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How Long Does Bacon Fat Last?

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)!

Here’s a quick answer:

  • Properly strained and stored bacon grease will last 3 to 6 months in the refrigerator.
  • Well strained bacon fat stored in an airtight container will last 6 to 12 months in the freezer.

Read on to learn more about what to do with bacon grease, its average shelf life, directions for rendering and straining, cooking and baking tips, and the best ways to preserve its amazing flavor.

A jar filled with refrigerated bacon fat, in front of a frying pan with six strips of golden brown bacon.

Why Save Bacon Fat?

Bacon grease, sometimes called Liquid Gold, is one of the most tasty and versatile fats. I love using it to bake old fashioned buttermilk biscuits and my family’s favorite bacon fat ginger cookies.

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 to cook favorites like 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 to Make Bacon Fat

Making or extracting bacon fat is as easy as frying bacon. The process of frying bacon renders the fat, which can be used in many different dishes and recipes.

To fry bacon on the stovetop, heat a pan over medium-low heat and add the bacon strips. Cook the bacon slices, turning once, until they turn golden brown and crispy to your liking.

Once you’ve finished the cooked bacon, remove the strips 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

Pouring rendered bacon fat through a jar topped with cheesecloth held with a rubber band.

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.

Before straining the grease after cooking a batch of delicious bacon, let it cool to room temperature first, about 20 minutes or so. It should still be 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 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 six months. Make sure it’s in a sealed container so that it does not come into contact with air, which can turn the fat rancid.

How To Make Bacon Fat Last Longer: Freezing

Bacon grease will last for up to twelve 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.

Can You Store Bacon Fat at Room Temperature?

Grandma may have kept a can of bacon grease out on the counter near the stove, but exposure to heat and light. can make bacon grease go bad quicker.

If you want to preserve bacon fat’s delicious flavor, avoid storing it in locations such as near the stove or in direct sunlight and keep the tightly sealed container in the fridge or freezer instead.

To determine if your bacon fat is still good, 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.

Throw away old bacon grease if you’re not sure whether it’s been stored properly.

Baking with Bacon Fat

Bacon grease can often 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, but that’s not generally the case.

The good news is that the flavor of bacon fat is fairly neutral, so it usually won’t impart a strong taste to your baked goods. It tends to impart a delicate flavor with just a hint of smokiness that pairs well with many foods.

I love using it to bake old fashioned buttermilk biscuits, chocolate chip bacon grease cookies, and my family’s favorite bacon fat ginger cookies.

You can usually substitute bacon fat for shortening in a recipe. If your recipe calls for butter, you might try substituting bacon fat for half of the butter.

Bacon Grease Smoke Point

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!)

Bacon Grease Storage Containers

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.

When you are ready to use the leftover bacon grease, after scooping out the amount you need be sure to wipe the rim of the container so that no bacteria gets in and spoils the grease.

Do you save bacon fat for cooking and baking? I’d love to hear how you use it, so drop a comment below!

Save for Later

If you use Pinterest to save and share ideas, here’s a handy pin:

A jar of rendered, solidified bacon grease with a skillet of fried bacon in the back.
eliza cross

About Eliza & BENSA

BENSA was founded by bacon expert Eliza Cross, author of more than a dozen cookbooks. She has written three bacon cookbooks including the award-winning Bacon Beans and Beer, the bestselling 101 Things to Do With Bacon, and the popular sequel 101 More Things to Do With Bacon. Learn more about BENSA...

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BENSA as seen in Southern Living, Men's Health, The Denver Post, Daily Meal and other media.