10 Kitchen Substitutions to Save Money

Why waste money on extra kitchen appliances? There's no need! Here are some easy and cost-effective substitutions using what you already have to to suit all your kitchen needs and solve any mishaps.

Bruce and Jeanne Lubin
3-minute read
The Quick And Dirty

A lot of fancy kitchen gear can be easily replicated with common kitchen findings. Use egg cartons as a cooling rack, toast nuts with an air popper, use aluminum foil as a funnel, and more. 

Easily Toast Nuts

Toasting nuts is often an essential (and delicious) recipe step. Want to know how to make sure your nuts won’t burn, even if you aren’t looking at them? Toast them in a popcorn air popper! Just add a quarter cup of nuts, plug in the popper for 60 seconds, and your nuts will be a perfect golden brown.

The Many Uses of a Pizza Cutter

Pizza cutters can be used for a lot more than just pizza. Use your pizza cutter to quickly slice tortillas, sandwiches, pancakes, omelets, brownies, and even stale bread to make croutons.

Extra Cooling Rack

Keep your cool during holiday baking days. When you’re covered with flour, have no idea where the kitchen table used to be, and just pulled the fifth blisteringly hot tray of gingerbread men out of the oven, simply flip over cardboard egg trays (you’ll need two, spaced a little bit apart) and set the baking pan on top.

Shabby Chic Trivets

Hardware and home improvement stores have lots of ceramic tiles that can be adapted as mix ’n’ match trivets. Choose from a variety of designs and colors to add unique accents to your table setting. Protect tables and other surfaces by affixing felt corners (peel and stick) underneath each tile.

Pepper Mill Precision

If you grind the average pepper mill 10 times, you’ll have a quarter teaspoon of pepper. Figure out how many grinds your pepper mill takes to make a teaspoon and you won’t have to measure every time a recipe calls for black pepper.

Protect Your Table

An easy way to protect your dining room table is to purchase table pads that go underneath your tablecloth. But since they usually have to be custom-made, they can cost a bundle. For a large, rectangular table, use a twin-size mattress pad instead. It’s not as nice, but it will do the job.

Hand Me that Cob

Yes, there’s a utensil specifically designed for pulling corn out of boiling water (tongs). But if you can’t find them and the corn is ready, a potato masher does the trick quite nicely with a tiny bit of balance. And our 11-year-old says airlifting the cobs this way is great practice for the crane machine filled with toys at the arcade!

Funnels of Foil

If you have aluminum foil in your kitchen, you don’t need a funnel. Simply fold a sheet of foil in half width-wise and roll into the shape of a funnel.

A Giant Vessel

When you started preparing the recipe, you didn’t realize its contents would double in size! If you run out of space in your bowl, and you’re in a pinch, simply line your entire kitchen sink with foil and throw your ingredients in there. Then serve in smaller containers.

From Whole to Chopped

Your supermarket has only canned whole tomatoes, and you need chopped! Don’t take out each tomato and make a mess on your cutting board. Instead, simply insert a clean pair of scissors into the can and snip.

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Image courtesy of Shutterstock.

About the Author

Bruce and Jeanne Lubin

Bruce Lubin and Jeanne Bossolina-Lubin are the proud parents of three boys and more than a dozen books. After saving thousands per year using everyday tips and simple lifehacks, they started their own business in the hopes of sharing their knowledge with others. They have been known to go into their friends' refrigerators to turn their eggs upside down so that they last longer.