Rendering Bacon Fat

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A Simply Recipes reader recently asked in the comments, “Where do I get bacon fat?” Great question, especially considering that we use bacon fat (also called bacon grease) around here in many of the recipes.

I remember as a kid looking into the fridge and seeing a jar of solid white stuff and wondering what it was. When my mother told me it was bacon fat, well that somewhat grossed me out for a while, for decades actually. It wasn’t until I got into cooking again in my 40s, that I gained a new appreciation for this readily available, highly flavorful cooking fat.

Just last week mom used a little bacon grease to cook up some spring peas. I would have eaten every one of them if manners allowed.

To answer our reader’s question, you make bacon fat by cooking bacon.

Rendering Bacon Fat

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  • Cook time: 10 minutes

Never pour bacon fat down the drain! It will solidify as it cools and clog your drain. Either soak it up with paper towels and discard or pour the rendered bacon fat into a jar to save.

Ingredients

  • Strips of raw bacon

Method

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1 Heat a large skillet on medium-low heat. Lay out several strips of raw bacon. Let the strips cook for 10 or 15 minutes, turning them occasionally. When they are nicely browned and crispy, use tongs or a fork to lift the bacon pieces out of the pan and place them on paper towels (to absorb the excess fat) on a plate.

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2 Pour the remaining fat in the pan into a jar, and put the jar into your refrigerator. The bacon grease will solidify to a slightly off-color white. When you cook bacon again, pull out the jar and add more of the excess fat to it.

When cooking with bacon fat, spoon it out from the jar. Usually half a teaspoon is all that is needed to give a flavor boost to what you are cooking.

If you make more bacon fat than you end up using, just throw out the whole jar and start a new one. Do not ever pour bacon fat down your sink drain; it will cool and then solidify, stopping up your pipes.

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Showing 4 of 74 Comments

  • Mark

    One way of getting rid of bacon grease is to spray it on the lawn. It used to drive my neighbor’s dog absolutely crazy!

    I don’t fry bacon anymore. It simply makes no sense. I bake it. You don’t have to deal with all that bacon grease erupting from the frying pan and making a huge mess. You also get bacon that’s cooked more uniformly. Use a boiler pan and you still have all the grease. I drain it off and strain it and it goes into the fridge to live to fight another day.

    I typically buy a package of thick sliced bacon. I will then spread out the slices on a broiler pan with a rack. I set the oven to 300 degrees and bake (not broil) a total time of 90 minutes, flipping the bacon over halfway through (45 minutes). Flipping helps to degrease the bacon.

    You’ll need to monitor the cooking process towards the end. Your oven could be hotter or cooler and some people like bacon crispy and some like it fatty.

  • Jack Johnson

    Bacon grease has been a kitchen essential in my family forever. I’ve only seen one other poster who uses the freezer for storage and that’s how I store mine… with a twist.

    My method:

    1. Pour up skillet grease into a container (I use an empty coffee can under the counter) until I get about 2/3 of a can…3 cups +/-.
    2,. Strain grease through cheesecloth into a 4 cup measuring cup.
    3. Pour grease into plastic ice trays, Each tray holds about one cup. Freeze trays.
    4. Store solid cube sized pieces in ziplock freezer bags.
    5. Long shelf life.
    Easy to make and store,. handy to use. Toss a cube or two into a pot of greens or beans or in the skillet for frying

  • Kristine Henshaw

    I’m surprised that no one has mentioned making gravy from bacon drippings. We grew up on it. Make a roux with flour. Add milk. Serve with biscuits or on toast. Yum!

  • glenda

    I am from Georgia, Im 48 and my parents cooked this way my whole childhood!! Its just how we do it, I agree with lots of posters about the old days, and how no refrigeration was available. It wont kill you, but I agree that if you use is slowly in the frig is best. The bacon flavor adds so much to veggies like sauteed cabbage, squash, rice, you name it. hope this helps. Everything in moderation is a great policy.

  • Diane McEwen

    My mother always saved Bacon fat & kept it in the fridge. However, when the fat started to look dark she would clean it. I remember her using boiling water & pouring it over so as to push the dark dirty bits through, then once the fat was set again she would pour off any liquid and scrape away the dark mess that had settled underneath. Is this the correct way to clean the fat? I have tried this method but it seems I make it far too soft & it does not look white.

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