How Long Can You Keep Bacon Grease on the Counter?

As a food blogger and home cook, I get asked this question a lot – is it safe to keep bacon grease sitting out on the counter?

The answer isn’t straightforward. While some old-school cooks have kept their bacon grease out for extended periods, modern food safety guidelines say it should be refrigerated or frozen.

In this article, I’ll go over everything you need to know about proper storage and shelf life for bacon grease. You’ll get:

  • Recommendations on fridge vs. counter storage
  • Timeframes for how long bacon grease keeps
  • Signs grease has gone bad
  • Pro tips for maximizing shelf life

My goal is to give you confidence in safely saving and using this versatile cooking fat. Let’s dive in!

Should You Keep Bacon Grease on the Counter or in the Fridge?

First things first – where should you store bacon grease? The fridge or freezer are best for food safety Here’s why


  • Risk of bacteria – Grease left out can grow bacteria over time. Foodborne illnesses are no fun!

  • Quicker spoilage – Heat and air exposure cause rancidity.


  • Slows bacteria – Cold temps inhibit growth.

  • Prevents rancidity – Lack of heat/air keeps grease fresher longer.

  • Longer shelf life – Fridge = 3-6 months, freezer = 6-12 months.

The bottom line: Don’t leave bacon grease on the counter long-term. Refrigerate it in a covered container for optimal safety and freshness.

How Long Does Bacon Grease Last on the Counter?

If you’ve left your grease out for a short time, is it still safe to use? Here are general time frames:

  • 1-2 hours: Still fine to use or refrigerate.

  • Over 2 hours: Risky – bacteria may be growing. Safer to discard.

  • Over 4 hours: Should be thrown out. Higher risk of foodborne illness.

Trust your nose – if grease smells or looks off after sitting out, pitch it. When in doubt, keeping people safe is better than wasting food.

Maximizing Bacon Grease Shelf Life

To keep bacon grease fresher for longer on the counter or in the fridge/freezer, follow these tips:

  • Strain – Remove bacon bits through a mesh strainer or cheesecloth. Bits contain bacteria.

  • Small batches – Don’t add new grease to old. Use a clean jar for each collection.

  • Tight lids – Secure lids prevent air exposure to minimize rancidity.

  • Glass/metal – Plastic absorbs odors; glass or metal is better for storage.

  • Freeze – Freezing keeps grease fresher for 6-12 months. Thaw before using.

With proper handling, you can keep bacon grease around for a good long while!

Signs Your Bacon Grease Has Gone Bad

Watch for these signs that your bacon grease has spoiled and should be tossed:

  • Odd or unpleasant smell
  • Change to a darker color
  • Mold spots or fuzziness
  • Thick, gummy texture

Your senses are the best tools for determining safety and freshness. If in doubt, throw it out.

Tips for Safely Using Bacon Grease

When you’re ready to cook with your saved bacon grease, keep these tips in mind:

  • Thaw – If frozen, thaw grease in fridge before using. Don’t thaw at room temp.

  • Heat – Melt grease over low heat. High heat promotes oxidation.

  • Combine – Mix with oils when cooking. Too much pure grease has a heavy mouthfeel.

  • Toss – Never reuse grease after cooking. Always discard after 1 use.

  • Replace – Use or freeze within 3-6 months for optimal freshness.

How to Store Leftover Cooking Grease

If you cook with bacon grease, be sure to properly store any leftovers. Here’s how:

  1. Let grease cool slightly so it’s warm, not hot.

  2. Strain if needed to remove food particles.

  3. Transfer to an airtight container – glass or metal preferred.

  4. Refrigerate or freeze immediately.

  5. Use within 1-2 months for optimal freshness and flavor.

Safe Grease Storage if Power Goes Out

No one wants a power outage, but it happens. If the power goes out and you have grease stored in the fridge, follow these steps:

  • Keep closed and don’t open the fridge more than necessary.

  • Use within 1-2 hours of outage starting for safety.

  • If outage lasts over 2 hours, discard the grease to prevent bacteria growth.

  • When in doubt, throw it out! Don’t risk getting sick.

Useful Substitutes for Bacon Grease

If you don’t have bacon grease on hand, you can sub in these oils:

  • Coconut oil – Adds similar saturated fat.

  • Butter – Provides creamy texture.

  • Olive oil – Contributes fruity notes.

  • Duck fat – Imparts rich flavor.

Bacon grease has a unique smoky profile, but these alternatives get you close in a pinch!

Delicious Ways to Use Your Bacon Fat

Once you’ve stored your grease properly, here are tasty ways to put it to work:

  • Saute veggies like Brussels sprouts, greens, potatoes.

  • Fry or scramble eggs.

  • Roast potatoes, cauliflower or root vegetables.

  • Make baked goods like biscuits, scones, pie crust.

  • Toss with pasta, rice or cooked grains.

  • Make salad dressings, compound butters or spreads.

With so many options, you’ll go through that bacon grease in no time!

Key Takeaways on Storing Bacon Grease

  • Refrigerate in a sealed container; don’t leave out long-term.

  • Look for signs of spoilage like smell, color, texture.

  • Strain out bits; store in glass/metal; use older grease first.

  • Freeze for longer shelf life; thaw before using.

  • Replace every 3-6 months for best freshness.

  • Discard promptly after power outages over 2 hours.

Feel free to reach out with any other kitchen storage questions! Proper techniques keep both your food and your family safe.

How to store your bacon grease

How do you store bacon grease?

For storage, place the sealed container in your refrigerator, freezer, or pantry; keeping it away from direct sunlight or heat sources. Using glass containers such as mason jars or jelly jars is a great way to store bacon grease safely and securely. To determine if your bacon grease has spoiled, check for a rancid odor.

Can bacon grease be reused?

This quick video shows you how to save, filter, store, and reuse bacon grease. After cooking a big pan of bacon, DO NOT throw out that leftover bacon grease. That rendered fat is liquid gold and can be used to season greens, beans, rice dishes, saute vegetables, make dressings, etc.

Does bacon grease go bad?

Yes, bacon grease eventually goes bad. However, with proper storage, it can last up to 6 months in the refrigerator. You can easily replace butter or cooking oil with bacon grease for a tasty twist in various dishes. To enjoy its benefits, make sure to store it correctly and use it within the suggested time frame. How Long is Bacon Grease Good For?

How long does bacon grease last?

Bacon grease can last up to six months when stored in the refrigerator. However, for the best quality, it’s recommended to use it within 90 days. Always remember to store your bacon grease properly to extend its shelf life. After cooking bacon, allow the grease to cool at room temperature.

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