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 their backs! 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

Ditch the food delivery 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.

2. Kitchen Utensils They'll Use Every Day

With the Multicolor Kitchen Utensil Set, you can make (and serve!) virtually anything in the kitchen. This set includes a slotted spoon, turner, spoon, and small slotted turner in a variety of colors in a range of fun colors to make your kitchen area more vibrant and fun. Plus, each utensil is made of nylon, so they’re safe to use with all kinds of cookware—even nonstick—when you’re sauteing, frying, or boiling!

3. Must-Have Microwave Cooking Essentials

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 anymore. 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.

4. Be Ready for Pizza Night (Because You Know It’ll 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.

5. Make It a Movie Night

Make your own air-popped microwave popcorn at home and avoid the greasy butter. This 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.

6. Take Snacks With You Anywhere Any Time

Sick of using single-use plastic bags? Then, our Reusable Storage Bag Set will make your day! This set comes with four different-sized storage bags made of 100% platinum silicone, which means they’re reusable, resealable, and leakproof! Use them to take snacks with you on the go, store sandwiches, and even put away leftovers for later.

7. Hot Breakfast On the Go

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

8. Your Go-To 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. Fantastic Food 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. Take Lunch On the Go

Layer a salad in the mason jar and you’ll have a fresh meal for lunch. The salad jar has a lid that holds salad dressing to keep veggies and greens from getting soggy.

11. The Best Can Opener

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.

12. A Gadget Every Guacamole Lover Needs

This Avocado Tool is a must-have for anyone who loves avocado toast or homemade guacamole. One end is a knife that helps you cut through the avocado skin, separate it from the avocado flesh, slice the avocado any way you like, and spread it. And the other end is a pitter that lets you grab the pit and remove it with ease. The soft-grip handle is comfortable to hold no matter how you use the tool, and it’s compact enough to store in any kitchen drawer.

13. Make Fruit Prep Quick and Easy

Whether you want to make fruit salad or enjoy a healthy snack, our apple corer lets you prep your produce with a few simple motions. All you have to do is push the stainless-steel blade through your fruit, twist the handle, and pull up for easy release! Plus, you can use it for more than just coring apples. You can also use it to core pears, remove the center of cupcakes to fill with tasty treats, and even vent the tops of your pies for more thorough bakes.

14. Make Weekend Breakfast (and More)

When it’s Sunday morning and you’re missing home, pancakes will hit the spot. This pancake 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.

15. Cover All the Cooking Prep Basics

The Basic Veggie Prep Set is a must-have for all college dorm kitchenettes, apartment dwellers, and first-time homeowners. It comes with a Kitchen Paring Knife Set, Flexible Cutting Mat Set, and a 3-Piece Peeler Set, so you’ll have everything you need to peel, slice, and cut vegetables when you’re preparing meals.

20 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!

    • Mary Harms June 1, 2019 at 12:29 am #

      What great ideas. We need to make sure our kids need to know how to cook, so they can feed their brains.

  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
    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
    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.

    • Shelray Aube August 29, 2022 at 5:30 pm #

      I cook my sweet potatoes inside the micro cooker and they turn out wonderfully

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

    Smoked Gouda Grits
    3 cups (750 mL) chicken
    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.

    • Cheryl Harding August 7, 2022 at 3:18 pm #

      There is a whole Microwave Cooking section on the website and in addition there are glass and silicone containers for storage and reheating! A Cozy is super important to not burn the fingers but please make sure to check that the batting inside of it is microwave safe or they can catch fire. #beenthere Have any questions about the products, just ask!

  11. Cheryl Harding August 7, 2022 at 3:09 pm #

    The Micro Cooker wasn’t actually in the blog post; that is the Pasta Cooker. There are 3 sizes of Micro Cookers; they come individually or as a set! They are black with a white opaque lid! They’e be perfect for college dorms/apartments also! The set is #100041. Do you have any questions about use & care of them?

  12. Wendy Boice August 24, 2022 at 1:25 pm #

    This is GREAT! Sorry I didn’t see it sooner I would have shared it sooner!

  13. Cathy September 25, 2022 at 2:46 pm #

    I am wondering what the bagel item shown in the cover page.

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