Test Kitchen tips: Skimming fat

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As you cook stocks, soups and stews, or slowly braise the evening’s dinner, you’re bound to notice fat rise to the surface of the pot or pan.

There are several ways to remove unwanted fat:

  • Use a ladle or spoon to gently skim the fat from the surface of the liquid. Make sure the heat is low enough under the pot or pan that the liquid is only barely bubbling, if at all. Simmering and boiling liquids will make it difficult for the fat to form on the surface.
  • Chill the liquid: If you’re making a stock, strain the stock, then chill it in the refrigerator. The fat will rise to the surface and thicken, where it can be easily scooped off.
  • If you have only a small amount of fat, gently dip a paper towel into the pot or pan of hot liquid, skimming it over the fat. The fat should adhere to the towel.
  • You can also purchase a fat separator (pictured below). It looks like a measuring cup with a spout at one end. Pour the liquid into the separator; the fat will rise to the top, and can be poured off.

If you have any kitchen tips or questions you’d like me to explore, leave a comment below or email me at


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