When I pan-fry bacon I usually see a curdled white residue emerge from the strips as they start to become cooked. This residue forms a sticky film on the pan that burns if not scraped off during cooking. It appears to be a some sticky goo composed of proteins, fat and water.

What exactly is this residue and what causes it/where does it come from? Does it pose any health concerns? Is it common practice in professional kitchens to wash the bacon before cooking in order to reduce this residue?

  • The only times I have seen the white residue come out of meats that weren't fish were when the meats were from animals raised with substantial amounts of chemical feeds and additives. It appears to be related to the milky juices that sometimes come out of poultry raised in that manner. I can't swear this is the case with your bacon, but that is my experience with the whitish residues.
    – Shalryn
    Apr 30, 2016 at 19:59

3 Answers 3


The answer is related to a similar issue appearing in this question.

Basically, that residue is mostly water, along with denatured proteins from the meat. When meat is cooked and the cells expel moisture, there are a lot of dissolved proteins which sometimes make the liquid light-colored and thick.

People tend to notice it more with certain meats than others. With bacon, it tends to show up a little more because a lot of commercial bacon is now wet-cured by injection. The extra moisture in the bacon flows out quicker during cooking and carries protein with it. This is also more of a problem with thinner cuts of bacon, since the more "damaged" cells, the more this protein leaks out. Thinner cut bacon -- like the ground beef mentioned in the link above -- has a higher ratio of cut and damaged cells than thick-cut bacon. (There are other factors that can add to this too, e.g., freezing, which also damages cells.)

It's safe to eat, though not particularly pleasant textured or tasty. Rinsing the bacon wouldn't help. A few ways to lessen it:

  • Try a different brand of bacon, perhaps one that adds less moisture
  • Buy thicker bacon
  • Cook more slowly: this may not help much with some bacon, but the faster the meat cooks up and shrinks, the faster the liquid flows out
  • If possible, buy traditional dry-cured bacon with no liquid injected (sometimes hard to find these days)
  • pork loins produce a lot of protein spuge
    – Escoce
    Dec 4, 2018 at 18:17
  • Venison too does this too.
    – Owl
    Mar 4, 2021 at 13:23

a few years ago there was a documentary that stated that companies ship meat products from the UK, over to Europe where they are thawed, injected with a solution, re-frozen, then re-shipped back to the UK for distribution by the supermarkets. It is illegal to inject this solution in the UK, hence the shipping to Europe. This is used to make the meat heavier and hence the profit.


This white residue is water that has been added in the curing process. It shouldn't be there if you buy dry cured.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.