So now that everyone has their lard rendered let’s make some shortbread.

Wait. What?! You haven’t rendered your lard yet?

I understand. Some people are less than thrilled to be fondling pig fat. If you haven’t gotten around to producing your own batch of the white gold then do yourself a favor – make some bacon.

Enjoy said bacon. Maybe even make some bacon caramels. Or a BLT since there is no better time to bite into a tomato so sweet it’s as if the sun itself has been feeding the ruby orbes spoonfuls of sugar.

But whatever you do do not throw out your bacon fat. Nothing goes to waste – especially not the salty, smoky and creamy drippings that come from cooking bacon. Use the fat to cook your eggs, butter your toast with it, grab and spoon and eat it – well, not really – that’s gross.

Make shortbread with it.


The other night I had a vision – covered in sugar. Inspiration for a new dessert hit and I listened then immediately set out to make my dreams a reality.

Before all my crazy lard rendering experiments I thought about the possibility of baking with bacon fat. I imagined the slightly salty and savory flavor would be an intriguing complement to caramel, maple, molasses and cream.

What manifested from that thought was a slight modification of David Lebovitz’s Salted Butter Caramel Ice Cream and tender shortbread infused with bacon fat. A grown up ice cream sandwich.


And even though they are messier than my 1 year old at meal times the taste was as exciting as the dream that inspired its birth.

The bacon flavor was subtle – just enough to let you know something was unique about these cookies. Enough to make the complexity of the ice cream scream even louder and enough to calm the sweetness so that eating multiple ice cream sandwiches is highly possible.

On their own these cookies are fantastic. Yielding a tenderness only possible with ample fat.

The secret ingredient will have your tasters questioning your sanity but one bite later they’ll be eating their words – and all of your cookies so watch out for that.

In these penny pinching times do your part – don’t waste anything – including your bacon fat. Make cookies with it.


Bacon Fat Shortbread Cookies

adapted from

3/4 cup butter, room temperature

3/4 cup bacon fat, room temperature (if you did render lard you can also use that – and good for you!)

1 cup sugar

1/3 cup brown sugar

2 tsp. salt

3 egg yolks

2 tbl. vanilla extract

3 3/4 cup All-Purpose flour

*This recipe makes a LOT of cookies. Feel free to cut the recipe in half or wrap some of the dough very well and freeze. Should last at least 1 month.

In a medium bowl combine the butter, bacon fat, sugars and salt and cream until well blended or about 2 minutes. Add the egg yolks one at a time, making sure each yolk is well incorporated before moving on to the next. Stir in the vanilla. Add the flour and mix until just combined.

Roll the dough into a log (or multiple logs as this makes a hefty amount of dough) on wax or parchment paper. Refrigerate until firm. If you plan to use the dough for ice cream sandwiches make sure the log is big enough to produce cookies large enough to hold plenty of ice cream. My cookies were about 3-4 inches wide.

When ready to bake pre-heat your oven to 325*. Carefully slice the cookies 1/4-inch thick. Arrange on a parchment lined sheet tray and bake for 10-15 minutes or until the edges are golden.

*If you can find some or have it on hand try replacing some of the sugar with Maple sugar. I’m sure it would be completely fantastic.


David Lebovitz’s Salted Butter Caramel Ice Cream

* I added replaced half of the sugar with brown sugar in the ice cream custard.

* I added 2 tbl. Maple Syrup to the Caramel Praline mix-in.

This ice cream is incredibly rich. The best homemade ice cream I have ever made – and I’ve made more than one should be allowed in a lifetime.

The key to its rich and unique flavor is to get a deep dark color when carmelizing the sugar.

David Lebovitz is a sugar genius. His instructions and photos hold your hand every step of the way.


45 Responses to “Nothing Goes to Waste”

  1. Anna

    This sounds awesome! There is always bacon fat sitting around in my kitchen for eggs but this is something I must try! you’ve given me all sorts of ideas now!

  2. Kim (Edible/Usable)

    I’ve never thought of using bacon fat for a sweet recipe – a savory one yes (sautee veg or brown meat). But then again, is there anything better than pancakes made in the pan you just cooked your bacon in?

    When I was a kid, we used to save bacon fat and put it on our horses hooves because we thought it would ‘condition’ them. But then the dogs would come and lick it off their feet. Good think our horses liked our dogs, ’cause our dogs definitely liked the bacon fat.

  3. Gabrielaskitchen

    I have family cookie recipe that calls for lard. My vegetarian friends are always surprised when I say they can’t have any. They’re like, “You mean to say that these cookies aren’t VEGAN.” And I respond, “Nope, they’re made with pig fat!”

  4. Phoo-D

    I’ve been meaning to make this ice cream for a long time now. Now thinking of it combined with the cookies is making me drool on my keyboard! YUM.

  5. MollyCookie

    My husband loves bacon so next time he wants some (which will probably be sometime today) I’ll have to follow it up with this recipe. I don’t think I ever would have thought to use bacon fat. Thanks for the recipe!

  6. Lauren

    I’ve used bacon fat for years now to grease the pan for many things, because it seems ‘slipperier’ than oil or shortening, more like lard (who would’ve guessed! ; )
    Seen the bacon cookie recipe elsewhere but haven’t tried it yet. Another one now, to put on my “try sometime” list.

  7. mamma3monkeys

    I absolutely love your blog. The pictures are crisp and delicious.The writing captures my attention and leaves my imagination running. Everything seems to harmonize with each other, you’ve done a wonderful job. But I have to tell you, my stomach flipped when I thought of cookies made with bacon fat. I have probably eaten a ton of cookies in my life time that have been made with bacon fat (and who knows what else…), and the bacon caramels…. my first response is .ew. buuuut after reading the instructions, hearing how to render lard with less bacon taste or more depending on how long you cook it, makes so much sense. I buy lard (manteca) to make tamales with and I know they are in mexican cookies, and that stuff smells like bacon – well, now I know why. lol. Even this morning I made bacon (it’s seen in our house once or twice a year) and followed your pictures for draining the fat into a jar for later (I usually use a mug and put in bacon bits and all). I wanted to thank you for opening my eyes to cooking with real ingredients, it’s fallen by the way side since having twin girls – as grabbing food, quick food stuff (frozen, canned, etc), fast food, or take out has become the norm. We recently just moved our kitchen table back into the kitchen (it’s been under the bed for lack of room since babies were born) and there is so much more that’s going to be happening in there, partly thanks to you!

  8. chez danisse

    What? “…a slight modification of David Lebovitz’s Salted Butter Caramel Ice Cream and tender shortbread infused with bacon fat. A grown up ice cream sandwich.” Oh, how could you do this to me? I’m have so much to do this afternoon and dinner is so far away and now I am soooooo hungry and desperately in need of this shortbread fantasy. Sigh…

  9. Nicole

    I’m intrigued. I’ve always wanted to try baking with bacon fat but haven’t gotten around to it… I’ll have to do it now!

  10. Rachel

    Just found your blog today via The Wednesday Chef and am loving it…another bookmarked blog, yay!

    And, just had to say THANK YOU for a great use for my bacon drippings. I *hate* having to discard all that piggy goodness but have never known of a really good use…until now!

  11. Kate

    I came looking for something to do with the leftover bacon fat, and I found your great blog! I made the cookies (with added chopped hazelnuts) and they turned out very well.

  12. Connie

    Love the use of bacon fat here. I’ve always tended to use it towards more savory applications, e.g. pork belly confit, potatoes, etc. I’ve wondered about using it in baking, like in puff pastry dough or whatnot. These cookies are so innovative and absolutely brilliant.

  13. Arwen

    Made these this past weekend with the bacon fat left over from making the bacon caramels. What a rich weekend!!!
    I made sandwich cookies out of them with maple frosting in the middle. They were a hit and I can’t stop eating them.
    I blame you for the fact that my pants no longer fit. 😉

  14. Meaghan

    My boyfriend and I made these yesterday, and they were amaaaazing! We cut ours a bit thicker, and in wavy rectangles (so they looked like rashers of bacon) and piped melted chocolate along them. The bacon flavour is so subtle; they’re just salty enough to make you want to keep eating them, and the texture – perfect. I’ve had a jar of slowly accumulated bacon fat in our fridge for ages because I couldn’t bear to throw it away, and now I’m contemplating bacon menus so that we can make these cookies again!

  15. catherine

    First of all, I want to say, I love your blog, and everything looks amazing, though I haven’t had the chance to make much yet – just these, and the blueberry butter.
    I made the bacon cookies – cutting the recipe down to one/third, and there was still enough for four people to have plenty, so I will have to try the full-scale version when I’ve got a large party! It was amazing, but I am left to wonder… I made them with the drippings left over from Devils on Horseback I’d made earlier – dates wrapped in bacon and stuffed with gorgonzola. They were also amazing. It was a good day for cooking all around. But I am left wondering if somehow the taste of the dates affected the shortbread? Either way, I think it was fortuitous.

    Thank you!

  16. Lynn

    I make molasses cookies using my great-grandmother’s recipe…which uses bacon fat. They are absolutely delicious!

  17. Jana

    I’m baking these as I type. They are delicious and melty and sweet and salty. I haven’t even filled them yet. I’m not using ice cream, but a caramel buttercream. They are so unique. Summertime.. will try ice cream.

  18. April

    Ashley, I have a quick question. I know this is so out of date and you have a lot going on but I was wondering…could I make this as a crust/base for changing regular turtle brownies into a thinner slightly savory turtle brownie bar? I am making something for a Festivus pot luck and I was imagining a turtle brownie with hidden bacony smokiness. Could I pat this down into a tray, cook it for a bit, add the brownie batter and finish it off in the oven? Do you think it could work? xoxox and Merry Christmas! If you can’t get back to me, I understand and will take a shot anyway! 🙂

  19. April

    Ok, I made them last night. They turned out quite tasty and I think people will appreciate the smoky sweet salty mixture. If I do it again though, I will go with a maple bacon instead. I had really good hickory bacon on hand and the hickory is not shy with this batch. HA!

    I thought I might have gotten the brownie to crust ratio a bit unbalanced, but I’m a crust girl and I’m happy with it. Bacon is truly the candy of meat. Thanks for the vote of confidence Ashley! You and your love of cookery and bacon are an honorary member of our Festivus Party today.

  20. Kimberley W

    Well, I’m seriously frustrated. I followed the recipe to the letter, but ended up with a crumbly mess that refuses to form any shape (I could barely even get it to form a few large balls, let alone a few logs)!! I truly don’t have any idea what went wrong, and I was really looking forward to making these. If anyone has any thoughts on this, I’d love to hear them!! 🙁

  21. Eve

    Found these on Pinterest while looking for shortbread recipes for a Celtic party. Couldn’t use the ice cream for this occasion, but used a maple buttercream frosting, along with maple bacon. Was missing something.. Meanwhile, Hubby opened up the new smokey peat flavored Scottish Whisky (he had bought for the same party) to smell. With the aromas mixing in the kitchen I thought THAT’S it!! –> Added the smokey peat whisky to the frosting and OH MY GOSH! Recommend trying at least once..or.. many times.. grown-ups only of course. Thanks for sharing!

  22. Ezekiel

    Made these and they were incredible. But just wondering was it supposed to be 2 teaspoons of vanilla instead of two table spoons? (In the recipe you have written “tbl.”). Thanks!

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  24. Val

    Just like Kimberly W, my “dough” is a crumbly mess. I managed it mash them, with some effort, into logs. But the amount of flour just seems way too much. Hoping that it’ll hold together once chilled. Any advice blarg on this?

    • Ashley Rodriguez

      Val – I haven’t made these in quite some time so I’m afraid I can’t offer much help. I imagine that bacon fat might vary which might be a culprit too. Also, the temperature of the fat might have something to do with it as does the type of flour. If you do attempt to make them again I removing a bit of the flour would be safe too, in order to make the dough more manageable. I’m sorry you were having problems.

  25. Rebecca

    I found this recipe sometime last year and I have been talking about making these cookies ever since. Well, I turned my talk into action this evening when I made them for my upcoming Bacon Party this weekend. A delightful mess in my kitchen, good tunes from the stereo and even a blister from mixing them by hand, I am beyond proud and excited to share them with all my guests this weekend! The “sample” (i.e. broken) cookies have simply melted in my mouth! I do intend to make the salted caramel ice cream as well, and might even toss in some candied bacon!

  26. Larhonda

    I’m truly enjoying the design and layout of your blog. It’s a very easy
    on the eyes which makes it much more pleasant for me to come here and visit more often.
    Did you hire out a designer to create your theme?
    Excellent work!

  27. ann marie

    These are amazing! I made them for my sister when she was having a rough time and she loved them.

    I just maid them for the second time for a super bowl party. I decided to add bacon crumbles since I had extra. Also I ran out of vanilla only had 1tbsp so my second table spoon was maple syrup. Next time, and there will be a next time, if I add bacon bits again I think I’ll do all syrup instead of the vanilla.


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