The Reason You Shouldn't Drain Fat From Chicken Thighs

Chicken thigh recipes are some of the easiest weeknight dinners around. Whether it's simple pan-fried chicken thighs or Mediterranean braised chicken thighs with lemon and garlic, there are hundreds of different flavor routes to embark on.

And speaking of flavor, chicken thighs, which are part of the dark meat category, are said to be tastier and more tender when compared to white meat, per The Spruce Eats. Several factors lead to the above conclusion, such as the higher fat content, crispy skin possibilities, and chicken stock options from the bones. They also don't dry out very easily and cook well over the grill, in an oven, or on a stovetop skillet.

But perhaps one of the best and most overlooked aspects of cooking chicken thighs lies in the fat that oozes out of each piece. Many home cooks drain the fat and throw it out, which is a missed opportunity for enhancing other condiments and side dishes. Here's what we mean.

Fat = flavor

To say that the possibilities are endless with chicken fat usage is a massive understatement. For starters, AllRecipes suggests tossing this "liquid gold" with vegetable side dishes, like potatoes or green beans, for heightened chicken flavors. The fat, in this case, can either be used for roasting or sautéing, but what about pairing your chicken thighs with mashed potatoes? Make gravy from chicken fat!

The Kitchn explains that you can make a roux from butter and flour, and then add in the chicken drippings, as well as white wine and chicken stock, to make flavorful chicken gravy. And if you really want to get creative in the kitchen, The Guardian discusses how you can transform chicken fat into whipped chicken butter, which can be spread on bread, baked potatoes, and maybe even used to make homemade pizza.

Point is, chicken fat is far too important to be disposed of, as it can be used to make homemade condiments and even schmaltz, which is rendered chicken fat, via Epicurious. That's another rabbit hole to go down, but schmaltz can enhance the flavors and textures of pie crusts, biscuits, cornbread, and even homemade mayonnaise. So lean into your creative side and use that chicken fat to spruce up a plethora of other tasty recipes!