Eating solo? Try these super easy student meals for one.
Why is it that no one ever teaches us how to cook easy student meals for one? It’s either cooking enough pasta to feed a village, or not enough to sustain you for longer than 30 mins.
Student meals for one can seem a little daunting if you’re not entirely sure how to cook or find going through the effort when you’re alone a bit tedious. We’re here to show you that you can cook up a cheap and easy meal without expending too much time is totally worth it.
Plus, if you’re really stuck on how to measure staple ingredients like pasta and rice for one person, we’ve got all the details you need to do that too! This will make those quick meals for one that much easier to prepare on the fly or in advance for those busy exam weeks. We know the struggle as a student, so we’ve got your back when it comes to student meals for one, and we hope these provide tons of inspiration for you to pick, swap and change as you see fit.
Simple student recipes can really be that — simple. So whether it’s student dinner ideas, vegetarian meals for one and everything in between, read on to try out our top 29 quick student meals for one when you’re dining solo.
- The best quick student meals for one
- Easy vegetarian meals for one
- Average serving sizes for one person
The best easy student meals for one
The best quick student meals for one are super easy to prepare, some of which can be done in less than 5-10 minutes! From breakfast to dinner, here are a ton of student meals for one to choose from.
Need easy student meals for one? The tuna sandwich is a classic student staple that involves whipping up a can of tuna with some mayo. You can leave this alone as is and slather it between two slices of bread, or jazz it up a bit with some red onion and/or tinned sweetcorn for a bit of a crunch. It’s the ultimate easy sandwich for our quick student meals list!
- Two slices of bread
- Tin of tuna
- Black pepper (to taste)
- Red onion (optional)
- Sweetcorn (optional)
Another simple dish when it comes to easy student meals for one. The BLT wrap involves combining three main ingredients — bacon, lettuce and tomato. If you have the time, we highly recommend cooking off bacon at home, rather than buying some premade ones. It’s cheaper that way, and yummier too! Buy iceberg lettuce instead of bagged and pre-chopped lettuce too. Saving the extra pennies will add up in the long run.
Then you can pop it all in a wrap with some extra ingredients like mayonnaise for a bit of flavour and moisture. A BLT wrap is really that easy to prep!
- One wrap
- 2-3 slices of bacon
- Sliced tomatoes
- Sliced lettuce.
Chicken and avocado wrap
A chicken and avocado wrap is another one of our quick student meals, as it’s so easy to pop together, just like the BLT wrap. All you do is slice up some cooked chicken along with some smashed or sliced avocado, roll up the wrap and enjoy. You can add extras like lettuce, tomatoes, cucumber or any leftover salad you have.
If you do prefer your avocado smashed, pop a little lemon juice and chopped red onion in there for extra flavour and crunch. It goes without saying too, that buying raw chicken and cooking it yourself will save the extra pennies. Simply fry them on a hob or bake them in the oven with any herbs and spices you have (or stick to plain ol’ salt and pepper).
- One wrap
- Chicken (sliced or pulled)
- Avocado (sliced or smashed)
- Red onion (optional)
- Lemon juice (optional).
Got some leftover bolognese, realised you ran out of pasta, or fancy a bolognese in general? A bolognese sandwich can be one of your quick student meals to go to as well. Simply cook up a bolognese as normal, add sandwich the mix and voila! You can jazz it up a bit by grating a little cheese for added flavour too.
If you have a toastie maker, you’ll really elevate this recipe. Otherwise, two slices of un-toasted bread is totally fine too, particularly if you prefer a softer texture.
- Bolognese (leftovers or from scratch)
- Minced meat (or vegetarian/vegan alternative)
- Tinned chopped tomatoes
- Veggies of choice (mushrooms, carrots, extra tomatoes)
- Two slices of bread
- Cheese (optional).
In a real hurry and don’t have many ingredients left for simple student recipes? Eggy noodles are where they’re at. Plus, when it comes to easy student meals for one, this is by far the easiest, that even the least talented cook could make.
To make one of these quick meals for one, simply boil off your favourite noodles (we know you have them…every student does) and leave the tiniest bit of the noodle water in the pan (you can keep the rest in the bowl for added moisture). Then, crack an egg into the bowl and mix together until the egg is fully cooked and serve. Easy, right? It’s also a great way to add some extra protein to your diet too. Season with black pepper for additional flavour too.
- Pack of noodles (e.g. Super Noodles) in any flavour
- 1 egg
- Black pepper (to taste).
A jacket potato is a staple in many households, particularly among students too. It’s an incredibly versatile dish, as you can top it with anything you possibly want. That includes basics like baked beans, all the way to the bolognese you might have cooked earlier from our list!
To prep the easiest quick meals for one, bake a potato by rubbing it with some cooking oil, piercing it with a fork a few times, and popping it on the top shelf of the oven on a baking tray at around 220C for 20 mins. Then, turn down the oven to 190C and bake for 45 mins to an hour until the skin is crisp and the inside is soft. Make a cross in the centre of the potato, then dollop your topping of choice.
- Oil (to rub potato)
- 1 large potato
- Toppings of choice:
- Baked beans
- Cottage cheese
- Tuna mayo
- …Or anything else you have!
One-pan tuna pasta
Tuna pasta is another one of those student meals for one you can’t miss off your roster when you’re on your lonesome. A portion of one-pan tuna pasta is minimal fuss, and tastes amazing too! You can jazz it up by adding various ingredients such as red onion and sweetcorn for crunch, or even some cheese for added flavour and gooeyness.
Boil your pasta until cooked and mix all of the ingredients into the pan once you’ve drained out the pasta water. Mix it all together and you’ll have some tasty one-pot tuna pasta to serve.
- Tin of tuna
- Tin of sweetcorn
- Red onion
- Soft cheese (to mix)
- Salt and pepper (to taste)
Easy pizza on toast
Easy student meals for one can be fun too, just like this pizza on toast recipe! We mention pizza on toast in our post on easy lunch ideas for students, especially if you have a toastie maker. But if you don’t, then a toaster and an oven are all you need to make this easy pizza on toast. Taking just about 5-10 minutes (depending on how good your oven is), it’s one of those quick student meals that’ll quickly become a comfort during busy exam periods too, without the hefty price tag of a takeaway!
- 1-2 slices of bread
- Cheese (optional)
- Passata (or marinara)
- Toppings of choice:
- …Any other pizza toppings you love!
Taking just 10-15 minutes to make, a leftover quesadilla is a fantastic way to use up leftover food in an exciting way and can be a go-to for your quick meals for one. Using wraps, and a combo of cheese and leftovers, you simply fry one side until crispy and flip it over and repeat on the other side. It’s preferable to have two tortilla wraps to sandwich your filling, but folding one wrap in half will do if that’s all you’ve got in.
- 1-2 wraps
- Tuna pasta mix
- You get the idea!
- Oil (for the pan).
One-pan breakfast fry-up
This is exactly what it sounds like. A fry-up is full of protein and is super easy to make. This is especially good if you have quite a large frying pan too. Pop all of your ingredients in turn into the pan and fry them all off until they’re cooked through. That’s really all there is to it! Just be sure to move ingredients around regularly if part of your pan is heating up more than the rest (we know how hobs are in student halls).
- Black pudding
Swap the above out for vegan alternatives. Use our vegan fry-up recipe detailed in our 26 Quick & Easy Vegetarian & Vegan Student Meals guide!
Just like our pizza toast, pizza chips are super tasty and incredibly easy to make. Instead of bread though, you’ll be using chips as a base — and it’s especially tasty if you have curly fries.
Simply preheat your oven to the chips packet instructions and pop your desired amount onto a baking tray. Then, cover it with your toppings and cheese and bake until the chips are cooked. Be sure to keep checking in though, to make sure your ingredients don’t burn. If you want to be extra careful, add the toppings and cheese part way through baking the chips.
- Oven chips
- Pizza sauce (or pasta sauce)
- Pizza toppings of choice.
Student dinner ideas don’t get better than this. While microwave fajitas may sound like a group recipe, we believe it can also be one of the most perfect dinner ideas for one too. Plus, this recipe requires minimal clean-up time!
Simply slice up the veg and pop them into a microwaveable bowl, then slice your protein of choice and pop them in the bowl too. Add your fajita seasoning mix and microwave everything until it’s fully cooked through (around 10 minutes). Be sure to regularly check on it and stir the mix each time to ensure it’s all cooking as evenly as possible. To be extra sure, there should be no pink juices if cooking with meat (juices should run clear) — you can even cut the meat in two to inspect the middle. Finally, serve it up in a wrap with sauces of choice such as sour cream, avocado, salsa mix and some cheese.
You can even eat the mixture alone without wraps for a low-carb alternative.
- Meat of choice (chicken, beef strips etc), or meat-free alternative
- Fajita seasoning
- Sour cream (optional)
- Salsa (optional)
- Avocado (optional)
- Cheese (optional).
BBQ chicken salad
If you love BBQ flavours but want to incorporate something a little more health into your diet, then what way than a salad full of flavour? While we detail using chicken here, you can use a meat-free alternative such as Quorn chicken pieces as a substitute. It’s one of those quick meals for one that’s super easy to pop together in a flash but is bursting with flavour and healthy ingredients too.
If you’re using chicken, marinade it with BBQ sauce and be sure to cook it thoroughly in a frying pan or bake in the oven until the middle is cooked through. If you’re using something like chicken breast, then ensure it’s evenly cooked — a quick tip is to beat it down flat with a rolling pin. While that’s cooking off, chop up the rest of your salad ingredients ready to the side for the chicken to top it off later.
- BBQ sauce
- Chicken (or meat-free alternative)
- Salad ingredients of choice
Bangers and mash
Do you miss homemade bangers and mash and want to make a simple student recipes version? Being a student means it’s a little tougher on time (and the bank balance) to go about making that special homemade gravy. However, that doesn’t mean you can’t still enjoy a cheaper alternative with excellent flavour!
Using meat-based or meat-free sausages, cook them off in the oven or frying pan, meanwhile boiling potatoes. Once the potatoes are super soft, drain the water and add butter (or a vegan-based spread) with some milk and mash together. Before serving, use gravy granules (we highly recommend an onion-based gravy) and turn them into a gravy mix as per the packet instructions and then pour the mix all over your sausages and mashed potatoes.
- Gravy granules
- Salt and pepper (to taste)
Slow cooker chicken
simple student recipes can be simplified even further with a slow cooker. They’re super useful, as you can toss your ingredients into it, get on with your day, and come home to a fully-cooked meal that’s ready to serve.
We love a slow cooked chicken. It’s easy to eat alone or with some boiled veg, rice, potatoes or other sides you might have lying around. Simply cover the chicken in a marinade or rub of your choice, place the chicken into the slow cooker pot and fill it with a thin layer of stock. Then, cook this off for around 4-6 hours for a juicy, tender chicken meal.
- Chicken (breast, thighs or legs)
- Chicken broth (mixed as per packet instructions)
- Marinate or rub of choice:
- Garlic and herb
- Fajita mix
- Any other herbs and spices you have lying around.
Easy vegetarian student meals for one
Vegetarian student meals for one are easier to make than you think. You don’t necessarily need to go out and buy the most expensive or obscure veggies either. You probably already have most of these ingredients at home too! Here are some easy vegetarian meals for one to make, plus ideas for healthy meals for one, and slow cookers for one person recipes too.
To kick off our easy vegetarian meals for one is a vegetarian omelette. A veggie omelette is one of those perfect quick meals for one and is great for using up leftover ingredients that need cooking before going off (we’ve all been there, particularly with vegetables).
To create easy student meals for one like this one, get a pan and heat up a little oil in it, add the veggies you need frying off then top with some beaten eggs. You can add milk and a little grated cheese to the beaten eggs mixture if you’d like. Before adding the eggs, turn the heat down a little so that the omelette can fully cook through.
If you have one, pop a grill on to cook the top side of the omelette, but if not, fold it in half and cook both sides of the folded omelette until you see it’s cooked through.
- 2 eggs
- Vegetables of your choice:
- Milk (optional)
- Cheese (optional)
Much like our leftover quesadilla from before, you can use this recipe to cook a vegetarian version. Either use your veggie-based leftover meals such as curries or bolognese or fry up some chopped vegetables you have lying around to fry off in a pan. Pop it to one side and place a wrap in the pan. Then, cover the wrap with your filling and cheese, and place another wrap on top (though you can just fold the wrap if you’re running low). Fry one side until crispy and flip it over and repeat on the other side.
- 1-2 wraps
- Leftover veggie meal mixture OR
- Leftover veggies, chopped up and fried off
Vegan scrambled “eggs”
AKA a tofu scramble, it really is one of those simple student recipes that may not appear so at first glance. It might sound intimidating to cook, but it’s actually super easy and possibly even quicker to cook than conventional scrambled eggs! It’s the perfect alternative if you’re trying something new, or transitioning to a vegan-based diet.
To make one of the easiest student meals for one, simply add your cooking oil of choice and get it to medium heat. Crumble your tofu with your hands or a potato masher and add it to the pan along with a dash of the other ingredients. Cook for about 5 minutes and you’re done. It really is one of those quick veggie meals you won’t want to miss out on!
- Block of firm tofu, crumbled to pieces
- Nutritional yeast
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Garlic powder
- Plant-based milk.
One-pan veggie fry-up
easy vegetarian meals for one don’t necessarily need tons of cooking utensils. This one-pan fry-up for veggies just proves it!
Using the very same method as our one-pan fry-up from above, this veggie fry-up is the perfect treat and pick-me-up for any time of day. It’s one of the easiest vegetarian meals for one to cook as a student too. Get all of your ingredients together in one pan and fry them off, being sure to cook everything evenly.
- Eggs (or tofu for a tofu scramble)
- Veggie sausages
- Baked beans
- Veggie bacon.
A stir fry is one of those classic student meals for one that’s mega easy to prepare. It’s pretty much in all the student dinner ideas out there that you Google, too! All you really need is a mixture of vegetables and some noodles or rice as a base. If you have neither of those, you could also use spaghetti too (they’re basically the same as noodles).
Fry off all of your veggies in a pan and add soy sauce or stir-fry sauce like sweet chilli or black bean. Serve on a plate with your rice or noodles and enjoy. It really is one of the easiest vegetarian meals for one!
- Noodles or rice
- Veggies of choice:
- Bean sprouts
- Baby sweetcorn
- Stir fry sauce:
- Sweet chilli
- Soy sauce
- Black bean sauce
Hummus and veggie wrap
Easy student meals for one also apply to veggie-based wraps and sandwiches too. If you need a quick meal on the go, then a hummus and veggie wrap is the way to go. Simply spread some hummus all over the wrap and top it with the veggies of your choice. You could use a leftover veggie meal like curry, salad, or pop smashed falafel on there for an extra protein hit. It’s a super flexible and easy way to use up leftover veggies too. Roll up the wrap and there you have your hummus and veggie wrap meal for one!
- Vegetables of choice:
- Leftover veggie meal
- Salad ingredients (lettuce, cucumber, tomatoes, onions)
Eggs and soldiers
If the thought of making a soft-boiled egg with a runny centre sounds tough, then fear not. We’ll tell you exactly how to make this childhood classic, so you can enjoy it in your student dorm.
Pop some water into a saucepan and bring it to a boil. Get some room-temperature eggs (leave them out for a while before boiling your water!) and slowly lower each egg into the boiling water. Then, set a timer for 5 minutes for dippy eggs, or leave to cook for a little while longer if you plan on using soft-boiled eggs for a salad or other kind of dish. For dippy eggs that are done, pop them in an egg holder and crack the top off to enjoy with some sliced buttered “soldiers”.
- Toast, sliced into strips or “soldiers”
- Butter for toast (optional).
Halloumi is a staple of many vegetarian recipes. It works with pretty much any dish, especially salads. They’re super easy to make and will save you time throughout the day too.
Simply fry off your halloumi in a pan until brown and crispy, and while doing so, chop up your desired salad ingredients and pop them into the bowl. Once the halloumi is done, pop them in your bowl of salad, add any dressing you’d like and mix together for a tasty meal. It’s perfect for a quick student lunch or dinner recipe!
- Salad ingredients:
- Cous Cous
- Halloumi, sliced or cubed
- Dressing of choice (optional).
Chilli con Carne in a mug
The most hearty of student meals for one, chilli is one of the nicest treats you can make. It’s easy, too!
If you don’t want to cook a batch of chilli, but you’re craving a small portion, then chilli con Carne in a mug is the perfect dish for you. It’s much easier to make in a mug than it sounds and still retains all the scrumptious flavour too.
Pop your onion, garlic, butter and chilli con Carne spices into a microwaveable container and stir it, before popping the microwave on high for about 30 seconds. Let it stand for a minute or two, then add the tinned chopped tomatoes, beans, a stock cube and a little chocolate (you can skip the latter if you have none).
Then, cover the whole thing tightly with cling film and pierce the top a couple of times for airflow. Place the container in the microwave and stir on high for around 2 minutes, leaving it to stand for 1 minute when it’s done.
If it’s looking a little dry add some more tinned tomatoes, but just keep in mind it won’t reduce in the same way it would cook it on a hob.
Finally, cover again and cook on medium for a further two minutes, stir and leave to stand before plating up. Add some sour cream to mellow it out and add some thickness and you’re good to eat up!
- Small onion chopped finely
- Crushed garlic clove
- Small knob of butter
- Chilli spice mix
- Tinned chopped tomatoes, drained with juices reserved
- Tin of kidney beans, drained and rinsed
- Half of a veggie stock cube or jelly
- 2 cubes of chocolate (optional)
- Sour cream (optional)
- Rice (optional)
Garlic butter gnocchi with greens
Student dinner ideas can look boujee, but in reality, take minutes to make. This is exactly what this garlic butter gnocchi with greens recipe is!
Fry off some broccoli in a pan until it starts to crisp. While it’s frying off, prep the sauce by frying off the onions until they’re almost seethrough, then add your garlic, butter, lemon juice, and parmesan (or vegan alternative) and stir until it’s all combined together.
Then, boil the gnocchi as per the packet instructions, then drain it (being sure to save a little bit of the water for the garlic butter sauce). Mix in the remaining gnocchi water with the sauce, and plate everything up together. You can top it with extra parmesan too for that extra kick of flavour. If you’re pretty strict on parmesan use (due to it not being vegetarian), you can substitute it with nutritional yeast instead. It’s a fantastic alternative to cheese and provides a slightly nutty flavour too.
- Pack of uncooked gnocchi
- Lemon juice
- Parmesan (or nutritional yeast).
Easy Buddha bowl
Buddha bowls are super healthy and satisfying salads that contain a variety of ingredients of your choice. It’s a vegetarian/vegan meal, all served in one bowl, consisting of small portions of several ingredients cold. They’re well-rounded in grains, proteins, vegetables and carbs — so you can customize them to your taste. Don’t let the name make you think it’s complicated to put together, it’s anything but!
Below is a sample recipe for inspiration, but by simply Googling images of Buddha bowls, you can really customise them to your heart’s content.
- Carrots — peeled and shredded or chopped
- Cous Cous
- Chickpeas — drained and rinsed
- Beetroot — chopped
- Red peppers — de-seeded and sliced
- ¼-½ an Avocado
Easy mushroom stroganoff
Mushroom stroganoff is one of those student dinner ideas that seems complicated, but is super easy to make and is the perfect hearty student meal for one. It’s got tons of flavour and can be cooked in as little as 10-15 minutes.
Simply fry off all the vegetables until soft, add the cream and herbs, then cook off for a little longer for the flavour to seep in and serve over some cooked rice. It really is that simple.
- Creme fraiche or plant-based alternative
- Tarragon — Dried or fresh
- Rice to serve
One-pot lentil soup
Fancy a hearty vegetarian soup? This one-pot vegetarian student meal recipe is easy on the dishwashing load and is full of flavours.
Grab a medium saucepan and fry off the onions until they start going translucent, then add your garlic and fry of until soft. Then, add the puree, carrots and celery to cook for around 5 minutes or until soft. Once these are cooked through, add your spices. Then, add red lentils, a bay leaf and vegetable stock together. Cover the saucepan and simmer until smooth (usually around 20 minutes or so). Add in your spinach until its wilted and the remaining herbs, salt and pepper
Serve in a bowl with some bread or enjoy it alone.
- Bay leaves
- Tomato puree
- Vegetable broth from stock cubes
- Salt and pepper (to taste).
Slow cooker vegetable curry
Another slow cooker recipe we love and recommend for those who own one. It’s the perfect vegetarian dish to cook in the slow cooker and come home to after a day of lectures. It’s packed with flavourful spices and requires minimal effort.
Simply chop up all the vegetables into cubes and place them in the slow cooker, along with the vegetable stock (as per packet instructions), a helping of mango chutney and curry paste. Cook on high for 4-6 hours, being sure to stir when possible. Before finishing it up, add in your spinach so it wilts (don’t add it at the beginning or it’ll go mushy!). Serve alone or on a bed of cooked rice.
- Tinned chopped tomatoes
- Coconut milk
- Vegetable stock
- Curry paste
- Red peppers
- Mango chutney (for added sweetness — optional)
- Fresh coriander to serve.
Average serving sizes for one person
When it comes to student meals for one, you may be inclined to wonder just how much food to make, especially if they’re one-off meals, or you want to work out how to batch-cook one of the recipes mentioned above. But don’t worry, we’ll make sure cooking meals for one is as easy as pie.
Below we’ll look at how much pasta, rice, meat and cheese to serve per person.
How much pasta to cook per person
How much pasta should you cook per person? That depends on the type of pasta, as well as the style of pasta and sauce you’re cooking with (if at all).
Pasta is one of those things that’s easy to over-measure. The general rule of thumb is that 450g-500g of uncooked pasta will make around four portions of cooked pasta. So by this logic, if you’re making pasta for one, you’ll need anywhere between 50g and 150g of dry pasta per person depending on how much sauce you are making.
How much rice to cook per person
Rice is another one of those ingredients that’s hard to measure. It also depends on the dish you’re making too — you’ll need more or less, depending on if it’s being treated as a side dish or incorporated into the base of a meal (such as a paella).
An average serving of rice for one person is about a 1/2 cup for a side dish, and 1 cup for the main dish. By this logic, to feed 1-2 people, a cup of rice would work as a side dish, and a 1.5-2 cup serving would serve 2-3. So on and so forth.
How much meat to cook per person
Are you looking to incorporate more protein into your diet, or have friends who typically eat more than the average serving? It’s good to know what that average protein serving is, so you can adjust accordingly.
A typical serving of meat per person, per meal, is around 200-300g. This can be higher if the meat is on the bone to (around 400g). Be sure to look at your macros if you’re paying particular attention to your intake, but typically, this is the amount of cooked meat the average person goes by with their meals.
How much cheese to cook per person
How much cheese per person can be pretty subjective. After all, some people absolutely love cheese! But to stay within a healthy range, typically, anywhere between 20g-40g is enough, and that upper limit is pretty generous. That’s because around 28g of a typical serving has around 120 calories, and the macros vary depending on the cheese (cottage cheese is known for being particularly protein-rich).
This also depends on the type of cheese you’re serving too. After all, some can be quite expensive or have a particularly strong flavour, that people wouldn’t need that much anyway.
We hope these quick student meals for one have given you some food for thought (literally!). Want to stay up to date with the latest news? Sign up for Student Beans and get access to our food student discounts and much more.