You might think you can get by with a bottle opener and not much else at university, but it’s surprising how many bits and pieces will come in handy in the kitchen.
From crockery to glasses, cutlery to tea towels, and the all-important accessories to make a steaming bowl of mash, there’s a lot to consider when you’re packing. Our main piece of advice is to look for distinctive colours or patterns – it might not stop your housemates stealing your stuff, but it will make it easier to retrieve them at the end of term!
If you’re stocking up on essential kitchen items for your first term, it can be hard to know where to start. Buying a few basic utensils will make your first few days easier while you get settled in. As with any student kitchen sets, it’s worth saving money on fragile items and not being too precious about smashed glasses or plates, to spend more on decent utensils. A sharp knife goes a long way in basic meal prep.
Also check out:
The best student kitchen gear
1. AmazonBasics Glass Locking Food Storage Containers 14 Pieces (7 Containers + 7 Lids)
Storage containers are a must - whether it's for leftovers from that massive pasta meal you made, or taking snacks to the library with you (trust us, it'll save you money) then storage boxes with lids are important.
2. Wilko Kitchen in a Box
This awesome Kitchen in a Box from Wilko has literally everything you need to get started with your new uni life. It comes with a dinner set, glasses, an oven tray, pans, a chopping board, scissors, utensils and much more. Sorted.
3. Rayinblue 16-Piece Tableware Set
Brilliant value and utterly cheering, this set is a great addition to your kitchen start up set. You'll almost certainly lose some of the 16 pieces over your time at university, but at least they won't be muddled up with anyone else's, as they are so distinctive. A sturdy, handy cutlery set that doesn't fade after repeated use or even going through the dishwasher, if you're lucky enough to have one.
4. KitchenCraft Colourworks 5-Piece Coloured Stainless Steel Knife Set
One lesson we all learn as we strike out on our own in the world is: good knives make a big difference. It sounds so simple, but honestly you'll thank us. Stop hacking tomatoes (or fingers) into shreds with cheap knives, and try these instead. Not only does the set cover everything you'll need, but the colourful design means they are unlikely to get mixed up with anyone else's u2013 a bigger problem than you might imagine in a shared kitchen.
5. Musbury Fabrics Pack of 6 Tunstead Farm Estate Animal Collection 100% Cotton Terry Tea Towels
You can never have enough tea towels, especially if you're in a shared house. These tea towels are brightly coloured, strong, dry efficiently and have a cute farm design so you'll always know which ones are yours.
6. AmazonBasics 18-Piece Dinnerware Set
When it comes to plates, you don't need to get the fanciest available. The likelihood is, you're going to smash a few, crack a couple and probably lose some. This set from Amazon Basics is simple and affordable, perfect for uni life.
7. Salter BW08664 3-Piece Marble Gold Non-Stick Fry Pan Set
One thing you can't scrimp on at uni is pans. Trust us, it'll just make life easier, and they'll last you long after you've moved on from your student flat. These ones from Salter make cooking so enjoyable and the small pan is the perfect size for a solo fried egg butty on a hangover morning. Plus, if you run out of oil, the non-stick marble effect coating means you can use little or no oil at all.
8. KitchenCraft Colourworks Kitchen Tool Kit
Another great set from KitchenCraft u2013 this time colourful utensils. Trust us when we say you won't want to share other people's utensils after a few weeks. Get your own u2013 coloured for easy identification u2013 and stay away from their stained sink-dwellers. These are easy to grip, heat resistant and will help you make student essentials such as pasta, burgers and mashed potato.
9. Collapsible Silicone Colander Set of 2
A lot of people forget about colanders when it comes to kitting out the kitchen, but you'll use them pretty frequently for rice, pasta, vegetables and potatoes. This set of three collapsible silicone colanders will store away easily and are super quick to clean.
10. Russell Hobbs Lincoln Kettle and 2-Slice Toaster 21830 - Polished Stainless Steel Silver
If your shared house is pretty bare-bones, you may need a kettle and a toaster for, well, coffee and toast. Especially when it's dissertation time! This set is sleek, looks great and isn't too pricey.
11. The Lazy Pan
This pan makes cooking up your favourite brekkie super easy. Less mess, less washing up - bonus.
12. Tower Essentials Casserole Dish with Glass Lid
A large pot is a must-have for meal prep, meaning you can batch cook lots of meals at once. Chilli, spaghetti Bolognese, pesto pasta and more - you can do everything with this huge pan.
13. Flexible Plastic Chopping Board Set
These flexible chopping boards are labelled for hygiene, easy to wash and make light work of transferring your ingredients into a pan. Plus, they're so purse-friendly! This one's a must-have.
14. Delleu Vegetable Peeler
This cheap and cheerful peeler will add a pop of colour to your cutlery drawer. It's adept at peeling fruit and veg, with a non-slip handle meaning that even the most butter-fingered user should stay safe. Cleverly it even has a built-in potato eye remover, perfect if you've let your spuds moulder in a cupboard for too long and they've started to sprout.
15. AmazonBasics Reusable Silicone Baking Cups, Pack of 24
When it comes to the weekend and you're a) hungover cos of all the beer and b) skint cos of all the beer, then baking cupcakes at home with your flatmates is a viable option for entertainment (and sustenance). These silicone baking cases will cheer you up and distract you from that essay you've forgotten to write.
The main thing is not to panic – there’s sure to be someone in your halls or shared house who has whatever you’ve forgotten. And asking to borrow a can opener or a slotted spoon can be a great conversation starter.
Related: The best waffle makers
You also need to remember to take some cookbooks with you - there's nothing worse than realising you only know how to cook pasta when you're facing at least three years of living on your own.
Are you a Prime member?
Have you signed up for Amazon Prime yet? You can sign up today for a free 30-day trial and find out what all the fuss is about. You get free next-day delivery on thousands of items, plus so much more – Prime Video, Prime Reading, Amazon Family, and more.
What to read next
Subscribe to the What’s The Best Newsletter to keep up to date with more of the latest reviews and recommendations from the rest of the What’s The Best team.