11 Dorm-Friendly Foods That Are Surprisingly Delicious, So Put Down the Ramen Already

Dorm cooking is like a cutthroat reality show. We’re thinking a Chopped-style fight to the finish, with a handful of secret ingredients and five minutes left on the clock. The difference? You get ramen instead of pork belly, and the penalty for losing is death by starvation — or by mystery meat at the dining hall.

Let’s rise to the challenge. We’ll bet you’ve already got the necessary weapons: a microwave, a toaster, and your two bare hands. Now, all that’s left is to get creative. We’ll start off with the staples to last us all week long, from creamy aioli to brown rice, and then we’ll take things to the next level. There’s an easy salmon recipe for brain food, homemade potato chips for snacking between classes, and a five-minute mug cake for midnight, when your roommate is asleep. Ready? You got this.

Image: How Sweet Eats

by Lisa Siva

Homemade Aioli

Think of aioli as grown-up mayo, perfect for slathering on a chic, open-faced tartine. The best part? You just need a bowl, a fork, and a (really) strong arm. A Better Happier St. Sebastian shows us how.

Image: A Better Happier St. Sebastian

Microwave Brown Rice

The key to perfect brown rice? A microwave. Whip up a batch on Sunday, and then let it save your dorm-room dinners all week long. Thanks, Steamy Kitchen!

Image: Steamy Kitchen

Classic Ceviche

There are two kinds of dorm food: the kind you cook in the microwave and the kind you don’t cook at all. Up Close & Tasty’s ceviche is the latter — and it also happens to take just 30 minutes. Scoop it up with pita chips or serve it on that brown rice you made earlier.

Image: Up Close & Tasty


Yes, toast is a perfectly respectable meal — especially if you put tomatoes on top and call it “bruschetta.” The Comfort of Cooking takes things a step further with smashed avocado.

Image: The Comfort of Cooking

Spring Rolls

Spring rolls may be the dark horse in the dorm food category, but we think they deserve a little love. You’ll need rice paper wrappers, some water, and just about anything left over in your mini fridge. Our friends at Half Baked Harvest show us how they roll.

Image: Half Baked Harvest

Microwave Salmon

Do you have a microwave? Do you have five minutes? Good. You have just about everything you need for an elegant salmon dinner. Savory Sweet Life breaks it down.

Image: Savory Sweet Life

Spaghetti Squash

If you’re like us, you live on spaghetti squash in the fall. It’s as easy as throwing your veggie in the microwave, attacking it with forks, and tossing it with whatever you have on hand. Thanks, Steamy Kitchen!

Image: Steamy Kitchen

Potato Chips

Are you sitting down? Because these microwave potato chips will blow you away. Slice them, nuke them, and voilà — crispy, homemade chips in five minutes. Savory Sweet Life has the genius recipe.

Image: Savory Sweet Life

Hot Fudge

We won’t judge you for eating ice cream at 2am out of the carton — just as long as you drizzle it with your own homemade fudge. Katie at the Kitchen Door shows us how it’s done in just thirty seconds and three ingredients.

Image: Katie at the Kitchen Door

S'mores Cake

There’s nothing worse than a chocolate craving after the dining halls close. Luckily, How Sweet Eats has a cake you can whip up in a mug, no oven required.

Image: How Sweet Eats

Two-Ingredient Chocolate Mousse

Yes, this mousse is real. And yes, you only need two ingredients: chocolate and almond milk. Feel free to pretend that the arm workout you get from whipping them together totally makes up for the fact that you are about to eat chocolate mousse. Thanks, Oh, Ladycakes!

Image: Oh, Ladycakes