Cooking for Dummies: 6 Easy Student Recipes, Better Than Pot Noodles

The new uni year is coming round quicker than ever and we wanted to prepare you well for what’s to come. 

If it’s your first time moving away from home, then we’ll hazard a quick guess that you’re not quite an expert in the kitchen…right?

You’re probably too obsessed with your parents cooking to even bother trying to fend for yourself – we don’t blame you!

However, this does mean that when you step foot into your student accommodation, you might find the kitchen a very foreign concept. 

Most students do and there’s nothing to be embarrassed about!

To save you time and stress about what to cook, we’re here to help you out. We’ve compiled a list of 6 easy student recipes which are SO much better than pot noodles (we promise!)

Keep reading to find out more…

1. Spaghetti Bolognese (Serves 4)

spag bol for students

@thecolourfulfoodie_sarah – Instagram

A firm favourite among most uni students is the classic Spag Bol. 

It’s the perfect treat for all those who want to enjoy a delicious meal. It can literally be cooked up within about 30 minutes…what a dream.

For all the veggies, swap out the mince for Quorn and make sure the stock is veggie-friendly, and you’re good to go!


  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 400g beef mince
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 2 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 2 x 400g tin chopped tomatoes
  • 400ml stock (made from a stock cube. Ideally beef, but any will do)
  • 400g dried spaghetti


  1. Heat your saucepan over medium heat and add a tablespoon of olive oil. Add the mince and cook until well browned. Be careful not to burn the mince!
  2. Set aside the mince once cooked and add the other tablespoon of oil. Add the diced onions and fry for 5-6 minutes. 
  3. Add the garlic and cook for another 2 minutes.
  4. Get your chopped tomatoes and pour them into the pan, stirring well to mix everything together.
  5. Pour in the stock, bring your pan to simmer and then reduce the temperature for 45 mins. 
  6. Cook your spaghetti (according to the packet) and once it’s all cooked through, drain and add to the pan. Mix it all together and serve up!

2. Fajitas (Serves 4)

easy student recipes you need to try

@lisa991_slimmingworld – Instagram

Who doesn’t love Mexican cuisine? Especially Fajitas…the exquisite flavours and colourful ingredients make this one of the best student recipes about.

What makes it EVEN better is that it’s so simple and if you just buy the pre-prepared boxes, you won’t have to do much prep at all.

Obvs you can get your supermarket’s own brands to fit in with your student budget, but Old El Paso is also perfect and can be cooked up in 15 mins!

Check out the recipe below!


  • 1x Old El Paso Fajita Kit
  • 500g chicken (swap out for Quorn pieces if Veggie)
  • 1 white or red onion
  • 2x peppers 
  • 1 tbsp olive oil


  1. Dice your chicken, onion and peppers to your preferred style and length.
  2. Pan-fry the chicken in the olive oil on medium-high heat until the chicken is fully cooked.
  3. Throw in the onions and peppers and sprinkle over the seasoning (found in the Old El Paso kit) and stir for 5 minutes.
  4. Tortillas come in the kit, so serve them warm (from the microwave) or cold.
  5. Pour salsa into a small bowl and plate on the table to serve.

3. Homemade Pizza (8 slices)

pizza with sweetcorn and cheese

@lilybubbletea – Instagram

Who needs frozen pizza when you can literally make this delicious meal, all with just a few ingredients you’re bound to have stocked up on?

It’s low calorie and can be made for either a healthy lunch or a succulent dinner. 

Don’t knock it ‘till you try it, it’s such an easy recipe and will beat a meal out any day of the week!


  • 220g self-raising flour
  • 245g Greek yoghurt
  • 130g pizza sauce
  • 100g shredded mozzarella cheese
  • Any toppings you like!


  1. Preheat the oven to 200°C
  2. Mix the self-rising flour and Greek yoghurt until it comes together to form a ball.
  3. Transfer the dough to a lightly floured surface and use your hands to begin flattening and shaping the dough into a round, pizza base.
  4. Carefully transfer the dough to a lightly floured baking sheet.
  5. Spread the sauce evenly across the dough, sprinkle on the cheese, and top with your fave toppings such as onions, tomatoes and pepperoni.
  6. Bake for 20 minutes, until the cheese, has melted and the crust has turned golden brown.

4. Chicken Tikka Masala (Serves 4)

chicken tikka masala dish for students to cook

@savorytales – Instagram

If you’re looking for easy student recipes with delicious flavour, then the Chicken Tikka Masala is the one for you. 

Forget feeling like you have to cook boring dishes ‘cos you don’t know your way around the kitchen, this meal is so simple and packed full of goodness!

If you’re ever having your uni friends over then we suggest you cook this bad boy. It won’t take you long and it’s a great option for all taste buds.


  • 1 cup basmati rice
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons oil
  • 1 1/2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken thighs, cut into 1-inch chunks (or Quorn pieces)
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • 1/2 medium sweet onion, diced
  • 3 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tablespoon freshly grated ginger
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons garam masala
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons chilli powder
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons ground turmeric
  • 1 (15-ounce) can of tomato sauce
  • 1 cup chicken stock (or veg)
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro leaves


  1. Cook rice according to package instructions and set aside when finished.
  2. Heat oil in a large stockpot over medium heat. Season chicken with salt and pepper, to taste. Add chicken and onion to the stockpot and cook until golden, about 4-5 minutes.
  3. Stir in tomato paste, garlic, ginger, garam masala, chilli powder and turmeric until fragrant, about 1 minute.
  4. Stir in tomato sauce and chicken stock; season with salt and pepper, to taste. Bring to a boil; reduce heat and simmer, stirring occasionally, until reduced and slightly thickened, about 10 minutes.
  5. Stir in heavy cream until heated through, this will take about 1 minute.
  6. Serve immediately with rice, garnished with cilantro, if desired.

5. Tuna Pasta Bake (Serves 6)

easy student recipes to try

@sarah_cc_recipes – Instagram

Are you looking for an extra scrumptious tuna cheesy pasta bake? ‘Cos this recipe will blow your socks off!

This is a super simple, easy meal that you can whip up after a hard day of uni, and it’s bound to make you feel all warm and fuzzy inside. 

Keep on reading if you want to begin cooking your first ever tuna pasta bake!


  • 600g pasta of your choice
  • 50g butter
  • 50g plain flour
  • 600ml milk
  • 250g strong cheddar, grated
  • 2 x 160g cans tuna steak in spring water (drained)
  • 330g can sweetcorn, drained


  1. Heat oven to 180C/fan 160C/gas 4.
  2. Boil your pasta for 2 mins, a little less time than stated on the packet.
  3. To make the sauce, melt 50g butter in a saucepan and stir in 50g plain flour.
  4. Cook for 1 minute, then stir in 600ml milk gradually to make a thick white sauce.
  5. Remove from the heat and stir in all but a handful of the 250g grated cheddar.
  6. Drain the pasta, mix with the white sauce, cans of tuna, and one drained can of sweetcorn.
  7. Transfer to a baking dish and top with the rest of the grated cheddar.
  8. Bake for 15-20 mins until the cheese on top is golden and starting to brown.

6. Chilli Con Carne (Serves 4)

chilli con carne

@ellierosekitchen – Instagram

Last, but certainly not least, one of our fave easy student recipes has to be Chilli Con Carne.

Full of flavour and tasty ingredients, you’re guaranteed to feel like a top chef when prepping this delicacy. 


  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 2 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 250g/9oz beef mince
  • ½ -1 tsp chilli flakes, to taste
  • 400g tin chopped tomatoes
  • 500ml/18fl oz stock, made from a stock cube (ideally beef, but chicken is fine)
  • ½ tsp dried mixed herbs
  • 2 x 400g tins of red kidney beans, drained and rinsed
  • 200g/7oz long grain rice
  • 200g/7oz natural yoghurt
  • salt and pepper


  1. Heat a large saucepan over medium heat. Add the olive oil and, once hot, fry the onion with a pinch of salt for 5 minutes, or until soft and translucent. Once soft, add the garlic and cook for 2 minutes.
  2. Add the mince, along with a good pinch of salt and pepper. Mix well and cook for 5-6 minutes, or until there are no raw bits of meat. Add the chilli flakes, tomatoes, stock and dried mixed herbs. Stir to mix well and bring to a simmer.
  3. Pour in the drained kidney beans and simmer gently for 30 minutes, or until the chilli con Carne is thickened and rich. Taste and adjust the seasoning as necessary.
  4. Meanwhile, cook the rice according to the packet instructions.
  5. Serve the chilli con Carne on top of the rice with a spoonful or two of yoghurt on top of each portion.

Is your mouth watering after reading all of these tasty easy student recipes? ‘Cos we can relate. If you’re on a cheap budget and fancy a fakeaway instead of a takeaway, we have a blog which goes through the top 6 easy student recipes you need to try!