How to Use Up Leftover Condiments and Spices

The recipe called for a tablespoon of tahini, but what do you do with the other 25? Try these tasty uses for those jars of not-so-common ingredients you bought for that one special dish.

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Anchovy Paste

A spoonful of this salty fish spread will deepen the flavor of tomato sauces, gravies, braised broccoli and meatballs. Mix some with butter for a classic steakhouse topper. Or use a dab to top deviled eggs.

Asian Fish Sauce

The funk of this versatile Southeast Asian staple mellows when mixed with other ingredients. Just a dash adds richness to guacamole, steak sauce or a lime-based salad dressing. Sprinkle it on braised hearty greens like kale or collards, or try it in place of Worcestershire sauce in a Bloody Mary. Mix some into mayo along with chopped garlic, grated Parmesan and lemon juice for a cheater's Caesar dressing.


A spoonful of these pickled buds gives a boost to pasta sauce, lemon vinaigrettes and all sorts of salads — think egg salad, tuna salad, tomato salad and more. Sprinkle them on pizza or chop them up with parsley, onions and lemon zest for an easy relish for fish.

Chipotles in Adobo

Like tomato paste, this fiery condiment keeps well in ice cube trays in the freezer. Just a dollop will add a smoky hit to chili, stuffed peppers, salsa, mashed potatoes, scrambled eggs and baked beans. Chopped up, the peppers are delicious in cornbread, meatloaf and tartar sauce (think spicy fish tacos). Whip some into butter or mayo for a savory sandwich spread.

Curry Paste

A tasty match for chicken noodle soup, this condiment makes a great marinade for skewered chicken or shrimp. Blend it with mayo for a burger topper with a kick or mash it into egg yolks to wake up deviled eggs.

Fresh Ginger

Freeze the root whole and peel and grate it as needed. Finely chopped ginger makes a piquant addition to marinades. Slice it thin for broths and soups or steep it in hot water and add a drizzle of honey for a bracing, warm winter drink.


Thick and jammy, this makes an ideal glaze for grilled salmon, pork tenderloin, baby back ribs and chicken. A dollop will sweeten up a vinaigrette or barbecue sauce. Mix some with butter and add a pat to sea bass, scallops or sauteed greens. Spread on pizza dough for the perfect base for Peking duck pizza. Or fold it into ground turkey for juicy, low-fat burgers.


A tasty marinade for a variety of beef cuts (with a little oil and vinegar), this soybean paste also thickens pan sauces and makes an easy rub for roast chicken. Spread it on bread in a grilled vegetable sandwich. Or mix it with sesame oil and water for a quick, affordable pasta sauce.

Rice Vinegar

Mild and slightly sweet, this is a natural go-to even in non-Asian vinaigrettes. Try tossing it on warm spuds in a German-style potato salad or with napa cabbage in shredded slaw. Rice vinegar adds a subtle tang to barbecue sauces, wonton soup and stir-fries and makes a nice change from malt vinegar when sprinkled on sizzling french fries.

Soy Sauce

A glug of this stir-fry go-to will enhance tomato sauce, boeuf bourguignonne and white bean dip. Combine it with oil and toss over sweet potatoes or bone-in chicken pieces before roasting. Soy sauce is also surprisingly good on popcorn. Mix it with peanut butter for a quick Asian noodle sauce or stir it into cream cheese when you need a last-minute spread for crackers. Add a drizzle to a halved avocado and scoop the flesh right from the skin.


Made from sesame seeds, this hummus building block is also great stirred into mashed potatoes or winter squash, whisked into a vinaigrette, drizzled on steamed vegetables or spread on bread with jam for a new take on a PB&J. Or simply serve it plain as a vegetable dip.

Toasted Sesame Oil

Stow this flavor booster in the refrigerator to prolong its shelf life, and drizzle it on sauteed spinach or steamed green beans, mix it into grilling marinades for salmon, chicken or beef, or add a few drops to chicken soup. Tossed with thinly sliced cucumbers and red onions, it makes a refreshingly light salad dressing.

Tomato Paste

Freeze this spaghetti-sauce essential in ice cube trays, then drop it into chili or beef stew. It'll also amp up a simple tomato or vegetable soup and add a punch to taco meat or Spanish rice. Or skip the ketchup and spread a schmear on meatloaf before baking.

Garam Masala

Once you consider the spices that often make up this Indian blend (think coriander, black pepper, cardamom, cinnamon, caraway, cloves, ginger and nutmeg), you'll find plenty of ways to use it. Sprinkle it on winter squash, cauliflower or potatoes before roasting. Toss it over popcorn. Fold it into a creamy dip and serve with sweet potato chips. Or stir a pinch into mayo for an unexpected egg salad and naan sandwich.

Sambal Oelek

Let the vinegary red pepper bite of this Indonesian condiment inspire you to use it where you'd normally use other hot sauces. It's delicious drizzled on pizza and a natural partner for a sweet potato mash. Add a few dabs to a peanut butter sandwich (trust us) — or peanut butter noodles, if you prefer. And like so many hot sauces, sambal oelek is great in meat marinades.

Chili Oil

Don't box in this staple of Chinese cuisine. It makes a killer dip for bread, and it's a very "adult" oil for cooking up grilled cheese. Drizzle it on blanched broccoli rabe, or mix it into the rice and beef filling for stuffed peppers. And what easier late-night supper than spaghetti tossed with chili oil, parsley and Parm?


A classic accompaniment to Moroccan couscous, this North African condiment is made of sweet red peppers, garlic and hot chiles, and it can go almost anywhere you would put hot sauce. Add it to scrambled eggs, stir it into hash browns, spread it on a turkey sandwich or serve it as a sauce for grilled fish. Perk up hummus with a spoonful or two of the stuff. Or try this twist on game-day wings: Substitute harissa for Buffalo hot sauce.

Pumpkin Pie Spice

It's not just for dessert and lattes; the warm notes of cinnamon, cloves, ginger and other baking spices make pumpkin pie spice the perfect match for butternut squash soup, apple pie (yup!), Moroccan lamb stew and your morning oatmeal. A pinch in Bolognese brightens and warms, as cooks who swear by cinnamon and nutmeg in their red sauce will happily tell you.


Think of it as a turbocharged horseradish. Mix it with sour cream to spread on a roast beef sandwich. Put it in a Bloody Mary. Add a dab to potato gratin or a bowl of mashed potatoes. Whip it into deviled egg yolks and top the halves with a wasabi pea each (to warn party guests of the impending kick!).

Coconut Milk

Leftover coconut milk is a gift — truly! Use it to cook hot cereal for a rich morning treat. Try the same in the evening when you're making rice. Add the liquid to a mango smoothie. Churn it into ice cream. Use some to lighten your iced coffee. And, of course, you can mix in a little curry paste and use the fragrant bath to simmer shrimp.

Mango Chutney

Add instant sophistication to your cheese plate with a small dish of mango chutney in place of jam or honey (and it's great in grilled cheese too). Serve it as a condiment with baked ham or as a topper for vanilla ice cream. Thin it with a little water and you have an instant glaze for pork kebabs or shrimp on the grill.