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Chicken Fat

In Northern Europe, cooking oil was scarce, and butter was expensive -- making dairy fat something that families often preferred to sell for added income rather than treat themselves to. And even when margarine did come along, many governments slapped a tax on it to keep it out of reach of ordinary consumers.

Consequently, Chicken Fat was a important source of cooking fat, particularly for those such as Jews who couldn't use pork fat, though it was used even by those that could use pork - you wouldn't waste any valuable cooking fat, whatever animal it came from.

To make: You can remove large pieces of fat from inside the chicken, though that may make the bird drier if you're roasting it. Still, in a normal home, you're only going to have chicken fat in small amounts at a time -- you will only get, tops, 1 to 2 oz (30 to 60 g) of fat from inside a bird (though you can also ask your butcher for chicken fat.) Consequently, you may wish to freeze it in a container until you have enough to bother rendering.

You can render the fat in a frying pan; it will take 10 minutes maximum for the fat to render. Drain your rendered fat off as you go to help prevent a lot of splattering. All the leftover, unrendered bits are called "griveners" or "griebens", which many people love, especially salted. In fact, some people even purposefully add pieces of chicken skin in with the fat that is being rendered, to create more "griebens", which are in effect chicken skin cracklings.

Fat skimmed from chicken broth or soup will have some water in it, but you can steam that off by heating the fat in a saucepan for a few minutes.

The smoke point of chicken fat is 375 F / 190 C.

Cooking Tips

Many swear by using chicken fat for making Matzo Balls with. They say that not even butter is a good replacement, because it makes the Matzo Balls too heavy.

Some swear by Chicken Fat for making pie crusts from.


When appropriate, some mild oil, plus some chicken broth for flavour; OR

2 parts margarine or shortening and 1 part oil.


45% monounsaturated fat, 31% polyunsaturated fat, 20% saturated fat.

High in linoleic acid, which is good for fur and coats on pets.

Nutrition Facts
Per 1 tablespoon (13 g)
11 mg
Weight Watchers®
Per 1 tablespoon (13 g)

* PointsPlus™ calculated by CooksInfo.com. Not endorsed by Weight Watchers® International, Inc, which is the owner of the PointsPlus® registered trademark.


1 tablespoon = 13g

Storage Hints

Strain rendered Chicken Fat and store in a sealed container in the fridge.

See also:


Bacon Drippings; Barding; Caul; Chicken Fat; Copha; Dripping; Fat Separators; Fat; Ghee; Goose Fat; Lardons; Lard; Oil; Palmin; Pork Fatback; Puff Pastry Fat; Salt Pork; Saturated Fat; Schmaltz; Shortening; Skimming; Streak of Lean; Unsaturated Fat

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Also called:

Hühnerfett, Hühnerschmalz (German)


Oulton, Randal. "Chicken Fat." CooksInfo.com. Published 22 January 2005; revised 27 May 2009. Web. Accessed 03/19/2018. <http://www.cooksinfo.com/chicken-fat>.

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