What Exactly is Lard?

You apparently wouldn’t think of lard when you think of a contemporary kitchen. For most of us, it appears to be a remnant of a bygone era, and an unpleasant one nonetheless. But somehow it turns out that we’ve been too harsh on lard, and as more and more chefs are turning to it instead of vegetable shortening as well as butter. It’s important to get familiar with fat and its numerous applications.

How Lard is Produced

Lard is prepared from 100% animal fat (often pig fat) that has been removed from the animal. The majority of lard is produced by a process known as rendering, in which the fatty sections of the pig (such as the stomach, backside, and neck) are gently heated till the fat is dissolved. After that, the fat is removed from the meat. When refrigerated, lard solidifies into a flat, solid material that, based on how it’s prepared, may or may not have a lasting pork flavor.

Lard vs. Butter vs. Shortening

Now, how well does lard compare to certain other culinary fats? Lard ruled dominant till the early twentieth century. However, as vegetable shortening was produced, it swiftly deposed lard as the preferred cooking fat.

Vegetable shortening was manufactured using vegetable oils including soybean, cottonseed, and oil palm. Shortening is still the most common alternative since it is shelf-stable and inexpensive, although lard plus shortening may be employed for similar reasons, such as lubricating pans or making thin and fluffy pie crusts.

Butter, on the other side, is a culinary fat formed from churning milk that has reached a stable state. It is frequently the baker’s grease of preference, while some bakeries are switching to lard due to its low melting temperature, which enables more water to be emitted during baking, culminating in a thinner and fluffier pastry.

Butter Margarine Lard
Obtained from Milk by Churning Obtained by partial hydrogenation or refined oils. Used as a butter substitute. Obtained from pig fat
Rich Yellow Color due to Carotene Pale Yellow due to added yellow dye. Colorless or White
Gives rich flavor to food due to milk solids Less Enriching Neutral flavor so ideal for making all kinds of foods.
Healthy Healthier IF the trans fats are removed. Healthiest as it has no trans fats and only 40% of saturated fatty acids

Types of Lard

All lard is made from pig fat; however, the kind of lard depends on where the fat originates and how it is collected. To put it another way, not all fat is made alike.

1. Lard Unrendered

Correct, not all fat is extracted. Unrendered lard is nothing more than pig fat that has been removed from the flesh. It is not boiled (rendered) or processed in any way. As a result, it has a lasting pig flavor and is not a good choice for cooking or any other food that you would not want to smell like pork.

2. Lard Rendered

Rendered lard is much more desirable since it lacks the pungent, lingering pig flavor of its unrendered cousin. It is made from 100% hog fat that has been boiled, processed, and cooled.

3. Lard Processed

Since it has no lasting pig flavor, processed lard is by far the most preferred. Boiling, sifting, and refining pig fat are used to make it. Purification is the procedure of whitening and hydrogenating lard to reduce the taste of the pig and maintain it firmly at ambient temperature.

4. Lard from the Leaves

Leaf lard is regarded as the most opulent of all lards. What distinguishes it? It is derived from the leaf-shaped fat that surrounds the kidneys and the stomach. It is smoother, creamy-textured, and finer than any other form of lard, making it the perfect choice for cooking. That, plus the fact that it has no detectable pig flavor.

Is Lard good or bad for you?

Lard is predominantly a fat source, with almost little protein or carbs. But, contrary to popular belief, this is not necessarily a bad thing. Fats are necessary, which means they are required for survival. Fats offer energy and aid in the absorption of certain vitamins.

Fats also aid in the regulation of your body’s reaction to carbs. Because fats digest more slowly than carbs, consuming fats alongside your carbohydrates might help you avoid a sugar crash later.

Eating fats with carbs might help you avoid a sugar crash later on.

You’ve probably heard of the terms “healthy fats” and “bad fats.” When these phrases are used, they generally refer to unsaturated and saturated fats, accordingly. Unsaturated fats are generally healthier and can help guard against chronic illnesses, but saturated fats are connected with an increased risk of heart disease.

What you may not understand is that most fat-containing meals do not contain simply one kind of fat. Most fat-containing meals include a unique combination of unsaturated and saturated fats.

How to Prepare Lard

Making your homemade lard is surprisingly simple; all you need is persistence.

You’ll need the following items:

  • Back fat or cold leaf lard
  • ¼ cup of water
  • A slow cooker or a big saucepan will suffice.
  • Colander
  • Cheesecloth
  • Container for storing items


  • To begin, chop your leaf lard and otherwise back fat into little bits.
  • 14 cup water should be added to the base of the crockpot or big saucepan. Pour in the lard.
  • Turn the crockpot to low or preheat the saucepan over a low flame on the stovetop.
  • Allow it to cook for around 12 to 2 hours, monitoring frequently to ensure the fat does not burn. It’s done when the fat begins to dissolve and the cracklings (the crunchy, remaining pig rind) begin to sink to the base.
  • Separate the cracklings from the fat by straining it. Then drain it via a cheesecloth three more times to eliminate any debris.
  • Melted lard should be stored in a glass jar or other suitable container. Allow it to rest at ambient temperature until it is solid. Refrigerate for 6 months to a year.

When Should You Use Lard?

Lard is a culinary fat that, like margarine or shortening, may be utilized for cooking, sautéing, grilling, or baking. If you don’t want a lasting pork flavor in your dish, try rendered leaf lard with processed lard.

Deep-fry poultry or potatoes in a cast-iron pan using lard. To make flaky pie crusts and cookies, use it in place of butter or half-and-half. You may also use it to produce a wonderful, crispiness on a turkey near the end of grilling.

Substitutes for Lard

Shortening, as you might imagine, is the ideal lard alternative because it is likewise comprised entirely of fat. When replacing shortening, use a 1:1 ratio.

Butter has the third-highest fat content, after only lard and shortening. Substitute 12 cup + 2 tablespoons butter for each 12-cup lard. You may also use 1 cup olive oil in place of 1 cup lard.

If you don’t have access to lard, you can use the following cooking fats in your recipes:

  • Shortening – Shortening, such as lard, is formed entirely of fat. When replacing shortening, use a 1:1 ratio.
  • Butter – Because butter is just 80 percent fat, you’ll need a bit of additional butter if you’re replacing it for lard. Take ¼ cup butter + 1 tbsp per 1/4 cup lard required.
  • Vegetable oil- Utilize olive / coconut oil in a 1:1 ratio. Replace 7/8 cup vegetable oil with 1 cup lard.

Benefits of Lard

1. Fat is your Ally

Lard is an excellent source of all three kinds of fat: monounsaturated fat, saturated fat, as well as polyunsaturated fat. Each form of fat, whether lard, butter, olive oil, or coconut oil, is a mix of these three. According to new studies, saturated fats aren’t that terrible for you and anyway. Healthy fats are required by your endocrine system, reproductive system, and brain to convey messages, regulate hormones, and function correctly.

2. Lard Includes Good Cholesterol

Saturated fats increase HDL (the “good” cholesterol) and transform LDL from tiny, dense (bad) to large (mainly benign). Saturated fats, contrary to popular belief, do not damage the plasma lipid panel. Cholesterol aids in the reduction of inflammation and the production of hormones that deliver information to the pituitary gland and control hormones in the system.

3. Lard is high in Vitamin D

It contains roughly 1000 IU (international units) per tablespoon, depending on what they eat and just how much sunshine they get. The lanolin in sheep wool popularly referred to as “sheep grease,” is the source of the majority of synthetic vitamin D used in pills.

4. Lard is Heat Resistant

Because lard is a fat with a high melting point, it is less prone to scorch. Oils are best consumed cold since heat and light damage nutrients. Salad dressings should be made with olive or avocado oil, and fish oil supplementation should be taken, while cooking, grilling, and baking should be done using lard.

5. Lard has a Neutral Taste

You can fry pasture-raised chicken thighs, as well as prepare pie crusts, biscuits, and waffles. When the lard is used to make pastries, they come out light and flaky. It’s them adaptable! You may sauté your veggies in lard, however cooking them in coconut oil may provide them with an exotic flavor!

6. Lard Causes You to Lose Weight

You may lose weight by eating a spoonful of lard every day and avoiding processed foods. When you use it rather than vegetable oils in your cornmeal, it comes out moist! It’s a complete meal; if you purchase it from us and make it yourself, it’s lightly cooked, and your system understands what to do about it. The idea is to eat a balanced diet.

7. Lard is Available Locally and At a Reasonable Price

When you buy a half or full hog, you get free lard, which you may render yourself. It’s simple to make fat. Simply chop the back fat and otherwise leaf lard into little bits and place it in a pot. Warm it on low heat, then filter it via a strainer to remove any chunks of meat that may have been left over. Pour it into freezer-safe jars and place them in the fridge.


When it comes to preparing fats, don’t rule out lard. There’s less saturated fat as compared to butter as well as no trans fats, opposing vegetable shortening. Lard creates crispy, crumbled pie crusts with soft, moist baked products. Not just that, but it’s cheap and can be done in your own home.