How To Render Lard | This Old Baker

How To Render Lard and Why You Should

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Lard has been a cooking staple for centuries, known for its ability to add a rich flavor and perfect flakiness to dishes. However, in recent years, it seemed to fall out of favor due to health concerns. Now, with a better understanding of fats and their role in our diet, lard is making a comeback! Not only does it add an unrivaled taste to food, but when sourced from healthy, pasture-raised pigs, it also provides beneficial nutrients. In this post, we’ll dive into the process of rendering lard at home and explore the reasons why this might just be the golden fat you didn’t know you needed.

What is Lard?

Lard is simply pig fat that has been rendered or melted down, then cooled and solidified. It can be used in a variety of culinary applications, from frying to baking.

Reasons to Render Your Lard

  • Flavor: Nothing compares to the rich, savory essence that lard can bring to your meals.
  • Health Benefits: When sourced from healthy, pasture-raised pigs, lard is free of trans fats and contains heart-healthy monounsaturated fats similar to those found in olive oil.
  • High Smoke Point: Lard has a high smoke point, making it ideal for frying and sautéing without burning.
  • Sustainability: By rendering lard at home, you’re using more parts of the animal, which reduces waste and supports a more sustainable food system.
  • Economical: Making lard at home is cost-effective compared to buying pre-rendered or other types of cooking fat.

How to Render Lard at Home


  • Fat from pasture-raised pigs (leaf fat is preferred for its purity and mild flavor)


  • A large pot or slow cooker
  • A fine-mesh strainer
  • Cheesecloth
  • Jars for storage


Prepare the Fat:

  1. Begin by chopping the fat into small pieces, or even better, grind it if you have a meat grinder. The smaller the pieces, the more quickly and evenly they will render.

Start Slow:

  1. Place the fat in a large pot on the stove or in a slow cooker. Heat it slowly on low heat; patience is key. You don’t want to fry the fat; just gently melt it away from any remaining meat or connective tissue.

Stir Occasionally:

  1. As the fat begins to melt, stir occasionally to ensure that it cooks evenly and doesn’t stick to the bottom of the pot.

Strain the Liquid Gold:

  1. Once the fat has melted and only crispy bits remain, it’s time to strain. Line your strainer with several layers of cheesecloth and pour the lard through to catch any solids. Be careful, as it will be hot!

Cool and Store:

  1. Allow the liquid lard to cool slightly before transferring it to jars. Once in jars, let it cool completely. You’ll notice it transforms into a beautiful creamy white color. Store it in the refrigerator for a few months or freeze it for an even longer shelf life.


Rendering lard at home is a simple and rewarding process. Not only does it provide you with a healthier cooking fat option, but it also embraces a traditional method of using animal by-products responsibly and economically. So, give it a try and enrich your cooking with the delicious taste of homemade lard!

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