Leftover Condiments

It’s easy to dismiss the condiments and jars lining our fridge doors – if they start to languish, be sure to give them some attention. Some last literally forever, others not so much. Regardless, we always want to get the most out of the things we buy and sometimes half empty jars are taking up valuable real estate! Here’s some ideas.

fregolata tart with jam and almonds

almond or peanut butter

Use every last bit from that almost empty jar:

  • Mix your overnight oats right in the almost empty jar. By morning it will be softened up and easy to mix in
  • Add soy, rice wine vinegar and chili sauce for a quick dressing for cold noodles.
  • Pour in hot chocolate or warm milk and shake.
  • Give the empty jar to your pup.


Chutney’s often one condiment that is bought for one dish and leaves one wondering how to use the rest:

  • Mix it in with some marmalade for a ham glaze, it’s easy and fantastic; try adding a touch of soy sauce.
  • Layer it in a sandwich as a condiment; it is particularly good with chicken, turkey, or ham.
  • Mix or layer over cream cheese for a delicious cracker spread.
  • Spread over cheese in a grilled cheese sandwich or serve alongside.
  • Add a little soy, ginger and rice wine vinegar for a dipping sauce, warm, cold or pureed if very chunky.
  • Serve with curries.
  • Add a tablespoon to cooked vegetables – especially good with carrots.
  • Bake Brie en croute.

jellies & jams

Jellies and jams keep in the fridge for months; it’s the opening and dipping that exposes them to contamination. Never inexpensive, treat them well and use a clean spoon and close the lid immediately. Some ideas:

  • Make a tart.
  • Use as an ice cream topping.
  • Stir into plain yogurt.
  • Serve with any type of pancakes or waffles.
  • Melt with a little water or fruit juice to make a sauce.
  • A tablespoon in a gravy deepens and enrichens the flavor without leaving an identifiable taste.
  • A tablespoon in barbecue sauce does the same.
  • Heat meatballs, hot dog slices or Vienna sausage in equal parts of grape jam and barbecue sauce. Add mustard powder for bite.
  • Bring it to the table when you’re serving biscuits or rolls.
  • Layer into muffins, quick breads, cornbreads and cupcakes.
  • See cranberry sauce, too, under fruits; technically a jelly or jam.


Technically, a jam, so see above, also.

  • Mix with some chutney or a little bit of molasses for a ham glaze.
  • Layer on a ham or turkey sandwich as a condiment.
  • Serve with ham.
  • Make a pan sauce for chicken or pork.
  • Brush on salmon for a glaze.
  • Fold into whipping cream.
  • Mix with orange segments and chill.
  • Serve with pancakes, French toast or waffles.


Technically a salad dressing. Here’s a few ways to use up that last smidge in the jar:

  • Not enough left in the jar for anything, but you’d like to use up the last bit? Pour in a little vinegar and herbs of your choice, shake and you can dress a small salad.
  • Marinade chicken and lamb in Mayo mixed with herbs of your choice (think dill, cumin, cayenne.)
  • A touch left in the jar, mixed with a little sour cream and a spice (minced chipotle, greek salad spice, almost any blend) makes a great dipping sauce for fries, especially spicy or sweet potato.


  • The better mustards can be made into a vinaigrette right in the jar.  Add a little chopped tarragon, some minced garlic, season with salt and pepper, vinegar of your choice and mix.  Add a little olive oil (ratio is 1:4 vinegar to oil.)
  • Mix with honey and make a honey mustard for dipping or dressing.
  • Mustard goes so well with so many dishes. Add a touch to any salad dressings, cooked chicken, pork or fish sauces.


  • Lick the jar.
  • Add warm milk, shake and stir and scrape for nutella hot chocolate.
  • Add a scoop of ice-cream right to the jar.

olives & brine

Olives are great, but what do you do with the brine and spices left in the jar?

  • Bring olives out as a snack before dinner.
  • Dice them for a casserole.
  • Throw into many dishes that can use a bit of briny pick me up – often the same dishes capers are used in.
  • Add to Italian pasta sauces or chicken dishes.
  • Add olives and/or juice to pasta salads or tuna salads..
  • Add a bit of the juice to martinis and bloody marys along with the olives.
  • Add brine to pizza or pasta sauce.
  • Add brine to salad dressings or mayo based dressings.
  • Add brine to slaws and other brassica salads.

pickle brine

Pickles are amazing – but can you use the brine? Oh, yeah!

  • Make a pickletini – A dirty martini with a splash of brine.
  • Replace the vinegar in salad dressings with brine.
  • Toss brine into potato, tuna or egg salad.
  • Make tarter sauce by adding pickle juice to mayo.
  • Perk up your deviled eggs.
  • Mix juice with butter and use it with tuna or salmon.
  • Add it to pimento cheese.

salad dressings

  • Oil based dressings make great marinades for chicken, turkey or vegetables.
  • Dress up chicken with Italian or balsamic dressings.
  • Use as dips for vegetables.
  • Spread on burgers or sandwiches, or add oil based dressings into burger meat.


  • Mix with Mayo for a quick dipping sauce for fries or spread for burgers or sandwiches.

sweet chili sauce

  • Layer over cream cheese and serve with crackers.
  • Mix with Mayo for a dip for fries or veggies.


So you made Hummus. Now what are you going to do with the rest?

  • Make a salad dressing.
  • Make Hoisin sauce. (Google it.)

tomato jams and chutneys

Of course you can use this marvelous condiment anywhere you’d use ketchup. Here’s a few other ideas:

  • Spoon over scrambled or other eggs.
  • Add to just about any tomato based sauce for a deep, rich flavor.

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