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Learning how to make the pennies go further is what being a student is all about. And next to coffee, Berocca and your roommate down the hall who just totally gets you, baked beans are your new best friend. But as well as the classics, what budget recipe ideas can you concoct with a simple tin of tomato-ey goodness?

Baked Potato with Baked Beans

1. Jacket Potato with Beans

No list would be complete without a few classics, which is why we’re opening with one of the most simple recipes for baked beans, but also one of the most filling. The best thing about the jacket potatoes is, much like beans, it’s versatile. The ability to be spruced up countless different ways means jackets can serve you well more than once a week. When it comes to beans, you’ll want a simple nob of butter, baked beans, and a pinch of pepper to taste. If you’re feeling really extravagant and have a bit of spare change knocking around, why not finish with a few bacon lardons, too?

Baked Beans on Toast

2. Beans on Toast

Another go-to baked bean recipe that’s even kinder to the bank balance – beans on toast also leads the pack when it comes to versatility. Are you going brown, white, seeded? Or better yet, best of both? Choosing your base is the best place to start, and once you’ve added your beans – you have the challenge of deciding how to top it off. Worcestershire is a subtle yet distinctive finish – but to really make the meal go further, a portion of fluffy scrambled egg is the way to go.

Baked Bean Chilli

3. Baked Bean Chilli

For those with (a little) more cooking prowess, baked bean chilli is one of the best student recipes on a budget that will not only fill you up, but provide you with good nutrition too. Save on the kidney beans, tomato puree and fresh vegetables to really squeeze the pennies, and simply combine beans, mince meat and chilli powder (or even a splash of chilli sauce) for the student edition of Chilli Con Carne.

Sausage and Baked Bean Casserole

4. Sausage and Bean Casserole

When baked bean recipes get really serious, you end up with sausage and bean casserole. A little higher on the list of budget recipe ideas when it comes to price, investing a little in some extra veg and seasoning is rewarding come tasting time. Fry your sausages and add to onions, carrots and celery in an oven dish before throwing in your tomato puree, vegetable stock and your baked beans. Once done, it should last you for a fair few servings.  

Cheese and Bean Pasty Bake

5. Cheese and Bean Pasty Bake

Get your apron on - it’s baking time. While you might not receive the blessing from Mary Berry herself – this baked bean recipe presents itself as a strong contender for student meal of the year. Grab a pack of pre-rolled pastry, empty in a tin of beans and some grated cheese – along with any leftover meat for added flavour – then fold up and bake for crispy, melty, oozy goodness.

Baked Bean Pie

6. Baked Bean Pie

If you’re looking for the best student recipe ideas on a budget, cooking in bulk saves pennies the most. If you live with a few other bean lovers (or if not, all the more for you for the rest of the week), baked bean pie is a good way to make ingredients go further and serve up a dish that doesn’t skimp on portions. Add ketchup, chilli sauce and water to your bean mixture and let it simmer before adding to an ovenproof dish and topping with mash potato and grated cheese.

Baked Bean Toastie

7. Cheese, Bean and Ham Toastie

Finally, we come on to the daddy of all baked bean recipes. The toastie. When it comes to budget meals, it’s up there as one of the best value – while also super easy to make and tasty as anything. If no one has a toasty maker to hand, the grill is a good enough substitute. Add your beans, grated cheese and sliced ham to your choice of bread – and grill away for a perfect budget meal morning, noon or night. 


Cheap dinner ideas don’t get much better than beans 7 ways. Try out our favourite baked beans recipes above for a different meal every day of the week! And best of all? You can grab everything you need from your local convenience store.