Easy Recipes for College Students

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College life is busy! Finding time to cook is challenging, but it definitely has it’s rewards. These easy recipes for college students will keep hunger at bay in no time at all!

Two teenagers sitting on the back porch eating chicken sandwiches
Featured with this post
  1. Why College Recipes?
  2. A Taste of Home
  3. Easy College Meals
  4. Breakfast Recipes
  5. Lunch Recipes
  6. Dinner Recipes
  7. Easy Snacks and Treats
  8. High School Graduation Gifts

Whether you’re a parent trying to prepare a son or daughter to move away to college, or a college student trying to find things to eat besides a bowl of cold cereal and pizza, these recipes are here to help!

Why College Recipes?

I have a son heading to college in this fall and another son will follow in a couple of years. A few months ago I set a day each week aside to have them prepare dinner. Sunday was the easiest day for us to do this. Each week they choose a meal they like to eat, and then I teach them how to make the recipe. We have been compiling the recipes in binders for them to take to college. As their mother, it is nice to know I’m not just sending them off with a random cookbook to college or with the hope they will find something to cook on Pinterest. By the time I drop them off at school, they will know how to meal prep and cook all of the recipes in their custom-made cookbooks.

College Recipes in a three ring binder

Because it has been such a good experience for me to do this with my sons, I wanted to share the idea with those of you who are also sending kids to college. I have enjoyed this time with my sons in the kitchen. We talk, we laugh, we listen to music, and we eat. I’m sometimes surprised by their questions about how something is made, especially when I’ve probably made the recipe hundreds of times during the years they’ve been growing up.

A Taste of Home

It’s comforting for me to know they will be taking a little taste of home with them with these college recipes. I hope they will provide some sustenance for them during their college years, and remind them of the fun times we had making them at home. I know it will be a happy memory for me!

A recipe binder or book with homemade recipes is a thoughtful high school graduation gift for a family member or friend. See my recommendations at the end of this post.

Easy College Meals

It is healthier and less expensive to have things on hand to make at home than to buy fast food or order takeout. College cafeterias often provide healthy food choices, but they are also very expensive. College students with basic cooking skills can save time, have more energy, and save money.

The key is keeping it simple! These meals are simple with basic ingredients, and they don’t take much time to make. Many of these recipes are vegetarian, vegan, and gluten-free, or can be easily converted, for college students with special dietary needs.

Breakfast Recipes

Most college students will probably choose sleep over breakfast, but breakfast is essential to fuel the body and the brain for the day. It doesn’t have to be complicated. In less than a minute you can make a bowl of whole grain cereal with a handful of blueberries on top. If there’s a little more time, preparing one of this recipes will give a power start to the day.

Close up of scrambled eggs in a pan with a green spatula underneath ready to lift the eggs from the pan.
How To Make Scrambled Eggs
5 from 3 votes
Learn how to make creamy, flavorful scrambled eggs (the RIGHT way). Try this French-inspired method for perfect eggs every time!
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Two bowls of oatmeal on a striped tea towel.
Instant Pot Oatmeal – Two Ways!
5 from 4 votes
Instant Pot Oatmeal makes it easy to feed the whole family a nutritious breakfast. It is made with old fashioned oats, milk, and water, and only cooks for 3 minutes! 
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Make Ahead Breakfast Parfaits topped with strawberries in a clear plastic cup
Make Ahead Breakfast Parfaits
5 from 11 votes
Make Ahead Breakfast Parfaits are a quick, healthy breakfast for busy mornings. Yogurt, granola, and fruit will start your day off right. Just grab and go!
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Three Chia Seed Pudding cups with fruit and nut toppings
Chia Seed Pudding
5 from 3 votes
Chia Seed Pudding delivers a healthy dose of nutrition, including fiber, protein and omega 3 fatty acids. Great for breakfast or a snack at home or on the go!
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Egg muffins on a breakfast plate
Easy Breakfast Egg Muffins
5 from 7 votes
These Breakfast Egg Muffins are a healthy high-protein breakfast. They can easily be made ahead of time and re-heated later on those extra busy mornings!
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Three pieces of toast, one with mashed avocado, salt, and pepper, one with sliced avocado, feta, and honey, and one with mashed avocado, tomato, and a fried egg
Avocado Toast – 3 Ways!
5 from 10 votes
Avocado Toast is a delicious, high protein, healthy breakfast. It is a savory breakfast that will keep your energy up until lunch!
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Lunch Recipes

With a little creativity, lunch for a college student can be more than a bowl of ramen noodles. Adding some protein to lunch makes a big difference in avoiding the afternoon slump. Sandwiches and wraps are great for on the go. Make one up the night before and grab it on your way out the door.

Zesty Italian Lunch Wrap
Zesty Italian Wrap
5 from 6 votes
This Zesty Italian Wrap is loaded with ham, salami, and pepperoni. Perfect for packing in a lunch box for school, or in a cooler for picnics or camping.

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Peanut Butter Ramen (3 Ingredients – Ready in 5 minutes)
4.91 from 11 votes
You won't believe how easy it is to make this Peanut Butter Ramen. All you need is 3 simple ingredients and 5 minutes!
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Black bean soup on a table with avocados and a lime
Black Bean Soup
5 from 5 votes
Black Bean Soup is a creamy, hearty dish that can be dressed up a million different ways! So easy to make, it comes together in just minutes and always hits the spot.

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Chicken Salad Sandwiches on a plate
Chicken Salad Sandwiches
5 from 7 votes
Chicken Salad Sandwiches are my go-to for when I'm hosting a luncheon or shower. Tender chicken, grapes, nuts and a delicious sauce is a perfect combination. Delicious!

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Nuts About Berries Salad with dressing on the side.
Nuts About Berries Salad
5 from 8 votes
This Nuts About Berries Salad is colorful, flavorful, and refreshing in the spring and summer months when you can pick or purchase delicious, fresh berries.
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Two bowls of Velveeta macaroni and cheese
Velveeta Mac and Cheese
4.50 from 8 votes
This Velveeta Mac and Cheese tastes like the favorite blue boxed mac and cheese but better! But It's rich and creamy, and so delicious!
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Three chicken flautas on a plate with sour cream and salsa
Chicken Flautas
4.92 from 24 votes
These Chicken Flautas are filled with chicken, salsa, and cheese and baked in the oven until crispy. Your whole family will love this easy, delicious recipe. 
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2 Ham Pineapple Wraps stacked on top of each other with a side of pineapple on a yellow plate.
Ham and Pineapple Wraps
5 from 5 votes
Ham and Pineapple Wraps are so easy to make. You will love the sweet and savory combo! They are great for lunch, picnics, or as an appetizer.
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Four hot dogs in buns on a plate topped with onions and banana peppers
BBQ Hot Dogs
5 from 4 votes
These BBQ Hot Dogs are simmered in BBQ sauce before they are grilled. It gives the hot dogs an incredible sweet and savory flavor.
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Dinner Recipes

Usually the evenings are a little easier for college students to take the time to cook. When you consider travel time or delivery time, cooking at home is faster and of course, healthier. A simple dinner of pasta with frozen meatballs or a prepackaged stir fry takes just a few minutes to throw together. All of the recipes below take under 30 minutes to make and have very few ingredients. What’s even better? There will be leftovers for lunch on another day!

Three chicken tacos on a plate with sliced tomatoes and a lime on the side
Easy Chicken Tacos
5 from 7 votes
Easy Chicken Tacos are a simple and flavorful way to get dinner on the table quickly! Tender chicken, taco spices and topped with garden fresh ingredients, this is the perfect summertime supper!
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Fork pulling a cheesy bite of Creamy Ground Beef and Noodles Skillet.
Creamy Ground Beef and Noodles Skillet (15 minute recipe)
4.96 from 50 votes
This 15 Minute Beef and Noodles Skillet recipe is perfect for those busy nights when you need dinner quickly. Ground beef and noodles with a creamy, cheesy sauce.
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Fresh and Easy Lemon Spaghetti in a bowl with a fork in focus with noodles swirled around it.
Lemon Spaghetti
5 from 10 votes
This fresh Lemon Spaghetti is full of tangy, lemony flavor and is SO easy to make!  It's flavorfully sprinkled with sliced fresh basil and parmesan cheese.
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Creamy Cheesesteak Crescent rolls on a plate with one cut in half
Cheesesteak Crescent Rolls
5 from 23 votes
Cheesesteak Crescent Rolls always disappear fast! Flaky crescent rolls stuffed with sliced beef, sauteed onions and peppers, lots of gooey cheese make these the perfect appetizer or dinner.
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A healthy 350 calorie pizza with mushrooms, zucchini, and tomatoes
Healthy Pizza
5 from 4 votes
Healthy Pizza does exist! Load this pizza with as many delicious veggies as you wish. Pizza night never looked so good!

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Top view of Crescent Chicken Roll Ups.
Chicken Roll Ups
4.72 from 7 votes
This is an easy family recipe made with ingredients you probably already have in your fridge and pantry. Even the pickiest of eaters will love this comfort food!
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Big Kahuna Chicken Teriyaki Sandwich on a plate with a side of green grapes.
Big Kahuna Teriyaki Chicken Sandwiches
5 from 10 votes
These Big Kahuna Teriyaki Chicken Sandwiches are better than most because they are loaded with sliced ham, grilled pineapple, and Pepper Jack cheese.
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Sheet Pan Chicken Sausage Bake
Sheet Pan Chicken Sausage Bake
No ratings yet
This sheet pan chicken sausage bake is an easy, one-pan weeknight dinner recipe the whole family loves. Its a delicious and healthy meal.
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Three baked potatoes with butter and herbs and a bowl of herbs
The Perfect Baked Potato
5 from 12 votes
The perfect baked potato is just a few simple steps away. Follow this easy method for how to bake a potato and get fluffy, flavorful baked potatoes every time!
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Cooked chicken in an Instant Pot
Instant Pot Chicken Breasts
5 from 7 votes
Easy Instant Pot Chicken Breasts are tender, juicy and perfectly seasoned. A simple, tasty protein that makes lunch and dinnertime a breeze!
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A taco salad made with ground beef, avocado, cheese, tomatoes, chips, salsa, and sour cream. The bowl is next to a halved avocado, cherry tomatoes, and a bowl of salsa.
Easy Taco Salad
5 from 8 votes
This super taco salad is made with seasoned ground beef, crisp romaine lettuce, and flavorful toppings. An easy, healthy weeknight dinner!
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Easy Snacks and Treats

Trust me, the best roommates are roommates that can cook! Sharing a homemade snack or chocolate treat is the fastest and easiest way to make friends in college. Whip up some of these recipes for a weekend movie night or study session and you will be the most popular person in the dorm rooms or in your apartment.

Ham roll ups with toothpick
Ham Roll Ups with Pickle
4.90 from 19 votes
It takes less than 5 minutes to make these yummy Ham Roll Ups with Pickle. They make a great after school snack or anytime snack!
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Chili Cheese Dip in a bowl with a sprig of cilantro surrounded by tortilla chips
Chili Cheese Dip
4.89 from 9 votes
This Chili Cheese Dip is one of the easiest dips to make. It takes 5 minutes to prepare. Two words to describe this dish: easy and addicting.
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Game Night Chex Mix in a Bowl
Best Chex Mix Recipe
5 from 6 votes
This Best Chex Mix is the perfect snack for family get togethers. It is toasty and savory and addicting! So much better than store bought! 
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PB & J Energy Bites in a glass square bowl on a checkered table cloth.
Peanut Butter Energy Balls
5 from 5 votes
Peanut Butter Energy Balls are full of protein, naturally sweetened and take less than 15 minutes to make! A terrifically tasty and healthy snack.
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Plate of Easy No Bake Cookies next to a glass of milk and cookies on the table.
No Bake Cookies
4.97 from 129 votes
Easy No Bake Cookies are melt-in-your-mouth delicious! Be sure to follow the recipe exactly to get the best result.
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Peanut Butter Popcorn in a bowl surrounded by a blue gingham napkin
Peanut Butter Popcorn
4.80 from 5 votes
Peanut Butter Popcorn is a quick and easy favorite treat at our house! Perfect for family movie nights or a yummy treat to take to a friend or neighbor.
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Chocolate Pudding Cake
4.79 from 32 votes
This Chocolate Pudding Cake is probably the easiest chocolate cake recipe out there. There are only 4 ingredients! One of the best tasting chocolate cakes I have ever had.
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Rice Krispie Treats {5-Minute Microwave Recipe}
4.96 from 24 votes
This Rice Krispie Treat recipe is foolproof! They never come out hard or dry, and it is less mess than making them over the stove!
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High School Graduation Gifts

Give a creative and personal gift to a high school graduate! A compilation of your favorite family recipes that they can take to college and beyond will be a priceless gift. Even better, make a memory! Invite a high school graduate over and teach them how you make some of your favorite recipes.

I recommend a three-ring binder with plastic sheet protectors for recipes for college students (as pictured above). Print your recipes and put them in the sheet protectors. All of our recipes are printable, as are most recipes found on cooking websites and Pinterest. It will be a gift that will keep on giving throughout their life!

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About the author

Echo Blickenstaff

Echo lives in Pleasant Grove, Utah with her husband, Todd, who works in advertising, and her four kids: two girls and two boys. She deploys her accounting degree as the blog’s resident problem solver. In her time outside the kitchen, Echo loves to get away from the phones and busy schedules and spend quality time with the family. Anywhere’s great – but getting out into nature in the mountains or on the beach – is the best kind of getaway.

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