How to Make Schmaltz – Rendered Chicken Fat
Learn how to make schmaltz, also known as rendered chicken fat, with these easy-to-follow step-by-step instructions.
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What Is Schmaltz?
Schmaltz is rendered chicken fat, and in addition to tasting delicious, schmaltz is an excellent substitute for butter in a host of recipes.
When you render chicken fat on the stovetop, you wind up with the liquid fat and crispy fried chicken skin bits. The liquid fat is the schmaltz, and it will congeal when refrigerated. The crispy bits are known as gribenes, and they are a tasty substitute for croutons.
How to Make Schmaltz
Schmaltz is easy to make, and to make it homemade, you need a source of chicken fat and chicken skin, which is also rich in fat. You can easily collect this fat and skin from any chicken that you might have on hand. For example, if you buy a whole chicken, you can pull off some of the extra fat around the opening of the chicken’s cavity before cooking the chicken. Or if you spatchcock the chicken, you can pull the skin off the back of the chicken before you bake the chicken.
As you collect these various bits of chicken fat and skin, you can save them in a freezer-proof container or bag. Once you have about 2 cups or about 1 pound, you’re ready to make schmaltz! (See my printable recipe below.)
Another significant source of chicken fat and skin is chicken thighs. In my recipe video, I show how to pull the skin off of chicken thighs and cut off the fat. With about 8-9 large chicken thighs, you will have plenty of fat and skin to make at least a half cup of schmaltz. (Many grocery stores sell large packages of fresh chicken thighs that you can use to collect enough skin and fat to get started making schmaltz without having to accumulate the bits over time.)
Where Can I use Schmaltz?
Schmaltz is a must-have ingredient when making chopped chicken livers. (And be sure to subscribe to my Mary’s Nest YouTube channel, so you’ll be notified when I publish my Chopped Chicken Livers recipe video.)
Nothing imparts a savory, rich flavor like schmaltz, but it doesn’t stop there. You can use schmaltz in any number of recipes to replace butter. Try roasting veggies and or baking biscuits with schmaltz instead of butter. It’s even delicious spread on toast!
Looking for Pasture-Raised Chickens?
If you can’t find pasture-raised chickens in your neighborhood supermarket or farmer’s market, check out US Wellness Meats for their selection of free-range chickens. Make delicious meals with a cooked chicken, and afterward, save the bones for chicken bone broth and render the fat to make schmaltz. You can do a lot with a whole chicken!
- Use discount code MARYNEST and my link to save 15% off regular-priced items on your US Wellness Meats order.
- Shop for Free-Range Whole Chickens
- Shop for Pasture-raised Chicken Thigh Pack (Thighs provide you with skin and fat to help you make a rich Chicken Schmaltz.)
Plus, US Wellness Meats also sells chicken backs in bulk. These backs are perfect for making schmaltz and bone broth. Pull the skin and the fat off of the backs to make your schmaltz, and keep the backbones to make bone broth!
This post is not sponsored. I’m a long-time customer of US Wellness Meats because I have always been impressed by the quality of their products. In my US Wellness Meats unboxing video, you’ll see the types of products you can get, including bones for beef bone broth!
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How to Make Schmaltz – Rendered Chicken Fat
- Nonstick frying pan with lid or well-seasoned cast iron frying pan with lid
- Sharp kitchen shears or paring knife
- Fine mesh strainer
- Heatproof glass measuring cup or heatproof glass bowl
- Glass jar or container with tight, preferably air-tight, lid
- 2 cups Chicken fat and chicken skin The collected fat and skin will weigh approximately 1 pound.
- 1 tsp Salt
- 1/2 tsp Black pepper, ground
- 1 medium Sliced onion, optional
- Chop the chicken fat and chicken skin into approximately 1/2" pieces. (See the video for how to remove the skin from chicken thighs.)
- Toss the chopped chicken fat and skin in a bowl with salt and pepper.
- Place a frying pan onto a stovetop set to medium-low heat.
- Add the chopped chicken fat and skin to the frying pan.
- Cover the frying pan with a lid and allow the chicken fat and skin to begin to render.
- After 15 minutes, remove the lid from the frying pan and increase the heat to medium.
- If using, add the sliced onions at this time and stir well with the chopped chicken fat and skin.
- Continue to allow the chicken fat and skin to render for 15-20 minutes while stirring occasionally. Watch the frying pan closely and do not allow the mixture to burn.
- After approximately 15-20 minutes, the chicken fat should be dissolved, and the chicken skin should be a deep golden brown and very crispy.
- If using, the onions should also be a deep golden brown color.
- Turn off the stovetop burner and remove the frying pan to a heatproof surface.
- Using a wire mesh strainer over a heatproof vessel, slowly pour the liquid from the frying pan into the strainer to catch any of the crispy chicken skin bits. (See video.)
- Set the crispy chicken skin bits aside and decant the liquid into a jar with a tight-fitting lid. The rich golden color liquid in the jar is your schmaltz or rendered chicken fat.
- Transfer the crispy chicken skin bits to a paper towel-lined plate and allow the bits to cool. Once cooled, transfer the bits to a container with a lid. The bits of fried chicken skin are known as gribenes. They are quite tasty and can be used in place of croutons to top a salad or other dish where you are looking for a delicious crunch.
- Both the schmaltz and the crispy chicken bits must be stored in the refrigerator. The schmaltz will stay fresh for approximately 6 months. The crispy chicken bits should be consumed within one week.
- Schmaltz can also be stored in the freezer and will stay fresh for up to one year.
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**Disclaimer: I am not a medical doctor, a medical professional, a dietician, or a nutritionist. All content found on the MarysNest.com website, including text, images, videos, eBooks or eGuides, social media, or other formats, were created solely for informational purposes only. The content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified healthcare provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition or proper nutritional advice. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have watched in a video or read on this website. Use caution when following the recipe in this video. The creator and publisher of this video and website will not be held responsible for any adverse effects that may arise from the use of this recipe and method or any other recipe and method on this website or corresponding video channel.