Food Guide

10 Plant-Based Alternatives to Beef Tallow for All Your Vegan Cooking Needs

Cooking with animal fat like beef tallow is great.

However, in case you don’t have beef tallow on hand, especially if you are following a vegan diet, the following meatless options will help you replace beef tallow in different cooking recipes.

What is beef tallow?

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Beef tallow is rendered beef suet that is often found in the cow’s kidneys.

Beef tallow has a pale white color and a semi-soft texture.

That means a fork can go through beef tallow easily, but it still forms sold at room temperature.

Beef tallow will keep indefinitely if stored in an airtight container away from light and heat, no need to put it in the fridge or freezer.

This is also one of the reasons why people prefer this kind of fat.

The main use of beef tallow is for cooking, but in the past, this ingredient was widely used to make soaps.

Tallow has a higher smoke point than most kinds of vegetable oil on the market, making it ideal for deep-frying recipes.

It can also be used in baking to add a rich taste to any dish.

Beef tallow can be easily made at home or bought from any grocery store.

Today, with the introduction of vegetable oils, beef tallow might not be available in some places.

Can you substitute beef tallow with vegan alternatives in cooking recipes?

Of course, beef tallow can be substituted with other vegan-friendly options if you want to cut down some animal protein intake.

It is relatively easy to look for a vegan substitute for beef tallow because many cuisines don’t use animal fat to cook their food.

They rather use other plant-based oils or other similar ingredients that can work the same way in different cooking recipes.

What vegan substitutes can you use in place of beef tallow?

If you are wondering what to use in place of beef tallow without breaking your vegan diet, the following five vegan substitutes are worth trying:

1. Vegetable shortening

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Vegetable shortening is a type of vegan fat that has been used to make pastries and other baked goods for years.

It can be found in most grocery stores or local bakeries.

Vegetable shortening is a great substitute for beef tallow in baking and frying recipes without losing the rich taste of tallow.

And the best part is that it is completely vegan.

2. Vegetable oil

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Vegetable oil is another popular option for cooking fat.

So if you want to go vegan, use vegetable oil instead of beef tallow.

There are numerous kinds of vegetable oil available out there, such as sunflower oil, canola oil, soybean oil, and peanut oil.

Vegetable oil has a lower smoke point compared to beef tallow, therefore, it is better to use vegetable oil in stir-frying recipes or other methods that don’t call for a high temperature.

3. Olive oil

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Olive oil can be considered a kind of vegetable oil for some people.

However, vegetable oil is often made from that oil extracted from nuts and seeds rather than from fruits.

Olive oil is native to Mediterranean and Middle Eastern cuisines.

But now you can easily find some bottles of olive oil in any grocery store in the world.

Olive oil is relatively expensive compared to other kinds of fat, but it is packed with many essential nutrients like monounsaturated fats, antioxidants, and vitamins that benefit our heart health, skin health, and help reduce inflammation.

However, the most common uses of olive oil are to dress salads, marinade ingredients, or saute foods instead of frying or baking.

4. Coconut oil

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You can also use coconut oil to substitute for beef tallow in some cases.

It is an edible fat that is extracted from the flesh of a coconut.

Coconut oil has been used for centuries in the beauty industry, but it can work as a cooking ingredient too.

It contains healthy fats that can help reduce bad cholesterol levels.

Coconut oil can be used for sauteing or pan-searing recipes rather than baking or frying.

It does not help cook the ingredients but also adds a fragrant coconut flavor.

5. Mashed banana

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You might be surprised that mashed banana is listed on this list.

This substitute should only be used in place of beef tallow in baking recipes to achieve a solid and creamy texture and a rich taste instead of using it as a cooking fat.

The bottom line

Pork lard and beef tallow are often used interchangeably, but if you want to completely remove all the animal products from your diet, there are many vegan substitutes that will help.

From different kinds of vegetable oil to vegetable shortening or mashed banana, each ingredient works great in some specific recipes.

Hopefully, our suggestions for the best vegan beef tallow substitutes can work well in your kitchen.

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Emily W.

Emily Wong is an Asian-American food writer the founder of With nearly 8 years of experience, she has a passion for making cooking accessible to everyone and sharing her personal experiences with food. Emily's vision for is to create a community of food lovers who are passionate about cooking, eating, and sharing their experiences with others. Read my story
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