Vegetarian Schmaltz

Shmaltz is the Yiddish word for poultry fat. It is from Ashkenazi cuisine and in its usual form it would be rendered chicken or goose fat. However, in order to have a pareve spread for use with meat a Jewish household needs vegetarian schmaltz.

Head straight on to the recipe for Vegetarian Schmaltz ♥
Vegetarian Schmaltz
Vegetarian Schmaltz

Kashrut rules do not allow the mixing of meat with dairy products. In Kosher terms, all things fowl are considered to be meat. So, if you had some duck fat in your kitchen you could not use it in place of butter when making grilled cheese. I grew up with schmaltz in the fridge at home. It is perfect for pastrami on rye, a Jewish staple sandwich. When we moved here I could not find schmaltz anywhere. Despite Somerset West having a Synagogue, the number of Jewish residents in our area has dwindled. Our local Pick ‘n Pay were not interested in getting in for me so I had to make my own.

Today’s inspiration ♥ Recipe For Vegetarian Schmaltz ♥ can be found on Lavender and Lime Share on X

I called my mother who gave me her recipe. I can remember her making this when we were younger. It was stored in a ceramic pot and mostly used by my father. I have altered the recipe to make a manageable amount at home. This vegetarian schmaltz is also an essential ingredient in kneidlach.

Vegetarian Schmaltz

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4 from 1 vote

Vegetarian Schmaltz

use this as a substitute for butter on your bread
Recipe Category: Condiments
Makes enough for: 1 batch schmaltz
All Rights Reserved: an original recipe from Lavender and Lime


  • 250 g holsum *
  • 40 mls canola oil
  • 3 medium carrots, peeled and grated
  • 1 large onion, peeled and grated


  • Place the holsum, oil, carrots and onions into a pot
  • Bring to the boil over a medium temperature
  • Reduce the heat and simmer gently until the liquid is yellow
  • Strain into a sterilized glass jar
  • Refrigerate once cooled


* vegetable shortening. In America look for Crisco and in Australia look for Copha.

Click on the links for conversions and notes.

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52 thoughts on “Vegetarian Schmaltz

  1. Hi Tandy – I am learning quite a lot about Jewish culture via your blog. I knew about not mix dairy and meat but it had never occured to me about the problem this creates is you want to use schmaltz. But what is holsum? I have no idea. I Googled it but only came up with the name of a bread company in the US. Is it some sort of lard replacement or similar? I find this fascinating.

  2. Not being able to buy special food where you are becomes a good motivation to make your own! It sounds like a very tasty addition to a sandwich.

  3. How cool!!! I have a jar of rendered duck fat in the fridge.. does that count as schmaltz? It’s definitely not vegetarian though 😉

  4. 4 stars
    Hadn’t heard of this before, not being Jewish but I loved reading the recipe. Not sure I’d eat Crisco in anything on purpose though!!

  5. So interesting, Tandy. The only time I’ve used Copha, in fact the product used to be known for it in Australia, is when making chocolate crackles. You melt the Copha and mix in the other ingredients, then the Copha cools down and hardens. Knowing that, it makes sense, that you have oil as an added ingredient to keep the schmaltz spreadable. Would that be right?

  6. Thank you so much for this! I’m vegan, and I’m trying to recreate some of my late mother’s traditional Croatian recipes. I knew a critical component to many of them was that wonderful fat flavor, which this has done perfectly in the paprikash recipe. Thank you again!

    1. My pleasure, and have fun recreating the recipes! We are off to Croatia in December, and I am really looking forward to the trip 🙂

  7. Hi Tandy. I made your recipe and my whole house smells like love; great memories of my mother and grandmothers’ cooking. One concern: My refrigerated jar of schmaltz set in 3 visible layers. The bottom is cloudy, the middle looks liquid and the vast majority – the top layer – is firm like I remember chicken schmaltz. Did I do something wrong or is this normal? Thank you for the wonderful recipe!

    1. Hi Nechama,
      Thank you for the comment and for letting me know about the memories and love. It sounds like you just have a little bit of separation due to cooling and I would not worry about it. I remember this happened to my mom often. You can soften and mix it all up when you use it. Hope that helps 🙂

  8. Hi,
    Can I substitute the Canola oil? I live in Spain and an intoxication from adulterated canola oil in 1981, which killed almost 4,000 people, means it’s so unpopular here that it’s exceptionally difficult to get hold of.
    We can easily get olive oil and sunflower oil – do you think the 40mls would make a big difference in the taste of your schmaltz?
    Thanks in advance!

    1. Hi Jodi. I kept mine for a few years as we did not use it that often. But to be on the safe side I would look at the expiry date of the shortening you use and use that as a guide.

  9. Can we use VEGETARIAN SCHMALTZ to Fry Fried Chicken in deep fryer?
    Does VEGETARIAN SCHMALTZ taste same as Chicken Fat?
    How much KG of VEGETARIAN SCHMALTZ is required to fry 8 pieces of Chicken at a time?

    I will great full if you answer my questions & Thank You for sharing such wonderful recipe…

    1. hi. No, you cannot use the schmaltz in a deep fat fryer. It does not taste the same as chicken fat. If you use the schmaltz to fry chicken in, using a frying pan, then you will need a couple of tablespoons.

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