College Dorms

Alright, let’s tackle the question of whether crockpots are allowed in dorms. Now, we all know the mouthwatering aroma of a slow-cooked meal can make our taste buds do a happy dance. But here’s the lowdown: dorm policies can be a bit fickle when it comes to these handy devices.

Some dorms might give you a thumbs-up to bring in your trusty slow cooker, while others might give you a raised eyebrow and say, “Hold on there, chef!” It’s like a culinary puzzle trying to figure out what’s allowed and what’s not. 

Yes, most college dorms allow appliances like toasters or instant pots and slow cookers. Dorms allow small kitchen appliances that don’t easily catch things on fire. Always check your college’s dorm rules before bringing in any appliance of course. Some colleges don’t allow any cooking appliances, but more often than not they are allowed for personal use. 

Personally, when I was in college, my dorm didn’t exactly have a gourmet kitchen setup. It was more of a microwave and ramen kind of situation. But hey, times change, and dorm policies can vary from one place to another. So, to avoid any soupy situations, it’s best to reach out to your housing office or dorm manager for the official word. They’ll be the ones who can give you the final scoop on whether your slow cooker dreams can come to life in your dorm room. 

Crockpots are a great appliance that comes in many sizes, and if you’re just cooking for yourself in a dorm then a small one will be perfect. 

Let’s go through what kinds of slow cookers are more likely to be acceptable in a dorm, why you might need it, and a few tips for using them.  

Small slow cookers

General Dorm Rules for Slow Cookers

For the colleges that do allow small kitchen appliances in dorms, there are some strict rules that need to be followed. These rules are put in place to keep everyone in the dorm safe. If you are moving into a dorm soon, here are a few general rules about keeping slow cookers and safety precautions.

Make sure to check your specific dorm rules before getting any cooking appliances for your dorm room. 

Keep the Room Clean

If you’re cooking for yourself then your slow cooker needs to be cleaned after you’re done using it to avoid smells. A whole dorm hall can fill with nasty smells easily. Dispose of any food or beverage containers as is appropriate, and keep your dishes cleaned up. 

Slow Cooker Size Matters

Most colleges don’t allow kitchen appliances to be larger than 4.5 cubic feet or to draw on multiple amps. So something small that uses a small amount of power will be your best bet. Dorms also do not allow kitchen appliances to be plugged into an extension cord. It has to be connected directly to the wall.

No Open Flames

Dorms do not allow anything that smolders or has open flames. This is to prevent any fires in the dorm. That said, no combustible liquids are allowed either. 

Slow cooker connected to plug in the wall

Can’t Sell Food

If you’re making your own food you can’t sell it to anyone. It goes against dorm rules as well as federal regulations. It’s also considered a safety hazard, because of the potential for food poisoning. You’ll have to either give food away or keep those tasty meals to yourself. 

Are Crockpots Needed in Dorms?

Let’s face it, eating out at first can be great. And the temptations of surviving on sandwiches and pizza is quite a challenge.  When you’re not the one constantly cooking you don’t have to worry about it, but when all you have is the same menu items on campus, it can get old quickly. 

Cooking for yourself gives you more control over what you eat, and can save your budget in the long run. Nothing can substitute those hearty meals especially in the winter!  (Omg that ramen is coming to my mind right this second!) 

Some advantages of the use of Slow Cookers are:

Don’t Need Many Ingredients 

Since dorms don’t have a lot of space you’re limited on how many ingredients you can store. However, there are many 2 ingredient recipes for the slow cooker out there. These recipes are great if you’re in a hurry as well; just dump them in the cooker and go. 

Using different spices (look at this cute spice rack) will make the food less boring and exciting with different flavors.

Stay Away from Quick Foods

Having a slow cooker in your college dorm room will help you have healthier meals. If you’re cooking for yourself then you’re staying away from fast food places and even the dorm dining hall. Eating the same things for a whole school can get old really quickly, so having an extra option to have healthier meals right in your room is convenient. 

Simple Cooking

Using a slow cooker is an easy skill to pick up. At most, the preparation of a meal takes about 20 minutes. If you’re using a recipe then follow the directions, and if it doesn’t work out right the first time you can adjust. Slow cooking is simple because there aren’t many steps to it. Most of the time the steps consist of having ingredients, putting them in the pot, and cooking.

Easy on a Budget

Budgeting becomes easier with a slow cooker, especially if you’re making the 2 ingredient recipes. Making your own meals is cheaper than constantly eating out. If you have a dining plan through your college you may think it’s more convenient to eat the on-campus foods, but they only have a limited menu. 

Choosing A Slow Cooker Size 

Choosing a slow cooker size doesn’t have to be a difficult task. If you are planning to cook only for yourself and also carry around your cooker with you wherever you go, then you could check this RoadPro-RPSL-350 Quart Slow Cooker, Auto Travel, 12V, White, 1.5 Quart which is the smallest slow cooker available.

However, it is not a bad idea going a little bit bigger, like the 2.5 quarts since it will work as well perfectly. This size usually feed about 2 people if you have a guest, or if you’d like leftovers.  

The Crockpot 2.5-Quart Mini Casserole Crock Slow Cooker, White/Blue gives your dorm room a bit of color while also being super useful. This is a manual slow cooker, so you’ll have to shut it off after you’ve finished cooking. 

If you’re thinking you might want to cook for yourself and maybe a few friends then you’ll want something a little bit bigger. You might also want something bigger so you can have leftovers for the week.

The Crock-Pot SCCPVL610-S-A 6-Quart Cook & Carry Programmable Slow Cooker with Digital Timer, Stainless Steel is a bigger size that automatically turns to the warm setting after cooking for the time you set. 

Tips for Using a Slow Cooker

As we’ve discussed above, if you’re in a dorm you have to have your slow cooker directly in a wall plug and you have to keep it clean. 

Here are a few things to keep in mind to keep your slow cooker and food safe. These useful tips apply whether you’re in a dorm or not.

Frozen Foods

If you have a mini-fridge with a freezer then you might place meat in there to save it for later use. Before cooking meats in a slow cooker they need to be thawed out. Frozen meat causes the slow cooker to cook at lower temperatures than is considered safe by the FDA. 

Frozen meat in crockpot
Frozen Meat

Slow Cooker Liners

If you’d like a quick way to clean your slow cooker you may consider slow cooker liners. These are essentially high-heat bags that make cleaning convenient. They are specifically made for slow cookers. You may need to experiment with them a bit and make sure to read reviews. They are only single-use.  


You can’t use your slow cooker to reheat your leftovers. You can, however, put your ceramic pot into the microwave, if you’re using it to store leftovers. Dorms usually don’t have ovens, but slow cooker pots can also go into the oven. The lid usually has plastic pieces and should not be placed in an oven or microwave. 

Storing Leftovers

You can place your pot in the fridge if you don’t have any storage options. You should never put your ceramic insert into the freezer. The colder temperatures can crack the pot and it will be unusable. 

Liners for slow cookers

Using the Lid

When you’re cooking you will need to leave the lid on the slow cooker until it is done. Lifting the lid beforehand can dry out and ruin your meal. It can also drop the temperature inside the slow cooker, making the cooking time even longer. 


Slow cookers actually take less liquid than you might think, and putting in too much can cause spills. Keep in mind that some foods, like hard vegetables and fatty meats, can add more liquid than you started with. Your slow cooker should only be filled with food and liquid ⅔ of the way full. 

Adding Soft Vegetables, Pasta, or Rice

When these three things are added to the slow cooker too early they can become mushy. This will ruin any meal you’ve prepared for yourself. Add these items about 15 minutes before the finished cooking time, or after you’ve come back to your dorm to eat. 

Does rice cook well in slow cookers
Rice doesn’t cook well in Slow Cookers

Have a Clean Workspace

There may not be a lot of space in your dorm to prepare a meal. What space you do have should be clean before you begin prepping. Clean counters during prep will make sure that your food doesn’t have any germs or bacteria on it. Also make sure that your ingredients don’t reach room temperature, as that can cause bacteria to grow. 

Adding Dairy

Cooking dairy for long periods of time can cause the dairy to curdle. If a recipe calls for a dairy product in your slow cooker add it toward the end. This will ensure your dairy doesn’t curdle and adds to the meal instead of ruining it. 

Use Cheap Meat

Slow cookers are meant to cook for long periods, and because of this you can take a tough cut of meat and make it tender. Tough meats are usually cheaper which means you can buy more, and the slow cooker makes them melt in your mouth. 

Common Cook Times

If you don’t know much about slow cooking and the time it takes, here is a short chart. This chart has common foods that are usually cooked in the slow cooker. Keep in mind that some of these times may need to be adjusted due to elevation.  

Food TypeLow SettingHigh Setting
Roast8 to 12 hours4 to 8 hours
Ribs6 to 10 hours4 to 6 hours
Brisket8 to 10 hours4 to 5 hours
Swiss Steak6 to 10 hours
Meat Loaf5 to 10 hours4 to 6 hours
Chicken-breast6 to 8 hours3 to 4 hours
Baked Potato6 to 8 hours4 to 5 hours
Baked Sweet Potato6 to 8 hours3 to 4 hours
Hard Vegetables2 to 6 hours2 to 3 hours 
Dry Bean (presoak and cooked for 10 to 15 minutes)8 to 9 hours
Soup6 to 10 hours3 to 5 hours
Stew6 to 10 hours4 to 6 hours
Casseroles6 to 10 hours3 to 5 hours

Frequently Asked Questions 

What Kitchen Appliances Aren’t Allowed in Dorms?

There are a few appliances that might raise some eyebrows and be off-limits. Picture this: dreamy visions of a pressure cooker or a versatile toaster oven dancing in your head. But hold on just a second! While these appliances can make our taste buds sing, some dorm policies might say, “Not in our kitchen, buddy!” It’s like a kitchen appliance game of ‘Guess Who?’ 

Anything that has an open flame or could easily catch fire is banned in dorms. This is for safety (and obvious) reasons. Things like hot plates and grills are not allowed. Any combustible liquids and appliances that can easily catch fire if forgotten are banned. 

Can I have an Air Fryer in my Dorm?

Air fryers are usually allowed in dorms. They don’t use combustible liquids and they don’t have any open flames. Always check your dorm rules before putting in any kitchen appliances in your dorm. As long as you use the air fryer correctly then it shouldn’t have any smoke or cause any problems. 

Is it Safe to Leave a Slow Cooker Unattended? 

Yes, you can leave your slow cooker unattended. Slow cookers were designed to cook all day without any intervention. The lower cooking temperature makes them safe to leave alone. Check your slow cooker to make sure the power cord isn’t frayed. A frayed cord may cause a fire and won’t be allowed in a dorm. 

Can You Cook in Your Dorm?

Most dorms do not have a kitchen setting for students to use in their rooms. There are communal kitchens in some dorms but a good majority don’t have one. If your dorm doesn’t have a kitchen there is a dining hall where students can eat, or you can have small appliances with no open flame to cook for yourself. 

Are rice cookers allowed in dorms?

As a rice lover myself, a rice cooker seems like a great option but here’s the scoop: it really depends on your dorm’s rules and regulations. 

In many cases, rice cookers are permitted in dorm rooms, as they are generally considered small, low-risk appliances. 

Dorm college room

When slow cooker does the meat need to be submerged?

It’s not necessary to fully submerge the meat in liquid. Slow cookers create a moist cooking environment, trapping heat and moisture. While adding some liquid enhances flavor and prevents dryness, the amount depends on the recipe and meat. 

Final Thoughts

If you find yourself in a dorm with no communal kitchen then a slow cooker is a great alternative. You can stay on a budget while creating hot and healthy meals for yourself. Slow cookers are easy to use, and even if you’ve never used one before, I hope this article helps you feel more confident that you can make your own meals in your dorm.  

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