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How To Make Beef Tallow in 5 Simple Steps

Beef tallow is a versatile rendered beef fat with a myriad of uses. This nutrient-dense traditional food has recently seen a resurgence in popularity as a high-heat cooking oil, natural moisturizer, and ingredient in artisanal soap and candle making.

But with most grocery stores no longer carrying ready-made beef tallow, many people wonder how to render their beef fat into this nourishing, golden elixir at home.

Luckily, it’s surprisingly easy and affordable to make beef tallow. All you need is beef suet or beef fat trimmings, a heavy pot, a spoon, and a fine mesh strainer.

By slowly cooking the beef fat over low heat for a few hours, the solid fat melts down into liquid tallow. This rendered beef fat can be jarred and stored for future use.

In this comprehensive guide, you’ll learn everything you need to know about rendering your own grass-fed tallow from start to finish, including sourcing quality beef fat, step-by-step instructions, storage tips, suggested uses, and more.

With just a bit of time and effort to render the fat, you can create jars of healthy, versatile beef tallow to use in cooking, DIY skincare, and other projects. So let’s get started in finding out how to make beef tallow.


Beef tallow is a traditional fat rendered from beef fat trimmings. To make your own beef tallow at home, slowly cook pieces of beef fat in a heavy pot for 2-3 hours, stirring periodically.

The fat will melt down into a golden liquid tallow that can then be strained and jarred for future use. Homemade grass-fed tallow is nutrient-dense and has a high smoke point, making it great for cooking, skincare, and other DIY projects.

This guide covers everything you need to know to render beef fat into a versatile tallow, including step-by-step instructions, sourcing beef fat, storage tips, uses, and benefits. Learn how to make your own nourishing beef tallow from scratch!

What is Beef Tallow?

Beef tallow is a type of rendered fat made from beef suet and fat trimmings. To make beef tallow, beef fat is slowly cooked until it melts down into a liquid fat that can then be strained and cooled to room temperature into a solid form.

The resulting tallow is a shelf-stable, nutrient-dense animal fat that has been valued for centuries as a versatile cooking oil and ingredient in skincare.

Tallow has a high smoke point and rich, meaty flavor when used for cooking. It is loaded with fat-soluble vitamins A, D, E, and K. Rendering your own tallow at home is a frugal way to make use of leftover fat trimmings from your grass-fed beef.

The finished tallow can be used for baking, frying, sauteing, and more. It’s also great for moisturizing skin and conditioning hair when made into tallow balm.

Interested in finding out more about beef tallow, it’s health benefits and its many uses, check out my article called miracle tallow.

Want to know more about beef suet – check out my article that answers the question “What is suet?”.

How to Make Beef Tallow

Making your own grass-fed beef tallow at home is surprisingly straightforward. By slowly cooking down pieces of beef fat in a heavy pot, you can render out the liquid fat which is then strained and cooled into pure, usable tallow.

Let’s look at what you need and how to make beef tallow.

Ingredients for Making Beef Tallow

To make beef tallow, you will need:

  • Beef fat – This can be fat trimmings, beef suet, or untrimmed cuts like brisket with excess fat. Choose good quality fat from grass-fed beef whenever possible.

That’s it! Just fat and you can render beautiful homemade tallow.

Tools for Making Beef Tallow

You don’t need any fancy equipment to make beef tallow at home. Here are the essential tools:

  • Heavy pot – A heavy-bottomed pot is crucial for cooking the fat low and slow. Stainless steel or cast iron work best.
  • Wooden spoon – Use a sturdy wooden spoon to stir the fat periodically as it renders.
  • Fine mesh strainer – Pour the finished tallow through a mesh strainer to filter out any crispy solids.
  • Glass jars – Mason jars or other wide-mouth jars are perfect for storing the strained tallow.
  • Storage lids – Use tight-fitting lids to seal the jars for shelf storage.
  • Cheesecloth (optional) – Cheesecloth can be used to line the strainer for an even finer filter – a coffee filter can be used instead.
  • Kitchen scale (optional) – Useful for weighing fat or measuring exact amounts of tallow.
  • Oven mitts – Protect your hands when straining the hot tallow.

With just these few affordable kitchen tools, you’ll be ready to render batches of beef tallow! Now, let’s look at how to make beef tallow.

Instructions on How to Make Beef Tallow

Follow these simple steps for making perfect beef tallow every time:

  1. Cut the raw beef fat into 1-inch cubes. This exposes more surface area to render.
  2. Add the cubed pieces of fat to a heavy pot and melt over low heat. Cook for 2-3 hours, stirring every 30 minutes getting right to the bottom of the pan.
  3. The fat will liquefy and start bubbling – don’t let it boil. Once it stops bubbling, it’s fully rendered.
  4. Carefully pour the liquid fat through a fine mesh (with cheesecloth is desired) and strain the rendered beef fat to filter out any crispy solids.
  5. Let the strained tallow cool until it becomes creamy and white. Then pour it into jars and let it cool completely.

And that’s it – store the tallow in sealed jars in a cool, dark place. It will keep for up to a year.

Enjoy your homemade tallow! Use it for cooking, skincare, soap, and more.

With practice, you’ll get your beef tallow rendering down to a perfect art. Now let’s look at how to best store and use your homemade tallow.


Don’t throw the crispy solids! These are called cracklings and can be eaten as they are with a little salt or used on a salad to add a bit of texture.

What Fats Can Be Used to Make Tallow?

The highest quality tallow comes from beef suet, brisket fat trimmings, or untrimmed fatty cuts like brisket or ribeyes from grass-fed beef. Leaflard and kidney fat are also excellent choices.

Fat from other ruminants like sheep, goats, deer, or bison can be used too but may result in a slightly different finished product than 100% beef fat. While you can technically render fat from any animal, chicken schmaltz and pork lard will have their own unique properties.

For the true beef tallow experience, stick with beef suet or fat. Choose fat from organically raised, grass-fed cows whenever possible for optimum nutrition and flavor.

Avoid using yellowed fat or fat from conventionally raised cows that may contain more toxins. With good quality beef fat, you’ll end up with delicious homemade tallow perfect for cooking, skincare, and more!

How to Store Beef Tallow

Properly stored beef tallow can last up to a year in your pantry. Here are some tips for storing your homemade tallow:

  • Pour the strained liquid fat into clean, dry glass jars. Leave 1 inch of headspace.
  • Allow the tallow to cool and solidify before sealing the jars with tight-fitting lids.
  • Store the sealed tallow jars in a cool, dark place like a cupboard or pantry.
  • For longer shelf life, consider refrigerating after opening. Tallow can also be frozen for up to 3 years.
  • If mold appears, scrape off the top layer and remelt – the rest should still be fine.

Follow these simple storage guidelines and your homemade beef tallow will stay fresh for many months, ready for use!

The Uses of Beef Tallow

Homemade beef tallow is wonderfully versatile:

  • Cooking – Use beef tallow for frying, sauteing, roasting, and more, thanks to its high smoke point.
  • Baking – Replace vegetable oil, and use beef tallow in recipes for richer flavor.
  • Skincare – Make tallow balm by combining with oils, butters, and essential oils.
  • Soap – Add beef tallow to handmade soap for hardness and lather. Start with 10-40% of oils.
  • Candles – Beef tallow makes excellent long-burning candles. Add wicks and essential oils.
  • Preserving food – Brush tallow on produce and meat or mix with lard for old-fashioned larding.
  • Pet food – Add a spoonful of tallow to dry kibble or mix into homemade pet food.

With so many uses, you’ll go through your homemade tallow in no time. It’s a traditional fat that’s stood the test of time.

Cooking With Beef Tallow

Beef tallow is a chef’s secret ingredient, adding richness, crispness, and flavor when cooking. Here are some of the best ways to cook with your homemade tallow:

  • Pan-fry potatoes in tallow for the crispiest home french fries and hash browns.
  • Saute or stir-fry veggies in tallow instead of vegetable oils.
  • Fry donuts, fritters, and other pastries in tallow for a delicious taste.
  • Use tallow for searing steaks, burgers, or roasting meat.
  • Grease baking pans with tallow or use in pie dough and biscuits.
  • Pop popcorn in tallow on the stove or use it for roasting nuts.

With a high smoke point and savory flavor, tallow excels at frying, baking, sauteing, and more. Use it for all your cooking needs.

Tallow Skincare Products

Beef tallow makes an amazing moisturizer and skin salve when turned into tallow balm. Here are some ideas:

  • Make a simple tallow balm by mixing rendered tallow with oils like coconut or olive oil and optional essential oils.
  • Use tallow balm as a moisturizer, especially on dry areas like hands, heels, and elbows.
  • Add beeswax to make a firmer tallow salve to use on cuts, scrapes, and chapped skin.
  • Mix in calendula flowers, chickweed, plantain, or comfrey to make herbal skin salves.
  • For a luxury balm, include nourishing butters like shea or cocoa butter with the tallow.
  • Apply tallow balm to pamper your face, hair, nails, and whole body.

Tallow’s vitamin content makes it excellent for DIY skincare recipes and products. Get creative with infusions!

For a deeper dive into beef tallow skincare, see my article about beef tallow for skin.

Making Beef Tallow Candles

For beautiful handmade candles, beef tallow is perfect because it burns slowly and evenly. Follow these tips:

  • Melt your tallow and add essential oils for fragrance. Try lemon, lavender, eucalyptus or woodsy scents.
  • Pour the tallow in a jar – making sure it’s heat-safe – with wicks. Let set.
  • Consider combining tallow with beeswax or coconut oil for a customized candle blend.
  • Experiment with wick sizes, container shapes, double wicks, and dyes.
  • Add touches like pressed flowers or herbs around the wick for decoration.
  • Create lidded candle jars or votives for gifting to share your tallow candles.

With practice, you can master the art of candlemaking with your homemade beef tallow.

Sourcing Beef Suet and Fat to Render into Tallow

Finding quality beef suet and fat to render and make beef tallow is easy when you know where to look:

  • Ask your local butcher for beef suet, fat trimmings, or leaf fat. This is often cheap or free.
  • Source grass-fed beef fat from a farmer’s market or specialty butcher whenever possible.
  • Save the fatty trimmings from cuts of beef you cook like brisket or ribs.
  • Consider ordering beef suet and beef fat online from a grass-fed beef supplier if options are limited locally.

The source of any animal products including beef fat is important. Not only to ensure you’re feeding yourself high-quality food without things such as hormones, antibiotics, and other nasties.

But also to make sure that the animal you’re consuming has had a good life – chowing down on good old grass as it should and not mistreated in any way.

Some things to consider are:

  • Use beef fat cut from a locally raised, grass-finished cow for the highest quality.
  • Look for beef fat from organically raised, antibiotic-free cows to avoid hormones.
  • If using conventional beef fat, opt for white fat rather than yellow fat.

With a bit of effort, you can source amazing beef fat to render your own tallow at home.

Nutritional Benefits of Beef Tallow

Beef tallow provides many nutritional benefits:

  • High in fat-soluble vitamins A, D, E, and K which and better absorbed.
  • Source of conjugated linoleic acid, a polyunsaturated fat that fights cancer.
  • Has anti-inflammatory properties and immune-boosting minerals like selenium.
  • Provides cholesterol needed for hormone production and cell membrane integrity.
  • Helps satisfy hunger and absorb fat-soluble nutrients from vegetables.
  • Has a perfect omega-3 to omega-6 ratio compared to vegetable oils.

Don’t fear the natural saturated fats in tallow – they provide crucial nutritional benefits. I’ve written more about the health benefits of beef tallow – I call it miracle tallow.

Tallow vs. Lard and Shmaltz

Like tallow, lard, and schmaltz are rendered animal fats, but they come from different sources:

  • Tallow is made from rendered beef suet and fat.
  • Lard comes from rendered pork fat.
  • Schmaltz comes from rendered chicken fat.

All three can be used interchangeably in recipes, but differences include:

  • Tallow has a higher smoke point while lard and schmaltz are better for pie crusts.
  • Tallow has a slightly beefy flavor, while lard and schmaltz are more neutral tasting.
  • Nutritionally, tallow has more conjugated linoleic acid and vitamin E than the others.

No matter which you choose, animal fats are infinitely better for health and cooking than processed seed oils.

Too Much Hassle? Where to Buy Pre-made Tallow

If making your own tallow seems too time-consuming, you can purchase high-quality pre-rendered tallow that’s ready to use:

As with sourcing beef suet or fat to make you own beef tallow, there are some important thing to look for when sourcing your pre-made beef tallow, such as:

  • Source quality tallow from health food stores or vitamin shops.
  • Look for organic, grass-fed, non-GMO tallow from pasture-raised cows.
  • Ensure no hydrogenation or chemical processing methods were used.
  • Call the company to ask questions if sourcing is unclear.

While pricier than DIY, pre-made tallow still provides nutritional benefits and convenience.


Rendering your own beef tallow at home is simple, rewarding, and cost-effective. With just beef fat, basic kitchen tools, and a few hours of hands-off cooking time, you can create jars of nourishing tallow for endless uses.

Frying up crispy home french fries in pasture-raised beef tallow, whipping up skin-soothing beef tallow balm, and crafting long-burning tallow candles are just a few ways to enjoy this traditional, nutrient-dense fat.

Sourcing quality beef fat for the healthiest tallow may take some effort, but the vital nutritional benefits are well worth it.

So gather your ingredients, put on some tunes, and get ready to discover the magic of making beef tallow from scratch!

It’s all part of the nose-to-tail philosophy that helps to ensure little of the animal goes to waste, making it more environmentally friendly. If you’re interested in finding out how to consume and use more of the animal check-out my articles on organ meats and offal.

FAQ: How to Make Beef Tallow

Confused about any part of making beef tallow? Here are answers to some frequently asked questions:

What is the best beef fat to use?

Choose fat from grass-fed cows, ideally from the suet, trimmings, or untrimmed cuts like brisket. Opt for white fat over yellow fat.

Can I use different meats?

Technically you can render fat from any ruminant like cows, sheep, deer, or goats. But for true tallow use only beef fat.

Do I have to cut the fat into cubes?

Cutting into 1-inch cubes helps render more efficiently. But leaving in larger chunks is fine too.

How long does it really take?

Expect at least 2-3 hours for active cooking time. But you only need to stir occasionally. Longer times just ensure fully rendered tallow.

Can I speed up the process?

You can render in a slow cooker on low for 6-12 hours if impatient. But slower is better to avoid burning.

What’s the ideal temperature?

200°F is optimal. Much hotter risks burning. The fat should never reach smoking temperatures.

When is it done rendering?

It’s finished when the bubbling stops and the fat is a clear, golden liquid. Straining helps catch any unrendered bits.

How do I know if tallow went bad?

Check for mold, extreme discoloration, or rancid odors. Tallow can last up to a year stored properly.

Can I reuse the crispy cracklings?

Absolutely! Drain and sprinkle them on salads or eggs for delicious crunchy topping.

Making your own tallow is easy with the right techniques. Let me know if you have any other questions!

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