Skip to main content

This is the easiest way to purify bacon grease, which you should be saving for all kinds of cooking projects

Bacon grease looks gross, but it will elevate your cooking

Bacon frying
Thomas Park/Unsplash

Cooks – be they home cooks or professional chefs – usually fall into one of two categories. Those who fill their plates with an abundance of colorfully nutritious foods, always taking care to use healthier cooking methods and ingredients. And those who cook with bacon fat. We aren’t saying these two paths can’t cross, but chances are, if you – like us – have a big batch of bacon grease in your refrigerator right now, you love a good, old-fashioned, to-hell-with-calorie-counting kind of dish. This tip is for you.

If you didn’t grow up with a jar of bacon grease in your childhood refrigerator, first of all – our condolences. But you may also be wondering what the hell we’re talking about. Bacon grease is the fatty liquid that cooks off when bacon is fried or baked. It is also one of the most wonderful cooking ingredients on earth and one you should start saving immediately.

Spoonful of bacon fat

What to do with bacon grease

Most recipes call for a fat of some kind, usually butter or oil. These fats keep ingredients from sticking to pans, tenderize foods, help meld flavors together, and, in some cases, add flavor themselves. But when bacon fat is substituted for another cooking grease in certain recipes, magic happens. This beautifully silky fat wraps itself around foods and gives them a smoky, meaty, salt-forward flavor that elevates them to a whole new level of deliciousness.

If you spend a lot of time cooking bacon, you know that the fat that so perfectly melts from its meaty goodness doesn’t come off clean. It tends to mix with the tidbits of char and tiny bacon pieces that collect in the pan. And while a few of those miscellaneous pieces and bits are fine in small amounts, it really is best to separate these from the bacon grease if you’ll be saving it (as you should). Until now, the best way to do this has been with a fine mesh sieve or strategically placed cheesecloth over a bowl. Methods that work, to be sure, but can be quite messy or even dangerous if the grease hasn’t properly cooled.

But now, there’s an easier way to do it, using the magic of science:

  • Pour the grease into a glass jar, fill it with water, and shake it.
  • Leave the jar upside down in the refrigerator overnight.

The water will draw out the imperfections in the grease and separate the solid fat from the water. In the morning, what’s left is a layer of water that is simply discarded and absolutely perfect, clean-and-ready-to-use bacon fat in the bottom of the jar. No greasy sieves or floppy cheesecloth are required. Just pure bacon magic.

Editors' Recommendations

Lindsay Parrill
Lindsay is a graduate of California Culinary Academy, Le Cordon Bleu, San Francisco, from where she holds a degree in…
Oatmeal is the secret to better sleep (and you’re going to love this hack)
We've got an oatmeal recipe perfect for your nighttime routine
a bowl of oatmeal with a grilled pear

Ever seen those commercials where people are flying around on mattresses or walking around like zombies because of "junk sleep"? Well, junk sleep is real, and it's affecting millions of Americans each year.

According to the National Institutes of Health, approximately 70 million Americans suffer from chronic or ongoing sleep disorders. That's a pretty grim number, considering America is work-obsessed; the last thing we need is to be sleep-deprived, too.

Read more
This one simple healthy food trick may get you to eat better more often
Make eating healthy easier
Three meals in glass containers

Struggling to consistently eat healthy food? Meal prepping, a tried-and-true method, can significantly elevate your commitment to healthy eating. It not only allows you to eat better but also aids in saving money and precious time.

What is meal prepping?
Meal prep is the art of preparing your meals in advance, which is great for eating healthy. The process of washing, chopping, cooking, and storing your favorite nutritious dishes requires a certain amount of planning. Preparing your meals ahead of time simplifies your daily routine, allowing you to make wholesome food choices consistently.

Read more
Everything you need to know to make a delicious deep-fried turkey
Read this guide and live to tell about your deep-fried turkey
A deep fried turkey

Thanksgiving is just around the corner. Your pint glass is full of pumpkin beer or a warm, hot chocolate cocktail. You toss on your apron, rub your hands together, and smile. It's turkey time. Let's assume this isn't your first rodeo. By now you can brine a turkey like a pro. Smoked turkey is yesterday's news. And you've tried all the roasted turkey alternatives the world has to offer. You're ready for something different. Something next-level: Deep-fried turkey.

Looking for a turkey-cooking technique that’s tastier, faster, and more dangerous? Then you might want to consider learning how to deep fry a turkey for your Thanksgiving feast.

Read more