small kitchen appliances for back to school

For a lot of students, back to school means setting up a kitchen in a shared living space. One thing I learned in my first year at school was that you have to shop for all of the ‘little things’ you get used to at home. For example, during my first few months of school, I had a coffee maker and a regular toaster, but what I really needed was a toaster oven. When I did get a toaster oven, I could make toast, but I could also warm up a slice of cold pizza or cook a hot pocket when I was hungry. Even if you’re not living at school but you’re commuting from home, taking classes makes your daily life speed up to the point where there isn’t a lot of time to cook every day. Having a few essential small kitchen appliances can make a grab-and-go lifestyle a lot easier.

Here are my top 7 picks for kitchen appliances you’ll use every day when you head back to school.

7 small kitchen appliances you’ll need for the dorm

When it comes to eating and cooking food, everyone is different. While we may all have different cooking styles and different foods we like to cook, I think there are a few must-have small kitchen appliances that will make everyone’s dorm life feel like home.

1. Coffee makers make more than coffee

single serve coffee maker

It’s hard to believe, but I managed my first two years of university without drinking a single cup of coffee. Yes, I routinely fell asleep while studying. After logging more hours napping than reading, I finally decided to buy a small coffee maker. Unfortunately, I found the 4 cup model I bought was so small, it barely made enough coffee to wake me up in the morning let alone take with me as I rushed out the door.

Students these days don’t have that same problem, and it’s all thanks to single serve coffee makers. All you need is a box of coffee pods and you’ll have fresh coffee in the morning and a quick way to grab a cup of coffee to go. Everyone can have their own pods so you aren’t limited to one type of coffee, and single serve brewers can also make coffee, tea, hot chocolate, and pour hot water. I’ve been told some students will use a single serve coffee maker to pour out hot water for ramen more often than making coffee, so they really are a versatile small appliance.

If you’re living on your own you could also choose a French Press coffee maker. They are easy to use and they make great coffee. You just add your coffee grinds, pour your hot water, and press slowly for a delicious cup of coffee.

2. Grill a quick meal in a toaster oven

toaster oven for dorm room

The cafeteria is closed, you’re up late studying, and you’re craving one of your mom’s grilled cheese sandwiches. Food cravings always made me more homesick, so it helped when I could make homemade food when I was really hungry. With the right small kitchen appliance you can replicate the grilled cheese whenever you get a craving. I always used a toaster oven at home to make grilled cheese, and switching from a regular toaster to a toaster oven at school meant I could whip up toasted sandwiches, frozen pizza, hot pockets, or just reheat leftover food that was cold. I could even bake a batch of cookies in my toaster oven, and some double a countertop convection oven so you could even bake up a loaf of bread if you wanted one.

If I was choosing a new toaster oven for the dorm room now, I’d pick a toaster oven with air fryer built-in. They work so well for crispy french fries and other snacks that taste deep-fried but don’t need extra oil.

3. A pressure cooker does it all

pressure cooker for back to school

If your room doesn’t have a stove or a lot of space, how can you cook a full meal? There is one small kitchen appliance with so many different functions, you’ll be able to cook almost anything. A multicooker like the Instant Pot is more than just a pressure cooker – it lets you saute, slow cook, cook rice, make oatmeal, and boil eggs. You can even cook up a roast beef with potatoes or make a cake. You can layer your food inside the pot if you want to make a full meal at once, and pressure cookers can cook quickly so you can grab your dinner and take it to go.

One great tip for using a pressure or multicooker at school to make a bigger meal is to buy the raw pre-pack meals you find in grocery stores. They usually include meat and vegetables of some kind, and all you’ll have to do is add it to your pressure cooker and you can have a hot meal with the bonus of left overs for another day.

4. Panini press and sandwich makers make hot food quickly

sandwich maker for dorm room

Eating breakfast sets the tone for your entire day, but how do you manage a healthy breakfast when you’re always rushing out the door? A sandwich maker is a small kitchen appliance that will whip up a hot breakfast sandwich or substantial hot sandwich for dinner, and they cook it in under 5 minutes.

For breakfast, all you have to do is drop an egg, add your favourite type of bun, layer on your condiments of choice, and close the lid. In a few minutes, you’ll have a delicious egg sandwich you didn’t have to order from a coffee shop or cafeteria. One of my favourite dorm room snacks was a melted PB&J. I used almond butter and my mom’s homemade jam on multigrain bread, and it was my go-to snack when I’d be up late and needed something filling.

5. Kettles keep hot water on tap

For a quick cup of tea, hot water for ramen, or even to fill a hot water bottle when you have a sore back, a kettle will be a must. Kettles are small so they don’t take up a lot of space, can boil water in a few minutes, and some types even have different preset water temperature for different types of tea. You can use a kettle to boil water for your French press coffee, and I like the carafe type of kettle that keeps your hot water hot for hours.

air fryer small kitchen appliance

6. Air fryer for late night snacks

If you don’t choose a toaster oven with an air fryer, a stand alone air fryer is a must have. I’ve spent hours watching videos about air fryers, and I always find something new I’d like to cook. Having the option to air fry French fries and chicken strips keeps me from wanting fast food, and that saves time, money, and calories. You can even make popcorn in the air fryer. With a toaster oven and an air fryer, you won’t even need a microwave in your dorm room.

7. Mini fridge so your food lasts longer

I knew a few students who never used a mini fridge in their dorms, but they would have to go to the grocery store or cafeteria for food whenever they were hungry. I was one of the lucky ones who did have a mini fridge and I was always making room inside for my friend’s drinks or perishable food, so I think having one in a dorm is a must. The latest mini fridges or bar fridges are very small so they don’t take up a lot of space, they run quietly, and you can adjust the shelves inside to accommodate different types of food. If you want to add a little style to your dorm, look for the retro mini fridges that are available in different colours.

retro mini fridge for dorm room

Small appliances make it easy to make food at school

With these seven small kitchen appliances in your dorm room, you’ll be able to make almost any dish you’d like. Avocado toast is easy when you have a toaster oven, beef or chicken stew is as simple as putting a bunch of your favourite stew ingredients in the Instant Pot, and egg and cheese breakfast sandwiches will be ready for you every morning in your sandwich maker.

To make it even easier to take your food and drinks on the go, you can stock up on different kitchen accessories. Travel mugs keep your coffee or tea hot and are big enough to store 12 to 24 ounces. For food, an insulated lunch bag fits neatly in a backpack and keeps your food safe until you’re ready to eat it.

Shopping for your dorm room now means you’ll be for anything this fall. You can find all types of small kitchen appliances to make back to school easier at Best Buy.

Shelly Wutke
Editor TV & Home Theatre
I'm a Vancouver freelancer and tech enthusiast. When I'm not writing you'll find me on my farm with my alpacas, chickens, and honeybees. Visit my website Survivemag


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