The Clever Way To Store Bacon Fat

The aroma of bacon strips sizzling away in a pan is unmatched. It's a smell that's reminiscent of lazy weekend mornings and pure comfort. But, as the thin slices of pork crinkle up and take on a marbled crimson hue, there's one byproduct in the pan that you might be neglecting. Sure, bacon itself is great, but the leftover grease is even better, so stop tossing bacon fat and start storing it in a savvy way.

A waste-free cooking fat, bacon drippings are not to be confused with lard. While lard is also drawn out from (usually) pork, it has a relatively mild taste and is often used to add texture to foods like flaky pie crust or fried chicken, MasterClass explains. Bacon drippings, on the other hand, have a distinctly smoky and salty flavor that can be employed to caramelize onions, whisk into salad dressings, drizzle on popcorn, or fry up the ultimate grilled bacon PB&J.

Although sodium and carcinogenic nitrates tend to be the main concern when cooking with bacon fat, Delish reports that these are valid concerns when it comes to bacon, not bacon fat. Still, it's wise to use it in moderation as you would with other cooking oils. That's why you're going to want to learn about this hack for storing bacon drippings over time.

For the love of bacon fat, freeze it!

When left at room temperature, bacon grease turns into a soft, scoopable, pearly white cream — that is, if you've filtered out the leftover bacon bits. While grandmothers across the globe might keep jars of the stuff on the countertop, that's probably the fastest way for it to go rancid. Instead, store that liquid gold somewhere a bit chillier.

Although the fridge is one option, it isn't the best choice. Bacon grease that's kept in a sealed jar in the refrigerator will keep for about six months. Storing fat in the freezer, however, can actually extend its shelf life to up to a year, explains.

Rather than pouring and freezing bacon fat in any random container, Taste of Home recommends dividing the warm (not piping hot) bacon drippings into an ice cube tray. Doing this will allow you to portion out the bacon grease, making it easy to pop a tablespoon or so of smoky goodness into any recipe. If this has reminded you about that surplus of bacon you have in the fridge, read up on freezing bacon so you can render it, eat it, and enjoy its useful grease at your leisure, sans food waste.