One great way to save money on your travel adventures is by cooking your own meals. When booking your hostel check if they have kitchen facilities and if they provide free food. A lot of hostels offer free “continental” breakfast of toast and jam. But some offer full evening meals or BBQ nights. Adding this into your hostel plan can save you money, time and hassle. These are my 5 go to easy hostel meals, that taste great and are low budget.

When shopping for ingredients try to buy items that can be used in a few different dishes. For example I use broccoli, carrot and onion in almost every meal. A lot of hostels have a free food section, I usually scan these shelves before going to the shops to see what I could make with what is available. If you want something take it and label it, store away from the free food to avoid people thinking it is still up for grabs.

My Top 5 Hostel Food Recipes

1. Pesto Pasta

2. Soy Sauce Egg Fried Rice And Veggies

3. Super Noodles, Veggies and a Fried Egg:

4. Naughty Nacho’s

5. Fajitas

Pesto Pasta:

This can be veggie or with meat depending on your preference. I use bacon bits as they are cheap and less faffy than chicken. This dish hits the spot every time and I make it with a bit of twist.

What you will need:

  • A jar of pesto
  • A jar of carbonara sauce
  • Carrots (to grate)
  • Broccoli
  • Red Onion
  • Bacon bits (optional)
  • Cheese

Super simple method:

-Fry off the bacon bits if needed, grate the carrot, chop the onions, prep the broccoli and put the pasta on to boil.

– Put carrot and onions in with the bacon (towards the end to avoid burning) and put the broccoli in with the pasta.

– Once these are cooked drain the pasta and put it back in the saucepan. Now put it back on the heat and add your carbonara jar (add as much as you need or if you are making it for a few days put it all in). Stir so it is evenly distributed and then add the pesto, depending on how “pesto-ey” you like it measure accordingly.

-Now add the fried ingredients and stir it all in.

-Add grated cheese on top

I recommend that you wash up as you go to avoid having to do it all at the end. Good hostel etiquette is to wash up before you eat. I would gauge how busy the kitchen is to make your washing up decision. By cooking hostel meals you make yourself more approachable. Sitting down in a social kitchen is a great way to interact with new people, laugh and learn about the destination you are in.

Pesto pasta with bacon, broccoli, onion, grated carrot in a pot.

Soy Sauce Egg Fried Rice And Veggies:

This hostel meal is a very easy to make and can be all boiled in one pan. If you want to add the egg fried element, I just scramble it in the microwave. And I use some of the same ingredients from the pasta to use up what I have.

What you will need:

  • Rice
  • Soy Sauce
  • Carrots
  • Onion
  • Broccoli
  • Courgette
  • Egg
  • Bacon bits (optional and we will boil)

Super simple method:

-Chop carrots, broccoli, onion and courgette.

-Put rice on to boil and depending how you like your veg done, add half way through the boiling process (chuck the bacon bits in there too if you like).

-Crack egg into a bowl and whisk with a fork, pop it in the microwave for 30 seconds, use fork to whisk again and add for another 30 seconds. Then with the fork break it up into smaller pieces to add to the rice. If you want you can add a splash of milk and a nob of butter to make the egg richer but it is not needed.

-Drain rice and veggies and then put back in saucepan. Now add your egg and a spoonful or two of soy sauce (depending on how salty you like it) and mix it all together.

Again wash up as you go but this one doesn’t take to much effort. With hostel meals you really want to try and use the least amount of utensils possible.

Soy sauce egg fried rice with veggies

Super Noodles, Veggies and a Fried Egg:

Super noodles is part of every backpackers kitchen set, so why not get creative with them and add a few more elements. Again lets use what we have!

What you will need:

  • Super noodles (whichever flavour you like)
  • carrots
  • broccoli
  • courgette
  • onion
  • Egg

Super simple method:

-Chop carrots, broccoli, courgette and onion.

-Boil the veggies

-Follow Super Noodle instructions. These are usually boil kettle, put in microwave for 2 minutes, take out stir and add flavouring then put in for another minute.

-Fry your egg to go on top (we are going for a nasi goreng look)

-Drain your veggies and stir in with the noodles, then place the egg on top.

This is the quickest meal to make and tastes so good! I like adding some extra dimensions to make it feel more of a meal.

Nasi Goreng noodles and veggie with fried egg on top.
Nasi Goreng in Bali, this is what I try to recreate.

Naughty Nacho’s:

I may be biased but this naughty meal is the best tasting nachos you will ever eat! And yes we are using a microwave as it is rare to see a hostel with an oven.

What you will need:

  • Doritos or Tortilla chips (any flavour you like, I go for nacho cheese or chili wave)
  • Mince Meat
  • Taco seasoning
  • Can of chopped tomatoes
  • Cheese
  • Sour Cream (sour cream and chive dip works well to)

Super simple method:

-Heat up the mince meat and grate the cheese

-Once Mince meat is cooked add your taco seasoning and can off chopped tomatoes (you can portion some off for fajitas the next day)

-Now in a bowl or plate, make a layer of crisps then cheese and whack in the microwave. 15 seconds should melt the cheese. Then add some meat on top and start the process again; crisps, cheese, heat, meat. Repeat until the saucepan is empty and then add more cheese. Now a dollop sour cream on the top and Voila! I sometimes add salad bits if I want to use ingredients up.

Nachos with cheese, meat, sourcream and onion.


With leftover mince from Nacho’s it makes sense to create a fajita dish! we want to make sure we are using all our ingredients in our hostel meals, to avoid waste and carry it to the next destination.

What you will need:

  • Wraps
  • Leftover Mince Meat from Nachos (Mince meat, taco seasoning and canned tomatoes)
  • Cheese
  • Salad (lettuce, cucumber, tomato, onion)
  • Sour Cream

Super simple method:

-Heat up the mince meat (2/3 minutes in the microwave if you are heating leftovers) if not once mince meat is cooked, add seasoning and the can of chopped tomatoes

-Prepare salad to put in the wrap and grate cheese

-Microwave the wraps for 1 minute

-Bring it all together in the wrap and add sour cream.

With the left over wraps, make a cheese and salad one for lunch the next day.

Fajita mix with salad, wraps, sour cream and cheese.

And there you have it! 5 easy to cook hostel meals, using some of the same ingredients to stop waste. Let me know on Instagram if you cook any of these recipes and where you are in the world.

Happy Exploring!


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