I try to feed my family healthy, nutritious foods. While it is pretty delicious, duck fat doesn’t really fall into the category of healthy.
With 13 grams of fat in every tablespoon of duck fat, it isn’t the leanest food out there.
Luckily, there are lots of great duck fat substitutes that work really well! If you are looking for a healthy duck fat substitute, I can help.
Take a look and you will surely find a duck fat substitute for roast potatoes, a vegetarian substitute for duck fat, and even a vegan substitute for duck fat.
All of these duck fat substitutes can help you make classic, delicious recipes in a more modern, nutritious way.
The best duck fat substitute is goose fat which has an identical flavor and texture. Lard makes a wonderful duck fat substitute since it can be cooked at very high heats and is easily found in grocery stores. Consider using light olive oil as a vegan duck fat substitute. Butter works well in place of duck fat and is an ingredient you likely have on hand!
Duck Fat Substitutes
1. Goose Fat – Best Duck Fat Substitute for Confit and Slow Cooking
Goose fat, also known as schmaltz, is very similar to duck fat. You can use the same quantity of goose fat to replace duck fat in any recipe. The flavor of goose fat is almost identical to the taste of duck fat.
Goose fat has a very high burning point, just like duck fat. This makes it perfect for frying, baking, and cooking.
Use goose fat as a duck fat substitute for roast potatoes or to make tasty French fries.
Substitute duck fat for schmaltz in any recipe to keep it nutritionally identical and tasting the same!
There are 115 calories in goose fat with 13 grams of fat. Almost exactly the same!
2. Chicken Fat
You can look for chicken fat in grocery stores or you can make it yourself. Anytime you are preparing chicken meat, skim the fat from the pan and save it. You will have chicken fat ready to use any time!
Chicken fat can substitute duck fat in any recipe. It has a high smoking point, just like duck fat, making it ideal for high heat cooking.
It has a similar taste to duck fat and is nutritionally about the same. There are about 115 calories in a tablespoon of chicken fat.
3. Turkey Fat
Turkey fat has a high burning point, and a mild flavor and can easily be made at home. Save any pan drippings whenever you make turkey and save the fat to use later on.
Turkey fat is a perfect duck fat substitute for roast potatoes, frying, or using to start a soup. Turkey-fat popcorn may be your new favorite go-to snack!
One tablespoon of turkey fat has 115 calories and 13 grams of fat. Use the same quantity of turkey fat to replace duck fat in any recipe.
Lard is fairly easy to find in grocery stores which makes it ideal to substitute duck fat for lard. It is accessible and simple!
When thinking about duck fat vs lard, you should consider the source of each type of fat.
Lard is made by rendering the fat of pigs. Since lard comes from a completely different animal, it has a very different flavor.
Lard is sweet and buttery. It can have a slight nutty taste but this can go well with your foods.
Replace duck fat with the same quantity of lard but keep this nutty, buttery taste in mind!
One tablespoon of lard has 115 calories. Most of the fats in lard are saturated fats which means it is a little less healthy than duck fat.
Almost all of us have butter in our refrigerators which makes it a very convenient duck fat substitute. No need to go buy anything extra!
The best duck fat butter substitute is unsalted butter. Duck fat does not have added salt so it makes sense to use a butter that is salt free as well.
This will keep the butter substitute nutritionally in line with the duck fat it is replacing.
Butter actually has fewer calories than duck fat with just 102 calories per tablespoon.
It has a lower burning point than duck fat so it is not the best substitute for high-heat cooking.
Butter can replace duck fat in a recipe for sautéing, cookies, cakes, or as a spread.
6. Beef Tallow
Beef tallow is a very interesting substitute for duck fat. It has a very rich, meaty flavor and is often seasoned with herbs and spices.
Beef tallow can be found in the grocery store in jars or cans, preserved to maintain freshness.
Use the same quantity of beef tallow to replace duck fat in any high-heat cooking recipe. Beef tallow can withstand high temperatures without burning.
Just keep in mind that the tallow may contain herbs or spices and the seasonings in your recipe may have to be adjusted.
Beef tallow has a similar nutritional makeup as duck fat, with 115 calories and 13 grams of fat per serving.
Using this substitute for duck fat will not change the health aspects very much.
7. Ghee – Best Vegetarian Substitute for Duck Fat
Ghee is a type of purified butter. It is made by heating butter and removing the milk fats from the butter. Since there are no milk solids in the ghee, it is considered to be vegetarian.
Ghee has a higher burning point than classic butter, making it a fantastic substitute for duck fat.
You can use the same quantity of ghee to replace duck fat in any recipe. The creamy flavor of ghee will taste fantastic in place of duck fat.
Ghee has about 112 calories per tablespoon making it nutritionally similar to duck fat.
8. Cotton Seed Oil
Cottonseed oil is made from the seeds of cotton plants. It is considered a type of vegetable oil and has a very high burning point of 428 degrees F. This makes it perfect for baking, frying, or sautéing foods.
Cottonseed oil is a great vegetarian substitute for duck fat since it has a very neutral flavor.
It will not mask the flavors in your foods. With 120 calories per tablespoon and 14 grams of fat, it is close in nutritional content to duck fat as well.
9. Extra Virgin Olive Oil – Best Vegan Substitute for Duck Fat
Light olive oil or extra virgin olive oil is a perfect substitute for duck fat. Many of us have olive oil in our kitchen already or can quickly find it in any grocery store. I love convenient duck fat substitutes!
Olive oil has a nice mild taste and can be cooked at high temperatures just like duck fat.
Olive oil is completely vegan and nutritionally about the same as duck fat. It has 119 calories per tablespoon and about 14 grams of fat.
Light olive oil does have less saturated fats than duck fat with just 2 grams, making it a healthy substitute for duck fat as well as a vegan substitute for duck fat!
10. Vegetable Shortening
Vegetable shortening is a fantastic vegan substitute for duck fat. Both fats are solid at room temperature and liquid when heated.
The fact that both fats have the same texture makes them easy to use interchangeably.
Vegetable shortening has a bland, neutral taste. It will not alter the flavor in your recipe but, since it is so mild, you may want to consider adjusting your seasoning. You still want your foods to taste great without the duck fat!
One tablespoon of vegetable shortening has about 113 calories. It has 5 grams of monounsaturated fats, 2 grams of trans fats and about 3 grams of saturated fats.
11. Sunflower Oil
Sunflower oil is a wonderful vegan substitute for duck fat. It can be found in the oil section of any grocery store and is usually inexpensive.
Sunflower oil can be used to deep fry foods, roast foods, or sauté food at high heat. The high burning point makes it a great substitute for duck fat.
Sunflower oil does have a very neutral flavor. Use the same quantity of sunflower oil to replace duck fat but then increase your seasonings.
I would recommend using about 25% more seasonings to make up for the loss of flavor when replacing duck fat with sunflower oil.
Sunflower oil has 120 calories, most of them being from fat. It is a little richer than duck fat when looking from a nutritional standpoint.
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12. Vegetable Oil Spray – Best Duck Fat Spray Substitute
Vegetable oil spray is very easy to find in grocery stores. There are many different brands of vegetable oil spray to choose from.
Be sure to pick one that is 100% vegetable oil with no fillers or additives. This will give you the best flavor.
Use vegetable spray to replace duck fat in baking or sautéing. Spray a sauté pan with a thin layer of vegetable oil spray and then cook your recipe as directed.
You can also use vegetable oil spray to give meat a thin coating of fat before roasting.
There are about 120 calories in a tablespoon of vegetable oil. Spray lightly and you are sure to use less!
13. Coconut Oil Spray
Coconut oil is a very healthy substitute for duck fat. It has been shown to lower cholesterol, support the immune system and is even good for your skin. Coconut oil is a great vegan substitute for duck fat as well.
Look for a coconut oil spray which will be very easy to use. Simply spray your meat, veggies or baking pan with a little coconut oil and start cooking!
Coconut oil will add a subtle tropical flavor to your foods. Keep this in mind when using it to replace the more mild, meaty flavored duck fat.
It is also higher in calories with 121 calories per tablespoon.
What Does Duck Fat Taste Like?
Duck fat doesn’t have a very strong taste. This is one reason why it is so popular in cooking. The mild flavor goes well with lots of foods!
Duck fat does have a slight sweetness. It is also very rich as most fats are. It adds a deep, complex flavor that helps enhance any kind of dish.
Uses for Duck Fat
There are quite a few popular ways to use duck fat. Duck fat has a high smoking point so it can be used to cook foods at high temperatures. It is perfect for baking, frying and roasting.
You can fry potatoes in duck fat, roast vegetables or make a classic Yorkshire pudding.
Try this Yorkshire pudding recipe from Just a Pinch to see what a big difference a little duck fat can make.
Try cooking popcorn kernels in duck fat for a decadent snack. Start making soup by sauteeing veggies in some duck fat. You can also use duck fat to make grilled cheese.
Is Duck Fat Healthy?
Duck fat is actually a nutritious type of fat. It is high in monounsaturated fat and also vitamin k2.
Monounsaturated fats have been shown to help improve your overall cardiovascular healthy.
While duck fat is a healthier type of fat, it is still, at its core, a fat. Too much fat in your diet can contribute to raised cholesterol and weight gain. This is true for any kind of fats, not just duck fat.
Here is a quick look at the nutritional makeup of duck fat. These quantities are for one tablespoon of duck fat.
Duck Fat Substitute for Confit and Slow Cooking
Duck confit is a very popular, classic dish. Making a confit means slow cooking meat or vegetables in fat.
Duck fat is a traditional ingredient in confit since it adds such a rich flavor to foods. Try making this duck confit recipe from Simply Recipes and you will see why confit is soooo good.
Duck fat is fantastic for slow-cooking foods and also for cooking at high temperatures. It doesn’t burn in high heat and makes foods super tender and juicy.
Choose a duck fat substitute for confit from this list and I guarantee your recipes will turn out great.
Duck Fat Spray Substitute
Spray fats are so convenient and easy to use. Using a spray can help you coat foods evenly and completely in your favorite fats. This is great for ensuring foods cook to a perfect golden brown.
- 3 pounds small, red potatoes, cut in quarters
- ½ cup duck fat
- 2 tsp kosher salt
- ½ tsp ground black pepper
- 1 tsp Italian seasoning
- 1 bay leaf
- 2 Tbsp chopped garlic
- Preheat your oven to 450 degrees F.
- Add all the ingredients except the garlic to a casserole dish and toss together inside the dish. Spread the potatoes out so they are in an even layer inside the pan once they are coated in the duck fat and seasonings.
- Roast the potatoes in the hot oven for 30 minutes. Remove the pan and stir briefly.
- Add the garlic, stir, and return the pan to the oven to bake for another 20 minutes.
- The potatoes should be fork tender and slightly crispy on the outside.
- Enjoy warm alongside your favorite roasted duck!
There are a lot of fantastic substitutes for duck fat. Choose the one that suits your personal preferences best.
Turkey fat will give you the same flavor as duck fat while lard will add a craminess to your cooking.
Don’t forget about ghee which is an amazing vegan substitute for duck fat! Isn’t it great to have so many options? Happy cooking!
My name is Keren Tayler. I am a stay-at-home mama to three lovely girls, Sarah + Rachel + Hannah. Prior to becoming a mom, I had a successful career in the accounting field, steps away from becoming a CPA. I decided to give up on my career in order to raise my own kids (as opposed to letting a nanny do it, no judgment here :)) I learned a lot and I love sharing it with other moms. Along the way, I also became a Certified Food Handler.