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13 Unexpected Uses for a Ball Mason Jar

Zero Waste Lifestyle

Last Updated on September 22, 2023

A Ball mason jar, among others, has a bazillion uses, making it perfect for a zero waste lifestyle. If you’ve browsed the zero waste hashtag on Instagram or even on Google, you’re bound to have seen a TON of mason jar pictures. I mean, what is our obsession with the mason jar? 

A mason jar with a lid is almost unstoppable. From mini pie tins to mason jars as drinking glasses, the uses for mason jars are countless. Most people know they make great storage and even drinking options, but there are a ton of unexpected mason jar uses as well! Use them as biscuit or cookie cutters, candles, or even to bake with. My favorite 13 ways to use a mason jar are below.

Close up of a cold brew coffee in a mason jar with overlay text reading "13 Unexpected Uses for Mason Jars"

Uses for Mason Jars

Is it a hipster thing? Is it a throwback to the good ol’ days? Or are we just mega frugal?

I am definitely in the latter. I mean, do you know how many things you can do with a mason jar!? 


I’m convinced I could definitely find 2,000 uses for a mason jar. Some may be redundant, though… so let’s just stick with 13. 

Now, what I find interesting is everyone has their preferred type of canning jar, and they all have their selling points and drawbacks.

weck mason jar

Close up photo of a Weck mason jar with lid

Weck jars are German canning jars. While they’re the most aesthetically pleasing in my mind, they are difficult to deal with, and the clips are easily lost. The gaskets can lose their shape and are difficult to keep on the lids. They do have glass lids, though, if you’re nervous about plastic.

le parfait mason jar

Photo of a La Parfait mason jar with a lid in a post about mason jar uses.

Le Parfait jars are French canning jars. They are very convenient. The tops stay with the base, which keeps everything very streamlined. Probably the most frustrating thing about a mason jar with a lid is trying to find the matching top to the corresponding bottom.

fido mason jar

A Le Parfait mason jar with lid

The Italian jars Fido are very similar. They also have glass lids if you’re wanting to 100% avoid plastic. My complaint with this style of jar is that it’s heavy and has a lot of constraints with the lid always being attached. It is both a blessing and a curse. 

ball mason jar

Close up photo of a ball mason jar.

And, then we have the all mighty mason jar. My favorite workhorse. Plus, it costs on average a quarter from the thrift store. One-quarter! This is life changing. Or at least budget changing. Read on for my top thirteen uses for this gem. 

Some of the lids are metal and others are coated with plastic. 

mason jar with lid (or just the lid) uses

biscuit cutters:

Baking mason jar uses - cutting biscuits out in perfect circles.

Photo Credit: Our Best Bites

The mason jar bands are crazy versatile too. I like to make Justin biscuit breakfast sandwiches. The bands make a great biscuit cutter which leads to my next point…  

egg rings:

The lid from a mason jar with lid used as an egg ring in a cast iron skillet

To go with the perfect sized biscuits. Your eggs will be the perfect size to fit in the biscuit, meaning one mason jar can facilitate your entire breakfast!

mini pie tins:

Use for mason jars - a mason jar lid used as a mini pie tin.

Photo Cred: Created By Dianne

Instead of cupcakes, you can make mini pies with the mason jar rings. Y.U.M. I would make these with the metal lids and avoid the plastic based lids to avoid transferring BPS into your food. 


Hands holding a breakfast muffin and their morning coffee, using mason jars as drinking glasses

Who needs a disposable coffee cup? Not you. You can also make coffee in a mason jar with a nut milk bag


Leftovers stored in a Ball mason jar.

The average set of plastic Tupperware costs $20 and has 12 pieces. You can buy 12 mason jars for $3. That is a bargain.

They’re perfect for leftovers, whether you have leftover stir fry from a home cooked meal or if you’re out at a restaurant. Opt out of the styrofoam to-go container at the restaurant and load the mason jar up with your leftovers. It’s easy peasy!  

beauty products:

storing beauty products like lotion as unexpected uses for mason jars

I store all of my beauty products in glass jars too — like lotiontoothpowder, and aloe vera gel. They’re just so functional and easy to keep everything airtight. 


Top view of a Ball mason jar used for marinara sauce from take out

I have an entire post on takeout, plus a youtube video about using mason jars for takeout! Perfect for loading up on soups, sauces, and noodles, it’s one of the many mason jar uses people don’t think of.

If they bring their own takeout containers, they’re often Snapware or made of plastic. Most don’t even realize bringing your own container is an option, though!

food storage:

Mason jar uses for storage - carrots, sweet peas, cut cucumbers, radishes, and plums stored in mason jars.

You can read more about food storage in my posts about meal prep and ways to avoid food waste. I store all of my dry goods in glass jars which keep the food fresh and free of critters.

I also store a lot of my food in the fridge in glass jars. Lettuce will keep crisp for 2 weeks. 

water bottle: 

Mason jars as drinking glasses on a picnic with a bottle of wine and vegetable wrap.

You can, of course, always use it as a water bottle in a pinch. People don’t often consider mason jars as being particularly portable, so this is one of my favorite unexpected uses for mason jars!

Plus it’s plastic-free so you don’t have to worry about BPA or BPS leaking into your drinking water. 


Ball mason jars used as organization for pantry items like sugar, oats, cornmeal, cocoa, and brown sugar.

Of course, they’re also great for organization. We have them in our workshop for tools, at the desk for office supplies, in the kitchen for food, and in the bathroom!

I don’t think there’s a room in our house missing a mason jar. Way cheaper than some of the stuff that you’d buy at the container store. And, they look just as nice. 

mason jar uses for just the jar

baking dish:

Baking uses for mason jars - muffins in a mason jar.

Photo Credit: Citron Limette

Yeah! You can bake personalized meals inside of a mason jar. Anything from banana bread to lasagna or mini pot-pies. Isn’t it darling? 


Mason jar with lid used as a candle

I used several of my smaller jars to make candles. It’s perfect for holiday parties. 


Phone in a mason jar to project sound - one of many surprising mason jar uses

When I’m jamming in the kitchen making buffalo cauliflower and energy bites, I place my phone in a shallow glass jar. It works just as good as an iHome, without actually having to buy an iHome. 

mason jars as drinking glasses:

Two mason jars as drinking glasses filled with ice water

Mason jars as drinking glasses is possibly one of the most underrated uses for a Ball mason jar. Comes in super handy for parties if you’re running short on glasses — or if you want to give your friends something you don’t mind them breaking.

Is it really a party if someone doesn’t break a glass? 


can you use any jar?

Of course! You don’t need any fancy jars, and it’s counterproductive to purchase something in the name of going zero waste.

A lot of you have jars already. Pasta sauce, jam, or other condiments come in glass jars. I still have all of my old sauce jars. I just keep them in the freezer. That way if one of them happens to break I don’t cry too much over it. After all — I did spend an entire quarter on my pretty mason jars. 

what is a mason jar?

A mason jar is a canning jar named after American tinsmith John Landis Mason. What makes a mason jar special is that the rim is wider, giving it a better sealing space for canning and other airtight needs. They’re also made of higher quality glass than many other jars, so they can withstand the pressure of canning. However, you can substitute a regular jar for a mason jar in many of the above cases.

Do you have a certain style you prefer? What do you use glass jars for? I know I missed a ton of unique things, so share down in the comments! 

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  1. Nice post! No special or creative jars here, but I had to tell someone—- as an American in Germany, I find Weck jars wildly overrated. I want pretty quilted Ball jars, darnit, not Weck jars whose gaskets roam freely!

    Whew. Glad that’s off my chest.

    It’s hard to find things in big jars here; most things come in small containers, so I’ve had to shell out for my biggest jars. On the bright side, it’s nice having at least some of my jars match.

    1. And they last forever! Until you drop them…. Lol. But, I totally understand about the weck jars. I honestly find them the most aesthetically pleasing of all. But those roaming gaskets get me every time! Practicality > Beauty.

  2. I’m also jealous of your cheap jars! Here in South Africa anything that isn’t plastic is expensive. And there is no excuse as there is a large local glass wear maker here (Consol) so it’s not from importing.
    I’ve built up my jar collection over time by choosing only products that come in glass.

  3. I am also jealous of your cheap mason jars! They are pretty expensive here in the UK. They are getting cheaper, although you don’t really see all that many in the charity shops. My favourite glass jars are actually Bonne Maman jam jars, I find them a great shape and size. Just means I have to eat a lot of jam! And it’s not a cheap brand in the UK, although when I went to France recently it was a fraction of the price, lucky I was on my bike otherwise I’d have a cupboard full of jam right now!

  4. Can you say more about how you keep lettuce crisp for two weeks? I find the issue with lettuce is not the container it’s in but the amount of pressure that’s on it, causing the leaves to break down. Ripping the leaves apart and wrapping them in tea towels has been somewhat helpful, but not entirely. Do you rip the leaves part and then store them in the jar?

    1. Interesting. I chop my romaine lettuce pretty thin. I store it either in a mixing bowl wrapped in a tea towel or in a mason jar with a square of fabric and the lids screwed on tight. It keeps air out, an enemy of lettuce. And, the fabric helps to absorb moisture, the biggest enemy of lettuce.

  5. Great blog article on mason jars! Being from the south drinking ice tea and ahem stronger beverages from a mason jar comes natural. My grandmama use to use mason jar lids or drinking glasses to cut her buttermilk biscuits out to bake. Thanks for the memories and new suggestions!

  6. I am also surprised at your opportunity to find cheap mason jars! Occasionally I can find swing-top jars at op shops here in Australia, but Ball or Weck jars are hard to find even in supermarkets. I mainly have re-purposed jars after the food has been eaten. Since I buy the same items over and over (olives, coconut oil, tahini), then some of my jars match each other =). It’s a small thing, but it makes me smile.

    I have a couple of Ball jars (for fermenting veggies) that I use with the metal screw top lids (plastic-lined is all I’ve seen over here), and although I’m careful about keeping the rings dry, they are already rusting after a few months. Do yours rust easily? Do you have any tips?

    Finally, a request though please, from all of us who have to avoid wheat or gluten like the plague: could you possibly use a cloth bag for your muffins that doesn’t have holes in it? I have a dedicated non-mesh cloth bag for when I buy my mum a bread roll to avoid the plastic, and avoid dropping crumbs. TIA!

    1. That’s really interesting. I haven’t really had a problem with my lids rusting… but that may have to do with the fermentation? I don’t really ferment very much.

      I’m not sure I understand about the muffin? The cafe places the muffin in that bag, and then it get’s placed in my personal bag to carry everything home. I know that celiac is a very serious disease, so I’m just trying to understand how cross contamination could happen that way?

  7. Wide mouth mason jars are the best for my family of five! We use them all the time. I have mason jars for leftovers, as a cup to take to birthday parties, and smaller mason jars as cups for my kids. I love how multi-functional they are; really cuts down on additional items in the house because you can use them for so many different tasks.

  8. I use my mason jars for EVERYTHING! They are so pretty in my kitchen! I live in California now, and I haven’t seen too many for cheap but it may be the town I live in. I am from Georgia though and everyone uses mason jars there (or so it seems!) so I have gotten them very cheap at thrift shops down south 🙂 I am curious as to what you’ve done with broken glass in terms of recycling it? Maybe that is a dumb question but where I used to live they wouldn’t accept broken glass, and I haven’t checked around my new city yet.

  9. Actually (speaking as a French zero waster) you can occasionally remove the lid from a le Parfait jar, and it really takes a few seconds once you’re used to handling the metal parts.

    I microwave with Le Parfait jars when I’m at work with this system, it’s really a quick manipulation.

  10. Great post. I also use them to keep small items: I have one with pendrives of my holiday photos, or for earrings, a small sewing kit at the office,… I love mason jars ;D

  11. Love your blog..

    Is it just me, or does your photo of the smartphone in a jar for a "speaker" show water in the jar? I’m just curious… what’s the story?

  12. I feel like it’s important to point out that anyone can just use any jars they have left over from food products like sauces etc. rather than buying actual mason jars

  13. I got some mason jar lids from Jarware, they are BPA Free and made from recycled materials!
    Dishwasher Safe
    which is really great quality and easy to clean, highly recommended that mason jar lids.

  14. Boy am I late to this party, but better late than never, right?

    I love to bake, so I buy baking ingredients in bulk at Costco. However, they all come in single use plastic packaging, so after my first baking adventure, they need new homes! Glass jars to the rescue 🙂 I have so many different jars, from jam, to almond butter, to pasta sauce, to curry, to minced garlic and curry paste. It’s taken many years to build up my collection, and I don’t have any jars large enough to store bulk AP flour in (I’d have to special order those) but everything else works great in the jars! I used to store baking soda in a ziplock, but now that I’ve switched to glass, it lasts longer and stays neater. Same with chocolate chips, butterscotch chips, peanut butter chips, all the chips… Storing them in jars requires me to assess their volume more objectively, too, and I find myself rebuying or overbuying most baking supplies far less often than in the past. It’s a lot easier to organize and assess ingredients in clear jars than bags or opaque plastic packaging, too. My cabinets have never looked so neat, if stocked in quirky jars lol.

    Jars are also great for those dark days when you’re baking fifty thousand squash rolls for the family Christmas party tomorrow, and you’re two cups of flour short! A repurposed marachino cherry jar to the neighbor’s and all is well once more. (And when the situation’s reversed, I have jars of flour to spare and don’t mind sharing in the least.)

  15. Mason jars can be used for storing pickles and other food items, due to the fact that it helps in keeping pickles safe from external elements like air, sun ,UV rays and microorganisms that could harm the quality and flavour of the pickles.

  16. I use a plastic water bottle(old 2L juice bottle). I hike, so glass would risk breaking, and is too heavy. HDPE or PETE plastics don’t have BPA or BPS in them, it’s a plasticizer used in rigid plastic manufacturing, primarily polycarbonate(for bulletproof glass, not used in polycarbonate bottles).

    HDPE is pretty inert, so it doesn’t really react with anything, and there’s nothing to leach out of it, as it’s really long chain molecules, I wouldn’t pour boiling water in any plastic bottle, as a general rule, though. I have drank out of HDPE water bottles for decades, with no issues. I usually use old Gatorade or juice bottles for my water bottles, and use them a year or more before tossing them.

    Stainless isn’t really an option, either, as it’s too heavy for a water bottle for backpacking. It would be useful for boiling water in an emergency, though, so I may or may not get one in the future.

    I do have a degree in Polymer Chemistry, so most of the plastics you are worried about are safe. I generally try not to use them for around the house though, mainly because of the disposal issue.

    I do have regular blood tests at the VA hospital, so nothing has shown up, I did breathe a lot of nasty stuff while deployed overseas, so part of the Gulf War physical stuff is blood and other tests.