Tasting Table Asks: How Do You Get Rid Of Cooking Oil? - Exclusive Survey

There's a whole host of reasons you always reach for cooking oil when roasting, frying, or sautéing: oil can stop foods from becoming stuck to your pan or baking sheet, helps dishes achieve a deeper flavor and that perfect golden-brown hue, and gives food a crispy, crunchy exterior (via Kitchn and Fine Cooking).

With cooking methods like roasting or sautéing, it's likely you don't have much oil left over when you're finished with your dish, but foods need to be covered almost completely in oil when frying (or completely covered, in the case of deep frying). This leaves you with quite a bit of oil at the end, and you may be left wondering what people normally do with it.

In a survey conducted by Tasting Table, 615 people shared the way they most frequently dispose of cooking oil after whipping up some delicious foods. And, fortunately, most of the responses show that people typically take a responsible approach.

Some oil disposal methods are better than others

When it comes to getting rid of cooking oil, 39.19% of Tasting Table survey respondents stated that they pour the oil into a separate container and throw it away. Another 31.06% reported that they typically let it cool down, then soak it up with paper towels before tossing them out. Southern Living reports that these two methods are some of the safest for disposing of oil once you've finished cooking.

Some survey respondents prefer to recycle — 18.7% report that they typically store their oil to reuse at a later time. If you'd like to follow this disposal method, the best way to go about it is to strain the oil, making sure to remove any food particles, and then pour it into an airtight container. The recycled oil can then be stored in the fridge if you plan to use it soon or in the freezer for up to three or four weeks. Remember your oil will take on the flavor of the food you previously cooked in it, so it would be wise to reuse for a similar task or for frying.

And in last place — although it isn't necessarily recommended and could clog your drain – 11.06% of those surveyed reported that they typically just pour any leftover oil down a kitchen or storm drain to dispose of it.