How to upgrade your student kitchen for less with Kijiji

Settling into a home when you have never cooked all of your own meals is daunting! Here's what you need (and don't need) to add to your kitchen to ease your transition into your new place.

Editor’s note: This article has been newly updated.

Dorm living is a big adjustment, as is moving in with roommates, or moving out on your own when you are used to living with family. There is a never ending list of things you can stock your kitchen with, and if you aren’t used to cooking on your own, it can be hard to know what you need. Here’s what you should get.

When it comes to utensils, everyone needs at least a couple of forks, knives, and spoons, a spatula, and a set of tongs. Don’t forget pot holders, either, and if you entertain, wine and beer bottle openers are a must have – you don’t want friends trying to open a bottle without one, especially after a few drinks. These are the must-have basics, but other little things are easy to pick up as you go.

Hot Plate

If you lack a stove but love cooking on the stove top, we’ve got a solution. If you can’t imagine life without fried foods, noodles, or anything else that requires a burner, a hot plate is worth investing in.

Slow Cooker

A slow cooker is a great option if you love soups, stews, and have a tendency to forget food on the stove. Fancier models can be programmed to turn off automatically, but any model of slow cooker is designed to be left unattended for hours.


Blenders are a great way to keep your intake of fruits and vegetables high. It can be tough to incorporate enough vitamins and nutrients into a student diet, but with a blender and some frozen fruit and vegetables (or some that are a bit past the stage of looking appetizing), you can make a healthy smoothie part of your daily routine.


If the thought of living without a BBQ makes you cry, a grill is a nice substitute. You’ll be able to cook all of your favourite BBQ items even if you don’t have the space for the real thing.

Rice Cooker

If rice is a big part of your diet, a rice cooker is handy, though not essential when setting up your home.

Food Processor

If you don’t have very many loved recipes that depend on a food processor, you can probably make do without one during your student years. They can, however, be incredibly handy!

Electric Kettle

If you have a stove, a regular kettle will likely suffice, though little can compare to the speed that an electric kettle brings your water to a boil at. If you don’t have a stove in your dorm room, an electric kettle is a small investment that will prove itself to be very useful.


What is quicker and easier than toast? Not much! Be sure your student house either has a toaster or its oven-like cousin, the toaster oven. If you don’t have an oven, a toaster oven is a must. This versatile appliance can do the work of a toaster, an oven, and heat up those things that you don’t want to get all mushy from microwaving.


If you are a juice enthusiast, a juicer is a lovely thing…to put on your wedding registry. On a student budget, you are unlikely to be able to purchase enough fruit to make a juicer worthwhile. Save the juicer for when you are more established.

Coffee Maker

Coffee is an absolute staple for many students. It may be tempting to get a coffee maker from your parent’s basement, but consider how picky you are with your brew. Do your research and figure out which method of coffee-making you prefer. A French press is affordable, and tends to make tastier coffee than the drip method (though are sometimes considered more finicky to clean). Remember, if you aren’t satisfied with the quality of your coffee, you are more likely to spend money on caffeine fixes elsewhere, which is less cost-effective in the long run than getting something you are happy to use at home.

Panini Press

Not an essential, but Panini presses are often easy to score a good deal on used, as they take up quite a large amount of space and are often purged when people down size. If you are a fan of sandwiches, you may be able to score a sweet deal on a Panini press and make your meals a lot more gourmet than they might otherwise be.


If you don’t have a stove, nothing can get your food hot and ready to eat as fast as a microwave. If you are patient (or have a stove), keep in mind that everything a microwave does can also be done with a covered dish in the oven or a double boiler on the stove top. Microwaves do tend to negatively impact the texture of food, and take up a lot of space in small living quarters, but they may be difficult to go without if you are used to having one, and not used to cooking your own food.


Learning how to cook for yourself can be daunting, but with the right tools and a good attitude, it is a great adventure! Make sure to start your cooking journey by browsing kitchen items on Kijiji and being proactive in messaging sellers to get the best deals. Happy cooking!

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