If you’re heading off to uni you’ll need to think about kitchen essentials, whether you’re living in halls or moving straight into a shared house. While packing for your first term can be a daunting prospect, a comprehensive kitchen starter set will help you on your way.

Bulk buying really pays off, and that’s no different when it comes to pots, pans and utensils, especially if you’re an undergraduate with a budget tighter than your skinny jeans. The key here is to find products of the best possible quality at the most affordable prices, and that’s no mean feat.  

It’s a tired old trope that students live off beans on toast alone. If you’re a fresher with culinary prowess, you’ll find that some kitchen starter sets are aimed not only at beginners but at those who love to cook, and include bits and bobs for baking, along with the necessary saucepans and casserole pots.

You’ll be a popular housemate indeed if you’re the first to roll up your sleeves and don an apron, so get creative with budget-friendly one-pot meals to feed your new academic family.  

In our search for the best kitchen starter sets, we discovered a few dedicated sites specialising in kitting out student kitchens with the option to add any extras you think you might need, as well as a super handy delivery service that brings your kitchen kit straight to your student accommodation in time for freshers’ week.

We also found some reliable household brands that offer an extensive cookware set complete with the most useful utensils – perfect for students setting up for the first time. Just don’t forget to pack your favourite mug, too.  

You can trust our independent reviews. We may earn commission from some of the retailers, but we never allow this to influence selections, which are formed from real-world testing and expert advice. This revenue helps to fund journalism across The Independent.

Noah’s Box kitchen box: From £89, Noah’s Box 

A one-stop-shop for all your student cooking needs, Noah’s Box pre-selects the essentials for you, right down to the checked tea towel. Choose from three boxed options: essential, standard and premium, depending on how much kit you think you’ll need. The premium box comes complete with handy food storage boxes, a comprehensive utensils set, and a decent set of kitchen knives for the talented chef of the house. It pays to go large if you’re sharing.  

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VonShef 15 piece aluminium cookware set: £54.99, VonShef 

This cookware set offers essential kitchen gadgets and utensils along with the pots and pans. Lidded saucepans are handy for cooking simple one-pot meals, while double non-stick pieces make washing up a doddle. Smaller can’t-live-without items include a pizza cutter and cheese grater. Best is that the saucepans and frying pans are suited to all hob types, including induction – because sometimes you won’t know what kind you have in your new home until you get there. 

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Karl Kruger 13 piece non-stick cookware set: £98.99, Wayfair  

Available in red, purple or green – as well as the standard black, this convenient cookware set features four oven-safe casserole pots with cool-touch handles, allowing you to create a veritable feast for your housemates while keeping health and safety in mind. Add to that a griddle pan for Saturday morning fry-ups, a saucepan with a handy spout, and a utensils set complete with spaghetti spoon and whisk, and you’re good to go.  

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Argos Home 50 piece non-stick kitchen starter set: £50, Argos  

There’s always something we forget when putting our kitchen bits and bobs together. Thankfully Argos’s offering is thoroughly thought through. This starter set gives us incredible value for money, working out at just £1 per piece. It features practically everything for your student kitchen needs, right down to the measuring jug and pair of egg cups. The non-stick baking trays, cake tin and wooden utensils will prove indispensable for Bake Off fans.  

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Mitre student accommodation cooking set: £62.49, Mitre  

If your parents have instilled in you the old adage “buy cheap, buy twice”, this could be the kitchen starter set for you. It has been compiled specifically with students in mind and what it lacks in quantity it more than makes up for in quality. The three-piece Kitchen Craft saucepan set, Vogue non-stick aluminium frying pan, and Hygiplas chopping board and knives will easily see you through to graduation. There’s also the option to add extras to your order.  

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Uni Kit Out the kitchen kit: From £90.50, Uni Kit Out

This student-focused kitchen starter set is available in silver and gold options, but they’re both winners in our book. Essential glassware and crockery are added to the comprehensive range of cookware and utensils, with the gold option offering a bit more for your buck. We love the versatility of this super convenient site, and it’s not just for student kitchenware: kit out your bathroom and bedroom while you shop the pots and pans.  

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My Student Essentials luxury student kitchen pack: £119.99, My Student Essentials  

Another site dedicated to kitting out freshers is My Student Essentials. Their luxury kitchen pack includes a four-place cutlery set along with chic utensils in premium wood and grey silicone. Who says cash-poor students must skimp on style? The set has all your cooking and dining needs covered with essential cookware and crockery. Add those easily forgettable extras, such as a corkscrew or an ice cube tray, to the order and have it all delivered to your new pad in time for the start of term.  

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AmazonBasics 15-piece non-stick cookware set: £49.95, Amazon  

At just under £50, you don’t need a degree in economics to work out why this no-frills starter set is ideal for students setting up in the kitchen. Comprising five essential utensils, two frying pans, two lidded saucepans and two lidded casserole pots (all non-stick with soft-touch handles, and importantly, easy to clean) this one gets top marks for versatility. Cook up a generous meal for the whole household to enjoy, or go solo with the smallest pan.  

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Tower five-piece pouring pan set with five tools, graphite: £87.99, Tower  

This stylish 10-piece starter set features the essential pots and pans in various sizes together with matching nylon utensils, including a slotted spoon, ladle and potato masher. The durable but lightweight cookware pieces are suited to all hob types, including induction, making them ideal for moving from student halls to a shared house with unfamiliar facilities. They’re incredibly easy to clean, too, so you’ll happily avoid any kitchen sink arguments.  

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The verdict: kitchen starter sets for students 

The kitchen box from Noah’s Box offers practically everything you’ll need for cooking and dining while away at university. The pieces are both lightweight and durable, making them ideal for moving in and out of student digs – and, of course, for heavy use during term time. The site gets our top-grade for versatility with the newly launched “customise your box” feature, that allows students to add, remove or swap any items, tailoring their kitchen kit to suit individual needs.

IndyBest product reviews are unbiased, independent advice you can trust. On some occasions, we earn revenue if you click the links and buy the products, but we never allow this to bias our coverage. The reviews are compiled through a mix of expert opinion and real-world testing.