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This is a problem I've had with several types of food/sauce.

I'll make a big batch of something like a thick caramel sauce or an extra-thick mayonnaise and it simply won't pass through a funnel into a squeeze bottle.

I want to be able to transfer the sauce (or whatever) into a narrow-necked squeeze bottle so it's easier to decant. Even though it's very thick, it'll still come out of a bottle under pressure.

Is there some kind of in-line pump or similar method which I could use to pump these thicker liquids from a bowl into small-necked bottles?

I know such pumps exist for industrial applications but I want something usable at home.

(My only idea was to use a sausage stuffer, fill it up with the sauce, and apply pressure with the pusher from the top to dispense it from the end like sausage meat, but the pusher would need to be air-tight and I don't know which ones are or not.)

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    A sausage stuffer will not work well here. The conveying screw requires the food to have a certain amount of compressive and shear strength which a viscous fluid will not. It will pump out very slowly if at all. – Sneftel Feb 11 at 9:43
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    Why do you want a dispensing bottle ? A common solution for heavy sauces is a bowl or a gravy boat, or even a common cup. Leave a suitably-sized spoon in the vessel for serving. Commenting cos not really answering question. – Criggie Feb 11 at 10:07
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    Is there a reason you cannot use a standard wide-necked condiment bottle (where it still has a thin nozzle, to use after filling)? They tend to cost ~$1-2 each these days, which is comparable with any other product people are suggesting. – Bilkokuya Feb 11 at 13:44
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    Are you giving the air in the bottle a way to escape while the food is entering through the funnel/neck? If not, maybe that's the issue. – Kat Feb 11 at 16:37
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    @Criggie and others: I prefer the ease of storing and dispensing thick sauces from a squeeze bottle. Plus I'm just generally curious as to a good solution for transferring thicker liquids or pastes without an industrial pump system. – WackGet Feb 13 at 15:59
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Edited: Concerns were expressed about such items being suited for food use. I've added comments in the text on "Food Grade" items plus a note at the end.

How can I get a very thick or viscous paste (e.g. caramel, ganache, thick mayonnaise) into small-necked squeeze bottles without heating it up?

Consider using a "grease gun" as used by mechanics.
These are used to pump high viscosity grease through small orifices.
The pressure can easily be as high as required. These are available new in the US$10-20 range and possibly even cheaper. (You can also pay far more, but there's no need to).

Grease guns come in many many many shapes and sizes, as can bee seen in these images.

Some GGs use a disposable cartridge, but some can be packed with grease, or other stuff, as required. A plunger allows the total contents to occupy only a small part of the tube. Even one intenmded for use with a cartridge could have a tube of the right diameter used inside as a cleanable refillable cartridge.


Food grade?: If there are concerns about food-grade quality of grease-guns then items such as this food grade grease grease-gun may be preferred.

"Food grade" has a very specific meaning. As long as the item does in fact meet regulatory standards then anything designed to be used in it, and the item itself, are suitable for use in contact with food*.

FOOD GRADE grease, grease gun

enter image description here


This mini GG seems to need no cartridge, only costs $10.60 on Amazon, and if not suitable could be used as a grease gun :-). Image here


This more conventional style gun for $14.72 on Amazon appears to allow cartridge free operation as an option.

enter image description here



*.*FOOD GRADE?: I'm in New Zealand. If something here is sold as "food grade" the authorities take the classification very seriously indeed. Whether this applies in any other given country is up to you to decide.

HOWEVER This applies equally to products sold for food only use. eg kitchen-ware with cadmium glazes (giving a nice cheery-kitchen red-orange colour) were sold for many years but are now banned and considered highly dangerous. Any item purchased from an unknown manufacturer without a proven record of caring and a reputation to protect should be at least examined for obvious 'issues'. And even items from 'reputable suppliers' sometimes fail the test.

I'd also be happy to use a suitably cleaned new item such as the Amazon $14.72 offering. Others may choose not to.

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    @Sneftel No. A typical grease gun, and especially a cartridgeless one, has a loading hole diameter many times larger than that of a typical funnel. Maybe typically around 1.5 inches diameter (without going and looking)). Thick pastes could be delivered into the opening with a desert spoon or spatula and pressed down to allow more to be loaded. – Russell McMahon Feb 11 at 9:56
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    @Luciano If the GG was new then use with food would be no problem. If you want to be REALLY sure then GG's like this one are made for use with food grade grease - so using food as grease should be fine :-) – Russell McMahon Feb 11 at 10:04
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    I think they call a grease gun made for food use a "piping syringe" – JCRM Feb 11 at 10:07
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    @RussellMcMahon Yes, that's about how big the neck (not the nozzle) of a squeeze bottle is. – Sneftel Feb 11 at 10:23
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    @Criggie I imagine a little "engineering" may be needed :-) - and that results would vary with device. In the case of the small sized one, it appears that the nozzle unscrews and that the resultant hole may be "about right" in many cases. Maybe not. | In the case of the $14.72 Amazon model, the nozzle again may unscrew, and even as is may work well enough. Again, or not. The Austin Healy one is hacksaw and drill tunable - if you don't mind defacing an antique. | Cleaning: Yes. Variable. I'd say the amazon lever action one would be OK cleanup wise and the best choice overall. – Russell McMahon Feb 11 at 10:30
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What about a piping bag? Fill the bag with a spatula, pipe into the bottle.

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    Or just use the piping bag instead of the bottle to begin with. – nick012000 Feb 11 at 11:45
  • Similarly, you can use a funnel, scoop the paste into it and then push down with a jar or other round object. – Parrotmaster Feb 11 at 12:35
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    Or, in the spirit of @nick012000 's comment, put the piping bag into the bottle (basically a lined bottle). – Joe M Feb 11 at 21:33
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    If you don't have a piping bag, could try a ziploc bag with an outlet hole cut in the corner. – mmw Feb 12 at 21:07
  • You could also use a wide-necked bottle, instead of a piping bag, to fill your small-necked bottle. – MyStackRunnethOver Feb 13 at 0:12
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There are thick food grade syringes being made for that kind of application.. https://www.amazon.com/Syringes/dp/B07C71C1LH/ The plunger comes out at the back easily, so you can pour your sauce into the syringe, and then inject it into your dispensing bottle.

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    The description says safe & non-toxic for feeding pets, but doesn't mention human food use. – Dragonel Feb 11 at 17:08
  • @Dragonel I guess stamping a food-grade certification on that syringe would drasitcally increase tests and thus product price. These are medical-grade syringes that are used for all sorts of human body interactions, so they should be better than food-grade. The only caveat is most likely that they are not heat-resistant, so whatever sauce you dispense with it should be fairly cooled down. – WooShell Feb 12 at 13:36
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Similar to the other suggestions, you can use a large mouth water bottle, sports drink bottle, or restaurant style condiment bottle as a syringe. I've used a large mouth funnel into one of these with dry ingredients, then put the lid/cap back on to use as a squirt bottle.

If the bottle doesn't already have an opening, you can make one with a drill or knife. If a homemade hole isn't good enough, you can plant it in the top of a small nozzle funnel that has a large enough top to hold the bottle mouth (without the lid) and squeeze from there. This can be messy and you'll need to keep pressure between the bottle and the funnel, which won't be easy.

On the other hand, you can get a condiment hand pump, instead. This would be on the order of those large, 1 gallon ketchup, mustard, and mayo containers that are available at grocery stores.

{Random pic from the internet.}
Condiment pump

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A wierd idea - if you squeeze the bottle, put its neck into the paste while squzeed and then let go, it will suck up the food inside? :o

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  • I do something similar with shampoo sometimes when I have two part full bottles. The full one on top, squeeze the air out of the bottom one and then slowly release as it dribbles onto the opening. – Bloke Down The Pub Feb 13 at 21:40
  • I use it to remove whites from yolk when cooking :) (I use water bottles, always have some empty lying around, but once I've done that, they are going out to the recycling bin) – internetofmine Feb 14 at 6:49

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