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10 Easy Meals to Cook in a Hostel in 10 Minutes

© Pexels

Healthy(ish) and Yummy Hostel Food in No Time at All!

Hostels kitchens are often busy and backpackers are always on the go. In short, hostel food needs to be quick, healthy and yummy. Plus hostel foods need to be cooked without fancy equipment as most hostel kitchens only contain the basic utensils. With that in mind, we’ve put together this list of easy meals to cook in a hostel in 10 minutes!

The recipes below provide great ideas for breakfast, lunch, dinner and even a dessert that can be cooked quickly in even the most basic kitchens. This should help you add variety to your meals on the go.

If on top of lacking time you are also lacking budget, check out those 5 meals ideas under $5 that are perfect for backpackers as well.

The Basics:

To keep the recipes below simple and inspirational, we have skipped a few basic cooking instructions that are just plain obvious. We will assume that:

  • All boiling water will have a pinch of salt in it.
  • A hot frying pan will be oiled a bit before ingredients are thrown in.
  • One knows how to cook an egg in 5 different ways (if you don’t check out 7 Different Ways to Cook an Egg in a Hostel)

Pixabay© Pixabay

Breakfast – Muesli, Yogurt and Fruit

Probably the healthiest breakfast aside from just biting in an apple, muesli and fruit and a classic that always pleases with its refreshing taste. Add yoghurt for great consistency and that famous calcium that keeps your bones strong like mum used to say.


  • Yoghurt (as much as you want)
  • Fruit (pick seasonal local fruits, they will have the best taste)
  • Basic muesli

Preparation Instructions:

  1. Chop your fruit into bite-sized pieces into a bowl
  2. Add at least four big spoons of yoghurt (Note: almost all yoghurts are already sweetened in New Zealand so taste if first before adding extra sugar)
  3. Top-up with muesli
  4. Mix it all and enjoy with a hot coffee of a fresh orange juice.
Pixabay© Pixabay

Breakfast – Scrambled Eggs

The traditional scrambled eggs never go out of fashion. In this recipe, we suggest using eggs to keep it classic but you can replace it with tofu if you feel like trying something different for a great result as well. Yep, tofu can be delicious, it is not a myth!


  • 3 eggs (or a firm package of tofu)
  • 1 spring onion
  • 1 clove of garlic
  • Herbs and spices (we suggest: turmeric, cumin, paprika, black pepper, and/or chives)

Cooking Instructions:

  1. Mix your herbs and spices in a small bowl and keep it on the side
  2. Warm-up a pan and scramble your eggs in while pouring your seasoning over it, make sure to scramble it thoroughly so the seasoning spreads all over the eggs
  3. Add chives only one minute before taking the eggs out
  4. Serve hot with toasts, avocadoes, tomatoes, or any other sides you fancy.
Pixabay© Pixabay

Breakfast – Egg & Sausage Hot Dog

Working in the morning and always running out of time? What about a big breakfast easy to eat on the go that is also super easy to cook? Now we’ve got a great start of the day that will keep you going until lunch.


  • 1 hot dog bun
  • 1 sausage
  • 1 egg
  • Cheese
  • Herbs and spices (we suggest: black pepper and parsley)

Cooking Instructions:

  1. Pre-cook the sausage in a frying pan
  2. Chop the sausage into small bite-sized pieces and throw back in the frying pan with an egg
  3. Add parsley and black pepper before turning off the heat
  4. Grate a bit of cheese and mix the last time while you warm up your hot dog bun
  5. Stuff into your hot dog bun and eat on the go. Add ketchup or mayonnaise for an extra tasty experience.
 Katherine Lim on Flickr© Katherine Lim on Flickr

Lunch – Poached Eggs and Avocado on Toast

Healthy and yummy avocados are a great addition to almost any meal. For this recipe, we pair them with poached eggs for an all-day-breakfast lunch that will make every other traveller in the kitchen envious.


  • 2 eggs
  • 2 slices of bread
  • Avocado
  • Grated cheese
  • Cherry tomatoes
  • Herbs and spices (we suggest: salt, black pepper and Italian herbs)

Cooking instructions:

  1. Poach two eggs for 5 minutes (4 minutes for super soft eggs)
  2. In the meantime, toast your bread
  3. Spread your ripe avocado on the bread
  4. Place the egg over the toast and sprinkle with grated cheese and herbs and spice
  5. Serve with a side of cherry tomatoes for extra yumminess
Sodanie Chea on Wikipedia© Sodanie Chea on Wikipedia

Lunch – Chicken Burritos

Extra tasty and super easy to make, chicken burritos are a go-to for a quick lunch before heading out. Vegetarians will know to replace the chicken with mushrooms. If your hostel has a sandwich press, all the better – you can cook your burritos even faster.


  • 100g (3.5oz) of shredded cooked chicken
  • Grated cheese an avocado
  • 2 tortillas
  • Herbs and spices (we suggest: cilantro)

Cooking Instructions:

  1. Mix your cooked chicken, avocado, cheese and spices into a bowl
  2. Spread evenly between your two tortillas. Make sure to form a lump in the middle of the tortilla
  3. Close your wraps
  4. Heat up a pan and grill your tortillas at medium heat for two minutes on each side
  5. Slice both burritos in half so they are not too hot but just hot enough to enjoy.
Pexels© Pexels

Lunch – Grilled Cheese Sandwiches

Probably the most cooked backpacker food in the world, grilled cheese is an all-time favourite. Pick your bread, pick your cheese, and pick your toppings: you can make it however you want. Instead of elaborating only one recipe of that very simple dish, here are a few variants that you might want to try:

Californian mix grilled cheese: Cheese, Avocados and Red onions

Sweet & savoury grilled cheese: Cheese, Pear jam and Bacon

Spicy Mexican grilled cheese: Cheese, Shredded chicken, Capsicums and Salsa

Italian flavour grilled cheese: Cheese, Pesto and Fresh tomatoes

New Zealand Southland grilled cheese: Cheese, Onion and Onion soup mix

Paris select grilled cheese: Brie Cheese and Ham

London bastard grilled cheese: Cheese, Ham and Mustard

Breakfast grilled cheese: Cheese, Soft Eggs, Sliced Tomato

maxpixel© maxpixel

Dinner – Zucchini Pesto Pasta

Light and healthy, this dish is a great option to go to bed full but not stuffed. Plus, it is a bit of a different take on the traditional pasta that most backpackers eat every night. Check out real pasta dish ideas in our 5 Easy Pasta Recipes For Backpackers.


  • 2 zucchinis (also known as courgettes)
  • Pesto
  • 5 cashew nuts
  • 2 garlic cloves

Cooking Instructions:

  1. Peel the two zucchinis and slice them into spaghetti. To do so, first, slice them in half (keeping the long side as long as possible) and then chop them in the length as well. Repeat until your slices are the width of large spaghetti
  2. Throw your zucchinis spaghetti into a frying pan for about a minute only to get them softer
  3. In the meantime, crush the five cashew nuts and garlic cloves and mix them with the desired amount of pesto in a large bowl
  4. Add the zucchinis into the large bowl and mix thoroughly
  5. Eat quickly after cooking with a few cherry tomatoes if you feel like treating yourself.
 F_A on Flickr© F_A on Flickr

Dinner – Black Beans and Rice

So to make this one in only 10 minutes you will have to get yourself some instant cooking rice or have a whole lot of cooked white rice leftover. Otherwise, you may be in the kitchen for 15 minutes as rice can take a bit of time to cook.


  • Instant or cooked white rice
  • 1 onion
  • 1 clove of garlic
  • 1 can of black beans
  • Burrito mix

Cooking Instructions:

  1. Cook your chopped onion and garlic into a frying pan until about halfway done
  2. While it cooks, mix about half of your burrito mix with two teaspoons of water in a mug
  3. Pour your warm rice into the frying and sty thoroughly
  4. Pour your mug of burrito mix into the frying pan and stir thoroughly
  5. Once the burrito mix is spread evenly add, your black beans and stir for another couple of minutes
  6. Serve hot. Consider stuffing this Black Bean and Rice recipe into capsicum for a fresh summer dinner.
Pexels© Pexels

Dinner – Chicken Pizza

Yep! You can make yourself a pizza in 10 minutes. Nope, it is not a frozen pizza. Nope, it is not a fast delivery pizza service. Yep, it will be yummy. Yep, there is a trick. All right, let’s get down to “How to Make a Tasty Backpackers Pizza in Less Than 10 Minutes”.


  • 1 or 2 soft pitas
  • Tomato sauce of a red onion
  • 100g (3.5oz) of shredded cooked chicken
  • 1 mushroom
  • Grated cheese

Cooking Instructions:

  1. Slice your mushroom and dice your red onion
  2. Spread tomato sauce onto your soft pitas
  3. Top it up with your chicken, mushroom and red onion
  4. Add a thin layer of grated cheese
  5. Microwave your pizza for about one minute until the cheese melts
  6. Cut as soon as it gets out of the microwave
  7. Serve hot and remember: our toppings ideas are just… well ideas, go crazy and try new things!
 Dave Haygarth on Flickr© Dave Haygarth on Flickr

Dessert – Chocolate Mug Cake

Did you know that you could bake awesome chocolate cakes in less than 5 minutes? That’s a pretty great idea to wow your fellow backpackers during a pot luck dinner. So be ready to give that sweet tooth what it wants into time at all. Plus, it is one of the 7 Easy Hostel-Friendly Microwave Recipes.


  • 35g (1.2oz) Self-raising flour
  • 1 tbsp Cocoa
  • Pinch of Salt
  • 1.5 tbsp Brown sugar
  • 1 Egg
  • 2 tbsp Milk
  • 1 tbsp Butter, melted
  • 1 tsp Vanilla extract

Cooking Instructions:

  1. In a bowl, mix: self-raising flour, cocoa, salt and brown sugar
  2. In another bowl, mix: egg, milk, butter, and vanilla extract
  3. Pour the wet mix into the dry mix while stirring thoroughly until it becomes a homogenous mixture
  4. Use a spoon to evenly fill up 2 mugs (recommended mug size: 500ml/2 cups)
  5. Microwave the mugs for 1min to 1min30sec. Check that the cake has risen and the top of it is just set. Keep an eye on it, don’t let it burn!
  6. Serve immediately, with a scoop of ice-cream perhaps? OF COURSE!


Robin C.

This article was reviewed and published by Robin, the co-founder of NZ Pocket Guide. He has lived, worked and travelled across 16 different countries before calling New Zealand home. He has now spent over a decade in the New Zealand tourism industry, clocking in more than 600 activities across the country. He is passionate about sharing those experiences and advice on NZ Pocket Guide and its YouTube channel. Robin is also the co-founder of several other South Pacific travel guides.

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