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12 Healthier Lard Substitute in Baking/Frying/Cooking

Pigs have gifted us with a neutral, valuable fat that doesn’t contain pig flavors. We are talking about the semi-solid fat lard.

This 100% pig fat is quite valuable for dishes. However, some people may not like pigs, and others may have allergies, so what can you use as a substitute for lard?

This article will give you 12 lard substitutes you can use.

15-Seconds Summary

  • To substitute for lard in cooking, use butter, ghee, margarine, and beef tallow.
  • Use vegetable shortening, coconut oil, avocado, mashed banana, and olive oil for healthy and vegan substitutes.

Lard can be used in baking and cooking, so we have compiled this list of substitutes that can fit this profile to a large extent.

Cooking and Baking





Beef Tallow

Vegetable Shortening

Avocado Oil

Coconut Oil

Vegetable Oil

Olive Oil

Vegan Butter

Mashed Banana


Cooking and Baking Substitutes for Lard

1. Butter


Butter is our first recommendation. This is because it’s an obvious first choice for baking and cooking.

Where to Use for

With slight alterations to your recipe, you can use butter as a lard substitute in tortillas, tamale dough, etc.

How to Substitute

Since butter is 80% fat with a low smoking point, you might need to increase its quantity when you substitute for lard. Use 1¼ cups of butter to replace 1 cup of lard in your recipe.  

2. Ghee


Sometimes known as “clarified butter,” ghee can serve as a lard substitute in cooking recipes.  

Where to Use for

Recipes that call for melted lard can be substituted with ghee. Stir-fries and curry-based recipes will come out ideally with ghee.

Note that original, traditional ghee has a strong taste and aroma that you might not be comfortable with if you are a first-time user. Avoid using ghee in your recipes if you try it out and don’t like it.

How to Substitute

Since ghee is clarified butter, substitute it with lard in a 1:1¼ amount.

Bonus: if you can’t find ghee in your kitchen, you may interested in its 12 substitutes.

3. Margarine


Often mistaken as butter, margarine is another substitute for lard.

Unlike butter, margarine has a large amount of trans fat, and it’s highly processed.

Where to Use for

Margarine works for cooking recipes that call for lard. Additionally, it’s best for persons without cholesterol-related issues.

How to Substitute

We recommend you use it in small amounts in your recipe due to its high trans fat content.

4. Beef Tallow

beef tallow

Beef tallow is a perfect animal replacement for lard. It has the same color, high-fat content, and semi-solid texture.

The only difference between them is beef tallow comes from beef fat. Beef tallow is an excellent lard substitute for people who don’t like pork.

How to Substitute

Use the same proportion of beef tallow to substitute for lard in your recipe. The results will be the same.

Vegetarian & Healthy Lard Substitutes

5. Vegetable Shortening

vegetable shortening

Vegetable shortening is a healthy vegetarian lard substitute. It’s made from palm, vegetable, or soybean oil.

Shortening refers to fat that is solid at room temperature. Vegetable shortening is used in making crumbly pastry and other foods.

Usually, it occurs by adding hydrogen to an oil. It’s typically flavorless and tends to increase the shelf life of foods.

We suggest vegetable shortening because it is high in fat and low in the water. This also makes it a perfect lard substitute for frying.

Shortening is a great ingredient in baking, if you can’t find it when making cookies, here are the top 8 substitutes you can use.

How to Substitute

If your recipe calls for one cup of lard, replace it with one cup of vegetable shortening.

6. Avocado Oil

avodado oil

Another vegan lard substitute we recommend is avocado oil. It is also a healthy replacement.

Where to Use for

Avocado oil is a perfect substitute for baking; its high water content makes baked goods soft and less crumbly. Use avocado oil for cookies, muffins, and cakes.

Avocado oil is a terrific substitute for lard in bread as well. Due to its ability to change the taste and color of your recipe, it might not be ideal for tortillas and pie crust.

How to Substitute

However, it’s a fantastic choice for lard replacement. If your recipe requires one cup of lard, use ½ cup of mashed avocado. But feel free to bump up the quantity if you desire.

7. Coconut Oil

coconut oil

If you are looking for a healthy replacement for lard, coconut oil is a fantastic option.

Where to Use for

Coconut oil is perfect for frying due to its high smoking point. You can add coconut oil to your baked goods to give them that “coconutty” flavor.

Remember that if you want an option that won’t change the original flavor of your dish, then you might want to skip coconut oil. But if you don’t mind, this is one choice you won’t regret.

How to Substitute

Feel free to substitute coconut oil for lard in a one-to-one proportion.

Smoke point refers to when the oil stops glistening and starts to burn and smoke. At this point, the oil changes its flavor and has harmful chemicals.

8. Vegetable Oil

vegetable oils

Vegetable oil is a good substitute for lard in frying. It may not have the same high temperature as lard, but it works.

Vegetable oil can be made from corn, cottonseed, canola, sunflower, soybean, grapeseed, and sesame oils.

Each of these nuts has its characteristic smell and flavor; some may be neutral. So have that in mind when you make your choice.

How to Substitute

With vegetable oil, feel free to substitute for lard in an equal ratio of 1:1. Other persons might have reservations, so they might opt for a ⅞:1 proportion.

9. Olive Oil

olive oil

Olive oil is a healthy substitute for lard, but it has a low smoking point. This automatically means it’s not the best for frying but baking; it is superb!

Extra-olive virgin oil has fewer calories and saturated fats. But it’s rich in unsaturated fatty acids.

Where to Use for

Use olive oil in stir-fries, sauces, dips, stuffing, etc. Be mindful that olive oil will give the taste of olives, so you should factor that in.

10. Vegan Butter

vegan butter

Vegan butter is a great plant-based substitute for lard. Vegan butter is made from vegan buttermilk.

Vegan butter is a form of margarine made without adding dairy products. It has a similar texture and flavor to butter.

Where to Use for

It is an excellent baking choice; you can enhance its flavor by adding spices or herbs.

How to Substitute

Feel free to use it in toast, bagels, muffins, etc. Substitute for lard in equal ratio.

11. Mashed Banana

mashed banana

Mashed banana is an amazing substitute for lard. It’s sweet and savory, taking your recipe and taste buds to new heights.

Where to Use for

The banana is usually cooked and mashed into a thick paste. It’s essentially a baking substitute; use it in waffles, pancakes, bread, cakes, etc.

Add a mashed banana to make your stews, soups, and other savory dishes sweet.

12. Crisco


Cisco is a vegetable shortening that works as a lard substitute. It’s made from cottonseed oil, soybean oil, and palm oil.

Where to Use for

Apart from being a cooking oil, it works as a baking ingredient. Use it to make pie crusts and even frosting.

It’s an amazing salad dressing ingredient as well. The use of Crisco in the kitchen makes it not just a suitable lard substitute but a necessary kitchen “must-have.”

Varieties spice-up life and options make it spicier. Even if you don’t have lard, our list of substitutes should give you all the options you need.

Let’s answer a couple of queries about lard.

FAQ About Lard

Can butter be substituted for lard?

Yes, butter can be substituted for lard. It may not give you 100% lard qualities, but it works fine in recipes that call for lard.

Can lard be a substitute for shortening?

Yes. Lard is a perfect substitute for shortening. Although, if you are avoiding animal fat, then you shouldn’t use lard.

Is lard bad for you?

Lard is a great source of fats that promote heart health. It would be best if you still used it in moderation, as good as it tastes in recipes.

Where to buy lard?

You can buy lard at the butcher’s shop, grocery stores or order it online. Ensure you read the label to make sure it matches your needs.

What is lard made of?

Lard is made of total pork fat from the fattiest region of the pig, like the shoulder, belly, and butt.

What is lard used for?

It can be used for baking, sautéing, frying, or grilling as a cooking oil.

Final Words

Pork lovers may not want to substitute anything for their sweet lard. However, that’s the good thing about the kitchen. It caters to the needs of every individual.

So, use any option that fills your appetite and enjoy your cooking experience.

I’m Jennifer Schlette, a Registered Dietitian and Integrative Nutrition Health Coach. I love cooking, reading, and my kids! Here you’ll find the healthiest recipes & substitutions for your cooking. Enjoy, and be well, friends!

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