Unconventional kitchen hacks you have to try.
Missing a kitchen gadget? I talked to my fave dietitian gal pals about weird things we repurpose in the kitchen to get the job done. Today we’re dishing on our favorite unconventional kitchen hacks! Pin it here.
Disclosures: None. This post was not created in partnership with any product or brand.
Unconventional Kitchen Hacks
Use goggles to protect your eyes while cutting onions. I keep my ski goggles in the kitchen (hey I live in Texas now so I don’t need them on the reg!), but my friend Chrissy Carol uses swim goggles! She says, “Swim goggles aren’t just for the pool! Stock an extra pair in your kitchen for those days you’re chopping onions. No tears! I use this trick all the time when I’m making a savory onion tart and have to chop up multiple onions at a time.” (Chrissy Carroll, RD & USAT Level I Tri Coach)
Scissors are good for chopping! “I don’t just use scissors to clip coupons, I use them to chop lettuce and onion slices. It takes less time and is also a great way to get kids involved in veggie prep if you don’t want them handling a knife!” (Stefanie Dove, RDN and School Nutrition Marketing Coordinator)
…and cutting noodles. “Kids are the messiest spaghetti eaters because of how long those noodles are! Take a pair of your kitchen scissors and ‘chop chop’. Cut up in a flash!” (Nicole Eichinger RD, LD)Oodles of handy #kitchen #hacks here! Like how to best chop spaghetti #noodles! Click To Tweet
Use a dumbbell as a meat tenderizer. “For the longest time I did not have a proper mallet for pounding out chicken breasts, etc. For over a year I used the end of a 5# dumbbell!” (Julia Robarts, RD)
Mugs, Cups and Mason Jars
A glass cup doubles as a rolling pin. I really like to make homemade pizza, but for years I didn’t own a rolling pin, so I used a large glass drinking cup to roll out my dough! I just put flour on the outside of the glass and rolled away! In fact, after finally buying a rolling pin, I decided I preferred the glass cup anyway because it’s easier to manage in my hands and my dough doesn’t slide away!
Ceramic mugs are good for sharpening knives. “If you have a dull knife and no sharper at home, you can sharpen your knife on the bottom of a ceramic coffee mug!” (Michelle Smith, MS, RDN, CD)
Mason jars are good for shaking up salad dressings. “I use a mason jar to make all of my salad dressings. Shaking is much easier for creating an emulsion, and then put the whole jar of leftover dressing in the fridge for later in the week.” (Jessica Ivey, RDN)
… and removing garlic peels. “When peeling multiple cloves of garlic, I place them in a mason jar with a lid and shake till the peels fall off! So easy and my kids love this job!” (Diane Norwood, MS, RD, CDE)
Coffee mugs as cookie-cutters. “Sometimes you have to improvise in the kitchen and my most convenient hack is using a small coffee mug in place of a cookie-cutter. Works just as well!” (Karla Moreno-Bryce, MDA, RD, LD)
Use a grapefruit spoon to remove seeds. I usually use a grapefruit spoon to remove the seeds and stringy insides from butternut or spaghetti squash, but my friend Jennifer uses it for tomato! She says, “When making recipes that need tomatoes without the watery seeds, like guacamole or stuffed tomatoes, I use a grapefruit spoon to remove the seeds or to core them out. Works great every time!” (Jennifer Heinen, MS, RDN, LDN)Use a grapefruit spoon to remove the seeds from butternut or spaghetti squash. Click this link for more #kitchen #hacks! Click To Tweet
Ice Cube Tray
Save it for later with an ice cube tray. “Recently, my ice cube tray has become one of my most used kitchen gadgets! I love using it to freeze leftover condiments and sauces (think pesto, marinara sauce, etc.), canned pumpkin, soups and broths, the list goes on! Once frozen, I simply pop the cubes out of the tray and transfer to a Ziploc freezer bag until I’m ready to use. Not only does it help me to reduce food waste, but it also allows me to freeze smaller portions for individual meals, as needed. To defrost, I either place the desired amount of cubes in the refrigerator overnight (if I’m planning ahead) or defrost in the microwave.” (Kara Golis, RD of Byte Sized Nutrition)
Melon Ball Scooper
Use a melon ball scooper to remove apple seeds. “I use a melon baller to scoop out seeds of an apple (i.e. slice apple in half and use melon baller to scoop out center of each half to remove seeds).” (Lauren O’Connor, RD)
…or make cookie dough balls (better yet!). “Melon ballers also make great scoops for cold cookie dough to make uniform small cookies.” (Catherine Brown, Plant-based Chef and Culinary Nutritionist)
Juice more effectively with kitchen tongs. Turns out this actually is better than just squeezing with your hands (which I admittedly always do, hah!). “I use kitchen tongs to squeeze my citrus! Open tongs, place half of a cut citrus in (open side down) and squeeze!” (Jenn Randazzo)
Organize lunch boxes with magnetic hooks. Now this is something I think I’ll definitely be doing once I have kids in school! “I use magnetic hooks on my fridge for my kids’ lunch boxes. While it’s not food prep per se, it makes making three real-food lunches every day that much more convenient. And I can’t tell you how many people have noticed and commented on this!” (Diane Norwood, MS, RD, CDE)
Shot Glasses, Medicine Cups and Cookie Scoops
Shot glasses and medicine cups work great for portioning salad dressing. “I use old medicine dosing cups to measure small portions of salad dressings to fork dip. Shot glasses work well too.” (Lauren Harris-Pincus, MS, RDN, author of The Protein-Packed Breakfast Club)
Cookie scoops work well for portioning dips. “We portion out dips like hummus or guac with a tablespoon cookie scoop!” (Lindsey Joe, RDN, LDN)
Use a pastry blender for mashing. “I don’t have a potato masher but do have a pastry blender! I use this to mash potatoes, bananas and other items when I’m trying to create a smooth consistency quickly without dirtying a million dishes!” (Liz Shaw, MS, RDN, CLT)
…or chopping avocado. “I also like to chop avocado for guacamole with a pastry blender because it gives the right texture and is easy to clean.” (Kristie Evans)
Use an egg slicer to… slice! Now I know the purpose of this post is to help you repurpose gadgets but honestly this is making me feel like I need to get a new gadget, haha! “I use an egg slicer to slice eggs, strawberries, and mushrooms, quick and easy.” (Peggy Korody, RD, CLT, Author Little Hands In the Kitchen)
Trays are great for carrying. “I use trays for everything–from getting recipe ingredients from the pantry and fridge to bringing dinner to the table to serving food at parties–‘traying up’ everything cuts down on time, manages messes and is an inexpensive way to showcase food in an appealing way. I use anything with handles–wooden, melanine, plastic, glass, metal—and any shape, too. I would take any of these trays (not an affiliate link), for example!” (Robin Plotkin, RDN, Culinary Nutritionist)
Trays can save a tablecloth! “I make my kids (who are now teenagers!) eat on trays to save the tablecloth. They make serving meals easy and they fit in the dishwasher. It’s amazing how dirty they get considering my kids’ ages! I use some white melamine trays I bought on sale at Target about 10 years ago. It has a 1″ lip around the edge to prevent spills, but no handles. I like that they fit in the dishwasher.” (Kristie Evans)
Use a coffee grinder to grind spices or flaxseed. “Use a coffee grinder to grind whole flaxseeds or spices. To make sure there’s no coffee flavor or grounds leftover, grind a piece of stale bread first, then dump it out. The grinder will be perfectly clean and coffee free!” (Kacie Barnes, MCN, RDN)
Glass Water Bottles
Reuse glass water bottles for… well water! “‘Repurpose’ glass water bottles for it’s original purpose. They clean beautifully in the dishwasher. Just refill with tap water and store in the fridge or a mini fridge dedicated for water. Kids completely have at it. We’ve been using our Voss glass water bottles for almost TEN years now…. Great family habit.” (Cathy Foreman, MS, RDN, LD)
Although we usually use kitchen gadgets for their intended use (here’s a blog post on some of my favorites under $10!), it’s always a bonus when we can reuse and repurpose with unconventional kitchen hacks! I hope you got some great ideas!
Have you tried any of these unconventional kitchen hacks before?
Are there some we missed that you love?!