When it comes to cooking and baking, the choice of fats and oils can make a HUGE difference in the flavor, texture, and overall healthiness of your dishes.
Two popular options are safflower oil and lard. In this article, I’ll explore the differences between these two cooking fats, how to use them in the kitchen, whether they can be substituted for each other, their nutritional profiles, and the best ways to store them.
So, let’s dive in and find out which one comes out on top!
Comparing safflower oil vs lard
|Safflower oil||Lard (Pork fat)|
|Solid or Liquid?||Liquid||Solid|
|Smoke Point (Fahrenheit)||475-500 degrees||375 degrees|
|Taste||Neutral||Mildly porky to neutral|
|Good for Cooking…||Raw, low, moderate, and high heat||Raw, low heat, moderate heat|
|Allergens||Safflower||Pork, meat allergy|
Differences between safflower oil and lard
Safflower oil is a type of vegetable oil extracted from the seeds of the safflower plant. Safflower oil is closely related to sunflower oil. It is a light yellow colored oil obtained by pressing the seeds and then refining the oil to remove impurities.
On the other hand, lard is a rendered fat obtained from pig’s fat. It is typically made by slowly heating the fat until it melts and then straining it to remove any solids. The result is a solid white fat that tastes like pork.
As a result, safflower oil is plant-based, making it suitable for vegetarians and vegans, while lard is animal-based. Additionally, safflower oil has a neutral flavor (it’s a good substitute for canola oil), while lard imparts a rich, savory taste to dishes.
Baking and cooking with safflower oil vs lard
Safflower oil is a versatile, neutral-tasting oil that works well for a variety of dishes. Its high smoke point (up to 500 degrees!) makes it suitable for frying, sautéing, and roasting, while its light flavor allows it to blend seamlessly in baked goods, keeping them moist and tender.
Lard has a lower smoke point, so it is better suited for medium-heat cooking, baking, and even adding flavor to dishes like pie crusts, biscuits, and roasted vegetables.
To cook with safflower oil, simply substitute it for any recipe that calls for vegetable oil or other neutral oils. Its mild flavor won’t overpower the dish, allowing the other ingredients to shine.
On the other hand, lard is known for adding a distinct, savory flavor to dishes. It excels in recipes that benefit from its rich taste, such as pie crusts, biscuits, and deep-fried treats. To incorporate lard in your baking, use it as a substitute for butter or shortening for pie crusts and pastries with a buttery, flavorful crust.
Can safflower oil and lard be substituted for each other?
While safflower oil and lard have distinct flavors and properties, there are instances where they can be substituted for each other.
For example, in a recipe that calls for sautéing onions or other veggies in safflower oil, you can use lard instead to add a delightful savory taste.
Similarly, you can use safflower oil as a substitute for lard using a 1:1 ratio in recipes that require a more neutral flavor, such as vegetable stir-fries, sautéing, or baking. Just keep in the mind the flavor and texture will be slightly different.
Nutrition: Safflower oil vs lard
When it comes to nutrition, safflower oil is known for its high content of polyunsaturated fatty acids, including omega-6 fatty acids (“healthy fats”).
Both safflower oil and lard are primarily composed of monounsaturated fats, which can be beneficial for heart health. However, lard is made from 100% pork fat and contains higher amounts of saturated fat (“unhealthy fats”) and cholesterol compared to safflower oil, making safflower oil a healthier choice overall.
|Per tablespoon (15mL)||Safflower oil||Lard (Pork fat)|
|Polyunsaturated||1.5 g||1.4 g|
|Monounsaturated||11 g||5.8 g|
|Saturated||1 g||5 g|
|Total Fat||14 g||12.8 g|
The primary fat source is bolded.
How to store safflower oil and lard
To ensure the freshness and quality of safflower oil, storing it in a cool, dark place, away from direct sunlight and heat sources is essential. In my experience, the refrigerator is an ideal location, especially in warmer climates. Safflower oil can typically last up to a year if stored properly.
As for lard, it should be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator or freezer. This helps prevent oxidation and extends its shelf life. When properly stored, lard can last for several months, with frozen lard lasting even longer.
Safflower oil vs lard: Which is better
After comparing all the details, I have to say, safflower oil is my favorite. Its neutral flavor, high smoke point, and heart-healthy properties make it a versatile option for various cooking methods and cuisines. Of course, lard’s rich flavor and unique texture can elevate certain dishes, particularly in baking and traditional cooking. However, considering the overall nutritional benefits, safflower oil edges out lard as the better choice.
Yes, sunflower oil is generally considered healthier than lard due to its lower saturated fat content and higher levels of heart-healthy unsaturated fats.
Generally, oils like olive oil or avocado oil are considered healthier than lard due to their higher unsaturated fat content and lower levels of saturated fat.
The healthiness of lard versus seed oils depends on the specific type and quality of the seed oil, as some seed oils like olive oil or avocado oil are generally considered healthier than lard due to their higher unsaturated fat content, while other seed oils high in omega-6 fatty acids may have potential negative health effects if consumed excessively.