7 simple dishes to master before starting university

We often associate students with takeaway pizzas, late-night kebabs and instant noodles – but, in reality, fast food can quickly wear thin.
7 simple dishes to master before starting university
Published on: 16 Oct 2023
Essential student recipes

By arming yourself with some basic cookery skills before you arrive, you can unlock a world of delicious possibilities for the months and year ahead (not to mention earning some valuable brownie points with your new flatmates!).

To give you a helping hand, we’ve put together our top seven essential student meals. The following meals are quick, cheap and easy to make – and include a selection of recipes from the likes of BBC Good Food, Jamie Oliver and more.


Pasta is definitely a student staple. And once you’ve mastered the difference between al dente and a disaster (i.e. overdone pasta), there’ll be nothing holding you back!

Here are some of our favourite pasta dishes – including mac ‘n’ cheese and the infamous pasta bake, which will have your meals covered for at least three days!


Quick, easy and extremely comforting, the toastie is another student favourite. AllRecipes.com has a brilliant list of the different flavours you can try – oh the possibilities!

Jacket potato

Another versatile dish is the jacket potato – from baked beans to chilli con carne (see #5), the list of potential toppings is endless! BBC Good Food has a fool-proof (we hope) way of making the ultimate jacket potato.


If you want to add a bit of spice when fending for yourself in the kitchen, try one of these simple curry recipes. These are also easy to pop in the freezer, making meal-prep a breeze!

Chilli con carne

This blog is all about brushing up on your staples, and many a student would argue that chilli is one such dish. We love this Easy Chilli Con Carne recipe from Student Eats, which takes just 20 minutes. And once you’ve built your confidence with a basic chilli dish, you can look to expand your repertoire to chilli quesadillas and full Tex-Mex meals!

Microwave mug cake

While this might not be an “essential” per se, if your baking skills leave a lot to be desired, give this deliciously simple pudding a try. It may not earn you a spot on the Great British Bake Off, but don't let that sink your soufflé – as your new flatmates will love you!

Stir fry

And last, but certainly not least, we have one of the most versatile meals on the list: the stir fry. Perfect for making use of your leftovers and easily adaptable for different tastes and diets – give one of these tasty recipes a try today!