The Dos and Don'ts of Leftover Bacon Grease - Home & Texture
cooking Bacon Grease

The Dos and Don'ts of Leftover Bacon Grease

Elevate your kitchen game with what's considered "liquid gold"—but don't make these rookie mistakes.

February 6, 2024 at 6:05 AM PST
cooking Bacon Grease

The Dos and Don'ts of Leftover Bacon Grease

Elevate your kitchen game with what's considered "liquid gold"—but don't make these rookie mistakes.

February 6, 2024 at 6:05 AM PST

Bacon – that crispy, savory delight we can’t resist, and—depending on who you ask—is the undeniable king of breakfast. That sizzle in the pan can feel like music to the ears, but what about the pool of golden goodness that it leaves behind? There’s plenty you can do with it—as well as a short list of things you should absolutely under no circumstances do with it. Here’s what you can do with leftover bacon grease, and how to dispose of it properly.

Photo credit: Michelle @Shelly Captures It

Don’t: Pour It Down the Drain

The worst mistake you can make after devouring a plate of delicious bacon is pouring the grease down the drain. While it might be a liquid when hot, as it cools, it turns into a solid, sludgy mess that can clog your pipes. The last thing you want to do after brunch is call your plumber, let alone pay a hefty price for an easily avoidable mistake.

Don’t: Mix It with Other Fats

While bacon grease is a flavor powerhouse on its own, it doesn’t play nice with other fats. Resist the temptation to unleash your inner Top Chef and blend it with vegetable oil or butter for frying, as it can alter the flavor profile and smoke point. For the best culinary experience, you’ll want to keep your bacon grease pure.

Don’t: Throw It in the Trash

Just as pouring it down the drain is a bad idea, yet another cardinal mistake you can make with bacon grease is dumping it into the trash. While it’s hot, it can melt through the plastic and make a mess in your trash bin. If you absolutely need to get rid of it, pour it into a disposable container or oil can and then toss it in the trash.

Don’t: Leave It Unattended

When you’re working with high heat, bacon grease can create a recipe for disaster if left unattended. Keep your eye on it while cooking to avoid a scary grease fire.

Don’t: Forget To Label

Maybe the biggest rookie mistake you can make is storing it, forgetting to label it, and then mistaking it for some other leftover concoction. No one needs an unexpected surprise when going into the fridge, so slap on a label and a date for your own peace of mind.

Dumplings on plate
Photo Credit: Karolina Grabowska

Do: Save It for Cooking

It might sound counterintuitive to keep the oily, glistening liquid, but it can seriously elevate flavors in other dishes, or give something plain an interesting kick. Add it to sautéed vegetables, roasted potatoes, or even drizzled over popcorn. To store it, first allow it to cool, scoop it in a container, and store it in the fridge.

Do: Use It Sparingly

Once you’ve experienced the flavor explosion, you might wonder why you haven’t used it more. At the end of the day, it is the residue of your favorite breakfast meat, and while we’re not shaming any indulgence, it can overload an innocent-looking meal with sneaky extra calories. Besides, a small amount can go a long way—you might enjoy it as a flavorful accent as opposed to drenching your food.

Do: Consider Recycling

For those with a green conscience, recycling bacon grease is an option. Some communities offer programs to collect and repurpose it into biodiesel, making it an environmentally friendly way to dispose of this culinary treasure.

Cooking oil
Photo Credit: Vikki

Do: Filter It

For those looking to take their bacon grease game up a notch, consider straining it through a fine sieve or cheesecloth before storing it. This simple step will remove any crispy bits, ensuring a smoother and more refined grease for future culinary adventures.



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