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Cheesecloth Alternatives

Cheesecloth Alternatives

If you don’t have cheesecloth on hand but your recipe requires it, have no fear! There are a number of great cheesecloth alternatives you can use and we will cover each of them and how to use them.

Cheesecloth is a popular item used to strain out liquids in all types of recipes. While it is a great item to keep stocked in the kitchen, many people find themselves without cheesecloth and that is why I wrote this article.

So what are the best cheesecloth alternatives?

The top alternatives for cheesecloth are a large piece of cotton, mesh bag, pantyhose, coffee filter, and a wire sieve.

Don’t worry, read on and learn the details on each cheesecloth replacement and how to use them.

Straining with a Cheesecloth Replacement


Cheesecloth gets it’s name because it is how many cheeses are wrapped and stored. It is made out of cotton and is even used in book binding.

The key to finding a suitable replacement for cheesecloth is using a material with tiny holes that will allow you to strain liquid from other ingredients. Now, let’s get to the best alternatives for cheesecloth.



Because cheesecloth is made out of cotton, the best substitute for cheesecloth is another piece of cotton!

Cotton has tiny holes and is quite durable making it ideal for straining. When looking for an alternative piece of cotton you can use almost anything you have on hand.

Some great options include cloth napkins, bandanas, fabric scraps, jelly bags, towels, and even pillow cases.

Be sure to use a clean piece of cotton and to stretch it taut before straining any liquids. Also use a piece of fabric that you don’t mind getting stained as some ingredients can permanently stain cotton.

Mesh Bag

reusable mesh bags

Another excellent cheesecloth alternative is a fine mesh bag. Whether you are straining broth, yogurt, soup, or anything else, a fine mesh bag will handle the job when you don’t have cheesecloth.

Use a laundry bag, certain reusable grocery bags, paint strainers, or even a nut milk bag. Just be sure it is a fine mesh bag as larger holes will not be suitable for straining fine bits from your liquid.



That’s right, pantyhose are a great cheesecloth alternative. While not everyone has pantyhose on hand, if you do they are perfect for straining.

Simply stretch your pantyhose over a bowl and pour your liquid through. Pantyhose offer a number of uses in the kitchen making them a great frugal option. You can reuse them as a cheesecloth alternative or even fill them with onions or herbs and store them for later use.

Coffee Filter

Natural Coffee Filter

One of my personal favorite cheesecloth replacements, coffee filters are a great option. Found in nearly every kitchen, if none of the other options are available you likely have coffee filters.

The great thing about coffee filters is they are cheap and you can even use the coffee filter already used to make your morning pot of coffee.

Wire Sieve

broth poured through wire strainer

If that wasn’t enough cheesecloth alternatives, how about one more? A fine wire sieve is another great stand in for cheesecloth. It works wonderfully at straining any kind of liquid as metal holds up well to heat.

It will catch any particles or other solids and leave you with a well strained liquid only.

Bottom Line

As you see all is not lost if you don’t have cheesecloth. The key is to use an item that will properly strain liquids. Just about any material with tiny holes will do the trick. Just make sure to secure your replacement well and avoid spills.