Lard is rendered fat from a pig, meaning that the fat was melted to separate it from proteins and water. The process leaves the product you can buy at stores â€“ a bright white solid fat. Since it’s made from pure fat, it will not easily spoil, extending its shelf life.
It’s a versatile fat with a neutral taste and can be used in baking and cooking. Its high-fat content makes lard perfect for baking pie crusts and flaky biscuits. You can use it in the same way as butter and other oils. Once melted, you can use lard in baking, deep-frying, grilling, or sautÃ©ing.
Among the best lard substitutes for baking and cooking include the following:
- Coconut Oil
- Olive Oil
- Vegetable Oils
- Beef Tallow
- Mashed Banana
- Vegetable Shortening
If you are really unlucky and still unable to find anything from the above, do check out the full list below. But first, let’s find out why the popularity of this ingredient has been decreasing.
12 Best Lard Substitutes
Lard’s popularity waned through the years, especially after the introduction of shortening in the market. Aside from also having a long shelf life, shortening is made from vegetable oil, so it gathered a loyal following from people who don’t want ingredients obtained from animals.
However, there are still professional chefs from around the world who still prefer using lard and ensure they always have stocks in their kitchens.
If you don’t have any lard on hand but would like to try a classic recipe that requires it, you will be amazed that you already have many substitutes you can use in your kitchen. Some alternatives may work better than the others, depending on what you are trying to whip up.
Butter is considered the best substitute for lard. Always use the unsalted type unless the recipe requires salted butter. It’s the simplest and easiest to find as well. However, you have to use a bit more butter than the amount of lard required in the recipe to retain the same texture and taste.
This is because lard has more fat content than butter. The latter has about 80 percent fat, and lard is 100 percent fat. As long as the substitutions are done correctly, you will be able to create fine dishes and pastries using butter as an alternative for lard.
How much butter to use depends on what you’re baking or cooking. For example, if you’re making nice and flaky pie crusts, you have to add more fat since it’s responsible for the texture. For the most common recipes, you can use 1 1/4 cup butter for a recipe that calls for a cup of lard. Here are some samples when you need to add extra fat to the ingredients:
- 1/4 cup lard = 1/4 cup and 1 tablespoon butter
- 1/2 cup lard = 1/2 cup and 2 tablespoons butter
Butter is a good choice of an alternative to lard in making tamale dough, tortillas, and pie crusts.
Many studies have proven that this tropical oil offers many health benefits, including reducing LDL or bad cholesterol levels, keeping the heart healthy, maintaining healthy blood pressure levels, and many more.
You can use coconut oil as a lard substitute in pan-frying, grilling, baking, and other cooking methods.
You can use the same amount of this oil as the required amount of lard in the recipe. However, unrefined coconut oil leaves an intense coconut flavor and smell. This means that some of your dishes won’t taste or smell precisely how they’d turn out to be when you’re using lard.
Olive oil is perfect for people looking for the healthiest alternative for lard. It’s good for the heart because the oil is loaded with monounsaturated fats and antioxidants. You can use a 1:1 ratio when using olive oil as a substitute for lard.
It’s important to note that the oil gives off a savory flavor and may slightly change the texture of certain dishes. It’s best used in sautÃ©ing, frying, and grilling, but use it sparingly when baking sweets and other goodies.
Vegetable oils have a high smoking point at around 400 degrees F or higher. It’s the temperature at which the oil begins smoking or burning.
Some samples include canola oil, avocado oil, peanut oil, and corn oil. Pastry chefs and cooks often use these oils in baking and cooking. You can use them as a substitute for lard in various recipes and cooking methods, such as sautÃ©ing, grilling, and frying.
The recommended substitution portion is 191 ml or 7/8 cup of vegetable oil for every 205 grams or 1 cup of lard.
When making tortillas and similar recipes, you can add some water to the oil to improve the texture. Meanwhile, using any vegetable oil as an alternative to lard in making baked goodies, such as cakes and cookies, will make the outcome less tender and denser.
This is a rendered fat that was cooked to eliminate impurities. It has several fat-soluble vitamins, such as E, D and A, and CLA or conjugated linoleic acid. However, lard has a meatier and richer flavor than beef tallow.
So, you may want to use it rarely in baking, but you can use it often as a lard substitute when grilling or frying. You can follow a 1:1 ratio of substitution, and it will emit the same flavor as lard when making savory dishes.
Bananas are naturally sweet, so you have to adjust any sweet ingredient in the recipe to ensure that the final dish will still taste good. It’s healthier to use mashed bananas instead of lard as it contains more nutrients and lower calorie content.
Bananas are loaded with vitamin C, vitamin B6, fiber, and potassium. Since it’s sweet, it’s better to use it in baking than in savory dishes or frying.
The recommended substitution amount is for every 205 grams or 1 cup of lard in baked products, use 113 grams or 1/2 cup of mashed bananas. This lard alternative is often used in baking muffins, cakes, and bread.
Avocado is another good lard alternative in baking, especially in making bread, muffins, cookies, and cakes. It has a creamy texture and mild flavor.
Aside from making dishes extra flavorful, avocado can also increase the fat content of your favorite foods. It is also rich in beneficial nutrients, including vitamin K, vitamin C, folate, and potassium.
It is important to note that when used as a lard substitute, avocado may change the taste, texture, and color of what you’re cooking. You may want to avoid using it as a lard alternative in making tortillas or pie crusts.
For every 205 grams or 1 cup of lard, you can use 115 grams or 1/2 cup of mashed avocado. You can adjust the quantity according to your preference.
This is considered the closest substitute to lard and is made from palm oil, vegetable oil, or soybean oil. It gained popularity in the middle of the 1900s at the time when lard was losing its appeal.
Despite its high-fat content, you can use it, especially when on a restricted diet, such as vegetarian, vegan, Kosher, or Halal. It also makes a good oil in frying than butter due to its high smoke point. You can use a 1:1 ratio when doing the substitution.
Ghee is a type of clarified butter. It’s actually among the best lard alternatives in baking and cooking for any recipe, but is also often overlooked.
It offers similar levels of the rich buttery flavor you will get from lard, making it an ideal fat for making tortillas, pie crusts, halal, beans, and other baked products.
However, you need to add more ghee when using it as a substitute for lard since it has a lower fat content.
Bacon grease has a lot of similarities to lard in terms of fat content and flavor. It is also readily available in many kitchens. You can use the 1:1 ratio when using this fat as an alternative to lard.
Margarine reached the peak of its popularity when diets became a fad in the 80s. However, it also lost its shine, just like the fate of lard. It is still possible to find old recipes requiring margarine in the ingredients.
It has lower fat content than lard, so you can use it when substituting the former in baking goods. But its low-fat content may affect the product and make it less dense.
You can also use it in cooking as long as you omit or use less salt, but it won’t make a good oil when frying. Margarine’s taste is also distinct, which not everybody may be enthusiastic about.
In most recipes, you can replace a cup of lard with 3/4 cup of margarine.
You can make homemade lard from different kinds of pork fat. Each kind will produce lard suitable for specific types of dishes and cooking methods.
- Belly fat. While it’s popular, especially in making bacon, it is not recommended to use this fat in making lard. It has too much meat, so it would be hard to render this fat.
- Fatback. It’s a thick fat layer on a pig’s back, such as the rump and shoulders. The rendered fat will have a stronger flavor and pork odor than leaf fat with a slightly yellowish color. This is typically used in making sausage and is suitable for sautÃ©ing and frying.
- Leaf fat. This is considered the cleanest and healthiest fat found around the pig’s kidneys. When you render it as lard, it will produce a mild flavor and odor and white color. It is ideal for making pastries and pie crusts.
When making your own lard, choose the fat from pasture-raised pork. To make two cups of lard, you will need 1/2 cup of cold water and 2 pounds of leaf fat. Here are the steps to follow to get this done:
- Slice the fat into small cubes. Place it in a cold-bottomed cast-iron skillet along with cold water. Put in the stove over medium flame, and leave it uncovered. The flame must always remain below the smoke point of the fat. This process will slowly render the fat as it gets cooked in the water. Stir every once in a while to prevent the fat from sticking.
- Once the oil starts pooling, scoop and strain it gradually into a heat-proof container. The process of the lard building up will take up to an hour, and the result will be lightly colored rendered pork fat.
- Leave to cool before covering the container. You can keep it on the fridge’s top shelf or the coldest part until ready to use.