My family keeps a container of bacon grease in our fridge, and I always figured it was because Midwest habits die hard. But as I've become more interested in food sustainability, I've realized that saving bacon grease is a great way to start practicing waste-free cooking. Bacon grease is worth saving because it adds depth to dishes, often yields crisper foods, and is a great substitute for butter if you're dairy-free.

Being the kind of person who saves bacon grease for later is a huge adult step, and I think we're all ready to take it. So once you've fried up some bacon and cleared a home in your fridge for your new favorite container to live, here are nine uses for bacon grease that'll show off what a big kid you are.

#SpoonTip: Bacon has gotten a bad rap for the many not nice things it's injected with, like sodium nitrates and other preservatives. The World Health Organization declared bacon and other processed meats as carcinogenic, and nitrates may play a role in this. Look for nitrate-free or uncured bacon at the grocery store to play it safe.

1. Eggs

vegetable, bread, meat, tomato, corn, egg
Kelsey Emery

It's the easiest and oldest use for bacon grease there is. Just leave the grease in the pan after frying bacon and scramble your eggs in it. This makes the eggs next level and saves you from having to bust out the butter. 

2. Tortillas  

flour, wheat, bread, sweet, salt
Callie Carlson

This bacon fat tortilla recipe is the only one you'll ever need. Make these flaky tortillas for your Saturday night party to really wow your guests, or on Sunday morning to make breakfast tacos with your bacon grease eggs.

3. Pie Crust

ice cream, dessert, pie, apple, cinammon, Sugar, scoop, butter, crumble, homemade
Josi Miller

Inspired by this Buzzfeed article, which led me to this bacon fat pie crust recipe, I will never make pie crust the same again. I mean, it isn't too far-fetched. After all, candied maple bacon is a thing, so why can't we make bacon pie crust? What do you think they used before Crisco? 

4. Dressing for Spinach Salad

salad, spinach
Danielle Cahoon

You were going to put bacon on the salad anyway, so might as well make a dressing out of it while you're at it. Here's a handy spinach salad with bacon grease dressing to get you started on your mission to make greens less healthy and more edible. 

5. Potato Salad

How do we elevate something already as great as potato salad? PUT BACON FAT IN IT. This potato salad is a great starting place for those experimenting with using bacon grease in their potato salad. Just never forget that recipes are meant to be broken. 

6. Popcorn

cottage cheese, kettle corn, salt, cereal, corn, popcorn, snacks
Julia Gilman

What are you doing still reaching for vegetable oil to cook your popcorn in? Come join the rest of us in 2018, where this bacon fat popcorn is the only way people would dream of devouring our fave movie theatre snack. 

7. Pancakes

pancake, syrup, sweet, dairy product, honey, butter, cream, pastry
Christin Urso

People swear by cooking pancakes in bacon grease. It yields a crispier outside without over browning, which sounds like the recipe for a perfect pancake. I would even go a step further, and see what happens if you sub out some butter in a pancake recipe for bacon grease. Live on the wild side with me.

8. Chocolate Chip Cookies

chocolate, cookie, peanut butter, peanut, butter, oatmeal
Emma Fingleton

Take that, Chips Ahoy. Bacon grease cookies can take many forms, but I think the way they transform a humble chocolate chip cookie is downright poetic. Do yourself a favor and make these pecan chocolate chip cookies the next time you're about to reach for a tube of Toll House.

9. Moisturizer

beer, tea, pizza, coffee
Isabella Alessandrini

I cannot make this stuff up, folks. Somewhere on the internet people are downright serious about bacon fat's properties as a heel moisturizer. If you apply it before bed and put socks on it's supposed to work wonders. Let's just hope your roommate is okay with the residual bacon smell...

Bacon grease deserves so much more than a toss in the trash. Using bacon grease can make your recipes dairy-free-friendly and help you save something that would've otherwise been thrown away. Saving your bacon grease isn't a world-shattering idea, but it's a small step to help combat food waste in your own home. For more beginner sustainability tips, check out these five simple steps to eating sustainably as a college student.