How to Make Thanksgiving Dishes in a Dorm

Can't make it home for Turkey Day? Don't fret! There are plenty of dishes you can easily make in your dorm so you and your campus-bound pals can have an epic "Friendsgiving."

So, this started out as a “how to make Thanksgiving dinner in your dorm” blog post . . . but then we remembered how most college dorms are smaller than a Kardashian’s closet, and hosting a “Friendsgiving” in your forced triple might not make a lot of sense. However, if you’re blessed with a little more space, whether through a suite-style dorm or a nearby common room, there’s no reason why you can’t organize a fun little potluck meal on or around Thanksgiving for you and your college friends. 

Here you’ll find a collection of Thanksgiving dishes modified for dorm-bound students. You can always buy premade rolls, pies, and jellied cranberry sauce (which everyone knows is superior to homemade cranberry sauce anyway). And you can even prepare boxed stuffing mix in a microwave; just follow the microwave-specific directions.

For our purposes, we’re going to assume you do not have an oven or stovetop at your disposal, but you do have a microwave. If you do have access to a full kitchen, you can upgrade your cooking methods (and bake times are provided where relevant) while benefitting from these super-simple, low-mess, low-cost recipes. All serve approximately six people as written and can be easily doubled.   

Chicken or turkey pot pie

For the love of the Pilgrims and the Wampanoag, please do not microwave a turkey. In fact, don’t try to microwave any raw meat. If you and your buddies can’t bake a bird, opt for a rotisserie-style chicken or turkey breast. Or you can try making a chicken or turkey casserole like this:

  • 2 cups frozen peas and carrots blend
  • 1 cup frozen pearl onions
  • 2 cups shredded, cooked rotisserie-style chicken or turkey breast
  • 1 can of condensed cream of chicken soup
  • ½ cup milk or cream
  • 2 cups garlic-flavored croutons, roughly crumbled

Combine frozen peas, carrots, and pearl onions in a microwave-safe dish. Thaw in microwave for 2–3 minutes. Remove from microwave and add all remaining ingredients except croutons. If mixture seems too thick, add up to ¼ cup of water. Microwave covered on high for 8–10 minutes. Turn and stir halfway through. Top with crumbled croutons. Let stand 5 minutes. (Or bake for 25–30 minutes at 350 degrees.)

Green bean casserole

  • 2 cans of green beans (approximately 1 pound of green beans)
  • 1 can of condensed cream of mushroom soup
  • 1 cup milk or cream
  • 1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 1 can of fried onion strings

Mix all ingredients except fried onion strings in a greased microwave-safe dish. When thoroughly combined, fold in half of the fried onion strings. Microwave covered on high for 8–10 minutes. Turn and stir halfway through. Sprinkle remaining fried onion strings on top of casserole. Let stand 5 minutes. (Or bake for 20–30 minutes at 350 degrees.) You can also substitute chopped steamed broccoli for green beans.

Sweet potato casserole

  • 1 large can of yams or sweet potato pieces
  • ½ cup milk or cream
  • ¼ cup brown sugar or maple syrup
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • ½ teaspoon vanilla extract (optional)
  • ½ cup chopped pecans or walnuts (optional)
  • 1 cup mini marshmallows

Mix all ingredients except marshmallows in a greased microwave-safe dish, making sure sweet potatoes are thoroughly mashed. Microwave covered on high for 7–9 minutes. Turn and stir halfway through. Top with marshmallows and cook for an additional 1–2 minutes. Let stand 5 minutes. (Or bake for 25–30 minutes at 325 degrees.)

Banana pudding “cake”

  • 1 box vanilla wafer cookies (such as Nilla Wafers), finely crushed
  • ½ cup melted butter
  • 1 box of instant banana pudding, prepared as directed (using milk)
  • 2 fresh bananas, peeled and sliced into ¼-inch rounds
  • 1 container of frozen non-dairy whipped topping

Mix crushed vanilla wafer cookies and melted butter in a baking dish; when thoroughly combined, spread mixture along bottom of pan and press into place. Line crushed cookie mixture with a single layer of sliced bananas. Cover banana slices with prepared banana pudding, then with non-dairy whipped topping. Garnish with any remaining banana slices. Best if allowed made one day ahead.

Like what you’re reading?

Join the CollegeXpress community! Create a free account and we’ll notify you about new articles, scholarship deadlines, and more.

Join Now

About CollegeXpress


Welcome to CollegeXpress, your one-stop college shop! We’re a free college planning website used by millions of college-bound students, parents, and counselors—anyone who needs help navigating the college search and application process, financial aid opportunities, and more. You’ll find comprehensive College Search and Scholarship Search tools, tons of articles and expert advice, unique college lists and rankings, and lots of other resources to help make your life easier. Teen Vogue even named us one of the 7 Best College Search Websites! But current college students and recent grads also love CollegeXpress for our Grad School Search tool and endless information on student life, internships, and beyond. We really have something for everyone, no matter where you are on your college journey. 😊


Join our community of
over 5 million students!

CollegeXpress has everything you need to simplify your college search, get connected to schools, and find your perfect fit.

Join CollegeXpress
Ruth Aguilar

Ruth Aguilar

High School Class of 2021

CollegeXpress helped me by providing me with many scholarship opportunities and information about universities I want to attend. What I love about CollgeXpress is how it provides a variety of information, and as the first child attending a university next year, it has been very essential and helpful. I’m so grateful for this because the information provided by CollegeXpress has also helped me see that there are so many college opportunities, and it always informs me by email. In other words, CollegeXpress has been like a guide for me as a future college student.

Victoria Fuss

Victoria Fuss

March Madness Scholarship Winner, Class of 2022

CollegeXpress has helped me dramatically. Moving on to the next level has been a dream of my mine since I was just a young kid, and the support and help CollegeXpress has given me will help me further my education. I couldn’t be more grateful to everyone at CollegeXpress!

Bri'Yana Brown-Dunn

Bri'Yana Brown-Dunn

High School Class of 2022

CollegeXpress helped me gain interest in many colleges/universities and many scholarships. I would say the most helpful thing CollegeXpress has done for me is sending me emails that tell me certain types of colleges are interested in me as well as emails about scholarships that I can look at and possibly apply for.

Dani York

Dani York

High School Class of 2022

CollegeXpress helped in my journey by comparing multiple colleges for my final decision. While looking at different colleges, I was able to compare the tuition expenses and that landed me with the college that I’m currently enrolled in, Western Kentucky University. Thank you!

Carlie Cadet

Carlie Cadet

High School Class of 2019

CollegeXpress has helped me learn about an abundance of scholarships available to me and my situation. I was able to do research for colleges in my best interest with your website. I've had multiple colleges email me and offer me multiple scholarships and things of that nature because of this website! Thank you so much for uploading scholarships I didn’t even know existed, even if my life took a huge turn and I wasn’t able to go to college straight out of high school. CollegeXpress helped me a lot in high school to be even more motivated to get into my dream college (which I did, by the way). I'm looking forward to using the materials CollegeXpress has kindly provided me for free to look for scholarships to help pay for college.

College Matches

Colleges You May Be Interested In

Mercer University

Macon, GA

University of Indianapolis

Indianapolis, IN

Stevenson University

Stevenson, MD

High Point University

High Point, NC