How to strain without a strainer: The most useful items in the kitchen

For those who love cooking at home, you always need a strainer. Especially, when you need to remove water from the boiled potatoes or anything you cook. However, what will you do if you don’t find it? Or it’s so dirty that you don’t have time to clean it? In those cases, you need to know how to strain without a strainer. In this article, we will show you several ways that you can strain your food without the need of a strainer or colander.


Tongs is a useful item in the kitchen
Tongs is a useful item in the kitchen

Most kitchens have tongs. It is an essential tool that can be used to strain your food in many different ways. For example, you can use this item to grab the food and wait for the water to drip off while holding it above the pot. It works well for spaghetti or any bigger noodles. You can also just wait until the water drips slowly and put the food into your dish then continue to grab. 

Using the tongs to strain food is really easy, however, it might take longer than a strainer. However, it’s a great item to use when you don’t know how to strain without a strainer. Make sure you allow the water to drip off first before placing the food into somewhere else. 

Besides, you can choose to tilt the pot above the sink slowly so that the water drains out. While doing that, the tongs can be used to hold the food in place, however, you might drop some of your food into the sink. 

Coffee Filters

Coffee filters can only be used to strain small items
Coffee filters can only be used to strain small items

If you have coffee filters at home, it will be an ideal alternative to a strainer. Most homes have this item so if you don’t know how to strain without a strainer, this is an option. 

The coffee filters are used for straining coffee powder so of course they work really well for straining food as well. However, they are small items so it will be difficult to set them up to strain your food. 

The downfall of this item is that you can only strain small food or small amounts of food. Therefore, if you want to strain a pot of potatoes, you will need to look for another method. You can use this item for leaf tea or some other small food items.

In addition, you can use the bandana to strain small items. The way you use it is similar to the way you use the coffee filters. But you only use it when you really don’t find anything else, because it leaves stains.

Slotted Spoon

As you know, a slotted spoon comes with small holes. This is where water drips off your pot. So how to strain without a strainer and use this spoon? To strain with this type of spoon, all you need to do is to pour the water out into the sink very slowly, make sure to tilt the pot so that food does not fall out. And hold your spoon against the edge of your pot to ensure the food stays in there until all of the water drains out.

This type of spoon is also helpful to strain food
This type of spoon is also helpful to strain food

You can also scoop the food out using a slotted spoon but it takes more time and it’s a much slower way to strain. You can use the slotted spoon to strain beans, small pasta noodles, and vegetables.

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Lid is an extremely useful item, not only can you use it to cover the pot, but also to strain the water. But to use the lid to strain, you need to be able to hold the pot with one hand for around 15 seconds without dropping it. If you can’t, you can ask someone to help you. You can also use a potholder so that you will have a good grip on the lid. Besides, you should be careful with steam that is released from beneath the lid.

It’s easy to use the lid to strain food
It’s easy to use the lid to strain food

The way you do it is easy, just put the lid on the pot and then hold the pot over your sink. You keep holding the lid in place while tip the pot to the side. When you move the lid, a small gap appears and allows water out. You can continue tipping slowly and holding the lid in place until all of the water is drained out.

Cheesecloth or Pantyhose

Believe it or not, you can use cheesecloth or clean pantyhose to strain. All you need to do is to stretch the fabric around the top of your pot and then tip the pot over the sink in your kitchen. To avoid scalding your hands, you need to position your hands carefully and use a potholder. 

Although it is slow and takes longer for water to strain, it can be useful when you don’t know how to strain without a strainer. Besides, you might need to ask a friend to squeeze both sides of the cheesecloth for you. 

Paper Towels

You can use paper towels to strain, but only when there is not much water. The reason is that paper towels are easily broken when exposed to large amounts of hot water. And they contain unhealthy byproducts that are not good for your food. So if you are straining out the solids from liquid soup, you can use the paper towels. But as for food, you should only use heavy-duty, bleach-free paper towels. As much as possible, avoid using them even when you don’t have a strainer. Instead, use the other methods that we mentioned above in this list. 

In the kitchen, many people mistake a colander and a strainer. For those who don’t know, colander is considered as a kitchen sieve, which is a type of strainer. However, not all strainers are colanders. Colanders can be used to strain most food, except for tiny herbs or rice

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These items that we mentioned in this article should be in your kitchen or closet. Sometimes you don’t even realize that you can utilize them to strain your food. Depending on what you are cooking and what you want to strain, you know what item you should use. All methods are helpful alternatives when you don’t know how to strain without a strainer.

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By Sarah

Introducing Sarah, the dynamic and dedicated Editor-in-Chief at Bourbono. With a sharp eye for detail and an unwavering commitment to quality, Sarah is the driving force behind our platform’s engaging and informative content. Her exceptional editorial skills and passion for food and drink have played a crucial role in shaping Bourbono into the beloved resource it is today.

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