Schmaltz & Gribenes


There is nothing that says Jewish cooking more than rendering your own chicken fat and making schmaltz! As a serious chef, I know that homemade schmaltz greatly enhances the taste of both my Chopped Chicken Liver and “Lucky” Matzo Balls.

What is Gribenes?
Gribenes are the crunchy brown bits of rendered chicken skin left in the pan after making schmaltz.

When I was a kid, my dad used to love making gribenes and schmaltz. My brothers and I used to fight over eating the crispy bits of gribenes. It was delicious. No matter how much schmaltz or gribenes I make today, there are never any leftovers.

Makes about 1/2 cup of schmaltz and 1/2 cup of gribenes


  • 1 lb chicken fat
  • 1 lb chicken skin (from whole chicken, legs, wings, etc)


  1. In a heavy bottom pan, render the fat and chicken skin on low heat for about 2 hours, stirring occasionally. You can also bake in oven at 250 for about the same amount of time. Just stir it every ½ hour or so.
  2. Chicken fat will render down to schmaltz and chicken skin will crisp up and make gribenes which are delicious and a fun surprise in our Lucky Matzo Balls.
Variation: Once the fat and chicken skin has rendered down, you can sauté onions to add more depth of flavor.


Wanda Montgomery

As a girl growing up in Tennessee (USA). I use to do something similar. We always skinned our chickens before flying them. It was my job to remove the skin and any excess fat I found from the chickens. I would then add the excess fat to a pan on low heat to start melting as I cut the skins into smaller pieces before adding to the skillet, keeping a close eye on them because some cooked faster than others. After getting the fat rendered out. I would save it to add to other dishes. The skins always received a little salt as I removed them from the pan. This was usually a special treat just for me because I helped in the kitchen. If we had company as the youngest I was often given the neck or back as my piece of chicken. To this day crispy chicken skin is my favorite snack.

Marijke Schellenbach

Whenever I buy chicken I save all the skin and fat that hangs on, freeze it, and when I have enough I render it.


Save it up from chicken you have purchased and cut off the fat and skin from , and frozen till you get enough to render

Iris Miller

This put a big smile on my face.
I also save the skin and fat in the freezer until I have a need for shmaltz, then I render it as you do, plus I add the cut up onion at the start with the skin and fat, (but it never took me two hours. ) then I strain the shmaltz into a glass jar and put the grieven as we called it, on paper towels and sprinkle with salt. I call it Jewish popcorn, you can’t take one bite. I eat until all those crunchies are gone. I only have one recipe that I use the shmaltz for, and that’s once a year . ?

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