Wondering what college dorm kitchen essentials you need for your dorm?
Keep reading because I’m going to give you all the kitchen supplies you need for college!
College dorm rooms require you to use some ounce of creativity when it comes to your little college kitchen area. Somehow you are supposed to make your own little food area in your shoebox-sized room. You don’t have ANY space for a stove or anything huge.
But you’ll have to be a bit creative with your meals and rely on a microwave, the dining hall, and free snacks from random events on campus.
29 College Dorm Kitchen Essentials To Bring To Your Dorm So You Won’t Starve
1. Mini Fridge
If you are wondering, “Do I need a refrigerator for my dorm?” Then I have the answer: yes. You’ll need a refrigerator for your dorm room. THIS IS AN ABSOLUTE MUST FOR DORM ROOMS. Write this down right now on your dorm kitchen essentials list.
You need to get a refrigerator with a freezer and refrigerator sections.
This is also an item you can share with your roommate. I brought the mini-fridge my freshmen year, and we shared it.
As I mentioned in my items to share with your college roommate post, you will need to share a microwave with your roommate. You will be using a microwave pretty much every day in a dorm. It is a dorm room must-have for sure. If you do not get anything else on this list, then at least buy a microwave.
3. Mugs or Cups
Mugs and cups are the last things that I thought I needed as a freshman in college on move-in day. I had plastic cups throughout the year and ran out, then finally gave in a bought a cup. I recommend getting at least 1-2 mugs and plastic cups and washing them out when needed. These are similar to the mugs I just bought from WorldMarket!
4. Coffee Maker
As I half-ranted in other blog posts about what to bring to college, I mention that I used to spend anywhere from $5-7 on coffee every day. I do not recommend you falling into the trap of buying coffee every day. It’s not worth it.
Buy yourself a cheap coffee maker, some coffee, milk, sweetener. Teach yourself how to make your own coffee. It takes a while to learn, but it’s worth it and you’ll save so much money.
5. Water Filter
One of my most recommended college hacks is getting a water filter. You will be tempted to buy water bottles on campus that costs $2-4 EACH every day. Then, you’ll want to buy a huge case (and waste of plastic) of water from the grocery store. DON’T.
Buy yourself a water filter. Since my sophomore year, I used this one because I couldn’t afford to buy water every time I left my apartment. I use this filter to this day and recommend it to any freshmen. All you need to do is refill it and replace the filter every few weeks.
You need something to eat your food with. This kitchenware is what college students really need because no matter what you’ll need a spoon or fork to get with. I personally had plastic forks and spoons, but it’s best to just buy a little set of them. Target has some utensils sets for under $10.
7. Plates & Bowls
I recommend honestly getting plastic bowls and plates for your dorm. Avoid using any paper plates because they won’t last long. Target has some cheap, plastic plates for like $1 or $2 year-round.
8. Can Opener
If there is one thing I wish I would have had as one of my college kitchen essentials is a can opener. You will somehow end up picking up a can without a tab on it and will end up needing a can opener. I recommend this cool-looking can opener because it is one of the best dorm cooking gadgets you’ll find. It also will not take much space either until a typical can opener.
One of my college food hacks was sneaking food out of the dining hall…yeah. Just put like 2-3 containers on your college kitchen shopping list right now.
10. Bag Clips
You will underestimate the need for bag clips in your dorm. Most students living in dorms live off of snacks instead of going grocery shopping. Bag clips should be on your college dorm kitchen essentials list for sure. These are the exact ones I bought that are shaped like cats.
11. Waffle Maker
If there was one thing I wish I had in my college dorm, it would be a waffle maker. I’m not kidding by saying this my FAVORITE college kitchen essential. I bought one my junior year and used it almost every day. It’s a quick breakfast for the weekends or days you don’t want to go to the dining hall.
12. One Pan and Pot or a Mini Cooking Set
A pan and pot are college cooking essentials that I used for sure. I know I’ve repeated that you won’t cook that many times, but sometimes you just want some Ramen noodles one afternoon or some breakfast at night when the dining hall is serving the same food. You just need one pan and a pot. If you plan on getting a cooking set, I recommend holding off until you are in a college apartment or sophomore year.
You’ll want to have one or two dishtowels with you. Since you are going to be in a dorm room, you won’t have space for a dish rack. Instead of using your towels meant for your bathroom, use a dish towel to dry off your dishes.
14. Paper Towels
You know this might be the top college dorm kitchen essentials you need. I know I say that almost every 3rd thing on this list, but you will spill something or there will be a time when you will need to clean something. You will need paper towels. Buy them in bulk because you do not want to hunt around campus for free napkins at the campus dining hall or eating places.
15. Dishwashing Liquid
The next item to add to your kitchen supplies list is dishwashing liquid. I used a small bottle and it lasted pretty much the whole year. You’ll wash a few dishes and be done. Wash your hands with it a couple of times and that’s it. No need to go overboard with it.
16. Ziploc Bags
Remember how I told you to get some food out of the dining hall… bring those Ziploc bags too. Ziploc bags are THE basic kitchen essentials college students need. You can bring snacks to class AND use them for other storage ideas.
17. Tea Kettle
If you are not a coffee drinker or a tea lover, then getting a tea kettle would be a great idea. A college food hack that I just thought of is that you use the hot water from the tea kettle for Ramen noodles. Also having a tea kettle can also save you money similar to a coffee maker. This one from Amazon is the closest one that I currently have right now.
18. Utensils Tray or Storage Cart
College kitchen storage tip: get a mini cart or place just for your food. This is where you can store all your snacks and college dorm kitchen essentials all in one area. You probably won’t find this one other dorm kitchen lists but a storage cart for your snacks, dishes, and kitchen appliances.
Extra Kitchen Supplies You Might Need But Most Likely Won’t Use:
The following items are kitchen supplies and appliances that I honestly feel are optional. Unless you are a mini Food Network star, then you shouldn’t be cooking that much in your dorm. Trust me, a lot of these college dorm kitchen essentials lists will list a bunch of college cooking supplies that you will be hauling up and down the halls, stairs, and/or elevator. Also, remember you are living in a dorm, so you don’t have that much space. It’s important to determine what are your college dorm kitchen essentials yourself.
So I mentioned in what not to bring to college blog post, not to bring a whole blender. I recommend if you absolutely need one to bring a blender, then get a mini one for a dorm. Trust me, you will not have a lot of room.
20. Rice Cooker
If you love rice, get yourself a small rice cooker. I honestly kinda recommend them because rice and gravy was one of my favorite dishes to eat at home and missed it during my freshman year. Also, you can make a lot of meals with rice in your dorm’s kitchen and eat well for a while.
Y’all I brought a crockpot and barely used it. I didn’t have a car to go to the store to buy real ingredients to cook and didn’t know how to work it. A mess.
Unless you are sitting in your dorm on Zoom classes this fall, then maybe a crockpot is for you. Maybe a mini one might be great for you. But unless you are skilled and/or ready to learn how to use a crockpot without possibly triggering your fire alarm, then get one.
22. Toaster Oven
These were banned from my dorm, so IDK if you can bring them. I honestly would have like to have one because they’re nice. Want to heat up a pizza? Toaster oven. Warm up some food from that restaurant you and your friends when to last night? Toaster oven.
But again, check with your dorm before buying or bringing one.
23. Air Fryer
These are so POPULAR NOW and I’M SO JEALOUS. If your dorm allows air fryers, then I’d bring one. It’s so easy to use and you can almost cook anything in there without the hassle of so many kitchen supplies.
24. Cutting Board
Man, I was using a paper plate to chop my food some nights. LOL. Get some plastic, small ones. I use that kind all throughout college and they work fine. They’re better to use in a dorm than a huge wooden board.
25. Baking pan
Unless you plan to bake a lot, then invest in a baking pan. I know that my dorm complex had a few free (gross) ones that everyone borrowed. I wish I would have had one to bake some cookies on the weekend with my friends. This pan has a five-star rating on Amazon and is affordable for college students on a budget.
IDK if you will need to strain your ramen noodles that much. But I recommend if you really one, then get a small one or a collapsible one.
27. Knife Set
Having a few knives to cook is okay. I recommend one or two or buying a set that comes with a cutting board like this one from Amazon.
Having a toaster would be great for when you want to have a bagel or toast. As always I recommend getting one if you actually use it and buy a small one. This is the exact toaster that I currently have and have been using it for about 3 years. It’s basic and ideal for a dorm room kitchen.
29. Measuring Cups
The final university kitchen essentials you might need are measuring cups, especially if you are planning to actually cook or make coffee in your room. These aren’t the first dorm room kitchen essentials that people think to bring but there are useful, and you’ll need them at the most random times.
Do college dorms have kitchens?
Okay, in your dorm room, specifically there most likely will not be a kitchen. There will be a kitchen either on your floor or somewhere in the dorm building. My dorm freshman year had a kitchen on the first floor.
You probably have tons of other questions about college kitchen supplies and shopping, but don’t worry I hopefully answer all of them in this blog post.
What kitchen appliances can you have in a dorm?
Honestly, you have to ask your campus housing department. It varies from campus to campus. My dorm couldn’t bring certain kitchen appliances such as a toaster oven (and prior to college that’s all I used.)
What dishes should I bring to college?
You don’t need that many dishes. I honestly recommend getting a few good plastic plates and bowls that are from Target or Amazon to use.
How do you pack kitchen items for college?
Um, that’s a great question. I personally had a container just for my college dorm kitchen essentials. Also, I avoided bring too many items because (again) you just need the essentials and what you really need for eating. You won’t cook that much.
Finally if you scrolled down to the end of the page just to find the answer to this question:
What do you need for a dorm kitchen?
Simple: the bare minimum. Too many freshmen get caught into bring EVERYTHING. You don’t need half of the items you think you need.
This post gave you all the college dorm kitchen essentials you’ll need!
Wait before you go! Read some more of my super helpful blog posts:
- The Most Detailed Grocery List For College Students
- The Ultimate Dorm Packing List For 2021
- What You Need For Your Dorm Room Bathroom Essentials List