Photo by Kelly/Mooney Photography
Gourmet dining is pretty out-of-the-question in a dorm room (unless you’re these guys), but you can make the most of your new digs with a few kitchen essentials. If your college does not provide your dorm room with a microwave or mini-fridge, invest in those first. Once you’ve got the must-haves, here are some examples of our favorite small — and dorm-approved — kitchen tools can make all the difference when you need something a bit more edible than the dining hall special.
Cold-Brew Coffee Maker
Forget buying yet another electronic. Dorm rooms have limited outlets that will often be occupied by multiple chargers and that mini-fridge cord. Get your caffeine fix cord-free with a cold-brewer. Pick one that can brew in your fridge overnight, so you can grab-and-go on your way to your 8 a.m. class.
Chameleon Cold Brew Kit, $16, chameleoncoldbrew.com
Reusable Water Bottle
Don’t waste precious dining points on water bottles. Invest in a BPA-free reusable bottle that can claim residence on the side of your backpack. College campuses are scattered with water fountains so you shouldn’t have a problem refilling it. Just make sure to wash it out with mild soap and water every day to avoid getting sick.
d.stil Pinch & Carry Water Bottle in Plastic, $10, target.com
When your mom sends a care package with your favorite snack foods, she’ll stock you up for a few weeks. Invest in some durable chip clips to keep your half-eaten chips and cookies from going stale and to keep any unwanted critters out of your room.
OXO Good Grips 8 Piece Clip Set, $10, oxo.com
On those days when you feel like giving dorm room cooking a shot, you can make a variety of dishes in a mug. Think: mug cake, chicken pot pie in a mug, mug mac and cheese, even an omelet. Invest in a mug that’s large enough for mixing ingrediens and microwave-safe. It’ll even double as a handy bowl for soup and ramen.
Meal Mug, $20, amazon.com
Speaking of bowls, you can skip investing in plates. Bowls are easier to eat out of while sitting on a bed and can be used to mix ingredients for anything else you’re making like no-bake cookies, fruit salad or soup. Invest in ones that you can hold easily to avoid spilling on your sheets.
Couch Bowls, $30 for 2, uncommongoods.com
Automatic-Shut Off Electric Tea Kettle
This might be one of the most versatile appliances to have on-hand. You can use it to brew hot water for tea, French press coffee (invest in one of these for all your to-go coffee needs), hot cocoa and instant ramen. Save the manual to prove your kettle does automatically shut off so it’s not confiscated during dorm checks. Finally, don’t be surprised when your floor mates ask to borrow it all the time.
Krups Savoy Electric Kettle, $59, walmart.com
Glass Food Storage Containers
Leftovers are a huge part of your campus survival guide. Glass containers are great for storing (and reheating!) the rest of that nice dinner with mom and dad.
Pyrex Ultimate 6-pc Value Set, $33, pyrex.com
Paring Knife + Cutting Board
A paring knife comes in handy for more than slicing up fruit and vegetables and you’ll want a cutting board to avoid messing up your desk. Don’t be surprised if you find yourself cutting sandwiches in half and re-slicing takeout pizza.
Misen Paring Knife; $30, misen.com
Joseph Joseph Pop cutting board set; $13, josephjoseph.com