So you brewed a little too much coffee? Or maybe you're left with a bag of grounds you just don't love. Whatever you do, don't toss it. We're about to show you what to do with leftover coffee!

woman pouring a cup of coffee, from Shelf Cooking

Ok, you guys! You asked, and we're delivering. Several members of the Shelf Cooking Facebook group have asked what to do with leftover coffee. It's a great question and one we're excited to answer!

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Whether you need to find ways to use leftover grounds or the magical liquid, you are in luck! We have six genius uses to share, including tasty recipes, easy kitchen hacks, and more. Ready to do this?!


homemade brownies made with coffee, from Shelf Cooking

When you have kids at home, it's easy to let a pot of coffee go neglected. Sure, you could heat up another cup for the fourth time today, but if it's too late to drink coffee, there's still no reason to pour it down the drain! Try one of these three genius ideas.


We highly doubt anyone will be disappointed if you make a big batch of brownies, so why not go for it? Coffee is the perfect secret ingredient for this sweet treat. And it's one of the best recipe substitutes ever because it's so simple! All out of milk? Want to try a new twist on your brownie recipe that calls for water? Just use coffee instead. It's that simple. After one bite, you'll probably never go back to the old way.

Pro Tip: Use your leftover coffee to make these yummo fudge brownies! They're pretty much life-affirming.


coffee marinade for meat, from Shelf Cooking

Do you know what makes the best marinade for a cheap cut of meat? Yup. Coffee! The acid helps make even the toughest cut of meat more tender, and that means you can save money and buy the bargain steak. Here are two easy ways to use coffee in a marinade:

  • Soy Sauce Marinade – Mix one cup of soy sauce with a cup of coffee, two tablespoons of minced garlic, one medium chopped onion, and two tablespoons of Worcestershire sauce. This is perfect for a flank steak.
  • Sweet Coffee Marinade – Mix two cups of coffee with one cup of brown sugar and some salt, pepper, and garlic to taste. Use this marinade on chicken or pork. It packs plenty of flavor!

You can also add coffee to your slow cooker the next time you're making a pot roast! Just replace part of the water in your recipe with coffee. It helps tenderize the meat.


I scream, you scream, we all scream for coffee ice cream! It is pretty dang good, to be honest. Grab our homemade ice cream recipe, and add some coffee to the mix! Be sure to cool it first and use it to replace some of the milk in the recipe.

Wondering what to serve on top of that creamy goodness? Here are some toppings that are begging for a scoop of coffee-flavored ice cream:

Now we're craving a giant ice cream sundae! But let's keep going. Next up, we have a few clever ways to use leftover coffee grounds.


a spoonful of leftover coffee grounds, from Shelf Cooking
Photo by KATY TOMEI on Unsplash

Once you're done drinking that pot of caffeinated goodness, what do you do with those grounds? Well, we bet you usually throw them away, but you don't have to! In fact, you shouldn't! We've got some quick tips and tricks for using up coffee grounds.


If you've ever dealt with a power outage, then you know that the worst part is the aftermath. At least when it comes to your fridge and freezer. There's nothing more persistent than the smell of rotting meat or seafood. Yuck!

Lucky for you, coffee grounds are the cheapest, easiest remedy. The next time you go to toss those grounds, don't! Stow them away in a container for safekeeping. When you need to get a stubborn odor out of your freezer or fridge, fill an old sock or two with the grounds and wait for the magic to happen.


woman grating garlic, from Shelf Cooking

Look, we love garlic as much as the next gal, but we could do without the lingering smell. We like the fragrant aroma of garlic while it's cooking, but no one wants the stench of three-day-old garlic on their hands. Here's a quick fix.

Scoop a spoonful of coffee grounds on your hands, then rub them together for a minute or so and rinse. It almost feels like a spa treatment, and it's such an easy way to use up those used coffee grounds. Keep a small container near your sink, so you always have some available.


If you've got some pesky burnt bits at the bottom of your favorite pot, reach for the coffee grounds. Their texture makes them a perfect skin exfoliant, and those same powers work wonders on stubborn, dirty cookware.

Sprinkle some grounds into the pan, grab a damp brush or sponge, and start scrubbing. Follow up with some soap and wash as normal, or run that cookware through the dishwasher when you're done.

Now you know why it's always a good idea to hold on to that leftover coffee! It's basically magic in a cup (or coffee filter). Use these tips and tricks to get the most bang for your buck out of that morning pot of coffee.

How do you use your leftover coffee? Drop a comment below and share your best tips!

Multiple images with leftover coffee, from Shelf Cooking

Looking for more genius ways to use up your leftovers?

Thanks a latte for coming to our TED Talk!