11 Convenient Lard Substitutes to Get By

Lard Substitute

Lard is the answer to all the extra crunch needs that make each meal so savory and textured. When you want to get that flaky crust in pies or cakes or you want to have that crispylicious turkey skin, you’d most definitely reach for some lard for your recipe. If not, getting some lard substitutes would be essential to perfect your dish.

This delicious and quite magical effect of lard makes it so popular since the olden days but in time, its culinary use is no longer an exclusive thing. You can now use healthier alternatives or some doable subs in case you don’t have or don’t want to use lard.

Most Convenient Lard Substitutes

1. Beef Tallow

An excellent alternative for lard in all kinds of recipes. While lard comes from pig, beef tallow comes from well, cow.

Like lard, beef tallow is a fatty substance rendered from animal fat. Aside from its use in food, it is also an ingredient for some soaps and candles.

For those who don’t eat pork due to religion or specific preferences, beef tallow is the next closest thing to lard. It works pretty much the same for your baking or frying needs. Expect your recipe to get hints of beefy taste instead of having that added porky flavor.

2. Butter

A lot are asking “can you substitute butter for lard?,” well the quick answer is yes. Butter works well for many recipes requiring lard but it has some differences.

Lard is made with a hundred percent fat whereas butter contains only around 80 percent. Sure, that’s a positive thing for your health but for some dishes, the result will be affected. As such, you can add more butter to mimic the effect of lard.

Additionally, butter has a tinge of sweetness and milkiness to it which is great for baked goods but not so much for other dishes. As long as you make sure you have the taste differences in mind, you can freely use butter in all your cooking, baking, and frying needs.

3. Ghee

When you simmer butter and strain all the water from it you get ghee. This clarified butter is more concentrated in fat than butter which makes it another good alternative for lard.

Though ghee is a lot denser than butter, it is still not as thick as lard so you will need to add more ghee for your dishes. It has the same texture of lard and with the reduced lactose, it mimics the taste much better too.

You can use ghee for many cooking styles including baking, sauteing, frying and deep-frying. Like lard, ghee can endure high temperatures so it’s an excellent alternative for deep-frying.

4. Vegetable Shortening

There is no such thing as vegetable lard but there is vegetable shortening. When people go on a search for a veggie alternative to lard, this is the product they’re looking for.

By its definition, lard is animal fat so it doesn’t make much sense to insist on a vegetable lard. Instead, the closest thing for vegan diets is this shortening.

In terms of cooking, vegetable shortening is a lot more versatile than butter and is an efficient replacement for lard. It has a high smoking point like lard so you won’t need a lot of adjustments when cooking with it.

You can use the same amount of vegetable shortening to replace lard when baking, frying, and cooking various dishes. Some however suggest adding two more tablespoons for coverage.

5. Margarine

A spread that works for many recipes, margarine is also a doable alternative for lard. It is also often used to replace butter.

Margarine is made from vegetable oils so it has unsaturated fats that are lighter and healthier for the body. With its components, margarine is often milder in taste compared to butter so it can almost be tasteless like lard. Since it’s plant-based, it doesn’t have the same hints of porky flavor like lard or create a really crispy texture for food.

To use in place of lard, margarine is a good choice in spreads, toppings, and baking.

Learn more: 12 Margarine Substitutes for Baking and Cooking Recipes

Healthier Substitutes for Lard

1. Olive Oil

If you need an alternative for lard for all your basic cooking needs, use olive oil. It has less fat and has great health benefits thanks to its antioxidants and anti-inflammatory properties.

It is however quite tricky to use olive oil because of its low smoke point so you can only use it for selected recipes or adjust your cooking accordingly. Also, it does not have the same aroma or give a crispy texture to your food much like lard does.

With this in mind, you can still use olive oil if you’re in a pinch.

2. Coconut Oil

A saturated fat that you can use instead of lard is coconut oil. Unlike olive oil, coconut oil can be used in high heat so you can easily use it for fried dishes.

On the other hand, coconut oil is not a very good substitute for lard when it comes to some dishes where an added coconut-y taste is not welcome. Coconut oil still retains a bit of coconut flavor and smell so it’s best not to use it if you think it will clash with the other ingredients. 

If it’s for dessert or some other baked goods, these could benefit from the hints of coconut so use it as you would with lard. And if you’re not so picky, this oil works perfectly for searing, sauteing, and frying.

3. Vegetable Oil

Vegetable oil is another good lard replacement for frying, baking, and other kinds of cooking. This is a perfect choice for those with diet restrictions like vegan, halal, or kosher.

Unlike olive oil or coconut oil, vegetable oil has a very mild flavor. It is also easy to use for basically any kind of cooking so it’s a convenient choice when you’re out of lard.

4. Flora

Flora is made from plant-based oil like sunflower oil or palm. It’s comparable to margarine but has less fat. It’s another good thing you can use instead of lard.

This buttery spread is vegan-friendly since it is made from plants. You can use flora for cooking, frying, baking, spreading, and topping.

Using fruits instead of lard

1. Avocado

If you need lard to top some baked goods or use in some snacks, you can use avocado instead. Avocado has a similar high fat content that comes in a creamy dense package. 

Since this fruit is a familiar taste for many, it’s easy to incorporate it in your food where you may need lard as a spread. You can also use avocado for your cookies, breads, or muffins. It’s a delicious alternative with a charm of its own.

2. Banana

Banana isn’t really something you can use to fry, saute, etc. but for some desserts or baked treats, you can use it as a sub for lard.

Mashed banana is quite close to lard in terms of mouthfeel plus it has its sweet banana flavor which can add more fun to your pastries.

Relevant FAQs About Lard

What is lard?

Lard is a semi-solid white fat made by rendering the fat tissue of a pig. It’s a tasteless and odorless ingredient that gives an extra mouthfeel to food. When lard is used to cook food at high temperatures, the fat melts and gives an added flavor to meats or texture to baked goods. 

What is the best lard alternative for pie crust?

Butter is probably the best for pie crust if you want an added tinge of sweetness and aroma. If you want to keep it simple, vegetable shortening is the next best thing you can use after lard.

What is a good substitute for lard when it comes to frying?

Coconut oil is one of the best alternatives for lard if you need it for high temperature cooking like frying.

Can you use vegetable lard instead of lard?

Made from hydrogenated or partially hydrogenated vegetable oils like corn, soybean, palm oil or cottonseed, vegetable lard or shortening is a great healthy substitute for lard.

There is however, no true vegan lard in a sense because it contradicts the definition for lard itself. Vegetable lard is actually vegetable shortening which works great for your cooking needs.

To Sum it Up

Lard is often preferred by cooks because it’s great for baking and deep-frying. Its food results are especially tasty from the mild hints of porky flavor to the flaky or crispy texture it brings.

If you find a recipe needing lard and you’ve got none, you may easily find convenient alternatives sitting right at your kitchen. So whether you want to fry some donuts or fried chicken, make some tamales, or bake some pastries, consider the lard substitutes above so you can get cooking.

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