Moving into college and have no idea what to bring for your kitchen? These 10 college kitchen basics are exactly what you need to start cooking. In this post, I’ve omitted the obvious dinnerware and utensils to make room for the real stars of the kitchen.

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10. Pot

Justus Menke

A pot is an absolute necessity in every kitchen and it makes the list of college kitchen basics for many reasons. Pots are needed for boiling water, making sauce, soup, and countless other things in the kitchen. As someone who cooks every day, I can assure you a pot is something you will be reaching for regularly.

9. Pan

Cooker King

Like a pot, a pan is crucial to having a functional kitchen. Pans are used for everything from scrambled eggs to frying chicken and they are one of the staple college kitchen basics. Pans come in all shapes and sizes, but I would recommend a medium stainless steel or a set so you have options.

8. Knife Set


A good knife is an investment, but it is an investment worth making. There is nothing worse than chopping with a dull knife or struggling to slice through a piece of meat. This Cuisinart set from William Sonoma is a perfect option.

7. Cutting Board

Matt Ketchum

A cutting board is an absolute necessity. This is a piece of kitchen equipment I promise you will use every single day. Whether you are making a meal with intense chopping or just cutting a lemon to squeeze in your drink, a cutting board will come in handy. This Farberware set is perfect because it is non-porous and won’t harbor bacteria

6. Strainer

Jamie Templeton

A strainer is one of the most overlooked college kitchen basics. This will come in handy mostly for draining pasta, but also for straining beans, washing fruits and veggies, and separating any solids from liquids. This OXO 5 Qt strainer from Target is perfect because it’s big and durable.

5. Sheet Pan

Christine Siracusa

A sheet Pan is one of my most used college kitchen basics. This is something that will get used every day, especially if you enjoy baking. I use my sheet pan for everything. Sheet pans are great for roasting veggies, baking cookies, and even heating frozen foods like pizza or chicken tenders. This Cuisinart sheet pan is perfect.

4. Oven Mits

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Another one of the easily overlooked college kitchen basics is oven mitts. It may seem like you don’t need them, but when you go to pull a sheet pan out of the oven and you don’t have any laying around you will wish you did. Williams Sonoma has a great oven mitt and potholder on sale now.

3. Can Opener

Lawrence Aritao

A can opener is another necessity in the kitchen. This is one of those college kitchen basics that you absolutely need. if you’ve ever found yourself in need of opening a can without a can opener you know how painful it can be. Trying to stab a knife around the outside and pry the top off is just awful. Do yourself a favor and make this number one on your list.

2. Wooden Spoon

Louis Hansel

A wooden spoon is another one of the college kitchen basics that will come in handy every day. Use this to stir pasta, mix a salad, saute some vegetables, and much more. This Amazon set is awesome because it includes various shapes with slightly different specialties.

1. Food Storage Container


The last thing on our list of college kitchen basics is food storage containers. This will be your best friend in college. Whether you are using these to meal prep, keep the food you brought back from the dining hall, or store your own leftovers you will use these containers every day.

Check Out: What Are the Best Grocery Stores for College Students for more college content.