McDonalds Used To Make Beef Tallow French Fries And They Were Great

Uses For Beef Tallow

Beef tallow has been used mainly for cooking. In fact, big-name fast-food restaurants such as McDonald’s, Burger King, Popeye’s and Wendy’s all used to use this fat to cook their French fries and onion rings. But beef tallow’s uses are not limited to just cooking. Here are some other uses of beef tallow that may even surprise you:


Animal fat on your skin, sounds crazy right? It actually isn’t because beef tallow is full of CLAs (Conjugated Linoleic Acid) which have antimicrobial and anti-inflammatory properties. It can cure blisters and cracked skin from tight shoes, prevent and treat diaper rash in babies and soothe skin irritation caused by chickenpox or poison ivy.

Beef tallow also matches the fatty acid profile of the cells in our skin which make it perfect for keeping them hydrated. Balms, moisturizers and makeup removers have also been made using beef tallow.

Making soaps

Many of the skincare products that we use, including soaps, contain chemicals and harsh fragrances which gets absorbed into our bloodstream. They can also dehydrate the skin, leaving it dry and stripped of its natural oils. Tallow was also used in many high-end shaving soaps back in the day.

Beef Tallow soap can also be used as a laundry detergent which is much gentler on clothes than many of the top brands.

Candle making

Tallow is a cheap alternative to wax candles that have been used by people all over the world to provide light and heating to their homes. Even the poorest of society used what was known as a tallow drip, which consisted of a lit strip of cloth in a saucer of tallow grease.

Making banknotes

Not sure if you were aware, but there was a huge uproar created by the United Kingdom’s Vegan, Sikh, Hindu, Jewish and Muslim community when it was discovered that their banknotes contained tallow. Tallow is used to make the banknotes waterproof, durable and anti-static.

It was also revealed that the currencies of at least 23 other countries, including Australia, Malaysia, and Singapore, contained tallow in their polymers.


Is frying in beef tallow healthy?

Grass fed beef tallow is high in conjugated linoleic acid, B vitamins, Vitamin K2, Niacin, Selenium, Iron, Phosphorus, potassium and riboflavin. Since we now know that natural saturated fats are healthy and important, tallow is a great option to use for pan frying vegetables, pan searing steaks and more.

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When did McDonalds stop using beef tallow for fries?

In 1990, faced with Sokolof’s campaign and growing public concerns about health, McDonald’s gave in. Beef tallow was eliminated from the famous french fry formula and replaced with 100% vegetable oil.

5. Nourishes the skin

Tallow is extremely nourishing to your skin, whether it’s ingested or applied topically. 

Many people find that their complexion automatically improves when they up their consumption of tallow or other fatty animal products. And if you want to boost your skincare game, even more, you can also apply tallow directly onto your skin.

Tallow’s fatty acid profile — including the palmitoleic, palmitic, and stearic acids mentioned earlier — closely matches the makeup of our skin’s sebum oil. It’s no surprise that the word “sebum” means tallow in Latin.

For extra benefits, you can infuse botanicals or antioxidants (like vitamin E) into your tallow to make a truly special DIY skincare product.

How to make Beef Tallow at home

Select a fatty cut of meat (grass-fed, if possible

  1. Select a fatty cut of meat (grass-fed, if possible).
  2. Trim all fat off the meat.
  3. Cut the fat into 1-inch cubes.
  4. Place fat into a stainless steel or glass pot. The pot should be about half full.
  5.  Turn your stovetop to medium heat. Stir every 10 minutes so the heat stays evenly distributed. 
  6. The fat will slowly reduce as the chunks begin to melt. This should take about 30 minutes. 
  7. Remove leftover, unmelted chunks (don’t worry, you can eat them as snacks later),
  8. Pour the liquid into a large container.

Voilà — you’ve made tallow. Now the real fun begins. Try subbing out your other cooking oils/butter for tallow and see how you feel. You can also get creative with tallow-based skincare formations. 

* A final note: your tallow should be stable at room temperatures, but you can refrigerate it if you’d like. 

Beef tallow fries recipe directions


  • 4 – 6 potatoes, either Russet or sweet potatoes
  • Several cups grass fed beef tallow (you want it to be about 2 inches deep in the pan)
  • Sea salt, pink Himalayan salt, or Redmond Real salt


  1. Start heating tallow in a deep fat fryer or pan on the stove with tall sides to 350 – 360° F.
  2. While tallow is heating, peel and cut potatoes into fry sized sticks.
  3. Once the tallow has reached 350 – 360° F, carefully lower about a handful of potato pieces into the hot tallow.
  4. Give the fries a stir once or twice while cooking so that they fry evenly.
  5. Once they are golden brown, remove the fries from the hot tallow, and let them sit on the flour sack or paper towels.
  6. Immediately season to taste with salt.
  7. Repeat until all potato pieces are fried.
  8. Enjoy immediately! These fries are best eaten right away.

How To Use Beef Tallow

One doesn't cook beef tallow as much as to use it in cooking. Fat must be rendered from beef by cooking down and melting it off the meat. Once a pool of fat appears, remove solids, and pour off the hot grease into a glass or ceramic container. When the fat is hot, simmer herbs and/or spices, along with it to add more flavor, then strain out any solids before cooling and storing.

The beef tallow will cool in the dish and then can be used as desired. Try beef tallow on a slice of toast or bun, slather it over raw vegetables before roasting, or even incorporate it into baking projects, especially in recipes that call for lard. 

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Why use beef tallow for frying?

As we’ve already said, beef tallow makes delicious foods when used for deep frying. But it also has temperature advantages. We have found that beef tallow has a higher heat capacity than peanut oil, meaning it can do more heat-work per degree than peanut oil. Plus, beef tallow is high in niacin, which is one ot those “recommended vitamins and minerals” you’re already not getting enough of, so that’s nice.

Another advantage that beef tallow has over vegetable oils is its longevity. Beef fat is a highly-saturated fat, which is why it solidifies at room temperature. But saturation provides a longer life for the oil. According to Dr. Oscar Pike, a food scientist at Brigham Young University who specializes in oils, it is the unsaturated fats in oils that break down after repeated heating and cooling. A highly saturated fat like beef tallow isn’t as susceptible to useage-decay as, say, soybean oil.

As long as it’s stored properly in an airtight container—preventing oxidation—beef tallow will be good for many uses before you have to replace it.

Safety first

If you’re new to frying foods in oil, you’ll want to make sure you know what safety precautions to follow. The most important thing to remember is to never leave hot oil unattended. Fat can ignite, and grease fires are dangerous and difficult to put out. This article will fill you in on everything you need to know about preventing grease fires, and what to do if one happens. Otherwise, just follow normal cooking safety. Make sure that children and pets stay a safe distance away. Keep an eye on the hot oil to make sure it stays at the right temperature, and you should be fine.

Where To Buy Beef Tallow

Beef tallow isn't as easy to come by as lard in supermarkets and even specialty grocers, but many butcher shops will sell some to you. It's a shelf-stable product, so look for it in the same section as stocks and bullion.

Conclusion- Healthy or Unhealthy?

Tallow can be used for cooking once it is used in reasonable amounts. While it can be used every day, it is best to go with healthier options or mix it up a little. So, if you use beef tallow to make your french fries and hamburger today, maybe tomorrow you can use olive oil to stir fry those veggies.