The Many Uses of Bacon Fat

BrianBrian says:
Growing up in my house, bacon fat was practically the Salve of the kitchen. My mother, aunts, older cousins and grandmothers down the line all used bacon fat for everything. I do mean everything.

For example, whenever it came to Sunday dinner ideas, mom would always make sure there was a can of bacon grease either in the oven or the fridge (if planning to keep for longer than a day or two), when it came time to make her famous stewed collard greens. But don’t think for a mere second that soul food is the only medium in which this glorious grease is used. Here’s my comprehensive list:

– Own a dog? Or two? Or more? Drizzle a tablespoon or two over every cup and a half of dry food to jazz up the flavor, keep their coats shiny and help with digestion.

– When cooking fresh snap peas, procure about a third of a cup grease per pound of beans for a savory and down-home addition to your veggies.

– One recipe I was told, by a friend, called for bacon grease in lieu of vegetable oil when making stove top popcorn. Not very forgiving on the arteries, but it sounds delicious.

– When baking certain breads, including (and especially) cornbreads, use some leftover grease to lubricate a skillet or baking pan before adding a mixture. Another idea would be to use some of the grease as a basting agent when you’re looking for a crispy crust.

– Anyone who’s familiar with the lost art of the meat waffle will be excited to know that you can add grease in place of melted butter to that or even a batch of flapjacks.

No matter how you decide to use it, bacon fat is a wondrous product that can go a long way beyond the breakfast table. If you have any other applications that I may have failed to mention be sure to drop me a line at or in the comments section.


  1. Paleo Prepping | Preparedness News Network on November 12, 2012 at 1:42 am

    […] people already save their bacon fat, but the pig don’t stop there… Lard! It’s a great cooking grease and has many ideal uses, […]

  2. Dr Alice on August 8, 2010 at 10:08 pm

    Regarding storing bacon fat, my grandmother had a grease canister and she just kept it out next to the stove – but then she used it on a daily basis. 😀 If you have a lighter hand with grease, so to speak, I'd recommend keeping it in the fridge.

  3. Lynn on August 5, 2010 at 6:59 pm

    I use it in gingerbread cookies or pie crusts in place of half or more of the lard. even better if it has some of the little burnt bacon crumblies in the bottom of it. That whole sweet/salty thing is amazing.

  4. banba1 on August 5, 2010 at 2:22 pm

    any tips on storing, i.e. glass jar vs can, if can, covered or no?, how long it'll keep in the fridge etc? I've been wanting to start saving my bacon fat to cook with, but I'm not sure what to do!

    • Keter on August 5, 2010 at 8:38 pm

      I use a glass jar. I occasionally buy sauerkraut in a barrel shaped jar, wash it and use it for grease and oil storage. My history with that particular jar indicates that it can take the heat of hot bacon grease without cracking. I would be careful using a thin or cheap-looking jar because these could break from thermal shock. In any case, put the jar in the sink before pouring off the grease to contain any mess that may result.

      My grandmother used coffee cans for storing bacon grease, and I learned that this storage method leached the metal taste into the fat after just a couple of days. Modern cans are lined with plastic that contains even worse things that hot grease is likely to leach, such as BPA.

      There are two approaches to bacon grease saving: to pour the entire remnants of the skillet into the can unfiltered, or to pour through a fine-mesh wire screen strainer. If bacon is the only thing that has been cooked in the skillet, I tend to pour in everything, including flakes of pepper and bits of bacon. The bits settle to the bottom and are particularly nice to reuse when making something that needs a texture boost…just spoon it up from the bottom. If anything else has been cooked with the bacon, such as sausage, I save the grease separately or discard it because it will taste different. Sausage grease is good to coat a skillet before panfrying a ham slice, but not too much else, so I tend not to save it unless I know I'm going to be using it almost immediately. Don't save grease after eggs or non-pork meats have been cooked in it, or if the grease has turned darker than honey color, because it will spoil or taste bad.

      Bacon grease in a jar with a well-fitting lid will keep for a few days on the countertop, or almost indefinitely in the refrigerator. Always smell your grease before using…discard at the first whiff of rancidity or off-smell. You can just put the lid back on the jar and toss in the trash.

      To discard smaller quantities of liquid grease without making a mess, pick a can out of the recycling and stuff some paper towels in it. Pour the grease in and let the towels soak up the grease. After it cools, you can pick the towels out of the can and put in the regular trash and return the can to the recycling.

    • ThatBobbieGirl on August 6, 2010 at 2:08 am

      banba1, I pour bacon fat into a flat-bottomed container, then freeze it. Once solid, I break it into pieces and dump it into a LABELED ziploc bag. It stores a good long time, and it's simple to pull out just the amount I want to use.

      Actually, I do this with other meat fats as well, to use in cooking instead of spending money on cooking fats. It's nice to have pork, chicken and beef fat on hand so I can use the most appropriate one, flavor wise, for whatever I'm making.

    • Stacy on August 6, 2010 at 2:31 am

      I heard or read about a way to do it, and it has worked well for me. I wait until the fat has cooled a little bit, then put a paper towel over the top of a container such as a small bowl, or the two-cup Rubbermaid container I store it in. I pour the liquid through the paper towel, letting it strain out the bits of stuff. Then I keep it in the refrigerator. I just scoop out a tablespoon here and there to add flavor. I admit, I'm not a heavy user, but I do like it to add flavor to vegetables, rice, or whatever. I usually cut it with other things because I don't have tons and tons of it since we don't eat bacon often. This way of straining and storing produces a very nice, smooth, clean fat that lasts a long time. I've been doing it a couple of years and it has never gone rancid on me.

    • banba1 on August 7, 2010 at 10:55 am

      Wow — thanks so much for all the advice Keter, Bobbie and Stacy! Darn, guess I need to go cook a bunch of bacon now to start off my collection. Life is hard… 😉

  5. @jacksoki on August 5, 2010 at 3:00 am

    When I was growing up, we'd go camping a lot. So whenever we cooked pancakes, we'd cook bacon first, then use the leftover fat to grease the griddle. Delicious!

  6. Steven Berry on August 4, 2010 at 4:04 pm

    we do the whole fry up bacon, add the grease and bacon broken into pieces to a chicken broth (stock) and boil till the grease thins down. – now your broth tastes like bacon 😛 now. take whole green beans – preferably canned. since they're already soaked long enough – cut or whole, doesnt matter. we use a giant can. the one that equals about 6 smaller cans. then we dump em in the broth and simmer for several hours till the greenbeans take on the flavor level of bacon and chicken that's desired.

    IF these don't make you a happy person while eating. you are truly evil. and deserve no good food 😛

  7. Stacy on August 4, 2010 at 7:08 pm

    Okay, I looked up the meat waffle on Eugene's blog. I'm just not feeling that one.

    • Eugene Mah on August 4, 2010 at 7:42 pm

      was my approach too scientific? they really were kind of fun 🙂

      • Stacy on August 4, 2010 at 9:58 pm

        The approach was great. Meat waffles just don't look that interesting to me.

    • Keter on August 5, 2010 at 8:06 pm

      I'm with you Stacy….not feeling the meatwaffle thing either, but it actually has given me some ideas that I may experiment with later….if anything interesting comes out of it, I'm sure I'll find some way to work it into the comments later on. ;o)

  8. @GQbound on August 4, 2010 at 2:03 pm


  9. Tinkerschnitzel on August 4, 2010 at 1:12 pm

    I fry my pinto beans in bacon fat before adding the water. It gives them a velvety texture that even some of the Mexicans I know swoon over. 😀

  10. Keter on August 4, 2010 at 2:30 pm

    Bacon grease is a staple for sure. I've found that it actually takes less bacon grease to keep whatever you are cooking from sticking to the pan than any other oil, so you can use less. If you use cast iron cookware, the bacon grease tends to stay stuck to the cast iron, and doesn't disappear into the food as much.

  11. Lucy on August 4, 2010 at 11:17 am

    Hash browns!

  12. JLeeper on August 4, 2010 at 4:44 am

    My mother used to fry sliced apples in bacon fat. They were delicious. I do the same, just not so often.

  13. jdmitchbiketowork on August 4, 2010 at 3:55 am

    Grilled Cheese… use bacon fat instead of the butter on the bread…

  14. Stacy on August 4, 2010 at 3:16 am

    I'm intrigued to know more about meat waffles…

  15. HeatherSolos on August 4, 2010 at 2:44 am

    I use it for refried beans. I cook a couple of whole jalapeños in the grease until they turn black and then I saute the onions before adding the beans.

    • CarolinaDreamz on August 4, 2010 at 4:05 pm

      Heather stole my comment! My dad taught me how to use it with refried beans. I use Serrano Chillies with mine, though.

  16. Miranna on August 4, 2010 at 2:37 am

    Shoot, an egg cooked in butter or "cooking spray" isn't nearly as tasty as an egg fried in bacon grease. 😀

  17. Andra Watkins on August 4, 2010 at 2:37 am

    And MTM uses it to shine his shoes.

  18. Andra Watkins on August 4, 2010 at 2:30 am

    Just about any fresh vegetable is exquisite when seared in bacon grease on the stove top. Of course, this negates the impact of eating fresh veg.

  19. ThatBobbieGirl on August 4, 2010 at 2:03 am

    I look at it as a free substitute for butter in cooking. Coz if I didn't save it for cooking, it would just be thrown out. When I'm going to make fried or scrambled eggs, I don't use butter unless I'm out of bacon fat.

  20. Jenny on August 4, 2010 at 1:52 am

    Try frying mushrooms in it. They make a great topping for burgers or a side dish for steak. It really jazzes up the plain white mushrooms, and is even better with criminis.

    Substitute it for (all or half of) the shortening in biscuits. Makes the most awesome bacon flavored biscuits, especially good with cheese in them.

    Use it to grease the griddle or pan when making pancakes or french toast, just adds a subtle bacon flavor.

    Add it to mashed potatoes instead of part of the butter.

    I'm going to have to try the popcorn idea. I never thought of it before, but it sounds great. I think I'll try half oil, half bacon grease to start.

  21. Vivian Williamson on August 4, 2010 at 1:42 am

    Bacon grease makes a wonderful addition to a suet for the birds…especially great during the cold winter months.

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