Food & Drink

The Southerner’s Guide to Bacon Grease

Readers share helpful—and often strong—opinions about cooking with the fatty staple

One of G&G’s most popular articles, The Care and Keeping of Bacon Grease, always stirs a conversation on social media. Here are readers’ top tips, opinions, and advice on storing and using bacon grease.


A few general thoughts on bacon grease:

Bacon grease rules! I have the cholesterol to prove it. —Mark Dillon

Don’t call it grease … that has a negative connotation. It’s Southern olive oil.—Donald Tomlin

That’s the only oil that touches my cornbread skillet.—Duwayne Wireman

I actually sort through the bacon to find a real fatty package so when I cook it I’ll get lots of bacon grease.—Woody Davis

Benton’s bacon 🥓 fat is the best!— Jodi Pannone Savage


… and surely no Southerner would exaggerate their reverence for the stuff.

It’s a holy oil. It’s the nectar of the Southern gods.—Tina Dubinsky-Bell

Bacon grease is my essential oil.—Frankie Allen Ferguson

Almost divorced my husband once because he threw out bacon grease.—Danielle Morris


What do readers cook with bacon grease? (Short answer: everything.)

Cornbread, collards, black-eyed peas, meatloaf, roux for gravy, and most of all fresh baby butter beans.—Jane Hall Harmon

You just can’t season green beans without it.—Sharon Kurfman

My grandma made biscuits every morning. She would stick her hand in the grease and wipe some on the top of every biscuit just before she put them in the oven.—Russ Cherry

You never tasted fried chicken till you taste it fried in bacon fat.—Jim McDonough

My dad used to make popcorn with bacon grease. Best. Popcorn. Ever.—Billy Joe Davis

Made Chex Mix with it this year and it was AMAZING!—Donna Tanner

Good cornbread requires two things: a good cast iron skillet and bacon grease.—Lee Kennamer

When I get a quart saved up I make a big pot of chocolate brown roux in the oven for gravies and gumbos. Keeps forever like that, too.—Marc Wayne Jenkins

Tip: Buy generic bacon when it’s on sale, then render it for the precious fat and use the bacon bits left in Caesar salad, omelettes, pancakes, pasta, or waffles.—Lyle Beaugard

Kicks smoothies up a notch.—Warren H. Strange


But it’s not just for cooking.

I save it to make suet cakes for the birds. Mix it with crunchy peanut butter, oatmeal, cornmeal, flour, cracked bird seed, and mealworms. They love it. Especially the woodpeckers and flickers.—Virginia M. Brummitt

It will make your dog’s coat nice and shiny.—Marilyn J.

Good on a squeaky hinge.—Jack Carter

We used to slather it on our horses’ hooves to keep them pliable … the barn cats would LOVE it.—Lori Moss Daniels


Many folks say they store bacon grease in the refrigerator or freezer …

Run mine through a coffee filter into a mason jar when it’s still hot, let it cool, then store it in the fridge. Best method I’ve found.—Anderson Watt

Mason jar in the fridge. I don’t bother to filter it, just dump it in hot, bacon crumblings and all.—Ryan Brown

I keep mine in a coffee cup in the fridge like my father and his father before him.—Charlie Mullen

I’ve always kept mine in a ceramic bowl in the fridge. No problems! But when my daughter brought home her Yankee boyfriend at Christmas, she hid the bowl so he wouldn’t be grossed out.—Marilyn White

I freeze it in zip bags. When I need some, I break a piece off to use it.—Sra Lozano


… while others say its place is anywhere but the fridge.

My grandmother had a tin canister on the stove and each day’s bacon grease went into it. NEVER in the fridge and a blob went into every veggie she decided to embalm.—Colleen Campbell

I still have my grease saver given to me in a bridal shower in 1950. I seldom cook enough bacon now to use it, but there it sets on the ledge between my stove and refrigerator.—Maxine Canoy Upchurch Province

Coffee can under the sink! Like my parents and grandparents before me.—Ashley DePriest Werling

My mom used a Crisco shortening can for bacon grease storage, and kept it in the drawer under the oven. It was such a critical cooking ingredient, I was almost an adult when I finally understood Mom was not saying “baking” grease.—Carol Meriwether

I’ve a special little speckle ware pot with a lid for just bacon drippings. Never cook vegetables without a little. Life’s too short not to.—Russell Hughes

My paternal grandmother who grew up in Georgia kept a small coffee pot-like container on her stove top. It held bacon grease, and whenever she wanted to add it to whatever she was cooking, which was almost always, she’d turn on the burner over which the pot sat, melt down the bacon grease, and then pour generous amounts into the pot or baking pan. She lived to 96 years of age.—Genie Glade Revelle

Well, my parents and grandparents, from Tennessee, kept theirs in a small aluminum container on the stove. Never refrigerated, always available. Nobody got sick … but we did get fat.—Pat Bodiford Hubel


Others wonder why any self-respecting Southerner would store it in the first place.

Seems to me if you gotta store it, you ain’t using enough.—Tom Berger

I use it too fast to bother with “keeping” it.—Holly Polich

Save? We never have enough. We have BLTs for supper because Mom needs the bacon grease to cook squash the next day. She buys and fries bacon solely to obtain the grease.—Riki Childress

What do you mean “keeping bacon grease?” Shouldn’t any Southern kitchen worth its biscuits have a constant flow of bacon grease — sort of like bourbon on Derby day?—David

I’ll keep it safe in my belly.—Rick Tappan

More Uses for Bacon Grease from Garden & Gun:

> How top chefs use bacon grease

> Try these bacon-fat biscuits