University: Student Kitchen Essentials

I think sorting out all my kitchen stuff for university was the most difficult part. I was already a pretty keen cook back then, and knew I really wanted to keep both baking and experimenting with dinners right the way through university – and not deal with non-non-stick pans and replacing things after every year. I know I spent quite a bit more than the average student on my bits and bobs, but at the same time the vast majority made it through my four years away and will be used more over the next few years.

 photo Kitchen Essentials_zpss8sq0dms.pngMost annoyingly, the flat I’ve just moved into has an induction hob. The pans I’ve kept nice throughout university, carted up and down the country and made W carry up four flights of stairs? Yep, they weren’t induction suitable. But hello new shiny pans! #everysilverlining

Over the last few weeks I’ve worked alongside the Steamer Trading Cookshop to put together a list of student essentials, a Back to Uni bundle if you wish! It includes some pieces I’d definitely recommend to all new students, and some things I really wish I’d had…

Crockery and Cutlery. This is where I kept things simple and saved money. You don’t need a set, you don’t need a fancy pattern. I went for a plain white set and it’s lasted me well (plus it’s far easier to photograph new recipes on white crockery!). You’ll need a big plate*, a small plate*, a large bowl* and a mug*. I’d suggest grabbing a small bowl too – and possibly pick up a few duplicates as you will most likely break something.

 photo Steamer Trading Cookshop University Bundle 7_zpsbyfv9fo0.jpg photo 2015-03-17 20.45.54_zpsnykmcwu1.jpgSpiraliser. These have become SO popular in the last four years, I picked up a julienne peeler just before the craze really kicked off but am loving have a ‘proper’ spiraliser* with varying blades. It makes the perfect courgetti for my low-carb-onara.

Pots and Pans. This is definitely where I spent most of my kitchen budget, I was SO hoping these would do me through university and beyond – and they would have done had I not been moving into a flat with an induction hob. At absolute minimum I reckon a student would need a small saucepan, a large saucepan/casserole dish and a wok*. The wok can double up as a frying pan, and also as an extra saucepan if it’s deep enough – definitely worth picking one up.

 photo Steamer Trading Cookshop University Bundle 10_zpsrqfqk9dv.jpgMicrowave Gadgets. My kitchen in halls was disgusting. Our white chopping board was black by the November, we had ants in the fridge, the floor was permanently sticky and I wanted to spend as little time in there as possible. I did a lot of cooking prep in my room (I genuinely mixed up cake batters in there, carrying the filled tin straight to the oven). During that year, little gadgets to help me cook using the microwave (as I could clean it quickly before each use!) were lifesavers. Egg poachers, steamers, soup pots, popcorn makers* – I loved them!

 photo The Diet Reboot 3_zpswjavghiy.jpgWater Bottle. When I moved to uni, the one thing I noticed was I didn’t drink enough. At home someone always had the kettle on, was always making a pot of tea. Left to my own devices, I didn’t make myself drink and I quickly found myself getting dehydrated. A good water bottle definitely helped me combat this, I’ve talked about my love of Infruition bottles* before and it’s still strong!

 photo 2014-09-03 18.21.39_zpsdg8jsmbt.jpgKnives. These are definitely worth spending a bit more on, I’ve never enjoyed using a basic-level knife (something about the light-weight of them makings chopping seem like a lot more effort). A good knife set* will definitely last you through your time at university, mine certainly still looks as good as new.

 photo Steamer Trading Cookshop University Bundle 11_zps7i5ttx39.jpgToastie Maker. This is definitely something I wish I’d had in my first year. With my kitchen being as filthy as it was, I’d have loved the grill function of a 2-in-1 machine* to be able to cook myself meat/fish/veg/almost anything without having to clean the oven or hob first. Plus it makes gorgeous panninis. Need I say more?!

 photo Student Cookbooks 1_zpsw6vakr4z.jpgAlong with a stack of student cookbooks (though I’d also recommend grabbing a copy of Jack Monroe’s book to flick through), I reckon this lot would do even the most keen cooks through university. Yes, there’s some rather ‘extravagant’ bits there, but I know they’d have made some of my time away easier and a lot more enjoyable!

What are your kitchen essentials? 

  • Some great ideas there! I found that I needed copious amounts of Tupperware during first year as I’d cook four portions of a meal and than freeze them 🙂

    I ended up replacing my knives repeatedly during first year as they kept breaking so buying a decent set is a must!xo

    • ninegrandstudent

      I constantly seem to be buying tupperware! x

  • Jessi

    I’m not a student any more (*sob*), but I definitely agree with all your recommendations. It can be tricky if parents (very kindly) want to buy things for you before you go, but I would also suggest waiting until you’ve moved into your accommodation before buying some of the more specific items. I had a hall mate in first year whose potato masher never even made it out of its packaging…

    When I moved in with my boyfriend a few years after university, most of the kitchen essentials I’d bought for university had either seen better days or been handed onto my siblings, so we got to start all over again. Of course, we had no money as we had a house to furnish from scratch at the same time – so we went cheap. Again. It was so frustrating! We’ve recently done a cross-country move with his job, though, and were lucky enough to have a relocation allowance. I went crazy in John Lewis. As well as being great fun, it is so, so nice to have quality equipment. Our big splurge has been Le Creuset saucepans and ceramic frying pans from John Lewis. These, seriously, are a godsend. We originally had some ceramic ware from Tesco, but the coating was really thin and easily chipped. These pans make frying eggs a breeze – no oil required – and distribute the heat evenly so you don’t have to worry about moving things around too much – great for cooking salmon, or anything where you want a good crust. The moral of the story is to get the best you can afford the first time round. If I’d have known how much better the good stuff is, I would have just bought it in the first place – relocation allowance or no relocation allowance. Oh, the other thing that’s been completely life-changing for me has been a four-slice toaster – but, then again, we do eat a probably insane amount of poached eggs on toast, and it is great to be able to eat at the same time!

    We haven’t upgraded some stuff, though – we’ve still got our original griddle pan, because I find that the more expensive ones (I’m looking at you, Le Creuset) are prohibitively heavy. Still looking! We also didn’t buy new knives, as I honestly had no idea where to start. Ours were really blunt, though – and I know it sounds so obvious – but definitely helped along by regular sharpens with a sharpener.

    I’ve still got my eye on a few things, too. I really want a toastie maker, but I fear that will enable my toastie habit. It’s the same situation with a deep fat fryer – I shouldn’t be eating more fried foods. But the possibilities for soft-boiled scotch eggs, though… We’ve also got a full-sized food processor, and it’s such a pain because it’s so big, so I’ve been looking at those mini choppers for making curry pastes, etc. Aaand, obviously, what girl doesn’t want a KitchenAid mixer?!

    Have you bought anything for your first grown-up kitchen, apart from your induction pans? I’d love to see a post if you have. We are in need of inspiration for our wedding list. Are you having one? There are definitely things we want/need, but it’s so hard to know what to do when you already live together.

    • ninegrandstudent

      I feel exactly the same – my fiance is still a student so I feel like I’m cheating somehow! x

  • Beca

    This is really useful for me since I’m starting uni in two weeks!

    • ninegrandstudent

      Oh, hope it’s going well! x