How to Quickly Separate Oil From Stock

by Amelia Allonsy

As meat cooks, fat and other juices drip into the pan. While some fat is necessary for adding flavor to sauces and making gravy, too much fat mixed with stock is undesirable. A fat separator, also called a gravy separator, makes it easy to separate the fat and saves time versus spooning the fat off the top. A fat separator looks similar to a watering can, with a spout that extends down to the base of the cup where the dense stock separates from the fat.

Strain the stock through a mesh sieve and collect the stock in a bowl to separate any solid meat and vegetable pieces, if needed. Ladle the stock into the sieve and the liquid will fall through while the sieve catches the solids.

Pour or ladle the finished stock into a pitcher-type fat separator.

Allow the stock to rest and cool for several minutes, just enough time for the fat to rise to the top and the stock to settle at the bottom. Fat separators are usually clear containers so you can easily see a separation line.

Pour the stock through the spout and into a clean container. Monitor the fat level as you pour and stop pouring just before the bottom of the fat layer reaches the spout opening at the base of the fat separator.

Pour the fat into a separate container for use in gravy, if desired, or simply discard.

Items you will need

  • Mesh sieve
  • Bowl
  • Pitcher-type fat separator
  • Ladle
  • 2 clean containers


  • A rest and cooling period is necessary so the fat and stock can separate. Even if you were to use a spoon to remove the fat from the surface of the stock, you must still wait because stirring incorporates the fat and stock just as pouring it into a fat separator. The main difference is that after the stock settles, you can pour it out of a fat separator in just a few seconds, whereas it takes several minutes to dip the fat off by the spoonful.

About the Author

A former cake decorator and competitive horticulturist, Amelia Allonsy is most at home in the kitchen or with her hands in the dirt. She received her Bachelor's degree from West Virginia University. Her work has been published in the San Francisco Chronicle and on other websites.

Photo Credits

  • Jupiterimages/Comstock/Getty Images