This is a seemingly simple question, but I can't seem to find good helpful techniques or suggestions for this.

After frying in a dutch oven (or any other pot with little or no lip) and letting the oil cool down a bit, I like to store the oil in the container it came in. Whenever I do so, even with a funnel, I end up spilling almost as much as I save. Typically it runs down the side of the pot instead of pouring out.

Now this is a problem with trying to save any liquid (e.g. soup, sauce). Is there a trick that doesn't involve making a mess?

  • 2
    There's a question about the physics of poured liquid running down the outside of the container which might be helpful. Sep 13, 2013 at 10:18
  • 1
    That link is more of an explanation on why it happens, and less for a practical solution. Their suggestion for tea is to apply a hydrophobic substance on the outside. While this may work, it may be less helpful for oily, greasy or sticky liquids.
    – Steve H.
    Sep 14, 2013 at 5:24
  • Actually there are three suggestions there: pour fast, have a thin edge, and apply a surface coating which repels the fluid. (For water that would be hydrophobic, but for oil you might want a hydrophilic surface). Sep 16, 2013 at 11:30

5 Answers 5


Some dutch ovens are easier to pour from than others; it depends on the how the edge or lip of the pot is curved.

If you have one that is not easy to pour from, minimize the amount of pouring that you do by transferring the content out with a ladle... or since ladling can be slow.... I use a glass measuring cup as a scoop. These tend to pour quite well, hold a lot (I have three sizes, including one that holds a quart or liter) and have a handle so you don't get your hand messy.

Once most of the content is transferred, you can pour the last part. Usually this will not make as much of a mess, but if it does still drip down the side of the oven, there was much less of the product involved.

Lastly, do the transfer in or over the sink. This won't save you from having some of the content escape, but it does make cleanup much, much easier.

  • 2
    You can use a turkey baster to suck out the last bit of oil out that the ladle can't get at. Sep 13, 2013 at 14:32
  • That sounds like more cleaning than a spill would be :-)
    – SAJ14SAJ
    Sep 13, 2013 at 14:33
  • I always work near a sink, particularly with oil. A few drips is inevitable, but much more of a pain to deal with outside the sink than within. You still end up using a useful tool. Using a ladle seems like a such a pain with oil that I'd seriously have second thoughts about frying if my clean up required that. But I like the notion of using a large glass measuring cup, as a couple scoops will get most of the oil.
    – Steve H.
    Sep 14, 2013 at 5:56
  • 1
    @SteveH. Maybe you just need a bigger ladle. A 16 or 24 oz ladle should get the bulk in just a few scoops, and you can pour the rest afterward.
    – Aaronut
    Sep 14, 2013 at 13:54
  • I use a wok for my deep frying, and pouring from it is nightmarish. However I still do it. I just simply do it in the sink so the mess is limited to the sink. When the pouring is mostly done, instead of righting the wok, I flip it over completely so it doesn't start dripping down the side but rather drips back into the wok. You could also pour into a large pyrex measuring cup. My largest one is 4 quarts and that's more than enough to carry what's left from my wok (about 1-ish quart. If I were deep frying with my dutch oven, I'd probably have 3 quarts of oil in it (I am guesstimating).
    – Escoce
    Mar 25, 2016 at 17:34

Ladling can be slow, but I recommend it as well. Part of the reason why its difficult to pour is because the Dutch oven has no corner from which you could make a spout. If you had a big square container, one with enough open surface area that you don't have to be precise, pour it there first, then pour from there.

Also, rather than slowly angling the pan, which will cause the liquid to drip down the sides first, try quickly getting it to the 30º-or-so angle. It takes confidence :)

  • And good aim. ^_^
    – Scivitri
    Sep 13, 2013 at 19:10
  • I have poured into a half gallon measuring cup before, but the pour is still tricky as it does ride down the side for the first part of the pour. The trouble with second part of your suggestion is you need good aim and a steady hand. I've attempted that before putting oil back into a bottle and proceeded to drench the outside of the bottle with oil. The pour WILL start off wide.
    – Steve H.
    Sep 14, 2013 at 6:22
  • I don't find ladling particularly slow, especially when I factor in the time saved cleaning up messes from sloppy pouring accidents. A 4 oz and 2 oz ladle are very handy things in the kitchen. I find no need for any larger size.
    – Ecnerwal
    Dec 1, 2015 at 13:56

I have the same problem with my Lodge dutch oven, and the large measuring cup seems to be the best way to do it.

However you end up doing it, as a tip for the oil-running-down-the-side-of-the-bottle problem, Get a couple large rubber bands and band some folded paper towels around the bottle about 1/3 of the way down. That absorbs a good amount of the drips, usually all.

And ALWAYS do it in the sink or a thick plastic bag, in case of a catastrophic slip.

  • If you don't have a large enough measuring cup to make it worthwhile -- I've used another smaller pot before as an oversized ladle.
    – Joe
    Mar 25, 2016 at 18:22

Disclosure: I asked the original question without intending to post the following answer. AND I have not attempted this myself. But it seems different enough to be worth mentioning.

The discussions here mentioned the lack of a spout as being the cause of the messiness. This is undoubtedly true, as I don't have this problem (as much) on my cookware that has spouts. So I decided to look online to see if it's possible to put a spout on a pot temporarily.

I found this: a slip-on pour spout and a clip on Spout, monotasking devices intended to provide a spout to pots and pans that don't have one. Reviews seem mixed to negative, so YMMV. But this is a solution that doesn't involve a ladle or cup.


Let it cool, then siphon the oil with a small hose or tube.

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