Cooking in the dorms can be tough, especially when microwaves, hot pots, blenders, and air popcorn makers are the only appliances allowed in your room. That's why we have compiled recipes and tips for dorm room cooking.
Tips for Cooking in the Dorms
Cooking your own meals is much cheaper and typically healthier than eating out. See the tips below to help you navigate cooking in your dorm.
Choose Simple Recipes
You may have limited access to specialty ingredients near campus and even if you can find them your mini fridge can only hold so much. By choosing simple recipes with few ingredients you can save space, time, and money. Still want to pick up those special ingredients? Check out the variety of international food stores near campus for specific ingredients.
Plan Your Meals
Planning your meals is a great way to save time and money when preparing healthy meals. Plan meals with similar ingredients to save space in the fridge and to reduce food waste since most fresh ingredients are sold in large amounts.
Preparing your meals ahead of time in large batches can save time during the week. Having meals in the fridge ready to reheat makes it easy to pack your lunch. You can even freeze some meals for the following week if you have room in the freezer. If you can't fully prepare your meals ahead of time, chopping vegetables or preparing spice mixes is a great way to trim time off of meal preparation.
Share with Friends and/or Roommates
Fresh produce can spoil quickly resulting in a lot of wasted money and food. Try shopping with friends or roommates so you can share food and split the cost without worrying about the extra food going bad. If you have access to a kitchen in the residence hall or at a friend's house/apartment you can even meal prep together.
Don't Forget About all the Foods You Don't Have to Cook
Remember all the fresh fruits and vegetables that don't require cooking. Fresh produce is great for snacks, such as fresh fruit or veggies and dip. Overnight oats and yogurt parfaits topped with fruit and nuts are great no-cook breakfast options, sandwiches and salads are classic, and there are also many no-bake recipes for a variety of sweet treats.
Cooking in the microwave is a great way to reheat food but you can also make full meals. Check out the recipes below for some inspiration!
A blender is an extremely useful kitchen appliance that you can use to make smoothies, soups, and sauces. A single serving blender is a great option to save space in your dorm. Check out the recipes below for some ideas!
Find more smoothie recipes here or make your own with the guide on the right!
Soups can be tricky as many recipes call for ingredients to be cooked by various methods, but this can be solved by adapting the recipe to microwave cooking or by using steamer bags and/or canned ingredients.
Check out more blender friendly sauce recipes here!
An electric hot pot is similar to an electric kettle but is not just limited to heating water. A hot pot is a versatile appliance that can be used to make pasta, oatmeal, soups, sauces, dips, steamed or boiled vegetables, and more. Hot pots are great for one-pot recipes and are super compact for dorm cooking! See the list of recipes below.
*Please note some of the recipes call for you to sauté some ingredients. Some hot pots have a nonstick coating that enable sautéing but most do not. If you do not have one with a nonstick coating you can use other methods such and microwaving or boiling these ingredients. Here is a hot pot you can sauté in.
Check out this link for more budget friendly one-pot recipes!
Popcorn isn't only for the movies. Air popped popcorn is a healthy whole grain snack with endless flavor combinations. Don't have an air popper? No worries you can make "air popped" popcorn in the microwave too! Checkout some popcorn seasoning mixes below.
Check out this link for more popcorn seasoning ideas!