Schmaltz, or rendered chicken fat, is great for frying and flavoring foods. Chowhounds say it’s also a thrifty choice, since you can make schmaltz from the skin and fat you trim from chicken pieces that you cut up for sautés and stir-fries. Chowhound rockycat likes to collect trimmings in the freezer until there are enough to render.

To make schmaltz, JungMann chops up the trimmings and cooks them slowly over medium-low heat to avoid burning. Adding a small amount of water helps the fat render more slowly without scorching the pieces, and the longer you render the more fat you’ll get. You’ll eventually have liquid schmaltz and crispy bits of skin—cracklings—called gribenes. Strain the fat and enjoy the gribenes for a cook’s treat. The rendered fat keeps in the freezer “about forever,” hotoynoodle says.

Use schmaltz for cooking eggs, vegetables, or potato latkes, or to flavor mashed potatoes or chopped liver. Check out this story for more cooking ideas and tips on how to store it.

Discuss: Schmaltz?

Photo of CHOW’s Chopped Chicken Livers by Chris Rochelle /

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