10 ways to use Mason jars (for everything except canning)


Mason jars aren’t just for storing foods. The affordable, timeless glass jars come in array of sizes and shapes and have hundreds of practical uses around the house.

If your cabinets are overflowing with Mason jars, here are 10 clever ways you can put them to use that you may not have thought of yet.

A truly custom lamp

Mason jars make for some very cozy lighting options. You can quickly turn a Mason jar into a wax or citronella candle. But you can also purchase a Mason jar lamp conversion kit. Fill the jar with pebbles, wine corks or bottle caps, screw on the lid, ad a shade and you have a one-of-a-kind lighting fixture for your living room.

Alternatively, you can place a strand of battery-powered string lights inside the jar for a cozy centerpiece for your outdoor table. To hide the battery holder, hot glue it to the inside of the lid.

A solar-powered lantern

For decorative outdoor lighting, you can purchase kits which will replace the standard Mason jar lid with a solar panel on the outside and an LED on the inside. Place them along your walking path or hang them in your garden for subtle, energy efficient lighting.

Making coffee creamer

Photo by Taylor Martin/CNET

Sure, Mason jars are perfect for storing your homemade coffee creamer. But you can actually just make the creamer in the jar itself.

Pour a can of sweetened condensed milk, a few drops of a vanilla or hazelnut extract and your choice of whole, skim, almond or soy milk in a quart-size Mason jar. Screw on the lid and give it a shake for 30 seconds. Since you’re storing the creamer in the jar you made it in, there’s little to no cleanup.

Frothing milk

On a similar note, if you’d like to make a latte at home, you can use a Mason jar to froth the milk.

Pour as much milk as the recipe calls for into an appropriately sized Mason jar, making sure to leave plenty of room for the milk to expand. Screw on and tighten the lid and give it a very hard shake for approximately one minute. The milk should roughly double its volume. Next, place the jar (sans lid) in the microwave for 30 seconds.

Now pour the frothed milk over one or two shots of espresso. Optionally, use a spoon to place a dollop or two of the leftover foam on top.

Single-serve desserts and snacks

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Photo by Taylor Martin/CNET

If you’re having dinner guests, consider baking dinner rolls directly in 4-ounce (118 milliliter) jelly jars for a unique twist on something otherwise standard and boring. Or you could make individual servings of dessert and serve them in Mason jars.

To take things one step further, try filling Mason jars with baking mix for cakes, cookies and other desserts and giving them as personalized gifts for the holidays or special occasions.

Salads for days

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Photo by Taylor Martin/CNET

On the healthier side of things, you can prep a whole week’s worth of lunch salads in Mason jars.

In a quart-sized jar, first add your dressing and wet ingredients (like chopped tomatoes). Next add larger, chunky items like nuts or a hard-boiled egg. Then add the smaller ingredients, followed by your choice of greens.

When you’re ready to eat the salad, give the jar a good shake and pour it out into a bowl. Make four or five of these at a time and enjoy not having to worry about lunch prep every day while rushing out the door for work.

A cocktail shaker

Something I’ve never personally owned is a cocktail shaker. If you have a Mason jar, you don’t need one. Mix your cocktail straight into a pint- or quart-size Mason jar. Add some ice, give it a shake and pour into a cocktail glass.

If you need to strain the drink, you can sacrifice a lid by using a hammer and nail or drill to make several holes in the lid for a makeshift strainer. Just remember to use a solid lid when shaking and switch to the strainer afterward.

Peeling boiled eggs

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Photo by Taylor Martin/CNET

If you’re looking for an easier way to peel hard boiled eggs, look no further than a pint-size Mason jar.

Once you’ve boiled all your eggs, place them in the jar, one by one, screw on the lid and give it a gentle shake. The several small impacts will break the shell into tiny pieces (hopefully) without breaking the soft membrane around the egg itself and — so long as the egg is boiled properly — the shell should easily peel off in large pieces.

A nail polish remover jar

Make your own reusable nail polish remover pad with a small jelly jar, sponge and nail polish remover.

Cut a large sponge so it snugly fits down inside the Mason jar. Use a knife or scissors to make a small slit in the center of the sponge. Fill the jar roughly halfway with nail polish remover or acetone. The sponge will wick up the polish remover. Then, just stick a finger with a painted nail into the small hole in the center and it will remove the polish.

A sewing kit

A pint-size Mason jar is the perfect size for storing your emergency sewing kit. A few small spools of thread, buttons and a small pair of scissors should fit with room to spare. Then use a small scrap of fabric and batting to fashion a pin cushion lid, and you’ve got yourself a cheap, simple sewing kit you can actually keep track of.


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