Bacon makes everything better. But before you go throwing out that bacon grease at the bottom of your skillet — why not use that bit, too? Bacon fat is a valuable tool in any kitchen, and can be used in place of butter and lard to infuse dishes with a light, smoky, bacon flavor. Try it in everything from savory soups and salads to pancakes and gingersnaps — bacon always adds a little something delicious.
These ten recipes will help you turn your leftover bacon fat into a delicious — if somewhat fatty — home-cooked treat!
1. Spinach Salad with Warm Bacon Dressing
There’s always a way to work bacon into your salad, and this is one of the best ideas out there. Alton Brown of Food Network recommends whisking together bacon fat, red wine vinegar, sugar, and Dijon mustard for a zesty and savory topping to an otherwise-standard spinach salad. This creative dressing instills the salad with a rich new character. Recipe takes 20 minutes to complete and yields four servings.
- 8 ounces young spinach
- 2 large eggs
- 8 pieces thick-sliced bacon, chopped
- 3 tablespoons red wine vinegar
- 1 teaspoon sugar
- ½ teaspoon Dijon mustard
- Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 4 large white mushrooms, sliced
- 3 ounces red onion (1 small), very thinly sliced
Directions: Remove the stems from the spinach and wash, drain and pat dry thoroughly. Place into a large mixing bowl and set aside.
Place the eggs into an electric kettle and cover with cold water by at least 1-inch. Turn the kettle on. Once the water comes to a boil, the kettle will turn itself off. Leave the eggs in the water for 15 minutes. Remove and peel off the shell. Slice each egg into eight pieces and set aside.
While the eggs are cooking, fry the bacon and remove to a paper towel to drain, reserving 3 tablespoons of the rendered fat. Crumble the bacon and set aside.
Transfer the fat to a small saucepan set over low heat and whisk in the red wine vinegar, sugar and Dijon mustard. Season with a small pinch each of kosher salt and black pepper.
Add the mushrooms and the sliced onion to the spinach and toss. Add the dressing and bacon and toss to combine. Divide the spinach between four plates or bowls and evenly divide the egg among them. Season with pepper, as desired. Serve immediately.
2. Warm Brussels Sprout Slaw with Bacon
Brussels sprouts are perhaps the most despised of all vegetable-based dishes. No matter how many recipes try to work these sprouts into something delicious, people still seem reluctant to eat them. Now, however, bacon has come along to save this misunderstood veggie from its downfall: Food & Wine offers this delicious warm, savory Brussels sprout slaw cooked over high heat in rendered bacon fat and butter. This recipe takes 25 minutes to complete and yields ten servings.
- ¾ pound thick-sliced bacon, cut into ½ inch pieces
- 4 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 2 pounds Brussels sprouts, thinly sliced in a food processor
- Salt and freshly ground pepper
- 2 Granny Smith apples—peeled, cored, coarsely shredded and squeezed dry
- 1 teaspoon thyme leaves
Directions: In a large skillet, cook the bacon over moderately high heat, stirring occasionally, until crisp, about 6 minutes. Drain on paper towels; reserve ¼ cup of fat.
In a large, enameled cast-iron casserole, melt the butter in the bacon fat. Add the Brussels sprouts in batches and cook over high heat, stirring, until softened but still bright green, about 8 minutes. Season with salt and pepper. Add the apples and thyme; cook, stirring, until the apples are warmed through. Transfer the slaw to a platter, scatter the bacon on top and serve.
3. Spinach Bacon Potato Frittata
A frittata is an egg-based dish, similar in nature to an omelet or quiche. Bacon, feta, and spinach are the featured players in this recipe from Whistle Pig Hollow. Pieces of bacon highlighted the frittata’s bacon-fried undertones to create a mouthwatering and sensational dish for tonight’s dinner! Recipe takes about an hour to complete.
- 9 eggs
- 6 strips of bacon, cooked and torn into pieces
- 3 red potatoes, baked and then cubed
- 2 handfuls of spinach
- ⅓ cup feta
- 1 teaspoon Burger Seasoning (or ¼ teaspoon garlic powder, ¼ teaspoon onion granules, ¼ teaspoon salt, and ¼ teaspoon pepper)
Directions: Poke potatoes with fork and place directly in oven to bake; cube after baked through. Cook bacon on stove; tear into pieces when complete.
Select a pan for the frittata that can also go in the oven. Pour some bacon grease into pan. Swirl around and coat the sides of the pan too. Place pan on medium heat on stovetop.
Make the frittata: Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
In a large bowl, lightly beat eggs and add seasoning. Add cubed potatoes (with peelings), bacon torn into small pieces, two handfuls of spinach, and ⅓ cup feta to the bowl with the eggs.
Pour egg mixture into pan and let it cook on stovetop for about 10 minutes, until semi-solidified. Next, transfer the pan to the oven to bake for 5 to 10 minutes. Enjoy!
4. Quick and Simple Stir Fried Kale and Bacon
It doesn’t get much easier than this: You’re just five ingredients away from a hearty side dish! Kale seems to be a growing trend in the kitchen lately – try this recipe from Nom Nom Paleo, which recommends stir-frying the so-called superfood in with bacon. Kale’s slightly bitter taste balances nicely with bacon and tangy vinegar. Recipe yields four side servings and takes 10 minutes to complete.
- 1 bunch of lancinato kale, leaves removed and thinly chopped
- 3 slices of bacon, cut in ¼ inch strips
- splash of vinegar
- Kosher salt
- Freshly ground black pepper
Directions: Wash and chop kale leaves. Sauté bacon bits in a large cast iron skillet over medium heat, until crisp. Add in kale leaves with a dash of salt and pepper. Stir kale and bacon for several minutes then splash on some vinegar to taste.
5. Bacon and Cream Cheese Stuffed Mushrooms
Bacon and cream cheese together: Because you don’t need your heart that badly, right? This sinful combination plopped into button mushrooms will make for the perfect finger food for your next party — guests will go crazy for it! This recipe from Mountain Mama Cooks takes 45 minutes to complete and yields sixteen bite-sized treats.
- 8 ounces bacon
- ½ cup finely minced sweet onion
- 1 clove garlic, minced
- 16 ounces white button mushrooms
- 4 ounces cream cheese
- ¼ cup grated parmesan cheese
- salt and pepper
Directions: Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Using scissors or a sharp knife, cut raw bacon into small pieces. In a large sauté pan, over medium heat, cook bacon until nice and crispy. While bacon is cooking, remove mushroom stems from caps and chop stems into small pieces. When bacon is done, remove from pan and set aside; reserve 2 tablespoons of bacon grease and pour the rest from pan. Sauté onion until soft about 5 minutes, scraping up any brown bits on bottom of pan.
Add chopped mushrooms stems and garlic and cook a few minutes longer. Reduce heat to low. Add cream cheese and parmesan cheese and stir until cheeses are melted. Add reserved chopped bacon and season to taste with salt and pepper. Remove mixture from heat and stuff each mushroom cap generously with mixture. Bake at 350 degrees Fahrenheit for about 20 minutes, or until mushrooms are soft and filling is nice and hot.
6. Roasted Stuffed Pork Tenderloin
Bacon fat can be just as delicious in your entrées. This recipe from Paleo Cupboard takes about an hour and a half to complete, including cooking time, and yields six to eight servings. The tangy citrus in the lemon parsley oil that tops this delicious roast will highlight the spices and savory bacon flavors infused in your stuffed pork.
- 2 pork tenderloins (about 2 ½ pounds)
- 4 slices bacon
- 8 ounces mushrooms, sliced
- 2 tablespoons fresh rosemary
- 2 tablespoons fresh thyme
- ½ teaspoon sea salt
- ½ teaspoon ground pepper
- ½ medium onion, chopped
- 3 cloves garlic, chopped
- 4 cups fresh spinach
Lemon Parsley Oil:
- 4 tablespoons olive oil
- 2 teaspoons lemon zest
- 3 tablespoons fresh parsley
- ¼ teaspoon sea salt
- Dash ground black pepper
Directions: Preheat oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit with oven rack set in the middle of the oven.
Cut your onions and mushrooms. Cook the bacon in a large skillet over medium-high heat until crisp. Set bacon aside and keep the bacon fat in the pan. Using the same pan, add the onion, mushrooms, ¼ teaspoon sea salt, ¼ teaspoon ground black pepper, fresh thyme, and rosemary. Sauté for 3 minutes, stirring occasionally. Next add the garlic and spinach and toss to coat. Cook for another 2 minutes until spinach is wilted. Remove from heat and set aside.
Butterfly the pork tenderloins by cutting down the middle length of each one but not cutting it all of the way through, and spread the meat flat. Cover the tenderloins with plastic wrap and pound with a meat mallet until about ½ inch thick. Sprinkle the remaining ½ teaspoon sea salt and ½ teaspoon ground pepper on the tenderloins.
Spread the spinach mixture over the two tenderloins evenly and spread it to reach the sides. Crumble the bacon and add it on top of the mixture. Roll the tenderloin, starting at the narrow end, and secure with toothpicks. Place the tenderloins in a roasting pan. Cook the tenderloins for 45 minutes, or until the inside reaches 145 degrees Fahrenheit on a meat thermometer.
While the tenderloins are cooking, make the lemon oil by combining all ingredients together in a small mixing bowl and stirring with a spoon or whisk. Set aside.
When the pork is done, transfer is to a cutting board and allow to rest for about 10 minutes, lightly covered in aluminum foil. Remove the toothpicks and slice the pork rolls. Serve with the lemon sauce.
7. Bacon Fried Rice
This is one of the best ways possible to use up the leftover rice from Chinese food — but this fried rice is a delicious enough meal to merit whipping up your own batch of fresh rice, too. Fried rice is a delicious Asian-inspired dish, but cooking it up in bacon fat adds a new, hearty element to a seasoned favorite. This recipe from Pantry Dreams yields four to six servings and takes about an hour to complete.
- 2 cups long grain white rice, cooked according to package directions
- 8 slices thick sliced bacon, diced
- 3 eggs, beaten
- 6 green onions, sliced
- ¼ cup soy sauce
Directions: In a large non-stick skillet, fry bacon over medium-high heat. When bacon is mostly crispy, add in rice and stir to coat rice in bacon grease. Fry rice for about 30 minutes, stirring occasionally (about every 5 minutes or so). Push the rice to the edges of the pan to create a well. Pour in eggs and cook until scrambled, stirring just the eggs around occasionally. Once eggs are thoroughly cooked (about 2 to 3 minutes) add in green onions and combine everything. Pour soy sauce over the top of the rice, stirring to incorporate. If you would prefer more soy sauce flavor, add extra soy sauce a couple tablespoons at a time.
8. Whole Grain Pancakes with Bacon Fat
Here is yet another way to enjoy bacon in your breakfast — best served with more bacon on the side. This recipe from Color Me Green uses cornmeal in its batter to achieve an incredible crispy texture. The sweetness of the honey and maple syrup on your pancakes will blend seamlessly with the smoky bacon flavor afforded by cooking it up in bacon fat. Recipe yields eight medium-sized pancakes and takes about 35 minutes to complete.
- 1½ teaspoons bacon fat
- 1½ teaspoons honey
- 1 egg
- ¾ cup plus 1 tablespoon milk
- ½ cup all purpose flour
- ¼ cup whole wheat flour
- ¼ cup cornmeal
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1½ teaspoons baking powder
- additional bacon fat (or butter) for frying
- maple syrup
Directions: Scoop out 1 ½ teaspoons of bacon fat into a mixing bowl and give it 5 or 10 minutes to soften. In the meantime, you can get out the remaining ingredients, grease a ¼ measuring cup, and put your cast iron pan over a low heat to warm up.
Combine the honey, egg, and milk into the fat. Add the dry ingredients and stir to combine until it’s a smooth batter. Add enough bacon fat to the pan to coat the bottom. It should quickly melt and slightly bubble.
Using a well greased ¼ measuring cup, scoop out batter. Pour it into the pan with a steady hand and let the batter flow outward to create a perfectly round pancake. When the pancake edges start to curl under and bubble, flip it over and cook for an additional few minutes until both sides are browned. Store pancakes in a covered dish or oven to keep warm until they’re all cooked and ready to serve with maple syrup.
9. Potato Soup with Bacon, Cheddar, and Green Onions
Bacon, cheddar, and onions constitute a trifecta in most people’s books. Potato soup is a great vehicle for uniting this array of flavors in one cohesive and unforgettable meal. This recipe from Chicken Fried Gourmet takes about 20 minutes to complete and yields six to eight servings.
- 1 box of Instant Mashed Potatoes
- Milk (adjust according to directions on mashed potatoes)
- Chicken Stock (just enough to thin out potatoes to desired consistency)
- 1 can of diced new potatoes
- Cheddar cheese for grating
- Bacon fat
- Diced bacon
- Chopped green onions
Directions: Make the potatoes according to the directions. While potatoes are cooking, warm up some chicken stock in a separate pot. Once the potatoes are done, add the chicken stock to thin them out and let simmer for about 10 minutes.
Drain the diced new potatoes and season them with salt and pepper. Sauté the potatoes in a skillet with about 3 tablespoons of bacon fat until crispy and golden on the outside. Once finished, add a spoonful of them to your bowl.
Ladle the soup over the potatoes and garnish with cheese, bacon, and green onions. Top with cheddar cheese if desired.
10. Bacon Fat Gingersnaps
Let’s not forget how delicious bacon can be for dessert! Even if you aren’t a sucker for gingersnaps, you’ll change your mind after a bite of this sweet and savory, moist and chewy combo. This recipe from Leite’s Culinaria takes 45 minutes to complete and yields three to four dozen cookies — enough to hold you for, say, a couple days.
- ¾ cup bacon drippings (from 1 ½ to 2 pounds bacon), at room temperature
- 1 cup granulated sugar, plus more for the work surface
- ¼ cup molasses (not blackstrap) or cane syrup
- 1 large egg
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 ½ teaspoons kosher salt
- 2 teaspoons baking soda
- 2 teaspoons ground ginger
- ½ teaspoon ground cloves
- ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
Directions: Combine all of the ingredients in a food processor and pulse just until a smooth, stiff dough forms. Wrap the dough tightly in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least a few hours and up to 2 days.
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper.
Place about ¼ cup sugar in a shallow bowl. Break off 1-tablespoon chunks of cookie dough and roll them into balls. Drop them in the sugar, roll to coat, and place them on the baking sheets, spacing them about 2 inches apart. If desired, gently flatten the dough.
Bake the cookies for 10 to 12 minutes, until dark brown. Let cool on the baking sheets for a few minutes, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.