These 15 Dorm Cooking Essentials Will Help You Avoid the Dining Hall
It's a weeknight in your cozy dorm room, and you just can't be bothered to walk across campus to the nearest dining hall. Maybe you're sick of the salad-bar lines and soggy pizza options, craving a late-night snack, or just looking to try out a new recipe of your own. You're in luck, because thanks to these convenient appliances, dorm cooking just got a whole lot easier. For those of us who aren't blessed with a kitchen in our dorm rooms, these cooking essentials — from mini griddles and sandwich presses to ramen makers — are versatile, making them a solid substitute. Even better, since dorm rooms are known for being a tight squeeze, they're all compact and won't take up too much of your precious space.
If you're back-to-school shopping or heading to college for the first time, be sure to check your school's appliance policy. Most campuses allow you to have small appliances like a mini fridge, single-serve coffee machine, microwave, electric kettle, personal blender, and more in your room, though specific rules will vary depending on your school and building.
Ready to stock up, and level up your dorm-room culinary skills? Skip the dining hall, and read ahead to shop the 15 best appliances and tools for delicious dorm cooking.
A Mini Sandwich Maker
Warm sandwiches are just more satisfying than cold ones — that's the truth. This mini sandwich maker is the perfect tool for making quick dorm-room meals, and it comes in five cute pastel colors to match your dorm-room vibe. The versatile, nonstick press isn't limited to just sandwiches and paninis; you can even whip up quesadillas, omelets, french toast, and desserts with ease.
A Mini Electric Griddle
Calling all breakfast-lovers! If you're a fan of pancakes and eggs but not of setting your morning alarm to make it to the dining-hall breakfast hours, this mini electric griddle is for you. Its compact size allows you to make perfect silver-dollar cakes and sunny-side-up eggs in no time. It can even make non-breakfast items, including burgers and individual cookies.
A Mini Blender
Smoothies are an easy and filling breakfast or on-the-go snack, but full-size blender cleanup is a hassle in a tiny dorm room. Luckily, this personal Magic Bullet is small enough to store and makes just the right amount to bring to your 8 a.m. class.
A Rapid Ramen Cooker
After trying this rapid ramen cooker, you'll never want to use a real stove again. The cookware perfectly fits a block of ramen, so you can pop it into the microwave and heat up a bowl of your favorite noodles in no time. Pick one of the 14 different colors — or grab a multi-pack so you can make some for your roommate, too — then spend the weekend trying some of TikTok's wild ramen recipes.
A Mini Waffle Maker
Who doesn't love a good comfort waffle, especially when it's mini and heart-shaped? This mini waffle maker comes in a variety of shapes and colors, and makes much more than just waffles: use this tool as a panini press for your late-night grilled-cheese needs, or whip up TikTok's favorite sushi waffles.
A Mini Air Fryer
Bella 2-Quart Air Fryer ($81)
If you're looking to really get cooking in your dorm room, try a mini air fryer. With this dorm room cooking essential, you can make just tons of air-fryer recipes, from roasted vegetables to fresh chocolate chip cookies, in minutes.
An Egg-Bite Maker
If you're tired of bagels or need something a little more substantial than protein bars for breakfast, egg bites can make for a filling meal without any major hassle or cleanup. Easily make a quick, protein-packed breakfast with this sous vide egg bite maker, which comes in six cute colors and you can use to make Starbucks-style sous vide egg bites at home.
A Mini Toaster Oven
Dash Mini Toaster Oven ($20, originally $22)
With this tiny toaster oven, you'll probably never return to the dining hall again. Whether you want to make your own mini pizza or just toast a bagel in peace, this compact toaster oven will fit right on your desk.
An Electric Water Kettle
Cooktron Quiet Electric Kettle ($25, originally $35)
Whether you love a nighttime cup of tea or instant soup for lunch or absolutely need coffee while studying, an electric water kettle is a dorm-room must. This one promises to be quiet, which is clutch for when your roommate is napping or still asleep.
A Compact Microwave
Comfee Small Microwave Oven ($85, originally $102)
A microwave is perhaps the most important dorm-room cooking appliance, and this compact, retro pick is cute and doesn't take up too much space. Grab it in this mint green, red, or a minimalist cream color.
A Spacious Mini Fridge
Frestec Mini Refrigerator With Freezer ($145, originally $190)
If you want to cook or eat in your dorm room, having a mini fridge is a huge perk. You can stash cold drinks, fruits and veg, or frozen, microwaveable favorites like mac 'n' cheese or burritos for whenever a hunger pang strikes. This affordable option is just more than three cubic feet, has enough room to share with your roommate, and comes in a few cute colors that'll match your room style.
A Mini Mini Fridge
If you want enough fridge space to keep a few sodas or iced coffees chilled — but not much more — then you might want to opt for a tiny mini fridge. This four-liter option fits six cans and can even be switched into a heat mode, keeping food warm up to a temp of 150°F. (You can even put your skin care in here!)
A Single-Serve Coffee Machine
Keurig K-Mini Single Serve Coffee Maker ($60, originally $100)
A single-serve coffee machine like this Keurig is the perfect way to keep coffee on hand in your dorm room — and have it ready at the push of a button. In a color like Oasis (depicted) and less than five inches wide, you can sneak this into any corner of your dorm room without even noticing it.
Airtight Food Containers
It may not be fun to think about, but when you're living in a dorm, mice can happen. The best way to keep critters out of your room and keep your food safe (and from going stale!) is to seal any nonrefrigerated items in airtight food storage containers. This seven-piece set can fit everything from open bags of chips to little packets of oatmeal, and comes with chalkboard-style labels you can update depending on what you put inside.