While you’re on your way to earning your dream degree, you will definitely need to fuel up on your favorite snacks, eat comfort meals that taste like home, and craft some decadent desserts to fulfill your daily little treat quota. No matter if you are moving into a dorm room with a teeny tiny mini fridge or unlocking your very own full kitchen complete with an island, our college kitchen packing list has you covered with kitchen staples to make your cooking space perfect for trying new recipes or old favorites.

Packing up for your kitchen may feel a bit daunting. After all, it’s just another thing to add to your college packing list on top of making sure you have all your clothes, toiletries, bedding, makeup, and skincare filled up and packed for life away from home. No need to worry because Spoon University is here to put your mind at ease with the ultimate college kitchen packing list. Here are our favorite kitchen basics, cooking supplies, pantry staples, and more things you definitely don’t want to forget. Even better, many of these items can be thrifted!

#SpoonTip: Make sure all of your appliances and utensils are compliant with on-campus housing before moving in. 

Audrey Wu

The Kitchen Criticals

No matter if your cooking space is simply a microwave and mini fridge in the corner of your dorm room, a large shared kitchen, or a personal huge room with ample counter space and access to every appliance you could ever dream of, there are certain things that every kitchen needs. So, while you’re shopping for back-to-school necessities, be sure to check off these kitchen essentials to ensure that your big, small, or shared college kitchen is complete.

Kitchen Cleaning and Maintenance Supplies

Dish Soap

Dishwasher Pods

Hand Soap

Sponge, Sponge Caddy

Dish Scrubber Brush

Bottle Brush

Straw Brush

Dish Towels

Disinfecting Wipes, Spray

All-Purpose Cleaner

Broom/Dust Pan

Tall-Kitchen Trash Bags

2-in-1 Dust Mop

Dust Mop Refill Pads

Fire Extinguisher

Basic Utensils

Metal Silverware (Knives, Forks, Spoons)

Plates, Small + Large

Cereal Bowls

Large Mixing Bowl


Reusable Water Bottle

Travel Tumbler For Hot Drinks

Reusable Straws, Metal or Plastic


Dish Drying Pad/Rack

Water Cups

Small Paring Knife, With Cover

Serrated Knife, With Cover

Large Chef Knife, With Cover

Electric Kettle

Can Opener

Glass Measuring Cups

Measuring Spoons

Oven Mitt

Pot Holders

Cooling Rack

Ice Cube Trays

Ice Pack

Packaged Meals

Organic Chickpea Tikka Masala

Organic Coconut Chickpea & Turmeric Curry

Organic Madras Lentils

Organic Turmeric Rice

Organic Bombay Potatoes

Organic Basmati Rice

Paper, Plastic, and Storage Goods

Plastic Tupperware

Paper Napkins

Paper Plates

Plastic Cups

To-Go Coffee Cups

Sandwich Bags

Gallon Storage Bags

Paper Towels

Aluminum Foil

Plastic Wrap

Wax Paper

Brown Paper Bags

Audrey Wu

The Dorm Kitchen

As excited as you are to move into your dorm with your new roomie, it’s a bummer when you realize you won’t have access to a kitchen like the one you’re used to at your childhood home. However, fear not! You can work a ton of culinary magic with just a few R.A.-approved appliances. Here’s everything you need to add to your cart for your non-standard kitchen.

Mini Fridge

Rolling Cart

Electric Hot Pot

Plastic Storage Drawer Organizer


Toaster, Toaster Oven

Mixing Bowls

Glass Storage Containers

Plastic Containers

Removable Labels

Sharpie For Labels

Ice Trays

Microwavable Utensils (Bowls, Plates, Mugs)

Small Coffee Maker

Small Cutlery Organizer

Small Blender

Bag Clips

Reusable Food Wraps, Bags

Sink Caddy

Magnetic Grocery List For Fridge

Audrey Wu

The Shared Kitchen

If you have a kitchenette in the quad or a common kitchen area in your dormitory, you’re one step closer to achieving your chef dreams. If your floor is extra fancy, they might even have a dishwasher for easy clean-up. Here’s everything you’ll need to make the most out of your shared kitchen space. Fingers crossed you also have the chance to meet fellow dorm chefs. 

Colander/Mesh Strainer

Nonstick Pan(s)

Waffle Maker, Small

Small Pot

Large Pot

Metal Tongs

Wooden Spoon

Serving Spoon

Pasta Spoon

Baking Sheet

Muffin Tin

Vegetable Peeler

Pizza Cutter


Plastic Cutting Board


Garlic Press

Spice Rack

Meat Thermometer 

Audrey Wu

The Full Kitchen

It’s showtime! Now that you’re officially in your very first apartment or house, it’s really time to start cooking. There is no need to rush your creative culinary processes or be cognizant of quiet hours. Plus, with all the new-found shelf and cupboard space, you can easily store all your favorite large platters, big appliances, special occasion wear, and beyond. The only downside is, if there’s a mess in the kitchen, you can’t blame it on the rest of your dorm floormates. Time to put on your big girl aprons and make your favorite meals and snacks with these adult-level kitchen gadgets and trinkets

Baking Dishes

Mixing Bowls

Cheese Grater

Citrus Zester

Citrus Juicer

Wine Opener/Bottle Opener

Meat Tenderizer

Ice Cream Scoop

Air Fryer

Slow Cooker

Dutch Oven

Cast Iron Skillet

Sauté Pans With Lids

Salad Spinner

Wine Glasses

Shot Glasses

Rocks Glasses

Water Filter

Rice Cooker

Vegetable Steamer

Food Processor

Hand Mixer

Hand Blender

Griddle Pan

Knife Set With Holder

Spoon Rest

Potato Masher



Salad Tongs

Saucepans (Small, Medium, Large)

Pots (Small, Medium, Large)

Serving Utensils, (Large Spoon, Large Fork, Slotted Spoon)

Serving Platter

Charcuterie Board

Microwave Splatter Guard

Place Mats

Junk Drawer Necessities

Everyone has a junk drawer, whether you’d like to admit it or not. This is the ideal drawer to store all of your batteries for the home as well as often forgotten-until-you-need-it items, such as chip clips and clear tape. You can thank us later!


Mini First Aid Kit

Flash Light

Chip Clips

Twist Ties

AA Batteries

AAA Batteries

Super Glue

Adhesive Strips

Kitchen Scissors

Tooth Picks

Candle Lighter, Matches

Audrey Wu

Pantry Staples

So there you are… staring at an empty cupboard racking your brain trying to remember what you need for basic dinner recipes, baked goods, brunch date treats, and more. There’s no need to stress out while typing a list of the basics out on your phone notes. Pack that pantry with these ingredients and staple food items that will last you a long while, and they’ll be so so so important for any viral recipe you come across. 

Olive Oil

Vegetable Oil

Sesame Oil

Soy Sauce

Baking Soda

Baking Powder

Corn Starch

Apple Cider Vinegar

Balsamic Vinegar

White Vinegar




Brown Sugar

Vanilla Extract

Tomato Paste

Tomato Sauce

Bread Crumbs

Canned Meat (Tuna or Chicken)

Peanut Butter (Or Alternative to Nut Spread)

Pound of Pasta

Pound of Rice



Soup Mixes

Canned Vegetables

Canned Fruits


Coffee Grounds/Individual Coffee Cups

Salt and Pepper

Bouillon (Vegetable or Chicken)

Simmer Sauce Packets, Seasonings