If you are an avid lover of British recipes, you must have come across suet at one point or another. It is a hard, crumbly, and unsaturated fat removed from the parts surrounding the animal’s kidneys. British recipes like pastry, steamed puddings, and sweet mincemeat are incomplete with it.
Even though suet is available online as well as in the leading supermarket stores across the United States, what’s the harm in trying its substitutes? Our favorites are beef fat, vegetable suet, and butter.
We have explained the 10 best suet substitutes that will undoubtedly upgrade your cooking in the following article. Along with that, we have elaborated on the best ways to use the substitutes so that you can leverage their taste to create outstanding dishes!
Top 10 Best Suet Substitutes
To make the following article more extensive, we have included vegetarian as well as non-vegetarian substitutes for suet. You can pick as per your preference.
1. Beef Fat
Let us start with something that will taste exactly like suet- beef fat, also known as beef tallow.
Just like suet, you can easily get beef fat at any butcher’s shop or the meat section in a supermarket. Basically, it is cooked down from the ribs, steaks, or rump roast of the cow. Once it is skimmed off, the meat is melted before turning back into solid.
Raw beef fat does not have any flavor apart from a meaty essence. But you can mix it with herbs and spices to enhance your dish.
It is also soft and pliable, making it easier for you to add to your recipes. It has a high smoke point, making it a reliable substitute for making pastry crusts of any pie filling.
We also like the idea of slathering some beef fat over raw vegetables. This will bring out the aromatic flavors of the fat as well as the vegetables. You can add it to sweet as well as savory dishes like steak or kidney pudding.
Unlike suet, beef fat does not need to be refrigerated. Place it in an airtight container, and it should last for a year or so.
2. Vegetable Suet
If you are looking for a non-meat version of suet, we highly recommend vegetable suet.
It is prepared from several types of vegetable oils like palm or sunflower oil. These oils are combined with rice flour or wheat flour.
In terms of nutrition, vegetable suet contains 25% less fat as compared to other meat-based suets. This will help you devour your favorite dishes without worrying about their impact on your health.
Since it looks precisely like beef suet as far as texture and looks are concerned, you can easily add it to your recipes.
For those who are looking for a suet substitute for pie crusts, we recommend butter. Since this will be readily available at everybody’s home, you can easily put it to use.
However, it must be noted that butter has a low smoke point, much lower than suet. So, be careful while deep-drying it.
You can use butter for plum puddings and Christmas cakes with pie crusts. But it might not add an airy or light consistency to it.
It is best to freeze the butter and grate it. This will work in favor of your dish without making it too greasy or heavy.
4. Vegetable Shortening
Have you ever come across Crisco cans of vegetable shortening, wondering how to make it for your use? Well, you better buy one can of it the next time since it is an effective substitute for suet.
Vegetable shortening is made of hydrogenated and partially hydrogenated vegetable oils like soybean, corn, and cottonseed. It is 100% fat with a higher smoking point than butter.
This alternative is a must-have for your pantry as it helps with baking and frying. Just like butter, you must freeze it and grate it to work as a substitute for suet.
This substitute works for cookies, pie crusts, cakes, etc. Apart from suet-related recipes, you can also use vegetable shortening for donuts and fries, making them worth the extra cost.
Lard is nothing but rendered fat of a pig. It is gently heated till the bits of skin, flesh, and membrane skim off.
First things first, people believe that lard is unhealthy, given the fact that it is nothing but pig’s fat. However, lard contains good fat that helps support the heart. Along with that, it maintains cell health and lowers blood cholesterol levels.
You can include lard in any recipe that requires beef suet. Since it has a high smoke point, it can be used for deep frying and grilling, roasting, and searing.
Even though it melts easily, you can add it to Christmas puddings.
Lastly, if you have the source, it is best to get the fat from the pig’s kidneys or loins. It will automatically enhance the taste and texture of your dish.
6. Chicken Fat
Chicken fat is easily available at a butcher’s shop. While it might not be on display, you can ask them personally, and they’ll get it for you.
Chicken fat can be used to add extra flavor to the dish. It can be used to dry vegetables or meat. You can also use it to grease roasting pans to make your dishes more aromatic.
It must be noted that chicken fat is not suitable for desserts. Moreover, due to its medium-high smoke point, we’d advise against deep-frying, as far as chicken fat is concerned.
Use it intermittently since its melting point is much lower than beef fat or pork fat.
7. Clarified Butter/Ghee
If you have an Indian grocery store near your house, we suggest using ghee as a substitute for suet.
Ghee is nothing but clarified butter obtained from cow’s milk. It is procured by melting butter. Once it gets separated into milk solids and liquid fats, the former is removed to lessen the proportion of lactose.
You can use ghee for deep-drying since it has a high smoke point. It goes best with pastries or even frying your vegetables.
8. Regular Cooking Oil
You can also use your regular cooking oil as a substitute for suet. You can either use avocado oil, sunflower oil, rice bran oil, coconut oil, or sesame oil. Use any that is available at your convenience.
However, limit the use of cooking oil to deep frying. Using it in making baked goods or dough might affect the texture of your fish.
9. Vege Gel
Vege gel is a vegetarian option for a setting agent. It can be used in several types of sweet and savory dishes like mousses, soufflés, cheesecakes, terrines, etc.
Vege gel shouldn’t be confused with gelatine. Instead, it is its vegetarian substitute.
You can also add it to jelly in Christmas puddings to make your dish more interesting.
10. Xanthan Gum
Xanthan gum is a food additive that works as a stabilizer or thickener. It is obtained when sugar is fermented. The substance obtained is solidified with alcohol and turned into a powder.
Apart from being a substitute for suet, it also works as an alternative for gelatin.
You can use it to prepare soups, sauces, and non-dairy ice creams.
It can also be used for baked goods.
What can I use in Christmas pudding instead of suet?
If you are making something sweet like a Christmas pudding, you can use suet substitutes like vegetable shortening or butter. Since these ingredients have a similar melting point as suet, the consistency and texture of the dish will not be affected.
Does the suet need to be refrigerated?
Suet must be refrigerated and used up within a week. If you want to freeze it, you must store it in an airtight container and keep it in the refrigerator.
Are lard and suet the same thing?
Lard and Suet are two varying types of animal fats with several similarities, due to which they can be used interchangeably. Lard is a semi-solid fat procured from pigs. On the other hand, suet is a hard white fat obtained from mutton and cows.
What can I substitute for suet in dumplings?
As far as dumplings are concerned, you can use butter instead of suet. This substitute works for preparing stew dumplings as well as sweet dumplings.
What can I substitute for suet in mincemeat?
Preparing mincemeat without suet can be challenging. But you can use vegetable shortening in place of suet if you run out of suet.
What can I use instead of suet for bread pudding?
You can use vegetable shortening instead of suet while preparing bread pudding. A little bit of sugar, vanilla ice cream, and hot vanilla custard will help you create an outstanding bread pudding, even without suet.
Finding suet is easy, and finding its substitutes is even easier. You can use non-vegetarian options like beef fat, chicken fat, or lard. But for people who’d rather prefer plant-based options, they can use vegetable suet or even butter.
Which one are you going to go for? Let us know in the comments below!
Gina P. Shudnow is the brain behind all our scientific research. She is a Registered Dietitian who has been in the field for over ten years. Her nutrition tips have helped several people overcome health issues in the past. She strives to make everybody healthier without compromising on their food diet.