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Cooking Tips

The Easiest Way to Throw Out Your Frying Oil

Want to easily dispose of used oil? Make a frying-oil Frisbee. Toss it straight into the trash.
By Published Apr. 29, 2022

The question of how to dispose of a pan’s worth of used cooking oil is a deterrent for would-be fryers. Pouring it down the drain is a no-no, so the typical approach is to cool the oil and then transfer it to a sealable container and stick it in the trash, a process that requires both patience and a perfectly sized vessel that you’re willing to part with.

In search of a simpler solution to dispose of used cooking oil, we took to the internet—and came across a Japanese product on Amazon called “Waste Cooking Oil Powder.” It works like a magic trick: When you stir a sachet of these small white flakes into a pot of warm frying oil, the contents transform as they cool into a solid disk that is easy to remove from the pan and dispose of directly in the trash, no container needed.

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We tested two products, portioned into 18-gram (about ⅔-ounce) sachets, that both claimed to solidify 2½ cups of oil. Both products worked identically to solidify separate batches of corn, canola, and peanut oil (each heated to about 175 degrees Fahrenheit to thoroughly melt the waxy product) into firm, gelled pucks. 

But of course, magic isn’t actually behind this transformation—oleogelation is. According to our science research editor, the product interacts with the liquid oil, much like gelatin in water, to create an oleogel. A fairly recent development in food science, oleogelation immobilizes liquid oil in a matrix of crystalline fat, so it behaves like a solid.

One of the products we tested includes 10 sachets, enough to harden more than 25 cups of oil, and costs $17.00 (or $1.70 per use) on Amazon (sold as “Waste Cooking Oil Powder”). Frequent fryers, take note. 

Watch Cook's Illustrated's editor in chief Dan Souza try this very technique below.

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JC
JOHN C.
16 days

Absolutely the best chicken ever, even the breast meat was moist! It's the only way I'll cook a whole chicken again. Simple, easy, quick, no mess - perfect every time. I've used both stainless steel and cast iron pans. great and easy technique for “roasted” chicken. I will say there were no pan juices, just fat in the skillet. Will add to the recipe rotation. Good for family and company dinners too. I've done this using a rimmed sheet pan instead of a skillet and put veggies and potatoes around the chicken for a one-pan meal. Broccoli gets nicely browned and yummy!

Absolutely the best chicken ever, even the breast meat was moist! It's the only way I'll cook a whole chicken again. Simple, easy, quick, no mess - perfect every time. I've used both stainless steel and cast iron pans. great and easy technique for “roasted” chicken. I will say there were no pan juices, just fat in the skillet. Will add to the recipe rotation. Good for family and company dinners too.

MD
MILES D.
JOHN C.
9 days

Amazed this recipe works out as well as it does. Would not have thought that the amount of time under the broiler would have produced a very juicy and favorable chicken with a very crispy crust. Used my 12" Lodge Cast Iron skillet (which can withstand 1000 degree temps to respond to those who wondered if it would work) and it turned out great. A "make again" as my family rates things. This is a great recipe, and I will definitely make it again. My butcher gladly butterflied the chicken for me, therefore I found it to be a fast and easy prep. I used my cast iron skillet- marvellous!

CM
CHARLES M.
11 days

John, wasn't it just amazing chicken? So much better than your typical oven baked chicken and on par if not better than gas or even charcoal grilled. It gets that smokey charcoal tasted and overnight koshering definitely helps, something I do when time permits. First-time I've pierced a whole chicken minus the times I make jerk chicken on the grill. Yup, the cast iron was not an issue.