Substitute For Duck Fat – 7 Best Alternatives And How To Choose

Are you searching for a substitute for duck fat? We will provide you with a list of what you can use instead and show you how to render on your own. 

Introduction 

Talking about duck fat, we can’t deny the delicacy that it brings to dishes such as fried potatoes, roasted vegetables, etc. This delicious cooking ingredient is famous for the rich and savory flavor that it adds to the recipes.

Ready-made jars are available in supermarkets, but the price is not affordable for you. What can you use instead of duck fat, then? This article will provide you with references for a substitute for duck fat to maintain the flavor of your dishes.  

Learning how to render these substitutes is also interesting. You can control the quality of your homemade product. There are some delicious cracklings left after the rendering process as well.

Lard Substitute for Duck Fat

What Is Duck Fat Made From?

As a result of duck rendering, duck fat is well-known for its rich, slightly sweet flavor, smooth structure, and nutritional value. Its silky mouth-feel makes all the food that it touches become incredibly delicious. 

Keeping the duck grease in a clean and air-tight jar in the fridge can help you preserve it for six months or longer. Many chefs prefer this ingredient in their dishes, especially in French cuisine. Due to its high burning point, it’s suitable for baking, roasting, and frying.

Besides, this popular ingredient is well-applied for making popcorn, sautéing, or grilled cheese.

7 Best Substitutes 

Let’s find out what is the best substitute for duck fat spray!

Goose Fat

The first substitute mentioned here is goose lard. It has many features in common with the duck one. They both have higher burning points, similar nutrition values, and identical tastes. 

Although the goose grease has a stronger smell, you can use it alternatively in roasting potatoes, French fries, frying chicken, goose, and vegetables. It’s considered the best substitute for duck fat since it gives a cheesy taste and keeps the original flavor of the recipes.

Duck fat french fries

Chicken Fat

Schmaltz is a different name for this alternative. Stemmed from rendering chicken, it will melt while cooking, enabling you to have the product for use at any time. 

You can use chicken fat to roast potatoes and onions, make mayonnaise or salad dressings, or use it as an alternative for butter and oil in baking. 

Chicken grease also has a high smoking point, which can be a good substitute in any recipe. You may notice a milder taste when compared to the stronger taste of the duck grease, which makes some recipes slightly different. 

Turkey Fat

It is another great option on the list. The turkey grease tastes similar to chicken and has a rich flavor that can make your recipe juicy and tasty. Due to having a pretty high burning point, this lard type is suitable for deep frying and roasting potatoes. 

Furthermore, it’s also good for stewing, making soup, and popcorn. You can have it spread on the toasted bread for a tasteful experience. 

Ghee

Ghee, also known as purified butter, is made from heated butter. The heating process removes the oily part from the butter to make ghee a vegetarian product.

Ghee has a mild buttery taste which contains Omega-3s, CLA, butyrate, and vitamin B12. Its burning point is even higher than butter, making it a suitable replacement. This kind of grease contributes to a more creamy flavor to the recipes.

Ghee is good for deep frying, roasting, and sautéing. Additionally, it can be used like butter in baking cakes, pies, and cookies. 

Butter

Butter is a dairy product made from the milk of cows or other mammals such as goats, sheep, or buffalos. There are two common types of butter: salted and unsalted. The unsalted one is recommendable as you can manage the salt quantity in your dish.

Almost everybody stores butter in their house, so it’s an easy-to-find substitute. Its soft and creamy taste allows for frying, sauteing, baking cakes, and cookies. Besides, you can apply butter for preparing vegetables, meat, or seafood and as a spread on toast. 

It is recommendable to substitute duck fat for butter. The most common use is the 50/50 combination of butter blend and duck oil in baking. Along with choosing the best oven for baking, this mixture can help create crispy and deep flavored products.

However, butter is not good for high-temperature cooking, such as deep-frying, due to the low burning point. It can be an alternative, but the taste may be different.

substitute duck fat for butter

Olive Oil

Extra virgin olive oil/ light olive oil is a refined oil type favored in many kitchens. Its color is lighter than the virgin one. You can easily buy it in any grocery store.

Olive oil can adapt well to frying, baking, sauteing, and salad dressings. Along with being cooked at high temperatures, it’s the best vegetarian substitute for duck fat.

One of the things I like about olive oil is that it has less saturated fat, but the nutrition value is about the same as duck lard. Although using olive oil instead may not reach the same flavor, the mild taste is appealing and worth trying.

Vegetable Shortening

Another substitute for duck fat is vegetable shortening. It is a veggie product made from hydrogenated cottonseed oil, palm, and soybean. Additionally, the flavor is based on neutral oil. You can use it for frying dishes, pastries, pies, and cookies. 

Both vegetable shortening and duck lard are solid at room temperature but melt when heated. This identical structure makes them replaceable for each other. 

Vegetable shortening can shorten the cooking time but still gives a savory taste to the dishes.

Vegetable shortening substitute for Duck Fat

Guide To Choose The Best Substitute For Duck Fat

There is a list of substitutes, but what to choose depends on your needs and what dish you are cooking.

Goose fat is the substitute that can make the closest flavor to duck grease. Their burning points are almost identical, which enables controlling the fire easily. They can replace each other in different dishes, such as frying and roasting potatoes.

If you are looking for a healthy substitute, olive oil is definitely an ideal choice. You can cook it at a high temperature despite the milder taste since its burning point is high. Besides, olive oil is extremely healthy, with zero cholesterol and rich vitamins.

Butter is an easy-to-find substitute when available in any shop. However, keep in mind that you should control the heat because it has a low burning point. The dish’s taste, when cooked with butter, can be different (less meaty but milky smell).

It also depends on your cooking method to choose the correct substitute. If you are roasting, you can use animal grease from goose, chicken, or turkey as a replacement. Consequently, they will produce a savory and juicy taste in the food. 

In frying steak, butter is the most suitable substitute for duck fat. In soup or stews, adding any type of animal lard can make the dish more delicious.

olive oil substitute for Duck Fat

Homemade Duck Fat – Rendering Duck Fat At Home

All you need for the process is:

  • Fat and skin of ducks
  • Water
  • A heavy-bottom saucepan
  • A fine-mesh strainer
  • A heat-proof container

Guideline

Step 1. Cut the fat and skin into small pieces

Remove the skin and fat from the whole duck, and slide them into similarly small pieces. The recommended size is around two inches. Remember to cut them roughly equally to be cooked at the same rate. 

Step 2. Add water to the saucepan 

Adding little water to start boiling is a good way to avoid burning, as the water will evaporate during rendering. You can also try to do it without water, but you should watch out for it carefully; otherwise, you can scorch the whole saucepan. 

Add a quarter cup of water for one pound of fat. So if you render two ducks, you may need a half cup of water. If you add more water than that, you just need to wait longer until it totally cooks off.

A heavy-bottom stainless steel saucepan is recommended as it evenly distributes heat to the surface, and it’s easier for you to see and control the progress. Cast iron skillets are ok to use, but it’s a little bit difficult to see the color and quite heavy for straining.

Step 3. Cook at low heat slowly 

Duck fat confit home making

Place the saucepan with the mixture on the stovetop. Put the mid-low flame to render it. You may need about 45 minutes to one hour to complete the process.

You can stir the mixture a few times during the rendering to ensure nothing sticks to the saucepan. Sometimes, bubbles will appear, making it difficult to see the surface, then gradually becoming clearer. Turn off the stove when you see the skin is golden-brown and crispy. 

Though the process doesn’t require much babysitting, you still need to pay attention to the color of the pieces and ensure the fire is appropriate. If it smokes or burns, you should reduce the heat and move the pan away immediately to minimize the scorch risk. 

Step 4. Straining

Use a strainer to strain the liquid into a heat-proof container. The more the skin sediment is separated from the liquid, the longer it can stay. Store it in a suitable container that you can put in the fridge or freezer for long-term use. 

Besides the gold liquid, you can enjoy the crispiness. It’s a highly recommended snack.

Straining homemade duck fat

FAQ

Can You Use Goose Fat For Duck Confit?

Confit prefers fat duck or goose instead of using other greases. You can use goose grease in duck confit as both animals are waterfowl, and they have many features in common.  

Can I Substitute Duck Fat For Chicken Fat?

Yes, you can use them interchangeably. The smoking point of duck grease is higher, so you can easily use it to replace chicken grease. Meanwhile, the taste of chicken lard is less strong, which can be replaced in return. For example, you can substitute both lard for each other in the cheese Enchiladas recipe. You can use a queso fresco substitute for this dish as well.

Can I Substitute Ghee For Duck Fat?

You can use ghee to substitute for duck fat as it’s a savory taste and healthy nutritional value. Specifically, the high burning point makes it an ideal substitution.  

Can I Substitute Butter For Duck Fat?

Yes, you can use butter as a substitute for duck fat though the taste might be different. The important thing to remember here is that butter has a low burning point. Therefore, you’d better watch out carefully while cooking at a high temperature to avoid unwanted burns.

substitute for duck fat

Conclusion

Duck fat is widely used to enhance the flavor of many dishes. However, you can use another substitute for duck fat to make any dish taste delicious.

After trying different substitutions, I prefer goose fat the most for its identical flavor and texture. It’s easy to cook as they both have similar smoking points. We can use them interchangeably in any dish without a problem.

If goose lard is also not available, then my suggestion would be light olive oil. Olive oil is a healthy choice with almost the same nutritional value as duck grease, and can be cooked at high temperatures. 

The third option I would recommend is butter. People who like dishes cooked with duck lard also like it when they are cooked with butter.

In general, all the substitutions above work well to replace duck grease. Choosing what to use is based on what dish you make and how you cook it.