Timothy Woods
Published by Timothy Woods
Last Updated On: March 7, 2023

Tallow is a type of animal fat that's been used for centuries. It was used to make candles, soap, and even bullet cartridges before the advent of modern-day oils like vegetable oil.

Tallow is also a delicious way to add flavor to many dishes.

Tallow has many other uses in cooking as well. You can use it to fry food, as an ingredient in soups and stews, or you can use it as a shortening for pie crusts and biscuits.

It gives an added flavor to many foods while helping them retain their moisture.

Let me share what my 12 years as a professional chef have taught me about mutton tallow.

Quick Summary

  • Mutton tallow is rendered fat that comes from a sheep.
  • The fat is rendered by a special process.
  • Tallow nutrition includes fat and several vitamins.
  • There are several health benefits to this rendered fat.

What is Mutton Tallow?

Mutton Tallow top view

This tallow is a form of rendered fat from a sheep. This source of tallow is not as common as beef but is seen more frequently than tallow from pork or poultry.

Rendering is simply the process of melting fat by the use of heat. In the case of mutton tallow, they do this at a low temperature over an extended time until the fat has liquefied and can be strained from the bone or meat.

"Beauty is that little something that fills the whole world and is contained neither in a single straight nose, a long eyelash, nor a blue mountain. Some see it in a leg of mutton, others in a compound fracture... “
- William Morris Hunt, Painter

The tallow can be taken from any part of the sheep that contains fat, but it is most frequently removed from around internal organs such as the kidneys.

Nutrition Information

Mutton tallow has 115 calories per tablespoon or 256 calories per ounce [1]. These calories are entirely fat-based - there are no carbohydrates or protein calories in mutton tallow at all.

Some specific nutrients are outlined below:

1. Cholesterol

3D concept of cholesterol clogging the blood flow

Although the calories in tallow come from fat, there is only 13 mg of cholesterol in a tablespoon of mutton tallow.

Thus, although 1 tbsp of tallow would provide 16% of your recommended daily allowance (RDA) of fat, it only gives you 4% of your RDA of cholesterol - perfect for those who do not need additional dietary cholesterol.

2. Vitamin D

Vitamin D is a fat-soluble vitamin that is important for proper bone health.

Vitamin D can also help regulate the amount of calcium and phosphorous in your blood, which is significant because too much or too little can lead to health problems.

1 tbsp of mutton tallow contains about 4 IU of Vitamin D, which would provide 1% of your RDA.

3. Vitamin E

Vitamin E concept

Vitamin E is also fat-soluble and is essential for various bodily functions like protecting your cell membranes from oxidation.

You need vitamin E for your vision, skin, hair, and reproductive system.

It also has anti-inflammatory properties, which may support your heart and immune systems. A 1 tbsp of tallow provides 1 IU of Vitamin E or 2% of RDA.

4. Selenium

Mutton tallow contains small amounts of the trace element selenium, which helps reduce oxidative stress and DNA damage.

It is helpful for cognitive and reproductive functioning, and many believe that it can prevent certain cancers from forming.

Benefits of Mutton Tallow

A woman touching her skin and a person who lost a lot of weight

Mutton tallow has been used for many years in various ways. Here are just a few:

1. Fat Loss

Tallow contains conjugated linoleic acid. This substance has proponents that say it curbs appetite and aids in body recomposition - improving lean muscle tone while supporting metabolism [2].

2. Skin Health

Tallow promotes good skin health, as it contains palmitoleic acid, stearic acid, and oleic acid. These fatty acids are the building blocks that keep skin moisturized and protected.

“I am a mutton lover. I have mutton once a week.”
- Mimi Chakraborty, Actress

Internal fat consumption supports the skin, and external tallow application can reduce dryness, improve skin tone, and help support the skin as a protective barrier.

3. Keto-Friendly

Mutton tallow comes from an all-animal source and so fits well with those who are on a carnivore or ketogenic diet.

It may lead to weight loss, reduced oxidative stress, and less inflammation.

4. High Smoke Point

A tallow used as an alternate for oil

If you're looking for an alternative to cooking oil, then mutton tallow might be just what you need.

Tallow has a high smoking point, making it ideal for frying or sauteing foods without burning them up too quickly.

Plus, its ability to withstand a wide temperature range makes it perfect for cooking.

You can use it in place of butter or olive oil when cooking at high temperatures, which makes it perfect for frying chicken or potatoes.

5. Storage

Tallow is made up of triglycerides and is a solid at room temperature.

It is very stable, and if stored in an airtight container (to avoid oxidation), you can keep it unrefrigerated for a year.

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How Do You Use Mutton Tallow?

As if the above were not enough, mutton tallow has many non-food uses.

Over the years, it has been used in soaps and shaving creams as well as in both biodiesel and aviation fuels.

It has lubrication applications in steel rolling machinery and some biodegradable motor oils. Additionally, mutton tallow can be turned into candles and is even used in printmaking.

Regardless of how you use this product, mutton tallow can provide numerous benefits and is a great addition to your diet or beauty routine.


  1. https://nutritiondata.self.com/facts/fats-and-oils/581/2
  2. https://www.webmd.com/vitamins-and-supplements/conjugated-linoleic-acid-cla


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