What is lard used for?

In this article, we will answer the question “What is lard used for?”, what is lard, how to render lard, and to make popcorn using rendered lard.

What is lard used for?

Lard acts just like butter. So, you can use lard for baking cookies, pastries, and pies, while also making masa for tamales. It works great as a topping for veggies and rice or as a spread for the perfect morning toast.

Lard is also suitable for deep frying. To prevent the fat from smoking, maintain the temperature at 360 to 365 F. It works equally good for making donuts or fried chicken. The melting point of lard (97 to 118 F) is higher than butter (90 to 95 F). Due to this, lard makes the baked products super flaky.

What is lard? 

Lard is a creamy white melted pig. It finds its applications in cooking, baking, and deep-frying. Depending upon the process of manufacturing, lard may have a distinct porky flavor or none at all.

Lard varieties 

A quick rundown of the three types of lard is given below.

Rendered fat: Melted, filtered, and chilled pork fat is termed a rendered fat. The recipe to make rendered fat is given in the article below.

Processed lard: Commercial manufacturers melt the pork fat, filter it, and pass it through a hydrogenation process. This renders the fat shelf stable.

Leaf lard: This is the premium fat that comes from the visceral organs such as the kidneys of pigs. Leaf lard has a neutral taste and a white, smooth, and creamy appearance. It is the secret to getting that flaky texture in the pastries and other baked goods. 

How to render lard?

Things you will need

  • Crock-Pot
  • Cold Lard*
  • Sharp Kitchen Knife
  • Small Amount of Water
  • Large Spoon for Stirring
  • Ladle for Skimming
  • Cheesecloth
  • Funnel
  • Glass Jars with Lids and Rings 


  1. Cut the lard into 1-inch cubes or smaller for better results. Use a sharp knife for this purpose.
  1. Fill the crockpot with just water enough to cover its bottom. Put the crockpot on low heat.
  1. Put the lard cubes into the crockpot. Cover the crockpot with the lid. Let the lard cook on low. Stir the fat now and then during cooking to prevent it from sticking to the bottom of the pot.
  1. Cover the funnel in multiple layers of cheesecloth. Secure the cheesecloth in place using clothespins. Then set the funnel over a glass jar.
  1. Scoop the rendered fat using a ladle into the funnel and let it drip slowly into the jar. Do not cover the jar up to the brim. Leave an adequate headspace of an inch or a half over the top.
  1. Store the jar in the fridge or freezer. Make sure the lid of the jar is closed tightly. Put a clear label on the jar before putting it away.


  1. The room temperature lard is greasy and slippery. So it becomes difficult to cut it. To cut the lard properly and avoid any finger cuts, refrigerate it before cutting.
  1. Keep your knife ready before cutting the lard. It should be sharp. A dull knife can cause you trouble.
  1. It is not recommended to keep the rendered lard at room temperature as it speeds up the rancidity. Store the jar in a cool place such as the fridge or a freezer for prolonged shelf-life.

What to do with the cracklings? 

There are various ways you can put the cracklings to good use. Such precious stuff ought not to be wasted. We recommend using the cracklings in the following ways.

  1. Pulse the cracklings in a food processor and treat the crumbs as bacon bits.
  1. Toss the cracklings in some salt and pair it up with cold beer for some heavy snacking.
  1. Amp up your vegetable game by frying them with the cracklings. 
  1. Stir them in the soup. They add a rich flavor.

How to make popcorn using rendered lard?


  • 2 T Rendered Lard
  • 1/3 C Popcorn Kernels
  • Salt, optional
  • King Arthur White Cheddar Cheese Powder, optional


  1. Heat a large iron skillet. Place the lard in the heated skillet and let it melt completely.
  1. Stir the popcorn kernels into the rendered lard. Put a lid on the skillet.
  1. When the kernels start to pop, sway the skillet to toss the kernels and popped corn. When all the kernels are done popping, remove the skillet from heat.
  1. Toss the hot popcorns in some salt, cheddar cheese, and white cheddar if you like.
  1. Serve warm and enjoy.


  1. A cookie sheet can work as a makeshift lid for the skillet. You can also use a non-stick cooking skillet.
  1. Use the same recipe and change the toppings. For example, you can add caramel instead of salt and cheese to make bacon caramel popcorns.

Other FAQs about Lard that you may be interested in.

How to store lard? 

Does lard go bad?


In this article, we answered the question “What is lard used for?”, what is lard, how to render lard, and to make popcorn using rendered lard.