10 Foods You Can Cook In A Hotel Room

Comfort is key when traveling, and part of staying comfortable is making sure everyone is well fed and there are plenty of snacks to enjoy along the way. But sometimes, finding a good meal when you're on the road is easier said than done. Perhaps you don't want to be limited to fast food, or maybe you stopped for the night and all of the local restaurants are closed. In those situations, you may have to take it upon yourself to prepare your own food. But how does that work when you're staying in a hotel without any major kitchen equipment?

Most hotel rooms offer a few basic small appliances and home goods, including a microwave, a coffee pot, and an iron for your clothes. What if we were to tell you that those three items can be used in more ways than you might think? These may not be the most gourmet meals you have ever had, but if you are staying at a hotel late one night and eating out isn't an option, you can whip something up in a matter of minutes without having to resort to frozen food or an unsatisfying bag of vending machine potato chips. Read on for our best hotel room recipe hacks.

1. Loaded baked potato

Making a baked potato in the oven can take quite a while, and if you do not have the time to wait upwards of one hour, a microwave can get the job done in a fraction of the time. And it's an easy, filling meal to put together from your hotel room. To cook a potato in the microwave, simply poke a few holes into the skin with a fork and cook for about 10 minutes (via Food Network). If you've got paper towels on hand, wrapping a damp one around your potato while cooking will help steam it even more thoroughly.

If you can cook a potato in the microwave in your hotel room, then you can also build yourself the ultimate loaded baked potato. Since most of the typical toppings for a loaded baked potato do not need any sort of additional preparation, once the potato is cooked, you are off to the races. Stock up on favorites like sour cream, bacon bits (or imitation bacon bits), chives, butter, and cheese to store in the mini fridge in your room. With so many toppings, a loaded baked potato can be a meal in and of itself.

2. Grilled cheese sandwich

The ultimate comfort food, there are few things as satisfying as a simple grilled cheese sandwich. It is one of the first foods many of us learned how to cook on our own, and you only need a few easy-to-find ingredients: cheese, bread, and butter (or mayonnaise, but that is a debate for another day). And do not be tricked into thinking you need a stove top in order to make grilled cheese sandwich. If you are staying overnight at a hotel, we are willing to bet you have a tool in your room that perhaps was not invented for the purpose of making grilled cheese, but will absolutely get the job done.

The next time you iron your clothes while you are staying at a hotel, keep the iron set aside for a tasty sandwich for lunch or dinner. That is right, you can use your iron to make grilled cheese. Not only does the heat from the iron help to toast your bread, but the pressure applied from the hot iron works like a sandwich press. Grilled Cheese Social recommends turning your iron onto the highest temperature and turning the steam setting off. For the sandwich itself, you are going to want to assemble the grilled cheese, then wrap it in foil, and press the iron onto the foil-wrapped sandwich for a few minutes on each side.

3. Pizza in a mug

No, your hotel room probably does not come with a brick oven, but it should come with a microwave, and that's all you need to make your very own pizza. In this instance, make sure you pack a microwave-safe mug in your suitcase and get ready for your next dinner, the from-scratch mug pizza. It may not look exactly like a pizza (and we'll be honest, it probably won't taste exactly like one either), but it has all of the right components and is quite the innovative way to throw together a full meal without having to order any takeout.

This is a fairly involved dish in terms of the amount of ingredients you will need for the dough — including flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt — along the classic pizza ingredients like sauce, cheese, and any other toppings you may want. It is not as simple as some of the other meal ideas on this list, but it is definitely one of the more flavorful. If you want to try something totally out of left field for dinner the next time you are staying overnight at a hotel, give the mug pizza a shot. If all else fails, you could always see if the closest pizza shop is still open for delivery.

4. Pasta

Some may consider this to be the ultimate cardinal sin of the culinary world, as this is about to break a number of rules you should always follow when making a bowl of pasta. But yes, you can technically make a number of pasta-based dishes from your hotel room, as long as you have access to a microwave. Cooking the pasta, as you would when making microwave macaroni and cheese, simply involves the process of combining pasta with salt and water in a microwave-safe bowl and cooking in short intervals until you have the right consistency. Using that cooking method as the base, you can go on to make a number of different pasta dishes.

If the thought of microwaving dry pasta noodles until they are considered al dente makes shivers run down your spine, you can always substitute for a different kind of noodle, like spaghetti squash or zucchini noodles. From there, add your favorite sauces or toppings and heat until it is ready to eat. Bottom line — there's no need to think that your options for microwavable pasta is limited to just Chef Boyardee.

5. Nachos

The perfect combination of crunchy and salty, nachos are a great dish in that they are quite versatile with the number of toppings you can add, and many of them do not require any additional prep work that would require the use of an appliance. So as long as you have access to a microwave in your hotel room, you should be able to assemble a tasty mountain of loaded chips within a matter of minutes. 

All you need are chips and cheese to make a simple plate of nachos, although you can obviously get way fancier and more elaborate from there. Grab a bag of tortilla chips and your favorite shredded cheese at the grocery store, pile them onto a microwave-safe dish, and heat for just a couple of minutes until the cheese is melted. From there, you can add your favorite toppings, like sour cream, guacamole, peppers, or other vegetables.

6. Ramen noodles

Perhaps this next one is a no-brainer, but if you are only accustomed to cooking your instant ramen noodles on the stovetop, you may not have considered it to be a meal you can make in your hotel room. And we're not talking about cooking ramen noodles in the microwave, as you might be assuming. After all, instant ramen noodles are a favorite amongst college students, mainly due to the fact that they require no major kitchen appliances in order to make. But even if your room isn't equipped with a microwave, you can still enjoy a hot bowl of ramen noodles thanks to a different appliance you can find in most hotel rooms — your coffee pot.

This inventive way of cooking instant ramen was shared on Reddit, and involves just a few simple steps. Add your noodles to the coffee pot and water to the reservoir (like if you were making a regular pot of coffee) before turning it on, so the ingredients can heat up together. Once your noodles are fully cooked, add the seasoning packet that comes with the ramen. Other Redditors pointed out that it is not as efficient as a stovetop, or even a microwave, but if all you have in your hotel room is a coffee pot, you can still make your go-to instant comfort food on the go.

7. Oatmeal

Hotel room-friendly meal ideas are not just limited to lunch and dinner. You can also make some easy breakfasts with just a couple of ingredients, using appliances your hotel will usually have in stock. If you have to wake up super early at the end of your vacation to head to the airport, for example, and nothing is open yet, you can still enjoy a bowl of oatmeal using only your coffee pot.

Perhaps you will want to wait to make your coffee until after the oatmeal is done so there is no added, unwanted flavor to your breakfast, but the process is pretty simple and straightforward according to AOL News. Similar to the process for making ramen, add your oats to the coffee pot and pour your water in the top basin, then turn the coffee maker on to work its magic. You can mix in any spices, if you happen to have them, afterward, and you can add your favorite toppings like fruit or nuts once you've transferred the cooked oatmeal to a bowl. Just make sure you rinse everything out before you switch over to use your coffee pot for its intended use of brewing a cup of joe.

8. Rice

There are a lot of tips and tricks out there when it comes to cooking rice, but at the end of the day, it is a very simple staple food item to make. One of the most common ways to make rice is by using a stovetop, though brands have also come up with instant rice that can be heated in the microwave in a fraction of the time. If you only have access to dry rice, however, you can still turn to your hotel room microwave to heat up a quick side dish for your lunch and dinner the next time you are on the road. It is not necessarily the best way to prepare rice, but it does work, and can be a game-changer when it comes to the variety of meals you can prepare in your hotel room.

To make microwave rice using dry grains, you will need to combine the rice with water in a microwave-safe bowl. Ideally, you will want to aim for a 2-to-1 ratio of water to rice. Depending on how much you're making, you may need a slightly larger vessel for this. Once combined, simply heat the rice in the microwave for 10 minutes. That length of time will allow for most of the water to evaporate, leaving you with a bowl of cooked, ready-to-eat rice. And you can always add more time at the end if the rice is not quite ready to eat.

9. Scrambled eggs

Whether you want to get a later start to your day while you're on vacation, or you just don't want to deal with the hassle of going out to find food in an unfamiliar town, breakfast can be a challenge when you are staying at a hotel, especially if the place you are staying at doesn't offer any kind of complimentary, continental breakfast. To avoid the inconvenience and hunger that could come when you skip your morning meal, just make a quick trip to the local supermarket the night before and pick up a carton of eggs.

Then, you can easily make scrambled eggs in the microwave. That may sound alarming, but you can actually make a plate of scrambled eggs in a matter of minutes thanks to the appliance. The preparation is exactly the same as cooking eggs on the stove. Start by mixing your eggs with milk or water in a microwave-safe bowl (ideally you will have a fork or something similar to beat them with). It is also a good idea to butter the lining of your mixing bowl first to avoid the eggs sticking when cooking the microwave. Heat in 30 to 45 second intervals until the eggs are cooked through and you're ready to go.

10. Chocolate mug cake

We cannot forget about dessert, and thankfully, there are tons of options to satiate your sweet tooth while staying in a hotel beyond buying a package of cookies. You can actually make a tasty cake in the microwave, and better yet, you can have your own personal dessert that fits into a coffee mug. Chocolate mug cake is an easy-to-make dessert that can be put together with as just a few ingredients, and there is hardly any cleanup afterwards. 

If you want your mug cake to be as close to the real thing as possible, you will need a some dry ingredients, including things flour, cocoa powder, sugar, and baking powder, along with some liquid binders (typically oil or milk). If you are not a fan of chocolate, there are several varieties of mug cakes you can make in the microwave. No matter which kind you choose, your dessert will be ready in under 10 minutes. These can be a really fun way to give everyone their own personal dessert while traveling, especially if you happen to be on the road during some sort of special occasion or birthday.