The Pantry Ingredient That Cleans Up Bacon Grease In A Flash

Cooking comes with a lot of guidelines. Above all, you should never pour leftover bacon grease — or any grease — down the drain. As it cools, grease hardens, creating blockages in your plumbing that only a professional can remedy.

Instead, you're much better off soaking up the grease with another material and throwing it all in the garbage. One such method calls for using a staple pantry ingredient, baking soda. If you've got a pan full of bacon grease, pour in a hefty amount of baking soda and let the mixture sit until it becomes a thick paste.

After the grease has been completely soaked up by the baking soda and cooled enough that it won't melt anything it comes into contact with, you can safely dispose of the paste in your regular trash. To prevent any spills should your bag rip, you might also consider spooning the paste into a jar or can for extra containment.

Additional ways to clean up grease without making a mess

Whether you don't have a box of baking soda in your pantry or don't want to waste baking soda on a pan of grease, you might be looking for other ways to clean up. Fortunately, you can use plenty of alternative methods that are just as easy.

For instance, you can use paper towels to safely get rid of cooking oil or grease. Wad up a few sheets and allow them to soak up the grease. After you've gotten most of it soaked up, wipe the pan clean and toss the paper towels in the trash. That being said, this particular hack could be considered as wasteful as the baking soda method. Therefore, the best move for those who want to limit waste may be to collect hot grease in a jar or can every time they cook. After your designated container is full, either freeze it to thoroughly solidify the contents or toss it right in the trash.

How to reuse leftover grease and cooking oil

Though throwing grease in the garbage is inarguably better than pouring it down the drain, the most eco-friendly option (not to mention the tastiest) is to reuse it. Sean Brock's cast iron cornbread recipe, for example, calls for bacon grease. This flavorful product is also a great addition to soups, gravy, meatballs, grits, beans, and countless other foods.

If you have too much grease to use right away, you'll want to strain it while it's still warm and fluid, then store it in a jar or can. Afterward, it should be refrigerated or frozen to preserve quality.

A similar method applies to reusing cooking oil: Strain it after use and keep it in the refrigerator. If you're using the oil for messier foods, such as breaded items, try not to reuse the oil more than three or four times, as the quality decreases each time it's reheated. If used to fry cleaner foods, the oil can be reused twice as many times before you should dispose of it using one of the previously outlined methods.