Eating healthily and not spending your money on restaurant meals can seem almost impossible if you’re stuck somewhere without a kitchen, but if you’ve got a coffeemaker on hand, you’re in luck.
It turns out this one appliance can open you to a world of culinary possibility, from American classics (hot dogs, anyone?) to date night fare (poached salmon for dinner, chocolate fondue for dessert!).
Check out the 10 delicious coffeemaker hacks below, and rest easy knowing that the next time you’re stuck with nothing but a coffeemaker, you can still eat like a queen.
This trick makes total sense, especially since the college set (who are most likely to be dependent on a coffeemaker for their cooking needs) pretty much have ramen, cheap and tasty, at the bottom of their food pyramids. If you’re using a cup of noodles, you can simply brew hot water (this works both with a Keurig and regular coffeemakers) and pour it into the cup. If you have a packet of ramen, put the noodles in the carafe of your regular coffeemaker, add 2 cups of water to the back of the machine, and let it run through a cycle. Leave the noodles in the carafe on the burner until they’re cooked to your liking, add the seasoning packet, and enjoy.
2. Hot dogs
You can make hot dogs or any precooked sausages in your coffeepot. This method calls for wrapping your carafe in foil to help evenly distribute the heat, running your water through a cycle twice to “super heat” it, then letting your ‘dogs cook for 25 minutes in the carafe on the burner.
3. Grilled cheese
Turns out the burner on your coffeemaker can be used for much more than heating up water! You can make basically any grilled cheese on the coffeemaker’s burner (like this spinach, goat cheese and avocado masterpiece!). Line the burner with foil for easy cleanup, then cook away. It will take a little longer than the traditional stovetop method, but the results are just as delicious.
4. Hard-boiled eggs
Image: Carla Birnberg
This one is super easy. Place your eggs in the carafe of your coffeemaker, fill the machine with water, and run through a cycle. Leave the eggs in the water for 7 to 10 minutes (7 will be softer; 10 will be fully hard-boiled), then drain the eggs, and rinse with cold water until cool to the touch.
5. Rice and couscous
The key to cooking rice in your coffeemaker is to use instant rice. Add the rice to the carafe, then run the amount of water specified on the package through the coffeemaker. Leave the rice on the burner until it is tender and most of the water has been absorbed. Couscous is easy too. Add the couscous and any seasonings to the carafe, run the required amount of water through the pot, remove from the burner, and cover the top with foil so that no steam escapes. Let it sit for 5 minutes, then fluff with a fork, and enjoy. Try this spicy harissa couscous with chickpeas using water in the machine and some bouillon instead of chicken broth in the pot.
Image: Coffee Machine Cuisine
You can make cheese or chocolate fondue in the coffeemaker. To make dessert, turn on the machine, then add some heavy cream to the carafe. Once it’s warm, add some dark chocolate, and stir until the chocolate has melted and incorporated with the cream. The nice thing about this is that if the mixture starts to cool down too much, you can just set it back on the coffeemaker’s burner for a few minutes to reheat. You can make this cheese fondue too if you’re more into savory than sweet.
7. “Steamed” veggies
Make a nice, crisp-tender side of broccoli or snap peas (basically any veggie!) by putting them into the filter basket where the coffee grounds usually go, filling the machine with water and running through one or two cycles (until the veggies are done to your liking).
8. Poached salmon
You’ll want to clean your coffeepot really well after this one, but imagine being able to create a meal of delicate poached salmon in your dorm or hotel room! Chow recommends using a flavorful poaching liquid of sake, miso, brown sugar and aromatics in the coffeepot along with a filet of salmon. Add enough water to the coffeemaker so that when the cycle runs, the fish will be fully submerged in water. Set a timer for 20 minutes, and voilà — you have a flavorful salmon dinner.
Image: Angie Six/Flickr
Making oatmeal in your coffeemaker couldn’t be easier. Add instant oatmeal to the carafe, pour the required amount of water into the machine, and let it run through a cycle. No more rushing to the free continental breakfast at your hotel that seems to be served only from 6 to 6:10 a.m.
The (literal) geniuses over at Southern Fried Science have put together a guide to brewing beer “using only materials commonly found on a modestly sized oceanographic research vessel,” which includes a coffeemaker as the main brewing instrument. If you aren’t on board a seafaring vessel, with no beer, then this method isn’t very practical, but if you like experimenting with your food and beverage, then by all means, dedicate that old coffeemaker you have stored in your basement or under the sink to this project, and have at it!