Dorm rooms are notoriously unfriendly to burgeoning chefs—or really, to anyone who doesn't just want to subsist exclusively on a diet of instant ramen and dining hall slop. But there are quite a lot of tools for cooking in your dorm room that'll make meals, and mornings, more pleasant. And though you might be tempted to bring a bunch of cooking gear to college in the hopes of fancying up your food, there's no need to fill up your whole dorm room with gear you'll never use. It's not like you have a ton of space to spare, anyway. What you do need is gear that'll make the most of what's already been provided to you, like that communal microwave or the tiny half-size refrigerator that you'll share with your roommate.
You also want to be able to make and take stuff to-go, keep leftover Chinese takeout from going bad too soon, and have a constant IV drip of coffee at the ready. You're a busy human, after all, with a lot of people to see, clubs to join, homework to complete. You're also in college, so you probably don't have a ton of extra money to burn—which is fine! Because you don't need to spend a lot of dough to get a lot of great gear.
So fill your dorm room that's going to help you out and make your life a little easier, like these five kitchen tools every college student needs for less than $25.
Even if you don't drink tea, an electric kettle, like this one cordless one from Amazon that costs $19.99, is an invaluable dorm room appliance. If you get a French press or even an Aeropress, you can use the kettle to make coffee in your dorm room. You can also use it to make instant oatmeal, ramen, even mac and cheese.
A standard travel mug, like this 20-ounce option from Contigo for $13, is great if you want to grab coffee to-go from your coffee shop. If you're feeling a bit more ambitious, you could also make coffee on-the-go with the Bodum travel mug that comes with its own French press, for just $16.84. But no matter what travel mug you choose, you'll be sure to stay fully caffeinated at all times—which is especially helpful when you've got early morning classes.
From soup to beans, chances are good that you, or your roommate, are going to need a can opener at some point, and since they're generally so inexpensive, there's no reason not to have one on hand. Even fancy can openers, like this red one from hölm, are less than $12. You can also get a can opener from Target that's open cans just as well for $3.
Staying hydrated is a key to staying focused throughout the day, which is definitely important when you're going to class and crushing problem sets. That's one reason why it's a good idea to keep a water bottle handy. (College was when I learned that the best cure for a hangover was drinking water, so take that into consideration.) If you insist on keeping your water ice cold, try getting an insulated water bottle, like this one from Simple Modern for $24.95. But if you just need a water-carrying vessel, either this Camelbak water bottle with straw for $11 or Ello glass water bottle for $8.99 will do the trick.
Microwave Safe Bowl
Most dorm room cooking takes place in the microwave, so you need vessels in which you can heat up leftovers without accidentally setting the building on fire. This set of microwave safe bowls costs $17.97 on Amazon, and the different sizes are perfect for all your dorm room microwave needs. Plus, the lids make storing leftovers, or packing a lunch or snack for the next day, a breeze.