There’s no better way to start the day than to perceive the smell of crispy fried bacon. These thin slices of pork hit the right spot, and when paired with toast or any other breakfast meal, you are sure to get your needed boost for the day.
As if it isn’t all that delicious already, the frying of bacon leaves behind bacon grease, which is decadent and full of flavor. Bacon grease is used in many dishes like cornbread and collard greens; it can also be added to other dishes for extra flavor and depth.
If you do not consume pork because of religious or health reasons or simply don’t have any on hand, there are other substitutes for bacon grease you can use instead. There is also vegan bacon grease you can use if you do not consume animal products.
The best bacon grease substitutes include olive oil, butter, vegetable shortening, chicken skin grease, coconut oil, sesame seed oil, beef fat, sunflower oil, ghee, and lard.
Let’s quickly learn more about these substitutes and how you can use them to replace bacon grease!
What is Bacon Grease?
Also known as bacon fat or bacon drippings, bacon grease is a byproduct of cooking bacon slowly on the stovetop or in the oven.
Bacon grease is collected after cooking bacon; the fats are left to cool and are used in popular recipes worldwide to add an extra dimension of depth and flavor.
When kept at room temperature, bacon grease becomes semi-solid, so the best way to preserve it is to store it in the refrigerator.
Best Substitutes For Bacon Grease
Butter also makes an excellent bacon grease substitute; it is quite similar to lard because of the similar extraction process. But butter has a much softer and creamier physical appearance compared to lard.
Although butter isn’t typically a plant-based product, you can opt for some plant-based variety if you want vegan bacon grease.
Butter has a rich and tasty flavor with an aromatic smell and a creamier texture without being as indulgent as bacon grease.
Butter can be used for sautéing and pan-frying and can be used to keep baked goods from sticking to the pan while still adding flavor. It adds a great texture and volume to baked goods and desserts.
Butter has a high beta-carotene content, vitamin a, e, b12, k2, which is beneficial for your eyesight, bones, and skin.
However, you should consume butter in moderation as it contains a lot of calories and fatty acids that might be dangerous for you when in excess.
Lard has a subtle aroma but an intense flavor that is greatly enhanced when used to sauté garlic and onions. There are various types of lard, ranging from plant-based to different animal-based options.
It serves as a great replacement for bacon grease and delivers a highly flavorsome and aromatic result. You can use lard for roasting, grilling, sautéing, frying, and baking; it has a solid consistency like butter.
Depending on your need, you can use a small amount of lard to grease a pan or melt a cupful for deep frying.
Lard contains a vital amount of healthy fats that support the proper functioning of your heart. Lard has about 48% of monounsaturated fatty acids; this is slightly lower than olive oil, consisting of 77% monounsaturated fatty acids.
These fats help to lower blood cholesterol levels and maintain healthy cells.
3. Beef Fat
Nothing replicates bacon grease better than an animal-based product, one of which is beef fat. This replacement can be used in bacon grease for gravies, marinades, and general cooking.
It has a great flavor and enhances the aroma of spices. However, when using beef fat, you need to be careful and avoid burning your steak and spices while using it; burnt beef fat has a very bitter taste.
You can take your noodles, pasta, or rice dishes to the next level and give them a mouthwatering savor by using beef fat.
4. Chicken Skin Grease
If you are a non-pork eater, another animal-based substitute you can use is chicken skin grease. Chicken skin has a crispy texture just like bacon, and the leftover grease can be used for stir-frying, sautéing, and adding a very flavorsome taste and pleasant aroma to any dish.
Chicken skin grease can be used in almost every dish that calls for bacon grease, and you may be unable to tell the difference.
5. Vegetable Shortening
If you need to grease baking pans to keep baked goods from sticking, you can use vegetable shortening in place of bacon grease.
This substitute can also be used in other cooking methods such as sauteing vegetables, frying chicken, or making gravy.
Vegetable shortening is typically made from soybean oil, so it contains no trans-fat and has a high smoke point, so you can fry foods at high temperatures without getting them burnt.
Vegetable shortening should not be confused with lard which is basically a big fat, also known as pork tallow. It is a non-hydrogenated fat, making it a healthy alternative to bacon grease. It can be used for high heat cooking such as frying and sautéing.
Ghee is a commonly used cooking fat in India; it is also known as “the elixir of life” and has been used in ayurvedic medicine for thousands of years ago for its healing properties.
Ghee can be used in many different cuisines worldwide and works as a substitute for bacon grease.
Ghee has a long shelf life and can be stored at room temperature for longer periods without it going bad.
Vegan/Vegetarian Bacon Grease Substitutes
7. Sesame Oil
Sesame oil is commonly used in Asian dishes; it can serve as a substitute for bacon fat in dishes like soups, stews, rice, noodles, sauces, marinades, toppings, and even desserts; it has a very flavorful taste and can be used as a topping for almost anything.
Sesame oil is derived from sesame seeds, and it is an edible vegetable oil that serves as cooking oil and is also an excellent flavor enhancer. The nutty zest and aroma of sesame oil make your dishes delicious and mouthwatering.
It is a healthy substitute for bacon grease because it is full of antioxidants and other useful compounds that help your body fight against free radicals.
Sesame oil also contains vitamin E and phytosterols that reduce the risk of developing chronic diseases, alongside vital anti-inflammatory properties that help to keep your heart and bones in good shape.
8. Peanut Oil
Peanut oil is another tasteful vegetarian substitute for bacon grease. It has a nutty and rich flavor and a very pleasing aroma.
But you would need to be extremely careful when cooking with peanut oil as it has a high burning threshold; burnt peanut oil tastes awfully bitter and could ruin your dish.
You can use peanut oil in marinades, dips, sauces, and for sautéing veggies. Its tastiness isn’t all that makes peanut oil a great substitute for bacon grease; it is also rich in vitamin E, omega-6 fatty acids, and antioxidants with beneficial health benefits.
It helps with healthy heart regulation and also maintains your blood glucose level. The vitamin E content of peanut oil helps protect your body from free radicals, which damage cells and can even cause cancer.
Peanut oil is a great alternative to pork grease and other fatty cooking oil, especially for diabetics. It may help lower LDL cholesterol (also known as bad cholesterol) in the body.
9. Olive Oil
Another plant-based substitute for bacon grease is olive oil. It has a light and subtle aroma and is a healthy alternative for those worried about cholesterol or trans-fat.
Olive oil can be drizzled directly over your salad dressings or savory dips. It can also be used to enhance the flavorful taste of spices and meat as they cook.
Olive oil can be used for a variety of dishes, like pasta, curries, and even baked goods. It is full of vitamin E, K, antioxidants, and monounsaturated fats; it also has essential anti-cancer and anti-inflammatory properties that may help prevent strokes and heart diseases.
Olive oil also has aids weight loss and reduces the risk of type 2 diabetes.
10. Coconut Oil
Coconut oil is another vegetarian substitute for bacon fat. It is available in both liquid and solid form and can be used in almost all recipes that call for bacon grease.
This oil helps combat heart disease and cancer; it also contains antimicrobial properties that help to boost your immune system.
Coconut oil also aids weight loss by speeding up your metabolism and increasing energy levels. These substitutes not only work well in place of bacon grease but can also be used as a healthy alternative to traditional oils like vegetable or corn oils.
Coconut oil is extracted from the edible part of mature coconuts; the oil can be used for cooking as well as skincare. It can also be applied as a hair moisturizer; this makes coconut oil a popular product among women for its cosmetic benefits.