How to Use a Colander Effectively

How to use a colander

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Unlike in a countryside kitchen where the essential kitchen utensils are often enough, a household kitchen requires more than that for convenience. For instance, a colander may not be a piece of utensil in every kitchen, but one that can save you enormous time. In addition to draining pasta, I’ll show you how to use a colander to make your kitchen experience much more fulfilling.

So, let’s begin with the original function of a colander; draining pasta.

How to drain pasta properly in a colander

Most of us have been using the colander in the wrong way. Fitting it on top of a boiling pot of water and then flipping the setup over in unison in the sink to strain. Let us learn how to properly use the colander.

Firstly, cook your pasta in a large pot of boiling water and let it cook for the recommended time. Keep stirring the pasta as it cooks so that it doesn’t stick together. Check to ensure that it’s fully ready by tasting it.

Go ahead and grab your colander and place it over your kitchen sink. Ensure the base of the colander sits comfortably on the bottom of the sink. The sink should be all dry with no water sitting on it, so your pasta doesn’t get dirty when draining in the colander.

Reserve some of the pasta water before draining it all.

The reserved pasta water can be added to the pasta and the sauce. This water is full of starch and salt, is good in keeping your sauce smooth, and helps the sauce stick better into the pasta.

Having scooped the starch-rich water from the pasta, you can then pour the pasta into the colander, careful not to splash hot water on yourself. Water drains out of the colander holes, leaving the perfectly cooked pasta.

Note: you should not rinse the pasta, so all the starch remains in it.

Lastly, you can transfer your pasta and pour in some sauce and the pasta water that had been scooped. Stir the sauce until evenly mixed with pasta. Enjoy your pasta.

Others 11 Use of colander

The colander is a multi-functional kitchen item that can serve so many purposes other than draining pasta and noodles. Here are various ways you can use the colander: –

  • 1. Washing fruits and vegetables

  • Place your fruits and vegetables into the colander and place them under running water. Rinse off your fruits by shaking the colander until it is well rinsed. Dry the fruits/vegetables with a paper towel.

  • 2. Steaming vegetables

  • To steam vegetables, cut them into small sizes. Fill a pot with water and place your colander into it and ensure that the water doesn’t pass through the colander holes. If the water is in excess, pour some out.

    Heat the water on a stove and once it begins to boil, pour your vegetables onto the colander and then cover the pot until the vegetables get tender. Minimize the heat, so your vegetables don’t get mushy.

  • 3. Steaming rice

  • Rinse off your rice in a colander until all water gets clear. Boil your rice in a pot and let it cook for 5 minutes. You can then pour the rice back into the colander for draining. Pour in more water in a pot and let it boil and then place the colander with rice into it. Cover the colander with a foil and steam for 10 minutes.

  • 4. Sifting baking ingredients

  • Sifting is practically getting any stubborn clumps off your flour. All you will need to do is pour flour onto a colander and place a bowl under the colander so that the flour runs in it. Tap the colander lightly so that the flour sifts through the colander holes.

  • 5. Cooking and Mashing potatoes

  • A colander can be used to cook and even mash potatoes, pumpkin, and even avocados. You will place your colander in a pot or an oven. If you’ll be using a pot, fill in enough water (should not reach the base of the colander) and bring the water to boil under medium-high heat. Add the potatoes and cover them and cook for 10 minutes. Go ahead and place the colander over your sink and let cold water run over the potatoes for up to 2 minutes. Get your colander to the pot again. Cover the colander with a foil, and let the potatoes cook for up to 15 minutes.

    Force the cooked potatoes through the colander holes with a stiff spatula or a potato masher and place a bowl under the colander to collect the mashed potatoes.

  • 6. Turn the colander into an ice bucket.

  • A colander is a great option to replace your ice bucket. The colander should be placed on top of a large bowl filled with ice. Those drinks you want to enjoy cold can thus be placed on the colander. As the ice melts, it will collect under the bowl. Keep adding the ice if it all melts away.

  • 7. Save on grease splatters.

  • Cooking grease tends to get all over when cooking. The colander can be placed upside down over the pan/pot to catch all grease that gets splattered. At the end of the cooking session, clean the colander with some warm soapy water.

  • 8. Grate cheese with a colander

  • If you can’t find your cheese grater, then the colander can save the moment. You will just pick the cheese block and drag it on the inside of the colander. Easy as that!

  • 9. Make mimosa eggs

  • Here, you will need a hard-boiled egg, and you will have to push it through the colander holes.

    10. Making Greek-style yogurt

    Place a cheesecloth onto the colander and pour in plain yogurt onto it and let it drain overnight. Place a bowl under the colander to collect the liquid that flows down.

    11. Making spaetzle

    Place a colander on top of a boiling pot of salty water and pour dough onto the colander. The flour will fall into the boiling water, and the pasta cooks really fast. The spaetzles are ready when they start to float.


    Now that we have looked at how to use a colander properly and other functions it can serve in the kitchen, you will agree that every kitchen should have this handy tool within reach.

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