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Lard substitute (6 essential replacements you should know!)

Lard substitute (6 essential replacements you should know!)

Looking for a lard alternative for your upcoming recipe?

Lard is a versatile cooking fat used for roasting, sauteing, frying, and baking. Though famed for its flexibility, it can be truly frustrating to run out of this vital ingredient right when you need it the most.

Luckily, there are a bunch of worthy lard substitutes that are likely available in your kitchen cupboard. 

Here’s what you need to know about this cooking fat and what you can utilize as a lard substitute.

Substitute IngredientRatio to Replace LardIdeal Usage
Beef Tallow1:1Frying, baking; similar texture and high smoke point
Coconut Oil1:1Baking, frying; adds a subtle coconut flavor
Vegetable Oil1:1Versatile for frying, baking; lacks solid texture for pastry
Butter1/4 cup + 1 tbsp for each 1/4 cup lardBaking; lower smoke point for frying
Vegetable Shortening1:1Baking, frying; high smoke point and solid texture
Olive Oil1:1Baking, light sautéing; not suitable for high heat frying
A close-up photo of a round, wooden bowl filled with white lard.

What is lard?

We can’t identify those possible substitutes for lard without  understanding first what this ingredient is. 

Lard is a semi-solid white cooking fat that’s quite popular for roasting, sauteing, frying, and baking. You can achieve the lard product through rendering, which separates pork fat from the fattiest parts of the pig. 

Lard is the best choice to include in pie crusts and pastries, thanks to its high melting point. 

If you want to switch this fat for a substitute, you’re in luck. 

Best Lard Substitutes

There are several other replacements that you can conveniently use instead. Here’s what you can use for a lard substitute.

1. Beef tallow

Beef tallow and lard share a distinct similarity: both of them feature the highest smoke points. That means it doesn’t oxidize when you heat it. 

Just like lard, beef tallow is high in calories, so it isn’t suitable for those who are on a calorie-restricted diet.

Nonetheless, beef tallow is a good choice for lard replacement. You can use the same quality of it as lard in any recipe, meaning if your recipe calls for a cup of lard, you can conveniently use a cup of beef tallow instead.

  • Ratio: Use in a 1:1 ratio in place of lard.
  • Usage: Suitable for frying and baking, offering a similar texture and high smoke point.

2. Coconut oil

Another good substitute for lard is coconut oil. Like lard and beef tallow, the ingredient has a high smoke point, so it’s suitable for recipes that involve high heat frying or cooking. Keep in mind that you could incorporate the subtle coconut flavor into your recipe when you replace coconut oil. So please think twice before using it!

Use coconut oil as a 1:1 substitute in place of lard. 

  • Ratio: Substitute coconut oil for lard at a 1:1 ratio.
  • Usage: Good for baking and frying, but may add a subtle coconut flavor to the dish.

3. Vegetable oil

Vegetable oil is a kitchen staple, and many people use it in their everyday cooking. Little did we know that this ingredient is a good alternative when you’re running out or low on lard. Since the vegetable oil has a high smoke point, it works well in recipes that require cooking or frying at high heat. You can replace lard with vegetable oil in a 1:1 ratio.

  • Ratio: Replace lard with vegetable oil in a 1:1 ratio.
  • Usage: Versatile for frying and baking; lacks the solid texture of lard in pastry.

4. Butter

If you’re looking for a lard substitute that won’t affect the overall taste and quality of your baked goods and roasted dishes, then butter is the best choice!

However, the smoking point of butter is lower compared to lard. That means using it for your stir-fry recipes isn’t the best option. As a substitute, use one-fourth cup and a tablespoon of butter in place of one-fourth cup of lard. 

  • Ratio: Use one-fourth cup plus one tablespoon of butter to replace one-fourth cup of lard.
  • Usage: Excellent for baking, but has a lower smoke point for frying.

5. Vegetable shortening

Our next entry is vegetable shortening. This ingredient makes a great replacement for lard, even compared to butter. Why? It also has a high smoke point, so cooking or frying at high heat is possible!

Use vegetable shortening as a 1:1 ratio if you’re running out or low of lard.

  • Ratio: Use vegetable shortening as a 1:1 substitute for lard.
  • Usage: Good for both baking and frying due to its high smoke point and texture.

6. Olive oil

Last but not least, the olive oil. We all know that it’s known as a staple to have when baking. However, unlike lard, olive oil features a low smoking point that isn’t ideal for deep frying. It’s my least favorite substitute but if it’s your only option, follow the ratio of 1:1 between olive oil and lard.  

  • Ratio: Substitute olive oil for lard in a 1:1 ratio.
  • Usage: Best for baking and light sautéing; not ideal for high heat frying due to lower smoke point.

How is lard used in cooking?

There are various ways to make use of lard. The ingredient’s versatility and features make it a suitable choice for roasting, sauteing, grilling, frying, and even baking. 

Below I’ve listed recipes that are prepared with lard. 

Fried chicken

Due to its high smoke point, lard is a perfect choice when you’re planning to deep fry your chicken

If you’re running low or out of lard, you can opt for beef tallow, vegetable shortening, vegetable oil, and coconut oil. 

Roasted vegetables

Aside from a perfect bet for deep frying, lard also works well with vegetables. Roast your favorite veggies with lard, and you’ll see a crispier result than roasting it using olive oil.

Baked goods

Like butter, lard is also used in baked goods. Many bakers throughout the world incorporate lards in their baking recipes. The reason is that the ingredient has a lower melting point than butter, leading to greater leavening and a flakier texture in baked goods, specifically biscuits, pie crusts, and donuts. 

The bottom line

Lard is a versatile ingredient that could prove to be important for your daily cooking. When you’re running out of the ingredient, you simply need to find better replacements for it. 

But before you choose a substitute for your recipes, it’s your job as a cook to know their properties and features.

With this guide, I hope that you gain the necessary knowledge about lard and its possible replacements. Also, I encourage you to use some of them in your next cooking venture! 

Lard substitutes

Lard substitutes

How to make your own substitute for lard. This is a replacement if you're running low or out of the ingredient.


  • 1/4 cup butter
  • 1 T butter


  1. use 1/4 cup and 1 tablespoon of butter in place of 1/4 cup of lard.

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A photo of a jar of lard on a wooden table.

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