Dorm room cooking

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A quick meal before class
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Dorm room cooking: Part 3 of the Tips for College series give dining in ideas

The items that compose the basics of kitchenware are more useful to students prepared to do more cooking than eating at college dining halls. Freshmen are often required to choose at least one of the meal plan options at their new college. While cooking for oneís self is cheaper and healthier, it is also time consuming. Why add another stress to adapting college freshmen by forcing them to learn to cook in their first year?

The serious cooking utensils are for upperclassmen living and cooking on their own. Although some of the basic utensils are good to have, just in case.

Colleges have very specific policies regarding electrical appliances so be sure to check out your schoolís qualifications for kitchen ware before buying anything.


Kitchen? you ask.

Trust me, you'll come to think of your mini-fridge, microwave and, if you are lucky, communal cooking space down the hall as your kitchen. And that's comforting.

Here's what you need for dorm room cooking:

Cake pan

As a fervent baker, I found cake pans and easy-bake mixes to be my best friends. Cakes are great celebratory treats for a college friendís birthday. You only need a mixing bowl, cake pan, and some simple ingredients to whip up a delicious cake.

Cupcake tray

Also great for the baking fiend, cupcake trays are a requirement for the miniature pastries.


Every college kid should have a set of plates, bowls, cups, and a mug. Reheated food, ramen noodles, and cereal seem to be the food of choice for students on a budget. Basic dinnerware will ensure that students remain a bit of civility.     

Measuring cup

Every student chef should have a set of measuring cups and table spoons.


A microwave is one kitchen piece that is marketed as a necessity for a college dorm room. Honestly, microwaves are only useful for popcorn and reheating food. If a communal kitchen already has a functioning microwave, you can skip buying a separate one. If not, you probably will wish you had one.


A mini-fridge is another kitchen piece that every college freshman should buy. While communal kitchens have a fridge, there is always the worry that others will tamper or eat your food. Besides, most communal fridges are full of month-old, science experiment type food. Itís better to have your own fridge and small freezer for occasional ice cubes and popsicles.

Mixing bowls

Student chefs need mixing bowls Ė preferably one small, medium, and large.

Plastic bags

Rather than take up space with Tupperware use plastic bags to seal up leftover food. Although not as environmentally friendly, students will rarely need to use plastic bags, as there are seldom leftovers when students cook.


A pot or sauce pan is a step up from an electric water kettle. Heated water can make hot chocolate, ramen noodles, and cook pasta, among other things. While a water kettle can do just about all of these things, a pot is more professional.


Utensils such as forks, knives, and spoons, are just as important as dinnerware. One sharp cutting knife is always good to have. Not all food is finger food.


Even if you have the maximum dining hall credits available, there are some snacks that just canít be found among the premade meals. A box of cereal, ramen noodles, popcorn, cookies, and yogurts are just some of the many favorite college snacks.


Keep dishes and utensils clean with a sponge and some dish soap. No one is there to clean up your mess.  


Dish towels for drying dishes and mopping up spills are separate from bath towels.

Water bottle

Water bottles are staples in gyms, sports fields, and overheated classrooms. Especially in the spring and summer months itís important for students to keep hydrated between busy schedules.

Water filter

Donít trust those kitchen sinks? Grab a water filter pitcher and have purified water on each refill. Many water bottles even have built-in filters for those on the go.

Water kettle

A water kettle is the single most important kitchen item to have in a dorm. Boiling water has never been so simple! There are different brands of water kettles at varying prices, but even a basic one has an automatic shut off. Water kettles are the best way to brew a cup of tea, cook ramen noodles, or prepare hot chocolate for cold, winter days.

You just finished Part 3 in a series that covers the living spaces of a multi-functional dorm room Ė which is your little space on that big college campus.

If you missed the first two parts, catch up here:

Part 1:
Dorm bedroom ideas
Part 2: Studying at college

Or, keep on reading here:

Part 4:
Surviving the Dorm Bathroom
Part 5:
Pack your College Wardrobe Basics
Part 6:
and everything else you shouldn't forget for What You Really Need for College

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