How To Separate Fat From Meat Juices

Baked chicken on a plate

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A sizzling Sunday roast or a crisp Thanksgiving turkey is often bursting with flavorful juices. These juices are good for making gravy, flavoring vegetables and noodles, or pouring over the meat as it is. However, fat also seeps out of meat when it is cooked and can make the juice too rich and oily. There are several ways to separate the fat so that you can enjoy the drippings without the calories. You may want to try several methods to see which works best while leaving your juices with the most flavor.

Fat Separator

Pour the meat juices into a fat separator. There are several varieties of these, but most look like a clear pitcher with a spout that extends to the bottom of the container.

Set the juice aside to sit undisturbed for 5 minutes. This allows the fat to come to the surface.

Pour the juice into a separate container and discard the fat.


Allow the juices to sit for 5 minutes or until the fat comes to the surface.

Skim as much fat as possible off the top of the juice with a spoon and discard.

Lightly dab the surface of the juice with a paper towel to absorb any remaining fat.


Place the juice in a covered dish and allow it to sit in the refrigerator until fully chilled. The fat will float to the surface and form a firm, gelatinous mass.

Skim most of the fat off the surface with a spoon.

Discard the fat and warm the juices before serving.

Coffee Filter

Remove the filter basket from a coffee pot and wash it thoroughly to remove the coffee residue.

Place a filter inside the basket and suspend it over the top of a clean container.

Pour the juice through the coffee filter, allowing it to strain and trap the fat.