7 Famous Prison Food Recipes Invented by Inmates
Published June 27, 2021
Prison food standards vary by country and have been a source of controversy for quite some time. While some prison foods are tolerable and sometimes better than restaurant-bought ones, others are pure garbage.
But then, who expects more from a prison meal? After all, the prison kitchen is usually run by the inmates themselves – many of whom have no kitchen experience. Plus, they have to work with a meager budget. For security reasons, most prisons are now also prohibiting families from bringing food to inmates.
So what do inmates eat if they are served an unpleasant prison meal? Make their own food, of course.
Here are famous examples of prison food recipes that prisoners have whipped up that will astound – and perhaps shock you.
1. Prison Pad Thai
Pad Thai is a popular stir-fried rice noodle dish that originated in Thailand. It’s simple to prepare and doesn’t require a lot of equipment. And, given that ramen is a common (and reasonably priced) commissary item, it’s unsurprising to see a high number of prison recipes featuring this ingredient.
- 1 package of ramen noodles
- 1/3 cup of peanut butter
- 1/4 cup of crushed peanuts
- 2 tsp hot sauce
- Prepare ramen noodles according to package instruction
- Mix everything in one bowl
- Use crushed peanuts as garnish
2. Parole Day Cheesecake Inspired By Orange Is The New Black
This recipe is a no-bake cake with crushed cookies, Kool-Aid-based frosting, and other items from the commissary menu. When an inmate is granted parole, he or she will typically prepare this recipe. As with other no-bake recipes, this one utilizes crushed bread as the “sponge.”
- 12 oz of cookies (any kind)
- 6 oz of cream cheese
- 2 tbsp of honey
- 1 packet of sugar
- 2 tbsp of french vanilla creamer
- 3/4 cup of Kool-Aid (any flavor)
- Crush the cookies until they’re crumbs
- Microwave the crushed cookies for at least 3-4 minutes, and then let them cool
- In a bowl, mix the cream cheese, honey, sugar, french vanilla creamer, and Kool-Aid
- Pour the mixture on top of the crushed cookie crust, then spread the frosting evenly
- Refrigerate or keep in an ice-filled bucket for 4-5 hours or until the toppings are solid
3. Jailhouse Burrito
This burrito recipe incorporates flavorful ingredients from the commissary kitchen. It’s delectable, quick to prepare, and provides enough servings for two people. Plastic bags are used for cooking the ingredients in this recipe due to a lack of utensils inside the prison. Moreover, chip bags are recycled for cooking and mixing due to this concern.
- 1 package of spicy ramen noodles
- 3/4 in 8 oz bag of Spicy Jalapeno ranch-flavored popcorn
- 1/4 cup of squeezable cheese
- Any hot sauce (sriracha or tabasco sauce)
- 1/2 bag of Cheetos
- Crushed cheese-flavored crackers
- Spicy Takis
- Crush the ramen noodles first before opening the pack
- “Cook” the ramen noodles with hot water while inside the bag. Make sure to seal it tightly
- While waiting for the ramen to cook, make the burrito stuffing, and then add the ramen seasoning to the Jalapeno popcorn
- Next, add the crushed Takis, hot sauce, squeezable cheese, and crushed cheese crackers
- Then put on the cooked ramen noodles and mix all the ingredients in the popcorn plastic bag
- Get the tortilla and use the leftover cheese on it
- Put your stuffing and wrap it up. Once done, slice the burrito for sharing
4. Prison Pizza
Who wouldn’t want a slice of pizza at the end of a long, stressful day? Pizza is currently the most popular comfort food in the United States, according to Food Network. It’s unsurprising that some people attempted to make an entire pizza using only what was available inside the prison. This recipe makes use of crackers as noodles and commissary items as toppings.
- 2 sleeves of Saltine cracker
- 2 sleeves if Ritz cracker
- Tomato Paste
- Pepperoni slices
- 1 pack of ramen noodles
- 1 stick of Slim Jim
- Block cheese or Squeeze Cheese
- Empty plastic bags (e.g., a Dorito bag)
- Thinly slice the pickles, onions, block cheese, and slim jim
- Inside the Dorito bag, crush two entire sleeves of Saltine crackers and two sleeves of Ritz crackers
- Place the crushed ramen noodles inside the bag
- Fill the bag halfway with hot water. Assure that the water level in the mixture is identical
- For 15 minutes, mash the mixture together to incorporate the ingredients and cook the noodles
- Once the mixture resembles dough, carefully cut the side of the bag and flatten it. Distribute the dough evenly with another chip bag and a round material such as a rolling pin
- Microwave the dough for 4-5 minutes
- Spread the tomato paste evenly and top with the remaining ingredients
- Cook the pizza in the microwave for five minutes
5. Prison Tamales
Tamales are a delectable yet simple Mexican dish. Because of this, some inmates who were bored with chips and ramen noodles invented Prison Tamales. It requires only hot water and a strong plastic bag.
- 1 large bag of corn chips
- 1/3 cup of processed cheese food or cheese curls
- 1 1oz beef jerky sausage or meat stick
- 1/2 cup of warm water
- Combine corn chips and cheese in a single chip bag
- Finely crush the contents
- Chop the meat stick into small pieces, and add it to the mixture
- Add just enough water to the mixture to enable it to be shaped into a tamale
- Tightly seal the bag and run it under hot water to cook
- Remove the bag from the freezer and enjoy your tamales
6. Prison Chi Chi
Chi-Chi is one of the popular prison food recipes that many inmates prepare using commissary items. The cook may incorporate whatever ingredients he or she wishes into the mixture, which explains why there are so many prison recipes variations for this dish. Ramen noodles, cheese, meat snacks, chips, and sugar are frequently used materials.
- Hot Sauce
- Salt and Pepper
- Onion and Garlic powder
- Cayenne pepper
- A pack of Ramen noodles
- Canned sausages
- Precooked can/package of chili
- In a bowl, bring water to a boil. Using hot water, cook the ramen noodles
- Melt a small amount of butter
- In the melted butter, combine the hot sauce, salt, pepper, onion and garlic powder, and cayenne pepper. Combine thoroughly
- Cut the canned sausages into slices and combine them with the pre-cooked chili
- Combine the butter mixture previously made with the chili and sausage mixture in a microwave-safe bowl and reheat the entire mixture
- Combine the ramen noodles and the sauce in a large mixing bowl
7. Lock-up Latte
Just because they’re in prison doesn’t mean they can’t enjoy some Starbucks action. Though, as you can imagine, the prison’s version of latte doesn’t taste anything like the latte most of us are used to. Since there are no coffee makers in prison, inmates typically use powdered coffee and whatever kind of milk they can get their hands on.
- fresh milk or any type of liquid milk
- instant coffee
- maple syrup or sugar
1. Put the milk carton in a microwave or hold it under hot running water.
2. Add a few teaspoons of instant coffee and stir.
3. Add maple syrup or sugar to taste.
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About The Author
Krizzia Paolyn is an SEO Specialist with a bachelor’s degree in Psychology. It has always been her passion to share her voice, and at the same time, to encourage other people to speak up.