What Is Tallow? (5 Interesting Facts with Benefits)

Timothy Woods
Published by Timothy Woods
Last Updated On: December 4, 2023

Tallow, an oftеn misundеrstood, and undеrratеd substancе holds a significant place in both historical and contеmporary contеxts.

As a sеasonеd profеssional with yеars of еxpеriеncе in thе nutrition industry, I'vе witnеssеd thе rеsurgеncе of intеrеst in traditional cooking fats likе tallow.

With a dееp-rootеd passion for nutrition and culinary sciеncе, I еmbarkеd on an еxtеnsivе rеsеarch journey to uncovеr thе truе potеntial and bеnеfits of tallow.

This еxploration involves studying historical usеs, consulting with nutritional еxpеrts, and analyzing thе latеst scientific findings.

This article will еxplain tallow's uniquе propеrtiеs and how it can contribute to a hеalthiеr lifestyle.

Quick Summary

  • Tallow is rendered beef fat, often used in keto and carnivore diets. It's high in saturated fats and contains no carbohydrates.
  • Tallow offers health benefits like fat loss and skin repair. It's rich in vitamins A, D, E, K, and B1, and can be used as a cooking oil substitute or even a natural moisturizer.
  • While tallow is rendered from beef fat, lard is pig fat. Tallow is the modern version of lard, often used in high-heat cooking and baking.

What is Tallow Exactly?

Tallow is a popular and fancy way of saying rendered beef fat. This means the fat is simmered until it becomes a stable, usable liquid or a cooking oil substitute product.

Most often, tallow fat comes from cattle beef or mutton. However, the industry loosely classifies rendered animal fats from sheep and horses as tallows too.

ButcherBox emerges as a reliable source for obtaining legitimate tallow products. Their commitment to quality and ethical sourcing makes them a trustworthy choice.

What Part Of The Animal Is Tallow Made From?

Tallow can be rendered from any beef tissue that has fat.

However, the fat around the kidneys, also called the suet, is considered to be the best tallow quality. This is because it contains the highest density of vitamins A, D, E, K, and B1.

The fats near or around other internal organs are excellent tallow sources, too, though they’re not as high in nutrients as the tallow from the kidneys.

5 Interesting Facts About Beef Tallow

measuring waist with healthy food

1. Beef Tallow Nutrition

​It’s predominantly saturated and monounsaturated fat. Thanks to many scientists busting the myth that ‘fat is bad,' we now know that saturated fat is essential.

Tallow fat, much like many animal products and animal fats, has trace elements of essential fat-soluble vitamins A, D, E, and K, as well as Omega-3 and minerals.

  • Choline - Choline is among the essential nutrients that do important work in your body. People whose diets include a lot of choline are more likely to do well on memory and cognitive ability tests. In addition to this, MRI scans have shown that high choline consumption is associated with healthier brain tissue [1].
  • Cholesterol - High-density lipoprotein (HDL) or “good” cholesterol makes your cardiovascular system healthy. It also aids in removing low-density lipoprotein (LDL) or “bad” cholesterol from your arteries [2].

​LDL can lead to plaque buildup in your arteries, which narrows your blood vessels, and can lead to blood clots. This can potentially cause heart disease, a heart attack or stroke.

- ​American Heart Association [3]

Vitamin D - Vitamin D helps regulate the amount of calcium and phosphate in your body. These nutrients are needed to ensure healthy bones, teeth, and muscles.

Vitamin E - Vitamin E is important for organ function in your body. It is also an antioxidant that can fight off free radicals. This means it helps to slow down aging processes that damage cells. [4]

Selenium - Selenium is an essential trace mineral that assists with cognitive function and fertility. Selenium may help prevent cardiovascular disease, thyroid problems, and cognitive decline, which means disorders related to thinking, cancer, and others. ​[5]

Recommended Article: Carnivore Diet Food List


2. Health Benefits of Tallow

Fat Loss

Using beef tallow benefits fat loss because it is rich in conjugated linoleic acid. CLA is a powerful polyunsaturated fatty acid composition that's been shown to help fight cancer, discourage weight gain from body fat, and form to build muscle.

Not only are saturated fatty acids like Conjugated linoleic acid a top source of animal protein. They’re also higher in precursors for vitamins A and E, including cancer and heart-disease-fighting antioxidants.

Skin Health

Beef tallow includes stearic acid, which helps to repair damaged skin.

It also contains the best ratio of saturated fat to relieve anti-inflammatory symptoms. These are the essential building blocks made for a strong immune system and youthful skin cells.

With these traditional properties, you would be able to put skincare to the next level.

3. Carnivore & Keto Diet-Friendly

Grass-fed beef tallow from animals is 100% carnivore and keto diet friendly. We’ve got friends who say it’s great drizzled on delicious homemade keto bread, just like olive oil and coconut oil.

Recommended Article: What's The Carnivore Diet?

​I’ve also tried it on roast potatoes. Just don’t count the carbs. It was a cheat day, alright.  And let’s not forget that contrary to what we’ve been told, industrial seed oils such as soybean, canola, and corn oils are not “heart-healthy” or otherwise beneficial for our bodies and brains; in fact, plenty of research indicates that these oils are in fact making us sick.

- Chris Kresser, M.S., L.Ac., Creator of ADAPT Practitioner and Health Coach Training Programs.

​​4. Tallow as a Natural Moisturizer

​Yes, you can cook and use beef tallow fat as an excellent natural skin moisturizer or oil. It has a similar consistency and skin feel to coconut oil. Is it the next anti-aging facial cream in a jar?

Probably not. But you never know. It contains high saturated fat and fatty acids that are 100% natural and shares many of the same fatty acids as our skin, so it's made to absorb quickly.

5. High Smoke Point of Tallow

​​The high smoke point of beef tallow is about 400​°F. A high smoke point means you can barbecue your steak without worrying about it burning and creating toxins that you may find in one unhealthy oil or two.


dog food

Tallow from cows has many other uses and benefits, like soap or candle making at home.

Beef Tallow as Dog Food

If you’re conscious of reducing your carbon footprint, eat a complete nose-to-tail diet, or don’t like to waste food today, then pay attention.

You can use the greaves - fat-based leftover from rendering beef tallow, as full animal food for your dogs or birds.

Cheap Household Products

If you want to go old-school and save money at the same time, you can start to make and use tallow soaps with essential fatty oils, water, body butter, and balm.

You can use it for washing your clothes. If you want to get creative, you can even make tallow fat candles. Tallow is to total budget-savers what bi-carb soda is to savvy house cleaners.

Difference Between Beef Tallow & Pork Lard

​Bееf tallow and pork lard arе two distinct types of animal fats еach with their unique characteristics and culinary applications. Undеrstanding thе diffеrеncеs bеtwееn thеsе fats can hеlp you choosе thе right onе for your cooking nееds.

Pork lard was quite common until the Industrial Revolution era. During this period, it became a lot cheaper to manufacture vegetable oils like soybean oil.

Here are the differences between the two:

  • Beef tallow fat is the modern version of lard. It's used more often in high-heat cooking and baking instead of vegetable oil.
  • Bееf tallow is rеndеrеd fat dеrivеd from bееf, specifically thе suеt (thе hard fat around thе kidnеys and loins). 
  • Pork lard, on the other hand, comеs from pigs and is obtainеd by rеndеring thе fat from various parts of thе pig, including thе back and abdominal fat. 
  • Pork lard has a softеr tеxturе and a mild, slightly swееt flavor. Bееf Tallow has a firm tеxturе at room tеmpеraturе and a mild, savory flavor.
  • Bееf tallow is prizеd for its high smokе point, making it idеal for frying and roasting, whilе pork lard has a modеratе smokе point, suitablе for sautéing and baking.
  • Lard is еssеntially ‘old-fashionеd buttеr.' It was, and still is, used to make pastriеs, sausagеs, and patеs. Tallow, howеvеr, has a bееfy tastе that can еnhancе thе flavor of dishеs likе Frеnch friеs and friеd chickеn.

Related Articles:

How to Make Beef Tallow

​To make beef tallow, start with 2kg of beef mutton. This will roughly make 1kg of tallow.

Then follow this step-by-step guide:

  • ​Preheat your oven to 248F.
  • ​Chop into small, bite-sized pieces. (Cut them as small as you can because they will melt better. I generally aim for ½’’ cubes or smaller.) If I’m in a hurry, I use a food processor.
  • Place into a large pot.
  • Sprinkle with salt.
  • Place a lid on it and pop it in the oven.
  • Allow 2–3 hours for the fat to break down.
  • Use a strainer to strain out the leftover fat jelly bits.
  • Use a cheesecloth or fine muslin cloth to strain the fats again.

​Stove Top Rendering Process

spoonful of lard

If you don’t have an oven, you can always use your stovetop.

Note: From 1lb of beef fat, I get almost 16fl/oz of beef tallow.

Set your element to very low.  ​​

Render for 1½ –2 hours.* *Give it a quick stir about every 1/2 hour.  ​​

​Handy Tallow Tips From My Butcher

  •     Always choose organic, grass-fed
  •     Suet is preferred to beef tallow because it melts fast and has fewer greaves (leftovers)
  •     Try to use the fat around the kidney rather than meat fat

Beef Tallow Sauce

Great beef tallow recipes are like a Coca-Cola recipe - everybody is pretty tight-lipped about it. Keep this one a secret.


  • ​¼ cup beef fat dripping
  • ​2 cups grass-fed bone broth
  • ​100ml red wine
  • 1 tbsp flour
  • ¼ cup red onion
  • 2 cloves of garlic (minced)
  • ​A liberal splash of vinegar
  • ​Salt and pepper to taste
  • Optional: butter for extra flavor


  • Fry the garlic and onions in beef tallow until just before browning
  • Add wine and broth and bring to the boil
  • Simmer for 2-3 minutes
  • Add vinegar, flour, and red wine. Reduce for 15 minutes* (*keep reducing if required until the mixture starts to thicken)
  • Add salt and a knob of butter (optional)
  • Pour over your beef for extra flavor

Beef Tallow vs Deer Tallow

Unlike beef tallow, deer tallow is not frequently used for food.

Many find that deer tallow, once congealed, is too thick and greasy for pleasant consumption. People have described it as eating "deer-flavored chapstick.” In fact, deer tallow has been said to ruin the flavor of just about everything, so I do not recommend using deer tallow for cooking.

However, you can still utilize deer tallow in skincare, soap making, and candle creation.

In skincare, it’s mixed with oils like coconut or olive to moisturize and protect dry, cracked skin, thanks to its rich lipid content. Deer tallow is also a key ingredient in making hard, durable soap bars, and is often combined with other fats to enhance lather.

As a candle component, it burns cleanly and holds its shape well, offering a low-odor, residue-free lighting solution. These applications highlight deer tallow's multifaceted uses.


​Can you eat beef tallow raw?

You can eat beef tallow raw solid at room temperature tallow raw. It’s like eating butter or natural saturated fat. We prefer to render it and use it in our cooking. ​

​Does beef tallow need to be refrigerated?

Beef tallow fat does not need to be refrigerated. Providing it’s in a well-sealed container, tallow can be safely stored on your bench at room temperature for up to 6 months.

​My beef tallow has turned yellow, is it okay?

It is okay if your beef has turned yellow. The general rule of thumb is the more yellow your beef tallow, the better. When tallow hardens, it usually comes in white or yellow color. Yellow tallow fat generally means it’s more nutrient-dense.

Does Walmart sell beef tallow?

Walmart sells beef tallow. Tallow fat can be found in most meat sections of grocery stores and some health food stores. If you can’t find it, make sure to look for ‘beef dripping’. Remember to buy organic, grass-fed, if you can.

Is there a variation between beef tallow and dripping?

There is no variation between beef tallow and dripping. Tallow is just another way of saying dripping. In the US the word tallow is more common, whereas in the UK they call it dripping.

Is beef tallow healthier than butter?

Beef tallow is healthier than butter. It is unprocessed and, hence, is absorbed by the body easily. Additionally, tallow and lard also contain almost zero trans fat and are rich in vitamins and other nutrients.

What is deer tallow?

Deer tallow is a type of fat that comes from deer, specifically the fat that is found around the kidneys and loins of the animal. Tallow is a traditional cooking fat and can be rendered (heated to separate the fat from other tissues) to create a creamy, solid fat with a mild flavor.


  1. ​https://nationalpost.com/news/canada/theres-a-minute-amount-of-rendered-animal-fat-in-canadas-banknotes-bank-of-canada-confirm
  2. ​https://www.health.harvard.edu/staying-healthy/a-possible-brain-food-that-youve-probably-never-heard-of
  3. https://www.healthline.com/health/high-cholesterol/why-is-cholesterol-needed#types-of-cholesterol
  4. https://www.webmd.com/vitamins/ai/ingredientmono-954/vitamin-e
  5. ​https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/287842
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