For full functionality of this site it is necessary to enable JavaScript. Here are the instructions how to enable JavaScript in your web browser.

Food & Drink

How to recreate takeaways at home for under £2

Feel like you're spending half your Student Loan on takeaways and eating out? We chatted to someone who knows how to recreate your favourite dishes for a fraction of the cost.

man cooking, pizza express logo and egg on pizza

Credit: William Murphy - Flickr

Whether you're struggling with deadlines, short on time, drunk, hungover or just fancy treating yourself, fast food can be a godsend. A quick bowl of ramen from Wagamama or a tasty chicken box from KFC can be a lot more appealing than cooking at home.

But, alas, it can also be expensive. While we all deserve a treat now and then, it can create a serious dent in your Student Loan if you're splurging on pricey food every week.

We spoke to Rob Eades (a.k.a. the Lean Student Chef) to hear his top recipes for fakeaway meals – all for under £2 per portion.

If you haven't already, check out our guide to meal planning – you could end up saving over £200 a year on food.

Fakeaway recipes to make at home

frying pan with chicken and veg

Rob has created a whole load of super easy and simple-to-follow recipes inspired by food from his favourite restaurants and takeaways.

Let's face it, most students aren't exactly Michelin-star chefs, and Rob admits he's certainly no Gordon Ramsay, so his recipes stick to minimal ingredients and easy instructions.

It's the ease of a pot noodle or pizza that's the big challenge to overcome. I try to do that by keeping my recipes short and simple!

Of course, these dishes aren't going to be exact replicas of those you crave. But they will cost you a lot less, contain fewer calories and taste pretty good too.

Rob's recipes have been a huge hit with students, and his blog has garnered such a following that he's now able to make a bit of extra cash from his online presence.

I started it just to share what I was doing with other students and it ballooned from there really. It's almost unbelievable whenever brands want to work with me nowadays to be honest. But I'm not complaining…

So, if you're looking for a way to cut down on your weekly food bill without living off baked beans, recreate your favourite fast food dishes with these five great recipes...

If you haven't already, check out our ultimate list of ways to save money on food.

Wagamama style speedy Chicken Ramen recipe

chicken ramen dish

Takeaway: £10.25
Fakeaway: £1.74 per portion

14 mins cook and prep | Serves 4

Ingredients

ingredients for chicken ramen

  • 3 chicken breasts – season first, ideally overnight (£2.36*)
  • 1 tbsp Very Lazy lemongrass paste (£0.40)
  • 1.5L chicken stock (2 little pots of Knorr) (£0.66)
  • 1 tbsp Very Lazy chopped garlic (£0.12)
  • 1 tbsp garlic granules (£0.09)
  • 2 pak choi (£1.40)
  • 150g rice noodles (£0.63)
  • 150g mushrooms (£0.44)
  • 12.5g fresh coriander (£0.16)
  • 1 fresh chilli (£0.09)
  • 6 spring onions (£0.32)
  • 2 tbsp soy sauce (£0.12)
  • 1/2 tbsp hot chilli powder (£0.04) (leave out if you don't want it too hot)
  • 1 tbsp sesame oil (£0.12).

Method

Marinade: Mix 1 tbsp chopped garlic, 1 tbsp lemongrass paste (or chopped fresh lemongrass), 1 tbsp soy sauce, 1 tbsp sesame oil and a sprinkle of pepper. It takes around 2 minutes to prepare, and try to marinate the chicken for 12 hours if you can.

You'll need a wok for the broth and a baking tray to grill the chicken.

  1. Boil the kettle with 1.5L of water to start and set the grill to 250°C.
  2. Pop the marinated chicken under the grill for 6 and a half minutes on each side.
  3. Immediately pop the chicken broth on a medium heat in the wok and roughly chop the coriander, finely chop the chilli into horizontal slices and pop them both in, as well as the garlic granules and hot chilli powder. Leave for 10 minutes to simmer.
  4. In the meantime, cut the pak choi's in half, chop up the spring onions and slice the mushrooms thinly.
  5. Pop the mushrooms, noodles and pak choi into the broth with the other tbsp soy sauce and a sprinkle of pepper once the broth has been on for 10 minutes.
  6. Then take the chicken out of the oven after it's been on for 13 minutes. Slice into even thin pieces and pop them in with the spring onion for 1 more minute.

Serve it up and ENJOY.

It's not ramen, but our easy stir fry recipe wouldn't look out of place in Wagamama!

Pizza Express style calabrese tortilla pizza recipe

calibrese pizza with an egg

Takeaway: Around £13.50
Fakeaway: £1.33 per portion

5 mins prep and cook | Serves 1

Ingredients

  • 1 wholemeal wrap (£0.23)
  • 1 large free-range egg (£0.18)
  • 1/2 tbsp chilli flakes (£0.06)
  • 1/2 tbsp paprika (£0.04)
  • 20g chorizo (£0.22)
  • 25g rocket (£0.40)
  • 1 tbsp tomato ketchup (£0.07)
  • 1/2 fresh chilli (£0.05)
  • 1/2 tbsp oregano (£0.08).

Method

You'll need a grill oven, a small frying pan and a tray to place the pizza on.

  1. Preheat the grill to 250°C.
  2. Finely dice the chorizo and chop the fresh chilli into strips.
  3. Evenly spread a tbsp ketchup on the tortilla wrap, then evenly spread the chorizo and chilli.
  4. Pop the pizza under the grill for 4 minutes.
  5. With 1 minute to go, break the egg into a frying pan on a high heat.
  6. Take the pizza out, pop the egg in the middle and sprinkle the rocket, followed by the chilli flakes and the oregano.

VOILA!

We also know of another great (and cheap!) pizza recipe...

KFC style chicken breasts with sweet potato chips recipe

Make at home KFC

Takeaway: £8.19 (for a Boneless Banquet)
Fakeaway: £1.90 per portion

30 mins prep and cook | Serves 4

Ingredients

ingredients for southern fried chicken

  • 8 mini frozen corn on the cob (£1.71)
  • 4 chicken breasts (£3.15)
  • 500g sweet potato (£0.50)
  • 300g bread flour (£0.21)
  • 2 tbsp paprika (£0.16)
  • 1 tbsp FryLight oil spray (£0.30)
  • 1 tbsp garlic granules (£0.09)
  • 1/2 tbsp allspice (£0.10)
  • 1/2 tbsp dried oregano (£0.08)
  • 1/2 tbsp dried parsley (£0.06)
  • 1/2 tbsp dried rosemary (£0.04)
  • 1 tbsp onion granules (£0.12)
  • 1 tbsp chilli powder (£0.08)
  • 1 tbsp black pepper (£0.13)
  • 1 tbsp Herbes de Provence (£0.15)
  • 3 free-range eggs (£0.54).

Method

You'll need 2 baking trays (1 for the chips and 1 for the chicken), a large saucepan and a microwave.

  1. Preheat the oven to 200°C.
  2. Chop the sweet potato into chips and pop on a baking tray, evenly spray with low cal butter and then sprinkle with salt, pepper and a tbsp paprika. Pop in the oven for 30 mins – flip halfway.
  3. Combine the flour, a tbsp salt, a tbsp pepper and the rest of the dried herbs in a bowl for 1 minute.
  4. In a separate bowl, beat the 3 eggs together for 1 minute.
  5. Cut the chicken breasts in half lengthways and dip each in the egg before coating with the batter mixture and leaving for a couple of minutes to dry before spraying lightly with some low-calorie butter (Rob uses FryLight).
  6. Pop the chicken in the oven too for 22 minutes, flipping halfway through.
  7. In the meantime, boil the kettle with enough water for the corn. Pop the corn on a medium heat for 5 minutes to defrost and slightly cook then drain and leave to dry for a few minutes. 
  8. With 4 minutes to go, a spray of fry light on each corn and a sprinkle of salt and pepper. Then pop the corn cobs in the microwave for 4 minutes.

Take the chicken off the heat, the corn out of the microwave and the chips out of the oven, and serve it up!

Fancy chicken for dinner? We also have an easy chicken traybake recipe you could try.

Fish, chips and fresh mint mushy peas recipe

fish and chips with peas

Takeaway: Around £5
Fakeaway: £1.21 per portion

35 mins prep and cook | Serves 3

Ingredients

ingredients for homemade fish and chips

  • 400g sweet potatoes (£0.40)
  • 500g frozen peas (£0.34)
  • 3 frozen cod fillets (£2.48)
  • 15g fresh mint (£0.19)
  • 1 tbsp paprika (£0.08)
  • 1 slice brown bread (£0.02)
  • 1 tbsp dried parsley (£0.12).

Method

You'll need a baking tray for the sweet potatoes, a frying pan for the fish and a boiling pot for the peas.

  1. Pop the oven on at 220°C.
  2. Chop the sweet potatoes into wedges and place them on a baking tray. Evenly spread the paprika, a splash of oil and plenty of salt and pepper over them before throwing them in the oven for 30 minutes. Shake around halfway to stop them sticking.
  3. In the meantime, for the breadcrumbs – put a piece of toast in the toaster for 3 minutes and then blend with a tbsp parsley and a pinch of salt and pepper.
  4. Crack an egg into a bowl and whisk thoroughly as if you're going to make scrambled eggs. Lightly brush each piece of fish with egg to make the breadcrumbs stick and then evenly cover all of the fish with breadcrumbs.
  5. With 10 minutes to go on the sweet potatoes, put the kettle on with enough water for the peas. Then add a few sprays of oil into a frying pan on medium to high heat and pop all of the fish in, skin-side down. Cook for 5 minutes and then flip for a further minute. Take off the heat with 1 minute left on the sweet potatoes.
  6. Once the fish is on, boil the peas for 3 minutes. Chop the fresh mint up. Drain the peas and mash them together with the mint and plenty of salt and pepper.
  7. Take the sweet potatoes out.

Serve it up however you like!

Looking for cheap online supermarkets to save money on ingredients? Our guide can help.

Nando's style Peri-Peri 1/4 chicken and rosemary wedges recipe

peri peri chicken with chips and peas

Takeaway: £6.85 (including Peri-salted chips)
Fakeaway: £1.22 per portion

40 mins prep and cook | Serves 4

Ingredients

For the Peri-Peri Sauce and Perinaise:

  • 4 tbsp olive oil (£0.24)
  • 8 tbsp lemon juice (£0.26)
  • 1 tbsp Very Lazy chopped garlic (£0.12)
  • 1 tbsp garlic granules (£0.09)
  • 1.5 tbsp paprika (£0.12)
  • 1.5 tbsp cayenne pepper (£0.15)
  • 8 tbsp malt vinegar (£0.08)
  • 2 tbsp honey (£0.11)
  • 1 tbsp salt (£0.02)
  • 100g light mayonnaise (£0.37).

For the Quarter Chicken & Wedges:

  • 1kg chicken thighs (£2.10)
  • 800g potatoes (£0.44)
  • 500g frozen peas (£0.34)
  • 15g fresh mint (£0.19)
  • 2 tbsp lemon juice (£0.07)
  • 1 tbsp dried rosemary (£0.08)
  • 1 tbsp olive oil (£0.06)
  • 1 tsp chilli flakes (£0.02) – optional.

Method

You'll need a baking tray and mixing bowl for the rosemary chips, another baking tray for the chicken and a saucepan for the peas.

  1. Preheat the oven to 200ºC.
  2. Throw together all of the Peri-Peri ingredients and lather 2/3 of it on the chicken. Ideally, leave to marinate for a couple of hours at least.
  3. Chop the potato into chips and pop them in a bowl, evenly cover with a tbsp olive oil, a tbsp dried rosemary and plenty of salt and pepper. Spread evenly across a baking tray, put the chicken and wedges in the oven for 35 minutes.
  4. While they cook, make the Peri Peri mayo by mixing together 100g light mayonnaise and a quarter of the Peri-Peri sauce.
  5. With 10 minutes left on the chicken and chips, boil the kettle with enough water for 500g frozen peas. Boil for 4 minutes before draining. While they boil, chop up the mint.
  6. Once the peas go on, put the grill on at 250ºC and get the chicken under the grill to crispen up the skin for 4 minutes.
  7. Take everything off the heat. When drained, pour the peas back into the saucepan and add the mint, a tbsp lemon juice, tsp chilli flakes (if you like spice) and a sprinkle of salt and pepper, before stirring thoroughly.

Serve it all up and drizzle the rest of the Peri-Peri sauce over the chicken. Enjoy!

Next time you're treating yourself to a meal out, check out our guide to the best Nando's hacks to get free and cheap meals. Cheeky.

Recreating meals is just one of many ways you can save money on takeaways.

Of course, we're not saying these recipes will be the exact double of their restaurant equivalents. They will, however, save you a LOT of money.

If you want more of Rob's student budget-friendly recipes, head over to his website or Instagram where you'll find countless tasty dishes and top tips on how to bag bargain ingredients.

And the next time you're tempted to wander into your nearest KFC, think about whether you could make a pretty decent imitation at home first.

We know that students living off baked beans is an old-fashioned stereotype – but that doesn't mean these unique baked beans recipes aren't delicious! 

* Prices are correct as of April 2020 (using Tesco.com and Sainsburys.co.uk prices as guidelines).