If a funnel feels, to you, more like a laboratory tool than one intended for the kitchen, I totally understand. Before I started buying my own groceries, the only time I’d used one with any regularity was in my high school chemistry class, to move liquids from one graduated cylinder to another (sCiEnCe). Once I became the master of my own pantry, however, I realized that a funnel was the key to achieving my ideal kitchen organizational system.
For those who like to buy ingredients in bulk—or just prefer to remove them from their flimsy original packaging—no tool is better than a kitchen funnel at directing your items into their new storage containers. My kitchen shelves are lined with airtight canisters and swing-top jars full of quinoa, oats, and flax seeds not because it’s attractive (though I do think lentils-as-decor are very chic), but because it makes all of my cooking endeavors easier to execute. Why lug out the whole sack of rice every time you need a cup or two, when you could decant it bit by bit into an accessible and simple-to-scoop-from plastic tub instead? Why hunt through your spice collection for a crumpled bag of coriander seeds when you could move them into a stackable jar? Funnels make these transfers painless and spill-free regardless of the size and shape of the container that you’re working with.
I think my funnel’s finest hour comes when I need to refill a squeezy bottle. Because they are two of the most-used ingredients in our home, my partner and I are devoted to buying soy sauce in gallon tins and sesame oil in encyclopedia-sized jugs, which are cost effective but super difficult to handle. Funneling each into its own plastic condiment bottle gives us the power of precision; we can drizzle soy sauce over a dish or measure oil out into a teaspoon with an accuracy the bulk vessels would never permit, and our favorite flavors are always within arm's reach.
When refilling a pepper grinder or moving a homemade spice blend from a mixing bowl to a jar, it’s truly the only tool for the job. Epicurious’ photographer Joey Deleo even uses his to transfer water from his filtering pitcher to a narrow-necked bottle for the table without spilling a drop in the process. That might not count as a science experiment, but it's enough to earn your funnel a prime spot in your kitchen.
Funnels for all of your decanting and storage needs...
The funnels I have in my own kitchen are made of hard plastic, which is a straightforward and unfussy option (bonus: these nest for easy storage).
Super durable and with a nifty handle on the side to keep things steady while you pour, this kitchen funnel has a 5-inch mouth and very narrow stem, which means you can use it to fill even the skinniest jars or bottles.
These...bear a passing resemblance to a popular feminine hygiene product, I cannot deny. But they're collapsible, dishwasher safe, and brightly colored, ready to wedge into any container you want to store decanted dry goods.
...And some extra credit storage vessels, too
Not just for ketchup at the diner! Drizzle olive oil over vegetables with precision, squeeze to measure out an exact amount of soy sauce, or use to decant bulk-bought dish soap and keep by the sink.
Is a big draw for these canisters for me the delight I get in actually popping their tops? 100 percent. That they're airtight and come in a variety of stackable sizes and shapes is just a bonus.
A step up looks-wise from the pop-top bins (these get the open shelf treatment in my kitchen, while the pops are hidden behind cabinet doors), swing-top jars have the rustic flair of mason jars but without the multi-piece lid problem.
Originally Appeared on Epicurious