10 Essential Cookbooks for College Students

Make Mom and Dad proud by learning how to fend for yourself! These top cookbooks are chock full of recipes perfectly suited for twentysomething Millennials and dorm-dwellers.

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July 29, 2019

Prep: The Essential College Cookbook

If you never learned how to crack an egg or boil noodles, prepare to get schooled by food writer and mom of three, Katie Sullivan Morford. In her latest book, Prep: The Essential College Cookbook, Morford shares all the wisdom she'd impart unto her own college-bound kids, like the meanings of basic cooking terms, the proper way to hold a knife, ingredients you should always keep stocked in the fridge, etc. And, of course, she offers easy-to-follow recipes for everything from omelets to loaded nachos.

Buy It: Urban Outfitters, $18.95

The 5-Ingredient College Cookbook

What foods should you eat while cramming for a test? What about after an intramural game (or a weekend spent partying)? You'll find the answers to these questions and more in The 5-Ingredient College Cookbook, which is basically like a manual for navigating your college years and surviving adulthood. Prepare to learn practical skills like how to pick produce and save money in the process, how to hold a knife and dice onions, etc.

Buy It: Amazon, $11.96 and up


There are two sure-fire ways to make friends in college: one, let everyone know that Chrissy Teigen is your idol, and two, make something to share from her cookbook Cravings: Recipes for All the Food You Want to Eat. With a 4.8-star rating and nearly 2,000 reviews on Amazon, this book comes highly recommended for its authenticity, simple and accessible ingredients, and comfort-food recipes that will keep you from feeling homesick.

Buy It: Amazon, $20.99 (Originally $29.99)

The College Vegan Cookbook

A plant-based diet is more than doable, even on a tight budget and with limited tools; all you need is a copy of The College Vegan Cookbook. We love this one because almost all of the recipes take less than 30 minutes to prep and cook, use only budget-friendly ingredients, contain plenty of healthy proteins and include directions for various cooking methods, so you don't even need a full kitchen!

Buy It: Amazon, $12.15 (Originally $16.99)

How to Feed Yourself

You may not have signed up for "Cooking 101," but you'll still get a crash course with Spoon Univeristy's How to Feed Yourself. We love this book because it's unpretentious and filled with practical tips that Mom never mentioned, like where to find pizza dough in the grocery store and how to make do without cookie cutters. Plus, the recipes are bomb and out-of-the-box. Think: breakfast tacos, chicken and pesto pasta, etc.

Buy It: Urban Outfitters, $14.99 (Originally $19.99)

Meal in a Mug

In case you haven't heard, you can definitely make breakfast, lunch and dinner with just a microwave. For proof, just look to Denise Smart's Meal in a Mug. Inside you'll find 80 recipes that range from peanut butter and jam oatmeal (yum) to sweet-and-sour chicken. And every single one can be made with just a microwave and a ceramic cup.

Buy It: Amazon, $12.75 and up

A Man, A Can, A Plan

For the guy who's ready to go beyond the frozen foods section, we suggest A Man, A Can, A Plan by David Joachim. This cookbook's easy-to-follow format and simple ingredients (with pictures, no less) make it a big hit among men young and old who are just learning how to fend for themselves. Better still? It's available as a board book, which means that it's basically indestructable.

Buy It: Amazon, $10.94 and up

The College Cookbook

You're busy and you're broke, but you definitely don't have to live off boxed mac and cheese or ramen noodles. With The College Cookbook as you're guide, you'll learn how to make the most of as little as a microwave or as much as a full kitchen, how to stretch a single ingredient (like roast chicken) to cover several meals and how to prepare 75 recipes that are healthy and, thankfully, require minimal effort.

Buy It: Urban Outfitters, $19.99

Good and Cheap: Eat Well on $4/Day

Frugal college students and/or budding vegetarians will want to snag a copy of Good and Cheap: Eat Well on $4/Day by Leanne Brown. This cookbook contains a variety of recipes for breakfast, snacks and small bites, dinner and more, and offers tips on how to make your last buck stretch as far as possible.

Buy It: Amazon, $13.49 and up

The I Love Trader Joe's College Cookbook

If you're devoted to Trader Joe's and lucky enough to have one close to campus, then you definitely need a copy of this cookbook. Inside, you'll find 150 easy-to-make recipes for things like a grown-up grilled cheese and a sophisticated fruit salad, with ingredients that are all available at your go-to grocery store.

Buy It: Amazon, $11.79 (Originally $18.95)