At the dining hall, it’s easy to heap massive portions on your plate, and a nice green salad and grilled chicken isn’t half as appealing as endless pizza and cookies. If you’re looking to avoid the much-dreaded “freshman 15” (or the ol’ college 40), then cooking for yourself is an absolute must.
However, many colleges require that you live in a dorm room for at least your first year of school. Most dorms won’t allow hot plates or open flames, and you’re certainly not going to have a stove in your tiny double-occupancy dorm. So, how are you supposed to cook for yourself? The answer, my friends, lies in bringing along a few key kitchen gadgets and getting creative with them.
Of course, no college student can survive without a coffee maker. But in addition to brewing a much-needed cup of java, a coffee burner can act as a hot plate. Place nonstick foil on the burner, turn on your coffee maker, and instantly be able to make pancakes, fry eggs, or even slowly (and carefully) cook meats.
After you’re done cooking breakfast on your coffee maker’s burner, use the coffee pot to make even more dorm room cuisine. You can hard-boil eggs by putting the eggs in the coffee pot, running water through the filter, and steeping your eggs in the water for 8 to 12 minutes. A coffee pot can also be used to poach chicken, cook rice, and steam vegetables.
If you need to get noodles boiled quickly, an electric kettle is the way to go. But in addition to getting your ramen cooked in a jiffy, an electric kettle can make a homemade soup. Add dry noodles, vegetables, spices, and water in to an electric kettle and have an immensely flavorful broth.
A pressure cooker, slow cooker, rice cooker/porridge maker, sauté/browning pan, steamer, yogurt maker and stockpot warmer all in one, an Instant Pot is the must-have for any dorm room kitchen. You can do pretty much anything in an Instant Pot, but we recommend you start with these 21 breakfast recipes.
These individual coffee makers are a lifesaver. Not only can you get a quick caffeine fix, but running just water through your Keurig will give you water at the perfect temperature for cooking oatmeal or bringing a pouch of instant rice to life.
Most dorm rooms come equipped with a mini-fridge and a microwave, so use that microwave for more than just popping popcorn. A microwave can poach eggs, cook salmon to perfection, and make pretty much any other sweet or savory dish you may be craving. For 21 things you didn’t know you could cook in a microwave (and how to cook them), click here.
If you’re anything like we were in college, you know sweets are the only way to get through a long night of essay writing. If you can’t bake anything and don’t have a mug in sight for a microwavable delight, skip the packaged cookies and consider a no-bake dessert, like one of these 11 amazing treats.
Rice cookers aren’t just for cooking rice (though their name may suggest that). Bring this utilitarian device with you to college and steam vegetables, whip up a hearty batch of chicken noodle soup, or bake a cake! The possibilities are endlessly delicious.