Yes, you can absolutely bake with bacon fat! Using rendered bacon fat in baking recipes adds a lovely smoky, savory, umami-rich flavor. Bacon fat can be used in place of butter, oil, lard, or other fats in a wide variety of baked goods. When chilled and solidified, bacon fat performs like butter or shortening in recipes. From savory bites like bacon fat biscuits to sweet treats like chocolate bacon cookies, bacon fat is a flexible baking fat that takes recipes up a notch. When stored properly in the refrigerator or freezer, it can be saved and used for weeks. So, if you love bacon, save that leftover fat next time and put it to good use in your baking!
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- Bacon Fat 101: Friend or Foe in Baking?
- Sweet or Savory? Where Bacon Fat Shines
- DIY Delight: Rendering Your Own Bacon Fat
- Baking with Bacon Fat: A Step-by-Step Guide
- Recipe Round-Up: Sweet and Savory Inspiration
- Key Learning Points
- FAQ About Baking With Bacon Fat
Bacon Fat 101: Friend or Foe in Baking?
When cooking up crisp slices of bacon, most of us simply drain off and discard the leftover fatty drippings. But don’t be too quick to throw out that liquid gold! The filtered fat can be used to add lots of flavor to sweet and savory baked goods.
Even though bacon itself is salty and savory in flavor, do not limit using bacon fat only in savory baked recipes. The rising trend of adding bacon fat to sweets shows how amazingly good it can make desserts taste. If not overdone, the addition of bacon fat boosts flavors such as chocolate, maple, cozy baking spices, and nuts. It adds a delicate smoky, savory flavor. Chocolate chip cookies take on a hint of smoke, Bacon makes a special flavor appearance in salted caramel pecan pie, and Banana bread bakes up with delicate salty flavors that complement the sweet taste.
So, next time you cook bacon, consider stashing some of the leftover fat in your refrigerator. When used carefully, bacon fat can add lots of flavor and interest to all types of baked goods, whether cookies, cakes, or other treats!
Sweet or Savory? Where Bacon Fat Shines
While excellent in moderation in sweet baked goods, bacon fat truly shines in savory baking applications. The smoky, salty fat pairs wonderfully with cheese, herbs, veggies, and grains to create mind-blowingly delicious savory baked treats.
For savory baking, bacon fat is right at home in recipes like flaky biscuits, rich scones, crispy crackers, and more. Drizzled over rolled biscuit dough or worked into cheddar chive scones, bacon fat adds a hit of umami that enhances other savory flavors. Some of my favorite savory baked goods to showcase bacon fat include:
- Flaky Parmesan-Bacon Biscuits
- Cheddar, Scallion, and Bacon Fat Scones
- Rosemary-Bacon Shortbread Crackers
- Cornbread made with bacon fat instead of butter
The next time you bake up a batch of biscuits or bread, consider adding a few spoonfuls of chilled bacon fat to elevate the flavor.
While more restrained in desserts, a touch of bacon fat can add interest to sweets like chocolate chip cookies, peanut butter bars, and even banana muffins. The key is balancing the bacon essence carefully with sweet ingredients. Bacon fat nicely complements flavors like chocolate, nuts, coconut, maple, honey, brown sugar, and warm spices like cinnamon and nutmeg.
But a little goes a long way! No one wants an overly smoky cake or cookies that taste like breakfast. When baking sweets with bacon fat, the key is to use it in small amounts.
🍳 Baking Magic with Bacon Fat 🥓
|Recipe Example 📖
|Flavor Profile 🌈
|Tips & Tricks 💡
|Flaky Parmesan-Bacon Biscuits
|Smoky, umami-rich, salty
|Use solidified bacon fat for flaky texture
|Cheddar, Scallion, and Bacon Fat Scones
|Cheesy, savory, with a bacon twist
|Substitute bacon fat for butter or shortening
|Rosemary-Bacon Shortbread Crackers
|Herbaceous with a smoky undertone
|Chill bacon fat for ease of use in dough
|Cornbread with Bacon Fat
|Classic with a smoky richness
|Perfect for adding depth to traditional recipes
|Chocolate Bacon Fat Banana Bread
|Sweet with smoky, savory notes
|Use in moderation to complement sweet flavors
|Bacon Fat Snickerdoodles
|Cinnamon-sugar with a savory edge
|Enhances caramelization and edge texture
|Bacon Fat Shortbread Cookies
|Rich buttery flavor with a bacon twist
|Balance the smoky flavor with sweet ingredients
|Brought to You by wearebaking.com
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DIY Delight: Rendering Your Own Bacon Fat
Skip the store-bought stuff and render your own bacon fat for the freshest, most flavorful experience. It’s easier than you think! Simply cook down your favorite bacon (slab or thick-cut work best) over low heat until crispy. Strain the melted fat through a cheesecloth, and voilà! You’ve got golden magic in a jar.
This homemade version lets you control the salt content and ensures peak freshness. Plus, those crispy bacon bits? Perfect for garnishing salads and soups or even adding a smoky crunch to your baked goods. Store your rendered fat in a cool, dark place for up to 3 months. If you want to keep it longer, just refrigerate or freeze it.
Watch the video below
Baking with Bacon Fat: A Step-by-Step Guide
Adding a touch of bacon fat to baked goods is easy. Just follow these simple guidelines:
1. Prepare the bacon fat
Start by rendering your own or use store-bought in its solid state after chilled. Measure out the amount needed for your recipe.
2. Substituting bacon fat for other fats in a baking recipe
It is best to start with a small amount since a little goes a long way. For your first attempt, try replacing 25% of the total butter, oil, or other fats called for in the recipe with bacon fat. For example, if a cookie recipe calls for 1 cup (2 sticks) of butter, use just 1⁄4 cup of bacon fat and 3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) of regular butter. This smaller amount allows the bacon flavor to enhance rather than overwhelm the other ingredients subtly.
3. Brush on tops or garnish baked goods
Melted bacon fat makes a stellar bakery-worthy garnish for savory scones, biscuits, etc. And sprinkling a few bacon bits on sweet treats ties the smoky theme together.
4. Mix into dough, or batter
Cut chilled bacon fat into dry ingredients for biscuits, scones, pie doughs, etc., before adding wet ingredients. Or simply mix softened bacon fat into cookie dough, muffin batter, etc., along with the butter or oil. Because bacon fat softens at room temperature, it blends smoothly into doughs and batters.
5. Adjust oven temp if needed
Bacon fat has a slightly lower smoke point compared to butter. For recipes over 375°F, it can burn quicker and generate smoke. Drop the oven temp by 25°F as a precaution.
Bacon fat works across baking methods like standard oven and skillet baking. The keys are controlling temperature to avoid burning and balancing the bacon richness by removing some existing fat/sugar in the recipe.
Recipe Round-Up: Sweet and Savory Inspiration
Ready to start baking with bacon fat? Here are a few suggestions of how you can use bacon fat in your baking adventures.
Bacon Fat Buttermilk Biscuits – Flaky and mouthwatering baked goodness! The bacon fat adds a smoky richness.
Green Onion and Bacon Fat Braided Bread – A showstopper loaf with bacon fat woven into the braided dough.
Bacon Fat Pie Crust – Buttery and crisp pie crust heightened by umami bacon flavor. Perfect for quiche or potato bacon pie.
Bacon Fat Snickerdoodles – Cinnamon sugar cookies with the surprise addition of bacon fat for caramelized edges.
Chocolate Bacon Fat Banana Bread – Deep chocolate flavor and maple-glazed bacon combine beautifully. The bacon fat mellows out the sweetness.
Bacon Fat Shortbread Cookies – Traditional butter shortbread taken up a notch with smoky, salty bacon fat.
The mixture of sweet and savory baked goods shows the incredibly versatile ways that bacon fat can be used in both sweet and savory baked recipes.
Key Learning Points
- Bacon fat has a place not only in savory cooking but in sweet and savory baking as well. Its unique smoky, salty, umami qualities can enhance a wide range of baked goods.
- A little bacon fat goes a long way. Use moderation when adding to cookies, cakes, breads, and other sweet treats. Too much overpowers other flavors.
- Rendering your own bacon fat at home grants control over ingredients and freshness. Store homemade rendered fat properly in the fridge or freezer.
- Substitute bacon fat for butter, oils, lard, or shortening in recipes. Its solid-state mimics the properties of these fats. Balance added bacon flavor by removing some existing fats.
- Adjust oven temperature down slightly if bacon fat is used in place of butter, as it burns quicker. Watch closely to prevent over-browning.
How to bake effectively with bacon fat opens up new possibilities for elevating both sweet and savory home-baked goods!
Have you baked with bacon fat? Please leave me a comment below.
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FAQ About Baking With Bacon Fat
Bacon is popular to cook with, not just for breakfast but in sweet and savory recipes. More bakers want to use leftover bacon grease in cookies, cakes, breads, and other baked goods to add flavor. But questions come up on the best way to bake with bacon fat. Is the grease left over from cooking bacon only good for frying eggs? Or can it improve the taste of baked treats, too?
Can I use bacon fat in sweet baked goods as well as savory?
Yes, bacon fat enhances sweet baked goods like cookies, cakes, and breads in addition to savory applications. Use sparingly as just 1⁄4 to 1⁄3 of the fat content to allow its smoky flavor to complement (not overwhelm) chocolate, fruit, spices, and other tastes. Substitute more for heartier fare versus light sponge cakes.
What’s the best way to store bacon fat for baking?
For baking, store rendered, strained bacon fat cooled in sealed, airtight containers in the fridge or freezer. Properly contained and chilled, clarified lard keeps 2-3 months refrigerated or indefinitely frozen. Date the package, use clean tools to portion it out, and keep it as cold as possible for optimal freshness and performance.
How does baking with bacon fat affect the final product’s texture
Thanks to its similar dense composition, incorporating bacon fat into items like pie crusts or scones doesn’t drastically alter intended outcomes texture-wise. You may notice a subtle denseness or chew compared to all-butter treats. Using restrained 1⁄4 bacon fat to 3⁄4 butter ratios limits textural impacts. Lean baked goods or specific creamed doughs can be more sensitive.
Are there any baked goods where bacon fat shouldn’t be used?
It’s wise to avoid introducing smoky bacon fat into baked goods that are naturally light and reliant on moisture, like angel food cakes. The prominent bacon flavor could overwhelm more subtle recipes. Additionally, rich frostings on layered cakes have the potential to overpower and minimize bacon fat’s flavor presence. And fruit-forward crisps or time-honored pastries such as cannolis traditionally avoid mixing sweet and savory tastes. Aside from these exceptions, bacon fat meshes magnificently into most cookie or bread-based baked goods., lending its signature smokiness.
I’m Taianne, the owner and operator behind We Are Baking. Baking my first cake at age 11 hooked me on creating sweet treats. Though my interest faded during childhood, it was rekindled when I married my apple pie-loving husband. I love trying new recipes, tweaking classics, and helping others learn the science and art of baking. I started We Are Baking to share tips, tricks, and favorite recipes I’ve discovered over the years. When not in the kitchen, I enjoy spending time with family and friends. My goal is to inspire others to embrace their creativity through baking. Feel free to contact me with any questions!