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Trim More Fat And Make Delicious Sauce & Gravy With These Fat Separators

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Whether you prefer a bottom-release separator or a pitcher style, the best fat separator makes quick work of removing fat from gravies and sauces while making less of a mess. Separators rely on the principle that fat floats to the top after some time, but you’ll want to consider what style, size, and material fits best into your kitchen.

Style

As mentioned above, there are two main types of fat separators — pitchers or bottom-release separators — but they work similarly.

  • Bottom-drainers: This style releases sauce from an opening in the bottom of the container, which keeps the fat toward the top and out of your gravy or sauce, you just have to keep an eye on the levels as you release the drippings. Bottom-drainers are generally easier to clean.
  • Pitchers: A pitcher-style fat separator most closely resembles a measuring cup as it pours the strained sauce through its spout. The best pitcher separators come with a spout stopper for doing a better job of separating the fat compared to pitchers that lack this feature, though pitchers may take a little more finesse to keep the fat completely out and may require a bottle brush to clean due to the narrow spout.

Either kind should come with a comfortable non-slip handle since fatty liquids can get slippery.

Size

A 4-cup fat separator is an all-purpose size for Thanksgiving gravy or any other kitchen task, but it's larger size may take up some room. For more occasional use or if you’re cooking for just one or two people, you may prefer a 2-cup size. Measurement markings on the side are helpful for monitoring your gravy or sauce.

Materials

Most fat separators are made of BPA-free, heat-resistant plastic with silicone or stainless steel strainers. If you’re avoiding plastic, a glass fat separator is an eco-friendly alternative, but keep in mind that glass is more susceptible to breaking if dropped. Look for one made with borosilicate glass that is more heat-resistant and sturdier than most glass.

With all this in mind, below are the best fat separators, any of which will have you well on your way to a better gravy or sauce.

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1
The Overall Best Bottom-Release Fat Separator

This bottom-draining style fat separator is controlled by a thumb release conveniently located at the top of the large, easy-to-grip handle. A silicone plug in the cup gradually lets out liquid so it's easy to keep an eye on when the sauce level reaches the fat. For this and a few other brilliant design choices, like it's oversized strainer lid that captures all large food particles, clear measurement markings along the cup, and the fact that is dissembles into three parts for easy cleaning, it's no wonder it's Cook's Illustrated's top pick.

The 4-cup container is made of heat-resistant, BPA-free Tritan plastic. Although the manufacturer doesn't specify its maximum temperature, Tritan's heat resistance is about 226 degrees Fahrenheit. Plus, this highly rated pick is top-rack dishwasher safe.

A helpful review: “This is the third fat separator I've owned, and it's by the far the best. It is the easiest to use and the easiest to clean. Because liquid pours through a hole in the bottom of the cup, it's easy to ensure the leanest possible broth/stock. The wide mouth and deep colander make it easy to discard lids without a mess, just pour everything into the cup and lift the colander to dispose of spent aromatics and bones. Cleaning is easy, too, because there's no spout to collect grease and debris. Unscrew the black cup rim to get at the red arm for cleaning. Easy peasy. I can't recommend this item enough. I consider it one of my [kitchen] essentials.”

2
The Overall Best Pitcher-Style Fat Separator

If you'd rather pour than uncork a stopper, a pitcher-style fat separator may be more your speed. This highly rated 4-cup separator has a wide mouth and a strainer with plenty of small holes for straining like my first pick. Since it requires titling to pour, the cup has a pour shield at the top, and a silicone stopper for the spout helps keep more fat out of the gravy or sauce as it separates.

The cup has measurement markings and is made of BPA-free ABS plastic that's heat resistant up to 400 degrees Fahrenheit. A slip-resistant handle makes it comfortable to hold, and, although no care instructions are listed, reviewers commented it's dishwasher safe.

A helpful review: "I love this fat separator!! I no longer have to wait several hours before enjoying a cup of freshly homemade broth, or using it in a sauce or dish. Instead of putting it in the fridge until the fat has solidified, then re-heating it, you just pour it in the fat separator and wait 3-5 minutes."

3
The Best Glass Fat Separator

This glass fat separator comes in a pitcher style with a wide opening and is completely made of borosilicate glass that's heat-safe up to 300 degrees Fahrenheit. It's certainly the most attractive-looking fat separator on this list, since it looks like something out of a laboratory or apothecary. It comes with a fine mesh filter and a pierced strainer made of stainless steel and silicone.

This 4-cup pick features measurement markings and is dishwasher safe. Though highly rated, it's worth noting this pick doesn't come with a stopper for the spout, which helps with keeping fat out during the initial pouring, and it doesn't have as high of a pour shield as some others. Since its handle is glass, it may not offer the same non-slip grip as other options. But reviewers who want to avoid plastic say this is a high-quality alternative that is so much easier to clean.

A helpful review: “I love that this is big enough to do quite a bit of broth at a time as I use it for broth rather than gravy. The removable strainer is nice. I think glass is much easier to clean than plastic when it gets coated with grease, which is why I bought this.”

4
A Smaller Fat Separator For Everyday Cooking

Some cooks prefer this OXO fat separator for its smaller footprint. This pitcher-style separator has an impressive 4.7-star rating with more than 1,000 reviews from shoppers who commented that this 2-cup pick works great and stores away easily.

Made of heat-resistant and BPA-free Tritan plastic, a type of plastic that can withstand temperatures of at least 226 degrees Fahrenheit, the cup has a non-slip handle, measurement markings on the side, and a pour guard on top that is taller to shield bits from spilling over the top. A stopper for the spout helps keep fat out of the sauce or stock. If you only use a fat separator on holidays or cook for just one or two people, this smaller one may be a better fit for your kitchen. It's also dishwasher safe.

A helpful review: “Great for gravies and meat sauces made from single roasted chickens or medium sized roasts. Since the kids are out of the house and I am just cooking for one or two, this is the perfect size for me. Make sure you leave the stopper in the spout to keep the fat from going into it while you're filling the separator, then gently pull it out before you pour the drippings into your dish.”

5
Also Great: A Fat-Separating Ladle For Soup Or Chili

This fat-skimming spoon works in both small and large pots, thanks to its shallow cup, and separates fat from broth or stock. Here's how it works: press the spoon into your soup, stew, or chili until fat funnels into it and simply lift it out of the pot before broth spills in as well.

Though it looks entirely different from other fat separators on this list, this pick also functions on the fact that fat floats to the top. The spoon is made of heat-resistant plastic and is dishwasher safe, though the manufacturer does not specify the type of plastic used.

A helpful review: “I love this tool! No need to pour your soup into a separate fat separator -- you just leave it in the pot, and dip this ladle in a few times. Really an ingenious design, super easy to use, and very efficient at getting out all the fat. Love it!!!”