11 Cool Uses for Your Coffee Maker


If you're a fan of Food Network's Alton Brown, you know his philosophy on kitchen gadgets; don't buy them if they only have one use. Another way to look at that could be: how do you get multiple uses from the gadgets you already have in your kitchen?

One gadget many of us have in our kitchen is a coffee maker. Whether it's a traditional version with a carafe, the popular "pod" kind, or a combination of the two, here are some ways you can use those coffee makers for more than just a cuppa joe. It's also a great life hack when you're stuck in a hotel room with minimal equipment at hand.

1. Poached, Soft-Boiled, or Hard-Boiled Eggs

Whether you want soft-boiled eggs with toast soldiers, or hard-boiled eggs for egg salad, the coffee maker is a perfect appliance for preparation. Add the number of eggs you want, carefully, into the coffee carafe. A standard 12-cup carafe can hold at least four eggs comfortably. Then, set the coffee maker (no coffee or filter) to make a full pot. Once the eggs are completely submerged, start the timer. It should take about three to four minutes for soft-boiled, and seven to eight minutes for hard-boiled. You will need to experiment with the timing, depending on the size and brand of coffee maker that you have. But once you have it sorted, it's easy. For poaching, wait until the water is in the carafe, then add the eggs carefully with a spoon — as you would if poaching in a pan.

2. Warmed Hot Dogs

No joke. Pop your hot dogs into the empty carafe, and then set the coffee maker to make a full pot (obviously, don't put any filter or coffee grounds in the machine). The hot water will cover the dogs, and the hot plate will keep them hot. As they are already cooked, this is simply a reheating exercise, and it's perfect for keeping them hot as you serve them up in batches.

3. Chocolate Fondue

Why spend your time making coffee in your coffee maker, when you can make something as delicious as a chocolate fondue? Simply heat ¾ cup of cream in the carafe, and then start adding broken pieces of bittersweet chocolate bars (you'll need four 3-½ ounce bars). You can also add a little liqueur if you're feeling fancy. Stir occasionally. Then, bring the carafe to the table, and dip your favorite fruits, pretzels, and cake squares.

4. Butter-Poached Chicken

Want to get a little creative? Put a raw chicken breast in the carafe, along with a few tablespoons of butter, a clove of crushed garlic, a little water, seasoning, and some fresh herbs. After about 15–20 minutes on the hot plate, you should have a perfectly soft and tender chicken breast for your salad. Here's the poached chicken recipe, including a side of couscous!

5. Oatmeal and Ramen

This one works with both the traditional machines, and the pod variety. Simply put your oatmeal or ramen into the carafe, or a bowl, and then add the appropriate amount of water into the coffee machine's reservoir. If you're making oatmeal, add a flavored herbal tea bag into the coffee compartment. Then, turn it on. You'll have perfect oatmeal or ramen in under five minutes.

6. Rice

Don't bother with the stove or the rice cooker if you just have a small portion of rice to cook. Add ½ cup of rice to your carafe, and add the appropriate amount of water (it varies on the kind of rice you're using) to the reservoir. Turn on the machine, then let it cook on the hotplate for five to 10 minutes.

7. Perfect Broccoli

Fill your coffee carafe halfway with freshly cut broccoli, add some salt, then add a full pot of water to your coffee maker's reservoir. Once it has covered the broccoli, let it cook for around 10 minutes. The great thing about using a coffee maker is that you can see the color of the broccoli, and thus avoid overcooking it.

8. Salmon or Trout Steaks

In this recipe, you actually utilize the coffee basket. Place a salmon steak in the filter basket, along with a coffee filter, a few herbs, and seasoning. Add 10–12 cups of water to the reservoir and turn it on. Then, turn the steak over, and repeat the process. This will give you perfectly cooked fish. It's worth noting though that it will require a thorough cleaning of the coffee maker after this to ensure no fishiness taints your future cups of coffee. If you prefer, you can poach the fish in the carafe using water.

9. Beer — Yes, Beer

I am not going to go into details on the lengthy process you need to follow to create home brewed ale in a coffee pot, but the good people at Southern Fried Science have done all the hard work, and have a complete recipe for coffee pot beer. As for if it's any good, the writer of the article guarantees, "...If you are careful, it will be at least as good as the cheapest commercial alternative." So, you decide.

10. Grilled Cheese and Quesadillas

You don't need the water, or the carafe, for these. All you need to do is utilize the hotplate, which can get hot enough to melt cheese and make bread and tortillas hot, crispy, and delicious. For either dish, add a little butter to the hotplate, then when it starts to sizzle, add your tortilla or bread, followed by cheese, and another slice of bread or a tortilla. Flip them when they reach your desired level of crispiness. You'll amaze your family and friends with this coffee maker magic.

11. Pasta

Just like rice, spaghetti and other pasta products can be cooked to perfection in your coffee maker. Fill the coffee maker to the 12-cup mark, and put your pasta in the carafe. Now, turn the machine on, and let the pasta cook. If you have spaghetti or linguine, you will need to push the sticks down into the coffee pot as they soften. Krista of Heavenly Savings shows you how to cook pasta in a coffee pot on her blog.

Have you ever used your coffee maker for anything besides coffee? What'd you make?

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