How to Cook in Your Hotel Room

Did you save and scrimp for a special vacation only to realize there’s not much money left over for meals?

Cooking in your hotel room might conjure up visions of Seinfeld’s Kramer making a meal in the bathtub, but it can save you a ton of money on eating expensive meals out. Deployed military men & women only allowed coffee pots in their rooms, a large family or one with little kids, and students in dorms rooms may also find it useful. It’s easy to go to a nearby market or grocery store and load up on reasonably priced staples, and cook a meal or two in your hotel room.

Some people make full meals in their hotel room. An example is salmon with rice, broccoli, and chocolate fondue for dessert. Skeptical?

Give hotel room cooking a try.

First, just as you would at home, make sure all of your cooking gear is washed and cleaned before you begin. A little soap and water should do the trick.

Next, make sure you have all of your ingredients stored correctly. If you need items refrigerated you’ll find that many hotel rooms come with a mini-fridge. Even if yours doesn’t have one, you can often call the front desk and ask for one to be brought in. The request isn’t unusual as some people travel with medications that must stay cold. Meat, fish, eggs and milk are all items that are perfect for keeping in hotel mini-fridges.

Before you begin, make sure you have something handy in case your cooking catches on fire or starts smoking. You don’t want to be that guest that sets off the fire alarm, causing the entire hotel to evacuate!

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The easiest meal to make in a hotel room is a toasted cheese sandwich.

Plug in the iron and turn it on, take a couple pieces of bread, slather them with butter, put cheese in the middle, and when the iron is hot enough, press the iron down firmly on both sides of the sandwich until nice and melted. You can get creative by adding tomato and lettuce or making a toasted peanut butter & jelly instead. A hungry family of 4 can enjoy toasted cheese sandwiches with some apples and chips for less than the price of a single meal at some restaurants.

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Out of respect, you may want to wrap a piece of foil over the iron plate first, so no gooey cheese remnants get stuck on the next hotel guest’s button-down shirts.

Ready to try something a little more advanced?

Line a water glass with a shower cap, add a teaspoon of olive oil, crack an egg into the shower cap, hang the cap inside a tea kettle partially filled with water. Turn on the tea kettle and poach the egg for about 3-5 minutes. If you get the hang of this, you can steam vegetables by tying them with string and hanging them inside the tea kettle.

Do you feel like McGyver yet?

The coffee pot can be a very versatile cooking vessel.

The top basket can be used for steaming vegetables like broccoli or cauliflower, the burner of the coffee pot can be used as a hot surface for grilling, and the carafe offers the broadest spectrum of possibilities. You can make hard boiled eggs, couscous, oatmeal, poached fish or chicken, or instant rice.

Bonus! You can even combine them. Example – crumbling sugar cookies in the carafe and adding Kahlua, brewing a little bit of coffee, pouring the mixture into a mug, and adding whipped cream. Hot chocolate is great too.

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Most hotel rooms don’t have dishwashers but if yours does you can cook chicken or fish while washing your dishes. Even though these types of rooms typically come with microwaves, some people prefer to use the dishwasher.

There are even full websites dedicated solely to cooking in your hotel room.

Click here for a great website that has recipes for how to make hot dogs with spaghetti, date wrapped bacon, and tapas.

Some of you will be disgusted by reading about cooking by using coffee pots and irons, and others may be reading this while pressing an iron down on foil wrapped bacon. Would you cook in your hotel room?


  1. Sergei says

    How about getting a kitchen or a kitchenette instead? And don’t be a nasty cheapskate who spoils the coffee/tea for the people who will be next in the room and who don’t expect that they have to bring a soap and a sponge to wash everything after some barbaric campers…

    • Vivi says

      I totally agree: what a disgusting way to behave. I have often wondered at the state of hotel irons; now I can guess what they may have been used for. If you can’t afford to go and buy a sandwich or a take away to eat stay home!

      • Melinda Danielsen says

        Indeed Vivi, I have also found irons to have odd bits stuck in the little steamer holes. I can only surmise now that the irons had been used to smash down on some grilled cheese sandwiches. If using a piece of foil though it could have been avoided completely. Hopefully you didn’t end up with an oily cheese stain on anything you were ironing. Thanks for reading!

        • Stuart says

          wrapping the sandwich in foil will avoid those problems. It would not take much to bring some foil along if you are going to do this.

    • Melinda Danielsen says

      Such good imagery, Sergei. I can visualize some “barbaric campers” just about ruining a perfectly good coffeepot and the next guest is surprised to find some leftover lentils in the part where the filter goes. Thanks for reading!

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