17

votes

Is it safe to leave fat in a frying pan overnight?

Answered on August 19, 2014
Created March 30, 2011 at 3:19 PM

Hey folks. After I cook, I save the leftover fat for use in the future. Should the leftover fat be refrigerated, or is it safe to leave the fat in the pan for 6-12 hours before re-use?

74f5d2ff6567edd456d31dfb9b92af61

(5227)

on September 07, 2013
at 01:28 AM

I don't strain mine, but I get only the tiniest bit of sediment on the bottom of the jar.

A968087cc1dd66d480749c02e4619ef4

(20436)

on April 01, 2011
at 03:12 PM

We have two cats - one eats bacon and the other doesn't. He's "The Baconator" and "The Butternator" lol.

Aead76beb5fc7b762a6b4ddc234f6051

(15239)

on March 30, 2011
at 08:40 PM

ugh...my cat will gnaw through a concrete wall to get the bacon fat in the pan, then has all sorts of terrible poop issues that i have to deal with. im thinking im going to have to put her in the barn when i cook bacon from now on.

95601768ec9cb75cc3a9cbcd2271ed14

(2206)

on March 30, 2011
at 07:41 PM

lol! my cat turns her nose up at bacon (weirdo, right?) but if i forget to put the lid back on the coconut oil jar right away trouble ensues. she will even dig around in there with her paw if the level is getting low and then lap it off.

100fd85230060e754fc13394eee6d6f1

(18706)

on March 30, 2011
at 06:42 PM

I forget sometimes, too.

D67e7b481854b02110d5a5b21d6789b1

(4111)

on March 30, 2011
at 06:35 PM

yep my mother has her grandmother's grease jar to this day. maybe one day i will inherit it and can dump my cheapo walmart tin.

Medium avatar

(12379)

on March 30, 2011
at 06:23 PM

I strain it if it looks as though it needs to be strained. We get this awesome local bacon that is really thick cut - so it doesn't crumble as much - so we don't get all that many bits.

3820f255356016cfccbcea5e2afcc1c1

(178)

on March 30, 2011
at 05:21 PM

Do folks strain your bacon fat? i.e. so you get the bacon bits out when you leave it out on the counter? OR you don't bother with that?

Ed71ab1c75c6a9bd217a599db0a3e117

(25482)

on March 30, 2011
at 05:18 PM

They lick my pan they go in it......and oven.

A968087cc1dd66d480749c02e4619ef4

(20436)

on March 30, 2011
at 05:07 PM

My cat is always eating our butter when we forget to cover it!

8e75344356f4a455185ee52da0b90bf2

on March 30, 2011
at 04:45 PM

Good point, Jack. I keep a fine sieve on top of my grease jar to filter out as much "crumblies" as possible.

8e75344356f4a455185ee52da0b90bf2

on March 30, 2011
at 04:43 PM

Ditto. I've kept a mason jar of bacon grease on my stove since i set up housekeeping 20+ years ago. Same jar, different grease ;) as we also cook everything in bacon grease. The fat is fine even through South Carolina summers.

F52b51135f2c47eb46c986fdc9760b9b

(180)

on March 30, 2011
at 04:33 PM

I used to wake up every morning to find these all these weird little wave-like ripples in the lard in the pan. Took me a while to realize that they were tongue marks from where my cat was licking it. Keeping a cover on the pan solved the problem.

74f5d2ff6567edd456d31dfb9b92af61

(5227)

on March 30, 2011
at 04:11 PM

Same. I keep an empty jar of bacon fat next to the stove for ease of use. :)

77877f762c40637911396daa19b53094

(78467)

on March 30, 2011
at 04:03 PM

Yeah I leave meat fats in the pan to condition the Cast iron and then usually give it to the dog on her food the next day.

922038b6c0ca6a051cc4858218931456

(392)

on March 30, 2011
at 03:58 PM

Good point! Totally spaced on that one.

Af1d286f0fd5c3949f59b4edf4d892f5

(18472)

on March 30, 2011
at 03:58 PM

thanks Ambimorph.

100fd85230060e754fc13394eee6d6f1

(18706)

on March 30, 2011
at 03:51 PM

Then you should upvote the question, StephNY! ;-)

100fd85230060e754fc13394eee6d6f1

(18706)

on March 30, 2011
at 03:51 PM

Than you should upvote the question, StephNY! ;-)

7e746be2f0e550a8cd7df881322ae705

(18701)

on March 30, 2011
at 03:43 PM

My cat tries to get the bacon out of the pan WHILE its cooking!

F52b51135f2c47eb46c986fdc9760b9b

(180)

on March 30, 2011
at 03:37 PM

ah, saturated works, unsat doesn't. That fits in well with what I've personally experienced.

922038b6c0ca6a051cc4858218931456

(392)

on March 30, 2011
at 03:25 PM

I thought I was the only person that always wonders this. I HAVE left mine out and felt fine upon consumption of what I cooked with it, but I'm definitely looking forward to this answer!

  • 49de4cd2f26705785cbef2b15a9df7aa

    asked by

    (840)
  • Views
    31.3K
  • Last Activity
    1526D AGO
Frontpage book

Get FREE instant access to our Paleo For Beginners Guide & 15 FREE Recipes!

15 Answers

best answer

14
Af1d286f0fd5c3949f59b4edf4d892f5

(18472)

on March 30, 2011
at 03:57 PM

It definitely depends on the type of fat. Saturated fats hold just fine, as they are very impervious to rancidity in a short timeframe like "overnight". Bacon fat, ghee, coconut oil, beef fat, or really anything highly saturated that does not have food in it that is particularly susceptible to "going bad quickly" is ok. So it's not the actual fat that you have to worry about. It's the other food elements that may have been introduced into the fat on the first round of cooking. (think meat or it's remnants like blood or 'beef juice' like the question PersonMan posted.) Even then you may be fine, but to be technical and cover the bases, I figure it's worth a nod.

We've cooked veggies in coconut oil before and left a layer of oil in the pan overnight that looked like it was never even used. So we threw some eggs on there and fried em up the next morning. All good.

If you want to be OCD about it though, you can cover the pan with a paper towel to keep from bugs and or dust getting into it. But on a Paleo site like this, you may not garner much support behind that kind of behavior. lol.

8e75344356f4a455185ee52da0b90bf2

on March 30, 2011
at 04:45 PM

Good point, Jack. I keep a fine sieve on top of my grease jar to filter out as much "crumblies" as possible.

11
100fd85230060e754fc13394eee6d6f1

(18706)

on March 30, 2011
at 03:48 PM

I leave fat in my cast iron pans continuously. I wash them now and then if particles get stuck, or if I've cooked fish. Otherwise I don't give it a second thought. I can't guarantee your safety, of course, but that's what I do.

I only ever use animal fat to cook with.

10
07ca188c8dac3a17f629dd87198d2098

(7970)

on March 30, 2011
at 03:37 PM

Just make sure you don't have any cats or agile dogs capable of getting up on the counter/stove and licking the pan, trying to help you clean it.

I mean, it's OK if they do. I'd just want to know about it so I can avoid it :)

7e746be2f0e550a8cd7df881322ae705

(18701)

on March 30, 2011
at 03:43 PM

My cat tries to get the bacon out of the pan WHILE its cooking!

Ed71ab1c75c6a9bd217a599db0a3e117

(25482)

on March 30, 2011
at 05:18 PM

They lick my pan they go in it......and oven.

F52b51135f2c47eb46c986fdc9760b9b

(180)

on March 30, 2011
at 04:33 PM

I used to wake up every morning to find these all these weird little wave-like ripples in the lard in the pan. Took me a while to realize that they were tongue marks from where my cat was licking it. Keeping a cover on the pan solved the problem.

A968087cc1dd66d480749c02e4619ef4

(20436)

on March 30, 2011
at 05:07 PM

My cat is always eating our butter when we forget to cover it!

95601768ec9cb75cc3a9cbcd2271ed14

(2206)

on March 30, 2011
at 07:41 PM

lol! my cat turns her nose up at bacon (weirdo, right?) but if i forget to put the lid back on the coconut oil jar right away trouble ensues. she will even dig around in there with her paw if the level is getting low and then lap it off.

Aead76beb5fc7b762a6b4ddc234f6051

(15239)

on March 30, 2011
at 08:40 PM

ugh...my cat will gnaw through a concrete wall to get the bacon fat in the pan, then has all sorts of terrible poop issues that i have to deal with. im thinking im going to have to put her in the barn when i cook bacon from now on.

A968087cc1dd66d480749c02e4619ef4

(20436)

on April 01, 2011
at 03:12 PM

We have two cats - one eats bacon and the other doesn't. He's "The Baconator" and "The Butternator" lol.

4
592fdaa77ec6342b736f1d25962aab7f

(547)

on March 30, 2011
at 04:11 PM

Here down south I don't know if there is a single kitchen without a bacon grease jar. And honestly I have never seen it refrigerated or thrown out.

D67e7b481854b02110d5a5b21d6789b1

(4111)

on March 30, 2011
at 06:35 PM

yep my mother has her grandmother's grease jar to this day. maybe one day i will inherit it and can dump my cheapo walmart tin.

4
B3c62d89cd47b7d7209b6a99243d0ded

on March 30, 2011
at 03:37 PM

Do you have pets that will get into the tasty pan and start licking?

Sat fats are likely ok, esp. if you cover them when they are still hot.

heh, call it mostly sterile at high temps.

4
C4134ed417dbc0a6b79ab2cee32632d3

(1811)

on March 30, 2011
at 03:32 PM

Depends on the fat...

Growing up in the UK, everyone had a chip pan which constantly had lard/beef dripping left in it and was used again and again.

It wasn't until we moved to vegetable oils that they were thrown away after each use. We have a little tub that we put our beef dripping into and we leave it on the kitchen bench. We will use it if it's clean (the contaminants usually sink to the bottom of the pot). But, we usually shallow fry/saute and we don't usually have much fat left as it's soaked up by the food.

However, I reuse saturated fats again after leaving them at room temperature (they're less likely to oxidise as they're saturated).

F52b51135f2c47eb46c986fdc9760b9b

(180)

on March 30, 2011
at 03:37 PM

ah, saturated works, unsat doesn't. That fits in well with what I've personally experienced.

3
D67e7b481854b02110d5a5b21d6789b1

on March 30, 2011
at 05:30 PM

They make a handy-dandy, easily washable product for this see here:

http://www.amazon.com/Imusa-Aluminum-Grease-Dipsenser-Quart/dp/B0018EA048/ref=sr_1_4?ie=UTF8&qid=1301505931&sr=8-4

This is the one I use, I actually bought it at a superstore for about $6.

I drain the fat through the strainer every day and then wipe out the pan and put it away. Only cause I hate to have pans left out :) otherwise I wouldnt bother.

Whenever I need some for cooking, just spoon it out into the pan. Every 3-4 months or so if I think the grease in the tin is getting too old, has too many crumbles or starts to smell weird I discard it, throw the tin into the dishwasher and start a fresh batch. Easy-greasy!

3
F52b51135f2c47eb46c986fdc9760b9b

on March 30, 2011
at 03:32 PM

I don't know if it's safe, but I do this commonly with lard and coconut oil in my cast iron skillet and don't have a problem. I don't seem to have a problem with olive oil either. However, if I use something like canola or vegetable oil and try to leave it in the pan overnight, then the next day it has this horrible flavor and odor that makes my food inedible if I try to cook with it...which, by the way, is what convinced me to avoid eating those kinds of oils.

2
0c0c5c65612425e497b7231c21516943

(1354)

on September 07, 2013
at 12:44 AM

I use to clean the pan after every use (cast iron every day twice a day). Now no more! LOL! Our weekend bacon grease usually goes in the refrigerator, but if it doesn't make it in, I don't sweat it.

1
A68f24168bc0de414a038037e287b581

on March 30, 2011
at 09:28 PM

I do it often, but when it's summer and really warm, I might think twice, would probably get it into the fridge. I love frying eggs in fat after meat or so, gives great flavor!

1
9aa2a816c61170cc0183a68be0386ba5

on March 30, 2011
at 06:57 PM

I would say yes, but in my house the cats would eat it. So no.

1
1da74185531d6d4c7182fb9ee417f97f

on March 30, 2011
at 06:38 PM

I don't know if it's safe "persay" like drinking raw dairy might not be safe, but I always reuse my grease in my castiron unless there's a lot of meat gunk or herbs mixed with the fat. If it's a lot of grease I just cover it while it's still hot and it seems fine. I think it's ok to trust your nose on this one and trust that the heat will kill any negligiable bacteria that gets in. Just my $.02

1
Medium avatar

(12379)

on March 30, 2011
at 03:55 PM

We have a jar that I keep next to the kitchen sink full of bacon fat (well not so full actually - we use it to cook almost every vegetable). I keep coconut oil in the cast iron all the time - keeps the pan looking and cooking better.

3820f255356016cfccbcea5e2afcc1c1

(178)

on March 30, 2011
at 05:21 PM

Do folks strain your bacon fat? i.e. so you get the bacon bits out when you leave it out on the counter? OR you don't bother with that?

74f5d2ff6567edd456d31dfb9b92af61

(5227)

on September 07, 2013
at 01:28 AM

I don't strain mine, but I get only the tiniest bit of sediment on the bottom of the jar.

8e75344356f4a455185ee52da0b90bf2

on March 30, 2011
at 04:43 PM

Ditto. I've kept a mason jar of bacon grease on my stove since i set up housekeeping 20+ years ago. Same jar, different grease ;) as we also cook everything in bacon grease. The fat is fine even through South Carolina summers.

Medium avatar

(12379)

on March 30, 2011
at 06:23 PM

I strain it if it looks as though it needs to be strained. We get this awesome local bacon that is really thick cut - so it doesn't crumble as much - so we don't get all that many bits.

74f5d2ff6567edd456d31dfb9b92af61

(5227)

on March 30, 2011
at 04:11 PM

Same. I keep an empty jar of bacon fat next to the stove for ease of use. :)

77877f762c40637911396daa19b53094

(78467)

on March 30, 2011
at 04:03 PM

Yeah I leave meat fats in the pan to condition the Cast iron and then usually give it to the dog on her food the next day.

1
2cdd1c775683f760390d80cdb984fc13

on March 30, 2011
at 03:30 PM

It should be fine, but I would definitely put it into an airtight container to prevent oxidation.

0
Cf4576cbcc44fc7f2294135609bce9e5

on January 02, 2012
at 12:48 PM

the bacon Grease jar is so you dont poor it down the drain and clog it. the hot grease will melt a plastic trash bag so you cant poor into the trash. use common sense, hot oil is sterile, if you cover it with a tight fitting lid while hot it will remain sterile. it wont go rancid over night. Bacon is expensive so i try to reuse at least some of the fat to fry other food such as pork chops, ham, eggs, chicken. i then discard the oil after one use. i have never became ill with this practice. Im old.

Answer Question


Get FREE instant access to our
Paleo For Beginners Guide & 15 FREE Recipes!