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Lard vs Butter: Complete Guide

Lard vs Butter: Complete Guide

When it comes to baking butter and lard are two of the best fats around. And if you are wondering what the difference between butter and lard is we will answer all of your questions right here.

While butter is more widely used in kitchens today, lard has been growing in popularity, and for good reason.

Lard is an exceptional fat to bake and fry with and I always keep it on hand. In fact, in the last couple of years it has become my go to fat for baking. But I still like to use butter in certain recipes.

So what is the difference between lard and butter?

The primary difference between lard and butter is that butter has a monounsaturated fat content of around 33% while lard offers about 50% monounsaturated fat.

There are a number of other differences, as well as similarities, including lard being produced by rendering pork fat while butter is a dairy product. For the complete breakdown on butter and lard keep reading.

What is the Difference Between Lard and Butter

closeup of butter

If you are like most bakers you have used butter for most of your baking. But you may be wondering if lard is a good choice.

The short answer is that lard is an excellent fat to use for baking. It provides a fat composition ideal for baking and imparts a wondering flavor and texture to baked goods. Now let’s go over the details of the details on both butter and lard.


fresh butter

This kitchen staple is popular for good reason. You have no doubt used butter when baking everything from cookies, to cake, to brownies. Butter can be used for frying veggies and whipping up eggs for breakfast.

Butter is incredibly versatile and is stocked in almost every kitchen out there.

Produced from dairy cream by churning until it achieves that familiar creamy texture, butter is composed of around 80% fat. It is rich and creamy with the remaining 20% composed of milk solids and water.

You can find butter in both salted and unsalted varieties and either can be used for baking or cooking. The key is to use the type of butter that your particular recipe calls for. While salt is an important part of bringing out the flavors of dish, too much can negatively effect the final flavor of your recipe. For this reason, be sure to use the type of butter your recipe calls for to ensure the proper amount of salt is used.

Related Recipe: Monster Cookies without Peanut Butter

Butter is an excellent fat to use when baking. It will provide a great flavor and rich texture ideal for all types of baked goods.


bowl of lard for baking

You may have a negative impression on using lard but for generations lard was the go to fat in many kitchens in the US. That negative reputation is largely unfounded.

Lard is an excellent fat for baking. Lard is produced from 100% rendered pork fat.

In fact, lard is nearly 100% fat by content. This is much higher than butter and one of the primary differences between the two.

Lard is perfect for baking cakes, pie crust, frying, roasting, biscuits, and making pastries. Lard will provide a wonderful flavor and texture to any baked recipe.

While you won’t want to spread it on your toast in the morning, lard is an otherwise versatile fat that should be stocked in any bakers kitchen.

Lard vs Butter FAQ

Can I substitute lard for butter?

Yes, lard can be substituted for butter in most baked recipes. Lard will work particularly well in pie crust, cakes, and cookies.

Can I substitute butter for lard?

Yes, butter can be substituted for lard. It does have a lower fat content but will work in most recipes that call for lard. Read more about substitutes for lard.

What is the difference between lard and butter in baking?

Butter has a higher melting point that lard. When heated, butter will release more moisture which will increase the leavening of your recipe. And more leavening means a more flaky texture.

Lard, on the other hand, is composed of larger fat particles which leads to larger layers than achieved with butter.