Home & Garden

Kitchen Supplies You Actually Need While You’re In College

June 4, 2021

Preparing for college is no small ordeal.

And as you prepare to settle into your dorm room, student housing, or apartment, you’re also probably asking yourself a crucial question.

What are you actually going to need?

For many students, attending college will be their first foray into independent living. The first time they’ve made their home somewhere other than with their parents.

That’s a big transition. In these early stages, when you’re trying to balance your budget with the necessities, questions about what you’ll need will undoubtedly come up.

Well, in this post, you’re going to learn what kitchen supplies you’ll actually need while you’re in college.

Use this list to check off the most important things as you set up your new kitchen and prepare for your first experience living on your own.

1. A Cordless Electric Tea Kettle

An electric tea kettle, like the Cuisinart Cordless Electric Tea Kettle from Williams Sonoma, gives you the power to heat and boil water wherever you are. Regardless of if you have a stove, a range, or any other heat source.

You can make all kinds of things with this device. You can prepare mac and cheese, make tea, make instant coffee, heat up noodles, etc.

Plus, it’s portable. Easily take it with you to another dorm to make coffee for study sessions or whatever other social activities you’re involved in.

2. Airtight Storage Containers

A lot of college students learn this lesson the hard way. Storing food in the dorm can be dangerous. Pests, insects, and creepy crawlies are abundant. You certainly don’t want to give them a reason to visit your room (or set up a permanent residence there).

Consider buying a couple of sets of plastic storage containers, complete with airtight lids. That’ll give you the option to store food and snack items out of reach (or detection) of pests.

They work perfectly for chips, crackers, granola bars, leftovers, salad, etc.

Whatever type of food you plan to keep around.

Need to go cheap?

Consider some simple deli containers. They don’t have to be fancy. They just need to keep your snacks safe and the pests out!

3. A Mini Fridge

You may not need a mini-fridge if your dorm room, student house, or apartment already has a refrigerator.

But if it doesn’t, a mini-fridge is really a necessity.

It would amaze you how complicated student living is without access to cold storage for food, drinks, and other essential items.

(Plus — don’t forget about the ice cubes.)

Not only does a mini-fridge help you to keep your drinks cool, but it also gives you a safe place to store fruits, vegetables, leftovers, and perishables.

4. Basic Plates, Cups, & Utensils

You’re also going to need the most basic stuff.

In other words:

  • A plate
  • A bowl
  • A cup
  • A fork, spoon, and knife

You don’t have to stress too much about this stuff. Just buy the cheapest thing, or get something that you like.

But once you get to your dorm or student housing facility, you’re going to need these basics.

Trust me. Trying to eat noodles using pencils as chopsticks quickly loses its appeal. Especially when you’re trying to get settled in and get your college career off to a solid start.

5. A Microwave

This one makes obvious sense.

Cooking with a microwave is easy and hassle-free.

Plus, as a student who’ll be constantly busy and on the run, a microwave will give you access to plenty of fast and easy food options.

Plus, there’s no better way to re-head that leftover Chinese takeout the following day.

It’ll give you the power to prepare many foods very quickly (noodles, TV dinners, frozen foods) that would otherwise take a lot longer to cook.

6. A Multi-Cooker

This one is a bit more advanced. If you like to cook your own stews, soups, or really any other slow-cooker food, a multi-cooker like the Instant Pot Duo 7 is a superb option.

The great thing about a multi-cooker is that even if you don’t have access to a range or a stove, you can still cook homemade meals in it.

From rice to chicken, vegetables to pot roast, you’ll be able to cook some delicious food in this thing. All without breaking the bank or straining your minimally outfitted student kitchen.

7. A Can Opener

This may seem like a no-brainer. But seriously. Don’t forget the can opener.

A lot of cans these days have pop-top lids, but not all of them.

There’s nothing as frustrating as trying to open a can of beans or corn and not having a decent can opener to help you.

Sure, you can skip this step and try beating that can of corn open with a hammer and screwdriver (probably don’t do that, but you can try one of these!). Or, you can grab a basic can opener at the store and throw it into your bag before you leave for school.

This is seriously one of the best items you’ll ever buy as you strike out on your own and start your new college dorm life.


There you have it!

Seven kitchen supply items that every student should consider taking with them to college.

Truth be told, trial and error will be your best guide to figuring out what works and what doesn’t work for you.

Showing up to the dorm or apartment with a few essential items could mean the difference between a fun adventure and serious frustration.

Of course, at the end of the day, remember that adventure is the name of the game.

It’s not always easy to start life on your own as a college student. But at least being able to open, heat, and eat some basic meal options will give you the sustenance you need to figure it all out.

Author Bio

Kelsey is from Greenville, NC, and is an East Carolina University Alum. She’s a dedicated cat mom of two and has been with Grove at Auburn since July 2019. Since moving to Alabama, Kelsey has fallen in love with Auburn and the SEC life!

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