12 Surprising Uses for Leftover Coffee

There are lots of ways to reuse coffee grounds, but what about uses for leftover coffee itself? That brown beverage is good for more than just your morning wake-up.

More coffee reuse ideas: How to Reuse Coffee Filters, 15 Ways to Reuse Coffee Grounds

On average, Americans spend almost $1100 per year on coffee, and you know that we aren’t drinking every drop of it. How many mornings have you poured out a few cups or even most of a pot of coffee that you didn’t manage to drink before work? All of that wasted coffee adds up, but you don’t have to feel guilty. Instead of pouring that precious leftover coffee down the drain, you can use it in your cooking, around your house and in the garden. Check out these surprising ways to reuse that leftover coffee!

12 Uses for Leftover Coffee


Coffee Ice Cubes

Coffee ice cubes keep iced coffee cold without diluting it.


Cooking with Leftover Coffee

1. Make coffee ice cubes. Frozen leftover coffee cubes are great for iced coffee that won’t get diluted as the ice melts, or you can put the cubes in a glass of vegan milk for instant(ish) iced coffee.

2. Add it to your oatmeal. Thin your oatmeal with leftover coffee instead of milk. Yum! Pro tip: add some cinnamon and dried cherries or apricots.

3. Doctor up hot cocoa. Replace some or all of the liquid in your homemade cocoa with coffee.

4. Make brownies. Replace some of the milk in your next batch of brownies with coffee for mocha brownies.

5. Make iced coffee. This might seem obvious to some folks, but not everyone thinks about iced coffee as just hot coffee that’s gone cold. Store leftover coffee in a pitcher in the refrigerator for an iced coffee any time you want one. This is how we “made” our iced coffee at the coffee shop I worked at in high school and college.

6. Season your chili. A little bit of coffee adds a nice depth of flavor to a pot of chili.

7. Frosting. Instead of using milk to thin your frosting, use leftover coffee. It adds a little bit of color and flavor.


12 Surprising Uses for Leftover Coffee


Home and Garden uses for Leftover Coffee

8. Feed your plants. In moderation, you can use leftover coffee to water acid-loving plants like tomatoes. Just try not to do this too often, because even plants that like acidic soil don’t like it too acidic. See Buffalogal’s comment on this thread. She pours about half a pot of cold, leftover coffee on her lupines every couple of weeks.

9. Dye fabric. Coffee is great at staining fabric, so put that stain power to use! Soak fabric in leftover coffee for a lovely, earthy mocha color.

10. Create coffee-dyed paper. Give your next paper craft project a lovely aged look with coffee.

11. Clean the grill. The acid in coffee will cut through the cooked-on grease on your grill. This is best if you have a lot of leftover coffee, since you’re going to be soaking the grates.

12. Repair scratched furniture. Simmer some leftover coffee until it reduces by half, then rub that paste onto any scratches in your dark wood. Wipe away the excess with a damp cloth.

Have you found any interesting uses for leftover coffee? I’d love to hear your suggestions in the comments!


Jeanne Rogers
Jeanne R8 months ago

Thank you for sharing.

Kitty R.
Kitty R.1 years ago

When my husband and I were first starting out in the world together we
Couldn't always afford the best cuts of beef. I used buy a beef roast put slices all around it and insert pieces of garlic. I would then brown the roast, I'd then add a half a pot of coffee and some water along with a packet of dry onion soup mix....boil for until tender. My point being that coffee tenderizes meat!

Ben Wise
Ben Wise1 years ago

I store all the coffee I've brewed in a closed jar in the fridge and heat it up the next morning…or mornings after that if there's any left over. It tastes as good as fresh, as far as i'm concerned. Try it!!

Carrie-Anne Brown

thanks for sharing :)

N. Jane Walker
N. Jane Walker1 years ago

Thanks for all these ideas!

Elizabeth Brawn
Elizabeth Brawn1 years ago

very craetive

Karen M.
k Mulkhan1 years ago

Thanks for sharing.

Loreto V.
Loreto V1 years ago

Thank you so much!! Great tips!

Elena Poensgen
Elena Poensgen1 years ago

Thank you

Paul Standeven
Paul Standeven1 years ago

My kitchen sink has a long horizontal drain, which is prone to blockages. I put some of my coffee grounds down it, and that keeps the drain flowing.