If you’re wondering “how long does bacon fat last?” or “what is the expiration date of bacon grease?” then you’ve come to the right place (and you clearly have great taste!)
Bacon grease, sometimes called Liquid Gold, is one of the most tasty and versatile fats. I love using it to make old fashioned buttermilk biscuits and my family’s favorite bacon fat ginger cookies. Read on to learn more about the shelf life of bacon grease and the best methods of storage to preserve its amazing flavor.
When you cook bacon, it releases fat into the pan; this process is sometimes called “rendering.” As you may already know, you can save homemade bacon grease and use it for cooking and flavoring many other foods.
Imagine using all that flavorful fat for other things, such as green beans, cornbread, Brussels sprouts and refried beans! We love it in Bacon Gravy, Bacon Aioli and for frying Mini Quesadillas. For more tasty ideas, check out “25 Ways to Use Bacon Fat.“
How Long Can Bacon Grease Be Safely Stored in the Refrigerator?
How long does bacon fat last in the fridge? Bacon fat can be stored in the refrigerator at or below 40 degrees F for up to three months. The key to storing bacon fat is to ensure that it is in a sealed container so that it does not come into contact with air, which can turn the fat rancid. Once bacon fat has gone rancid, it can no longer be used safely.
If you want your bacon fat to last as long as possible, the best option is to store it in a cool, dark place such as the refrigerator or, preferably the freezer.
Improper storage, leading to exposure to heat and light, can make bacon grease go bad quicker, so avoid storing it in locations such as near the stove or in direct sunlight, which are main factors in spoiling new grease.
To determine if your bacon fat is still good for consumption, give it a sniff test. If it has a sour or rancid odor, then it has gone bad and should be discarded. Another way to tell if bacon fat has gone bad is by looking at its color. If it has turned from white to yellow, then it is no longer safe to consume.
Avoid doing a taste test, even on a small amount, if you have any doubts. Throw away old bacon grease if you’re not sure whether it’s been stored properly.
How Long Does Bacon Fat Last at Room Temperature?
Grandma may have kept a can of bacon grease out on the counter near the stove, but if this tasty fat is left out uncovered at room temperature, its shelf life is only two hours according to food safety experts.
This is due to the fact that the rendered fat is made up of mostly polyunsaturated fats. These fat molecules are prone to oxidation and turn rancid quickly when exposed to oxygen.
If you want your bacon grease to last for an extended period, it’s a great idea to store it in the fridge, where it will last for a couple of months. Don’t store it in the kitchen cabinet.
How To Make Bacon Fat Last Longer: Freezing
Bacon grease will last for up to six months when stored in the freezer. The key to making it last this long is to ensure that it is tightly sealed in an airtight container. You can also freeze bacon fat in an ice cube tray to prep smaller portions for easy cooking.
Bacon fat shouldn’t be left out at room temperature for an extended period because it will quickly go rancid due to improper storage.
What Is Bacon Fat?
Bacon grease is a type of rendered fat. This means that it has been cooked down from the solid form of bacon to create liquid fat. It can be safely stored in a number of different ways, but because it’s a pork by-product bacon grease shelf life will always be limited.
Bacon fat is most commonly reused as a cooking fat. It has a higher smoke point (about 325 degrees F), which means that it can be used to cook food at high temperatures without causing the fat to smoke and create carcinogens.
Bacon grease can also be used in baking, and gives baked goods a rich flavor and moist texture. You might think that using bacon fat in baking would make the finished product have a bacon flavor or salty flavor, such as if you were to make chocolate chip bacon grease cookies, but that’s not necessarily the case.
The good news is that the flavor of bacon fat is fairly neutral, so it won’t impart a strong taste to your baked goods unless you use a significant amount. It tends to impart a savory flavor with just a hint of smokiness that pairs well with many foods.
How to Make Bacon Fat
Making or extracting bacon fat is as easy as frying bacon. The process of frying bacon renders the fat from the pork belly, which can be used in many different dishes and recipes.
To fry bacon, heat a pan over medium-low heat and add the bacon strips. Cook the bacon until it is crisp, which takes about 10 minutes.
Once you’ve finished the cooked bacon, remove it from the pan with tongs or a spatula and transfer it to a paper towel-lined plate to cool. The fat will be left in the pan.
How To Strain Bacon Grease
One of the best ways you can make bacon grease last longer is to strain it well. Removing the little particles will leave more of the pure fat, which is less prone to spoilage.
The first step to properly straining bacon drippings it to make sure it cools so that it is not too hot to handle, but still in liquid form.
Once it has cooled down, you can pour it through a fine mesh stainer into a container that has a tight-fitting lid. Alternately, you can place a coffee filter or cheesecloth (as shown above) over the top of the container and secure with a rubber band before pouring in the bacon grease.
Then, simply refrigerate the jar of bacon grease until it is solidified. When you are ready to use it, just reheat the bacon grease on the stove.
How To Save Bacon Grease for Cooking
Bacon fat can be stored in a number of ways. For short-term storage, it can be kept in the refrigerator for several months. Just pour the oil into special grease containers with a lid and store it in the fridge. When ready to use, simply reheat the fat in a pan over low heat until melted.
For long-term storage, the fat can also be frozen, which is my favorite way to store this type of grease. Pour the cooled bacon grease into an airtight container and store it in the freezer for up to six months. When ready to use, thaw the fat in the refrigerator overnight and then reheat it in a pan over low heat until melted.
How To Store Bacon Grease Properly
Because it is rendered fat, it can go rancid quickly if not stored properly. Bacon grease should be stored in a cool, dark place to maintain its best quality. To keep its tasty flavor fresh as long as possible, you’ll want to store it in the refrigerator or freezer.
For repurposed storage options, a Mason jar, glass jar, coffee can, glass jelly jar, or other airtight container works well. Or you can buy a bacon strainer/container set like the one below.
When you are ready to use the leftover bacon grease, scoop out the amount you need with a clean spoon for best results. Be sure to wipe the rim of the container after scooping so that no bacteria gets in and spoils the grease.
The other thing to keep in mind is that repeated temperature changes can also affect the quality of rendered bacon fat.
Bacon fat is a great cooking oil because it has a smoke point of abut 325 degrees F, so it can be used to cook at higher temperatures without burning. It also has tons of flavor, which makes it an ideal kitchen secret for sautéing, frying, and even baking in place of butter. (Check out our roundup of 20 Best Bacon Fat Recipes!)
However, homemade bacon grease can easily go bad when not stored properly. The best way to extend its life span for future use is to store it in a cool, dark place in an airtight grease container in the fridge or freezer and enjoy that tasty, bacon-flavored goodness for as long as possible!
For more information, be sure to read “What to Do With Bacon Grease.”