8 Cooking Disasters Every College Chef Faces

College is hard enough without having to worry about affordable home-cooked meals. And so, cooking meals naturally sink down low onto the to-do list. It’s almost always easier to grab a bag of Doritos from the counter than to pull out all of your pots and pans just so you could pretend you’re on an episode of Chopped. To make things worse, when you do try to channel your inner iron chef, your efforts are often met with burnt food, a blaring smoke detector, and destroyed dishes. Maybe cooking just isn’t for everyone? 

1. Passed Out Pizza

One of the only redeeming aspects of pulling an all-nighter to cram for an exam is the excuse to eat whatever you want. Calories don’t count during exams, right? Well, next time you’re looking for a late night pizza, make sure you set an alarm before you pop it in the oven— just in case you fall asleep. Otherwise, the blaring sound of your smoke alarm will make sure that you wake up to a burnt pizza sizzling away in the oven.


2. Broiled Brownies

The different settings on an oven don’t seem all that important until you’re making desserts. As it turns out, there is a difference between bake and broil. Unless you want your brownies to look like a nice piece of charred steak, steer clear from broiling on high heat. Or better yet, just follow the instructions on the box. It’s called baking, not broiling, for a reason.


3. Over-popped Popcorn

Popping popcorn is probably one of the easiest snacks to “cook” because it doesn’t require any actual cooking. All you have to do is put the bag in the microwave and press the popcorn button. And while this snack may seem to be relatively low risk in terms of cooking catastrophes, it’s almost always the culprit of the fire alarm that goes off at 1 a.m. at your building.


4. Toasted Cheese

The only thing that belongs in a toaster is bread. Sure, you will find cooking hacks online that tell you how easy it is to magically turn your toaster into a grilled cheese maker by just turning it onto its side. The only problem is, melted cheese has a mind of its own. With this so-called hack, you’re asking for a ruined toaster, and a ruined grilled cheese. You’re begging for your smoke alarm to go off. 


5. Microwaved Metal 

Microwaves are a godsend for the lazy college chef. From microwaved ramen to mac and cheese, you couldn’t ask for an easier way to make dinner. However, there are always those select few chefs who forget the number one rule of microwave cooking—no metal in the microwave! Next time you’re in the mood for some pasta or some quick boiled water, make sure to watch out for your metal dishes to avoid any unwarranted kitchen fires.


6. Perfect Portions

Finding the perfect portion for one person is nearly impossible. You’ll most likely end up making enough food to feed everyone in your apartment complex. If you plan on keeping your eight servings of spaghetti for leftovers the next night, think again. Chances are, you’ll either end up eating it all at once, or it’ll end up sitting in the back of your refrigerator until you get around to throwing it out. Next time, try measuring out your portions instead of just eyeballing it.


7. The Pinterest Pastry Chef

Pinterest’s baking hacks are full of lies. Don’t get me wrong, I still spend my time scrolling away and looking at all the amazing desserts. However, just think for a second about the last time you or someone you know successfully completed a Pinterest baking DIY— probably never. And while the hundreds of recipes of “the perfect holiday cupcake” always look so easy, just remember that your masterpieces will often turn out disfigured or burnt. Here’s a tip: if you’re looking for a low stress baking experience, skip Pinterest tutorials and stick to generic, but equally delicious, recipes.


8. Catching Fire

I’ll leave it to you, the college chef, to find a way to set yourself on fire. But in case you forgot what you learned in grade school, I have you covered. When you accidentally catch your favorite baggy sweater on fire cooking for taco night, remember to stop, drop, and roll.


I get it, cooking is hard. And with no guarantee that you won’t destroy the food, the apartment, or yourself, I can see why eating snacks for every meal seems more appealing. But don’t let these failures force you to live on a diet of prepackaged food. You don’t have to be the next iron chef, but just make sure you keep a fire extinguisher close by.