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Most people wash their lettuce to make sure its free of pesticides and other nasties, but what do you do if you need to dry your lettuce and don’t have a salad spinner?
There’s nothing worse than a salad dripping with water.
It mixes with the dressing and becomes a wet, soggy, mess, and all of that crunch and freshness of the lettuce is gone.
Luckily, you don’t need a salad spinner to dry lettuce at home using these simple methods.
What is a Salad Spinner?
A salad spinner is a nifty creation that has a circular basket and a spinner.
Put the lettuce in the basket, then put the lid on and spin it rapidly around (similar to winding something up or cranking your window down in your car back in the day).
Boom, the water is flung off of the lettuce and into the bottom of the salad spinner, and you take the basket out and are left with a dry salad!
These are still the most efficient way to dry lettuce in the kitchen, particularly if you eat salad a lot or are preparing it regularly.
You can buy so many different ones, including this colorful one for a fun kitchen and and this basic, but effective, one if you’re on a budget.
Sometimes, you don’t have a salad spinner, though.
Maybe yours is broke, maybe you lost it, or maybe you’re more of a “meat and potatoes” than salad person.
So if you want to know how to dry lettuce without a spinner, here we go.
How to Dry Lettuce with No Salad Spinner
No salad spinner? No problem.
Here’s how to dry salad without a spinner.
1. Lay Out to Dry
This is the lazy person’s way. Seriously, it requires basically nothing but a few pieces of paper towel and some time.
Lay out some paper towels (or you could lay out a dish towel if you really want), either straight on the counter or you could put them over some plates.
Wash each piece of lettuce and then lay it down on the paper towels.
You’ll want to lay it down in one layer without putting salad pieces on top of each other.
Then, wait! Walk away! Let it go!
It’ll dry eventually, though it may take quite awhile without some help from the next idea.
2. Blot with Paper Towels
Using a similar method to above, wash your lettuce and then place them on some paper towels.
Then, use another dry piece of paper towel to blot the water from the top. Blot each piece of lettuce individually, and change to a different paper towel when yours is soaked.
This will get them dry, but you will waste a lot of paper towels in the process.
3. The Rolling Method
This is where it starts getting fun. Instead of using up paper towels and blotting or letting the lettuce air dry for hours, you’re about to embrace your inner cowboy!
First, get a dish towel (clean, obviously) and lay the lettuce leaves on top, in one single layer.
Start rolling the dish towel all the way up the “long way.”
Once you have a rolled up dish towel, go ahead and fold it in two so that your hand is holding both ends of the rolled up towel.
Go outside (or at least go towards a window) and start doing a whipping motion with the towel, back and forth, until water stops flinging off.
This is a fantastic way to dry lettuce and you don’t need any extra equipment that you wouldn’t already have in the kitchen!
If you need a “visual” aid for what motion you should be doing, pretend like you’re pitching a baseball with the towel in your hand. Wind up behind your shoulder and pitch/fling it forward until the water has mostly come off.
4. Plastic Bag and Paper Towel Method
The final two methods are going to be makeshift salad spinners using household items.
For this one, grab a plastic bag, like one you would get from any store, and throw 5 or so paper towels inside so the inside is mostly covered in paper towels.
Put all of your lettuce inside the bag and then close up the bag with your fist and start moving your arm in a fast windmill motion.
This should transfer most of the water from the lettuce onto the paper towels, and you will end up with dry lettuce and wet paper towels once you open the bag back up.
If you open it up and find that your lettuce isn’t dry enough, repeat with new dry paper towels for a good 15-20 seconds of fast windmill motions.
5. Clean Pillowcase Method
If you want to dry romaine lettuce without a salad spinner (or any type of lettuce), you can also go to the linen closet and find a clean pillowcase.
Yes, a pillowcase!
For this one, you just take a dry, clean, pillowcase and put all of your wet lettuce in it.
Close the opening to the pillowcase with your fist and do the windmill motion with your arms, effectively making your own salad spinner in the air.
The pillowcase will get wet, but your lettuce will soon be dry.
This is one of the odder solutions, because you don’t often think of using a pillowcase in the kitchen, but it actually works and can help make sure that your salad isn’t soggy!
Hey! Want more awesome food prep tips? Check out our other guides: