Madeline Buiano/The Daily Meal

Cooking Appliances No Dorm Room Is Complete Without

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Say goodbye to 99 cent ramen noodles
Madeline Buiano/The Daily Meal

No college experience would be complete without sitting on a tiled floor, shoving cheap ramen noodles or microwaved macaroni and cheese into your mouth after a long day of classes, clubs and homework. In a way, dorm-room cooking is equal parts romantic and daunting. On the one hand, you get to live out the broke-college-kid trope of rom-coms, but on the other hand, you miss mom’s home-cooked meals. But it doesn't have to be a trade-off. We rounded up the best college cooking essentials to help give you the comfort of a homemade meal without any of the fuss. Be sure to check your university's policies before purchasing, as it will vary by school.

Electric kettle

Electric kettle

Pick up an electric kettle before heading off to college. The quick-boil appliance heats up water in minutes without the hassle of a stove. Use it to make tea, French press or pourover coffee, instant ramen, oatmeal, mac and cheese or other packaged foods. Opt for a kettle that automatically turns off when the water is done boiling so that you don’t run the risk of leaving it on when you head out for class.

Small blender

Small blender
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Smoothies are a great way to pack some protein into your day, especially when you’re a busy college student. But avoid bringing a giant blender that has hard-to-clean nooks and crannies. Instead, opt for a personal-sized one. The blender’s top turns into a cup, which also saves you from dirtying up an extra dish.

Panini press

Panini press
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When dining hall food gets old, it’s nice to have a few cooking appliances in your dorm that can quickly make a yummy meal. A panini press can be used to make delicious sandwiches, quesadillas, omelets, hash browns and more.

Coffee maker

Coffee maker
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You won’t always have time to hit up your local cafe when you need a cup of coffee. When that’s the case, be sure to keep a coffee maker or Keurig in your dorm room for a morning caffeine fix or late-night study session.

Milk frother

Milk frother
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If your coffee requires a little extra fluff, don’t move into college without a milk frother. You can use it to create foam for cappuccinos, frappes, matcha, hot chocolate and more. Sprinkle in some cinnamon or pumpkin spice and you’ve got a Starbucks-quality coffee from the comfort of your dorm room.

Mini-fridge

Mini-fridge
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If your school doesn’t provide one, a mini-fridge is a must-have. If you have a meal plan, you likely won’t need a lot of groceries but you can use a mini fridge to store staples like milk, yogurt and filtered water. Consider a mini-fridge and freezer combo to store frozen meals and of course, ice cream, for when you get a late-night hankering for sweets.

Microwave

Microwave
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A microwave is the holy grail of dorm appliances. You can use it for cooking everything from hot dogs to pasta and it’s necessary for reheating leftovers. If your dorm room doesn’t already come with one, be sure to choose a microwave that conveniently fits on countertops or on top of your mini fridge. You don’t need one with a lot of bells and whistles — you just need something that can reliably heat up your mac and cheese at 2 a.m.

Egg cooker

Egg cooker
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There are over 100 ways to cook an egg, but most techniques require a pot or pan. If you purchase an egg cooker for your dorm, the process is made 10 times easier and has minimal cleanup. Egg cookers can cook up to six eggs at a time in soft, medium, or hard-boiled firmness or even make a mini omelet. Only a splash of water is required.

Electric wok

Electric wok

If you love to cook but don’t live in a dorm with a kitchen, an electric wok could be the answer. You don’t need a stove and an electric wok can cook everything a normal wok can. It’s especially convenient for one-pan meals like stir fry or fajitas but the skilled cook can even use it to deep-fry.

Hot pot

Hot pot

Food is a universal language and sometimes the easiest way to make friends in college is to speak it. Investing in a hot pot is great if you’re someone that enjoys hosting people for dinner. The appliance probably gets the most use making packs of ramen, but if you're feeling fancy you can make actual hot pot: heat up broth while you and your guests cook your own beef, tofu, carrots, bok choy and other ingredients by swishing them around in the hot broth.

Electric hot plate

Electric hot plate
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A hot plate is great for dorm cooking because it’s compatible with all types of cookware. The durable appliance has multiple heat settings, so you can use it to boil a pot of water, deep fry chicken, reheat leftovers, cook vegetables or anything else you’d do on a stovetop.

Reusable popcorn maker

Reusable popcorn maker
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Having snacks handy is essential for any college student. They keep you fueled during late-night study sessions and in between classes. Popcorn is packed with fiber and it’s easy to make. Buy a bag of kernels instead of individual serving sizes and cook it in a silicone, microwavable popcorn maker for cost-effective snacking.

Microwavable pasta cooker

Microwavable pasta cooker

There are plenty of pasta dishes you can make in under 30 minutes, but using a microwave to cook your noodles gets the job done even faster. Purchase a microwavable pasta cooker and your linguine will be ready in minutes. Toss it in jarred tomato sauce and you’ll have a fuss-free weeknight dinner meal ASAP.

Grilled cheese maker

Grilled cheese maker
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With a grilled cheese maker you can whip up a hot sandwich in minutes without leaving your dorm room. The deliciously comforting childhood staple requires just two ingredients: bread and cheese. But don’t stop with grilled cheese, you can use the appliance to make french toast, omelets, quesadillas and more.

Slow cooker

Slow cooker

Sometimes dining hall food can’t measure up to the stuff you make at home. On days when that’s the case, keep a slow cooker in your room to make soups and stews, pulled pork and more superb slow cooker recipes. Opt for a smaller version of the appliance that’s around 1.5 to 2 quarts bit to save space in your already small dorm and avoid having to store a bunch of leftovers.

Microwavable steamer

Microwavable steamer

If you have access to fresh veggies from your dining hall or a store in town, keep a microwavable steamer in your dorm room for quick cooking. The mechanism is essentially a Tupperware container with a vented lid and removable strainer in the center.

Rice cooker

Rice cooker
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Rice and other grains can serve as the foundation for many meals, like burrito bowls, salads and stir-fries, but cooking grains typically requires access to a stove and pots. Instead, invest in a rice cooker for your dorm. The device can cook rice, quinoa and more in about 25 minutes.

Air fryer

Air fryer
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No kitchen appliance has changed the cooking game quite like an air fryer has. The handy-dandy machine burst into stardom a few years ago and it’s been making waves ever since. Keep it in your dorm and use it for cooking chicken wings, Brussels sprouts and more appetizing air fryer recipes for everyday meals.

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