Beyond Top Ramen: Easy Meals To Make in the Dorms

By Eric Garneau

Cold Sandwiches

Lunch meat plus bread equals meal. Sandwiches offer a huge variety of dining options and can be made by pretty much anyone who can stack things on top of other things. All you need is a mini-fridge to keep your purchases fresh. Some colleges will even loan or lease such appliances to students. Really enterprising chefs can pop cold sandwiches into a microwave for a warmed-up treat!


Another incredibly easy meal that offers a lot of possibility: soup! Some require that you add water, others don't; otherwise, all you'll need is a microwave in which to heat it. Pro tip: combining a cold sandwich and soup is a veritable feast for a college student!

chicken noodle soup

Hot Dogs

Truly an American delicacy, hot dogs can easily be brought to an acceptable eating temperature after less than a minute in one of those electrically-powered heat boxes. Don't cook them too long, though, or they might explode. True story. As for condiments, ketchup packets are easily acquired, if you know where to look...

Pop Tarts

Okay, true, Pop Tarts and other such toaster pastries are not technically a meal, or at least they probably shouldn't be. They're included on this list because of their two-fold application. They can act as a delicious breakfast food (what a way to start the day!), or as a late-night dessert after a long day of classes, extracurriculars and studying (what a way to end it!). Plus, if you freeze them, some taste like ice cream... really. Why else would mint chocolate chip-flavored pastries exist?


This one requires just a little more work, but not much. George Foreman Grills have become popular accessories amongst college students. They offer a relatively cheap, easy way to prepare all kinds of meals (especially those involving meat) without the typical kitchen fixtures or mess. All you have to do is plug them in and pre-heat them, and they can grill up all kinds of food in mere minutes. Burgers are a popular application. Granted, some dormitories may not allow Foreman grills, but if yours does, it's a great accessory to diversify your meal plan!

hamburger grill


One more thing: it's always good to keep some easy snacks on hand. They take zero preparation time and can provide a nice boost between classes or before activities. You might want to go a little healthy with these: have some fresh fruit handy, or maybe some yogurt. Individual serving-sized boxes of cereal work great, too, as do packets of cheese and crackers. They also make great side items for any of the above-listed entrees.

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