What to Do If You Don’t Have a Cheesecloth: Cheesecloth Substitute
Simple yet effective, the humble cheesecloth has been helping kitchen cooks drain, strain, cover and clean for many years. Easily one of the least known but most versatile kitchen items available, it’s not unknown for a recipe or requirement to suddenly call on the need for this cooking gauze. Of course, if you haven’t opted to buy one of these, this can leave you in a bit of a dilemma.
If you’re reading this and nodding along, then you’ll know exactly what we mean. Luckily, you have us and, here at Kitchenistic, we’re nothing if not fast on our feet. Below are some of the best substitute options for cheesecloth. Whether you’re looking at straining for a recipe, cleaning the kitchen with the most absorbent cloth, or drying out your foodstuffs, these alternatives will get you sorted in no time.
In terms of finding an eco-friendly alternative, this is definitely not our favorite. However, if you’re stuck for finding a good substitute for cheesecloth, this is a great choice to see you through. Just be sure that the paper towels you select are thick enough, and aren’t likely to come apart when coming in to contact with a bit of water. Ideally, you’ll want a tough, thoroughly absorbent option that leaves no trace of paper behind, once used.
If you like to make your purchases in independent stores, it’s likely that you’ll have one of these lying around. If not, it’s entirely possible to find a good quality flour sack towel online or in a local store. These use a similar thread to cheesecloth, so the difference won’t be too noticeable here- particularly if you need a cheesecloth for straining or draining. Just be sure to thoroughly wash your flour sack before and after using it as a cheesecloth.
If you’re a new parent, it’s more than likely that you’ll have a fair few of these hanging around the house. Lightweight and made with a loose weave, these are one of the best alternatives to standard cheesecloth available.
While these are great for cleaning, they are made with a thicker weave than the standard cheesecloth. Thus, you might struggle if you’re looking to strain with a standard kitchen towel – and you’ll also want to be aware of any loose threads which are likely to come away. That said, if you’re looking to press tofu, for example, you might find that these will still be able to do a great job.
Just be sure to squeeze these out thoroughly after using them – and only ever use a kitchen towel which has not been processed with dyes or chemicals before using it in direct contact with your food.
This should available in any good first aid kit, although you’ll need a good few layers of this in order to get the same consistency as the standard cheesecloth. The good news is that they are unlikely to break apart or leave behind any threads, however, making them ideal for contact with food.
Everyone should have a number of pillow cases around and these make for a great substitute for standard cheesecloth. Just be sure to get a fresh linen each time you use this alternative, as you definitely don’t want to risk cross contamination with these. Ideally, you will be able to choose some linens that haven’t been dyed or chemically treated but an older pillowcase should still be OK to use, as most of this will have been washed out.
Probably the most common alternative to traditional cheesecloths, these are perfect for when you need to strain your food. They’re already food-safe and can be a little tougher than paper towels due to their material. However they’re still prone to breaking, so be sure to keep a close eye on these when using them as a cheesecloth.
Another common choice, the main difference between a metal or plastic strainer and a cheesecloth is the gaps in which liquid or fine particles can escape. If your recipe calls for a very fine strain, just run the liquid through your mesh strainer a few times. This may take a little longer, but you’ll still get the consistency you want or need.
Definitely a last resort, we’re talking about clean, freshly washed socks. These are great if you’re really stuck for a way to strain your food – just be sure to put them straight back in the wash, once you’ve finished and never speak of it again.