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Dual-Use Kitchen Stuff

Turn a margarine container into a toilet paper dispenser for camping, hunting, etc. Sure does keep it dry for those wet-air summer mornings here in Iowa. We have multiples and just store all our camping rolls in them.

I use a little Lodge 5" square Wonder Skillet as a spoon rest.

Take a glass jar, remove the labels, wire brush the paint off the lid, install a knob on the lid, and fill with anything for a decorative knickknack.

Use a cast iron skillet as a burger/bacon press.

I know I have other dual-use ideas but my mind is kind of blank right now.

Anybody else have any dual-use ideas?

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  1. SIL used to do Pampered Chef demos and ended up with a LOT of free stuff. She gave me the chopper thingie, but I was always just grabbing a knife.

    She gave me one of those apple peeler/corer gizmos.I works fine for intended purpose. Also works on cukes... the waxy ones that have a lot of seeds... they become the "core"

    Was getting ready to squeeze SEVERAL lemons for real lemonade and thought... wish I had a use for lemon zest in near future?? I stuck whole lemons on device, swung slicer part out of the way, and ended up with a BIG pile of zest strings. I let them air dry till pretty crispy and zizzed up in coffee mill (used for herbs/spices) and made a nice batch of lemon pepper that was not mostly salt like stuff you by in stores.

    1 Reply
    1. re: kseiverd

      That's a great idea for peeling the lemons. I just freeze mine cut in half once they have been juiced.

    2. Those elastic meshy things surrounding Asian Pears and other exotic fruits have a second career holding partially-used skeins/balls of yarn on which the paper labels are now too loose to stay in position.

      The center insert of a two-piece angel food pan, or an entire one-piece angel food pan, both work as vertical chicken roasters.

      A large bullnose binder clip from the office supply store holds parchment in place when forming cookies on a baking sheet. Put one on your tube of tomato or anchovy or toothpaste as the contents are used and the tube rolled up. Put one over the rim of a pot to hold the wooden spoon, and/or to keep the lid slightly ajar. Use another one to hold your recipe card onto your range hood.

      When you are browning meat or vegetables in batches that will be combined in a Dutch oven for braising, invert the lid onto a bowl so it won't topple over, and use the lid to hold the browned pieces rather than dirtying a platter.

      1. Hi, Muddirt:

        A favorite of mine is to slide wine corks under the loop handles on covers so you can dispense with potholders or a side towel.

        You can serve from pan covers, use the *bottom* of a pan to rotate the contents of another en mass, use a towel to elevate canning jars, flip eggs with a credit card, uncork wine with your shoe, tie bouquet garni in nylon hose, the list is really endless.

        Great topic, though. Interested to see what others contribute.


        1. If I'm only juicing a half of a piece of citrus I'll often just wedge it as far toward the hinge end of my tongs as it'll fit and use the leverage from the tongs to squeeze.

          4 Replies
          1. re: ccbweb

            I have been known to reach things out of the cupboards with my tongs.

            1. re: suzigirl

              Yes! I got my wife a much longer set of tongs for her Christmas stocking last December. We have very high cabinets in the room next to the kitchen where we store stuff like extra food storage bags and such. The tongs are the perfect tool for getting those.

              1. re: ccbweb

                What a good guy. We shorties appreciate those gestures.

                1. re: ccbweb

                  I have one of those spaghetti grabbers that kinda looks like fingers; I use it as an arm extender to get stuff off the top shelves (and I'm even tall)!

            2. I made the toilet paper dispenser thing and announced to my family that we did not need to buy Kleenix anymore. They watched me demonstrate the apparatus, turned around and left the room without saying a word.

              4 Replies
              1. re: John E.

                Haha. I think I would get the same reaction

                    1. re: John E.

                      Lol. Classic. About the same response I get whenever I say, "Woohoo! Another toilet paper dispenser!" whenever a margarine container is empty. Which is rare because we usually use stick butter or Crisco shortening.

                      :) Hahaha...

                    2. I use my garlic press to crack crab legs and nuts.
                      I use my fondue forks to level dry goods when I bake.
                      Spoons that go down the garbage disposal become coffee stirrers.
                      The wok cover is the universal cover for all skillets.

                      1. I use wine corks to deburr knives when sharpening on whetstones.
                        Also use my chamber sealer as a conversation piece heh, people always ask about it, I can tell how much they know/care about food in about 5 minutes of that conversation.

                        1 Reply
                        1. re: EatFoodGetMoney

                          Wine corks make excellent shims... we need to level furniture on uneven floors. Easy to cut and just the right size.

                        2. Spray cooking spray onto your pans while holding them over the open dishwasher door, learned that from ATK, also, use natural corks (not plastic) in the bottom of your potted plants for drainage

                          14 Replies
                          1. re: jacquelyncoffey

                            I always spray in the sink, DW or outside.
                            It takes just once to get that stuff on the floor and slip on it.

                            1. re: jacquelyncoffey

                              Please tell me you're not when you write "pans" you don't mean nonstick pans? It's bad for them.

                              I like to spray it over my maple island top and spread the overspray around. I'll use any excuse to add a little oil to that wood.

                              1. re: DuffyH

                                Why is it wrong to use an oil spray on nonstick pans?

                                1. re: John E.

                                  If you spray a skillet with Pam, and then try to cook with it, you'll make the coating useless. I know this because I did it more than once.

                                  1. re: sueatmo

                                    I have no idea about which you are talking. I spray an 8" nonstick pan to fry eggs with some frequency and it allows me to slip the eggs out of the pan with ease, no spatula needed.

                                    1. re: John E.

                                      It may be that you use a different spray than I do. I use Pam.

                                      The ruination of the finishes happened to me at least twice. When I bought a fairly expensive non stick several years ago, the sales person directed me to NOT use non stick spray. The pan did last quite a while. She also told me to use medium heat only.

                                      1. re: sueatmo

                                        We mostly use the spray from Aldi. I use it for all kinds of applications, both nonstick and SS. I have never run into situations where it impedes with nonstick coatings.

                                        1. re: sueatmo

                                          +1 to medium heat and no cooking sprays. I've never had a nonstick pan wear out sooner than 4 years, some have lasted much longer. I think I've only owned two 12" nonstick pans in the last 12-13 years.

                                          1. re: sueatmo

                                            You are correct. Cooking sprays are not supposed to be used on nonstick pans or silicone baking forms (early generation silicone, anyway - makes them permanently tacky).

                                      2. re: John E.

                                        The propellant in cooking spray can degrade a nonstick surface and, along with high heat, is a major cause of short lifespans for these pans.

                                        If you're replacing yours every year or two, cooking spray could be a factor.

                                      3. re: DuffyH

                                        No, I meant baking pans or casserole dishes etc. I know what you mean about not using on non-stick, Pam can ruin them.

                                      4. re: jacquelyncoffey

                                        I use empty aluminum soda cans to fill the bottom section of large outdoor planters that don't need to be totally filled with potting soil.

                                        1. re: CindyJ

                                          I've been making sub irrigation planters from old plastic buckets of chlorine tabs and empty plastic bottles for the reservoir and fill tubes

                                          1. re: CindyJ

                                            Totally awesome idea that I will be borrowing if it ever stops snowing and I can plant things again!

                                        2. Fun thread. I use an ancient glass bacon press as a lid for a certain iron skillet. If I get rid of a pot, I think about keeping the pot lid, because I find extra lids come in handy from time to time.

                                          I use straight sided peanut butter jars and small jars for food storage--think beans, peas, etc.

                                          I use my tongs to open the oven door of my counter convection oven, as well as to pull out the wire shelf and grab the morning toast.

                                          I eat my nightly bit of yogurt out of a mise en place bowl.
                                          And I taste my pots of beans or stews from a similar bowl.

                                          In former days, I have saved used birthday candles in an old spice jar, and stored them in the freezer. I reused them later.

                                          My tomato slicer more often slices hard boiled eggs.

                                          5 Replies
                                          1. re: sueatmo

                                            < I use an ancient glass bacon press as a lid for a certain iron skillet.>

                                            Hey Sue,

                                            Just tonight I was thinking I need a new bacon press that won't scratch my Zwilling frypan. Glass is so interesting. I'm going on a Google hunt right now. :-)

                                            1. re: DuffyH


                                              Well this is the very thing. Mine is quite old, coming from my grandmother's kitchen. I used it for bacon this morning.

                                              1. re: sueatmo

                                                Thanks, Sue! I've added that to my wish list. :-)

                                              2. re: DuffyH

                                                Glass bacon presses are rare, I'll wager.

                                                Your Googling time might be better spent perusing vintage sad irons, of which there is a great strategic reserve, and which are weighty and hot enough to also serve as panini presses.

                                                1. re: kaleokahu

                                                  Bad man! Bad! No way am I putting cast iron in a nonstick sauté pan. :-p

                                            2. Use a Pringles can to store drinking straws

                                              7 Replies
                                              1. re: jacquelyncoffey

                                                Okay, that's good. I keep them in a drawer, because they're not used very often, mostly for tropical cocktails, and they tend to end up all over the drawer. I could store them anywhere in a Pringles can.

                                                1. re: jacquelyncoffey

                                                  I just leave them in the plastic bag they came in and put a rubber band around them so they don't fall out. They are on top of infrequently used drinking glasses on the top shelf of a kitchen cupboard.

                                                  1. re: John E.

                                                    Mine usually come in a box. :-(

                                                    1. re: DuffyH

                                                      That's why I use the Pringles can, the boxes are so flimsy

                                                      1. re: jacquelyncoffey

                                                        It seems to me that the Pringles can takes up a lot of space in a cupboard.

                                                        I have seen people use paper towel tubes to contain spring loaded tongs. I just use a rubber band because it takes up less space in the drawer.

                                                          1. re: kaleokahu

                                                            Most of our tongs do lock, but we do have extra long tongs that I use on the grill that do not lock.

                                                2. I use my (now 26 year old) son's baby spoons for serving things like grated cheese. And a chopstick makes a great straightedge for leveling a cup of flour.

                                                  3 Replies
                                                  1. re: BobB

                                                    I had every intention of making homemade baby food when my son (now almost 4) was an infant, so I bought 2-oz square containers that could go in the freezer or microwave. Now we use them for bringing small snacks - eg nuts - or salad dressing in our lunches.

                                                    I use a grapefruit spoon to remove the seeds from cucumbers and larger tomatoes.

                                                    Not food-related, but Ziploc "tupperware" containers hold art supplies really well: crayons, markers, sidewalk chalk, beads, googly eyes...

                                                    1. re: truman

                                                      Ah, cuke seeds! I use a regular spoon from my tableware. I halve the cukes lengthwise, and pull the spoon edge down to eject the seedy centers.

                                                  2. Does it count if the second use isn't in the kitchen? One of my favorite hacks was using pretty chopsticks to keep my hair up. Dude was a Navy man back in the day and used to bring me pretty cloisonné sticks. I could jump out of the shower, comb my wet hair, twist it up and jab a couple of sticks through it. It stayed up and tight all day long.

                                                    Sure, pencils worked, too, but nothing ruins the lines of a good suit like a pair of Ticonderoga No. 2's.

                                                    3 Replies
                                                    1. re: DuffyH

                                                      we use chopsticks for staking small plants

                                                      1. re: DuffyH

                                                        The latter look might be appropriate if you taught elementary school! I think the chopstick look sounds great.

                                                        1. re: DuffyH

                                                          I use a plastic chopstick to stir the coffee in my French press.

                                                        2. I store my silpats rolled up inside the cardboard paper towel rolls - 2 of them fit nicely in one roll.

                                                          2 Replies
                                                          1. re: HeyImBack

                                                            Good idea! I never know what to do with mine. It's wrapped around a rolling pin, but doesn't quite stay in place.

                                                            1. re: HeyImBack

                                                              Good idea--thanks. Twice this morning, while reaching for other baking pans (stored above the oven, horizontally, in a brilliantly designed storage area) the danged SilPats fell on my head!

                                                            2. A mini french press for coffee produces excellent foamed milk for a cappuccino so no need to invest in an expensive milk steamer.

                                                              I make espresso in an espresso stovetop moka.
                                                              I then fill the single cup sized french press with very warm/nearly hot milk (no coffee or anything else). Then pump the french press screen up and down --not too fast, but not too slow, and make sure that as you raise it, the press screen is lifted above the liquid (so you are actually pressing air down into the milk). You will see the milk foam up really nicely. Then just pour the coffee in a mug, and pour the foamed milk from the french press, and scoop out the foam.

                                                              1. Our garden supply store sells ant moats for $8.99 each (to put at the top of the hummingbird feeders to deter and/or drown ants). Mr. P. makes our moats from cut-down 12 oz. plastic soda bottles, a bit of cut-down metal clothes hanger, and a touch of instant cement to keep it all water tight. Not for a kitchen re-use, I know, but I thought it was pretty creative.

                                                                1. Use bottle caps to fill with Lemon Joy and place around where mosquitos are bad. It repels them. I use white or orange ones when camping so they're easy to find. Great for working in the garage too.

                                                                  1. This may be more of a "kitchen confession"...but I often smush garlic with an olive oil bottle.

                                                                    Dangerous!, I know. But I so often have both on the kitchen counter as they are both so often used in the same dish.