Difference Between Shortening and Lard

Cooking is a daily life activity, it is a very basic house chores. Cooking itself has many procedures to make different dishes.

Every food item has different recipes and ingredients. Cooking is a wide term which covers frying, baking, roasting, etc. and all of these have different techniques and tools.

Among all baking is considered a more complex procedure as compared to others, baking is done to cook cakes, pastries , biscuits, pies, patties etc. Baking requires some specific measurements of  ingredients to make baked items tastier and perfect in shape and size.

Oils are used across the whole world, in different forms. It is next to impossible to cook food without using a drop of oil.

Every process, be it frying, roasting, baking, sauteing, etc., requires oil as a crucial ingredient. Oils are available in the market in a variety of forms, like liquid, solid, and semi-solid.

Shortening vs Lard

The difference between shortening and lard is that the shortening is made of vegetable oil whereas lard is 100% animal fat(usually pig fat). Shortening and lard are sometimes misunderstood as one product but there are differences between  both of them.

Shortening vs Lard


Comparison Table

Parameters of ComparisonShorteningLard
Product usedVegetable oilsAnimal fat
HealthContains trans fat, not a healthy option.Does not contain trans fat, a healthy option.
Form of oilSolid form oilSemi- solid form of oil
PurposeUsed in cookingUsed in manufacturing of soaps and cosmetics.
ExistenceCame in early twenties.Used from ages.


What is Shortening?

Shortening is a solid form of vegetable oil, generally used in baking to make flaky layers in pastries or cakes. Shortening is a dairy product made up of vegetable oil or butter.

Shortening is 100% fat which makes it an unhealthy option when compared to other forms of butters. Shortening is also called hydrogenated oil.

It contains trans fat which increases the risk of heart diseases.

Shortening came into use during early twenties and is mostly preferred by vegans. Process of obtaining shortening might not be possible at home.

Generally, shortening is made up of soyabean , palm or cottonseed oil.

It does not have any specific flavour, but now brands have introduced a wide range of flavoured butters.

Shortening is of four types, those are:-

  1. Solid- used in baking pie crusts , pastries, breads these are also called ‘baking sticks’.
  2. Liquid- commonly used for deep frying .
  3. All purpose- used by professionals in baking.
  4. Cake and icing it is also used by professionals in baking.

All purpose and, cake and icing does not have emulsifiers.

Shortening is also used to make food gluten free.It acts as a barrier for gluten molecules preventing it from gluten formation

There are a lot of people who are allergic to gluten, so shortening is always preferable for such people.

Shortening keeps cakes or breads soft for a little longer after baking and increases the life of bread or cake. Shortening is available in the market in a huge variety of brands, these are easily available in local markets.

Price may vary from brand to brand.


What is Lard?

Lard is semi- soft form of oil made up of animal fat(usually pig fat), usually used for deep frying in cooking. It is 100%  animal fat.

Lard is extracted from the process of ‘rendering’, according to which fatty part of pork is cooked until it gets melted. It can be done at home itself.

Pork butt, belly or shoulders are the portions which are used to extract most of the lard. This fat is in solid form at room temperature.

Rendering can be done at 93 to 115 degrees fahrenheit.

Lard does not contain any trans fat , which makes it a healthy option for cooking. It has a high smoking point which makes frying easy.

Lard is used in roasting, grilling, sauteing, and baking. Besides cooking, lard is also used in biofuels,  manufacturing of soaps and cosmetics.

Lard is more primitive and was used widely.

There is one special form of lard which is ‘leaf lard’, it is extracted from fat around the kidneys of pigs which is in the shape of a leaf. It is smooth in texture and thus costs much more than regular lard.

Lard is a healthy form of fat as it contains monounsaturated fats just like olive oil. It does not have any specific flavour, but as a whole it adds richness to the dishes.

Lard is also used as preservatives in dishes.

Main Differences Between Shortening and Lard

  1. Shortening is made up of vegetable oils whereas, lard is made up of animal fat.
  2. Shortening is confined to cooking but lard is used in manufacturing of cosmetics and soaps, also used in biofuels.
  3. Shortening has trans fat on contrary lard does not contain trans fat which makes it a healthier option.
  4. Shortening is a solid form of oil while lard is a semi- solid form of oil.
  5. As compared to shortening lard, it adds more richness to the dishes.
  6. Shortening is more affordable than lard.Although,  price of shortening may vary depending upon brand and quality of product.
Difference Between Shortening and Lard


  1. https://pubs.acs.org/doi/pdf/10.1021/ac60056a018
  2. https://www.nature.com/articles/nutd201540
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