5 Fall Desserts You Can Make in a Dorm Kitchen

While fall means cooler weather, it also brings a variety of seasonal flavors—goodbye summery citrus, hello pumpkin spice.

As someone who eagerly awaits new episodes of The Great British Baking Show on Netflix every Friday, I always love baking fall-themed desserts, whether I’m using brand new recipes or tried-and-true favorites.

This can be a challenge if you’re like me and living in a dorm. Here to fix your problem, however, is this collection of five fall desserts that I’ve made on a student budget in a dorm kitchen: 

  1. 1. Apple crisp

    My mom has made this dessert for me and my brothers ever since I can remember.

    It’s her go-to-dessert when there are bruised or overripe apples on-hand (or in other cases, when there’s a house-wide conspiracy not to eat the apples so she’ll make us dessert).

    I try to buy myself fresh fruit weekly, but I don’t always get around to eating the apples or I forget about them.

    This dessert is great to make in a dorm because it’s eighty percent apples, twenty percent other common foods.

    If you’re like me, you can wait until you forget about your apples, but if you’re on the meal plan, campus dining halls always have apples on hand. 

    Helpful hint: Experiment with cook times! The friends I’ve tried this dessert out on have all had different opinions on when the apples were “done”—it primarily depends on how soft you want them to be. 

  2. 2. Apple-cinnamon monkey bread

    This is another great dessert for when you have extra apples available, brought about when I had the apples and my friend had a tube of cinnamon rolls.

    Like many great recipes, it was formulated by us looking at each other and saying what if we put them in the same pan, cooked it at 350 and see what happens?

    It turned out better than either of us could’ve expected. While it’s far from traditional monkey bread, it’s super easy to pull apart and share with a group (or keep it to yourself—we won’t judge). 

    Helpful hint: Drizzle the icing on and wait a few minutes before serving so the icing can soak into the layers. 

  3. 3. Pumpkin cake

    Much like the apple-cinnamon monkey bread, this pumpkin cake is the result of a few friends and I having an assortment of random items—in this case, a box of vanilla cake mix and a can of pumpkin puree.

    We put them together and ended up with one of our favorite desserts yet.

    It doesn’t taste like it came from a box cake mix, so if you need to impress someone with your baking skills but are crunched on time and resources, this one would be an easy cheat.

    With the homemade cream cheese icing, nobody will know the difference.

    Helpful hint: Think with your head and not your stomach—always let the cake cool entirely before putting the icing on, or else you’ll end up with melted icing. 

  4. 4. Mom’s bread pudding

    When my mom and grandma make bread pudding, they usually get fresh French bread and wait for it to become slightly stale, but I took the student friendly approach.

    Whenever I bought a loaf of bread throughout the semester, I put the bread ends—something I would usually throw away—in my freezer.

    After a few weeks, I had enough for a small pan of bread pudding.

    Combined with a few other ingredients, this was a great way to make a cheap dessert and get a slightly different taste of home. 

    Helpful hint: For extra sweetness, pour a small amount of flavored coffee creamer on your portion (my go-to is hazelnut)

  5. 5. Rice Krispies Treats turkeys

    Get some cereal, pretzels and icing, then get ready to gobble these up.

    This is a great dessert to make with a group of friends for a girls night in, and honestly, any lack of artistic talent just makes it more fun.

    I’m sure you could find a number of beautifully aesthetic dessert-turkeys on Pinterest, but these turkeys aren’t supposed to be pretty.

    Although I first tried it at home, it translates well to a dorm kitchen because the most “cooking” you have to do is make the Rice Krispies Treats. 

    Helpful hint: As weird as it sounds, put a bit of cooking spray or butter on your hands so Rice Krispies Treats don’t stick when you shape them.

Of course, the best part of baking is sharing. Make these and share them with your roommates, friends, or family when they come to visit, but also share them with us! If you make any of these desserts, be sure to send us a picture over on Instagram