Is Bacon Fat Better Than Butter? A Complete Comparison

The legendary bacon vs. butter debate has raged for years. Both fats have legions of devoted fans and vocal critics. But when it comes down to nutrition and health effects, which one wins out – flavorful bacon grease or creamy, classic butter?

In this comprehensive comparison, we’ll analyze the nutritional profiles, potential benefits, and possible risks of bacon fat and butter. By the end, you’ll have the facts to determine which is truly better for your health and cooking needs.

Nutrition Breakdown: Bacon Fat vs. Butter

Let’s start by looking at how these two popular animal fats stack up nutritionally:

Bacon Fat (per tbsp)

  • Calories: 116
  • Total Fat: 13g
  • Saturated Fat: 5g
  • Monounsaturated Fat: 6g
  • Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g
  • Cholesterol: 14mg
  • Sodium: 19mg

Butter (per tbsp)

  • Calories: 102
  • Total Fat: 12g
  • Saturated Fat: 7g
  • Monounsaturated Fat: 3g
  • Polyunsaturated Fat: 0.4g
  • Cholesterol: 31mg
  • Sodium: 90mg

Right away, we see bacon fat has slightly more calories and less saturated fat compared to butter. It also contains no trans fat, unlike some margarines.

Additionally, bacon fat is nearly 50% monounsaturated fat – the heart-healthy kind found in olive oil. Butter has much less.

However, butter contains more vitamins A, D, E and K. It also provides conjugated linoleic acid (CLA), a unique fatty acid.

So while fairly close in overall fat content, the types of fats do differ between bacon grease and butter.

Potential Health Benefits of Bacon Fat and Butter

Consumed in moderation, both bacon fat and butter offer some potential wellness advantages:

Benefits of Bacon Fat

  • High in monounsaturated “good” fats like oleic acid
  • Contains no trans fat
  • Has uses for high-heat cooking methods like frying
  • Adds rich, smoky, savory flavor to foods
  • Promotes feeling of fullness and satisfaction

Benefits of Butter

  • Provides fat-soluble vitamins A, D, E and K
  • Contains anti-inflammatory CLA fatty acids
  • Has a naturally sweet, creamy rich taste
  • Preferred for baking uses like cookies and pie crusts
  • Aids in mineral and vitamin absorption

So while butter offers more micronutrients, bacon fat provides more monounsaturated fats that may help lower “bad” LDL cholesterol. Both offer flavor and satiety advantages.

But are there any potential risks to overdoing it on either fat?

Possible Health Risks of Bacon Fat and Butter

Like most foods, eating too much bacon grease or butter can be problematic:

Potential Risks of Bacon Fat

  • High in saturated fat, although less than butter
  • Contains nitrates that may form cancer-causing agents
  • Adds sodium to diet
  • High calorie density promotes weight gain

Potential Risks of Butter

  • Very high in saturated fat
  • Calorie-dense – easy to overeat
  • Contains lactose that can cause digestion issues
  • Linked to higher cholesterol levels and heart disease

While bacon fat is high in saturated fat, butter is significantly higher. Diets very high in saturated fats are tied to increased cardiovascular disease risk.

However, the monounsaturated fats in bacon fat may be less concerning than saturated dairy fats. And bacon fat’s calorie density makes it harder to overconsume than butter.

So while both should be eaten in moderation, from a health standpoint, butter looks a bit more problematic when over-consumed.

How Do Bacon Fat and Butter Compare for Cooking?

When it comes to cooking performance, bacon fat and butter each have advantages in certain applications:

Bacon Fat Pros

  • Excellent for frying and sautéing with smoke point of 375°F
  • Provides rich, nuanced bacon flavor
  • Good for greasing pans and seasoning cast iron
  • Creates crispness in veggies or potatoes

Butter Pros

  • Preferred for baking uses like cookies, cakes, and pie dough
  • Provides flakiness to biscuits, scones, and pastries
  • Ideal for low-heat cooking methods like steaming or poaching
  • Gives a creamy mouthfeel and sweetness

So bacon fat excels for high-heat frying and searing, while butter is better suited for gentle baking uses. Both offer mouthwatering flavor and texture.

So Is Bacon Fat Actually Better Than Butter?

When all factors are considered, is bacon fat truly a healthier choice compared to butter?

The answer is it depends. Bacon fat appears to be better for heart health thanks to its high monounsaturated fat content. But butter provides more beneficial vitamins and minerals.

For cooking, both perform well in certain applications. Bacon fat is great for frying or roasted veggies, while butter bakes up flaky pastries.

As with any food, enjoying both in moderation as part of a balanced diet is key. Bacon fat tastes delicious but should be used sparingly. Butter is fine in small amounts but too much can quickly add up.

Rather than declaring one better than the other, the best approach is to incorporate a variety of healthy fats like olive oil, avocados, nuts, seeds, and fatty fish in your diet. Enjoy bacon grease and butter moderately while emphasizing more nutritious fats.

With that said, here are some helpful tips for cooking and eating with these animal fats:

Tips for Cooking with Bacon Fat and Butter

  • Use organic uncured bacon to avoid nitrates if making your own grease
  • Purchase grass-fed butter for more omega-3s and conjugated linoleic acid
  • Limit bacon fat to 1-2 tbsp at a time if using for cooking
  • Store both in sealed containers in the fridge away from air and light
  • Avoid cooking bacon fat at very high temperatures to limit nitrosamine formation
  • Add butter at the end of cooking for flavor rather than for frying
  • Substitute half the butter in baking recipes with unsweetened applesauce
  • When baking, try creaming butter with bacon fat for best of both worlds

The Final Verdict

While neither are health foods, butter and bacon fat both offer their own unique culinary advantages. When used properly in moderation, both can be enjoyed as part of an overall nutritious diet.

So sizzle up some bacon for breakfast, and bake chocolate chip cookies with butter for dessert. With balance and restraint, you can have the best of both delicious worlds!

Bacon Grease: Better Than Butter?!


Is bacon grease a healthy fat?

So a lot of the unhealthy stuff associated with bacon isn’t necessarily in bacon fat. And surprisingly, it does has some healthy qualities. Like canola and olive oil, bacon fat is high in oleic acid, which is thought to reduce inflammation and cholesterol levels, Quinn said. Also, bacon fat simply tastes great.

Can I use bacon fat instead of butter?

Bacon grease can replace butter, oil or other fats in recipes. It has a low smoke point, though, so it’s not good for high-heat cooking. But it’s great for roasting, moderate sauteing, and baking. Bacon grease livens up savory dishes, but don’t limit yourself.

Is bacon fat healthier than margarine?

Unlike margarine, bacon grease does not contain trans fat (a form of fat associated with negative health risks) and has higher monounsaturated fat (healthy fats from plant and animal foods) than traditional butter.

Is bacon grease better than butter?

Bacon fat is higher in monounsaturated fat (the good fat) than butter. Unlike margarine, bacon grease does NOT contain trans fat (aka “bad fat”). A comparison between a tablespoon of bacon grease, butter, and canola oil is quite interesting. Bacon grease has slightly less cholesterol than butter and only 2 more milligrams of saturated fat.

What is the difference between bacon grease and canola oil?

A comparison between a tablespoon of bacon grease, butter, and canola oil is quite interesting. Bacon grease has slightly less cholesterol than butter and only 2 more milligrams of saturated fat. It has the same number of calories as the oil, but more saturated fat and sodium. Tips for cooking bacon and saving the grease.

Can you put Bacon in pancakes?

Pancakes or waffles. Bacon and maple syrup are a winning flavor combo. You can either stir a tablespoon or two of liquid bacon fat into your pancake batter or add a bit of bacon grease to soft butter to make a spreadable bacon-flavored butter.

What is the best fat for a Burger?

Steak or burgers. If you fry up a burger on the stovetop or make a skillet sizzling steak, bacon fat is one of the best fats to use for flavor. Bacon & eggs. Bacon and eggs are a perfect flavor duo. Make your bacon first, and use the leftover grease to cook the eggs.

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