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Tips to separate fat from broth/drippings?

I will typically boil a whole chicken (cut up) in 6 cups of water in my pressure cooker. It comes out great.

After I remove the chicken, and take the meat off the bones, I'm left with a delicious and nutritious broth.

I typically cool it by putting the pot containing the liquid in a cold water bath in my sink, then put the put in the fridge overnight. The fat rises to the top and it can easily be skimmed off.

Any tips or suggestions or gadgets which will help me separate some of the fat without having to wait for the next day? (I normally cook this in the morning on my way to work and it would be great to have some broth to go with my chicken without waiting till the next day.


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  1. They have quart measuring cups with a spout that comes from the bottom, you pour until you get to the top. They're called something like fat skimmers?

    Mine looks like this...why is it so hard to find the photo post icon?

      1. re: coll

        Brilliant !! (looks tuff to clean, but extremely clever!)


        1. re: coll

          Hi, coll:

          Do you like your glass one? I was all set to buy one of these, but it looked to me like the spout is vulnerable to breakage. I ended up getting a polycarbonate one that has a reinforced web connecting the cup with the spout; about $14 vs. $26 for the glass one.


          1. re: kaleokahu

            No it's Pyrex and while I too worried about the spout, no issues in the (over 10?) years I've had it. Supposed to be laboratory quality or somesuch. To clean, I have this stupid, skinny brush I bought at a Pampered Chef party; it came with a turkey baster that I didn't really need but the brush is one of my favorite dish cleaning tools. It goes all the way through, no problem.

            1. re: mike2401

              Wow that's a great selection! I don't know how I lived without this device; so quick to make gravy when roasting, especially around the holidays when you have company on hand and are multitasking. I had a plastic one first but I think it cracked one time from the heat, that's why I went glass. But it's something you will be glad you have on hand, even if only a few times a year.

              1. re: coll

                I'm inclined towards glass because I don't want plastic leaching into my food (especially from hot oil). I'm searching for a 4 cup glass one now.

                I will have to find some thin cleaning thingie to clean the spout.

                I never knew these separators existed. I'm very excited!


                1. re: mike2401

                  They must sell the thin brushes separately somewhere, maybe at a restaurant supply? But if you know anyone who has connections with Pampered Chef, see if you can get it there. Maybe they sell online? Like I said though, I had to buy the turkey baster to get it, but you can always use an extra baster, right?

                  I got mine online or from a catalog, I keep thinking it was Vermont Country Store but not really sure.

                  1. re: mike2401

                    Here is what the brush looks like, they should sell it along with the separator!

                    1. re: coll

                      Lee Valley Garden Tools sells those skinny brushes. It has been a awhile since I ordered mine but I remember they were very reasonable, like $8 for three.

                      1. re: coll

                        Brushses-- look through the BABY section of the grocery store or other retail place.

                        1. re: Kris in Beijing

                          Now that makes sense! Good to know when this one bites the dust.

                  2. re: mike2401

                    I have the Amco one, which I love. Put the liquid in, let it settle so that the fat rises to the top, release the handle, and the clear broth comes out of the bottom. Personally, I prefer this to the cups with the spout because I think it works better.

                    1. re: roxlet

                      I have the same Amco one. No spout to worry about. Dishwasher safe.


                      1. re: roxlet

                        I like the way that one seems to work. With the spout kind, I hate when I get to the bottom because I don't want to waste any of the broth but I don't want the broth to get in.

                        1. re: dmjordan

                          I mean that I don't want the fat to get in.

                          1. re: dmjordan

                            You usually loose maybe a tsp of broth by stopping, but it's also not bad to have a bit of fat in the gravy so I don't get too crazy about it.

                  3. Without a special cup the best I can do is pour the stock into a relatively tall, narrow cup, filling it nearly to the top. Then wait a few minutes, and skim the fat off the top with a spoon. My best spoons for this have a squared off end, and are moderately deep. Chinese soup spoons are another option.

                    The idea is to get the fat layer as deep as possible, and to use a spoon that I can dip just below the surface. What I skim off will include some broth, but I can worry about recovering that later.

                    1. Mine looks a lot like this one. http://tinyurl.com/cqfxjfg

                      I don't know if it is polycarbonate or plastic, but it handles hot liquids well.

                      1 Reply
                      1. re: sueatmo

                        Hi Sue:

                        Yup, that's the same one I bought. I dislike plastic, but rock solid and inexpensive.


                      2. sueatmo is correct, as are others responding. It's usually called a gravy separator. Pretty easy to find in major stores: Target, Bed, Bath and Beyond, and certainly on the internet.

                        I use mine a lot, particularly on stews or braises which can create a fair amount of fat. Drain off the fat, hit the remaining liquid with an immersion belnder, and you have a great sauce. Your refrigerator technique is also quite valid if you have the time.

                        1. Thanks everyone!

                          Though I really wanted to get glass, I couldn't find one that didn't have terrible reviews.

                          I picked this up at Bed Bath Beyond:

                          I wish it said BPA free on the packaging, but it didn't mention it.

                          Oh Wait!

                          I just took off the outer cardboard and it is stamped: "BPA Free" on the bottom of the actual separator. They really should have made that more prominent on the outer packaging.

                          Anyway, Thanks again!


                          3 Replies
                            1. re: mike2401

                              You sound surprised. BPA was really only an issue with one type of plastic, Lexan. Nalgene, known for its durable Lexan sports water bottles found a substitute 5 years ago. Oxo always seemed like a company that was quite a tune to customer's concerns.

                              1. re: paulj

                                I'm not up to date on my BPA info (just enough to know it's bad). In fact, I started googling if BPA was in hard plastic, or only the softer types, but then I notices the no-bpa stamp on the bottom so I left it at that.


                            2. Ziplock separatory funnel!
                              Leave the hot broth out for half an hour to an hour, pour into a gallon freezer bag. Holding the bag on the diagonal, wait a minute for the contents to settle, then snip off the downward facing corner to allow the settled solids to clear, then when there's nothing but broth and the fat on top, allow the broth to drain into the vessel of your choice. Pinch the cut before the fat drains into your broth.


                              2 Replies
                                1. re: bumblecat

                                  Ingenious! Someone upthread mentioned a separator that works like that that I was going to buy, but maybe I'll just save the money and do your method!

                                2. Glad you got hooked on the gravy separator. As for a brush to clean the spout, find some cheap dollar store, or Walmart, and just see if you can find an old fashioned baby bottle brush. works fine

                                  1. I have something like this:


                                    I got mine in Hong Kong but have seen them in China Town here in Vancouver.

                                    1. I too have mostly done the refrigerator thing and taken the hardened fat off with a spoon. When I have not been able to wait, I've just skimmed the fat off with a spoon. We have a fat separator with the spout that feeds off the bottom but for some reason I've never had good luck with it. I'm intrigued by the zip bag method and might give that a try sometime.

                                      1. I pour the broth into a measuring cup after it's cooled down and then skim the fat off the top.

                                        1 Reply
                                        1. re: mcookie

                                          That is the best way when you have time. However in an emergeny, other solutions are called for.

                                          1. I really enjoyed having the broth in a pour-able container (with plug).

                                            Anyone ever seen on with an air tight cap so I don't have to magyver it with plastic wrap and rubber bands?