What to do With the Fat from Homemade Broth

The most popular post on The Happy Housewife is my whole chicken in a crock pot recipe. Not only has it been viewed over 200,000 times the post has over 200 comments!

If you want to save money in the kitchen but are afraid to tackle a whole chicken I would encourage you to read the recipe and give it a try. I’ve been cooking whole chickens this way for several years and it is a great way to save money.

In my whole chicken post I talk about saving the broth from the chicken but scraping off and throwing away the fat that forms on the top of the broth once it cools. Last week on Facebook a reader shared a great tip for using up the fat that is on the top of the broth.

I scoop it out and store in fridge to use in lieu of bacon drippings or oil when I sauté veggies or start a soup/ red beans & rice. Yummy!

This is such a great idea! I’m going to start doing this with my next whole chicken in a crock pot.

Do you save the fat? What do you use it for?


  1. I just leave it in the broth. Naughty me, I know 😉

  2. I don’t know how it works in a crock pot but when making broth with a whole chicken (which I do all the time) you should always skim off the scum that rises to the top…full of impurities. Isn’t it cool that it works like that? Consequently, I end up with very little fat in my broth, so I just leave it in too. A little richness goes a long way with my kids eating the way they do…Nourishing Traditions, primarily.

  3. If you want to reheat the chicken and not microwave it [some are trying to stop using their microwaves], save the fat and put it ON TOP of the meat when reheating it in the oven. The meat comes out tender and moist and tastes like you just cooked it. For Thanksgiving dinner I roast the turkey the day before. It is reheated on Thanksgiving morning using this method. Turns out great every time.

  4. I use to warm it and pour it over my cat’s and dog’s food … especially in the winter. They seemed to really enjoy it, and their coats appeared to be thicker and softer after a few weeks of it.

    I also use to bring our chicken to a quick boil to get the skin off of our meat before finishing cooking it … then I saved the broth and skin and gave it to our cat (before we had a dog) over the next few days with her other food.

  5. I use it to sautée onions and mushrooms. I also toss cut up potatoes in it and bake or cook them in my iron skillet.

  6. Your idea inspired me! You could also use it instead of shortening into a chicken pot pie crust. Yum!

  7. My health conscious mind says NO! I must remove and throw away. There are other ways to add flavor without adding extra calories and cholesterol. Heart disease ran rampant in my family so I’m not trying to “bring it back”. That’s something I’d rather leave in the archives of my family health history.

    • If you read the book Nourishing Traditions– “The cause of heart disease in not animal fats and cholesterol but rather a number of factors inherent in modern diets, including excess consumption of vegetable oils and hydrogenated fats; excess consumption of refined carbs in the form of sugar and white flour; mineral deficiencies……………..” Check out p.13. In the 1920’s coronary heart disease was rare in America, and they ate more animal fat–p.5 Enjoy your chicken fat!!!!!!!!!

  8. I use it instead of butter when making a roux. Especially if I’m making the roux for gravy or potato soup or something with chicken broth in it anyway.
    I saw this on Alton Brown’s Thanksgiving show. Make the stock (with wings) a week before and then use the fat from the stock to make the roux for the turkey gravy, make it all ahead of time,then mix in the roasting pan drippings. Animal fat is animal fat…butter, bacon, chicken, turkey fat, etc..

  9. OK, I’ll confess, the secret ingredient in my super soft buns is chicken fat. When I get a chance to cook up a couple of chickens, I’ll save off all of the really clean white fat. Once cool, I scrape it off, then pour it into ice cube trays to freeze. I then transfer the cubes to a ziploc bag and pull out 2 or 3 for my bun recipe. About 1/2 chicken fat to 1/2 butter and I have had many people wonder how my buns come out so tender.

  10. I sometimes add it to my bread dough when I am making a savory loaf, or to my pizza dough when making pizza or calzone.

  11. I let it harden & then mix with peanut butter and birdseed for homemade suet cakes for birdfeeders. My mom gave me the idea- my grandparents always did that.

  12. My grandma always saved the chicken fat and used it in her chocolate chip cookies. She made the best cookies I have ever eaten!!!!!

  13. The saved chicken fat makes really awesome biscuits. They’re flaky and have a mild chicken flavor to them.

  14. I think I may be the only one in this discussion that hasn’t found a use for the chicken fat, yet! But, I’m very willing to try. You inspired me to tackle whole chickens (my crock pot gets a lot of action these days)….may want to branch out. As I’m typing this, I have my broth in the crock pot ready to cook overnight!
    My question is….how long does this chicken fat last in the fridge before going bad? What’s the shelf life of fat? (According to my thighs…15 years, but I digress)…just curious if anyone knew the timeline on this!
    THANK YOU for the whole chicken post!! I buy chickens every time they dip to $.77 a pound or lower! ; )

    • My question exactly! How long can it stay in the fridge. I am terrified of foodbourn illnesses, but also hate throwing anything out. Someone said they freeze it? I’m going to try that instead of putting it in the fridge.

  15. Just in case anyone else wonders…it can be store it the fridge for 6 months. WOW. That’s pretty awesome. Here’s the info I found: http://stilltasty.com/fooditems/index/16784

  16. Barbara Bruell says:

    If you are going to use every bit of the chicken then I highly recommend buying organic chicken. 😉

  17. Wow! I have learned alot this morning. I am going to do a chicken in the crock pot today, then I am going to make the broth and I am going to save the fat!!!! (feels funny saying that!) When you use the fat in cooking (like the biscuits etc…) do you use it as you would butter-same measurements?? Somehow I don’t have as much of a problem using it instead of bacon fat 🙂 Who says an old dog can’t learn new tricks!! Thanks everyone!!

  18. Patricia B. says:

    Thank you for this informative site! I have always roasted chickens, but this will be a more economical way to cook. The chicken broth and fat are great ideas, and I will definitely use.
    My cat will enjoy her food more, too!

  19. Janet (9.19.11).
    No one asked about your family’s health history. No offense.
    I came here from a google search to find out what I might be able to do w/ the skimmed fat from my homemade chicken stock and how long it would last in the fridge.

    “Throw it away” is the answer I had before deciding to find a different use.

    Sure, unhealthy for some; common sense. Don’t waste space.

    BTW – After reading the actually answers here I can add –
    Stir-Fried Garlic Asparagus and Rice, using the chicken fat as the base. Awesome.

    My family has no history of heart disease or anything else; healthy as oxes… and none of that matters cause this ain’t the forum for it.

    Eat more Chikken Phat. I plan on using it as tea and living to 140, skinny as a rail… ;P

  20. Can anyone tell me why the fat might not harden on the top of the cooled turkey stock? I made a huge pot of stock with leftover turkey carcass, miscellaneous chicken parts, etc. and after cooling the skimmed and strained stock for 2 days, the fat seems to be suspended throughout…..

    • I pull the liquid off the bottom of the pan, put in a bowl, then put in the fridge to chill. The fat rises to the top and is easily skimmed. The stock stays on the bottom.

  21. I love to cook and got a load of groceries for really cheep somehow this week and i am planning to use every single bit. So I googled and found the crock pot chicken and it led me to here. I made my chicken with corn and mashed potatoes today. Have the broth in the fridge and tomorrow morning will skim off the fat and freaze it in to cubes. awesome ideas. So I tossed the bones back in with the broth but now I am finished with stewing the broth, should I toss the bones or can I use them some how, like freeze them then use to help add flavor to another broth or will that be over killing the bones?

    Also, i have left over mashed potatoes, what to do with them?

  22. As for leftover mashed potatoes, recently I’ve been taking a few spoonfuls and shaping them into cakes and pan-frying them in butter to go with breakfast. A yummy way to recycle potatoes!

  23. Are y’all saying you’d freeze the fat into ice cubes or the stock? I’ve got my stock cooling in the refrigerator, but I’m not sure how to store the fat after I’ve skimmed it.

  24. You can store the fat in mason jars in your freezer or fridge. Just don’t fill the jars all the way full if you choose to store in the freezer or else they will crack!

    ALSO, something I learned is that you can make broth from the same carcass TWICE! yea! it’s awesome and really stretches your dollar 🙂

  25. It’s traditional in Jewish cooking (esp. Eastern European Jewish cooking, or Ashkenazi) to use rendered chicken fat to cook everything with (they call it schmaltz). I was looking around for ideas of how to use the turkey fat from my leftover turkey stock, and found this great blog – I plan on trying the crock pot chicken! I love the idea of saving the schmalts in ice cube trays or in the fridge…and that it can last 6 months, thanks for that info.

    You can definitely use the bones over and over – I use them at least 2-3 times to really get all the goodness out (the French do this) and then the leftovers I save in a ziplock bag and portion out with the dog food to make his bowl more appetizing & give the dog a little treat. I agree that organic chicken is better when you use everything, b/c the hormones etc really concentrate in the fat – which could be a bad thing if you’re eating Tyson chicken. Bon appetit!

  26. This is awesome–a month ago, I would’ve been disgusted by the idea of saving chicken fat, but my 19-month-old daughter was just diagnosed with multiple severe food allergies, once of which is dairy. If I save the chicken fat, it will allow me to sautee one pan of veggies, instead of one with butter, and one with dairy-free “butter”–and many other recipes that call for butter can probably be substituted this way! For people who use the chicken fat already–do you use the same amount as you would butter in a recipe?

  27. I just stumbled on this site because I’m new to crockpot cooking and want to make a whole chicken. You all are awesome!! Thank you so much for the ideas. I am going to try this tomorrow.

  28. The chicken fat does not freeze solid, but does get pretty firm, so if you wanted to freeze it in a jar or so, you could and then just spoon out the amount you need as you go.

    Also as an FYI: Mashed potatoes shaped and fried are called croquettes, popular in Europe/Asia. They are generally shaped in small cylindrical links, like breakfast sausage links. (In Japan they are made a bit bigger and flatter (think hash brown patties)and sometimes mixed with things (veggies etc) before frying and often are sold in small ‘fast food’ type restaurants to go. Many eat them while walking!)

  29. Also, forgot to mention, traditional Croquettes are usually rolled in breadcrumbs before frying to make the outside crunchy.

  30. The fat that forms on the top of the homemade chicken broth, when refrigerated, is call Schmaltz. It is a good fat to use, to make a chicken gravy – when mixed with flour, it is called a roux, and is the base for making a gravy (by adding some of the broth). Many Jewish recipes call for Schmaltz.

    Since it is an animal fat, and a natural product – vs. trans fats such a margarine – our bodies know what to do with it, to digest it. Trans fats are the #1 worst thing we can put in our bodies. Our bodies don’t know how to digest it.

    You can buy inexpensive fat separators. The fat floats to the top, and the broth istays in the bottom. The spout comes out of the bottom of the cup, so that all you pour out is broth, and not any fat.

  31. Maureen P says:

    I’m wondering why people even skim the fat off before eating the soup. Doesn’t it give the soup more flavor? It can’t be that unhealthy if people are using it for other recipes.

  32. This is totally crazy: chicken fat in all its forms is the worse food you can put in your body, high cholesterol, or low cholesterol………you must take that frozen fat off your broth and have it Clean.
    Same goes for chicken soup……..skim while cooking w/a skimmer.
    AD, Rockville Centre

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