How to Chip Away at Your Stash of Bacon Fat

January 25, 2016

Go fishing around in the back corners of your fridge until you find your jar or ramekin or can full of bacon fat. If you eat pork, you almost certainly have one—it's the not-so-hard-won bonus-points ingredient, the culinary equivalent of being handed a winning lottery ticket.

Bacon fat is the savory, smoky, super-flavorful ingredient you may be throwing out (or just ignoring). Don't pour it down the drain (really—don't! It's bad for your pipes). Instead, use it like the infused oil that it is and make these:

Photo by James Ransom
  • Use bacon fat in place of butter in a batch of corn muffins or cornbread—or biscuits.
  • Very cold bacon fat could hold up in pastry, too—like in the crust for a quiche.
  • Instead of using oil, pop popcorn in a few tablespoons of bacon fat.
  • Use it to sauté a soffrito for chili or soup. (We're lookin' at you, split-pea.)
  • If your soup needs thickening, make a bacon fat roux.
  • For bacon-y burgers, use bacon fat in place of butter in this classic recipe).
  • Use it to sauté or roast a pan of vegetables—like Brussels sprouts, broccoli, or leafy greens (like collards).
  • Stir a couple spoonfuls into a long-simmering pot of beans.
  • Smear some onto two pieces of bread and then use them to make a grilled cheese.
  • Sauté or roast potatoes with bacon fat, or use it to grease the pan for your hash browns or home fries.
  • Fry an egg in melted bacon fat for bacon and eggs even after all the bacon is gone.

What's your favorite use for bacon fat? How long has that jar of it been sitting in your fridge? (It's probably fine.) Tell us in the comments!

See what other Food52 readers are saying.

  • Sharon Hart
    Sharon Hart
  • citizenstx
  • Marilyn
  • Kim
  • Heidi
Writing and cooking in Brooklyn.


Sharon H. February 16, 2023
This is something us Southerners have known since birth.
citizenstx July 21, 2020
It is the indispensable ingredient in frijoles de olla along with pinto beans, a diced onion, and salt at the end. Nada más!
Marilyn January 13, 2020
I definitely love crisp bacon. But I do not often use bacon grease. I am surprised no one has mentioned the risk of increased Cholesterol, Triglycerides, and risk of heart attack and stroke. I am a nurse and raised around country food. When I was young, we had fresh greens, onions, and radishes for a salad with bacon grease poured over it for a "dressing". It was so yummy! But I would not dare do that now! I consider health issues when I consider food. I think moderation is the key, but definitely watching the cholesterol and especially the transfat is so important. Don't want to put a damper on all the great food ideas....but after knowing what I know and seeing what I have seen as an ER nurse....I recommend caution and moderation.
Kim January 11, 2020
Bacon fat granola! My family wanted to know the secret to my delicious homemade granola, and I confessed how I used up leftover bacon fat by substituting it for the oil (small problem - the granola was very much enjoyed by both a vegetarian and a vegan before I thought to warn folks).
Heidi September 9, 2019
French toast cooked in bacon fat is unbeatable...
Will July 28, 2019
I made a roux for gumbo out of bacon fat once. I love bacon, but the gumbo had an underlying bacon flavor which was not desirable at the time.
These days I sop up the fat with lightly used paper towels or newsprint and save it to light the fire pit.
Steve June 18, 2019
I save all of my bacon fat, but have often wondered if it should be refrigerated?
mdelgatty March 16, 2020
Keeps practically forever in the freezer...
Paula February 22, 2019
I take some bacon fat & smear it on the skin of a potato & then sprinkle it with sea salt before baking. Seals in the moisture & makes the skin taste awesome.
Jayne P. February 22, 2019
Oh that is just so decadent. Obviously I am going to try it immediately.
Julia E. October 30, 2020
That’s what makes Texas Roadhouse’s potatoes so darn good. They do the same
Jayne P. February 13, 2019
I use it in the muffin tins when I make Yorkshire puddings (like popovers) which we serve with roast beef when we're feeling traditional (and being cavalier about our waistlines). You need about half a teaspoon of bacon fat in each muffin cup, then heat in the oven until smoking hot then add the batter. Make sure to pour the batter straight into the centre of the little pool of fat, then the puddings won't stick to the tin (if you are concerned about sticking, you can brush a little fat around the sides before you pud it in the oven to heat).
Jessica February 13, 2019
I keep mind in a container in the freezer. I use a fork to chip off what I need to cook breakfast potatoes, sometimes cook an omelet in it, too. Start a roux for chicken fried steak gravy and chipped beef gravy (delish!). I fry eggs in it, too. Never thought to use bacon fat for popcorn. I must try it!
Mindy February 12, 2019
My grandmother cooked with bacon fat, and her food was delicious. I use it to saute onions in before adding to green beans, or to add extra flavor to my dumplings for chicken and dumplings. Have a small container in the fridge which I refill occasionally.
Gerald February 8, 2019
I have as a professional breakfast (etc) cook prepared a ton of bacon 🥓. I used the sheet pan method every morning for breakfast which often times caught on fire. I was so occupied with the prep for breakfast & lunchtime (multy tasking) preparation, I would forget the bacon. Grabbing the flaming pan running with it to the back door, heaving it out . 🔥🔥 I agree whole heartedly with the cast iron method. I always give a tbl spoon or so of oil into the pan before laying the bacon in. I turn the heat on medium allowing the oil to heat up before laying in the bacon. I’ve learned to cut the bacon strips in half as they tend to drape over the edge. After they’re in I increase the temp. to high just until the bacon begins to sizzle,turn down to medium & don’t stray to far away. The secret is in the turning of the bacon. Once I notice the edges looking a bit brown it’s time to turn. After a couple of minutes turn again. The bacon should start looking a bit brown & one more turn & they’re out. I don’t like fatty fried bacon...crispy is my taste. One more note. It’s recommended too lay the bacon on paper towels to absorb the grease which is fine but I like to place mine on a oven warm plate directly out of the pan. The small amount of flavorful fat with your egg is Yummy 😋. I always save the fat after I strain it through a small sieve. The oil I’ve added increases the amount too be saved.
Greg January 27, 2016
I make bacon fat popcorn all the time. Plus throw in some chopped bacon and shredded cheddar cheese or parmesan. Best popcorn ever.
Amanda S. January 26, 2016
I love using a little under a teaspoon of bacon fat to sautee sliced mushrooms - makes cheap button mushrooms heavenly. Bacon is expensive (for me) and I'm gonna get my money's worth!
Stephanie G. January 26, 2016
Baconnaise! I make my own mayo with an immersion blender (so easy and amazing) and use 1 cup total of oil/fat. About 1/2 cup (or a little less) of melted bacon fat and then the rest avocado oil or a light olive oil. It's so delicious and decadent. Makes a killer tuna salad ?
Anne T. January 26, 2016
I'm glad to see someone else mentioned bacon fat in a cookie recipe. A favorite recipe from a family friend for Peanut cookies has bacon fat.
Fairmount_market January 25, 2016
I use bacon fat for making kimchi fried rice.
Chky January 25, 2016
They tell you right off the bat . . "Don't pour it down the drain (really—don't! It's bad for your pipes)." Go ahead and clog your arteries . . see you in the cath lab, we can compare how many stents we have keeping our arteries open. I love pork but there are some parts you just don't eat . . and keeping the worst part . . the fat . . shame.
Steve January 26, 2016
Proteins enhance the growth of the human body because proteins act as the building block in the body. More so, proteins provide the body with antibodies that work to prevent diseases by boosting the immune system.

Proteins assist in the growth of human hair, bones, teeth, nails, and skin so that a person stays young for a long time. In addition, the proteins found in bacon, helps in digestion and prevention of retarded growth in little children. Apart from proteins, the bacon provides the body with the required fat. The fats in bacon helps in strengthening the bones because the fat facilitate the absorption of calcium in the bones. Secondly, the fat improves cardiovascular health because it lowers the level of lipoprotein in the body thus alleviating the risks of contracting cardiovascular illnesses. Thirdly, saturated fat also plays a role in providing the body with a strong immune system by contributing to the production of white blood cells.
Not to mention the fact that it tastes damn good. As with everything, moderation is the key - you wouldn't want to eat a pound of bacon at every meal, but substituting some bacon fat for other fats in cooking isn't as lethal as you imply.
Amanda S. January 25, 2016
Love this article (and that you are its author).
Ling L. January 25, 2016
Mix with rat poison for efficient bait! (Sorry! I have a pest problem...)
Andrew W. January 26, 2016
Shit, I hope you don't have any pets!
seth February 12, 2019
Dude, the rats will go away if you close up all the holes they use to get in. Using poison kills cats and owls and anything that can catch a slow, sick rat. Poison takes days to work, and during thise days many bad things often happen. Besides, traps work better and no rats will die in your walls. Kill all rats! Just please, do it smart. Thanks, man.
seth February 13, 2019
To clarify: no rats will die in your walls if you use traps.
Poisoned rats will - l repeat will - die in your walls if they don't end up in the belly of a raptor or feline.
janc January 5, 2020
A rat family got into my home through a hole..We set up humane traps, and caught every one of them little buggers, and released..Not one killed..They love peanuts...I agree by poisoning them, another animal will get them when they died, and die themselves, but I just don't have it in me to kill any animal not even a rat