What Does Schmaltz Mean

Discover the meaning of schmaltz, a traditional cooking fat rich in flavor. Explore its uses in dishes like matzo balls and latkes and learn about its impact on cuisines.


Schmaltz is a term that is often heard in the culinary world, but what exactly does it mean? In this article, we will dive into the origins and meaning of schmaltz, its uses in cooking, and its impact on various cuisines.

What is Schmaltz?

Schmaltz is a Yiddish word that refers to rendered chicken or goose fat. It is a traditional cooking fat that has been used in Jewish and Eastern European cuisine for centuries. Schmaltz is rich in flavor and has a distinct savory taste, making it a popular ingredient in various dishes.

Uses of Schmaltz

Schmaltz can be used in many different ways in cooking. It is commonly used to sauté vegetables, fry potatoes, and add flavor to soups and stews. Schmaltz can also be spread on bread as a tasty alternative to butter or used in baking to add moisture and richness to pastries.

Impact on Cuisines

Schmaltz has had a significant impact on Jewish and Eastern European cuisines. It is a staple ingredient in traditional dishes such as matzo balls, latkes, and chopped liver. Schmaltz adds a depth of flavor and richness to these dishes that is unmatched by any other cooking fat.

Examples of Schmaltz in Cooking

  • Chicken soup with schmaltz-infused matzo balls
  • Latkes fried in schmaltz
  • Chopped liver made with schmaltz
  • Schmaltz used in baking challah bread

Case Studies

In a study conducted by a culinary institute, chefs compared dishes made with schmaltz to those made with other fats. The dishes made with schmaltz were consistently rated as more flavorful and moist, showcasing the unique properties of this traditional cooking fat.


Schmaltz is a versatile and flavorful cooking fat that has been used for generations in Jewish and Eastern European cuisines. Its rich taste and unique properties make it a beloved ingredient in many traditional dishes. Whether used to fry potatoes, flavor soups, or enrich pastries, schmaltz adds a special touch to any recipe.

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