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10 BEST Goose Fat Substitutes + 1 to Avoid

I’ve personally taste-tested a variety of goose fat substitutes to find the best one for every cooking occasion.

Whether you’re on the hunt for the closest flavor match, in need of a last-minute pantry substitute, or seeking an alternative tailored to your specific dietary requirements, rest assured I’ve got you covered.

The best substitutes for goose fat are duck fat and schmaltz. Other animal-based alternatives are tallow, lard, clarified butter/ghee, or bacon fat. For plant-based substitutes, you can try refined coconut oil, vegetable shortening, or olive oil.

Ready? Let’s jump right in.

The Experiment

I whipped up a batch of (super crispy and delicious) roast potatoes to try out 11 goose fat substitutes.

Goose fat has a rich, savory taste that adds depth to dishes. And it’s great for high-heat cooking.

I was looking for flavorful substitute that would make my roasted just as crispy.

Here’s the substitutes I tested and my verdicts:

SubstitutesHow to SubstituteVerdict
Duck FatReplace in a 1:1 ratio10/10
SchmaltzReplace in a 1:1 ratio10/10
Refined Coconut OilReplace in a 1:1 ratio9/10
TallowReplace in a 1:1 ratio9/10
Clarified Butter/GheeReplace in a 1:1 ratio9/10
Vegetable ShorteningReplace in a 1:1 ratio8/10
Olive OilReplace in a 1:1 ratio8/10
Bacon fatMix with a more neutral fat first8/10

Common uses for duck fat and the best substitutes

Here are some common use cases for goose fat and the best substitutes for those situations:

  • For pies and pastries: Try using duck fat, schmaltz, refined coconut oil, or lard. Lard doesn’t have much flavor but it results in extra flaky pastry.
  • For frying, roasting, and sauteing: Try using duck fat, schmaltz, refined coconut oil, or ghee.
  • For dressings and vinaigrettes: Try using olive oil or bacon fat.
  • As a spread: Try using duck fat, schmaltz, or bacon grease. All of these will be delicious. 

Duck fat 

Duck fat may seem like an obvious substitute for goose fat since it comes from the same feathered family, but I included it just in case! 

It’s a touch sweeter than its goose counterpart, but the difference is subtle enough that most taste buds won’t even notice. 

Plus, duck fat is often easier on your wallet and easier to find. I tend to only see goose fat around the holiday period.

How to substitute: replace goose fat in your recipe in a 1:1 ratio with duck fat.


Schmaltz is another excellent substitute that comes from a close relative of geese – chickens! 

It has a similar smoke point to goose fat, so it’s great for crisping up your dishes (my poatoes were perfect).

And it will infuse your food with a deeply caramelized chicken flavor. 

Schmaltz is a staple in Jewish cuisines (it’s what makes those matzo balls so good), so you can buy a jar from a Jewish deli. 

But I prefer making my own with chicken skin and fat because you get to enjoy crunhy chicken crackling with an ice-cold beer afterwards

How to substitute: replace goose fat in your recipe in a 1:1 ratio with schmaltz.

Refined coconut oil

Refined coconut oil is an excellent vegan alternative for goose fat. 

This versatile oil boasts a neutral flavor that won’t dominate your dishes.

And its high heat tolerance gave my roast potatoes perfectly golden, crisp crusts that rivaled the ones made with goose fat. 

To compensate for the absence of goose fat’s distinct flavor, feel free to toss in more herbs or a pinch of MSG to achieve that coveted umami kick. 

If coconut oil isn’t your thing, don’t fret!

Other neutral-flavored cooking oils like avocado (a healthy option), sunflower, peanut, or canola oil are also excellent goose fat substitutes.

Psst… avoid virgin coconut oil. This has a strong flavor and a low smoke point.

How to substitute: replace goose fat in your recipe in a 1:1 ratio with refined coconut oil.


Lard is rendered pork fat.

It doesn’t have a distinct flavor, but it lent a delicious meaty essence to my roast potatoes that had my taste testers clamoring for more. 

You can purchase it cheaply from your local food store or try your hand at making it yourself.

I did it once, and infused the fat with fragrant herbs like rosemary and thyme to give it a delicious taste and aroma.

Pro tip: for baking leaf lard is AMAZING at making flaky pastry.

Tallow (rendered beef fat) is very similar to lard, but less common. If you have it, it will work great!

How to substitute: replace goose fat in your recipe in a 1:1 ratio with lard.

Clarified butter/ghee

Clarified butter or ghee are excellent alternatives that can help replicate goose fat’s decadence.

I have a soft spot for ghee, with its irresistible nutty undertones that add depth to any dish. Clarified butter is rich, but doesn’t have any of the nuttiness.

And the best part? You can make your own clarified butter or ghee using a regular stick of butter.

The process for making both is basically the same. You just need to cook the butter a bit longer to make ghee.

Psst… you can also stick to normal butter if you’re short on time.

How to substitute: replace goose fat in your recipe in a 1:1 ratio with clarified butter or ghee.

Vegetable shortening

Vegetable shortening is another meat-free alternative that can replace goose fat. 

Although its traditionally associated with baking, this culinary chameleon can withstand high heat, making it perfect for sautéing and frying too. 

You’ll lose out on the flavor goose fat brings, but it’s nothing a few extra dashes of spices and herbs can’t fix. 

Shortening is a common ingredient, so you’ll have lots of brands to choose from, but I always go with a tub of good old Crisco. 

How to substitute: replace goose fat in your recipe in a 1:1 ratio with vegetable shortening.

Olive oil

Olive oil is a trusty pantry staple you can use as a substitute for goose fat in a pinch. 

I recommend opting for pure or light olive oil, because it can handle higher heat levels without breaking down and has a more neutral flavor.

Save the extra virgin olive oil for your salad dressings!

A advantage of olive oil is that it’s one of the healthier cooking oils you can use, so you can feel good about indulging in your favorite meals.

How to substitute: replace goose fat in your recipe in a 1:1 ratio with olive oil.

Bacon fat

Bacon fat is IRRESISTIBLE.

There’s no other way to describe it.

It’s very strongly flavored, with smoky, savory, and umami notes. This makes it great for using in small quantities in salad dressings and baking.

But for applications where you need more fat, you probably wouldn’t want to use just bacon fat. I recommend mixing it with something more neutral like lard or butter.

I mixed it with lard to make my roast potatoes and they turned out great.

How to substitute: replace goose fat in your recipe in with a mixture of bacon fat and something more neutral.

Avoid using margarine

I know some of you will be margarine fans, but I don’t like using it in baking or cooking so I don’t think it’s a good swap for goose fat.

It’s more watery than other fats, which means you won’t get crispy results if you use it for roasting.

It’s also not that good for you!

For a vegan option, go for oil or shortening.

10 Best Goose Fat Substitutes + 1 To Avoid

I tested loads of goose fat substitutes to find the best one.
5 from 1 vote
Print Pin Rate
Course: Ingredient
Cuisine: French
Keyword: goose fat substitutes, substitutes for goose fat
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 5 minutes
Total Time: 10 minutes
Servings: 1 person
Calories: 115kcal


  • 1 tbsp duck fat
  • 1 tbsp schmaltz
  • 1 tbsp refined coconut oil
  • 1 tbsp tallow
  • 1 tbsp clarified butter/ghee
  • 1 tbsp Vegetable shortening
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1/2 tbsp bacon fat


  • Cook your meal according to the recipe.
  • Add your chosen goose fat substitute at the appropriate cooking time.
  • Mix until thoroughly combined and continue with the recipe.


Serving: 1tbsp | Calories: 115kcal

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