Rendering Bacon Fat

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

  • 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.



  • Strips of raw bacon


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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 73 Comments

  • Jeff Youngstrom

    I’ve taken to cooking bacon at low heat in the oven. I learned this trick on the Cooking for Engineers blog[1]. Set the oven to 200 or 250 degrees, put the bacon on a wire rack over a shallow pan, and stick it in the oven. Then the weird part is that you let it cook for a couple hours. You end up with perfectly flat crispy bacon and a pan full of bacon fat. Since the bacon doesn’t cook in the fat you get pure white bacon fat for your jar in the fridge. It takes a long time, but with the low temperature there’s no grease spattering and it’s very forgiving.


  • Radek

    What would be the shelf life(or freezer life) for this?

  • Kaya

    When I was a teenager, I went to stay with my friend’s grandmother in Harlem. My friend and I decided to make brownies, and asked her grandmother for oil to grease the pan with. She pointed at a jar on the the back of the sink. Upon closer inspection, it was a jar of yellowish-white, solid fat much like the one above. “What’s this?” we asked. “Chicken grease,” she replied. We were committed to our brownie recipe by that time, so we decided to go for it. Needless to say, the brownies did have a mild undertone of “chicken” flavor, which I suspect was more like mixed fats of all meats cooked in the house.

    My mom did have a jar in the kitchen for various greases when I was growing up, which I believe is common in the South, but I never knew she used it to cook with. I thought it was just poured in there to prevent stopping up the sink. :-)

  • Chris H

    Hey guys, first time poster, long time reader.

    I wanted to relay a tip I have about rendering bacon fat that this article doesn’t mention.

    The article says to cook strips, but as you can see from the photo, the crispy bacon strips still have fat on them, which is simply fat left unrendered when you cook it that way. If you want to eat the bacon, then it’s fine.

    But if you’re like me and don’t really eat bacon, and instead use it almost exclusively for its fat, then what you should do is first put the raw bacon in the freezer for about ten minutes. Then cut it into the smallest pieces you can without it being too much of a pain. This increased surface area allows more heat to penetrate the bacon pieces, thereby more completely rendering the fat.

    Cook it on low heat until the bacon bits are almost burned. Granted that this method involves more of a hassle when it comes to extracting the bacon bits, but the result will be a pan full of fat, and bits that are almost 100% lean.

    By the way, you can sprinkle these bits onto just about anything and it’s wonderful. I hope this tips helps anyone if they’re like me and don’t really eat bacon by itself.

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