Suet is the raw, hard fat of beef, lamb, or mutton, and is used to cook many recipes.
This piece of meat has a high smoke point, making it great for deep frying and pastry recipes. It is used in a lot of British cuisines, primarily in Christmas Pudding, traditionally.
It can also be used for savory dishes including dumplings or pastry for pies, making it a versatile ingredient to have in your cupboard.
Although suet is available in most supermarkets, there are many substitutes. Some of the best substitutes for suet include vegetable shortening, lard, coconut oil, ghee, and others.
Let’s have a look at some substitutes for Suet.
Substitutes for Suet
The following substitutes can help you save your next meal that includes suet if you don’t have suet at hand.
1. Vegetable shortening
This is the best alternative for suet. It is also a great vegetarian alternative.
You can substitute suet with an equal amount of vegetable shortening for any recipes that call for suet, as vegetable shortening will not alter the taste as it is quite neutral.
It also has a high smoke point which makes it great for frying and baking.
You can find vegetable shortening in all supermarkets and it’s easily accessible and can be used for a range of recipes. Vegetable shortening is one of the best substitutes for suet.
The best way to use it for any pastries or recipes is to freeze and then grate it to replicate the consistency of the suet.
2. Beef fat
If you cannot find suet but aren’t vegetarian, then beef fat is a great substitute.
You can ask for beef fat at the butchers and use it the same way as suet in your recipes, making it a great substitute that will yield the same results as you would have when using suet.
Beef fat also has a high smoke point and when used in pastry crusts it yields a light, flaky pastry, perfect for any pie filling, sweet or savory.
Beef fat should be used for savory recipes but can also be replaced in sweet recipes and baked goods, as sugar will be added to balance out the flavor.
Lard is made from pig fat, and can be found in any supermarket, making it easily accessible and a great substitute for suet.
You can use it in the same way as beef fat, and it can also be substituted for any recipe. It does not have a lot of flavors but has a high smoke point so it is especially good for deep frying and making dough.
4. Vegetable suet
This may not be easily accessible in your supermarket, however, vegetable suet has become more popular over the years.
And if you find it, it’s a great vegetarian alternative to suet. It can be used in exactly the same way as suet, but it is made from vegetable oils and flour.
If you need an alternative to suet and are not worried about the wait, you can order vegetable suet online.
This is another great substitute for suet, however only in certain recipes such as pie crusts. Or for some frying.
Butter has a much lower smoke point than suet. So, it will burn if using it for deep frying, and might not add that light and airy consistency to your plum pudding or Christmas cakes.
However, if you’re really in a pinch, you can use butter for pie crusts and baked goods. However, it would be best to freeze the butter and grate it, just like vegetable shortening.
This is a good substitute for suet when frying, but is not advised to be used in pastries. It is essentially clarified butter, and by removing the milk solids the ghee has a much higher smoke point than even suet, making it good for frying.
It also doesn’t have much flavor, so it will not affect the flavor of your meal. You can find it in any supermarket. It is a great ingredient to use when frying.
7. Sunflower oil
Sunflower oil can also be used when frying as a substitute for suet. However, it should not be used when making doughs or baked goods as it will ruin the texture of the dish completely.
Vegetable oil is great for deep frying because it has a high smoke point. So if you are asked to fry something in suet, you can use vegetable oil instead and it will yield you the same results.
8. Xanthan Gum
Xanthan gum has been suggested as a replacement to suet in very few cases.
Suet can be used as a thickening and stability agent. Therefore, if you’re looking for a vegetarian alternative, Xanthan gum can be purchased in many baking stores or specialty food stores.
You can add some to your baked goods such as plum pudding to thicken it before baking. This cannot be used in any savory recipes.
Is lard the same as suet?
Lard and suet are similar but are not the same thing.
Suet is obtained from the kidneys and loins of an animal to ensure a solid white far. Lard, on the other hand, can be from any part of the animal and is semi-solid, meaning it melts quicker.
They can be used interchangeably for the most part.
However, if a recipe calls for suet, the properties of suet will often help the texture of the recipe, although in most places it can be replaced with lard in the same quantity.
Can I use coconut oil instead of suet?
Coconut oil can technically be substituted for suet because it also has a high smoke point and can substitute any fat.
However, it is not advised to use coconut oil because it is not a neutral oil and the flavor can affect the dish. If you’re in a pinch, you can use coconut oil in the same ratio but make sure that it is in its solid form, not liquid.
Can I use butter instead of suet for Christmas pudding?
Yes, butter is one of the best substitutes for suet in Christmas pudding, as butter is usually used in cakes and baked goods, making it an easy swap. The best way to use butter as a substitute is to use the same ratio and freeze it before grating it into your mix.
Can I replace vegetable suet with butter?
In baked goods and pastry crusts, yes you can, as long as you freeze the butter and grate it in for the best results. However, you cannot use butter as a substitute for deep frying as the smoke point is too low. Try using shortening or vegetable oil as a replacement for suet when deep frying.