By: Contributor On: January 6, 2010 In: Money, Student Life Comments: 6

When in school, students are always on the lookout for cheap and easy college meals.

Particularly when living in US dorms and away from your parents’ house, a cheap and delicious hot meal is hard to come by. Students need something that’s easy to prepare, inexpensive and quick.

Tired of take out? Hit the supermarket! You’ll save money with these cheap and easy college meals you can make in any kitchen or kitchenette:


1. Pancakes

Don’t feel like going to the grocery store to buy all the ingredients? Mixes make pancakes easy! Just add water and pour the mix into a frying pan for some quick (and delicious) pancakes! Another easy pancake recipe uses orange juice, milk and whole wheat flour. Take this easy college meal to the next level by adding blueberries (antioxidants!) or eggs on the side (pure protein).

2. Bagels

You can make the humble bagel into an easy college meal. For starters, if you buy them in a pack, bagels are inexpensive.
Grab some cream cheese (both savory and sweet), some fruits and vegetables, some juice, and you’re set with several easy college meal options!

3. Fruit and Oatmeal

Any kind of fruit works (bananas, strawberries, apples, etc.). Add fruit and a little milk, if you feel like it, to instant oatmeal or cooked rolled oats. This college meal is simple and filling! Use skim milk for a meal that is practically zero fat.


4. Mac & Cheese

Is your college meal plan running low? An easy college meal staple, macaroni and cheese is delicious, filling and simple to make!
Many brands offer classic favorites you can easily make in your dorm’s kitchen. Frozen options are also available if you have access to an oven or microwave. Chop up some vegetables – broccoli, tomatoes, peppers or carrots – to add a little variety.

5. Grilled Cheese & Tomato Soup

Getting homesick? There’s nothing like this standard easy college meal to make you feel at home. Heat some tomato soup, pan-fry some bread with your favorite cheese and you’ll be enjoying this meal within 20 minutes. Add a dash of milk to the soup for extra richness.

6. Quesadillas

Get some tortillas and shredded cheese from your nearest supermarket, and stick ’em in the microwave. In under two minutes, you’ve got a delicious easy college meal or snack that’s virtually mess-free.

7. Tostadas

Tostadas with refried beans and cheese are a great easy college meal and a protein boost to boot. Put them in the oven for 5 minutes at 350 degrees, and they should come out ready to eat! For toppings, try green onions, jalapeños, salsa, sour cream or guacamole.


8. Three-Ingredient Peanut Butter Cookie

Don’t believe it? Here’s how it’s done.

  • 1 cup peanut butter (chunky or creamy, your choice)
  • 1 cup granulated sugar (the white kind, like you put in coffee)
  • 1 egg, beaten


  • Mix ingredients together in bowl.
  • Put 1″-2″ chunks of batter onto greased/buttered cookie sheet. (Cookies will expand and melt a little bit while cooking.)
  • Cook at 375° until done to your preference.

9. Iced Graham Crackers

All you need is a box of graham crackers and some icing (easily homemade with butter and confectioner’s sugar). Split the graham crackers in half and spread the icing on them to make a sandwich. For best results, stick them in the freezer.
Apply a little creativity to a little budget and you can come up with plenty of ideas for easy college meals. Share your favorite easy college meal recipes in the comments below!

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11 years ago

One of my favorite meals to cook is rice w/tuna.
Basically just cook ya some rice up (I use whole grain uncle ben.
1/2 cup rice
1 cup water
Bring to boil then let simmer 11-12 minutes.
Bam, effin’ rice is done.
Now just mix in a Chicken of the Sea Tuna (I prefer albacore tuna) packet.
There ya go, its super easy to make and tastes like nom nom nom.

Bill Olsen
Bill Olsen
10 years ago

My dorm room didn’t allow cooking – I made grilled cheese on an iron. Came out great.

10 years ago

You could always try spicy beef ramen:
all you need is
beef ramen
red dried peppers (like the ones you get from the pizza man)
or hotsauce
Lunch meat or budding meat (Beef,chicken,ham)
or real meat like cut up steak meat
cook it all together!

9 years ago

Another good one is making ramen in a coffee pot
basically you just but two cups of water in the coffee pot with not coffee and just run it through to heat it up, then you pit the noodles water and powder in a bowl for about 3 minutes with a cover or lid (a binder works really well)

9 years ago

@Bill Olsen: lol! get that from Benny & Joon? XD
yeah, i made a quesadilla that way
and this is a pretty good article!

Stephenie Tycer
9 years ago

Does anyone know the website for the photos being taken there? The nice girl gave us a card but i seem to have thrown it away. If anyone could help that would be great.Thanks,