Cheesecloth serves several useful purposes in the kitchen, from bundling spices to straining liquids. Unfortunately, it can get pretty pricey to keep buying over and over again, which might lead you to look for a cheesecloth substitute.
The good news is that there are a handful of alternatives that you can use instead of cheesecloth. Even better? There is a decent chance that you already have at least one of these cheesecloth substitute options at home. Keep reading to learn what else to use if you’re out of cheesecloth.
What is cheesecloth, and how is it used?
Cheesecloth is a light and thin piece of woven cotton fabric that closely resembles a piece of gauze. It’s commonly used in cheesemaking to separate solids from liquids (hence the name). For example, ricotta cheese is produced by combining ingredients like milk and cream into a cheesecloth, draining the fluid, and allowing it to rest.
However, savvy chefs use cheesecloth for other dishes as well. Like cheese, you can also use cheesecloth to separate solids and liquids while making your own yogurt. You can also use the fabric to strain homemade soup stock, create a pouch for herbs and spices, and delicately dust baked goods with powdered sugar.
Outside of the kitchen, some people also use cheesecloth for cleaning the house and polishing silver.
What can you use as a cheesecloth substitute?
Even though cheesecloth is a versatile and easy-to-use tool in the kitchen, it can be difficult to find at your local grocery store. Even if you do happen to find it, cheesecloth is often expensive — especially considering you can’t reuse it.
With that in mind, here are three cheesecloth alternatives to use instead.
If you make coffee at home, chances are that you have a stash of coffee filters somewhere in your kitchen. You might not have realized it, but coffee filters serve as a fantastic cheesecloth substitute since they’re already intended to separate liquid and solids. Plus, they’re affordable and potentially already a staple in your household.
Muslin is a fabric that’s very similar to cheesecloth. You can find it online or at your local craft store, and it’s easy to swap out for cheesecloth in a variety of scenarios. In terms of price, it’s generally cheaper and sold in larger quantities than cheesecloth.
Small scraps of cotton
Don’t have coffee filters or muslin at home? No need to panic. When you run out of cheesecloth, just grab the nearest piece of thin cotton to strain your cheese, yogurt, or soup. Whether it’s a bandana, handkerchief, cloth napkin, or flour sack towels, any scrap of airy cotton fabric should do the trick. Just make sure to clean it with non-toxic cleaning supplies before you use it in the kitchen.
At the end of the day, using another material instead of cheesecloth won’t make or break your dish. With one of these cost-effective options, you’ll still be able to whip up delicious food without sacrificing any of the quality.
For more cooking tips and ideas, check out the Tastessence blog.