Define Shmaltz

Discover the rich history and varied uses of shmaltz in Jewish cuisine. Find out how this rendered chicken fat can take your dishes to the next level!

What is Shmaltz?

Shmaltz is a type of rendered chicken fat that has been used for centuries in Jewish cuisine. It is the equivalent of what butter is to the French or olive oil is to Italians. Shmaltz adds a rich, savory flavor to dishes and can be used in a variety of cooking techniques.

Types of Shmaltz

  • White Shmaltz: This is rendered chicken fat that is cooked until it turns a light golden color. It has a mild flavor and is commonly used for cooking onions and other aromatics.
  • Brown Shmaltz: This is rendered chicken fat that is cooked until it turns a deep brown color. It has a more intense flavor and is often used in dishes like matzo balls or chopped liver.

Recipes Using Shmaltz

Shmaltz can be used in a variety of dishes to add depth of flavor. Some popular recipes include:

  • Matzo Ball Soup: Shmaltz is used to sauté onions before adding chicken broth and matzo balls.
  • Latkes: Shmaltz can be used instead of oil to fry these potato pancakes to a crisp golden brown.
  • Chicken Liver Pâté: Brown shmaltz is a key ingredient in this rich and savory spread.

Health Considerations

While shmaltz adds incredible flavor to dishes, it is high in saturated fat and cholesterol. It is best enjoyed in moderation as part of a balanced diet.


Shmaltz is a time-honored ingredient in Jewish cuisine that adds a unique and delicious flavor to dishes. With different types and uses, it can elevate your cooking to a whole new level.

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