After you’ve finished cooking a batch of bacon the right way, you’re going to be left with a heaping helping of grease. Having fully gorged on too many slabs of the stuff, you might be tempted to toss the remnants of your bacon feast, but I’d urge you to save most or all of that rich pork fat for future use.
Bacon grease is packed with a salty, slightly smoky taste that you can use to add an umami bang to any number of dishes and recipes. And because it’s so dense with flavor, you’ll only need a small amount to make your next stir fry or skillet of scrambled eggs sing.
Here’s how to store leftover bacon grease and seven amazing ways to use bacon fat in the kitchen.
What to do with leftover bacon grease
Store it properly
First things first: You’ll want to store your bacon grease properly for future use. While it shouldn’t spoil, we still recommend keeping it in the fridge since it may have pieces of pork running throughout.
Keep it in a metal can and cover it since the pungent bacon smell can permeate other foods in the fridge. If you’re going to store it in a glass or plastic container, wait for the grease to cool completely before you transfer it.
This $16 silicone bacon bin has a built-in strainer to sift out the bacon bits.
Season a cast-iron skillet
Seasoning your cast-iron pan is key for keeping the surface of the skillet nonstick. Doing this regularly, along with washing cast-iron cookware properly, will also build a base flavor that the pan imparts to certain foods such as steaks, burgers, chicken and hash browns. To season with bacon grease, add a small amount of the fat to your favorite cast-iron seasoning wax — I like Knapp — and proceed as you normally would.
Add smokey pork flavor to a stir fry
The next time you’re whipping up a quick stir fry for dinner, toss in a teaspoon of bacon grease to punch up the flavor. Don’t go overboard or you’ll end up with an overly greasy dish and a bacon flavor dominating all.
Add savory richness to a batch of cornbread or cookies
Bacon and cornbread are another magical combo. Since cornbread can easily dry out, adding a teaspoon of bacon fat to the mixture along with butter, will ensure the bread is moist with a hint of delicious bacon flavor.
You can also add some bacon grease to a batch of chocolate chip or peanut butter cookies. Bacon works with a lot of other flavors — maple, chocolate, vanilla — so don’t be shy about trying it with your favorite cookie recipe.
Make bacon-washed bourbon
I don’t know who originated the concept of adding bacon fat to bourbon, but I’d like to buy them a drink. Fat-washing booze is simple, just add an ounce or two of liquified bacon fat to a bottle of bourbon. Shake and let it hang out in the fridge or freezer for a few days. Strain the solidified fat out of the bourbon with a mesh strainer and you’re left with seriously smoky brown booze to drink neat or use in cocktails.
Use bacon fat to make scrambled eggs
Bacon and eggs make as good a duo as any other in the breakfast universe. Add a small bit of bacon grease to your pan with butter before dropping in the beaten eggs and stirring slowly.
Mix bacon grease with another cooking oil to sear steaks or saute chicken
You won’t want to use bacon grease alone to saute foods, but you should consider adding a little to your cooking oil of choice, be it olive oil, flaxseed oil, avocado oil or another.
Make bacon air fryer Brussels sprouts
Brussels sprouts are dense and make a good candidate to be air-fried. Toss them with a little bacon grease and then into the air fryer for 20 minutes. They’ll taste so good, you’ll forget you’re eating a vegetable at all.
What you can’t do with leftover bacon grease
Pour it down the drain
If you pour even one batch of bacon grease down the kitchen sink, you’ll likely be on the phone with a plumber before the week’s over.
Bacon grease and other super oily foods can’t be composted. So keep them out of your home compost pile or electronic countertop composter.
Pour it into the garbage while it’s still hot
Do this and you’ll burn a hole in the bottom of the garbage bag. It won’t be a pretty scene when you try to take the trash out next. If you’re going to trash it, pour it into a metal can and let it cool before discarding it.