Kitchen Essentials Every Student Needs

 

It's back to school season, and every retailer is bombarding incoming students with their own list of college essentials and hot items for school. Some of the items are definitely useful, however, not all of these back to school kits and products are what you actually need. The other day I got to thinking, what are the ACTUAL kitchen essentials every college student needs? When I first went away to school, my parents spent money on one of those cookware kits. The cookware kit cost anywhere between $50-$100, and came with many items I never even used. In fact most, if not all, of the items weren't great quality and ended up in the donation box to head over to the local Goodwill or Salvation Army. 

 

Having a little more experience, both in life and the kitchen, I now know that I would approach my kitchen essentials for college life very differently. Primarily because the stuff that comes in the standard cookware kit geared toward students isn't built to last, and isn't very durable. You end up being sold a bunch of stuff you don't necessarily need, and it becomes a lot to lug around from dorm to dorm, or apartment to apartment. Instead, I would take the money you would invest in one of those cookware sets and purchase a more curated list of items. 

 

The items on my list are things that I believe everyone should have when just starting their cookware/kitchen collection. The items I've selected are durable, functional and can last you much longer than the four, or five if you're the new standard, years you'll be in school. You can ultimately purchase these items from any retailer, but the best quality and value that I've found has been at IKEA (Note: I am not getting paid to say this, this is jut what I've uncovered based on my own research and history of using their products). Whether you love to cook, or just cook the occasional bowl of pasta, these items are the kitchen essentials every student/person needs in their kitchen.

 

  • 5 Quart Pot with Lid

  • 3 Quart Pot with Lid

  • 2 Quart Sauce Pan with Lid

  • 11" Diameter Frying Pan (Non-Stick)

  • Can Opener

  • Colander

  • Turner/Spatula

  • Spoon/Slotted Spoon

  • Rimmed Baking Sheet (Non-Stick)

  • Oven Mit

  • Dish Towel

  • Chefs Knife

  • Cutting Board

  • Food Storage Containers

 

Pots, Saucepans + Frying Pan

Everyone should have these 4 items in their cookware essentials.

  • 5 Quart Pot with Lid

  • 3 Quart Pot with Lid

  • 2 Quart Sauce Pan with Lid

  • 11" Diameter Frying Pan (Non-Stick)

 

You could, of course, get more pots and pans, but you really don't need to, especially starting out. IKEA has all of these items, in an all metal finish, in their OUMBÄRLIG set for about $60.00. Some of you might be thinking, but Ginger, I can got to another store and get a largerer set for the same price, and it ill include some of the other things you've listed in your essentials. Yes, you are correct. However, one of the big reasons I don't like those all-inclusive sets is because they are not as versatile and it's a lot to lug around. Often times those cheaper and bigger cookware sets are thin metal -- uneven cooking -- and contain plastic parts. Remember, I want to help you build a set that is going to last you a lot longer. 

 

 

Pots and pans with plastic handles are oven safe up to a certain temperature, and it's not a very high temperature. Some aren't oven safe at all, so be sure to check before you toss a pot or pan in the oven that has a plastic handle. Having an all metal set that is oven safe gives you the flexibility to use your pots and pans in the oven in addition to on the stovetop. This comes in handy as you start to build your cooking skills and want to try different cooking techniques. With these four kitchen essentials that every student needs in their arsenal, you'll be able to make a myriad of things! You can buy them individually, but keep in mind that you will spend more going that route. 

 

Kitchen Utensils

The list that I have curated for the utensils are the things that I either knew I needed when I went to school, or had that 'Oh crap!" moment when I went to do something and realized I didn't have the item I needed to get the job done -- can opener. 

  • Can Opener

  • Chefs Knife

  • Spatula/Turner

  • Slotted Spoon/Spoon

 

 

There isn't much more to say about these items. You don't have to spend a lot of money on them, these can be plastic, wood or silicone. Whatever works for you and fits within your budget. Heck, if you're parents have extra at home, you may even be able to ask them if you can use those. Just don't take the good stuff. I've spent money on the larger kits, but I rarely use all of the items they come with. 

 

Miscellaneous 

In all honesty, the items that fell under this category are more so items that are the miscellaneous things that fell in the oh wait, they'll probably need X too, if they're going to do Y. They are the accessories to the kitchen that everyone needs, but you don't necessarily think about. You probably won't have these items forever, but if you're going to be in the kitchen, whether in the dorms or else where, you need these things. 

 

If you plan on making pasta, prepping meat, veggies or taking something out of the oven you're going to need the items above. They don't need to be anything special or expensive, IKEA has some great options, but if you invest in a good baking sheet and cutting boards, they can last you a long time. The only note I would make on the cutting board is, do not use a wood cutting board for raw meats. Wood is porous and bacteria can hide in the crevices of the cutting board. Stick with plastic or silicone for meats. I have separate boards that I use for produce and for meat. If you only have one cutting board, make sure you prep veggies first, then move on to meats. Also, wash the board with soap and hot water between uses. 

 

Well, there you have it! These are the kitchen essentials every student needs. If you're interested in our full list of college essentials for dorm life you can click the download link below! Are there any other items that we forgot? Comment below and let us know what are your kitchen essentials you think every student needs.