The 9 Absolute Best Uses For A Canning Funnel

Canning funnels make it cleaner and easier to get drippy, sticky jams and jellies into jars — and they can do the same for a surprising range of dishes and drinks. Whether you bought one when you made strawberry jam (once) during lockdown, or you're a canning enthusiast who uses theirs regularly, a canning funnel is a refreshingly multi-purpose kitchen tool. If you've never heard of canning funnels before and tend to make a mess in the kitchen, take note: They're an inexpensive way to keep counters clean and simplify working in the kitchen.

Canning funnels work like any other funnel, delivering food and drinks neatly and quickly into a container. Unlike your average funnel, they are much wider, generally running five to six inches in width at the top and about two inches at the bottom, which means they can handle a variety of chunkier foods.

They are available in many different materials, including stainless steel, plastic, silicone, and even glass. Adding to their appeal, many models are dishwasher safe, and some even come with a strainer. Several models are even double walled to fit regular and wide-mouth jars, which helps in snugly attaching them to mugs, cups, and bottles of varying widths. From making coffee in a pinch to stuffing peppers without making a mess, read on to learn the absolute best uses for canning funnels.

Filling thermoses

There's nothing better than a hot lunch on a cold, dreary day. While you may have resigned yourself to the mess that ensues when you're trying to ladle hot soup or stew into the narrow opening of a thermos while half awake, grabbing a canning funnel can make your mornings much smoother.

A canning funnel offers a wider opening than your average kitchen funnel, making it a go-to item to keep your counters clean and get a hot lunch ready in the same amount of time a cold, slapdash sandwich would take. While a peanut butter and jelly sandwich certainly has its place in the lunchtime pantheon, your lunches are about to get more interesting.

A canning funnel allows you to quickly and easily guide a variety of soups and stew into your thermos. From chicken tortilla soup to beef bourguignon, your imagination (and your leftovers) are the limit to what a canning funnel can help you pour into a pre-heated thermos.

Stuffing peppers and tomatoes

If you've ever made stuffed peppers, tomatoes, or onions, you know the irritation of accidentally dropping bits of the stuffing down the sides of your vegetable. Unless you attempt to fish them out of the baking dish with your hands or a spoon, it can make for a messy presentation and complicate an otherwise delicious and (fairly) easy meal.

Enter the canning funnel. The extra-wider size of the top of the funnel lends itself well to the rice, meat, and other small, crumbly pieces of deliciousness you want to end up in your hollowed-out pepper or other vegetables, keeping mess to a minimum.

The usefulness doesn't end at dinner. A canning funnel can also be used to stuff sugar and streusel into larger apples for a delicious baked apple dessert that smells and tastes great, which is now even easier to whip up on a whim.

Organizing your pantry and bulk bin items

Buying items from the bulk bins at your local grocery store can be good for your budget and the planet. According to Truly Good Foods, food and its packaging make up about 45 percent of our waste. If everyone in America switched to bulk-bin almonds for one year, for example, 72 million fewer pounds of trash would end up in landfills.

Whether you're trying to save the environment by cutting down on packaging waste, or you're trying to save money by only buying the half cup of walnuts you need for a recipe, you likely need to transfer your food into a long-term container like a jar or other airtight container. Canning funnels avoid messy spills and wasted food by funneling even bulkier foods like dried beans, nuts, and dried fruit.

By pouring your pantry foods into jars and airtight containers using a canning funnel, you can organize your foods in see-through containers for a satisfyingly perfect pantry, making it easier to find what you need quickly. Finally, a use for all those Mason jars you've got sitting around!

Making batchable cocktails

Making a batch of cocktails (or mocktails) before a party is a clever way to ensure all your drinks taste great (no overly strong or weak drinks), and it lets you relax and enjoy the party without playing the harried mixologist every time someone runs dry.

A canning funnel makes it quick and easy to whip up several cocktails at once in a Mason jar. If you use the largest size, which is one gallon, you can make a party's worth of drinks with ease. There's no need to pour slowly or worry about spills using a canning funnel, which can even handle larger, chunkier ingredients like herbs, wedges of citrus, and berries. Close the lid on your jar and give it a shake, then store your pre-made and guaranteed-to-be-delicious cocktails in the fridge until it's time to party.

From charred peach rose sangria in the summer to more warming cocktails in the fall and winter featuring cinnamon sticks or cranberries, there's a batchable cocktail for every mood, and they're all a little bit easier using a canning funnel.

Making layered mason-jar foods

If you're an avid home cook (or a victim of the recent jars-as-decor movement), you're likely the owner of at least a few Mason jars. Canning funnels are specially designed to fit these jars, which means they're a perfect fit to funnel in preserves and jams — but they can do so much more.

The clear glass of Mason jars offers the opportunity to show off a fancy-looking layered dish, ranging from a to-go salad you'll actually want to eat at lunch to a layered dessert like a torte, parfait, or humble dirt cake. Free pouring foods into jars can create uneven, less appealing layers, while a canning funnel can help evenly distribute each layer of food. The funnel keeps small foods like cookie crumbs, chopped nuts, and other items off the counter and layered neatly in the jar where they belong, saving you time and making layered Mason jar foods a no-fuss proposition.

Making perfectly round cookies

Suppose you love home-baked cookies as much as we do. In that case, you will probably remember the viral TikTok hack for making perfectly round cookies: Putting just-baked cookies under a glass or in a round cookie or biscuit cutter and gently swirling to neaten the edges.

While any hollow, round, food-safe object in your kitchen can work this magic, we love using canning funnels because they offer two sizes for cookies of varying diameters. There's no such thing as a bad cookie in our book, but if you're looking for perfectly round cookies, this hack works just as well on your favorite store-bought cookie dough as it does with a from-scratch recipe.

It's critical to ensure your cookie is significantly smaller than the side of the canning funnel you're using. As they tend to be within the five to six-inch range on the top end, most cookies will fit nicely, making it a better fit for larger cookies than most mugs, cups, or cans.

Getting ice into water bottles

You need four to six cups of water a day to maintain proper blood pressure and temperature for your body to carry nutrients to your cells, according to Harvard Medical School. Using a reusable water bottle to get those daily cups is a great way to reduce your share of plastic waste and even energy — bottled water takes about 2,000 times more energy to create than the water coming out of your tap, according to Beyond Plastics.

The real conundrum when it comes to getting your daily water intake on the go is how to get ice cubes into a reusable water bottle. A canning funnel can fit neatly over the outside of the water bottle opening depending on the bottle's width and the shape of your ice cubes. The funnel helps guide ice in neatly, preventing it from ending up all over the floor.

Storing and getting rid of oil and grease

If you love making deep-fried foods like fried chicken, donuts, or French fries at home, you've had to figure out how to manage cleaning, storing, and getting rid of used leftover oil. A canning funnel excels at easing the process of all three, and it works just as well with bacon grease.

Pouring hot or even cooled oil can be a messy and, at times, disastrous process. By using a canning funnel fitted to a jar or bottle, you can avoid trying to pour a thin stream of oil into the small opening of a bottle (without shaking!) to store leftover oil. To remove impurities, line the canning funnel with a few layers of cheesecloth or a coffee filter. (Pro tip: if you don't have those handy, try using gelatin to purify your oil.) A canning funnel can similarly be used to neatly pour old oil or grease into a jar or can to throw it away, keeping your sink free of clogs.

Making pour-over coffee in a pinch

Whether you're craving a pour-over coffee and don't have a pour-over coffee maker, or you're on a trip and have limited ways to brew, a canning funnel will let you make a great cup of coffee in a pinch. All you need to add is coffee grounds, something to pour into, and a paper filter. Because the components are so packable, this is a clever way to get your coffee fix in a hotel.

Just because you're using a DIY coffee method doesn't mean you should skip your normal steps in making delicious pour-over coffee. We recommend using fresh coffee beans, a medium grind, blooming the grounds (letting the initial pour of water settle for about 30 seconds), and using a wet coffee filter. While some plastic canning funnels can handle hot or boiling liquids, we recommend using a stainless steel or glass canning funnel for this hack.