How to render fat

Rendered fat cooling in jars.

You can use fresh or frozen fat when rendering.

Words: Rebecca Stewart


fresh or frozen fat or fatty meat
a slow cooker, roasting dish in the oven or a heavy bottomed pot
water if you choose to “wet render” – this involves adding a small amount of water to the bottom of the pot so the meat does not stick
glass jars
a metal funnel

• The fat should be fresh and not smelly.
• Fat should be sourced from local, ethically and organically raised animals (toxins tend to accumulate in fat).
• There are two methods of rendering fat – dry and wet. My method is the dry.


Chop the fresh or frozen fat into small pieces or mince batches of frozen fat in a food processor or mincer. You can trim any meat off the fat, but don’t worry too much.

Rendering beef fat.

Add to a pot or pan and heat at a very low temperature, about 100°C. You don’t want to burn the fat, but you do want any water to evaporate. Cook until you have liquid fat with small browned solid fat lumps. This can take a few hours.

Remove from the heat and allow to cool a little before filtering through a cloth-lined metal funnel directly into hot sterilised jars. Do not use plastic as the heat from the fat can melt it. If you don’t have a metal funnel you can strain through a cloth-lined sieve into a pyrex jug and then pour into the jars. The fat will be golden coloured while hot but will turn creamy white as it cools. If you wish to store the fat in plastic it is best to let it cool somewhat before pouring it into the container.

Fat straining through muslin.

We store our jarred fat at room temperature or in a cool cupboard as it is shelf stable if rendered properly. Once opened the jar can be stored in the fridge, but we use so much fat in our cooking it usually sits by the stove. The rendered fat can also be stored in the freezer if you want.

More stories you might like:
16 feijoa varieties to plant for your ideal harvest time

NZ Life and Leisure This article first appeared in NZ Lifestyle Block Magazine.
Send this to a friend