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If you make homemade stock, gravies, sauces, or bone broth, you're no stranger to the job of skimming excess fat that accumulates on the surface of your liquid recipe. Too much fat can give an oily mouthfeel and add unwanted calories to your recipe, plus it solidifies into an unsightly, cloudy layer of fat when chilled. Although refrigeration can actually help you remove unwanted fat from these liquids, fat takes hours to solidify this way. It's much easier and faster to use a dedicated fat separator during cooking.
Fat separators resemble measuring cups and are designed to drain liquid while keeping the fat layer contained. They can be made from plastic or glass and drain from a pour spout or plug in the bottom of the cup. Both styles are easy to use and most are dishwasher safe for ease of cleaning up greasy residue. Whether you're gearing up for soup season or planning the perfect holiday turkey gravy, here are the best fat separators to get the job done.
OXO Good Grips designs some of the most innovative, easy to use, and ergonomic kitchen gadgets on the market so it's no surprise this fat separator takes our top spot. This fat separator has a drain built into the bottom of the cup so you don't have to worry about fat and liquid mixing together like with models that have to be tilted to pour.
A silicone plug keeps the drain sealed and leak-free. Owners of this model praise it for being comfortable and easy to use: simply wait for fat to separate and then squeeze the trigger built into the handle of the cup to drain your cooking liquid away from the fat. The handle is has a soft, non-slip coating to help you grip and prevent dropping if your hands happen to be a little greasy from carving a turkey or roast.
A strainer is built-in to the lid to catch solid bits of food and the cup has easy to read measurement markings. This separator is dishwasher safe for convenient cleaning.
Our runner up pick is another bottom draining style fat separator. A silicone plug ensures this separator doesn't leak and is easily released with a press of a thumb release built into the cup's handle. Made of durable heat-resistant Tritan material, this separator is BPA free, holds up to 4 cups of liquid, and is top rack dishwasher safe.
A high-lipped filter lid helps strain liquids from large food solids when pouring pan drippings. However, some reviewers are disappointed to find small pieces of meat, vegetables, and herbs in the pan juices can make their way through the filter and end up blocking the bottom drain so it's best to pour slowly and carefully. The cup has measurement markings so you can quickly eyeball how many cups of liquid you have.
This affordable bottom drain style fat separator has a spring-loaded valve that releases liquids directly from the bottom of the container. This dishwasher safe 4-cup separator also has a spout for pouring and measurement markings, so it can also be used as a measuring cup.
It comes with a removable strainer lid to catch larger bits of food. To use — just fill, let fat and liquid layers separate, then give the handle a squeeze to release the cooking liquid. Since liquid drains from the bottom, it’s more likely to leave drips on the counter after you’ve released the liquid than the spout-style fat separator, but the liquid is less likely to have any fat in it, as long as you stop releasing in time.
Do you really need a 4-cup fat separator that will take up space in your cabinet, or is a smaller one a better buy for the smaller turkeys and roasts you make? This has the same design as the standard spout-style fat separators, but in a smaller size that's easier to store. If you’re making a lot of gravy, you can simply fill it twice.
This is made from dishwasher safe heat-resistant plastic that will easily handle the heat of your roasting juices, and it has a heat resistant strainer lid that catches the unwanted bits. Like most, the stopper keeps the fat from entering the spout as you fill the cup, and a shield keeps liquid from spilling from the top if you pour a little too fast. What we love is the soft grip handle that's easy to hold onto and easy to read measurements that are in ounces and metric.
If you’re trying to keep plastics out of your kitchen, this glass fat separator is exactly what you need. It’s made from sturdy borosilicate glass that’s heat-safe to 300 degrees, so you can pour very hot liquids into it without fear of cracking.
The design is similar to other spout-style fat separators, but with a slim, graceful spout and loop handle that makes it look modern and elegant. It has measurements in both US and metric, making it easy to know how much gravy you have. A stainless steel strainer filters out the large bits, and there is a finer strainer included to remove finer bits and sediment, so there’s no need for a second strainer.
When it’s not being used for separating fat, you can use this as a standard measuring cup, for heating water in the microwave, or perhaps even for making tea. This is dishwasher safe for easy cleaning.
If this is your first big holiday meal or it’s time to be rid of that old fat separator you never liked, this set might be the perfect replacement. It includes both a fat separator and a baster (plus a cleaning brush), so you’ll be ready for turkey or roasts any time of the year.
The separator holds four cups, is dishwasher safe and has measurements on the side for easy mixing.The baster has an angled tip that makes it easy to get the juices from the bottom of a roasting pan, and a silicone bulb that’s easy to hold and squeeze. The integrated stand attached to the baster tube keeps the curved tip upright on the counter when it’s not in use, so it won’t drip and make a mess.
If you don’t have space for another measuring cup, this unique skimmer might be just what you’re looking for. This removes fat directly from the pot or roasting pan — just press the bottom of the skimmer’s bowl on top of the fatty liquid and the fat that comes through the raised hole collects in the bowl.
This won’t work in with shallow liquids, so you might need to tilt your roasting pan to collect the liquid in the corner so it’s deep enough, or transfer it to another container. It would, however, be excellent for removing the fat from the top of the turkey soup you’ll be making in a few days.
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This roundup was updated by Sharon Lehman, a home cook who happens to be a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist. She happily makes space for any gadget that make cooking faster and easier and specializes in small kitchen appliance testing and reviews for The Spruce Eats.