An ingredient that is commonly used to give a good crust to your pie or pastry is lard. It is a very old ingredient that made all of our meals even tastier.
Lard is a product of rendered pork fat that is mostly used in old-fashioned recipes. It is an ingredient that is used to give a very delicious and unique taste to your meals. People tend to use lard for baking, but since it has a good smoking point it can be used for frying as well.
Can I substitute lard? Yes, you can! There is an easy way to substitute lard in your cooking and I just made a list for you. You can use Butter, Vegetable shortening, Beef tallow, Coconut oil, Olive oil, Vegetable oil, Avocado, or mashed banana.
Read more on lard how can you make it at home and inform yourself more on the substitutes and how much you need to use.
What is lard?
Lard is a white product that has a semi-solid form that is obtained by rendering the fat tissue of the pig. It is an old ingredient that is usually used to add a crust to pies. Nowadays people tend to use this product often especially when they are making pastry or if the recipe calls for lard.
Lard can be made by steaming, boiling, or dry heat. Generally speaking, it is obtained by a process which is called rendering, meaning the pork fat is separated from the portions of a hog, or specifically from the pork belly, but or from the pork shoulder itself.
Many cuisines are actually this product as cooking fat or shortening and it is spread the same way as butter. In Western cuisines, it has lost its popularity and now they are using vegetable oil but many cooks and bakers are still favoring lard. It is a staple ingredient in cooking and baking where pork is a dietary item.
Good lard is healthier than most butter that we usually use in our cooking. It can be classified as unsaturated fat, in which there are fatty acids that the lauded olive oil has. It is believed that diets that have higher saturated fats produce more bad cholesterol and those that are high in unsaturated fats produce more good cholesterol.
Best Lard Substitutes
If you are looking for the best alternative for lard, you’ve come to the right place. Whether you’ve run out of lard or simply if you want to use an alternative to make a difference in your recipe, I’ve made you a list with the best ingredients that will help you
Actually, no ingredient is good as lard itself. But the closest as it gets it’ll be butter. Butter makes the obvious first choice when baking or roasting. It is very similar to lard and if you use it in your recipe, the taste won’t be very different. It will also add crips in roasting and baking.
The only thing that is considered as a downside is the lower smoking point of the butter. It is not the best option if you are cooking a dish that needs to be stir-fried. Lard is 100 percent far and butter is only 80 percent, so you’ll need more butter to substitute.
In most recipes, you can add ¼ cup and a tablespoon of butter as a replacement for ¼ cup of lard. Or you can use 1 ¼ cup of butter as an exchange for 1 cup of lard.
2. Vegetable Shortening
Another good substitute that will serve well in your dish is the vegetable shortening. It is made from soybean, vegetable, or palm oil and is very close to lard. The fat content is very high and it is a great option if you are frying.
It is very commonly used and since it has higher fat it is closer to lard, than butter. Also, it contains less water so you don’t need to worry about splattering.
Use a ratio to 1:1, meaning for 1 cup of lard use 1 cup of shortening.
3. Beef Tallow
This is an ingredient that is also saturated animal fat, which is a good replacement for lard. If you use beef tallow it will have the same results as using lard.
It is a good option for people who don’t eat pork. You must keep in mind that it has many calories, which makes it an unsuitable replacement for people who are on a low-calorie diet.
You can use the same quantity of beef tallow as you should’ve used lard and the results will be practically the same.
4. Coconut oil
An ingredient that is very popular and commonly used- coconut oil. It has a high smoking point and will fit perfectly in your frying recipe. Keep in mind that if you want to stick to the original taste of your dish, coconut oil might not be the best option. Coconut oil is good for cooking meals in high heat. Coconut oil is very good for baking as well.
You can substitute equal amounts of coconut oil for lard in any recipe. I should note again that the taste of coconut oil might not be suitable for everyone so try adapting it to your own taste.
5. Olive Oil
Another suitable lard substitute is olive oil. If you are using olive oil as a substitute keep in mind that it will give a hint of olives and it is not appropriate for every dish. Olive oil works perfectly in baking. It has a very low smoking point, so it is not very suitable for frying.
Substitute equals amounts for every recipe, meaning 1 cup of olive oil for 1 cup of lard.
6. Vegetable oil
Another oil that will do the job well is vegetable oil. This is a very good alternative for lard. It does not have a very high temperature at some point but it is suitable for high heat cooking or frying. The only downside is that this oil generates high concentrations of chemicals, so use a limited amount of vegetable oil when using.
Use ⅞ vegetable oil for 1 cup of lard.
7. Avocado or Mashed Banana
A very unusual but very useful alternative is the avocado or the mashed banana. They can be used especially for baking, even though you can’t expect the same results as using lard. If you are baking muffins, cookies, bread, or cakes these are the substitutes that will fit very well in your recipes. They provide good moisture and no high calories.
You can always substitute half of the quantity of fruit for lard. You can always mix the ingredients and check the texture. If it is very dry, dry adding more than recommended.
As we explained before, lard is an ingredient that is commonly used and it is an old product that helped a lot in cooking. However, this is also a product that can be made at home as well. Read below to find out what you need and how to prepare it at home.
All you need is 2 lbs of pork back fat because it is commonly used for cooking in general.
- First, you need to chop up the pork back into small evenly sized chunks. Then you should add 2 tablespoons of tap water into a saucepan as it will prevent the meat from sticking and burning off in the pan.
- Add the fat pieces to the saucepan and cook them over medium-low heat. Slowly draw the fat out as this will happen in the first 10-15 min after you start cooking. Stir occasionally to prevent the meat from sticking in the pan. By doing this you can expedite the process and you’ll allow the solid bits to come directly in contact with the pan.
- Be careful when adding the hot fat as it may spill out. Once they are cooled you’ll be transferred into a storage container. Continue cooking the fat until there are no liquids left. It usually takes 90 minutes to prepare it.
- When you are done with the final bits of liquid, let it cool down on the counter. The leftovers of fat are chicharrones. Store them in the fridge and they can last up to a month.
Can you still buy lard?
Of course, you can. You can easily find it at the supermarket, butcher’s shop, or you can order it online. Make sure to read the label to see if the fats are applicable to your taste and diet.
Is Crisco a good substitute for lard?
Yes, it is. Crisco is a very good substitute for lard. This is because you can avoid the saturated fats of lard. If you need a liquid fat to mix into a batter, just melt lard or butter as well.