It’s soup season! Whether you love a hearty stew or a classic chicken noodle, nothing feels cozier than curling up with a delicious bowl of warm soup. Plus, soup is an excellent, low-calorie meal — as long as you skip the creamy versions. But when you’re making a soup with any kind of meat in it, how can you minimize the fat content? Skimming some off the top as it cooks is one method, but it won’t get rid of as much grease as you might hope. If you’re watching your fat intake, here’s a better way to remove fat from soup: the ice cube trick.
How to Remove Fat From Soup
First, chill a ladle under cold water and dry it off. Then, get several ice cubes and place them in the ladle. Skim the bottom of the ladle over the soup, and the fat at the surface will immediately stick to it. Lift out the ladle, clean off the fat, and repeat. It’s as simple as that!
This trick to remove fat from soup comes from Ian Turner, a user on Seasoned Advice. According to Turner, you can also drop a few ice cubes into the soup, let the fat congeal around the cubes, and then spoon out the cubes covered in fat before they melt. If you’re concerned about watering down your dish, however, you’ll have better luck with the chilled ladle.
Some experimental chefs, like the ones at Sizzling Hot Pot, have also used a giant ice cube to remove the fat. This method might be more work than it’s worth, but it could be a fun experiment to try with kids!
To replicate this trick in a manageable way, freeze water in one or two round, silicone donut molds (Buy from Amazon, $14.99). The silicone makes it easy to pop the ice out of the molds, and the donut hole in the center will help you grip the ice. Once you remove the ice from the mold, protect your hand from the cold temperature with an oven mitt or paper towel. Carefully dunk the “ice donut” into the soup to collect the fat. Clean the fat off the ice after each round of dunking.
Why does the ice cube trick work?
If you put a container of soup in the fridge, all the fat solidifies at the top in a thick layer. That’s because saturated fat (which can raise your cholesterol levels) turns solid at room temperature – and it doesn’t take much for it to firm up. Unsaturated fat solidifies at colder temperatures, and will almost always become solid in the fridge.
The ice cube trick uses the same principle. When you place a chilled spoon on top of the soup’s surface, the icy cold temperature will instantly solidify the fat surrounding it. This is especially true for saturated fat, which tends to float to the top of soup more quickly than other fats in the liquid. As a result, the ice cube trick gets rid of the unhealthiest kind of fat.
If you have the extra time, you can always place your whole container of soup in the fridge, wait for it to chill, and then remove all the fat that collects at the top. No matter what method you choose, it’s good to know that you can make your soup a lot healthier with a little effort!