4 Dorm Room “Kitchen” Essentials

A guide to the cooking essentials you need in a dorm room, from non-breakable cookware to filter pitchers, and more.

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Whether you’re an aspiring chef or a dining hall regular, there are always those times when you’re starving but aren’t in the mood to make a trek outside. With a few dorm kitchen essentials, you can whip up a snack in your room, saving yourself the long walk and a few precious minutes.

Mini-fridges and microwaves aside, there are some smaller kitchen supplies that are wonderful to have on hand. Below, we’ll share four dorm room kitchen essentials that suit everyone, whether you cook in your residence hall’s kitchen or still aren’t sure how to boil water for ramen. (Hey, it happens.) Check them out!

1. Non-breakable dishes


Product Information: Multicolored Bowls, 13 Piece Set, Divided Plates

I made the mistake of bringing glass dishes to school, and now I’m constantly worrying that one of them will shatter. With shatter-resistant and/or plastic dishes, you can bang them around all you want, and use them for multiple occasions. As a bonus, reusable dishes (even if they’re plastic) are a lot more environmentally-friendly than disposable paper or plastic ones!

When shopping for dishes, look for materials like melamine, which is break-resistant. Corelle dinnerware, made of tempered glass, has the added bonus of being microwave-safe, which is a definite plus in college! Also, bowls with lids (or just good old Tupperware) allow you to store food in your fridge when your meal plan is running low.

2. Water pitcher with filter


Product Information (left to right): Brita, PUR, Bobble

Brita pitchers seem to be the go-to water pitcher for most college students I know, but there are plenty of other options on the market! PUR, ZeroWater, and Mavea are just a few of the other brands out there. Tap water from the dorm bathroom sink can taste pretty terrible, so a filter pitcher is definitely a dorm room essential.

If you prefer your water cold, make sure you get a pitcher that fits in your fridge! And if you spend more time on the go than lounging in your dorm, a water bottle with a built-in filter might just be the perfect option for you. 

3. Electric kettle


Product Information (left to right): Russell Hobbs, Proctor-Silex, Hamilton Beach

Forget diamonds, an electric kettle is a girl’s best friend. Four minutes of heat and a trip to the water fountain later, your trusty appliance has suddenly opened the wide world of instant food up to you. Whether you’re making instant noodles or a mug of hot tea, having nearly-instant hot water is a glorious thing. (Can you tell that I love my electric kettle?)

Plug-in kettles now come in a variety of shapes and colors, ranging from classic shapes (like the Hamilton Beach one, at right) to modern silhouettes. For even more options, Apartment Therapy did a great roundup of the best electric kettles on the market. Now you have every excuse to buy that really expensive bag of tea or coffee!

4. Travel mug

Travel mug

Product Information: Hot Rod travel mug, Starbucks travel mug, Tea Infuser, Camera Lens travel mug, Thermos

Chances are, you’re running around all day from classes to clubs, internships, and social events. When you’re busy, a travel mug can soon become the most important thing you grab every morning! Plus, there are countless styles for both tea and coffee lovers, and some mugs can even double as accessories.

For a classic style, try a sleek double-wall-insulated Thermos or a clean green-and-white Starbucks mug. Tea-drinkers, rejoice, because many travel mugs now come with built-in infusers! And, of course, the camera lens travel mug above is simply too awesome to miss.

What do you think?

What are your dorm kitchen essentials? What did you think of our list? Do you regularly cook your own food, or are you content with the dining hall options? Let us know with a comment!

8 thoughts on “4 Dorm Room “Kitchen” Essentials”

  1. The camera lens mug is amazing! Definitely purchasing. It’s been a while since I lived in a dorm but these were great recommendations. I would also add plastic shelves to store snacks/food and will also keep out bugs!

  2. I have the camera lens mug and it looks absolutely amazing! I would NOT suggest it as a “travel” mug though – the lid is meant to be a tray for snacks but it does not stay on the mug while moving. It’s perfect for getting that midnight tea/coffee in the dorm room though!

  3. I love my starbucks mug because of the discount you get with it! It might look like its nothing but if you buy a lot there you do notice a difference after a while!

  4. Make sure you check your dorm rules before getting an electric kettle! My dorms didn’t allow them. (The only appliances we were allowed were microwaves and mini-fridges.)

  5. There’s little use for a water filter in res. I had one and never ended up using it because the tap water was perfectly fine. Besides, a filter is never a one time purchase, you have to keep replacing it every month and you can get sick.

    People need to stop spreading misinformation about tap water.

  6. Add a small number of spices to this! Just salt, pepper, maybe sugar, and some sort of hot sauce. I know so many people who moved from a dorm to an apartment and didn’t cook for months simply because it had never occurred to them to have salt or butter on hand. Salt especially. I rarely used it for food in my dorm room, but it’s also a home remedy for certain things.


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