lard substitutes

Top 6 Lard Substitutes That Are Healthier and Equally Flavorful

It may seem antiquated to have lard at home, but this fat is often used in cooking and baking. If your recipe indicates the use of lard, then you surely need to find a good substitute. Don’t worry, there are plenty of options out there for you to use.

What Is Lard?

This semi-soft, white fat comes from the fattiest location on a pig. Since it is solid at room temperature, it is popular for long-term use and storage. Traditionally, lard is part of grilling, sauteing, frying, and baking.

Lard is the product of rendering, in which fat separates from portions of the pig, including the belly, butt, and shoulder. Because it comes from animal fat, lard is very high in saturated fat and not very healthy.

Why Replace Lard, Anyway?

There are many reasons why someone would want to substitute lard. Some of these include: 

  • Vegetarian/Vegan Diet: Following a strictly plant-based or vegetarian diet means that lard is out of the equation. Since it comes from animal fat, lard is not appealing to everyone.
  • Low-Fat Diet: Because lard is very high in cholesterol and saturated fat, it may not be good for everyone. This is particularly true for those that have dyslipidemia or heart disease.
  • Low Availability: Many grocery stores stopped selling lard due to its high cholesterol content, which means that it may be hard to find in your area.

What Can I Replace Lard With?

Since it is not very healthy and may be hard to get, these lard substitutes are a great idea to keep in mind when preparing your recipes:

For Baking, Pie Crusts, Cookies, and Biscuits

#1. Butter

This is another animal fat, but butter comes from cow milk. Since it is also solid at room temperature, it is a great substitute for lard. Use butter when baking all sorts of things, including pie crusts, biscuits, and cookies.

You may already have butter at home, but if you don’t, try going to the grocery or convenience store. You can use the same amount of butter in your dish. This choice is not a good option for frying, as it is not meant to withstand that amount of heat.

See More: Butter Substitutes

#2. Beef Tallow

This option is not vegetarian or vegan-friendly, so it may not be suitable for everyone. However, if you want a similar flavor and texture, this is a good option. Beef tallow is pretty much the same as lard, except it comes from cows.

You may have some trouble finding beef tallow, but you can try your butcher shop or grocery store. Use the same amount of beef tallow that the recipe indicates, especially when baking and frying.

#3. Coconut Oil

This option is plant-based friendly, so you can use it without a problem. Coconut oil comes from the flesh of the coconut and it is usually solid at room temperature as well. Use the same amount of coconut oil to substitute for lard.

You can add coconut oil to any baking recipe, including pie crust, biscuits, and cookies. You can also use coconut oil for cooking and frying. Remember, though, that this choice does impart a particular coconut flavor to everything.

See More: Coconut Oil Alternatives

For Frying, Tamales, and Refried Beans

#4. Shortening

Vegetable shortening is also solid at room temperature and can withstand very high temperatures.

This option comes from soybean, vegetable, or palm oil that has been genetically modified to be solid. Because of the trans-fats in shortening, it may not be suitable for those with heart disease.

You can find shortening in most grocery and convenience stores, usually by the oil section. Use shortening when frying, making tamales, refried beans, and when baking as well. For every one cup of lard, you can use one cup of shortening.

See More: Shortening Replacements

#5. Vegetable Oil

This option is good for frying and baking alike, which is why it makes for a good lard replacement. You can find vegetable oil anywhere, as it is a very popular choice for cooking. Use vegetable oil when frying, cooking tamales, refried beans, meat, and more.

You may already have some vegetable oil at home, but if you need to buy it, check any convenience and grocery store. For every one cup of lard, use about ⅔ cup of vegetable oil. Keep in mind that it is liquid, so you may have to adjust your other ingredients.

See More: Best Substitutes for Vegetable Oil

#6. Olive Oil

This option is very healthy and high in mono-unsaturated fatty acids, so it makes sense to use it in place of lard. You should always look for regular olive oil, not the extra virgin kind, as it can’t stand high temperatures. Use olive oil when frying, cooking tamales, beans, meat, and more. 

To find olive oil, try any grocery, convenience, or organic store. You can use the same quantity of olive oil that you would lard, but keep in mind that this is also a liquid. Also, you should be aware of the slightly bitter flavor that olive oil has.

See More: Olive Oil Shelf Life


Is Crisco a substitute for lard?

Since Crisco is a vegetable shortening, it can be a great option for replacing lard. It does have a high amount of saturated fats as well, though, so it isn’t the healthiest choice. It is vegetarian-friendly, so you can use it if you don’t eat animal products.

Can you substitute ghee for lard?

Yes, you can use ghee instead of lard. Ghee is the product of clarifying butter, so it mimics the texture and flavors of lard. It can also endure high temperatures.

Are lard and margarine the same?

No, lard and margarine are different products. Lard is pork fat that is solid and is part of cooking and baking. Margarine, on the other hand, is a hydrogenated vegetable oil that is solid at room temperature and contains no dairy or animal fat. Both options, though, are high in saturated fat.


While very few people use lard these days, it can still be around in plenty of recipes. If this is the case and you want to know what to use instead, try any of these 6 substitutes. You can now make a healthier, but equally tasty recipe.

lard alternatives

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