How to Drain Ground Beef | 2 Easy Methods

September 8, 2022
Written by Kristy J. Norton

Some people think that when it comes to draining ground beef, you just need to put it in a sieve over the sink and wash it down with water. You need to stop this.

First, grease from ground beef is not water-soluble. This is a good way to block your kitchen pipe. One more thing: be careful with hot oil and water! If you pour water into hot grease, it will start to splatter. So, unlearn that idea.

There are two hacks for draining ground beef that I’m going to show you in this tutorial. Both are foolproof and safe. So get your apron on, and let’s try them out!

How to Drain Ground Beef

Drain the Fat With a Spoon and Turkey Baster 

Items You Need  

  1. A metal spoon
  2. A bowl or cup
  3. A glass bowl
  4. A turkey baster 
  5. A few paper towels 
  6. An empty can 
  7. Large nonstick pan 
  8. Tin-foil lined container 
Meat Grinder Minced Meat

Step 1: Cook Your Ground Beef 

After grinding the beef in the mincer, you need to start cooking your ground beef like you normally would. 

Pour all the ground beef into a large non-stick pan and place over the fire. Keep the heat on medium-low and don’t cook beyond 10 minutes. Stir the ground beef every now and then until it turns golden brown.

You may want to season the ground beef with salt, pepper, and other spices. The choice is yours. 

Step 2: Tilt the Pan a Bit and Gather the Meat on the Upper Side 

Move all the beef to the side with a fork or spoon. Then, all you have to do is tilt the pan to allow the oil to collect on the opposite side.

Be careful not to tilt the pan too much, so you don’t spill the fat on your burner or working surface. 

Step 3: Transfer All the Fat to a Tin Foil Lined Container

You can do this using a large metal spoon. To facilitate cleaning, I prefer to use an empty aluminum box. If you don’t have one, you can also have the bowl lined with aluminum foil or tin foil. Then pour the fat in. 

Covering the container with tin foil will make it easier to clean, but it’s optional.

Step 4: Use a Turkey Baster to Suck Up the Fat

You may use this instead of using a spoon. I often use this to finish up the draining after the spooning process. Press and hold the blaster’s tip and dip the end into grease. Then release it to suck the fat inside. 

Be careful not to let the hot grease reach the silicone part of the bulb. Otherwise, it could melt.

Step 5: Wipe Off the Rest of the Fat With Paper Towels

After sucking up all that fat, you can finish it with paper towels. This will make cleaning easier. Take some paper towels and dab the pan. If there’s still oil left inside, get more paper towels and continue dabbing the pan. When the paper towels cool, dispose of them.

Step 6: Freeze Accumulated Oil or Fat in a Bowl or Box

Don’t throw away all the fat retrieved from the ground beef. 

You should let it cool for 10 to 20 minutes. Once cooled, put the bowl in the freezer. The fat should solidify within a few hours.

In my recipes, I often use frozen meat fat as a substitute for butter or lard.

How to Drain Grease From Minced Meat Using a Colander?

Items You Need  

Below are some items you’ll need for this tutorial: 

  • A skillet
  • A glass bowl
  • A colander 
Beef Mince in a Glass Bowl

Step 1: Brown the Minced Meat in a Pan for 10 Minutes

As usual, we begin by cooking the meat on low heat to get the fat out. Pour all the chopped meat into a skillet and place it on the stove over medium-low heat.

Stir the meat until it is golden brown. This will take about ten minutes.

Step 2: Pour the Ground Beef Into a Colander Set Over

To drain the ground beef, place a colander over a glass or ceramic bowl and pour in the beef to catch all the grease from ground beef. The boiling fat will drain into the bowl, and the meat will remain in the colander 

Do not use a plastic bowl. Otherwise, it may melt.

Step 3: Pour Hot Water Over the Meat in the Colander

Fill a mug with hot tap water and pour it over the cooked ground beef. Hot water will remove residual fat. Cool water won’t. It can only solidify the melted fat on the cooked ground beef.

You can repeat this step to remove as much fat as possible from the meat.

Step 4: Let the Fat Cool for Up to 20 Minutes

After it has cooled, put the bowl of fat in the fridge. Never place hot water or fat in your refrigerator. Instead, do that when the grease cools.

Leave the bowl at room temperature for 10 to 20 minutes, then put it in the fridge for 1-2 hours. The fat will solidify and create a solid layer above the water.

Do not remove the fat from the refrigerator until it has solidified. Then, you can use the fatty remains as butter or lard in your dishes.

Step 5: Remove the Layer of Solid Fat

Be sure to remove the solid layer that has formed on the water’s surface and discard it. Use a spoon to do this. After removing all the grease, you can pour the water down the sink drain.


Are You Supposed to Drain Ground Beef?

No, you don’t need to drain grease from ground beef. It’s a matter of choice. However, draining ground beef will make the dish healthier and it will be leaner. So, yes to fat draining!

Is It Ok to Drain Ground Beef in Sink?

I wouldn’t do that if I were you. It doesn’t matter whether you use hot or cold water. Pouring grease or fat from the ground beef is a recipe for disaster. When the grease cools down, it will end up solidifying and clog your pipes.

What Happens if You Don’t Drain Grease From Ground Beef?

The grease isn’t just grease. It’s common knowledge that red meat is high in saturated fat and cholesterol. Draining the fat means bringing the cholesterol and saturated fat to a safe level (or at least close to it). high in saturated fat and cholesterol

Ground Meat on a Spoon

Related Reading


Removing the fat from ground meat will result in a healthier dish, and it’s even recommended for some recipes.

You must first brown the meat to release all the fat. Afterward, you can scoop it out from the bottom of the pan with a spoon or drain the meat using a colander.

Finally, since there are chances of boiling grease clogging the sink’s plumbing, you must dispose of it properly.

By Kristy J. Norton
I'm Kristy – a chef and connoisseur of all things BBQ! You can find me either in my kitchen (or someone else's) or at a big outdoor barbecue surrounded by friends and family. In both my professional and personal life I’ve picked up more than a few tips and tricks for turning out delicious food. I consider it a privilege to share it with others!
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