There's nothing sexy about a fat separator. In fact, it’s quite possibly one of the least glamorous kitchen tools. No one really wants to think about fat that much, but these gadgets seriously come in handy when you don’t have time to manually defat your broth or pan juices. Think about a busy Thanksgiving Day: Everyone is already bustling around the kitchen to get dinner ready, there’s no way you have time to pop your turkey stock in the refrigerator and wait for the fat to solidify (not to mention that there’s probably no room in the fridge anyway!). To make sure your gravy isn’t slick with fat, use a fat separator—like our top pick OXO Good Grips Good Gravy 4-Cup Fat Separator(available at Amazon for $27.89)—which allows you to separate liquids and fats almost immediately.
It’s really just about simple physics: Fats and liquids don’t mix. Given a few minutes’ time, the fat will float to the top because it’s less dense than water. These gadgets take advantage of that and pour from the bottom, making it easier to get flavorful liquid without a ton of excess fat. The best ones even have strainer tops that are designed to filter-out aromatics like chopped onions, carrots, or peppercorns. Here are the best time-saving fat separators.
The recommendations in this guide are based on thorough product and market research by our team of expert product reviewers. The picks are based on examining user reviews, product specifications, and, in some limited cases, our experience with the specific products named.
OXO Good Grips Good Gravy Fat Separator – 4 Cup
The OXO Good Grips Good Gravy 4-Cup Fat Separator is, by far, our favorite fat separator on this list. By design, bottom-draining separators make it almost impossible to pass a lot of fatty-liquid through their valves because the fat floats on the top. Some of them have temperamental levers, but the trigger on this model is super easy to control. As you depress the trigger on the comfortable handle, it opens the silicone-lined hole in the bottom, allowing as much or as little liquid to pass as you'd like. That helps significantly in minimizing splashing, creating less mess than other models.
Unlike other bottom-draining models, the OXO also has a pour spout on the top, which makes it much easier to remove the fat left behind in the separator. The strainer on top also has the small and they easy catch aromatics from onions to thyme leaves. And, since the lever mechanism is located on the outside of the separator, clean up is a breeze. All of that comes together to earn the OXO our pick as Best Overall.
If you're looking for a spout-style fat separator and you don't have a ton of money to spend, you can't go wrong with the OXO Good Grips 4-Cup Fat Separator. The design uses a red, silicone plug to create air pressure inside the spout, preventing fat from entering the chamber. When you remove the plug, the liquid spurts up, allowing you to drain it first before encountering the fat that floats on top. There are a few other spout-style separators that look exactly like this one, but the OXO out-performed them all.
Our only qualm with this product is the top strainer, which has holes large enough to allow a few peppercorns to pass through its gates. If straining stock without using cheesecloth is a big deal for you, spend the extra money on our top pick instead of this Best Value choice.
The Cuisipro 4-Cup Fat Separator is a little slow to drain, but it has a better yield than other fat separators, and allows a small amount of fat to escape through the bottom drain. While this wouldn't be our first choice for use as a measuring cup, not only because it's not entirely accurate but also because the etchings are hard to read. Though, as a fat separator, you can't go wrong with this model.
The Vondior 4-Cup Gravy Separator and Fat Separator looks exactly—and I mean exactly—like the slightly-better-performing Cuisipro. The only way to tell them apart is by the brand name was printed on the product. Easy to use, this fat separator doesn't allow any peppercorns to pass through the top strainer, and it does a fine job at draining the liquid without passing too much fat through. Unfortunately his fat separator isn't accurate as a measuring cup and the etchings are hard to read
The Bellemain 4-Cup Fat Separator is available for a great budget price, but it falls behind when it comes to performance. Overall, we like the separator, but you have to be very careful pouring it to prevent fatty liquids from spilling up over the top. While it is more accurate with larger quantities of liquid than smaller quantities, it just doesn't excel at both.
We love the smaller profile of the bottom-draining Swing-A-Way 4-Cup Easy Release Fat and Gravy Separator, which makes it easy to store. We just wish it performed better in the kitchen. This is the only model we found that can't actually hold 4 cups of liquid as advertised, and the cup measurement is wildly inaccurate, weighing almost a full ounce less than it should. Although this fat separator is easy to clean, the easy-to-clean handle is also pretty awkward to hold.
There are two types of fat separators: spout-style pitchers and bottom-drainers. They both work the same way, although their draining methods differ. After you pour your stock or sauce through the strainer (which is designed to catch aromatics like chopped onions or peppercorns), give it a minute to allow the fat to rise to the top. With the pitcher design, you simply pour the liquid through the spout, which pulls from the bottom of the receptacle. For the bottom-drainer types, you pull a lever to drain the liquid directly through a hole in the bottom. With both methods, you stop pouring before you reach the floating fat, leaving it behind in the separator.
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