We love the idea of practical graduation gifts, especially for grads who might be headed off to college, and kitchen gifts, in particular, are a smart way to go, even if there will be a bounty of cafeteria food at their fingertips. Whether they’re headed to a dorm, apartment, or even a new sweet pad in your basement, single-serve kitchen appliances can help them make the transition to adulting a little easier. (And hopefully, a lot tastier).
I’ve put together this list of the coolest small appliances gifts for grads beyond a microwave and mini-fridge that will help them survive the early morning classes, the late-night cramming sessions, and those afternoon hangries all by themselves.
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Mini Toaster Oven
This adorable Mini Toaster Oven by Dash is perfect for toasting a single slice of bread, a mini pizza, or even Chocolate Banana Bread from The Ultimate Baking for One Cookbook. It is super compact, at just about 7-inches square, and fits neatly on top of a desk. Don’t worry. It has an auto shut-off feature.
Mini Rice Cooker
This compact Mini Rice Cooker, also from Dash, has a 2-cup capacity and a keep warm feature, so your grad can start it in the morning before class and come back to a warm bowl of rice. This handy rice cooker can also make more than just rice! It can be used for oatmeal, soup, even chocolate cake. Consider pairing this gift with the Mini Rice Cooker Cookbook (yes, there is actually a cookbook for the mini rice cooker).
Related: 17 great grad gifts beyond cash
Compact Air Fryer
When your grad is craving some late-night french fries and the cafeteria is closed, they can easily make a single serving in this Compact 2-Quart Air Fryer also from Dash. Tie a gift card to a local grocery store on top so they can stock their mini-fridge/freezer with some frozen goods.
A must-have for every dorm room is an electric kettle like this COSORI Double Wall Electric Kettle. It can bring 6 cups of water to a rapid boil in 3-6 minutes. Not only is it perfect for a quick ramen meal, but it can also be used to make tea, hot chocolate, boxed mac-n-cheese, or instant oatmeal. There are a lot of options out there for electric kettles, but we suggest one with an auto shut-off feature because for kids who sometimes forget to wear socks, it is likely they will forget to turn off the kettle (it’s not just my kid right?!).
Express Egg Cooker
Speaking of ramen, a soft or hard-boiled way is a great way to add some protein to ramen, toast, or just by itself. We love our Express Egg Cooker from Dash around here as it cooks an egg in a snap without having to boil huge pot of water. Not only does this Express Egg Cooker have an auto shut-off feature, but there is also an alarm to prevent overcooking in case your young adult gets distracted by studying (ha). It’s the perfect accompaniment to the Mini Toaster Oven and Electric Kettle above.
Fresh Pop Popcorn Maker
For healthier snacking, consider this Fresh Pop Popcorn Maker from Dash. It uses hot air to pop up fresh popcorn without all the preservatives and oils. Pair it with a fun popcorn seasoning set so your grad can go crazy with a variety of seasonings.
Ice Maker Machine
If you have ever lived in a dorm, you know that ice is sometimes really hard to find, especially when you really want or need it! This compact Ice Maker Machine from Panaromia sits right on the counter and makes 9 ice cubes in just 8 minutes. It also has an auto-cleaning function, which is pretty nice considering many grads will be cleaning their dishes in the bathroom sink.
Single Serve Drip Coffee Maker
We are all trying to cut back on waste and do better for our environment, which why I love this KRUPS Single Serve Drip Coffee Maker. This compact coffee maker brews a fresh 14oz cup of coffee without pods or filters thanks to a built-in permanent filter. This set comes with a travel mug so your grad can brew a cup and take it with them to class. Because it is such a great price point (less than $40), you can gift them a coffee subscription like this one from Trade Coffee.
The Perfect Mug
And finally, every grad needs a gentle reminder to give you a call occasionally (and not just when they need to know the difference between a hard-boiled and soft-boiled egg). This mug from MagicMishmish on Etsy is a subtle nudge that is way less intrusive than wall decor with your face all over it (which we still think is a fantastic idea, by the way).