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Lard substitutes

7 healthy substitutes for lard

Are you watching your waistline but still looking to grill a steak or bake a cake? Try these seven healthier substitutes for lard in your favorite recipes.

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7 healthy substitutes for lard
Last updated on September 1, 2023, and last reviewed by an expert on March 13, 2023.

Lard is a type of semisolid fat widely used in baking and cooking to give foods a rich flavor and creamy texture.

7 healthy substitutes for lard

However, it’s also high in saturated fat and made from pork, a meat that people may choose not to consume for religious or dietary reasons.

Fortunately, you can find plenty of healthy alternatives to lard that can be used in almost any recipe.

Here are seven simple substitutes for lard.

1. Butter

Butter may be the simplest substitute for lard.

With some minor modifications to your recipe, butter can help retain the taste and texture of your final product. This makes butter great for pie crusts, tortillas, tamale dough, and more.

Because butter contains slightly less fat than lard, you may need to use more to achieve the same results.

For each cup (205 grams) of lard, you should use approximately 1 1/4 cups (284 grams) of butter.

If you’re watching your weight, opt for unsalted butter varieties whenever possible in your recipe.

Summary: You can use 1 1/4 cup (284 grams) of butter for each cup (205 grams) of lard, which can help retain the taste and texture of many different recipes.

2. Coconut oil

Coconut oil is a tropical oil linked to some health benefits.

10 evidence-based health benefits of coconut oil
Suggested read: 10 evidence-based health benefits of coconut oil

Some research suggests that coconut oil may be especially beneficial for heart health, reducing LDL (bad) cholesterol levels.

You can swap equal amounts of coconut oil for lard in many recipes, especially when baking, grilling, or pan-frying foods.

Note that unrefined coconut oil tends to have a strong coconut taste and aroma, so it may slightly change the flavor of certain dishes.

Summary: You can substitute an equal amount of coconut oil for lard in recipes, especially when baking, grilling, or pan-frying foods.

3. Vegetable oils

Vegetable oils are often used in cooking and baking.

Cooks and pastry chefs often opt for these oils for their high smoke point, the temperature at which an oil starts to burn and smoke.

This also makes vegetable oils especially beneficial as a replacement for lard when using high-heat cooking methods like frying, grilling, and sautéing.

Try using about 7/8 cup (191 mL) of vegetable oil for each lard cup (205 grams) in your favorite recipes.

Remember that baked goods like cookies and cakes may be denser and less tender if you use oil instead of lard. Additionally, adding some water to the oil can help improve the texture of recipes like tortillas.

Summary: For each cup (205 grams) of lard in a recipe, you can use 7/8 cup (191 mL) of vegetable oil. This works especially well for frying, grilling, sautéing, and baking, although it may slightly alter the texture and consistency.

4. Olive oil

Rich in antioxidants and monounsaturated fats, olive oil can give your recipes a heart-healthy twist when used instead of lard.

11 science-based health benefits of olive oil
Suggested read: 11 science-based health benefits of olive oil

It can also be used instead of lard at a 1:1 ratio, making it one of the simplest substitutes.

However, using this oil instead of lard alters the texture of certain dishes and may give foods a subtle olive-like flavor.

Olive oil and its savory flavor may be better suited for grilling, frying, or sautéing rather than baked goods and sweets.

Summary: Olive oil can be used in place of lard at a 1:1 ratio and is a great option for recipes that are grilled, fried, or sautéed.

5. Avocado

Known for their mild flavor and creamy texture, avocados can boost the fat content and flavor of your favorite recipes.

They’re also rich in important nutrients, including potassium, folate, and vitamins C and K.

Suggested read: 12 proven health benefits of avocado

Avocados work particularly well for baked goods, including cakes, cookies, muffins, or bread.

If your recipe calls for 1 cup (205 grams) of lard, you should typically use about 1/2 cup (115 grams) of mashed avocado, although you may need to adjust the ratio as needed.

Remember that using avocado in place of other types of fat can change the color, texture, and taste of your final product, which may not be ideal for certain recipes like pie crusts or tortillas.

Summary: For each cup (205 grams) of lard found in baked goods like cookies, cakes, bread, and muffins, you can use about 1/2 cup (115 grams) of avocado.

6. Beef tallow

Beef tallow is a rendered fat cooked down to remove any impurities.

It’s a good conjugated linoleic acid (CLA) source and contains several fat-soluble vitamins, including vitamins A, D, and E.

You can also use an equal amount of beef tallow instead of lard in many recipes without significantly changing the final product.

Beef tallow does tend to have a richer, meatier flavor than lard. As such, it may be a better choice for fried or grilled savory dishes rather than baked goods.

Summary: Beef tallow can be used in place of lard in equal amounts in many grilled or fried dishes.

7. Mashed banana

Mashed bananas are a great substitute for lard, helping you reduce the calorie content of many recipes while squeezing in some extra nutrients.

In particular, this fruit is high in potassium, fiber, and vitamins B6 and C.

Try using 1/2 cup (113 grams) of mashed bananas for each cup (205 grams) of lard in baked goods like bread, cakes, and muffins.

However, remember that mashed bananas won’t work well as cooking oil or in savory dishes.

Additionally, you may need to adjust some of the other ingredients in your recipe to compensate for the natural sweetness of bananas.

Summary: You can use 1/2 cup (113 grams) of mashed banana for each cup (205 grams) of lard in baked goods like bread, cakes, and muffins.

Summary

Although lard is often used to enhance the flavor and texture of foods, it’s made from pork and is high in saturated fat.

Fortunately, several alternatives are available, many of which add flavor and nutrients to your favorite dishes.

Try using some of the abovementioned alternatives to find what works for you.

Try this today: Substituting other types of fat for lard will lead to slight changes in the taste and texture of any dish. Try experimenting with new herbs and spices or adjusting the amounts of other ingredients to perfect your final product.

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