Does draining and rinsing meat reduce fat content?

Ask Peggy

Ask Peggy

DEAR PEGGY: If I cook 85/15 lean ground turkey, and drain and rinse it, does it reduce the fat content? I prefer to cook with 93/7 ground turkey or beef, but I'm on a tight grocery budget. I can get 85/15 meat much cheaper, so I'm wondering if draining and rinsing makes it somewhat comparable to 93/7 lean. —S.N., Mahtomedi, Minnesota

PEGGY: In a word, yes. Research from at Iowa State University in 2002 found that 4 ounces of 80% lean ground beef that was pan-fried, drained, blotted with paper towels and rinsed with hot water contained 121 calories and 5 grams of fat—roughly the equivalent of 95% lean beef, undrained.

By comparison, 80% lean ground beef that was drained and blotted (not rinsed) provided 177 calories with 10 grams of fat. Interestingly, researchers found that rinsing 90% lean ground beef did not provide significant calorie or fat savings over the 80% rinsed beef.