Substitutes for bacon grease

Best Substitutes for Bacon Grease

There are plenty of excellent substitutes and alternatives for bacon grease available, including vegan options. A helpful tip to make your substitute taste more like bacon grease is to add a small amount of liquid smoke. This simple addition can enhance the flavor of any replacement you use!

What Is Bacon Grease?

Bacon grease is the fat that comes from heating bacon until its fat melts and separates. This grease is commonly used to fry bread or omelets in the same pan used for cooking the bacon.

Bacon grease carries flavor and helps you feel full, giving dishes a smoky taste. That’s why it’s popular in the Southern United States.

You can buy bacon grease in larger quantities and use it for recipes, including stove-top popcorn, grilled cheese, hash browns, gravy base, roasted veggies, and biscuits!

Health Benefits of Bacon Fat

Despite the recent bad reputation of fats, a small amount is good for us. It helps our bodies absorb vitamins like A, D, and E and provides brain-boosting omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids.

Bacon fat is different from margarine because it doesn’t contain trans fats (bad fats) and has more monounsaturated fats (good fats) than regular butter. However, remember that moderation is key—too much of a good thing isn’t beneficial.

Why Use Substitutes for Bacon Fat?

If you don’t have bacon or can’t eat pork for religious reasons, here are some alternatives to bacon fat. These substitutes won’t have the smoky flavor of bacon grease, but you can enhance the taste by using smoked salt or adding a pinch of liquid smoke while cooking.

Understanding Smoke Point

The smoke point is the temperature when oil or grease begins to burn.  Choose the right oil or cooking fat based on the cooking temperature to prevent burning the food.

Substitutes for Bacon Grease

1. Beef Fat

If you avoid pork but eat other meats, consider using beef tallow instead of bacon grease. It doesn’t have the smoky flavor of bacon grease, so add smoked salt or liquid smoke to enhance the taste. Beef tallow has a smoke point of 480°F/250°C.

2. Chicken Skin Grease

Did you know frying chicken skin can give you a tasty oil similar to bacon grease? When you fry chicken skin, it releases flavorful chicken oil. You can use this oil instead of bacon grease for cooking. However, frying the skin means you won’t have it for your chicken roast later. 

You can enjoy the crispy fried skin as a delicious snack! Chicken fat has a smoke point of 375°F/190°C, so it’s great for frying at medium heat.

3. Butter 

Butter is a good alternative to bacon grease because it adds a similar richness, although it doesn’t have the smoky taste of bacon. If you’re using unsalted butter, you may want to add extra salt to taste.

To enhance the bacon-like flavor in your dishes, try mixing smoked paprika into your butter.

Be careful not to use too much heat when cooking with butter because it burns more than bacon grease.

In baking, remember that butter has more moisture than bacon grease, which can change the texture of your dish.

For the best results, use butter that is 82-86% butterfat when substituting for bacon grease.

4. Ghee

Clarified butter, known as ghee

Clarified butter, known as ghee, is a good substitute for butter. It’s made by heating butter until the milk solids separate, leaving a golden, nutty-tasting liquid full of flavor. It’s not smoky or salty like bacon grease, but it adds richness and depth to dishes. Ghee’s strong flavor stands out well alongside other spices. Also, it has a high smoke point of 465°F/240°C, making it great for cooking at high temperatures.

5. Pork Lard

Pork lard is like bacon fat because they both come from pork. It’s easy to make lard at home, but it takes time. You can also buy ready-to-use lard at the store, although homemade is usually better.

The only difference is that regular pork lard doesn’t have the salty, smoky flavor of bacon grease. To add that flavor, sprinkle a bit of smoked salt or use liquid smoke when cooking with lard.

6. Duck Fat

Duck fat is a good substitute for bacon grease when cooking, especially in dishes where you want a meaty flavor. It’s rich and slightly sweet with a nutty taste.

Its flavor is more subtle than bacon grease, so it works best in dishes where other flavors aren’t too strong. It’s perfect for roasting potatoes.

Duck fat is healthier because it has more unsaturated fats than bacon grease. It’s closer in composition to olive oil than bacon grease.

Vegan Bacon Grease Alternative

Making vegan substitutes for bacon grease is possible with a bit of effort! To mimic the smoky and umami flavors, use smoked salt (or liquid smoke), onion and garlic powders, and nutritional yeast. These vegan ingredients help replace the umami and smoke flavors in the vegan substitutes. It’s more work than frying bacon, but it’s worth it for a tasty vegan option!

1. Peanut Oil

Peanut oil is a popular cooking oil in Asian cuisine. It’s commonly used instead of pork lard in Chinese peanut cookies for convenience and health reasons. You can also use peanut oil instead of bacon grease when cooking, but be aware that it might give your dish a nutty aroma. This oil has a high smoke point of 449°F/232°C, which makes it great for high-temperature cooking.

2. Vegetable Shortening

Vegetable shortening is a solid fat made from vegetable oils and is a good vegan substitute for animal fats. However, using shortening instead of bacon fat can result in food with less flavor, so consider adding umami-rich ingredients to enhance the taste. Vegetable shortening works well for both cooking and baking and has a smoke point of 360°F (182°C) to 370°F (188°C).

3. Avocado Oil 

Avocado oil is a rich fat similar to bacon grease but not as flavorful. You can boost its flavor by adding onion powder, garlic powder, smoked sea salt, and nutritional yeast. Although avocado oil is more expensive, it’s widely available in many regions. It has a high smoke point of 520°F/270°C, making it suitable for high-heat cooking.

4. Sesame Oil

Sesame Oil, Bacon Grease Alternative

Sesame oil has a strong flavor that’s very different from bacon fat but equally bold. Instead of smokiness, it adds a nutty and toasted taste to dishes, making them smell amazing. Sesame oil is best for Asian-inspired dishes like stir-fries, noodles, and marinades, but it’s not suitable for baking. It’s more expensive but perfect for making Chinese food. The smoke point of sesame oil is 410°F, ideal for cooking at medium to high heat.

5. Olive Oil

Olive oil is a healthy vegan substitute for bacon fat. Add nutritional yeast, smoked sea salt, onion, and garlic powder for flavor. Olive oil has a fruity, slightly bitter taste that enhances dishes, but it’s not smoky like bacon. It works best in recipes where bacon isn’t the main focus and when cooking at lower temperatures due to its low smoke point.

6. Coconut Oil

Coconut oil is high in fat like bacon grease, but its strong coconut flavor can be overpowering. It’s best used selectively, such as in curries like pork Assam curry or turkey berry curry but may not work well in other recipes.

How to Store Bacon Grease

To preserve leftover grease or oil, store it in an airtight container in the refrigerator after straining out any food bits. Check for freshness before use; typically, stored grease should last about a month in the fridge.

See Also – Substitute for Blue Cheese: 11 Delicious Options to Try

Trying different substitutes for bacon grease provides tasty options for cooking, suitable for various diets and cooking styles. Whether using animal fats like beef tallow or plant-based alternatives like avocado oil, these options add richness and flavor to dishes without bacon.


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