01/09/2014 02:04 pm ET Updated Dec 06, 2017

The Runcible Spoon's Guide to Cooking With Free Condiment Packets

By Jayne Orenstein, @jayneore

Photo credit:

Next time you're the honored guest at a continental breakfast or picking over the condiment bar at Panera Bread or Taco Bell, pay attention. There's cash you could be saving by picking up those teeny tiny condiment packets as opposed to buying your usual full-sized tubs of cream cheese or mayonnaise. Cram as many of these as you can into your pockets -- then use them to cook with at home.

Noodles with Peanut Sauce
Serves 4

8 packets Smucker's peanut butter
1 packet Chinese takeout soy sauce
1 half packet Chinese takeout spicy mustard
1 tablespoon water
2 tablespoons peanut crumbs
1 box of spaghetti

Whisk the first five ingredients together in a bowl until smooth. Cook the spaghetti according to the box's directions and drain the pasta. Add the pasta and coat to toss. Top with the crushed peanuts and sprinkle with lime juice. Kick it up a notch: Add a packet of crushed red pepper.

French Toast with Cream Cheese Icing
Serves 2

4 Philadelphia cream cheese packets
4 tabs of butter (or one tablespoon)
6 packets of sugar
2 eggs
7 mini cups non-dairy creamer
1 teaspoon cinnamon

Mix the eggs, six non-dairy creamer cups, two packets of sugar and cinnamon in a bowl. Soak the bread, then cook on a buttered pan or griddle. With a fork, mix the cream cheese, butter, one non-dairy creamer cup and four packets of sugar. Drizzle over the French toast.

Oven Fries with Malt Vinegar Mayonnaise
Serves 2-4

2 potatoes
2 tablespoons olive oil
16 packets of Hellman's mayonnaise
4 packets Heinz malt vinegar
4 packets salt

Cut potatoes into ½-inch wide fries. Toss in olive oil and roast at 375º for 45 minutes, turning once halfway through. Meanwhile, mix the mayonnaise and malt vinegar. Season the potatoes with salt. Kick it up a notch: Add a little Taco Bell hot sauce to the mayo.

The Runcible Spoon is a crazy little food zine based in Washington, D.C. Get more cheap recipes like this in our new CHEAP ISSUE. Order here.