No Salad Spinner, No Problem. Here's What To Use Instead

Perfect for warmer weather (but great anytime, really), salads are a relatively quick and versatile dish to make. With such a wide variety of potential ingredients, turning a batch of greens in your fridge into a meal or side dish is easy. However, one of the more difficult parts of preparing greens is getting them totally dry after washing them. No one wants wet lettuce diluting their dressing, nor does anyone want to end up with a soggy salad.

One of the most common solutions is to use a salad spinner to remove water, but salad spinners can be pricey for those newer to the kitchen. Plus, they take up a lot of cabinet space, particularly in smaller homes. Luckily, there are several other easy ways to dry lettuce that don't rely on this specific gadget. For dry greens without a salad spinner, there are three basic methods that you can try: air drying, towel drying, and spinning in a bag. Which of these works best will depend on how much time and space you have.

3 methods for drying greens without a salad spinner

Before using any of these drying techniques, wash the lettuce thoroughly in a colander, then shake off as much water as possible. The first approach, air drying, is self-explanatory. After washing your lettuce, lay it out on a clean cloth or paper towel for an hour or two until dry, turning it regularly to avoid letting water collect in its crevices.

Another idea is towel drying the greens. Start by spreading them out on a clean towel. Then, gently press another clean towel over them to absorb the water. You may need to reposition the lettuce if you find any pockets that are still damp, but overall, this is faster than air-drying. You could also use paper towels if you're in a pinch or don't have enough clean dish towels, but using dish towels will cut down on unnecessary waste.

Finally, the bag method is one of the most unique ways to pull the water out of your greens. Place your washed lettuce in a bag with a clean towel. As Chowhound demonstrates, you could also use a clean pillowcase, which would act as an absorbent bag for your greens. Simply swing the bag around in a circle until all of the water has been pulled out. If you're using a thin pillowcase or a bag that doesn't seal, you may want to do this outdoors if possible to avoid getting water all over your kitchen.

How to choose a method and store the greens

Your schedule and the amount of space you have will likely dictate which of these methods works best for you. The bag method is a good option if you have ample open space, especially a yard or balcony. It's also Ina Garten-approved, as an appearance by the "Barefoot Contessa" star on Today reveals. On the other hand, the rest of the ideas require a significant amount of counter space. The air-drying method is the easiest, but it requires the most time.

Any of these techniques can also be used to prep lettuce in advance. After cleaning and drying thoroughly, the greens can be stored in an airtight container in the fridge until ready for use, making dinner prep a breeze. In addition, using these tips to ensure the lettuce is all the way dry will help prevent it from becoming wilted if washed ahead of time. If you don't have a salad spinner and need a lettuce hack to dry your greens, try one of these approaches instead and say goodbye to soggy lettuce and watered-down dressings.