredients with ease before serving, taking away the mess in tossing a salad.
Caesar wraps are all the goodness and health of a Caesar salad eaten with the ease of a sandwich. These Caesar wraps require little preparation, with ingredients that are ready-made, but as usual, the specific ingredients are up to you. Use whatever dressing, toppings, or greens you want.
These kabobs are super simple, with a hint of bougie to them. They make eating off a stick feel fancy. All you need is tomato, spinach, mozzarella, and some balsamic vinaigrette and olive oil. If you want to add some protein, I’d suggest something like pepperoni, to keep it on theme.
Fruit salad hardly needs any explanation. Chop up some of your favorite fruits, throw them in Tupperware, and shake them up. If you’re looking for a way to spice them up, maybe sprinkle a little sugar over them, or cinnamon to give them a little something extra.
Rice on the Stove
No rice cooker? Not a problem. When I make rice on the stove, I put the heat on medium, and cook it until all the water has boiled off. The ratio of rice to water is 1:2, so for every cup of rice it is double for water.
Depending on how hot “medium heat” is on your stove, the rice can take anywhere from 10-20 minutes. Stirring isn’t necessary, just keep an eye on it and when you stop seeing bubbles come through, it’s probably done (but do a taste check to make sure it is cooked through).
Pasta in the Microwave
Yes, pasta can be boiled in the microwave, and it only takes about 15 minutes.
For baked chicken, it is important to know that not all parts of the chicken cook the same. For simplicity, I bake chicken thighs at 375 degrees F for 30 minutes, and chicken breasts at 350 degrees F for 30 minutes. This way, they take the same amount of time, you only need to remember the temperature difference.
This college cookbook is just the tip of the iceberg. Looking for easy and delicious college recipes, there are no doubt unlimited possibilities all over the internet. A great resource to find easy recipes, especially for college students, is budgetbytes. They provide detailed, delicious recipes and the approximate cost of each one, to make it easy to keep cooking within the budget.
You don’t have to be skilled in the kitchen to make great meals. We’ve got easy recipes that yield great results. No kitchen? No problem—we have something for that too. `These college recipes are simple, delicious, and there’s something here for everyone.
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