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So You Roasted a Chicken—But What About the Pan Drippings?

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I have just begun roasting chickens, and—as I mentioned yesterday (when I wrote about a smart trick I learned on our app that involves a safety pin!)—I feel like I've encountered a whole new world.

Yesterday, I learned about crispy skin. Today, I conquer the drippings.


Chicken drippings, not only plentiful, but very flavorful, too. It would be a waste to throw all that fat (not to mention the little crispy browned bits that come with it) away. So, what to do with them? Here are a few ideas:

2 New Ways to Use Your Chicken Scraps
2 New Ways to Use Your Chicken Scraps
  • Turn the drippings into a sauce to serve alongside the meat. While the chicken rests post-roast, get your pan of drippings onto the stovetop, add a bit of broth (or even water), and stir as it all simmers, scraping the bottom of the pan with a wooden spoon as it reduces in order to take advantage of the fond. Stir in a little butter, some flour or cornstarch if you want, and then serve this either drizzled over the chicken or alongside, in a little gravy boat.
  • Toss it with roasted vegetables (or, even better, add chopped raw veg right to the roasting pan so that they can benefit from the drippings as they (and the chicken) roast.
  • For a richer chicken stock, save the dripping in a jar and spoon some of it into the pot along with your roast's backbone, neck, and abdomen.
  • Use it as a salad dressing! Brighten it with a little lemon juice (maybe from lemons you roasted with the chicken) and toss with salad—especially if there are croutons involved, like in this killer one from Zuni Café.
  • Toss it with rice (or another grain).
  • Swipe it (warm, from the pan, or solidified from the fridge) onto bread.
  • Speaking of bread, you could fry a slice of bread in chicken drippings—or toss it with cubed bread before baking into croutons.
  • Toss hot popcorn with it! (This idea comes from Greg on a thread about using up bacon fat.)
  • Render as much fat as possible from your bird (more on that here) and you've got schmaltz! Which is great for roasting with, or sautéing onions and/or mushrooms in, or frying potatoes with, or scrambling eggs in...

How do you use up the drippings? Teach me some tricks in the comments below.

Tags: pan drippings, what to do with chicken fat