What is Schmaltz?

What you need to know about this beloved rendered poultry fat.

You have probably heard the word “schmaltz.” But have you wondered, wait — what is schmaltz? Schmaltz is rendered fat, usually chicken fat. But it can also be duck fat or goose fat. (Learn more about other Jewish food terms here.)

And schmaltz  is a much beloved substance by many — it is revered in Eastern European Jewish cooking for its richness, flavor and that it is easy and cheap to make, using every part of the animal. It’s also an alternative to butter, which cannot be used when cooking meat or chicken according to kosher dietary laws.

Traditional schmaltz is made by cooking chicken skin, fat and onions over low heat with water until the golden fat emerges. Strain and pour off the fat to use in cooking, then snack on the skin and onions called gribenes. Kind of like Jewish pork rinds.

Some Jewish grandmothers even say that rubbing schmaltz on your chest will cure a cold. (Like mine. I have never actually tried it though).

So, how else do you use schmaltz? Here are some of our favorite recipes. Or check out the full video below all about our favorite Jewish fat.

How to Make Chicken Soup with Matzah Balls
Classic Potato Latkes
How to Make Chopped Liver 

Keep on Noshing

What Are Gribenes?

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Chicken Gribenes ‘n Waffles Cupcake

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Why You Should Be Rendering Your Own Schmaltz

This simple Jewish staple is easy to make and packs a punch.