Is Beef Bone Marrow a Healthy Cooking Ingredient?

Beef bone marrow is a traditional ingredient in certain cuisines, such as Vietnamese and French, and is the fatty, gelatinous matter inside large beef bones. The marrow becomes soft when roasted, and you can use it as a spread or in sauces. Bone marrow calories and fat are on the high side, though, so be aware that regular consumption may cause weight gain.

Beef bone marrow is rich in flavor, fat and calories but isn't the best source of vitamins, minerals and protein. (Image: Geshas/iStock/GettyImages)

A Look at Calories

A 0.5-ounce serving, or about a tablespoon, of beef bone marrow contains approximately 126 calories. Because beef bone marrow is so high in fat, a serving is smaller than a serving of other common animal-sourced foods like steak.

Bone marrow is rarely eaten on its own. Instead it's generally served as an accent to other dishes such as roast fish. This means that when you eat one serving of beef bone marrow, you're also eating other foods as part of the dish and you need to account for those calories as well.

Negligible Amounts of Protein

Only 0.07 gram of protein is contained in a 0.5-ounce serving of beef bone marrow, which is not even 1 percent of the daily value. This is an insignificant amount of protein, given that your body requires 0.8 gram of protein per kilogram of body weight, according to a 2015 article by Harvard Health Publishing.

To find out how much protein you need daily, multiply your body weight in pounds by 0.36. Protein helps to boost your immune function, as well as your energy levels, and also helps you to develop and maintain lean muscle mass.

Vitamins and Minerals

Beef bone marrow contains negligible amounts of vitamins and minerals as well. For example, a 0.5-ounce serving contains 12.62 milligrams of calcium, which about 1 percent of your daily value, according to You need calcium for strong bones and teeth. It also works with potassium, magnesium and sodium to help maintain healthy blood pressure.

Total Fat Content

One tablespoon of beef bone marrow contains about 13.5 grams of total fat. If you're considering adding it to your diet, keep in mind that you should limit your total daily fat intake to between 20 and 35 percent of your calories, or about 44 to 77 grams of fat on a 2,000-calorie diet.

Preparing Beef Bone Marrow

Bone marrow is rich in fat and flavor and is considered a delicacy in some parts of the world. You can get bones with marrow from a local butcher, and they're safe to freeze in case you buy too many.

The most common way to cook bone marrow is to boil the bones for bone marrow broth or roast them in an oven. An article from the Food Network recommends baking the bones on a foil-lined baking sheet at 450 degrees Fahrenheit for 15 minutes. When they're done cooking, you can scoop the marrow out, season it with salt and use it as a garnish or however you'd like.

You can also make a delicious bone marrow butter after roasting, according to a recipe from Mark's Daily Apple. After scooping out the marrow, add rosemary and garlic. Whip the mixture for two minutes; then spread it on toast, veggies or sweet potatoes.

Load Comments

Copyright © 2019 Leaf Group Ltd. Use of this web site constitutes acceptance of the LIVESTRONG.COM Terms of Use , Privacy Policy and Copyright Policy . The material appearing on LIVESTRONG.COM is for educational use only. It should not be used as a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. LIVESTRONG is a registered trademark of the LIVESTRONG Foundation. The LIVESTRONG Foundation and LIVESTRONG.COM do not endorse any of the products or services that are advertised on the web site. Moreover, we do not select every advertiser or advertisement that appears on the web site-many of the advertisements are served by third party advertising companies.