lard substitute

7 Lard Substitutes You Likely Already Have in Your Kitchen

Lard is a bright white semi-solid fat rendered from pork. It’s the fatty tissue that is melted to separate the fat from the water and proteins, leaving only the fat solids behind. This versatile ingredient has a neutral flavor but imparts a lot of creaminess to dishes. However, since lard tends to be high in saturated fats, it’s not the most healthy ingredient.

Widely used in old-fashioned baking and cooking recipes, lard can also be melted and used to roast, sauté, grill, and deep-fry foods. So, if you’re making a dish that calls for lard but don’t want to use it, you can use these lard substitutes to get the desired results.

1. Butter


Butter is soft, creamy, and rich with just a hint of sweetness. It contains only about 80% fat, compared to 100% fat in lard, but it can help you retain the same taste, texture, and quality in your finished dish. Butter also has a lower smoke point than lard, making it unsuitable for high-heat cooking, but it’s the best and simplest substitute as it’s highly versatile and easily available.

Butter can be substituted for lard to make pie crusts, cookies, tortillas, to crisp up poultry, and in dough batters, and it can add a rich taste to baked goods. Butter contains nearly 20% water, so it may affect the texture of your dish, you may have to add more to get the desired results. It’s also recommended to use unsalted butter, or you will have to reduce the salt used in the recipe.

1 cup lard = 1 1/4 cups of butter.

1/2 cup lard = 1/2 cup + 2 tablespoons of butter.

1/4 cup lard = 1/4 cup + 1 tablespoon of butter.

2. Olive Oil

Olive Oil

Olive oil, made by extracting oils from pressed olives, has a distinct flavor. It is rich in antioxidants and monounsaturated fats, with a high-fat content similar to lard, making it a healthy, plant-based alternative. Olive oil is a staple in Middle Eastern and Mediterranean cuisine, but it’s also available on the shelves of just about every grocery store and supermarket in the world.

Olive oil is a versatile ingredient that can be used in place of lard in grilling, sauteing and other cooking preparations. However, as it has a low smoke point, it is not suitable for deep frying. It also alters the texture of certain dishes and may give foods a hint of savory olive-like flavor, so it’s not appropriate for baked goods and sweet desserts.

1 cup lard = 1 cup olive oil.

3. Beef Tallow

Beef Tallow

Beef tallow is rendered fat just like lard; however, it comes from cows instead of pigs. It’s a good source of conjugated linoleic acid (CLA), contains several fat-soluble vitamins, and has a high smoke point like lard. It has a meatier and richer flavor than lard, but because the two ingredients share similar characteristics, beef tallow can be used in many recipes in place of lard.

You can use beef tallow as a substitute for lard in grilled and fried dishes without significantly changing the outcome of the final product. As it has a meatier flavor, it won’t be a good addition to baked goods, unless you’re making savory cupcakes or muffins. This substitute works well for people following a kosher or halal diet, but because it is high in calories and is animal-derived, it won’t work for vegans and vegetarians as well as those following a calorie-restricted diet.

1 cup lard = 1 cup beef tallow.

4. Vegetable Oil

Vegetable Oil

Vegetable oil refers to any oil made from plants. It is generally odorless and flavorless and does not change the overall flavor profile of foods. It has a high smoke point and a 100% fat content, just like lard, making it a good stand-in for the original ingredient.

Vegetable oil can be substituted for lard in cooking methods requiring high heat such as frying, roasting, grilling, and sauteing, as well as baking. Because it is an oil and not fat like lard, it may make baked goods such as cakes and cookies denser and not as fluffy. It can also change the texture of recipes like tortillas, so you might want to add some water to the mix to enhance the texture.

In cooking, 1 cup lard = 1 cup vegetable oil.

In baking, 1 cup lard = ⅞ cup vegetable oil.

5. Coconut Oil

Coconut Oil

Coconut oil is a tropical oil made from coconut meat and milk. It offers great health benefits, including boosting heart health and lowering levels of LDL cholesterol. It has a distinct coconut smell and flavor that may not work in all recipes. But, since coconut oil has a high smoke point like lard, it makes for a decent alternative to the original ingredient.

Coconut oil can be substituted for lard in many recipes, but it shines best in baking, grilling, and pan-frying meats and veggies. Keep in mind that unrefined coconut oil has an intense coconut taste as well as aroma, which can alter the overall flavor profile of your dish. If you don’t mind that, you can use coconut oil in dishes that benefit from the coconut flavor, such as sweet desserts, cakes, and biscuits.

1 cup lard = 1 cup coconut oil.

6. Vegetable Shortening

Vegetable Shortening

Vegetable shortening is made by adding hydrogen to vegetable oils. It is solid at room temperature and has a texture like butter, but is virtually odorless and flavorless. Because the fat content of lard and vegetable shortening is nearly identical, vegetable shortening can be used to replace lard.

Vegetable shortening works in any baking and cooking recipe that calls for lard. It has a high smoke point, making it suitable for frying preparations as well. As it’s made from veggies, it’s a good option for those following a halal, kosher, vegan, or vegetarian diet. However, due to its high-fat content and lack of nutrients, it may not be suitable for those on restricted diets.

1 cup lard = 1 cup vegetable shortening.

(Add 2 extra tablespoons per cup of lard in baking dishes, as many feel it produces better results.)

7. Avocado or Mashed Banana

Mashed Banana
Mashed Banana

Avocados and mashed bananas are both fruits known for their rich and creamy texture and distinctive flavors that can boost the appeal of your favorite recipes. They’re also rich in important nutrients, making them a healthy vegan and vegetarian alternative to lard.

Both avocados and mashed bananas work exemplarily well in baked goods like cakes, bread, muffins, and more. However, they might alter the consistency, taste, and color of your dish, which won’t work for certain foods like tortillas and pie crusts. If using bananas, note that bananas have a distinct flavor and a natural sweetness, so you may need to reduce the amount of sugar in your dish to achieve satisfactory results.

1 cup lard = 1/2 cup mashed avocado or banana. (Adjust as needed.)

AboutRibana Hategan

Ribana is a certified pastry chef and passionate home cook who curates and develops recipes that are high on nutrition. She develops and tests cost effective, nutritious meals using quality ingredients to help people better their everyday eating experiences.