Ugggh, (hic) I justss gotta eat some(hic)thing; my top 10 homemade drunk snacks.

Photo: Emily Mills

Most of us have been there (when I was in college, I was there 3 times a week during my first year…sorry mum and dad). You go out with your buddies, have a few beers and by the time you get home you could devour a slab of ribs from King Kong’s chest (make those tofu ribs if you’re a veggie). But what’s a frugal drunk to do? Late night snacks can be pricey, and when you’re somewhat tipsy you don’t care. You need cheap, at-home solutions ready to go. Drunk snacks in a jiffy.

As a quick aside, do you know why you get hungry after drinking alcohol? Well, according to a friend of mine who went to medical school, the reason is quite simple.

Alcohol is filled with carbohydrates, which get turned into sugar in the body. This in turn increases your blood sugar level, and your body releases more insulin to deal with it. When you stop drinking your blood sugar is still down from all the insulin, and so the body sends a signal to the brain saying “hey, get some food in here, we need to get our blood sugar levels back to normal.” Thus, you have the drunken munchies, big time.

Now why most of us crave more spicy foods when we’re drunk, that I can’t shed any light on. Maybe it’s the only thing we can taste after all that booze? But whatever the reason, it’s a nice segue into my list of drunk snacks. Some of these may seem gross right now, but when you’re drunk you’ll be all over them. Are they healthy? Hey, gimme a break, this is drunk food.

1: Instant Ramen with chili or curry powder.
Quick, easy, spicy, yummy. Just boil up the Ramen in the usual way, but get rid of the lame seasoning packet and instead add a bunch of chili or curry powder. You need to keep these suckers on the boil until the broth has turned into a thick sauce. Voila, goeey, spicy noodles in 5 mins.

2: Cheese horns.
These are as quick as they get. Take a cheese slice (like a Kraft Single) and roll it into a cone shape, then fill that cone with some ketchup, Tabasco and a dill pickle. Crunchy, spicy, cheesy. Don’t ask me to eat one sober.

toast cheese toaster oven

3: Ghetto pizza
Really simple this one. Pop some bread in your toaster over. When it starts to toast, remove it and add a little ketchup, a cheese slice and some pepperoni. Back in the toaster oven until the cheese bubbles. Oh yeah baby. (Also works with bagels).

4: Velveeta Queso
Must of us have a bag of chips in the pantry. Make them sing with some easy Velveeta Queso. Just slice up half of a large package of Velveeta and microwave for two mins. Then pour in a small jar of hot salsa, mix well, and microwave again until it starts to bubble. Dip away, but don’t burn yourself on the hot cheese.

5: One pan brekkie
When you stagger home in the wee small hours, this works great. Take a frying pan and put in some frozen sausage links and hash browns, some bacon, and when they all begin to brown, whip up some eggs and pour them in. You’ll get a big fat breakfast omelet in no time.

6: Ghetto Nachos
These are pretty bad. So bad, they’re good. Take a plate of nachos, pour serious amounts of grated cheese over them, add a few dollops of salsa (or if you’re all out, ketchup), sour cream and I sometimes add some sweet pickle relish. It’s not bad, honest. Takes about…1 minute.

7: Quick burrito
Take a large flour tortilla, sprinkle grated cheese inside, add some salsa, Tabasco and some of those ready-cooked chicken strips for salads. Roll up and microwave for around 1 minute.

8: Curried eggs
Ideally you’d make these before you leave, but at the very least hard-boil some eggs before you exit for your night out. When you get home, peel and halve the eggs, scoop out the yolks and mix with curry powder, miracle whip and salt ‘n’ pepper. Spoon mixture back into eggs (just like devilled eggs). Considering the steady hand needed to peel and fill the eggs, I’d make these beforehand. Really tasty and cheap.


9: S’mores
Do I need to tell you how to make these? Didn't think so. But, a few pointers. Make sure you use good chocolate with a high cocoa content, and for fast, even melting I use the mini-marshmallows. I also prefer the cinnamon graham crackers.

10: Poor man’s gyro
Take one pitta, fill with some sliced sandwich meat (beef), chopped tomatoes, plain yogurt and a splash of lemon juice (or actual Tzatziki sauce if you have some in).

This is just my weird (and some think wonderful…but not many) list; I know you all have great suggestions. So, send them this way. Share your culinary experimentation with us all and help out a few drunken snack-attackers.

Additional photo credits: Rick, Alana Elliott
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Andrea Karim's picture

That list makes me NEED to drink, Paul. You use ketchup like you're a part of the Reagan administration or something!

Paul Michael's picture

It's drunk food. I say bring it on! And anyone who knows me knows I'm no Reaganite. But to be fair, less than a third asked for ketchup directly. I think two stated it, with one using it as a replacement for another ingredient. So there.

Andrea Karim's picture

OK, now you sound like part of a different administration... oh, that's right. I WENT THERE.

Mind you, my Russian grandmother used to make gołąbki using ketchup instead of spicy tomatoes. It could be that I'm still recovering from the trauma of that. What can I say? She was a lazier cook than I am.

Paul Michael's picture

You're right. I did say that. Think it's possible kill yourself by drinking 20 bottles of ketchup?

Guest's picture

My drug of choice during my wayward youth was something rather more smokable. -Something that commonly induces the munchies whilst simultaneously lowering one's culinary standards, much as your list implies alcohol will do. A bag of Fudge-Striped Cookies is where it was at. Not healthy, and probably not frugal, but completely irresistible in certain chemically enhanced states. Don't get me started on hazy reminiscences of the little elves on the packaging...

Is it just my age showing, or do the kids in that picture look too young to legally partake in this country of ours?

Paul Michael's picture

I just thought the picture was funny.

Guest's picture

For anyone interested in this topic, a professor friend of mine (an old pro at this, 35 years an alcoholic, sober for quite a few now) wrote a whole book on the subject (in addition to what to watch/read/listen to, etc.)
I have used it quite a few times, at the very least to distract myself from the stomach pains of the hangover.

Guest's picture

...we always went for cheap Tex-Mex...enchiladas, cheesy burritos...something cheap, heavy and filling. I suddenly have a craving for Chuy's. Thanks. ;)


Guest's picture

oiye, admitting that is probably a bad thing. especially when it's the second post in a row I've admitted something about alcohol...

Ok, seriously though, the best drunk food I can usually find in my place? Peanut butter, straight out of the jar! Cheap and usually in your kitchen anyways!

Guest's picture

Just be careful... some of my "drunk" foods... made me so sick the next day that I refuse to eat them ever again: peanut butter, rocky road ice cream ... m&m's ... haven't had 'em since my college days. 20+ years. Can't stomach the thought. Literally!

Guest's picture
Amy Deal

This is going to sound insane, but my favorite drunk food was canned green beans. Seriously, all you need is a can opener, and they're ready to eat. I turned my cohorts on to these and they were hooked. Oh, those were the days - years and years ago.

Guest's picture

I would take the seasoning packet from a bag of ramen and about a tablespoon of peanut butter and add to some freshly cooked (and HOT) spaghetti. So tasty!

Guest's picture

Sadly in my drunk food days I was not frugal so I always went with the crowds to either the chip shop- chips, cheese and curry sauce, the 24 hr Chinese- spare ribs and several pots of green tea, or the Uni Cafe- deep fried pizza and deep fried mars bar.
Of course the morning after we finished our recovery with a full Irish breakfast (at least we made that at home!)
I'm not really sure how my arteries survived 4 years of University.

Guest's picture

My drunk food of choice is tacos! But I don't take any shortcuts, and I do them right.

Guest's picture

oh man, that's the best looking s'more I have ever seen.

Guest's picture

which reminds me of:

Ham: Hey, Smalls, you wanna s'more?
Smalls: Some more of what?
Ham: No, do you wanna s'more?
Smalls: I haven't had anything yet, so how can I have some more of nothing?
Ham: You're killing me Smalls!

name that movie! =]

Guest's picture

This is probably one of the best and most honest personal finance posts ever. Real skills that real people can use. I love it!

Guest's picture

thought of one other snack:

spread some cream cheese on slice of salami, roll it up and enjoy.

so bad for you, yet so worth it.

Guest's picture

At the frat house in college where I used to hang out, the best drunk food was deep-fried pizza rolls. Also super-buttery quesadillas.

I know it's dangerous to mess with hot oil when you're wasted, but maybe you can get your designated-driver friend to run the Fryolator for you.

Now I'm hungry...and thirsty.

Guest's picture

Double foil up into a "pan"
Line the pan with saltine crackers
Top the crackers with cheese
Top the cheese with parmesian
Broil until bubbly and voila!

Guest's picture

My friends in high school taught me how to make a quick and easy dish wish instant ramen. Just boil the noodles as usual, strain them, mix in butter, and add half of the sauce packet and mix that in as well. Yummy and fast, albeit unhealthy.

Paul Michael's picture

for your bottom line though. Much cheaper than ordering half of the Taco Bell menu.

Guest's picture

I'm sorry, is this SERIOUS!? Because those snacks are crazy nasty. I'd rather spend the extra $4 on Doritos than eat a rolled up slice of off-brand Kraft cheese with a squirt of ketchup and a pickle. SICK.

Guest's picture

Many of my favorites have already been mentioned. I'm glad I'm not as strange and gross as I thought. I also like popcorn, made on the stove, with "experimental" toppings - buffalo sauce, kettle style, italian seasonings, I've tried many. And gooey burritos: I usually have a can of refried beans in the cabinet and tortillas in the freezer. Defrost the tortilla for a few seconds. Add a scoop of beans, a slice of deli cheese, and a packet of Taco Bell Fire Sauce (you know you have those lying around). mmm... gooey, salty, spicy. I use wheat tortilla and fat-free vegetarian refried beans, so it's not half bad.

But for me, nothing beats a $2.50 slice of hot pizza from the corner pizza joint.

Guest's picture

I've been a drunk for 40 years, take my advice this is what you want for late night.

2 Multi vitamins
2 Asprin
Wash it down with a warm beer. Night Night. In the morning Pancakes swimming in butter and syrup.

Guest's picture

This is hilarious. He said Ghetto Pizza. That's a fun post right there that Jabulani Leffall - go to his blog please- wishes he would have done.

But question, if you're really smashed, S'mores and a Gyro from the Projects, why would you want to fumble through the kitchen when you can spin time leaving your beer goggles on with tonight's mistake?

LOL:) Great post but I have to agree with the guest above me. A large 7-Eleven Big-gulp cup of H20, some Asprin and a quick shot of room temperature Guinness Food Stuff to pad you're stomach before or after you've taken off those goggles is the best snack.

Andrea Karim's picture

#24 - OMG, I had totally forgotten about flavored popcorn! We used to pop regular microwave popcorn at work and then toss toasted Indian spices all over it, like garam masala or Kitchen King. Oh, that was such a heavenly treat. We started using it as post-drunk food as well.


Guest's picture

Dude, that sounds disgusting... especially the cheeze with katchup!

Try popcorn. It sops up the alcohol, add butter if you need it to be oily.


Guest's picture

my fav drunk food is toast, toped with grated cheese floavoured noodles (usually bacon) and chopped up ham/chicken - whatevers in fridge! if im feeling really adventurous i might even put some bbq sauce on there too.