8 Tips for Dorm Cooking with Just a Microwave

published Aug 13, 2015
We independently select these products—if you buy from one of our links, we may earn a commission. All prices were accurate at the time of publishing.
Post Image
(Image credit: Anthony Berenyi)

So you’ve made the choice to ditch your meal plan this year, or you’re a couple days into the new semester and already sick of dining hall food. Don’t worry — there are better meals ahead.

Armed with your dorm room microwave, the options are almost endless. Even if it doesn’t seem like it now, there are few things you won’t be able to cook.

Halfway through my sophomore year of college, I was over the meal plan. The cafeteria food just didn’t appeal to me, and more than that, I yearned to cook my own food. The only problem was I didn’t have a kitchen, and my only means to cook anything was the microwave. But that didn’t deter me! I got creative and learned there were few things I couldn’t cook in the microwave. My only regret is not knowing that mug cake was a thing.

So if all you’ve got to work with is a microwave, here are eight tips to help you make the most of it.

1. Step away from the boxed mac & cheese.

I can’t repeat this one enough: Leave the boxed mac & cheese on the grocery store shelf and go for homemade. It only requires five basic and inexpensive ingredients (and one of them is water).

2. You don’t need a stovetop for eggs & bacon.

Eggs and bacon are a breakfast power couple. They’re great for weekend brunch or a weekday morning treat. And even if all you’ve got to work with is a microwave, that’s okay — it’s all you need.

3. Want pancakes or French toast? All you need is a mug.

Never discount what can be made in a mug in the microwave! Sure, it’s not exactly the same as what you’d make on the stovetop. But if you don’t have a stovetop, this alternative will get the job done to satisfy your sweet breakfast craving.

4. Go beyond ramen to get your noodle fix.

You deserve something better than ramen — like, actual pasta. And, yes, you can cook pasta in the microwave.

5. Impress your friends with homemade potato chips.

Want to be the hit of your dorm? A batch of homemade potato chips from the microwave should do the trick. It’s a little bit of a project (albeit a fun one) — you just need a potato, a little bit of oil and salt, and a sharp knife or a mandoline.

6. All you need is a bowl and a plate to steam fresh vegetables.

Because fresh veggies always taste better than frozen! And there’s an equally easy way to cook them in your microwave. Place your veggies in a bowl, add a little water, top with a plate, and get cooking. You might have to play with the cook time a little, but this method works for just about any type of fresh vegetable.

7. You don’t have to buy microwave popcorn to make microwave popcorn.

Micorwave popcorn is a college staple. Actually, it’s more than that — it’s a staple for life. Movie night isn’t complete without it, and every good study session needs a good snack. All you need are kernels and a plain brown bag.

8. Use your favorite mug to bake a cake.

No oven, no problem. Use a mug to make a moist, single-serving cake in the microwave.