If you’re making stock, soup or gravy, removing the fat from the top is a key part of the process. You can buy fat separating jugs to do this for you. But why spend money when there are plenty of easy ways to do it for nothing?
Here we take a look at the best DIY fat separator plans we’ve found. Whether you have a large amount of fat to deal with, or just a few drops to skim off, there’s a tried and tested way to do it.
So come this way, and find out where you can learn this invaluable skill!
1. Skimming Fat With a Paper Towel: LA Times Test Kitchen tip
This plan is the perfect way to tackle a situation where you have a small amount of fat to separate out. All you’ll require to complete the job is a bowl and a paper towel. Noelle Carter is manager of the Los Angeles Times Test Kitchen, and she knows her stuff. We love her cheerful, straightforward style as she shows you what to do. If you’ve only got a little fat to get rid of, this is a quick, simple and effective solution.
2. Exactly How to Skim Fat from the Broth of your Favorite Soups
This guide comes at the challenge of fat separation from the perspective of soup-making. If you want to make sure your soup is flavorsome but not oily, it’s the perfect option. With this one you actually get two different techniques, depending on how much time you have. There’s one technique to get the job done immediately, and another – slightly easier – for when you can afford to wait. There’s also a guide to buying a separator, if that’s something you want to consider.
3. Cooking Tips: How to Skim Fat
This video from eHow Food shows you how to remove the fat from stock in real time. And unlike some videos, there’s no quick sampling of a technique before moving on! Instead, you can see every bit of fat removed from the beginning to the end of the process. Here, the ladle and the paper towel method are used together for superior results. And if you fancy a laugh, look out for the unfortunate typo in the subtitles at 49 seconds. That’s one tip we wouldn’t recommend trying at home …
4. MacGyver’s Fat Separator
This super-clever way to separate out fat works perfectly for gravy and stock. After a short introduction, the article gets down to business with six clear steps to separate out the fat. The only equipment you’ll need is a Ziploc bag, a bowl and a pair of scissors. There are close-up photographs illustrating the key steps, so you can see exactly what to do. And when you’ve finished, it also shows you how to use your remaining broth to make perfect gravy. Delicious!
5. How to Skin the Fat Off of Soup – Kitchen Quickies
This video is under a minute long – but we think it’s one of the cleverest DIY fat separators we’ve seen. This one also uses a spoon, but not in the way you’d expect. You’ll also need some ice cubes. We won’t spoil it by saying anything more! And because it’s filmed in real time, you can see exactly how quickly it removes the fat from soup. This is another technique that’s best suited to smaller amounts of oil.
6. No Fat Separator? Use a Plastic Bag to Separate Fat from Drippings!
If you’re looking for a super-quick and easy guide, this one is definitely worth checking out. It comes from the website of cooking magazine Cuisine at Home and it’s short and sweet! In just one paragraph it explains how to turn a simple plastic bag into a fat separator. It doesn’t break down the different actions into individual steps, and there’s only one photograph to illustrate what to do. But it’s such a simple solution that it’s still very easy to follow. It will work however much fat there is to dispose of too.
7. Skim Your Stock – Glowbal Chef Tips
This video from Glowbal’s executive chef, Jason Labahn, shows you how to remove fat and other impurities from your stock. The aim here is to create a clean flavor. Jason shows different pans of stock with different issues. And he demonstrates the perfect technique to remove fat and other unwanted particles from the surface using just a ladle. There’s no ice required with this one either! Watch right to the end, and you’ll also find out why you shouldn’t boil your stock too vigorously.
8. Fat Separation Done Easy
This may be pushing the definition of a plan – but it’s so ingenious we had to include it! Reddit user Tsultrim_Surgery has posted a clever photograph of their DIY fat separation technique. Just take a look and you’ll see at once how it works. It really couldn’t be simpler, and it will work brilliantly with stocks that have larger amounts of fat. All you’ll need is a jar with a wide mouth and a tightly fitting lid – and time! This uses the way fat congeals when it cools to do all the hard work for you.
9. How to Skim Off Excess Oil from Your Stew
This video from African chef Sweet Adjeley shows a brilliant technique for removing oil from stew. It includes “before” and “after” pictures too, so you can see just how different the finished result is. It’s not the quickest technique, but it’s great for dishes you don’t want to remove from the pot to separate out the fat. And all you’ll need is a ladle and a container to hold the oil.
10. The One Homemade Gravy Mistake You’re Making – and How to Stop
This article from food and lifestyle website Real Simple is focused on the importance of making your gravy in the same pot as your meat dripping. It’s a technique they swear by for better flavor – but it does make it essential to separate out the fat. Fortunately, the article also explains how to do this, whether or not you have a fat separator. It’s not the focus of the piece, so there’s less detail. But if you also want to find out more about making great homemade gravy, this article has everything in one place.
11. The Easiest Way to Skim Off Excess Oil from Your Soups
This is the second video from Sweet Adjeley to make our list and it has a completely different take on separating fat from soup. With this one, you remove the soup from your pan fat-free – whilst the fat remains in the pan. All you’ll need is a ladle and the bowl you plan to serve up your soup. The clever bit is in the unusual technique that keeps the oil away from the surface of the soup as you scoop it up. The video shows it several times so you can see exactly how it works.
12. Use a Turkey Baster to Separate the Pan Drippings from the Fat
This guide comes from Canadian recipe developer and former television host Kary Osmond. It shows you how to use another kitchen gadget – the humble turkey baster – as a fat separator. The instructions are short and to the point, and there’s only one photograph. Everything is clearly described though, and the technique is pretty simple. This one will work best when you have a little extra time. You need to allow the oil to separate from the meat juices before you start.
Check this tutorial
13. Betty’s Quick Tip 113 – How to Remove Fat from Pan Drippings
In this video Betty, of YouTube channel Betty’s Kitchen, demonstrates how to remove fat from stock with just a bowl and a spatula. This is a really simple take on a DIY fat separator, with time and cool temperatures doing all the work. As long as you don’t need your stock immediately, you’ll spend no more than a minute on the task. It will work particularly well with dishes that have a high fat content. The more they contain, the easier it is to remove.
14. Fat Separator
Many of the techniques for separating out fat from meat juices rely on a steady hand. So when you’re trying to do it on a boat, it’s particularly challenging! In this blog on website The Boat Galley, Carolyn Shearlock talks through the problem and offers two solutions. One is a standard fat separator, the other a DIY approach that again uses a turkey baster. This is a detailed look at how to do it. And Carolyn also provides handy guidance on choosing the right baster for the job.
15. Saving Meat Drippings for Bouillon and Fat
This brilliant YouTube video from Jaime takes you through the whole process from saving to using dripping and bouillon. One important part of that is separating out the fat from the rest of the meat juices. This is another video that shows this done using just time, refrigeration and a spoon. But you get a whole host of other handy tips here too. If you want to make the most of your meat juices, this is a great guide.
So now you know how to separate out the fat!
With so many DIY fat separator plans online, you need never again regret not buying the real thing! You don’t need lots of equipment. And there are options whether you’re in a hurry or have time to kill.
Whether you’re making soup, stew, or gravy, you can separate out the fat without breaking a sweat.
We hope you’ve found the perfect plan for your next culinary project!