Cooking in College

This post about cooking in college may contain affiliate links. For more information see disclosure at bottom of home page

I typed in “cooking in grad school” today and some really bad blogs/articles/Quora questions came up. Do people not write about cooking in college? Like, cooking is a huge skill that I strongly believe ever student needs to know. You don’t need to know hoe to cook the best food, but at least know how to make toast lol. Today, I want to discuss how you can get started with cooking in college when you actually have a kitchen and a few items. I was considering creating a little course to share with you all about cooking with limited cooking resources. Let me know if you would be interested. I was thinking about maybe showing how to cook the recipes from this blog post, and showing how to do it with everyday appliances and cooking supplies that most college students have. It’s an idea.

Anyway, I want to go over how to get started, a few tips, and why I think it’s an important skill and hobby that you need to pick up while in college and especially while you are in grad school. Let’s start off with why you should learn to cook and then we will go into some other stuff.

cooking in college

Why you should learn to cook in college.

I really hope you know why you should be cooking while in college. Like come on. What is better than showing off your culinary skills to friends and maybe your neighbors! Cooking is such an amazing hobby to pick up and it teaches you so much. It teaches you basic life skills like how to actually make food that is good for you, knife skills, shopping (financial) skills, and social skills. You do want to invite people over to show off, right?

Show Off!

I think one of the coolest things about learning to cook in college is being able to make crazing awesome dishes and really blow your friends away. I make pretty delicious recipes all of the time and my friends go crazy. You don’t even need to know extreme cooking skills to make stuff that is super delicious that your friends will absolutely love. There are plenty of recipes online where the dish might be like 4 or 5 steps and then it’s done. You need to know only basic culinary skills to cook them and they will always turn out amazing. Cooking is a great way to show off to your friends and make new friends. Everyone wants someone that knows how to cook in their lives.

cooking in college and grad school

Your Wallet Will Thank You!

So college is a very financially stressful time. College students are broke, but have some financial support from either their parents, loans, or some other method. Usually loans are the most helpful. Grad students may have loans, but many doctorates don’t take out loans and solely rely on making the equivalent of 10 dollars an hour. So, when in college, you are pretty poor. One thing that I find to be super expensive is eating fast food or getting to-go.

Each meal is about 10 dollars for one person and you might be eating out 2 to 3 times a day. Yes, I know people that eat out that much. College is easier because you can get on a dining plan at school and eat at the dining halls. These are often good choices, but you can and will gain weight since most of the time that food is pretty unhealthy. Not always, but often.

Going to the store, grabbing some veggies, protein, and other ingredients is fairly cheap and you can learn to make food that tastes better than the food you buy at a restaurant. Your wallet will thank you so much. I know that 20 dollars can get me way more food at the store than it can going out to eat. Also, getting groceries means you don’t have to tip extra. You can make things in bulk and have all of your meals done for the week for maybe $50. It’s such a win. If you get really good at cooking then the food you make will be healthier, better tasting and just way better in general than what you would get elsewhere. Heck, this article says that the average meal at a restaurant costs over 300% more than making it yourself. Save some money, learn to cook.

It’s a great hobby

I have written so much about hobbies in college (check out the link to those here). I want to let you know that one of the coolest and best hobbies to have is cooking. Also, baking is another great hobby to have. It’s easy, fun, and you get to eat. What is there not to love about it? Honestly, I find cooking to be one of the best hobbies that I have.

I get to be creative in the kitchen, mess around with flavors and spices, and eat what I make. It is an easy and cheap hobby that people will admire you for. Plus, you can get a cook chefs hat and maybe a funny apron. It is a great thing to do with friends and significant others. It is also something fun to do by yourself. I can’t stress it enough that you need to take up cooking. It really is amazing.

What to Get to Start Cooking in College

I am so glad that you asked!!!! The first thing to do is make sure that you have a kitchen to use. The next is to get a few pots and pans. One of my favorite things to do is go to a Good Will at the end of the semester. People that are moving away will donate their cooking stuff to them and you can buy really good stuff for dirt cheap. Grab whatever you can from there. It will be like 30 dollars but you’ll get hundreds of dollars worth of stuff. Trust me, it’s great. Another thing you can do is just acquire it from past roommates. That’s what I did. All of my cooking utensils, pots, pans, knives, etc. are from past roommates that have moved away. Nothing matches, but it all does what it’s supposed to do, help me cook.

List of things you probably should get

So I want to list off some things that you can get. I’ll post links to amazon pages where you can buy them. I would say go to Good Will, Walmart, or just buy on Amazon. It’s easy.

  1. Pots
  2. Pans
  3. Cutting board
  4. Spatula
  5. Rice Maker
  6. Whisk
  7. Knives
  8. Strainer
  9. Cast Iron. For those that just love the taste of charred foods.

I Think this is a good list to start. I will probably add more when I think of other essentials. But pretty much, this is what you start off with. As you get familiar with things and more comfortable in the kitchen, then you can start getting other cooking things. Knives, pots, pans, and a spatula are essential. A cutting board is also essential too. Whisks are good to have. A strainer is good if you want to make like noodles or maybe anything boiled. A rice maker is not essential but man do they make amazing rice. If you are a rice eater, get a ricer cooker. A cast iron pan isn’t essential at first, but eventually it should be the only thing you cook out of lol. I have one and cook in it every day.

How to Get Started.

So, I would suggest just getting into the kitchen and goofing around. Many people don’t like that so I’ll help you with a few resources that you can use. The first is YouTube. I found this course on YouTube and the guy goes over practically everything for beginners. The link to the channel is right here.

Another resource is watching Food Network when you have free time. Try and find recipes that the chefs make on their shows and try and cook with them. It is a great way to learn some simple, yet delicious recipes. I did this with the show, Good Eats. Yes, I am a huge Alton Brown fan. I hope he reads this blog post and comments. In fact, my love of science pretty much comes from watching all of his shows when I was a kid. Thanks Alton, you’re the man. Honestly, watching all of the shows really helps you to get the basic skills down. The more advance stuff comes with experience. Make sure you get the basics down and the advance stuff will come quite easily later.

If you are looking for recipes, just type in copy cat recipes of some of your favorite restaurant meals. Someone, somewhere, made a recipe that will tastes like your favorite meal at your favorite restaurant. Follow the recipe at first. Learn how to make the recipes first before you start making changes. Also, buy cook books. It doesn’t matter the cookbook, just get one. Make the stuff in there and see if you are even able to. You’ll be surprised how easy most things are yet they seem so complicated.

Final Thoughts

It’s the end of this segment but I hope to be able to continue with some cooking stuff in the future. If you want me to write more about cooking in college and grad school, leave me a comment or send me an email at As I said, I love cooking. I would love to talk about cooking and getting started with you.

I hope you all liked this post. seriously, I really do think making a mini cooking course would be fun. Let me know what you think. As always, I hope you all have a wonderful day and week. I have to get up early tomorrow for a job interview, so I need to get to bed here soon. Hopefully you guys are productive tomorrow and everyday. I will see you all in the next one. Peace!

My Favorite Recipes

This post may contains affiliate links. For more information see disclosure at bottom of home page

Few people actually know that I was on a culinary competition team in high school and we won quite a few competitions. I was actually awarded a scholarship to go to culinary school as well. As my long time readers know, I did not follow that path, and instead, went to UF for engineering and now I’m getting my doctorate. Crazy how things change so quickly.

Here I am at the ProStart cooking competition in Orlando

Anyway, I do enjoy cooking. Not as much as I used to, unfortunately, but I still enjoy it. I wanted to share my favorite recipes that I have come across in the many years I’ve been in the kitchen. As a grad student, one of the best things you can do is just experiment in the kitchen. Many of us rely on to-go orders and spend way too much on take out. Cooking is a great way of stress relief as well as a way to save a ton of money.

I figured this would be a good post since November is the start of gluttony season lol. You can try these recipes before your family comes over for the holidays. They are definitely crowd pleasers and it gives you a wonderful opportunity to hone your culinary skills. Plus, they are cheap and you can make a ton to eat throughout the week. So let’s get started.

Brown Pie on Brown Wooden Tray

Butter Chicken

So I am going to link to each recipe so this post isn’t 12 pages long. This recipe, I found on reddit one day while looking for Indian food recipes. This is the best butter chicken that I have ever eaten. People beg me for the recipe, which I share of course, but it’s that good. If you like Indian food, and don’t care about calories, you’ll love this recipe. Put it over rice and it becomes the perfect meal. Also, the butter chicken gets better as it sits in the fridge. The next day is way better than the first.

Here is the recipe

Free stock photo of bakery, baking, butter

Alton Brown’s Biscuits

I made this recipe one day while quarantining at my girlfriend’s dad’s house. Everyone loved it so much that we made it two more times afterwards. These are my all-time favorite biscuits and they are so easy to make. This is slightly biased because Alton Brown is my hero, but the biscuits are phenomenal.

Here is the recipe

Bowl of Meat

Orange Chicken

This one required a bit more time and effort (and some courage) to make. Orange chicken is sooooooooo good. I love Panda Express’ version of it but it honestly can be hit or miss with them. This recipe is 1000000Xs better than their orange chicken. I haven’t made this in a while because I am trying to get over a bit of a fear. In March, I had a pretty bad accident with cooking oil, so I am slowly trying to get back to being comfortable with it. But, if you are courageous and don’t mind deep frying, this recipe is for you. I highly suggest doubling the sauce and adding way more garlic and ginger. Other than that, this recipe is perfect. Once again, don’t count the calories!!! lol

Here is the recipe

Key Lime Pie

As a Floridian, there are two things you must love, or at least tolerate. 1) Alligators 2) Key Lime Pie. Key lime pie is one of my favorite desserts, mostly because lime is my favorite flavor. The keys have the best pies, since that’s where it originated. Publix have an amazing key lime pie as well. If you are down here, I suggest getting one of theirs. If you are in the Keys, check out Blonde Giraffe.

Here is a really easy and simple recipe for Key Lime Pie that I found on Reddit (It’s the first comment). Alsways remember that key lime pie uses graham cracker crust, not anything else. If the place has anything but graham cracker, leave. I mean it, just leave and go make you’re own.

Here is the recipe

Let Me Know Your Recipes

Do you have an awesome recipe that you are willing to share? If so, I am sure a ton of us would absolutely be floored by it. I am always on the lookout for recipes that are easy, delicious, cheap, and plentiful. I also like to cook for friends and show off a bit. Let me know of any cool recipes in the comments.

As always, I hope you guys have an awesome day and week. Also, for those asking about pictures from yesterday’s Viking wedding, Below is a picture of my girlfriend, Madison, and I. Madison made the fur things (not sure what they are called) herself.