I know first-hand that choosing the right type of oil/fat can either make or break a recipe.
Two of the most popular options are canola oil and lard. Canola oil is known for being a heart-healthy vegetable oil, while lard is a traditional, flavorful fat made from rendered pork fat. But which one is better?
Let’s dive into the debate of canola oil vs lard and explore the pros and cons of each!
Comparing canola oil vs lard
|Lard (Pork fat)
|Solid or Liquid?
|Smoke Point (Fahrenheit)
|Mildly porky to neutral
|Good for Cooking…
|Raw, low, moderate, and high heat
|Raw, low heat, moderate heat
|Pork, meat allergy
Differences between canola oil and lard
One of the most significant differences is that canola oil is a plant-based oil, while lard is a fat derived from animal sources, usually pork.
Canola oil is extracted from the seeds of the canola plant through a process that involves pressing and refining, while lard is made by rendering (melting and clarifying) pork fat.
Canola oil is liquid at room temperature and has a neutral flavor, making it a versatile ingredient in the kitchen. Lard, on the other hand, is solid at room temperature and has a mildy porky flavor that can add depth to dishes.
Baking and cooking with canola oil vs lard
Both have their place in the kitchen. Canola oil has a mild flavor and a high smoke point, making it a versatile choice for a range of cooking techniques such as sautéing, frying, and baking. I have used canola oil when making stir-fries or baking cakes because it doesn’t add any unwanted flavors to the dish.
Lard has a rich, savory flavor that’s perfect for frying up chicken or potatoes in a cast iron pan. Lard may have a lower smoke point than canola oil, so just keep an eye on the temperature so it doesn’t get too hot. Like shortening, lard can also create a delicious, flaky pie crust that melts in your mouth! For baking with lard, make sure you choose processed lard so there’s no lingering pork flavor.
Can canola oil and lard be substituted for each other?
The answer is yes, but with some considerations…
With a neutral flavor and a high smoke point, canola oil is a good substitute for lard for grilling meat or frying foods like chicken. But because canola oil is a liquid, it won’t work quite the same in recipes like pie crusts or biscuits that require a solid fat.
Nutrition: Canola oil vs lard
Both canola oil and lard are high in calories, with around 120 calories per tablespoon. However, canola oil is a better option due to its lower saturated fat content and higher levels of heart-healthy monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats. It is also a good source of vitamin E, which has antioxidant properties.
Lard, on the other hand, is high in saturated fat, which can increase levels of “bad” LDL cholesterol and increase the risk of heart disease.
It’s important to note that both should be used in moderation as part of a balanced diet.
|Per tablespoon (15mL)
|Lard (Pork fat)
The primary fat source is bolded.
How to store canola oil and lard
Canola oil will keep for about a year at room temperature in a cool, dry place. Lard tends to spoil faster when left out because it’s exposed to air, heat, and oxygen, so I recommend keeping it in the refrigerator for up to a year or in the freezer for longer storage. Always check the expiration dates on oils/fats and discard any that have gone bad.
Canola oil vs lard: Which is better
Ultimately, the choice between canola oil and lard depends on personal preferences and the specific needs of each recipe, but for me, canola oil is the clear winner.
Overall, while lard may have its culinary benefits, canola oil is a healthier choice for everyday cooking and baking. Its mild flavor and high smoke point make it a versatile choice for a range of cooking techniques, from sautéing to frying to baking.
Yes, you can use lard instead of canola oil in cooking and baking. However, it is important to keep in mind that lard is a saturated fat and may not be the healthiest choice. Plus, lard has a distinct flavor that may not be suitable for all dishes.
Lard is a popular option for pan-frying meats and vegetables due to its high smoke point and savory flavor, while canola oil is also a good choice for deep-frying because of its neutral flavor and high smoke point.
Canola oil is generally considered a healthier option than lard because it is low in saturated fat and high in heart-healthy monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats compared to lard, which is high in saturated fat.