Is Lard Vegan? Can Vegans Use Lard?

  • By: Daniel B.
  • Date: January 11, 2022
  • Time to read: 6 min.

Answer: No.

No

For a variety of reasons, this is a frequently asked question. The major reason for this is that there is some misunderstanding about the various forms of fat being used in baked products. Another reason is that some people are unfamiliar with the term, so when they see it on a label, they are shy to inquire if it is vegan.

Is lard vegan? Lard is not vegan since it is just another term for pure animal fat, namely hog fat. It is used in the food business for a variety of purposes, including shortening. Lard is a rendered kind of animal fat that is used in cooking. It is a method of converting waste animal tissues into usable material.

Lard is a frequent component in many recipes, and many cooks prefer it over other forms of baking shortenings. As a result, you must be cautious about what you consume outside the home to ensure that it is compatible with your vegan diet. The good news is that there are numerous vegan-friendly fats that may be used in place of lard.

Continue reading to learn why fat is not suited for a vegan diet and what you can substitute for lard. 

What Is Lard Made Of?

Because of its huge fat crystals, lard is popular in baking. It mixes well for a rich flavor and is frequently employed in dishes that require shortening or cooking with fat.

Simply speaking, lard is swine fat extracted from the kidneys and back. This is distinct from tallow, which is derived from sheep or cattle. The definition varies based on the section of the animal from which the fat is extracted.

Lard is manufactured entirely of animal fat, making it incompatible with a vegan or vegetarian diet.

How Is Lard Made?

It is made from fat that has been removed from beef. It is cooked during the rendering process. This is when a pig’s fatty tissue, most typically the shoulder,  back, and butt, is gently roasted until the fat has melted and the meat can be separated.

Any water tends to evaporate during the cooking process, leaving only the fat, such as lard, that may be utilized once chilled.

Lard might not have a pork aftertaste, depending on how it is prepared but it will still have a smooth, opaque texture.

Why Is Lard Not Vegan?

As previously stated, lard is manufactured entirely of animal fat. Apart from how it is manufactured, the traditional vegans go for ethical reasons with respect to animal welfare, while others do it to conserve natural resources or for health reasons. So, why is lard not a vegan-friendly ingredient?

Ethical Concerns

Lard is an animal-based product, which means that pigs must be slaughtered in order for you to obtain lard. Ethical vegans oppose the slaughter of animals only for the benefit of those who consume their products. The global pork business is huge, breeding and slaughtering millions of pigs each year. More than three-quarters of these pigs are reared in industrial farms, which are a living nightmare for them. They spend their whole lives in packed inside quarters, never getting to bathe in the sun, gallop through vast pastures, breathe some fresh air, or do other stuff that comes naturally to them.

Pigs are murdered at the age of six months, despite having a normal life span of 10 to 15 years. An average slaughterhouse kills around 1,000 pigs each hour.

It’s simple to understand how eating lard adds to the abuse of these animals.

Environmental Concerns

A pig farm generates a large amount of fecal waste, which frequently leaks into neighboring water sources, harming existing ecosystems. Ammonia from pig pee is extremely hazardous to both pigs and humans. The gasses are so poisonous that humans who live near pig barns are at a greater risk of developing a variety of health issues.

To avoid water contamination, factory farms often convert tons of excrement and urine into liquid waste, which will then be sprayed into the air and breathed by those living nearby.

Health Concerns

Lard is high in cholesterol, and eating it increases your risk of getting overweight or obese, as well as having life-threatening disorders including diabetes and heart disease. It becomes worse when you eat industrially manufactured lard, which is frequently hydrogenated to keep it shelf-stable. You now have a product that contains cholesterol, trans fat, and saturated fat. Saturated fat elevates bad cholesterol while decreasing good cholesterol and is frequently linked to hypertension, obesity, diabetes, and heart disease.

I mean, if the cruelty done to pigs just for the purpose of obtaining lard does not affect you, maybe your own health can encourage you to avoid lard.

Presented below is the nutritional content of one cup or 205 g of lard for reference. 

Calories1849
Fat205 g
Zinc0.23 mg
Selenium0.4 mg
Chlorine109.1 mg
Vitamin E1.23 mg
Vitamin D5.1 mg
Capric Acid0.205 g
Lauric Acid0.41 g
Myristic Acid2.665 g
Palmitic Acid48.79 g
Stearic Acid27.625 g
Palmitoleic Acid5.535 g
Oleic Acid84.46 g
Gadoleic Acid2.05 g
Cholesterol 195 g

Vegan Alternatives To Lard

What can you replace for lard now since you know it’s a big no for vegans? There are various vegan lard substitutes available to sauté or fry your cuisine, as well as provide baked items of moist and flaky quality.

Vegetable Shortening

This is the safest and most often used lard alternative. It’s made from soybean, palm, or vegetable oil that has the same cholesterol and fat levels as lard and uses no animal products, making it appropriate for vegans. It has a high smoke point, making it ideal for frying and other high-heat cooking. The rule of thumb for substituting is one to one, which means that if your original meal called for 2 cups of lard, you may use 2 cups of vegetable shortening instead.

Coconut Oil

Coconut oil also has a high heat capacity, making it ideal for high-heat cooking and frying techniques. It may go in the same proportion as lard, just like vegetable shortening. It’s worth noting that coconut oil has a mild coconut taste that may not be appropriate to everyone’s liking.

Olive Oil

In baking, this vegan lard alternative works well. Because it has a low smoke point, you might want to try the other frying options. Olive oil gives a slight olive flavor to your recipes, therefore it may not be suitable for everyone. Use the same amounts that the recipe calls for when substituting.

Mashed Banana Or Avocado

In some baked dishes, mashed banana or avocado can be used instead of lard to provide a moist texture but without cholesterol and fat. When making cookies, muffins, cakes, or bread, these replacements work best, though the results may not be as flawless. Use half the amount of fruit you would if you were using lard.

Frequently Asked Questions

For the bonus part, let us tackle the FAQs about lard that you might encounter.

Is Hydrogenated Lard Vegetarian?

Hydrogenated lard is typically vegetarian if it is not derived from animal fat. This is a fantastic vegetarian choice if it is prepared from palm or soybean oil.

It’s hydrogenated to keep it solid at room temperature, and it’s commonly referred to as vegetable shortening by vegetarians.

It’s not to be mistaken with semi-soft partly hydrogenated lard.

Is Farmer John Lard Vegetarian?

This fat, according to Spoontacular, is vegetarian-friendly.

However, it’s unclear whether this is the case because the name “Manteca Lard” is difficult to explain because Manteca is the Spanish term for “lard.” Pork fat is mentioned in the majority of materials, thus it’s best to avoid it to be safe.

Is Snow Cap Lard Vegetarian?

The following is the only information found in the ingredient profile:

To Help Protect Flavor: Hydrogenated Lard, BHT, BHA

Because pork fat, like vegetable lard, could be hydrogenated, it’s difficult to tell if it’s pork-derived. As a result, we must come down on the side of precaution and say that vegetarians and vegans should refrain from consuming it until additional information becomes available.

The Final Word

There are several vegan-friendly lard alternatives. If you’re wondering which is the best, it depends on a lot of factors, such as personal preference, money, needs, and availability. Make sure to always get creative and try out a variety of vegan fats to determine what works well with you. After all, great food is a matter of personal taste, and there isn’t a single vegan lard equivalent that will work for everyone.

Because lard has a high-fat level, you want to keep the fat content within your vegan range. Any change is likely to have an effect on your dish. For example, fat is what keeps pie crust fluffy and lovely, so if you select a less fattening option, your final result may not be as flawless.

That’s all there is to lard and its non-vegan reputation. I hope you’ve learned a few things that will help you continue your vegan journey.