9 Lard Substitute

Getting a lard substitute is not difficult, it is very easy as you may have some of them in your kitchen. There are many substitutes that are so delicious you may never find lard interesting for baking or cooking. 

Lard is a popular fat for baking and cooking in most recipes back in the days. Although it is not commonly seen in recipes now but there are still many recipes that have lard as an ingredient. If there is no lard available, you can use substitutes that will give you perfect results.


Lard is a type of fat that comes from a pig, it has been rendered which means it was removed from the pig and melted to separate the fats from the water and proteins. The rendering is a very essential process when making lard as it removes the water and proteins leaving only the solid fats which is the bright white solid fat you use to cook or bake.

The lard will not easily spoil because there is no water or protein, it has a long shelf life which is one of the reasons why it was popular. Lard is 100 percent fat, there is no water or proteins.


Apart from the long shelf life, lard is very popular because it is versatile, it can be used in cooking and baking. It has a neutral taste that goes with any meal, it also has high fat content. Lard gives a rich flavor and creamy texture when used in foods.

You can melt lard and use it the same way you use other fats like butter or oil. Lard can be used to sauté or grill foods as well as deep frying. It works well with other recipes when used in baking. The high fat content makes it great choice for producing flaky biscuits and pie crusts.

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Some healthy lard substitute or alternatives include:

1. Butter 

Butter is the most commonest and simplest lard substitute. Butter can retain the taste and texture of your meal if you make just little modifications to your recipe. You can use butter for pie crusts, tortillas, tamale dough, and more, giving you a great result.

Butter has less fats than lard so you will need to use a bit more of the normal quantity for a lard in order to get the same results. Lard contain 100 percent fats while butter has 80 percent fats and 20 percent water. The water content in butter can change the texture of some recipes, also butter has a rich taste that may not be suitable for some recipes. 

Due to the difference in the fat content of lard and butter, you will not use same measurement for both. For each cup (205 grams) of lard, you should use approximately 1 1/4 cups (284 grams) of butter. However if you are watching your weight and want to substitute lard with butter, you must go for unsalted varieties of butter.

2. Coconut Oil

Coconut oil is fast becoming a popular cooking oil, it has many antimicrobial and antioxidants properties that can improve your skin and general health. Coconut oil can also help you to lose weight. According to a research by the National Library of Medicine in 2018, coconut oil can be especially beneficial for heart health including reducing levels of LDL (bad) cholesterol. 

Lard substitute same amounts for coconut oil in many recipes especially for baking, grilling or frying with pan. You should note that unrefined coconut oil have a strong taste and aroma, so the flavor of your dishes may slightly change. But this flavor can be great in certain dishes like sauté meats and vegetables.

Lard Substitute
Lard Substitute

3. Vegetable Oils

Vegetable oil is the most popular cooking and baking oil. It is a go-to option for cooks and pastry chefs because the oil has neutral taste, 100 percent fats and high smoke point. The high smoke point makes vegetable oil a great lard substitute when used for cooking methods that need high heat like frying, grilling, and sautéing.

However, you should know that using coconut oil to replace lard in baked goods like cookies and cakes may cause your finished products to be denser and less tender. Do not use equal amount of vegetable oil like lard. Use about 7/8 cup (191 mL) of vegetable oil for each cup (205 grams) of lard. Also, if you are using vegetable oil in recipes like tortillas, you can add some water with the oil to help you improve the taste.

4. Olive oil

Olive oil is rich in antioxidants and monounsaturated fats, it can also give your recipes a heart-healthy twist as a lard substitute. Olive oil has a high fat content with a distinct taste. The taste may change the taste and texture of certain foods giving them a subtle olive-like flavor. 

Olive oil works in many recipes like grilling, sautéing and baking because of its savory flavor. However, olive oil is not a good choice for frying as the oil does not have the same high smoke point as lard. Use olive oil in the same amount as lard for both baking and cooking.

5. Avocado

Avocado has mild flavor, creamy texture and a flavor that can boost the taste and fat content of your food. According to an article by FoodData Central in 2018, avocado is very rich in nutrients like potassium, folate, and vitamins C and K. You can use avocado for baked goods, including cakes, cookies, muffins, or breads, it works very well for these recipes.

Avocado has high fat content and should not be used in the same amount as lard. If your recipe calls for 1 cup (205 grams) of lard, you should typically use about 1/2 cup (115 grams) of mashed avocado. Avocado can change the color, taste and texture of your food, so it may not be ideal for making pie crusts or tortillas.

6. Margarine

Just like butter, margarine is a popular cooking fat. Margarine has lower fat content than lard and this will make your baked goods denser. However, margarine is a good choice for those who want low fat substitute.

Margarine can be used in other cooking methods but not frying, also it has a distinct flavor that some people may not enjoy. Margarine should not be used to replace lard in the same amount, you can use ¾ cup of margarine in place of 1 cup of lard.

7. Ghee

Ghee is not only popular in South Asia but around the world. It is made in the same way as lard except that it is made with butter. Butter is boiled and the fat is separated from the milk proteins and water producing a butter with just fats.

Lard substitute with ghee in both baking and cooking. It is similar to lard as they both have a high smoke point making it ideal for deep frying. Ghee is lighter than lard so you will need more ghee to get the best result. For a cup of lard, use a cup of ghee with additional 2 tablespoons.

8. Beef Tallow

Beef tallow is a type of rendered fat that has been cooked to get rid of all impurities. The fat is made from cow and is similar to lard. The only difference between beef tallow and lard is the taste, there is a distinct beef flavor that beef tallow has. 

According to an article by FoodData Central in 2018, beef tallow is a good source of conjugated linoleic acid (CLA), fat-soluble vitamins, including vitamins A, D, and E. It is best you use beef tallow for fried or grilled savory dishes rather than baked goods. Also, you can use the same amount of beef tallow just like lard in your recipes.

8. Mashed Bananas

Mashed bananas is a non-fat option just like avocado that can be used lard substitute. The texture is somehow similar to lard and can easily bind the ingredients while adding texture. This makes it a great substitute in recipes like quick breads and cookies.

However, you should remember that mashed bananas have a distinct sweetness and taste, so you may leave out some of sugar and other sweetners in your recipe. You should use ½ cup of mashed banana to replace a cup of lard when baking.

9. Shortening

Shortening is made from hydrogenated vegetable oil instead of animal fats making it a good choice for vegans. Shortening has 100 percent fats with a neutral taste. It is ideal for frying as it has a high smoke point. Shortening can so be used in baking. You can use a cup of shortening to replace a cup of lard. Although some cooks found out that adding additional 2 tablespoons to the cup will give you the best result while baking.


Hot water crust is a popular pastry used in making meat pies, it is usually preferred for pies with a handmade finish. The ingredients used in making most types of pie crust need to be very cold so as to produce a flaky crust. However, hot water crust is different as the ingredients do not have to be cold, they are always hot.

The fat used in hot water crust is melted in hot water before being added to the flour. Lard is usually used in hot water crust pastry but if the fat is not available.

You can substitute it with any of the following:

  • Unsalted butter
  • Vegetable shortening


Lard is a great fat to be used in both baking and cooking but it may not easily be available to be used anytime. So, you may want to use lard substitute for any other cooking oil or fats like coconut oil, olive oil, butter, margarine, shortening, beef tallow, avocado and others. 

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