Susan Lucas Hoffman on Flickr© Susan Lucas Hoffman on Flickr
Susan Lucas Hoffman on Flickr

7 Easy Hostel-Friendly Microwave Recipes

© Susan Lucas Hoffman on Flickr
Article Single Pages©
Article Single Pages©
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Quick & Easy Hostel Microwave Meals

While we love the ability to stay on a budget in hostels, we don’t love how hostel kitchens are sometimes ill-equipped or there are already so many people crowded around the oven. When these situations occur, become the king of the microwave and make some damn tasty meals that your fellow backpackers will be envious of. Learn how with these seven easy hostel microwave recipes!

It’s not just in hostels that you might find the microwave being your go-to. Some kitchenettes and “self-contained” units in other budget accommodations often only have a kettle and a microwave. With these easy microwave recipes, you’ll definitely know how to utilise that machine. However, if you are looking for more inspiration in the kitchen while on the road then take a look at our 5 Easy Pasta Recipes for Backpackers or 5 Meals Under $5 to Cook in a Hostel.

5 Tips for Using a Microwave in a Hostel

  • Cover your food when possible – Cover with a plate or paper towel so that you have less mess to clean
  • Do a test run – All microwaves heat up food at different rates. For the recipes below, cook on the minimum time suggested, give your food a stir and see if the food is hot/cooked through. If not, put it back in the microwave for a further minute and repeat the process
  • Chop food into small pieces – When the recipe calls for chopped ingredients, chop at small as you can. That way, the food will cook quicker
  • Clean up after yourself – There’s nothing grosser than finding a microwave that’s been left in a hideous dirty state. It’s common courtesy in a hostel to clean up after yourself
  • Don’t put anything metal in the microwave – Ok, we know you knew that but it’s just a reminder. You don’t want to have to pay to replace the microwave.

Pxhere© Pxhere

Chicken Quesadilla

God bless the Mexicans for inventing such easy and tasty meals! We turn to Mexican food at least once a week when staying in hostels. (Check out some other recipes in 10 Easy Meals to Cook in a Hostel in 10 Minutes).This microwave meal is made easier by taking a measly 3 minutes to prepare and microwave!


  • 2 tortillas
  • 2 chopped cooked chicken strips
  • 1 chopped capsicum (bell pepper)
  • 1 tbsp taco spice mix
  • 1/4 cup of grated cheese

Preparation Instructions

  1. Put the tortillas in the microwave for 30 seconds. Remove and set aside.
  2. In a bowl, add chicken, capsicum and taco mix and stir. Put in the microwave for 1 minute.
  3. Remove from microwave and pour mixture onto one tortilla. Top with cheese then put the other tortilla on top and press down gently.
  4. Microwave for 1 minute. Remove from microwave, cut into quarters and eat!
Susan Lucas Hoffman on Flickr© Susan Lucas Hoffman on Flickr

10-minute Baked Potato

It doesn’t get any heartier than a baked potato! This is sure to warm you up in a hostel in winter. Use the oil and salt from the free food shelf and all you have to do is bring the potato, bacon and cheese!

Make this tasty baked potato in your hostel microwave oven in just 10 minutes!


  • 1 large russet potato
  • 1 tsp oil (your choice)
  • 1 pinch of salt
  • 2 slices of bacon
  • 1/2 cup of grated cheese

Preparation Instructions

  1. With a fork, poke holes in the potato and rub the potato in oil, then salt.
  2. Put potato and bacon slices on a plate and microwave for 7-9 minutes.
  3. Remove from microwave and set the bacon aside. Cut a slit into the potato and mash the flesh of the potato with a fork.
  4. Add cheese then cook in the microwave for 30 seconds.
  5. Chop the now cooked bacon.
  6. Remove potato from microwave and add a dollop of sour cream on top and the bacon.
 David Leggett on Flickr© David Leggett on Flickr

Easy Mug Omelette

Who said mugs were reserved for hot drinks? They make a fine vessel for this omelette recipe, which in turn makes a healthy lunch snack. However, this recipe will totally work in a bowl if all the hostel’s mugs have gone missing, which let’s be honest, often happens…


  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 a chopped capsicum (bell pepper)
  • 2 slices of chopped ham
  • 1/4 cup of chopped spinach
  • 1 pinch of salt
  • 1 pinch of pepper

Preparation Instructions

  1. Crack two eggs into a cup. Add capsicum, ham, spinach, salt and pepper and stir together.
  2. Put the cup and mixture into the microwave for 2-3 minutes.
  3. Remover from microwave and eat!
 Vancouver Bites! on Flickr© Vancouver Bites! on Flickr

5-minute Mac & Cheese

It’s the childhood favourite that we can’t quite seem to shake. Although there’s not much nutritional value, this 5-minute macaroni and cheese will keep hunger at bay until dinner.

While in this recipe we make the mac and cheese in a mug, it will also work in a bowl.


  • 1/2 cup of macaroni pasta
  • 1/2 cup of water1 pinch of salt
  • 1 splash of milk
  • 1/4 cup of grated cheese

Preparation Instructions

  1. In a cup (mug), add macaroni, water and salt. Heat in the microwave for 2-3 minutes.
  2. Remove from microwave and give it a stir making sure all the pasta is soft. Add milk and cheese, give it stir and return in the microwave for 30 seconds.
  3. Remove from microwave, stir and eat!
fakelvis on Flickr© fakelvis on Flickr

The Cheat’s Egg “Fried” Rice

Ok, so it’s not as delicious as the “fried” taste but at least it’s a healthier alternative! This egg rice combines a good source of protein and vegetables so you can feel good on top of the fact that it only takes you 10 minutes to make!

For more awesome egg recipes, check out 7 Ways To Cook Eggs In A Hostel.


  • 1/2 cup of rice
  • 1 cup of water1 tsp soy sauce
  • 1 tsp sesame oil
  • 2 strips of chopped bacon
  • 1/2 cup of chopped frozen peas and carrots
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 pinch of salt

Preparation Instructions

  1. In a bowl, add rice, water, soy sauce, sesame oil and bacon and stir. Cover bowl with a plate and microwave for 6-8 minutes.
  2. Remove from microwave, stir and add frozen carrots and peas. Mix and set aside.
  3. In a cup, crack eggs and add salt. Whisk with a fork and microwave both the egg mixture in a cup and rice mixture in the bowl for 1 minute.
  4. Remove both mixtures from the microwave. Scramble the egg with a fork and pour it onto the rice mixture.
  5. Combine all together and eat!
Maxpixel© Maxpixel

Barbecue Chicken Nachos

It’s “nacho” time to use the oven! Make these barbecue chicken nachos in just 3 minutes! Honestly, we wouldn’t make the nachos any other way when they are this easy to make and taste this good.

Consider these nachos a bit of a naughty lunch.


  • 1 cup of shredded rotisserie chicken
  • 3 tbsp of barbecue sauce
  • 1 handful of tortilla chips
  • 3 tbsp of salsa
  • 1 cup of grated cheese
  • 1/4 cup of chopped spring onions
  • 1 tbsp sour cream

Preparation Instructions

  1. Mix chicken and barbecue sauce in a bowl and set aside.
  2. Spread tortilla chips on a plate and pour chicken mixture on top. Top with salsa, cheese and spring onions.
  3. Microwave for 2-3 minutes, remove from microwave and top with a dollop of sour cream.
banditob on Flickr© banditob on Flickr

Spaghetti Squash Meatballs

Spaghetti squash is not on your usual list of vegetables but if you manage to get your hands on one, we can’t recommend this recipe enough! Not only is it ridiculous delicious, but it’s also much more nutritional than pasta, with the spaghetti squash being a good source of potassium and vitamin A. Give it a go!


  • 1 spaghetti squash
  • 2 tsp oil (your choice)
  • 1 pinch of salt1 pinch of pepper
  • 9 frozen meatballs
  • 1/2 jar of your favourite pasta sauce

Preparation Instructions

  1. Cut spaghetti squash length-ways and scoop out the seeds and soft flesh.
  2. Pour oil so it roughly covers the squash and sprinkle salt and pepper on top. Rub the salt and pepper so it evenly covers the whole flesh.
  3. Microwave for 10-15 minutes until the squash is soft.
  4. Remove from microwave and scrape the now soft flesh with a fork to make a mash-like mixture within the squash skin. Set squash aside.
  5. In a bowl, combine meatballs and pasta sauce and microwave for 1-2 minutes.
  6. Remove from microwave and scoop the meatballs and sauce onto the spaghetti squash.


The information in this guide has been compiled from our extensive research, travel and experiences across New Zealand and the South Pacific, accumulated over more than a decade of numerous visits to each destination. Additional sources for this guide include the following:

Our editorial standards: At NZ Pocket Guide, we uphold strict editorial standards to ensure accurate and quality content.

About The Author

Robin C.

This article has been reviewed and approved by Robin, who is the co-founder of NZ Pocket Guide. With more than 15 years of experience in the New Zealand tourism industry, Robin has co-founded three influential tourism businesses and five additional travel guides for South Pacific nations. He is an expert in New Zealand travel and has tested over 600 activities and 300+ accommodations across the country.

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