10 Clever Ways to Use Up Almost-Empty Condiment Jars

10 Clever Ways to Use Up Almost-Empty Condiment Jars photo

Open your refrigerator. Pull out all the nearly-empty jars, bottles, and containers of ketchup, mayo, fish sauce, yogurt, tahini. Spend a few minutes turning all those dregs into one of these 10 “clean-up” sauces that repurpose all your condiments into straight-up delicious dips, dressings, marinades, and more. Reap the benefits of your own resourcefulness. Oh yeah, and admire your newly-empty fridge.

Slather that barbecue sauce all over some chicken. Photo: Peden + Munk

Do a Full-Fridge Sweep and Make Some Barbecue Sauce
All good barbecue sauces follow this formula: Tomato base + sweet + salty + spicy + smoky + acidic. The dregs of almost anything will work in an all-purpose ‘cue sauce: fish sauce, soy sauce, maple syrup, sweet chile sauce, tomato paste, Worcestershire sauce, mustard. Everything you need to create a perfectly balanced, sticky-sweet-salty-tangy sauce can be found in your fridge door. (Just make sure to relabel that old ketchup bottle if you’re using it to store your snazzy new batch of BBQ sauce!)

Make This: Our best basic BBQ sauce formula

Hoisin-Glazed Pork Chops. Photo: Alex Lau

Tahini + Soy Sauce + Vinegar = Hoisin Sauce
Homemade hoisin sauce comes together with just a few pantry staples—soy sauce, tahini, white vinegar—and it tastes surprisingly like the stuff you get at a Chinese restaurant—but better. We love it slathered on a pork chop, but you can also stir it into a grain bowl, drizzle over steamed veg like bok choy or asparagus, or toss into a pork and mushroom stir-fry and spread on flour tortillas for easy moo-shu pork.

Make This: Hoisin-Glazed Pork Chops

Brackett's genius method for pork tonkatsu encases several thin slices of pork in an especially crunchy coating.
Pork Tonkatsu with Shiso. Photo: Aya Brackett

Ketchup + Worcestershire Sauce = Tonkatsu Sauce
Tonkatsu, the Japanese-style pounded pork cutlets that are dipped in a crunchy panko coating then fried, just wouldn’t be the same without a small tub’s worth of that addictive sweet-salty dipping sauce. It turns out a DIY version is nothing more than a mix of ketchup and Worcestershire sauce. For a sweeter sauce, try stirring in a little jam or jelly, too.

Make This: Pork Tonkatsu with Shiso

BA’s Best Piña Colada! Photo: Alex Lau

Coconut Milk + Booze + Pineapple = Piña Coladas
Unsweetened coconut milk freezes well, so store leftovers of the canned stuff you use for curries in a container in the freezer. When you’ve got enough, make a batch of piña coladas, or make coconut rice by letting the milk thaw, then dumping it over just-cooked rice. Or freeze coconut milk in ice cube trays and drop a couple into your morning smoothie.

Make This: BA’s Best Piña Colada

Russian Dressing. Photo: Gentl & Hyers

Ketchup + Relish + Mayo + Horseradish + Worcestershire Sauce = Russian Dressing
Say what you will about Russian dressing—no Reuben is complete without it. Our newest obsession: Russian dressing, Swiss cheese, caramelized onions, sauerkraut, and sweet relish on a hot dog.

Make This: Russian Dressing

Pickle-Juice Sauce. Photo: Hirsheimer & Hamilton

Greek Yogurt + Ketchup + Mustard + Pickle Juice = “Pink Sauce”
Every family needs a special “pink sauce” for breaking out at summer cookouts. This one’s especially good on a cheeseburger, or as a dipping sauce for crispy fish sticks.

New-New Bloody Mary. Photo: Alex Lau

Pickle Juice + Horseradish + Hot Sauce + Worcestershire Sauce = Bloody Marys
Take all your leftover condiments, mix in a carton of tomato juice, and you’ve got a homemade Bloody Mary you don’t even need to change out of your pajamas to gulp down.

Make This: New-New Bloody Mary

Creamy Lemon–Mustard Vinaigrette. Photo: Michael Graydon + Nikole Herriott

Honey + Mustard = Creamy Vinaigrette
Give your salads a boost with a creamy vinaigrette that’s a welcome flavor break from your run-of-the-mill red wine vinegar situation. Bonus points for making it in the honey bottle. Mind. Blown.

“Tater Tots” with Spicy Mayonnaise. Photo: Matt Duckor

Hot Sauce + Yogurt or Mayo = All-Purpose Spicy Sauce
There’s literally nothing that won’t taste better dipped in a spicy, creamy sauce. Virtually any hot sauce you’ve got on hand will work—try sambal oelek, sriracha, gochujang, adobo sauce from canned chipotles in adobo, or sweet chile sauce. Schmear it on a sandwich, dip raw veggies in it, or tossed with shredded cabbage for a quick, spicy coleslaw.

egg salad-2
Herbed Egg Salad. Photo: Alex Lau

Relish + Mayo + Mustard + Hard-Boiled Eggs = Egg Salad
We say go for it: Stir the last of the relish jar into your next egg salad. It may be tacky, but who’s going to argue that it’s anything but delicious?

Related: 25 Cult Condiments Worth Drinking the Kool-Aid For

Homemade aioli in 60 seconds:

Share this:

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *