10 Uses for Leftover Bacon Grease That May Save You Some Money

by Rose Scott

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Bacon isn’t cheap. When you cook it up at home, you might as well get your money’s worth by repurposing that bacon grease for other recipes and uses.

Frugal folks have been cooking with bacon grease for generations. So occasionally, we receive tips from readers, such as the following, for ways to use the leftover grease from cooked bacon:

“I know it’s not good for your health, but being from the south, we use lots of bacon grease to season beans. I save all of my bacon grease, pour it into plastic ice cube trays (after it has cooled), and then knock out the frozen pieces, storing them in small Ziplock bags. Perfect amounts for seasoning!”

“If you have leftover bacon grease or oil from frying, save it for later use. It’s perfect for cleaning and lubricating your cast iron grates on your outside grill!”

Whether you’re a regular or occasional bacon eater, you’re essentially throwing money away if you don’t save that bacon grease for another use. Sure, it isn’t so healthy for you, but it is a free way to add flavor and fat to recipes and can replace some oils and seasonings when cooking, which aren’t free.

Before you throw out that next batch of bacon grease, consider these ten ways to use that leftover goodness, a few of which may save you some money. Also, use the tips at the end of the article to ensure you’re storing your bacon grease properly.

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10 Ways To Use Leftover Bacon Grease

You can repurpose leftover bacon grease in a number of cooking-related ways.

1. Cooking

Use bacon grease as a cooking fat to add a rich, smoky flavor to dishes like eggs, vegetables and even popcorn.

2. Baking

Substitute bacon grease for butter or other fats in savory baked goods like biscuits, cornbread or pie crusts.

3. Grilling

Brush it on meats before grilling to add flavor and prevent sticking.

4. Grilled Sandwiches

Spread bacon grease on the outside of bread when making grilled cheese or other panini-style sandwiches for an added layer of flavor.

5. Salad Dressing

Whisk bacon grease with vinegar, mustard and seasonings for a warm bacon vinaigrette to pour over salads or roasted vegetables.

6. Roasting Vegetables

Toss vegetables in bacon grease before roasting to enhance their flavor.

Use these tips to save money when buying produce.

7. Soup Base

Use bacon grease as a base when making soups or stews, adding depth and richness to the dish.

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8. Flavoring Grains

Add a spoonful to your water or broth when cooking rice, quinoa or other grains for a subtle savory flavor.

9. Seasoning Cast Iron

Rub a small amount of bacon grease on your cast iron skillet to maintain its seasoning and prevent rust. (See How To Clean and Restore Cast Iron Cookware.)

10. Fire Starters

Soak a cotton ball or a piece of cloth in bacon grease, let it harden and use it as a fire starter for campfires or barbecues.

How To Safely Store Bacon Grease

Southern Living recommends that you strain the bacon grease to remove any small bacon bits that can cause the grease to turn rancid faster. You can use cheesecloth or a coffee filter for straining.

To prevent burns, do not strain hot bacon grease.

Many people strain bacon grease into a clean mason jar for refrigerator storage. Freezing the grease in ice cube trays is the best option for freezer storage, so you can take out small portions as needed.

According to Taste of Home, “bacon grease will keep indefinitely in the freezer, or about three months in the refrigerator.”

Reviewed May 2023

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