How to kit out a student kitchen

Student cooking doesn't have to stop at spag bol. A few key gadgets can help make up for a lack of experience in the kitchen and ensure you eat well at uni.

Knives and forks

When it comes to cooking, students don't always get the best press. But let's face it, a cupboard full of broken pots and pans and a couple of electric rings would leave even professional chefs at a loss. Being packed off to uni with the right kit will raise spirits as well as keep hunger pangs at bay. Communal cooking is a great way of finding a sense of home, too, in addition to saving money. Here's our definitive guide to the top gadgets and kit to stock up on before heading off to uni this year...

 

Wok

Black wok pan on a white background
Stir-fries are a bit of a lifeline for students; they are fast, cheap and tend to contain a few vegetables, too. Invest in a big enough wok and they're a great way of feeding a crowd. You should be able to find a good deal on woks at most major supermarkets. Check out our best woks on test. 



Non-stick frying pan

Black non-stick frying pan on white background
Treat it well and a non-stick pan can be a friend for life. It's brilliant for cheap, speedy dishes like omelette and pancakes, and should lessen cooking disasters for the new chef. Looking for inspiration? We've rounded up our top five non-stick frying pans

 

Slow cooker

Black upright slow cooker on white background

Slow cookers may seem a bit more The Good Life than The Young Ones, but they're a great way of eating well on a budget. With a slow cooker you'll be able to turn the cheapest cuts of meat into something spectacular and with minimum preparation time.

There are lots of pros to buying a slow cooker. They are energy efficient and if you set your timer before leaving the house, you can arrive home from lectures to a freshly cooked hot meal – just like home. In our slow cooker round-up, we found that medium and small cookers provided better heat distribution. You should be able to pick up a good-sized model for around £50.

 

Knife

Sharp edge knife with black handle on white background

A proper chef's knife will make the world of difference to your cooking experience if you can invest or 'borrow' one from home. Although they tend to come with high price tags, those serious about their cooking will keep theirs throughout their entire student life and beyond. We've found our favourite knives under £40 for the student looking to up their cooking game whilst living away from home.  
 

Chopping board

Wooden chopping board on white background

A range of simple plastic or wooden boards is definitely an essential on the shopping list before heading off to uni. We've rounded up some of our favourite chopping boards to make the choice a bit easier. 

 

Can opener

White can opener with handle on white background

 

Cheaper canned foods tend to lack a ring pull, so one of these is essential for the student kitchen. Check out our favourite can openers


Tupperware

 Four blue and clear tupperware boxes stacked on top of each other on white background

Tupperware is not only great for helping you store leftover food safely, it'll also come in handy for transporting money-saving packed lunches to uni. We put Tupperware to the test with cost in mind.
 

Hand blender

Black hand blender on white background

Fantastic for whizzing together a quick smoothie or soup for one, students will be surprised how much use they get out of a hand blender. Some come with a high price tag, but there are affordable models available. See our review.

 

Roasting tray 

Blue and black roasting tray on white background
Less costly than you might imagine, a decent roasting tin comes in handy for a multitude of different recipes from a Sunday roast to a sweet traybake. Check out what else we've included in our best kitchen gadgets under £10

With your student kitchen all stocked up, you next need to work out what to cook...


What kitchen equipment could you not live without at university? We'd love to hear your thoughts…

 

Comments, questions and tips

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hungrybaker
12th Nov, 2015
I'd suggest ditching the slow-cooker for a combined electric pressure cooker and slow-cooker (you can also saute with the lid off so it's also a large saucepan) - there are various models (I have an Instant Pot IP-Duo60 6 litre) ranging from basic to ones with timer and presets for specific foods (e.g. soup, stew, stock, poultry, chilli). They tend to come with a steamer basker and/or a trivet so you can use it as a steamer too (and store them inside when not in use). Having multi-purpose kit saves space and is usually cheaper than buying the appliances separately. You can also buy multi-cookers that slow-cook, cook rice, steam etc. but don't pressure cook; I had one as a student - handy in a tiny space.
Nishrin Rieza
28th Jan, 2015
nice tips. And I also agree with Daisy@Cheaperseeker. Too many utensils.
foulkes_mia
16th Sep, 2014
Agree with Daisy@Cheaperseeker - loads of cutlery - I did buy new in first year but it's better to just buy a load from the charity shop as you are never going to leave with your full set. Paper/Plastic bowls - if you are considering feeding a crowd, no-one wants to get stuck washing up or having to serve chili from mugs... 2 Saucepans, again if you can find some in decent condition in a charity shop or on sale super cheap somewhere go for it, as chances are you will find at least one of them hidden in a cupboard, half full of food because someone came in at 3am and fancied pasta
Daisy@Cheaperseeker's picture
Daisy@Cheaperseeker
17th Apr, 2014
So many knives, forks and spoons.
amadden
27th Oct, 2013
I've got a 3L slow cooker and bought a plug-in timer for it. It's cheaper than forking out for a cooker with a built in timer and just as good.
razsharkbait
20th Jun, 2013
Something I find to be crucial in the kitchen is a colander. Makes draining/rinsing things such as pasta (an obvious student staple) or salad much easier.
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