Schmaltz Definition

Discover the rich history and versatile uses of schmaltz, a traditional ingredient in Jewish cuisine. Learn how to make schmaltz and incorporate it into your cooking.

What is Schmaltz?

Schmaltz is a Yiddish term for rendered chicken or goose fat that is used in traditional Jewish cooking. It is known for its rich, savory flavor and is often used to add depth and complexity to dishes.

History of Schmaltz

Schmaltz has been a staple in Jewish cuisine for centuries, dating back to medieval times when it was used as a substitute for butter in kosher kitchens. It became especially popular in Eastern European Jewish communities, where it was used in a variety of dishes, from chopped liver to matzo balls.

How is Schmaltz Made?

Schmaltz is made by slowly cooking pieces of chicken or goose fat until the fat melts and turns into a golden liquid. The fat is then strained and stored in jars or containers for later use. Some people also add onions or other seasonings to enhance the flavor of the schmaltz.

Uses of Schmaltz

Schmaltz is a versatile ingredient that can be used in a variety of ways in the kitchen. It can be used to sauté vegetables, roast potatoes, or even spread on toast for a rich and flavorful snack. Some people also use schmaltz as a base for soups and stews, giving them a luscious and velvety texture.

Health Considerations

While schmaltz is undeniably delicious, it is also quite high in saturated fat, which can contribute to heart disease and other health issues. It’s best to use schmaltz in moderation and pair it with plenty of vegetables and whole grains to balance out the richness of the fat.


Schmaltz is a traditional ingredient in Jewish cuisine that adds a unique flavor and richness to dishes. While it should be enjoyed in moderation, it can be a delicious addition to a variety of recipes. Whether you’re a fan of traditional Jewish cooking or just looking to experiment with new flavors, schmaltz is definitely worth trying.

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