Campus life can be so busy. Classes, sports, clubs, socializing—your schedule can be all over the place. So, whether you just want to have some snacks on hand or you’re cooking full meals for yourself, this college kitchen essentials list for your dorm will make it easy to grab a quick bite or prepare a dinner to wow your friends.
If you don’t have a kitchen
Living in a traditional dorm room that doesn’t have cooking facilities? Then you’ll definitely need a plan for snacks outside of the dining hall’s hours. Some strategies to consider:
- Designate one area of your room—a bookcase shelf, or the top of your mini fridge—as a place for food and other related kitchen essentials.
- Keep a single-portion cold brew coffee maker or a pour-over coffee maker for one on hand for emergency caffeine boosts. In addition to your preferred coffee machine, you’ll need an electric kettle to heat up some water and an insulated travel mug that will keep your coffee hot for up to six hours in case you’re taking it with you to class.
- Have an insulated water bottle or thermos that you can take with you on the go so you’ll stay hydrated throughout the day.
When you’ve washed your bottles and mugs at the end of the day, putting them all on a small mat that can be rolled up when not in use can help dry them for the next day.
- Since cereal is a scrumptious snack anytime of the day or night, keep some on hand in an air-tight container with a spout for easy pouring; it’ll stay fresh for when you need it.
- Keep a compact dustpan and brush on hand to gather up crumbs quickly and easily.
- Have a few cinches or clips around in case you open up a bag of chips or granola but don’t finish it all.
- Bring an extra serving of food back from the dining hall in a to-go box for a late-night snack. If you don’t eat it all, pop the rest into a sturdy leakproof container with a lid and enjoy it straight from your fridge the next day.
If you have a kitchen
Sharing a suite with its own kitchen—or living in an off-campus apartment with housemates—can be a fun and memorable college experience. When it comes to eating, you can make what you want when you want to, and you’ll no doubt enjoy many late-night debates over delicious food with friends. But first, you’ll need to kit out your cooking space with some of the best college kitchen essentials. Items to consider include:
- A set of non-stick pots and pans, which make it a breeze to whip up simple omelets and satisfying pasta dishes like spaghetti Bolognese.
- A few cutting boards to use when prepping sandwiches or packable lunches, which are especially great if you’re commuting to school.
- A set of knives.
- A set of kitchen utensils with tools you’ll actually use everyday, like an ice cream scoop and a cheese grater.
- Stackable plastic mixing bowls, which save on space and can be used to mix up oatmeal dough bites or homemade hummus.
- Measuring spoon, because how else are you going to ration out the ingredients for the easy double chocolate chip cookies you’re going to be making for the next tailgate party or dorm hangout?
- A collapsible colander that can lay flat in a drawer or stand up in a cabinet to make room for other items.
- Glass cookware with dedicated lids that can go from the oven to the refrigerator. You can use a large size to make a meal big enough for the whole suite—such as macaroni and cheese or chili—and then pack away individual portions for you and your roommates to grab when needed over the next few days.
- A selection of air-tight, stackable containers that will help keep ingredients fresh. If the members of your suite all keep their own food separate, make sure to label the containers to make them easy to identify. And if your roommates all vote for a no-sharing food policy, divide your refrigerator up into sections and assign each person a dedicated space.
- A compost bin that keeps odors in until it can be emptied at a nearby recycling and composting facility.
Studying on an empty stomach is not a recipe for success, so make sure you have what you need in your room or suite to keep you going. And if you’ve got some extra containers left over, use them to declutter your study space so you can focus on working (and playing!) hard.