I just received a couple kilograms worth of raw lamb suet from a butcher free of charge. My understanding is that the fat surrounding the kidney (which this is) is suet and that rendered fat (starting from suet or otherwise) is tallow.

Tallow, to my understanding, has a much longer life that this raw suet that I have. I'm planning to render the suet down but was wondering if I could still use in recipes that call for suet after it has been rendered? Is it better in the raw state or does it make no difference?

My main usage would probably be in pastries and tortillas.

  • 2
    Since tortillas are often made with rendered lard, I'd suppose that tallow would be fine in that use. Not sure about the pastries... but if you can make it with lard, I think you can make it with tallow? Hopefully someone else will know. I wonder if there's a flavor issue... lamb can have quite a strong flavor.
    – Catija
    Mar 14, 2015 at 5:20
  • 2
    I use beef tallow for tortillas so I think the lamb should work fine. Not sure how strong flavoured suet tends to be... I've grown up with lamb as my primary red meat so I don't interpret the flavor as strong. In any case, it should work fine in savory pastries with lamb fillings. I'm also planning to use it in lamb dishes instead of oil (for example, I'm planning to use in a kabuli palao instead of vegetable oil).
    – NRaf
    Mar 14, 2015 at 6:42

1 Answer 1


If you're making tortillas and pastry dough, you'd want to use the rendered suet = tallow.

If you're making something like a traditional English Christmas pudding or a spotted dick, you'd want to use the un-rendered (but cleaned and shredded) suet.

Either one would last pretty much indefinitely in the freezer. Suet would have a shorter lifespan at room temperature (since it's still got bits of meat attached).

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