25 Essential Dorm Room Cooking Hacks

Come see Cook Editor Rachael Pack show you innovative ways to cook in your dorm room July 24th at Macy’s in NYC.

Chocolate Cake

What could be better than warm and chocolatey Nutella cake made in a mug in your microwave in three and a half minutes? Let me know if you have an answer.

Check out this delicious Nutella Mug Cake here!

Grilled Cheese

Grilled Cheese


If your iron is sitting in the corner of your closet, untouched, put it to use making grilled cheese sandwiches. After you butter your bread and layer it with cheese, wrap the sandwich in foil and iron away.  

Find 12 of our favorite Grilled Cheese recipes here!

Hot Dogs

hot Dog


If you’re looking for a way to cook hot dogs in your dorm room, try the coffee maker. Put the hot dogs in the coffee pot and run the water through the coffee maker.  You can even place the buns on top of the coffee maker to allow the steam to warm them. The catch with this one? You have to cook the hot dogs for an hour to heat them fully.




Here’s a quick and healthy breakfast option: whisk eggs with a splash of milk in a mug.  Add cheese, any vegetables that you’d like, salt, and pepper. Then, pop it in the microwave for one full minute. 

For The Daily Meal’s best quiche recipes, click here.

Chocolate Fondue



Feeling sophisticated? Why not make some chocolate fondue? All you have to do is heat some cream in a coffee pot for about 15 minutes, add chopped chocolate and continue to heat for another 10 minutes, and then stir to combine. This works in a microwave too, just melt the chocolate in 10-second increments, stirring each time until fully melted, then add warmed cream.

Sweet Potato Chips

Sweet Potato Chips

Photo Modified: Flickr/lynch_m_j

Sweet potato chips are another healthy snack you can make in the microwave. Just place thin slices of sweet potato on a piece of parchment paper that’s been sprayed with cooking spray, sprinkle them with salt, pepper, and herbs, and then microwave them for at least 4 minutes until crispy.

Taco Salad

If you’ve got a bag of Doritos then you’ve also got a portable taco salad for dinner. Just open up the bag, toss in cheese, lettuce, tomato, taco sauce, and (if you have it) seasoned ground beef. Give it a shake, grab a fork, and then get to class.

For this Trash Bag Taco Salad, click here!

Hard Boiled Eggs

Hard Boiled Eggs



Hard boiled eggs are easy to make ahead and can be added to just about any meal to make it more filling. Simply place eggs in the pot of your coffee maker fill the top with water, let the water run through, and then cook for ten minutes.

Click here to find out how to peel hard-boiled eggs perfectly, every time!


Mix your ground meat with ketchup, breadcrumbs or oats, and seasonings before placing it in a mug that’s been sprayed with cooking spray. Microwave on high for three minutes or until the meat is no longer pink inside. To be on the safe side, grab a cooking thermometer and cook meat until it reaches 165 degree F.

Check out 8 Easy Meatloaf recipes for ingredient inspiration!

Fried Eggs

fried egg


The burner on your coffee maker can function like a small stovetop if you have a miniature frying pan. Simply spray the pan with non-stick cooking spray and heat it on the coffee maker’s burner before cooking an egg in it. Voilà!


Another under-five-minute-dessert-wonder, this microwaved cheesecake is made in a mug. Though it cooks quickly, it has to be made ahead — it takes about two hours to cool and set in the refrigerator.




You have two options when it comes to making paninis in your dorm room; you can wrap them in foil and use an iron to heat them or you can cook them in a miniature frying pan on the burner of your coffee maker… decisions, decisions.




This hack is genius. Did you know your coffee pot can also double as a rice cooker? Just place the uncooked rice in the pot on the bottom, the water (measured according to the instructions on the bag of rice) in the top, hit brew, and when all the water has reached the pot, continue cooking the rice for about ten minutes, until tender.

Scrambled Eggs

You’ve got no excuse for skipping breakfast now; all you have to do to make scrambled eggs is whisk eggs, milk, salt, and pepper in a microwave-safe bowl or mug, heat on high for 45 seconds, stir, and then microwave for another 30 to 45 seconds. Bonus points if you make this a full on breakfast sandwich with melted cheese and dorm room hacked bacon!

Ramen ‘Mac and Cheese’

Velveeta cheese (mixed with butter and milk) + Ramen noodles = a total no-brainer. Get the instructions here.



Photo Modified: Flickr/Steve Johnson

If you have a coffee maker you can poach chicken in about a half an hour – put a small amount of water into the top of the coffee maker (enough to come about halfway up on the chicken), place the chicken, a pat of butter, and seasonings in the pot on the bottom, and hit brew. Be sure to cook the chicken until its juices run clear — an average chicken breast will take about 15 minutes per side.

Steamed Vegetables

Steamed Veggies


Need something to eat with your poached chicken? Steam vegetables in the top portion of your coffee maker by running water through the machine a few times until the vegetables are tender. Here’s an idea, eat them topped over your coffee maker rice!

No-Bake Cookies

The great thing about no-bake cookies is you don’t have to stress it if you’re missing some of the ingredients. There are lots of easy ways to substitute ingredients. Check out some ideas here — although we’d say skip the vanilla-scented hand cream!




If you’re not allowed to have a microwave in your dorm room you can cook bacon using an iron and aluminum foil. Wrap the bacon very well in the foil (so that you won’t be burned by any grease that may escape) and use the iron to heat it thoroughly.




Oatmeal makes a quick and wholesome breakfast. Make it easy by putting two packets of instant oatmeal into the pot of your coffee maker, pour water (measured according to the packet’s instructions) in the top, and hit brew. Your breakfast will be read in about five minutes.

Poached Eggs

If you love eggs with runny yolks, you’ll love this trick for poaching eggs in the microwave. Get the step-by-step here.

Fresh Herbs

Herb Garden


Every serious cook needs fresh herbs, even if they’re cooking in a dorm room. Grow your own on a windowsill using upcycled aluminum cans.

Find out more about indoor gardening here!

French Toast

french to


If you don’t want to leave your dorm room for breakfast, try making French toast. Soak your bread in whipped eggs and wrap it in foil before heating it up with an iron. Watch the video here!




Instant Ramen noodles are a quintessential part of the college experience. Upgrade yours by adding hot sauce, sliced scallions, and one of your coffee-maker boiled eggs. Or, check out these ramen hacks.


You can’t talk about cooking with your iron and not talk about making quesadillas. Put cheese and fillings on one side of a tortilla, fold it in half, wrap it neatly in foil, then cook it with your iron until the cheese is melted and the filling is warm.