Schmaltz and Gribenes

Schmaltz and Gribenes

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My first memory of Schmaltz and Gribenes is of Annie Mae stirring the fat and skin on top of the stove and then pouring it into a jar to keep for my Great Uncle Bob. He came for dinner every Friday night and exclaimed: “Gloria, bring me some Schmaltz.” I would scamper off to the kitchen and take out bread, Schmaltz and salt. I spread a thick layer of Schmaltz on the bread, sprinkled it with salt and presented it proudly to my most favorite Great Uncle. Schmaltz and Gribenes are so unhealthy, you’re thinking! Definitely; but Great Uncle Bob lived to the ripe old age of 95! Click on this link for Chremsels for a recipe that uses lots of schmaltz.

Note: Annie Mae used to add a splash of water to the chicken fat as it rendered. I discovered that if you freeze the fat, it is not only easier to slice but you don’t have to add any water to render it. You will get the clearest chicken fat if you simmer it on a very low flame. It can actually take 2-3 hours for 1 1/2-2 pounds of fat and skin for the fat to render and the skin (Gribenes) to turn golden.

Prep time: 15 minutes

Schmaltz and Gribenes

By Gloria Kobrin Published: August 16, 2017

  • Yield:

  • 1 cup each of fat and gribenes


  • 1 1/2 -2 pounds chiciken fat and skin frozen
  • 1 medium onion peeled, halved and thinly sliced


  • small saucepan
  • strainer lined with cheesecloth
  • bowl/jar one for fat, one for gribenes


  1. Slice the frozen fat and skin in small pieces. Place it in saucepan. Keep flame at a low simmer until all the fat has rendered. Add onion when you see enough fat to cover the onion. Simmer until skin has turned into golden nuggets. Stir every once in awhile so that nothing sticks to the pan. This process can take 2-3 hours. When it's done, pour fat and gribenes through strainer into a bow or jar that can hold the fat. Store each in a covered container. The Schmaltz will congeal as it chills. You can use it as a spread or to cook with instead of vegetable oil. The gribenes can be eaten as is or sprinkled on a salad.