The Last Thing You Should Do with an Empty Bottle of Ketchup

updated Jul 1, 2020
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ketchup bottle on kitchen counter
Credit: Joe Lingeman

Ketchup and summer cooking go together like, well, ketchup and mustard. If you haven’t finished a bottle recently, you probably will soon. (We’re not psychic — we just know how these things go!) Before you toss that empty bottle into the recycling, we have a suggestion that might just make you want to hold onto it. Ready? Pancakes!

Credit: Joe Lingeman

Instead of tossing that bottle, wash it out and give it a new job in your kitchen as a pancake batter dispenser. (This is the “Reuse” part of the Reduce, Reuse, Recycle mantra in action!)

Yes, you can buy fancy pancake batter dispensers designed exactly for this purpose — and this one is pretty darn great — but why spend the money when you already have something that will get the job done? You’ll need a funnel (or a very steady hand) to fill the bottle, but then you can easily dispense the batter into your pan with a simple squeeze. We love this because it eliminates the mess that comes with a bowl and ladle, keeps the batter flowing (thanks to the bottle’s upside-down design), and makes it incredibly easy to get creative with designs and letters. It’s also incredibly handy if you have kids and want to get them involved with the pancake-making process on a weekend morning.

Credit: Joe Lingeman

Also, when you go to open that new bottle of ketchup, if you have a few minutes, you can use a bit to do some cleaning. Why use ketchup to clean up? Chalk it up to acetic acid, an organic compound found in vinegar — a common ingredient in most brands and types of bottled ketchup. The citric acid in tomatoes also packs its own special punch, making ketchup an effective (and honestly, fun) way to de-grime and shine. Use a squirt to remove pesky water marks from your stainless steel faucet, or mix up equal parts ketchup with salt and use it to get those dark spots out of your favorite (and expensive!) copper cookware pieces.

Does your family have a weekend pancake ritual? Tell us about it in the comments below!