Moving out and starting college means the end of home-cooked meals and the beginning of searching for that one clean plate your roommate is hoarding. Whether you’re moving into a kitchen-less dorm or your first-ever apartment decked out with a proper stove and dishwasher, everyone needs the same college kitchen essentials.

Cooking is both skill-based and tool-dependent, and it can be intimidating to know what kitchen essentials you need to get started. But don’t worry! Spoon University has curated the ultimate college kitchen packing list so that you can focus more on trying awesome new recipes instead of panicking about forgetting something.

Spoon Tip: Be sure to check with your dorm or apartment building’s rules regarding small appliances!

Cailey Tervo

The Kitchen Criticals

Whether your cooking space is more like a makeshift kitchen, or you have 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, be sure to check off these critical kitchen essentials to ensure that your big, small, (or non-existent!) college kitchen is complete.

Cleaning Supplies

Dish Soap/Dish Pods


Dish Scrubber Brush

Dish Towel + Microfiber Cloth

Disinfecting Wipes

All-Purpose Cleaner

Broom + Dust Pan

Trash Bags



Basic Utensils

Ice Pack

Reusable Silverware (Knives, Forks, Spoons)

Plates and Bowls


Reusable Water Bottle


Water Glasses

Travel Tumbler

2-Piece Knife Set (with Covers or Storage)

Reusable Straws

Tea Pot or Electric Kettle

Can Opener

Measuring Cups/Measuring Spoons

Oven Mitt


Must-Have, Microwavable Meals

Microwavable Entrees:

Tasty Bite Organic Indian Madras Lentils

Tasty Bite Organic Indian Channa Masala

Tasty Bite Indian Bombay Potatoes

Tasty Bite Indian Vegetable Tikka Masala

Microwavable Rice:

Tasty Bite Organic Basmati Rice

Tasty Bite Organic Jasmine Rice

Tasty Bite Organic Brown Rice

Tasty Bite Organic Turmeric Rice

Paper, Plastic, and Storage Goods



Paper Plates

Plastic Cups

Plastic Bags

Paper Towels

Aluminum Foil

Plastic Wrap

Wax Paper

Cailey Tervo

The Makeshift Kitchen

As excited as you might be to move into your dorm with your new roomie (aka your future bestie and fellow foodie), it’s a bummer when you realize you won’t have access to a kitchen like the one you’re used to. You can still get creative with your cooking – as long as you get everything you need on the list for your no-kitchen kitchen.

Mini Fridge

Rolling Cart


Big Bowl

Storage Jars

Removable Labels

Ice Trays

Microwavable Utensils (Bowls, Plates, Cups, Mugs)

Coffee Maker

Small Cutlery Organizer

Resealable Containers

Bag Clips

Reusable Food Wraps

Sink Caddy


Cailey Tervo

The Kitchenette

​​Do you have a kitchenette or a shared common kitchen with your floormates? Either way, you’ll have a lot more room for the appliances you love to cook with – especially compared to dorm rooms without any sort of cooking space or fridge. So, start to think about what dinners you want to make for your college buddies now that you can buy, pack up, and have the space to store the extra equipment for your compact kitchen.Strainer/Colander

Nonstick Pan(s)


Metal Tongs

Wooden Spoon

Baking Sheet



Pizza Cutter


Cutting Board


Garlic Press

Spice Rack

Kitchen Shears

Muffin Tin

Meat Thermometer 

Cailey Tervo

The Classic Kitchen

If you’re completely moved out of the dorms, away from mini kitchens, and into a kitchen that has counter space, storage, and a dishwasher, you’re going to have so much fun cooking new recipes and gourmet meals after adding these additional culinary tools to your collection.

Baking Dishes

Mixing Bowls


Air Fryer


Instant Pot

Dutch Oven

Cast Iron Skillet

Sauté Pan (Small, Medium, Large)

Wine Glasses

Rice Cooker


Food Processor

Hand Mixer


Knife Set

Potato Masher

Saucepans (Small, Medium, Large)

Pots (Small, Large)


Splatter Guard 

Cailey Tervo

Packed Up Pantry

Regardless if you like to cook savory spreads, or prefer to bake drool-worthy desserts, you’re going to need to have some key pantry staples on hand. So, before you get halfway through your recipe and realize that you don’t have a major ingredient, make sure you shop for these items now to ensure that your pantry is packed up and ready for all of your culinary creations later.

Olive Oil

Baking Soda

Baking Powder

Spice Set (Chili Powder, Garlic Powder, Cayenne Pepper, Cinnamon, etc.)

Apple Cider Vinegar

Vegetable Oil




Vanilla Extract

Salt and Pepper

Tomato Paste


Condiments (Sriracha, Mayonnaise, Ketchup, Mustard, Relish, etc.)

Dried Herbs (Basil, Chives, Thyme, Rosemary, Oregano, Dill, etc.)