Equipment

7 Ways to Use Zipper-Lock Bags

These handy bags are good for so much more than just storing food.
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Published Jan. 17, 2024.

Whether you’ve run out of clean food storage containers to pack away your leftovers or need to store some opened cheese, zipper-lock food storage bags are helpful to keep on hand. (And you can even wash and reuse them.)

But here in the test kitchen we’ve found so many more ways to use them. Here are some of our favorites.

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1. Herb Keeper

To store fresh herbs, wrap in damp paper towels and place in a zipper-lock bag in the crisper drawer. They’ll keep in perfect condition for weeks. 

2. Piping Bag

If you don’t have a pro-style piping bag and pastry tips, you can cut the corner off of a zipper-lock bag, and pipe dough and decorations even without pastry tips.

3. Tortilla Press Liner

Lining your tortilla press with a thin layer of plastic keeps dough from sticking—and makes cleanup faster. Slit the bag down both sides, leaving the sheets of plastic connected by the fold in the bottom of the bag.

Place a dough ball between the two sheets and press. You can use the plastic bag to turn the tortilla out onto your palm. Wash and reuse the bag every time. 

If you don’t have a tortilla press, a zipper-lock bag still comes to the rescue. Prep the bag and dough the same way, and then press down on the dough in the bag with a pie plate. 

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4. Splatter-Proof Phone Cover

Protect your phone or tablet in the kitchen. Cooking gets messy; your pricey devices shouldn’t get ruined when you’re using an online recipe. Just slip your device into a zipper-lock bag and you can even operate the touchscreen right through the bag. If the bag is too loose, use a bag clip or tape to snug up its fit.

5. Easily Freeze Soups

If you’ve made soup and want to freeze portions for later, put each portion in a zipper-lock bag, lay it flat on a rimmed baking sheet, and freeze. Once frozen, you can stand it upright in the freezer, saving tons of space.

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6. Cookies On Demand

If you crave warm cookies, and don’t want to be tempted by a whole dozen or two at a time, roll the dough into balls (using a portion scoop makes this very easy), freeze them on a rimmed baking sheet, and then toss them into a zipper-lock bag and freeze. They’ll stay separated, so you can easily pull out one or two to bake in the toaster oven while you brew a nice pot of tea.  

7. Prep a Kale Pillow

Want to be sure you’ll use your lettuce, chard, or kale? Wash the greens right away when you get home from the store or farmer’s market. Clean and dry thoroughly in your salad spinner, and then pack the ready-to-use greens into a zipper-lock bag in your fridge, like a plump green pillow.

Pro tip: Tuck in a half-sheet of paper towel to absorb excess moisture, which will keep greens fresher even longer.  

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