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12 Essential College Cookbooks for Students 

These cookbooks are perfect for college students who need cheap, easy meals to make.

College can be one of the most important learning experiences for any young person, as it teaches lessons in almost all areas of life – including in the kitchen.

Woman reading recipe for simple summer salad in cookbook

Learning to be an adult can be overwhelming, as there are several different skills you’ll have to adopt if you want to live a stable life. 

One of the most important skills is cooking, but learning to cook can be hard to balance with everything else.

Best Cookbooks for College Kids

If you are a college student or know one who needs some cooking lessons, here are the best cookbooks for college students. 


How to Feed Yourself

How to Feed Yourself has a longer, funnier full name that you can find out on your own, but this cookbook is perfect for a student starting to learn how to cook. 

How to Feed Yourself contains 100 simple recipes you can prepare easily and quickly, such as quick Shrimp Scampi and Penne with a vodka sauce.

There’s no need to become Gordon Ramsay to pull these dishes off; you can prepare them easily, even on long nights that require a lot of studying or writing. 

Even though I’ve known how to cook for some time, I find myself coming back to this book. It’s among the most useful starter cookbooks you’ll find!


Prep: The Essential College Cookbook by Katie Sullivan Morford

Prep doesn’t just base its approach around simple recipes; this book takes its reader through 10 lessons meant to explain the chemistry of food and how cooking in general works.  

The author even includes other overlooked skills, such as how to stock your fridge and pantry to be ready to cook and how to properly hold different types of knives.

And its delicious recipes include easy takes on more complex meals, such as Thai coconut curry soup. 

Armed with the knowledge from Prep, any college student can become a respectable home cook and both save money and themselves from starving!


The College Vegan Cookbook: 145 Affordable, Healthy & Delicious Plant-Based Recipes by Heather Nicholds

Not every college student is a carnivore, so we made sure not to leave our herbivore friends out of this list!

If you’ve been raised vegan or are trying to change your eating habits in college, then the College Vegan Cookbook will give you all the knowledge you need to start making some fantastic vegan meals. 

These easy-to-prepare dishes will be easy on your health and your wallet and teach you more about how to select your vegetables and other ingredients for a truly fresh meal.

Highlights include dishes such as a 3-bean chili and a chickpea melt!


The Easy College Cookbook: 75 Quick Affordable Recipes for Campus Life

The Easy College Cookbook is perfect for college kids who just have their dorm room and common area.

Not only is it full of recipes that you can prepare quickly – it comes with handy lists of tips and hacks to get around the shortcomings of college cooking spaces where you may not have all the cookware you need. 

The recipes in this book can accommodate any dietary need. There are sections on meatless dishes you can use to find some fantastic plant-based dishes you can prepare in the comfort of your dorm.

If you have other allergies or dietary restrictions, this cookbook provides plenty of options and substitutions.


The Everything College Cookbook: 300 Easy and Budget-Friendly Recipes for Beginning Cooks

Don’t have a full kitchen at your disposal? Well, no worries, as that is what The Everything College Cookbook assumes.

The 300 recipes in this book, which include things like baked potatoes, chili, and even fall desserts like apple crisp, can be made using only a hot plate or microwave. 

You can feasibly feed yourself these budget meals and learn a great life skill: cooking with limited resources and equipment.

You may not have professional cooking equipment, but armed with this cookbook, you’ll be able to make nutritious recipes that will keep you going through inevitable all-nighters and allow you to ace your classes!


The Unofficial ALDI Cookbook: Delicious Recipes Made With Fan Favorites From The Award-Winning Grocery Store

While ALDI may be newer in the United States, this inexpensive grocery store has been bringing Europeans quality ingredients and food at a discount for some time.

Now, with the Unofficial ALDI Cookbook, college students can find easy, cheap recipes that are delicious and easily made in a small apartment or community kitchen. 

The cookbook even introduces new uses for common ingredients and substitutes you can find at ALDI so you can save time and get straight to cooking rather than going to specialty grocery stores looking for specific ingredients.

If you have an ALDI store nearby, there’s no better way to cook on a budget. 


Broke Vegan: Speedy

If you want to live a healthier lifestyle but genuinely do not have more than 30 minutes to spend on cooking during your nights, then Broke Vegan can help you out quite a bit.

This cookbook contains speedy plant-based recipes, none of which will take you more than 30 minutes to prepare, and some of which you might even prepare faster as you get used to them. 

Adding to the appeal of this cookbook for college students, Broke Vegan, as the title suggests, includes affordable recipes with cheap ingredients.

This cookbook works perfectly to keep students from starving due to over-expensive ingredients and hard-to-follow instructions. 


Meal In A Mug: 80 Fast, Easy Recipes For Hungry People

In my experience, sometimes all that college students have access to is a mug and a microwave.

And that is why I wish I had the Meal in a Mug cookbook in college because that is all you need to cook the 80 recipes in this book. 

Not only can you prepare these meals quickly, but you can prepare them in your dorm room itself if you have a microwave.

You can make macaroni and cheese, brownies, or even scrambled eggs using the tips from this cookbook. 

Even when you have limited resources, as long as you have your mug and microwave handy, you can avoid spending money on fast food with these delicious and easy meals!


The One-Pan College Cookbook: 80 Easy Recipes for Quick, Good Food

Doing dishes can be a real nightmare if you don’t have a dishwasher, or in the case of many community kitchens, don’t have hot water with which to wash your dishes.

The One-Pan College Cookbook cookbook seeks to make life easier by giving its readers fast recipes that they can prepare with a single pan. 

You can save time, space, and yourself a hassle while cooking these delicious, nutritious meals.

This book comes with useful shopping tips too so you can pick up on two life skills.

If you’re a student with limited time, resources, and space, this cookbook is the ideal cooking manual. 


Healthy, Quick & Easy College Cookbook: 100 Simple, Budget-Friendly Recipes to Satisfy Your Campus Cravings

The Healthy, Quick, & Easy College Cookbook is yet another useful tome on how to eat well, cook efficiently, and do it all on a tight budget.

With these 100 recipes, which include riffs on classics such as “Ramen Noodle Salad,” you can easily feed yourself and make sure you get the nutrients you need through four years of college. 

Additionally, this cookbook stands apart from others because it includes an extensive guide on stretching ingredients and storing food safely.

Not only will you be able to make your ingredients last longer, but you will also be able to build on leftovers and save serious time and money. 


The 5 Ingredient College Cookbook: Easy, Healthy Recipes for the Next Four Years & Beyond 

This guide keeps running on the theme of cheap meals that any student can put together and put together with speed.

But the 5-Ingredient College Cookbook does it differently than many other books; as the name suggests, it limits all recipes to 5 ingredients. 

You can do away with complexity and with drive-thru food and embrace flavor and convenience in cooking the meals that will get you through your classes and your days.

The 100 recipes it contains also offer fantastic diversity. If you’re craving Greek cuisine or Thai food, you can find a recipe for it in this book.


The Instant Pot College Cookbook: 75 Quick and Easy Meals that Taste Like Home

Many mothers think ahead of time by getting their students a kitchen necessity: the Instant Pot.

If your mom or dad got you one of these and you don’t know how to use it, look no further than this book. 

First, The Instant Pot College Cookbook teaches you how to use your pressure cooker and how the whole thing works.

Then it moves into the range of 75 recipes that can fuel your brain to keep going through exhausting days of class and sports.

Sometimes I even use this cookbook for some of its tasty, easy meals, such as breakfast burritos or mashed potatoes. 

Equipped with the knowledge from this book, you will not only pass your class tests but the test of personal skill development!


Best Cookbooks for College Kids

  1. How to Feed Yourself
  2. Prep: The Essential College Cookbook by Katie Sullivan Morford
  3. The College Vegan Cookbook: 145 Affordable, Healthy & Delicious Plant-Based Recipes by Heather Nicholds
  4. The Easy College Cookbook: 75 Quick Affordable Recipes for Campus Life
  5. The Everything College Cookbook, 300 Easy and Budget-Friendly Recipes for Beginning Cooks
  6. The Unofficial ALDI Cookbook: Delicious Recipes Made With Fan Favorites From The Award-Winning Grocery Store
  7. Broke Vegan: Speedy
  8. Meal In A Mug: 80 Fast, Easy Recipes For Hungry People
  9. The One-Pan College Cookbook: 80 Easy Recipes for Quick, Good Food
  10. Healthy, Quick & Easy College Cookbook: 100 Simple, Budget-Friendly Recipes to Satisfy Your Campus Cravings
  11. The 5 Ingredient College Cookbook: Easy, Healthy Recipes for the Next Four Years & Beyond 
  12. The Instant Pot College Cookbook: 75 Quick and Easy Meals that Taste Like Home

Final Thoughts

Many college students do not have much time, money, or cooking knowledge, but each of these books shows that cooking does not have to be hard and can even be fun!

A college cookbook will have easy recipes that you can make in small spaces with few ingredients, making your cooking journey easier than ever.

Check out other cookbooks for beginners that make great gifts for college students!

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Written by Erin Elizabeth

Erin lives in East Passyunk and enjoys checking out the local restaurants in South Philly and beyond. Her favorite restaurants are those with spicy food and outdoor seating so that she can bring along her dog, Miss Piggy.