What Is Beef Tallow?

author avatar Dr. Eric Berg 08/31/2023

Beef tallow is pure rendered beef fat that can be used for cooking, frying, and baking. 

It’s loaded with healthy fats and fat-soluble vitamins—and it’s an excellent addition to your Healthy Keto® diet. In fact, it’s on our Keto Food List!

Here’s everything you need to know about beef tallow.

slicing beef tallow

Is beef tallow healthy?

Beef tallow and other animal fats contain all of the essential fat-soluble nutrients that your body needs. They’re high in omega-3 fatty acids like DHA, which is critical for cognitive function.

Saturated animal fat is important for hormone production and the health of your skin and hair.

So why isn’t beef tallow as popular today? 

Food pyramid

In 1970, the food pyramid was created, and it put a lot of emphasis on saturated fat, which led to increased heart disease. 

Beef fat and other animal fats were wrongly blamed, and so the food pyramid encouraged people to replace saturated fats with seed oils.

Seed oils are high in omega-6 fatty acids, which can be highly inflammatory and highly oxidative. Oxidation from trans fats and seed oils leads to heart disease and other inflammatory conditions in the body.

This article from the National Institute of Health examines the existing literature connecting saturated fat to heart disease. It shows that increased saturated fat intake does not actually increase the risk for coronary heart disease.

How do you use beef tallow?

Before the invention of vegetable shortening, beef tallow was the most popular cooking fat. It was used in many recipes like soups and stews—it was even used for baking. 

Beef tallow has a high smoke point compared to oil, so it’s perfect for high-heat cooking. 

There are numerous beef tallow recipes available due to animal fat starting to gain popularity once again. Frying french fries in beef tallow is one of the most popular ways to use it!

Beef tallow isn’t only reserved for cooking. It has excellent benefits for your skin health and has become a popular addition to beauty and skin products. Beef tallow can even be used to make soap and candles.

You can make your own beef tallow at home! To make tallow, you need to slowly cook a fatty cut of beef in a stock pot or slow cooker. This process will render the fat, separating it from the meat. To make grass-fed tallow, you can use grass-fed meat.

rendering beef fat

Is tallow keto-friendly?

Beef tallow is an excellent fat source, supplying the body with the saturated fat necessary for energy and ketone production. It contains no carbohydrates and no sugar, so it’s 100 percent keto-friendly. 

When you’re on a ketogenic diet, 65 to 75 percent of your daily calories should come from fat. Adding beef tallow to your dishes can add flavor and help you meet your fat intake goals. 

Tallow from grass-fed cattle is the healthiest choice. It can be found in grocery stores, farmer’s markets, or your local butcher shop.

Beef tallow can be incredibly helpful if you’re trying to lose weight!

losing weight with tallow

Five ways tallow can help you lose weight

1. Rich in CLA 

Beef tallow is rich in a type of fat called conjugated linoleic acid, also known as CLA. CLA helps to speed up fat-burning.

2. Supports intermittent fasting

Beef tallow is full of saturated fatty acids, which help you stay satisfied and full between meals, making it easier to fast longer. The more you fast, the more you reduce insulin spikes.

Beef tallow is loaded with fat-soluble vitamins–vitamins D, A, and E. It also contains omega-3 fatty acids like DHA. Consuming high-quality fats with vitamins makes it much easier to increase your fasting window.

carb cravings

3. Decreases cravings for carbs

Beef tallow can help reduce your cravings and hunger for carbohydrates. 

High-quality fat like grass-fed beef tallow will allow you to feel satiated, reducing your cravings for carb-rich meals and snacks.

4. Doesn’t spike insulin

Anytime you eat, you trigger insulin. However, pure fat does not trigger insulin nearly as much as carbohydrates and protein do. 

Beef tallow is an excellent addition to your diet that won’t trigger high insulin production.

5. Reduces gut inflammation

Beef tallow is a potent natural anti-inflammatory, which decreases bloating and may help improve the appearance of your belly. 

Reducing gut inflammation may also help support stable insulin, which is essential for weight loss.

grass-fed cattle

Key takeaways

Animal fats have gained a bad reputation over the years, but don’t let that deter you from the amazing benefits of tallow. 

Beef tallow, lard, and other animal fats can enrich your cooking and provide your body with the energy, nutrition, and vitamins that it needs. Try it out!


1. What is beef tallow?

Beef tallow is pure beef fat that has been rendered.

2. How is beef tallow made?

Beef tallow is made through a rendering process in which meat (usually beef) is cooked until the fat is separated from the meat. The result is smooth, creamy beef fat that can be used in all types of cooking.

3. Is beef tallow keto? 

Beef tallow is an excellent food for a keto diet. It can help you stay full longer and reduce insulin spikes.

Beef fat is rich in fat-soluble vitamins that help your body feel full and satisfied. This helps reduce your cravings for junk food and carbohydrates.

4. Is beef tallow healthy?

Absolutely! Beef tallow is rich in vitamins D, E, and A and omega-3 fatty acids. It’s also used in skin care products because it softens and nourishes skin. Organic, grass-fed beef tallow is the healthiest option.

5. How do you cook with tallow?

You can cook just about anything with beef tallow. It can be used to replace butter, shortening, or any other cooking oil. Tallow can be used for frying french fries or even baking bread. You can also add tallow to soups and stews for a rich texture and flavor. 

6. Will tallow raise my cholesterol? 

Beef tallow and saturated fats from other animals can raise your cholesterol, but that’s not a bad thing! Your brain is made of fat and cholesterol, so cholesterol is incredibly important for cognitive function. Cholesterol is also necessary for bile release and production.

Consuming cholesterol without the presence of sugar and carbs is not harmful to your health.

7. Is tallow the same as lard? 

No, lard is made from pork fat and tallow is made from beef fat or lamb fat.

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