Lard vs. Leaf Lard

One question I get a lot is what the difference is between lard and leaf lard, and which one to use for different things. It’s very simple!

What are the different types of lard?

First and foremost, what are the different types of lard? Lard is trimmed fat or back fat. It’s soft and works well in a multitude of ways. It’s typically the more affordable of the two variations.

Leaf lard comes from around the organs of the animal. It’s firmer and has a lower moisture content than back fat, or lard, and works great to hold a dough together when baking. There is less of this type of fat on the animal, so it does tend to be the more expensive of the two types of lard.

When to use lard

Lard, or back fat, is highly versatile! You can use it in so many ways. If you need a larger quantity for frying or sautéing, we recommend this type because the price point makes the most sense.

Because lard is softer, it works great in things like quick breads like banana bread, pancakes, muffins or for frying eggs or veggies. Mix it with marinade and rub onto chicken. You can also use it to grease your pans or season cast iron.

When a recipe calls for oil such as vegetable oil or olive oil, lard can be substituted for that oil.

When to use leaf lard

Leaf lard is what people think of when they think of making a lard pie crust. It holds dough together well while still allowing it to be malleable and workable. It can be used in many of the same ways as back fat, like sautéing, frying, or seasoning pans.

The most common uses are for pie crust, or in place of shortening in recipes that call for it.

Rule of thumb

If a recipe calls for Crisco or shortening, use leaf lard in its place. Any recipe that calls for oil, use regular lard in its place.

We sell both types of lard in our farm store and we ship nationwide. Give both a shot and see which you like best.

Picture of Laura Tidrick
Laura Tidrick

Laura is on a mission to raise the highest quality food possible for her own family and to offer that same quality to others.

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