College can be an incredible time in a young person’s life. It’s often the first time they’ve been on their own, free to make their own choices, to do whatever they want, whenever they want. It can be empowering to some and overwhelming to others, especially when it comes to figuring out what to eat and how to cook it. No matter how you (or your recent high school grad) are feeling about it, we’ve got inspiring recipes for you—everything from comfort food to staples, from breakfast to dinner. Check out our list of 38 college food recipes and get excited—you might just discover some favorites you’ll make over and over again.
Learning to juggle a whole new class and life schedule all on your own can be tough, so we’ve included some easy recipes here that make the most of simple ingredients and cooking methods, like our TikTok ramen (seriously, get on the everything bagel seasoning train), our black bean tostadas, our mug brownie, or our flatbread pizza. Other recipes, like our PB&J overnight oats or our egg muffins, take a bit of forethought, but once you’ve made them, you’ll be set for breakfasts all week long.
Speaking of being set for the whole week, it can be annoying to always have to spend mental energy on figuring out what to eat. That’s part of the plight of being an adult, so set yourself up for success by learning to meal prep. Set aside time for cooking a few times a week, and make recipes (or components of recipes) you can eat in the days to come. Check out our warm tahini ramen noodles, our sheet-pan chicken fajitas, our black bean and corn salad, our breakfast burritos (you can freeze them!), our chicken salad sandwich, or our sheet pan sausage & vegetables for ideas. Invest in some good reusable containers (or just use leftovers from takeout!), then fill them up. You’ll always have something tasty to grab, which is one less stressful thing off your plate.
Everyone in college gets homesick at one point or another, and we think the best way to combat it is to make comfort foods that remind you of home. We’ve included some of our favorites, like spaghetti & meatballs, meatloaf, mac & cheese, and grown-up spaghetti-Os, but ask your families for theirs before you head off to college, then make them whenever you could use a boost. These recipes often make a ton of food, so you can make some new friends by sharing them with dorm-mates who could use a bit of comfort too.
Want more easy recipe inspiration? Check out our best beginner friendly recipes for two (great for date night!), our top healthy lunches, and our favorite no-bake desserts.