Suet (/ˈsuː.ɪt/) is raw beef or mutton fat, especially the hard fat found around the loins and kidneys.

Suet has a melting point of between 45° and 50°C. (113° and 122°F.), and congeals between 37° and 40°C. (98.6° and 104°F). Its low melting point means that it is solid at room temperature but easily melts at moderate temperatures, such as in steaming.


The primary use of suet is to make tallow, although it is also used as an ingredient in cooking. Suet is made into tallow in a process called rendering, which involves melting and extended simmering, followed by straining, cooling and usually a repetition of the entire process.

Unlike suet, tallow can be stored for extended periods without refrigeration. Tallow is used to make soap, for cooking (fried foods especially), as a bird food, and was once used for making candles.

Suet is essential to use in making the pastry for steamed steak and kidney pudding. The suet crust pastry lines a pudding bowl, the meat added and a lid of suet crust pastry tightly seals the meat. The pudding is then steamed for approximately four hours before serving in the bowl on the table. Suet pastry is soft in contrast to the crispness of shortcrust pastry.

Suet should not be confused with Beef Dripping, which is the collected fat and juices from the roasting pan when cooking roast beef and is not rendered.


As it is the fat from around the kidneys, the connective tissue, blood and other non-fat items must be removed. It then needs to be coarsely grated to make it ready to use. It must be kept refrigerated prior to use and used within a few days of purchase like any meat.

Packaged suet sold in supermarkets is dehydrated suet. It is mixed with flour to make it stable at room temperature. Because of the addition of flour, some care is needed when using it for older recipes using fresh suet as the proportions of flour to fat can alter. Most modern recipes would stipulate packaged suet.

A vegetarian suet substitute is available in supermarkets in the United Kingdom that is made from fat such as palm oil combined with rice flour. It resembles shredded beef suet, and is used as a substitute in recipes, but with slightly different results from animal suet.

Woodpeckers, goldfinches, juncos, cardinals, thrushes, jays, kinglets, bluebirds, wrens, and starlings are all known to favour suet-based bird feeders. [ [ Suet | Baltimore County Library System] ]

Suet recipes

*Windsor pudding
*Steak and kidney pudding
*Suet Crust Pastry
*Christmas pudding
*Suet Cakes (for birdfeeding)
*Spotted dick
*Chili con carne
*Rag Pudding
*Jamaican patty


See also

* Leaf lard
* Dripping
* Schmaltz

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Look at other dictionaries:

  • Suet — Su et, n. [OE. suet, dim. fr. OF. seu, suif, F. suif, L. sebum. Cf. {Soap}, {Sebaceous}.] The fat and fatty tissues of an animal, especially the harder fat about the kidneys and loins in beef and mutton, which, when melted and freed from the… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • suet — late 14c., solid fat formed in the torsos of cattle and sheep, probably from an Anglo Fr. diminutive of sius, the nominative use of sue, seu tallow, grease, from O.Fr. sieu tallow, from L. sebum tallow, grease (see SEBUM (Cf. sebum)) …   Etymology dictionary

  • suet — ► NOUN ▪ the hard white fat on the kidneys and loins of cattle, sheep, and other animals, used in making puddings, pastry, etc. DERIVATIVES suety adjective. ORIGIN Old French, from Latin sebum tallow …   English terms dictionary

  • suet — [so͞o′it] n. [ME dim. < Anglo Fr sue < OFr sieu, seu < L sebum, tallow: see SOAP] the hard fat deposited around the kidneys and loins of cattle and sheep: used in cooking and as a source of tallow suety adj …   English World dictionary

  • suet — sud est [ sydɛst ] n. m. inv. • mil. XIIe; de sud et est ♦ Point de l horizon situé à égale distance entre le sud et l est (abrév. S. E.). Maison exposée au sud est. Le sud sud est, entre le sud et le sud est. ♢ Partie d un pays située dans cette …   Encyclopédie Universelle

  • suet — [14] Suet goes back ultimately to Latin sēbum ‘tallow’, which also produced English sebaceous [18]. This passed into Anglo Norman as seu or sue, of which a presumed diminutive form *sewet gave English suet. => SEBACEOUS …   The Hutchinson dictionary of word origins

  • suet — [[t]su͟ːɪt[/t]] N UNCOUNT: oft N n Suet is hard animal fat that is used in cooking. You d always have suet pudding for afters …   English dictionary

  • suet — [14] Suet goes back ultimately to Latin sēbum ‘tallow’, which also produced English sebaceous [18]. This passed into Anglo Norman as seu or sue, of which a presumed diminutive form *sewet gave English suet. Cf.⇒ SEBACEOUS …   Word origins

  • suet — n. the hard white fat on the kidneys or loins of oxen, sheep, etc., used to make dough etc. Phrases and idioms: suet pudding a pudding of suet etc., usu. boiled or steamed. Derivatives: suety adj. Etymology: ME f. AF f. OF seu f. L sebum tallow …   Useful english dictionary

  • suet — noun Etymology: Middle English sewet, from Anglo French suet, siuet, from seu, su hard animal fat, from Latin sebum Date: 14th century the hard fat about the kidneys and loins in beef and mutton that yields tallow …   New Collegiate Dictionary

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