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15 College Dorm Kitchen Essentials

Whether your student is just starting out in a dorm room with just a mini-fridge and a microwave, or has moved into an apartment and needs to build a kitchen from scratch, we’ve got your back. Here’s a list of essential tools for young cooks, perfect for the nights when pizza delivery simply won’t cut it.

1. Perfect Pasta in Minutes

Skip the drive-thru and make your own hearty, delicious lunch or dinner in the dorm. This pasta cooker is made for your microwave and makes two servings of pasta or grains in under 10 minutes. It’ll be a go-to for late-night meals, too.

Microwave Pasta Cooker

2. A Breakfast Must-Have

It’s easy to skip breakfast when you have a hectic schedule. But this microwave breakfast cooker makes nutritious meals quick and easy. It makes a fresh breakfast sandwich in less than 2 minutes. Plus, you can even make a sandwich for lunch in no time like a Quick Turkey Florentine Sandwich and Microwave Philly Cheesesteak Wrap.

Breakfast Sandwich Maker

3. Microwave Cooking Essential

You won’t have to worry about burning your hands on hot bowls or freezing your fingers when you eat cold food like ice cream any more. A microwave-safe bowl cozy lets you heat your food and then makes it painless to hold the bowl and enjoy your food while it’s still hot.

Microwave Bowl Cozy

4. Pizza Night (Because You Know It Will Happen)

Pizza nights are inevitable in college—some may even say they’re a necessity. Whether you’re cooking frozen pizza or making it from scratch, you need the essentials. Get a pizza stone for the oven and a personal-size pizza stone to use in a microwave or toaster oven. You’ll also need a pizza cutter to cut through slices and crust easily.

Pizza & Cust Cutter

5. A Tastier Movie Night

Make your own healthier microwave popcorn at home and avoid the greasy butter. The reusable popcorn maker uses regular kernels and means students can season their popcorn with whatever they like (we love garlic salt) and control portion size, too.

Microwave Popcorn Maker

6. Kitchen Basics

Coated utility knives are the workhorses of the kitchen, and a few nice knives are especially key when a student is just learning to cook. A basic kitchen tool set contains coated knives along with flexible cutting mats (each one comes with helpful cooking tips and tricks printed right on its surface) and sturdy utensils for the beginning cook.

Kitchen Basics Tool Set

7. A Hot Breakfast on the Quick

A scrambled egg on a weekday morning always feels like a treat, but it’s especially true when you’re a hungry student. The ceramic egg cooker makes microwave eggs in a snap, and, as a bonus, it also works to cook oatmeal and even a mug cake.

Ceramic Egg Cooker

8. Two-in-one Tool

Most experienced cooks have more spoons and scrapers than they know what to do with, but for the cook who is just starting, the two-in-one scraper saves space and does a lot: it scoops, scrapes, and serves. Tiny but mighty.

9. Stain-Proof Storage

Store your leftovers and heat them in the same container. These leakproof glass containers come in a variety of sizes and have lids that snap securely in place. The 5¼-cup container is perfect for leftovers and the 3-cup container is great for a sandwich on the go.

10. On-the-Go Lunch

Layer a salad in the mason jar and you’ll have a fresh meal for lunch. The set comes with a lunch box, fork, spoon, and a snack jar that’s perfect for yogurt and other snacks. The salad jar has a lid that holds salad dressing to keep veggies and greens from getting soggy.

Make & Take Mason Jar Set

11. The Key to Soup or Broth

It’s the kind of tool that you forget you don’t have until you need it. The smooth-edge can opener prevents sharp edges and a magnet plucks the lid right off.

Smooth-Edge Can Opener

12. Multifunctional Bowl

The small batter bowl isn’t your everyday bowl. This workhorse doubles as a measuring cup—and a pour spout and handle make it even more convenient. It works great in the microwave, and the included lid turns it into a storage container.

Small Batter Bowl

13. Stainless-Steel Storage

College kids need tools that have multi-functions, and this utensil holder has it all: it spins for easy access, it matches any decor with its simple finish, and an included spoon holder that slides out of the base makes it even more convenient.

Stainless Steel Rotating Utensil Holder

14. Weekend Breakfast (and More)

When it’s Sunday morning and you’re missing home, pancakes will hit the spot. The shaker bottle makes quick work of a weekend treat, and, better yet, also works great for scrambled eggs and protein shakes when you’re pressed for time.

Pancake Shaker Bottle

15. For the Graduate

Slow cooking is a beginner cook’s best friend—and great for young cooks in their first home or apartment. You can easily remove this pan from the slow cooker stand and it can go from the oven to the stovetop to the dinner table. It’s safe to put in the fridge and even in the freezer.

Slow Cooker Rockcrok and Stand

This post has been updated since its original publication.


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14 Responses to 15 College Dorm Kitchen Essentials

  1. Janet August 6, 2016 at 11:09 pm #

    Thank you for this AWESOME list of ideas!! I was so busy thinking about bedding and things like that – I hadn’t even thought about setting up the kitchen!! You’ve saved me from having to run around WalMart and buy sub-par products we’d end up replacing in a few weeks!

    • Amy Schram August 26, 2016 at 6:41 pm #

      I’m glad you found it helpful. My daughter leaves next Thursday for college and has a whole boxful of PC tools 🙂 Did you get everything you needed? Have any questions about use and care?

    • Abbey September 4, 2016 at 10:14 am #

      I agree Janet, this list is fantastic! So glad to have it as a resource 🙂

    • Janice Alston September 11, 2016 at 3:42 pm #

      I wish they had these things back when I went to college!

  2. Vanessa Burritt October 23, 2016 at 12:07 am #

    Are there any recipes for the micro cooker?

    • Janelle Viereck January 12, 2018 at 12:18 am #

      Buttery Dill Carrots
      1 lb (450 g) baby carrots
      (about 3 cups/750 mL)
      ¼ cup (50 mL) water
      1 tbsp (15 mL) butter
      1 tbsp (15 mL) All-Purpose Dill Mix
      1∕8 tsp (0.5 mL) salt
      Place carrots and water in Large Micro-
      Cooker®. Cover and microwave on HIGH 6
      minutes or until carrots are crisp-tender; drain.
      Add butter, dill mix and salt; toss gently.
      Yield: 6 servings
      U.S. Nutrients per serving: Calories 45, Total Fat 2 g,
      Saturated Fat 1 g, Cholesterol 5 mg, Carbohydrate 6 g,
      Protein 1 g, Sodium 120 mg, Fiber 2 g
      Cook’s Tip: Dried dill weed can be substituted for the
      All-Purpose Dill Mix, if desired.

  3. Janelle Viereck January 12, 2018 at 12:18 am #

    Quick Mashed Potatoes
    1½ lbs (700 g) unpeeled
    red potatoes, cubed
    ¼ cup (50 mL) milk
    Salt and coarsely
    ground black pepper
    Optional mix-ins such as butter, pressed garlic
    cloves, cream cheese, sour cream, cheddar
    cheese or chopped fresh parsley.
    Place potatoes and enough water to cover
    into Rice Cooker Plus. Cover; microwave on
    HIGH 10–12 minutes or until potatoes are
    tender. Carefully remove inner lid and drain
    water. Add milk to potatoes; mash potatoes.
    Add salt, black pepper and one or more mixins,
    if desired; mix well.

  4. Janelle Viereck January 12, 2018 at 12:18 am #

    Perfect Pasta
    8 oz (250 g) uncooked
    angel hair pasta
    1½ cups (375 mL) chicken
    broth
    ½ cup (125 mL) water
    1 tbsp (15 mL) butter
    1 tbsp (15 mL) chopped fresh parsley
    1 tbsp (15 mL) Lemon Pepper Rub (optional)
    Break pasta in half. Combine pasta, broth
    and water in Rice Cooker Plus. Microwave,
    covered, on HIGH 6–8 minutes or until pasta
    is tender. Carefully remove lid. Add butter,
    parsley and rub, if desired. Toss pasta using
    Chef’s Tongs until butter is incorporated.
    Serve immediately.

  5. Janelle Viereck January 12, 2018 at 12:19 am #

    Speedy Pearl Couscous
    1¾ cups (425 mL) chicken
    broth
    11∕3 cups (325 mL) uncooked
    pearl couscous
    ¼ cup (50 mL) toasted slivered almonds
    1∕3 cup (75 mL) chopped fresh parsley
    Pour broth into Large Micro-Cooker®;
    microwave, covered, on HIGH 2–3 minutes
    or until boiling. Add couscous; microwave,
    covered, on MEDIUM (50% power) 5–7
    minutes or until most of the liquid is absorbed.
    Stir in almonds and parsley.

  6. Janelle Viereck January 12, 2018 at 12:20 am #

    Mashed Sweet Potatoes
    2 medium sweet potatoes
    (about 12 oz/350 g each)
    ½ cup (125 mL) milk
    2 tbsp (30 mL) butter
    ½ tsp (2 mL) salt
    Pierce potatoes in several places with a fork;
    place on paper towels and microwave on
    HIGH 14–16 minutes or until potatoes are
    very tender. Transfer potatoes to Cutting
    Board; cool slightly. In Micro-Cooker or Classic Batter Bowl,
    combine milk, butter and salt. Microwave on
    HIGH 1–2 minutes or until hot. Cut potatoes
    in half lengthwise; carefully scoop flesh into
    batter bowl. Mash until smooth.

  7. Janelle Viereck January 12, 2018 at 12:20 am #

    Smoked Gouda Grits
    3 cups (750 mL) chicken
    broth
    ½ cup (125 mL) heavy
    whipping cream
    1 cup (250 mL) uncooked quick grits
    4 oz (125 g) smoked Gouda cheese, grated
    Place broth and cream in Large Micro-Cooker®.
    Microwave, covered, on HIGH 3–5 minutes
    or until hot. Add grits; cover and microwave
    on HIGH 4–5 minutes or until thickened. Add
    cheese; stir until cheese is melted.

  8. Janelle Viereck January 12, 2018 at 12:21 am #

    Quick Polenta
    2½ cups (625 mL) water
    ¼ tsp (1 mL) salt
    ¼ tsp (1 mL) coarsely
    ground black pepper
    2 garlic cloves, pressed
    2∕3 cup (150 mL) yellow cornmeal
    2 tbsp (30 mL) heavy whipping cream
    2 tbsp (30 mL) butter
    Place water, salt, black pepper and pressed
    garlic in Large Micro-Cooker®; cover and
    microwave on HIGH 3–5 minutes or until
    water is steaming. Slowly whisk in cornmeal.
    Microwave, covered, 2–4 minutes or until
    polenta is tender. Whisk in cream and butter.
    Yield: 4 servings

  9. lisa stuber August 16, 2018 at 9:52 am #

    which is the micro cooker

  10. Ellie Davis August 22, 2018 at 9:17 pm #

    Thank you for pointing out that you want to make sure you have microwave-safe bowls. My sister is moving into a dorm and needs to get kitchen supplies. I’ll have to help her find the best ones for her.

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