Lard and butter are two of the most popular cooking fats. Both have their unique flavors and cooking properties, but which one is better?
In this article, we’ll take a closer look at the nutritional profiles and culinary applications of lard and butter to help you decide which one is best for you.
Comparing lard vs butter
|Per tablespoon (15mL)||Lard (Pork fat)||Butter|
|Solid or Liquid?||Solid||Solid|
|Smoke Point (Fahrenheit)||375 degrees||300-350 degrees|
|Taste||Mildly porky to neutral||Buttery|
|Good for Cooking…||Raw, low heat, moderate heat||Raw, low heat|
|Allergens||Pork, meat allergy||Lactose, casein|
Differences between lard and butter
Both lard and butter are made by separating the fat from the other components of animal products (pork or milk).
Lard is made by rendering the fat from pigs, while butter is made by churning cream from cow’s milk until the fat separates from the liquid. This means that butter is a dairy product while lard is a meat product.
Lard is 100% pure fat, whereas butter contains both fat and water. The differences in their compositions affect their flavor, texture, and how they behave when cooked. For example, lard is softer at room temperature and has a higher smoke point than butter – which can come in handy when cooking…
Baking and cooking with lard vs butter
Lard has a higher smoke point than butter, which means it can be used for high-heat cooking methods like frying or sautéing without burning or smoking – which can be a problem when cooking with butter. But at lower temperatures, butter is greater baking, roasting, or sautéing.
Lard can vary from tasting and smelling mildly porky to neutral and odorless, depending on the brand and how it’s made. Butter adds a rich and buttery flavor to everything from baked goods (cakes, cookies) to rich and creamy sauces and sautéed vegetables.
Lard is often used in recipes that require a flaky or crispy texture, like pie crusts or fried foods. Lard makes the best juicy roasted chicken or turkey with crispy skin. Like shortening, lard is great for making pie crusts because it creates a flakier texture due to its higher melting point. However, it’s best to use rendered leaf lard or processed lard, or your pies might end up tasting a little porky!
Can lard and butter be substituted for each other?
Lard and butter can be substituted for each other in some recipes. Just keep in mind their different properties and flavors, which can affect the end result.
In general, you can use lard anywhere you would use butter, especially in recipes that require high-heat cooking methods, such as frying or sautéing, while butter is a good substitute for lard in recipes that call for a rich and buttery flavor, such as baking or making a roux.
Nutrition: Lard vs butter
Lard gets a bad rap for being unhealthy due to its high saturated fat content, which has been linked to an increased risk of heart disease. However, lard doesn’t contain any trans fat, and actually has less saturated fat and more monounsaturated fats (“good fats”) than butter, which can help lower bad cholesterol levels.
Lard is also a good source of vitamin D, which is essential for bone health and immune function, while butter is higher in vitamin A and E, which are important for vision and skin health.
Technically, lard is a slightly healthier choice than butter, especially if you’re concerned about your saturated fat intake. However, it’s important to consume both lard and butter in moderation as part of a balanced diet.
|Per tablespoon (15mL)||Lard (Pork fat)||Butter|
|Monounsaturated||5.8 g||3.0 g|
|Saturated||5 g||7.3 g|
|Trans||0 g||0.5 g|
|Total Fat||12.8 g||14.2 g|
|Cholesterol||12 mg||30.5 mg|
The primary fat source is bolded.
How to store lard and butter
Lard can be stored in an airtight container in the fridge for up to a year or in the freezer for up to 2 years.
Butter should also be stored in an airtight container in the fridge and can last for a few months (longer for salted butter). For longer-term storage, butter can be frozen for up to 6 months. It’s important to keep both lard and butter away from moisture, heat, and light to prevent rancidity. Always check for any signs of spoilage before using them in your cooking or baking.
Lard vs butter: Which is better
While both lard and butter have their unique properties, I am choosing butter as the winner for its richer taste and the fact that it can be used in so many different recipes. However, it’s important to consume it in moderation as part of a balanced diet.
Of course, lard is the better fat for deep-frying or shallow frying because of its high smoke point, and it doesn’t contain any trans fats and has a lower proportion of saturated fat compared to butter.
Lard has less saturated fat than butter, but generally speaking, neither is considered “better” for you than the other as both are high in saturated fat and should be consumed in moderation as part of a balanced diet.
Lard has a higher smoke point than butter, making it better for high-heat cooking methods like frying. It also has a more neutral flavor that allows the other ingredients in a dish to shine.
Yes, lard can be used as a substitute for butter in some recipes, particularly those that require high heat such as frying or baking. However, keep in mind that lard has a different flavor and texture than butter, which may affect the overall outcome of the recipe.