7 Delicious Ways to Cook With Bacon Grease

Don't dump it, use it! Bacon grease is the culinary world's trash-to-treasure story of redemption.

Nestled in the corner of my refrigerator's cheese compartment is a mid-size, rectangular container filled with formerly liquefied bacon fat, now solid and striped in layers of varying shades of light brown. Sure, it's odd-looking, but I promise: This little container is one of the most delicious, game-changing items in my fridge.

Bacon fat, created by pan-frying or baking bacon in the oven, is a not-so-secret substitute for butter or oil in nearly any recipe. In fact, salvaging it—instead of dumping it down the drain, which puts pipes and local sewer lines at risk—is compulsory, no matter what you plan to do with it.

To get you started cooking with bacon grease, we present just seven of the many ways to use it plus recipes to try. While you won't find "bacon grease" in the list of ingredients, just swap it for oil or butter in the recipe. Soon, you'll discover your own ways to cook with bacon grease, and perhaps start soliciting your neighbors for theirs.

01 of 07

Scramble or Fry Eggs in It

Huevos Rancheros
Charles Masters

Bacon-free morning? Not possible—at least when you have bacon fat ready and waiting. Melt a small amount in a skillet (instead of butter) before cooking your eggs, and it tastes like a multi-dish breakfast. This also works for pancakes and French toast.

02 of 07

Add Layers of Flavor to a Sheet-pan Meal


Sheet-pan meals are excellent for their efficiency and the ease with which we can create a well-balanced, intriguing meal with minimal effort and dishes. But if there's one setback to the ubiquitous sheet-pan dinner, it's that the end result can be one-note. Add smokiness, saltiness, and meatiness by greasing your sheet pan with a bit of bacon grease before baking your next sheet-pan meal.

03 of 07

Grease Grill Grates With It

Summer Pork Chops
Greg DuPree

Most grilling recipes start with the essential step of greasing the grates to keep food from sticking. If a non-stick spray is your go-to, try using a pastry brush to paint on melted bacon grease instead. (To melt, microwave for 20 seconds at a time). This quick fix adds more flavor to everything you cook on the grill.

04 of 07

Cook Croutons or Fries in It

Butter-and-Herb Croutons
Greg DuPree

Duck-fat fries may be the go-to for chefs to reuse precious rendered duck fat, but you can use the same trick at home with leftover bacon grease. Melt the grease so it's liquid, lightly coat cut potatoes or roughly torn stale bread in it, and then bake until crisp. You can also deep-fry or pan-fry croutons or potatoes in bacon fat, if that's more your speed.

05 of 07

Make a Bacon-y Sandwich

Mini Grilled Cheese Sandwiches With Chutney
Con Poulos

To add more bacon flavor to grilled cheese or a homemade panini, lightly spread bacon grease on the outer-facing sandwich layers and then cook for a nice crunch.

06 of 07

Make A Warm Bacon Vinaigrette

Green Beans With Bacon Vinaigrette
Gentl & Hyers

Drizzle warm bacon vinaigrette on cooked veggies or leafy salads. Start by heating two tablespoons of bacon grease in a skillet and add chopped alliums (like shallots or garlic). Sauté lightly before stirring in equal parts vinegar (apple cider works well), olive oil, and mustard (Dijon or whole grain). Add salt and pepper and, as soon as the mixture sticks to your spoon, it's ready to serve.

07 of 07

Amp Up a Boring Boneless, Skinless Chicken Breast

Chicken With Salsa, Olives, and Lime
Victor Protasio

A sautéed chicken breast is versatile, yes, but so dull. Upgrade it by sautéing in melted bacon grease to add flavor and keep the chicken moist. About 5 minutes per side should be sufficient (internal temp must reach 165 degrees F). For a nice crisp crust, avoid flipping the chicken more than once. Try this tip with tofu and firm veggies, too.

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