How to Render Lamb Fat at Home

In America, we don’t think of lamb as lard animals, but they’re been raised for their rendered fat or tallow for a very long time, especially in areas where pork wasn’t efficient to raise, or was taboo. Pork may produce more cooking fat per animal, especially with lard breeds, but, sheep shouldn’t be overlooked as producers of healthy, natural, and most importantly, delicious cooking fat. In this post we’ll show you how to render lamb fat at home easily with a slow cooker. 

A jar of finished, warm rendered lamb fat.
A jar of rendered lamb tallow.


The cooking fat from lamb and other ruminants is slightly different than pork fat, but with a few simple adjustments, you can add healthy, delicious lamb and goat tallow to your recipes. The most noticeable difference, and the one most people will probably talk about first, is the solidity, or high melting point. Rendered pork lard will be liquid at room temperature, but sheep and lamb tallow, as with beef, with be more firm, similar to coconut oil. Sheep tallow can be stored in the fridge, but, as it will be very firm under refrigeration, it should be brought to room temperature to make it easier to use.

A spatula with rendered cracklings from lamb fat on it.
Lamb cracklings can be used in any recipe that would call for those from pork.

Get Cooking

Chef’s Tips 

Roasted potatoes or French fries cooked in lamb fat are every bit as delicious as rendered beef fat. Roasted vegetables of all shapes and sizes will be wonderful cooked with the fat of the lamb they’ll be served next to on the plate. There are some tricks to working with lamb tallow here’s some Chef Bergo’s tips:

  • Dry rendering fat without adding water is not for beginners and is easy to overcook (scorch). Make sure to add some water, especially if you do it on the stove.
  • Leave your lamb tallow in a covered glass jar at room temperature for easy portioning.
  • Use your lamb tallow in hot dishes, such as roasting vegetables, or searing meat, especially lamb.
  • Don’t use lamb tallow in dishes that will be cooked and served cold, as the fat will s0lidify.
  • Cook the tallow in a crock pot for the easiest rendering, since cooking it on the stove makes it more likely to burn. You can also bake the fat in a large metal pasta pot.

Alan Bergo
Chef Alan Bergo

This recipe is by James Beard Award-winning Chef Alan Bergo. He’s a chef from Minnesota and author of The Forager Chef’s Book of Flora. Learn more about Chef Alan at 

Looking to buy lamb or goat online? Shepherd Song Farm: Grass to table. We raise lambs & goats traditionally, humanely and sustainably. 100% Grass Fed, Pasture Raised, Never Confined, no Hormones, Grains or Animal Byproducts. Born, raised and processed in the U.S.A. Good for you and good for the environment.

Rendering Tallow in a Crockpot or Slow Cooker with Water

Rendering animal fat in a slow cooker is very useful if you want to render fat while you’re away or doing things around the house, be warned though, slow cookers have a way of putting cooking scents in the air. Chef’s girlfriend makes him use his slow cooker outside with an outdoor outlet. Rendering outside makes it so the house is scent-free, and as bonus, the fat always comes out perfectly.

  • To render the lamb or goat tallow in a slow cooker, put the fat in the slow cooker and cook on low for 8-12 hours, breaking it up and stirring here and there to help it render. You may get a slightly lower yield, but the peace of mind is very nice.
  • Chef Highly recommends this method if it’s your first time rendering tallow.

Quick Rendering Short-Cut

Maybe you don’t like cooking with cracklings, or, you want the lard to render faster. If that’s the case, there’s another trick Chef Bergo uses for large batches of lard, or when he needs lard quickly.

  • Warm the fat per above, but, when its warm and the pieces of fat are soft, blend the mixture with a hand blender or transfer carefully to an upright blender in batches and puree until broken up into a semi-fine mixture.
  • From here, render the fat as above, but, it will render much more quickly as the fat has been pureed.
  • Clean the hand blender by buzzing some hot, soapy water with it.
  • You can also grind chilled fat through a meat grinder, which works great.

More How-to Recipes

How to French a Rack of Lamb

How to Cook Lamb Ribs

How to Cook Rocky Mountain Oysters or Lamb Fries

How to Cook Lamb Neck, with Recipes

A jar of finished yellow lamb tallow next to a lid.
5 from 1 vote

How to Render Lamb Fat at Home

Traditional rendered lamb fat or tallow is great for all-purpose cooking. Yield: about 5 cups of tallow, plus 2.5 cups of cracklings.
Prep Time20 minutes
Active Time3 hours
Total Time3 hours 20 minutes
Course: Snack
Cuisine: American
Keyword: Goat, Lamb, Lard, Tallow
Yield: 5 cups
Cost: 10


  • 1 Slow Cooker


  • 5 lbs lamb fat or lamb caul
  • 2 cups water


  • If it's your first time rendering tallow, start with the slow cooker method below--it's a gauranteed no-fail way to  learn the process of rendering without the chance of scorching the tallow.
  • Chill the fat. Using a chef’s knife cut the fat into small cube-sized pieces, about 1x1 inch. Put the lamb fat and water into a slow cooker, and cook on low heat for 8 hours, or until the fat has rendered and looks clear, stirring occasionally.
  • The chunks of lamb fat should not brown too much, and it’s better to cook the fat a little less than to over cook it which can give it a toasted flavor that, while not the end of the world, is not properly rendered tallow. When the fat is rendered, allow it to cool for 30 minutes to an hour before straining, as it’s very hot.
  • Strain or fish out the cracklings and reserve. Pour the fat into glass jars while still pourable, but don’t seal them until cool. When cooled, the tallow should be pure white. Store one jar of tallow at room temperature to make it easier to spoon out and portion, and freeze or refrigerate the rest. The tallow will last a very long time under refrigeration or in the freezer.

To make cracklings from the leftover fat

  • To make cracklings from the leftover fat, put the cooked, still white pieces of fat into a heavy cast iron pan (12 inch diameter) or similar, and bake for one hour at 300, or until the pieces of fat are crisp and browned. You can drain off the additional fat that comes out of the cracklings for cooking.


Chef's tip: save the cracklings to add to your cornbread.