What is the difference between Lard and Shortening?

Key Difference: The difference between lard and shortening is that lard is made from pork fat, while shortening is made from vegetable oils.

Lard has a higher saturated fat content than shortening, but it also has a stronger flavor.

Shortening is more likely to be used in baking because it doesn’t affect the flavor of the food as much as lard does.

The two products have different textures, with lard being more solid at room temperature. It is also more shelf-stable than shortening.

Another difference is that lard can be rendered, or melted down and purified, while shortening cannot.

What is Lard?

Lard is pork fat that has been rendered and purified. It is used to add flavor and moisture to foods, as well as to improve their texture. Lard is also a good source of vitamin D.

There are two types of lard: leaf lard and backfat. Leaf lard is made from the soft fat around the pig’s kidneys and loin. Back fat is made from the harder fat found along the animal’s spine.

Shelf-stable lard is made from backfat that has been treated with an antioxidant to prevent it from turning rancid.

Fresh lard is made from leaf lard that has been chilled and stored in a freezer. Most lard sold in the United States is shelf-stable.

The fatback is the hard layer of fat on a pig’s back. It is usually cut into small pieces and used to add flavor and moisture to the food. This type of lard is sometimes called “pork fat.”

However, true lard is made from the fat that surrounds the pig’s kidneys and loin, which is called “leaf lard.”

Cuisines using lard include Mexican, Spanish, and Polish. The common use of lard in Mexican cuisine is the use of pork fat to add flavor and moisture to corn tortillas.

In the United States, lard is most commonly used in pie crusts and biscuits. But it can also be used to sauté vegetables or to make gravy.

What is Shortening?

Shortening is a type of fat that is used in cooking. It is made from vegetable oils and has a high smoke point, meaning it can be heated to a high temperature without burning.

This makes it ideal for frying foods. Shortening also has a creamy texture and a mild flavor, which makes it popular for baking.

Most importantly, it is an affordable fat that is widely available. So, it is a popular choice for home cooks.

In the United States, the most common type of shortening is hydrogenated vegetable oil. Shelf-stable shortenings, such as hydrogenated vegetable oils, have a long shelf life and do not need to be refrigerated.

This is another reason why they are popular with home cooks. Also, they are often used in commercial baking applications because they provide a consistent texture and flavor.

Lard vs Shortening

One of the biggest differences between lard and shortenings is that lards contains more monounsaturated fats, while shortenings are high in polyunsaturated fats.

This means that lard is better for you, as it can help to lower bad cholesterol levels and increase good cholesterol levels.

Lard is also known for its unique flavor, which is why it is often used in baking. On the other hand, shortenings are less flavorful than lard and are better for frying foods.

Main Differences

Key differences between Lard and Shortening include –


Shortening is popular in many cuisines, but it is particularly common in American and British cuisine. It is often used to fry foods such as chicken and French fries.

Additionally, it is a key ingredient in many baked goods, such as cookies and cakes. In the United States, it is also used to make pie crusts.

The high smoke point of shortening makes it an ideal choice for these applications, as it prevents the food from burning.

On the other hand, Lard is used in Mexican, Spanish, and Polish cuisine. In Mexican cuisine, pork fat is often used to add flavor and moisture to corn tortillas.

In Spanish cuisine, lard is used to make croquetas (croquettes), a type of fried food made from breaded and then fried minced ham or pork.

In Polish cuisine, lard is used to make pierogi (dumplings), a type of stuffed pasta.

The culinary use of lard is declining in the United States, but it is still used in some regional dishes, such as pie crusts and biscuits.


Lard has been used as a food ingredient for centuries. The use of lard in Mexican cuisine is thought to date back to the Aztec Empire.

Lard was first introduced to the United States in the early 1800s, and it became a popular cooking fat because it was inexpensive and durable.

But with the advent of processed foods in the 20th century, lard began to lose its popularity.

Today, lard is used less frequently in the United States, but it is still a popular ingredient in some regional dishes.

Shortening was first developed in the early 20th century. At the time, there was a growing demand for fat that could be used to fry foods.

Vegetable oils were an ideal choice for this application, as they have a high smoke point. However, these oils are also liquid at room temperature.

The country’s first commercial shortening, Crisco, was developed in 1911. It is made from hydrogenated vegetable oil and is a shelf-stable product.

Crisco was an instant success and became a key ingredient in many American recipes. Today, it remains a popular choice for home cooks.

Nutritional Value

Shortening is high in saturated fat and should be used sparingly. It also contains zero grams of dietary fiber, protein, or vitamins A or C.

The only nutritional value it provides is calories. However, it is an affordable source of calories, which is why it is popular in many cuisines.

Lard is a high-fat food, but it is also a good source of vitamin D. Vitamin D is important for bone health and immune function.

Lard is also a source of saturated fat, which has been linked to heart disease.

However, the American Heart Association now recommends that saturated fat make up no more than 10% of daily caloric intake.

So, while lard is not healthy food, it can be consumed in moderation.


Lard is made up of mostly saturated fat and monounsaturated fat. It also contains a small amount of polyunsaturated fat.

Saturated fat has been linked to heart disease, but monounsaturated fat may improve heart health when consumed in moderation. Polyunsaturated fat is beneficial for heart health.

On the other hand, Shortening is made from vegetable oils. The most common type of shortening in the United States is hydrogenated vegetable oil.

This means that the oil has been treated with a process that adds hydrogen atoms to the fatty acids. This makes the oil more solid at room temperature and increases its shelf life.

On average, shortening contains about 40% saturated fat. This is higher than most other types of cooking oil. So, it should be used sparingly.