As a student, it can be tough to eat well when you’re living on a tight budget. But hey, that doesn’t mean you have to survive on a diet of beans on toast and pot noodles. With a bit of creativity and planning, you can rustle up some tasty and pretty nutritious meals that won’t hammer your bank balance. We’ve got you covered with some super easy and affordable student budget cooking recipes that are sure to satisfy your hunger and taste buds.
BBC Good Food is a student’s life saver when it comes to food ideas. Struggling to get inspired? Get over onto Instagram and TikTok to get in on the tastiest insta famous scran. Whether you’re a novice in the kitchen or a seasoned pro, these recipes are perfect for anyone who wants to save a bit of cash on their food shops while still enjoying delicious and healthy meals.
As a student, pasta will likely be one of your fav go to cheap uni meals. It’s quick, it’s easy and tastes so damn good! Rather than grab a pricey jar of ready made sauce, you should try making your own in bulk. This is way more cost effective, and you can freeze what’s left over.
Tomato pasta bakes are a super filling easy meal idea, you can serve with a side salad or even garlic bread. This BBC Good Food Recipe does include sausages, but for the vegetarians out there you can swap them out for quorn sausages, or any other alternative you fancy.
Hosting a dinner party? Not sure if ham sandwiches will impress your crowd? Chicken and bean enchiladas are what you need. They’re super healthy letting you box off four of your five a day. That’s the kinda flex we all need to share.
The great thing is about these guys, you can cook them up easily in under an hour. Perfect for the nights where you want a big meal but can’t be bothered to take forever prepping and cooking it.
Nothing beats pancakes for breakfast. Whether you’re hungover, or yknow, just not, pancakes make life better. Fact. They’re super quick and easy to whip up and will fill you up well for the day ahead.
You don’t have to top your pancakes with just blueberry and banana though, the world is your oyster, but this flavour is one of our favs. Swap in some strawberries, nutella, biscoff. Or give a savoury number a go with some melted cheese.
Tuna pasta bakes are another absolute banger of a budget friendly uni meal. We’re all about the convenience on this one. Whack everything together, all in one dish, and launch the thing in the oven for 15 mins. Okay, we might be simplifying things a bit, but honestly, it couldn’t be easier.
This recipe feeds six people, so if you’re just cooking for yourself, box it all up and freeze some for later.
As you can tell, we kind of have a thing for pasta. And for good reason! It’s a hunger fighting staple when you’re on a student budget. This recipe is a little lighter than some of the bakes, takes little time to prepare and it keeps you eating really healthy too!
Eat it hot, or cold, so it’s an easy choice for lunch or dinner. Want to make this veggie? Again replace the sausages with a quorn equivalent, or pop in a bit of mozzarella!
For those of you who simply don’t have time for absolutely any cooking whatsoever, listen up. All you gotta do is throw in a load of ingredients, wrap it up, and you’re on to a winner.
Ran out of something? No worries, throw something else in there, it’ll taste pretty hearty either way. A nice little choice to take with you for lunch when you’re on the go, so if you have a long day of lectures, you can definitely take this with you.
This epitomises the idea of an easy student meal. It’s super healthy, and importantly for us it’s super cheap to make too. Throw it all together, and treat yourself with a refreshing lil number.
Rather than buying a store bought pizza, why not try your own. Pitta bread pizzas make everything you throw on it, the most tasty. Have a look around for the Rainbow Pitta Pizza, with all the veg, and all the taste. Easy, fun, and pizza’s pizza, so we’re on board.
If you’re feeling the chill and need something to warm you life up, there’s no other place to look. All of the flavour, to keep the good vibes rolling throughout the winter months. This does serve around 8 people, so it’s a solid choice to batch cook in bulk and freeze some for later on.
The easy carbonara will literally take you 10 minutes to cook up a tasty one. It’s a classic, to be honest, with very little effort it’s a bit of a no brainer. Especially if you’re wanting something quick and easy. Only 4 ingredients needed, so realistically, why haven’t you made it yet?
In the mood for a sweet treat? These cookies will absolutely hit the spot. Especially if you don’t have all day to turn your kitchen into a part time Mary Berry bakery. You can get these guys done and dusted in 30 mins! Make a few extra though, because no doubt everyone will want some. Or that can be your excuse for when you work your way through half a kilo’s worth.
These are only a few ideas to get you started, but there are so many other recipes that you're likely to stumble across as you get more and more hangry. Need to
save money on your food shop, read these top tips
on how to get more for your money at the supermarket. If you’re looking for more advice and information on how to make the most of your time at University, check out our
Uni Life Advice Hub