Student kitchen essentials – what to buy for university
Our checklist has key equipment to buy a student who is starting a new term. Discover how to kit out a university kitchen, plus find student recipes to get them started.
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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 university 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…
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 as they're a great way of feeding a crowd. Carbon steel woks are often inexpensive, but have a tendency to rust if not treated with oil and maintained over time. If this sounds too much like high maintenance, go for a non-stick wok like this Tefal wok with a thermospot centre to signal when to start cooking.
Tefal Everest Stone 28cm wok
Non-stick frying pan
Treat it well and a non-stick frying 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. This thrifty Tower ceramic pan changes colour when it reaches the perfect cooking temperature and is a very affordable option should it need replacing.
Tower ceramic-coated change frying pan
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. This thrifty Russell Hobbs slow cooker has a 3.5l capacity so is ideal for batch cooking.
Russell Hobbs 3.5l slow cooker
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. You can pick up a very good knife for under £40, but we love this Kitchen Devils cook’s knife. It’s remarkably cheap, multi-purpose and has a finger stop at the end of the handle for safety.
Kitchen Devils Control cook’s knife
Buy from Robert Dyas (£8.99)
A range of simple plastic or wooden chopping boards is definitely an essential on the shopping list before heading off to uni. This set of three non-slip boards by Von Shef vary in size so they can be used for prepping different ingredients. The rubber grips on each corner ensure maximum safety when chopping.
VonShef 3-piece firm grip chopping board set
Buy from Domu (£9.99)
Cheaper canned foods tend to lack a ring pull, so a good can opener is essential for the student kitchen. This robust OXO Good Grips opener has soft handles and is easy to use.
OXO Good Grips soft-handled can opener
Taking your own packed lunches to uni will save you heaps of money. This slender, space-saving lunchbox can be slotted into a book bag, plus it has a reliable leakproof seal.
Joseph Joseph GoEat lunchbox
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. This Lakeland pan has many positive features, including a non-stick surface, pouring lip for cooking juices and a generous capacity – essential when cooking for a group.
Lakeland large roasting tin with pouring lip
More student-friendly product reviews
Best hand blenders
Best food storage containers
Best kitchen gadgets under £10
Best reusable water bottles
10 gadgets to save you money in the kitchen
Student recipes and guides
7 healthy student recipes
Basic recipes for your first year as a student
10 vegan student recipes
10 vegetarian student recipes
Essential recipes for university
Our best ever student recipes
Cheap and healthy recipes
For all of the products mentioned in this review, various retailers have been suggested by our affiliate partner Monetizer 101 and are not suggested or chosen by BBC Good Food. For more information on how these retailers are selected and the nature of our partnership, please read the Monetizer101 FAQ page.
What kitchen equipment could you not live without at university? Leave a comment below…
This review was last updated in August 2018. If you have any questions, suggestions for future reviews or spot anything that has changed in price or availability please get in touch at [email protected]