Shortening vs Lard: Difference and Comparison

Cooking is a daily life activity and an essential house chore. Cooking itself has many procedures to make different dishes.

Every food item has different recipes and ingredients. Cooking is a broad 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 than 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 various forms, like liquid, solid, and semi-solid.

Key Takeaways

  1. Shortening is a fat made from vegetable oils that have been hydrogenated to create a solid, shelf-stable product, widely used in baking for its light texture.
  2. Lard is derived from pig fat, specifically from the area around the abdomen and kidneys, and used in cooking and baking for its rich flavor and tenderizing properties.
  3. Both shortening and lard are fats used in cooking and baking, but shortening is made from hydrogenated vegetable oils and has a lighter texture, while lard is derived from pig fat and imparts a richer flavor.

Shortening vs Lard

Shortening is a solid fat made from vegetable oils, such as soybean, cottonseed, or palm oil. It is used as a substitute for butter or lard in baking recipes. Lard, is a solid fat which comes from pig fat. It has a distinctive flavor and is used in savory dishes such as pie crusts.

Shortening vs Lard


Comparison Table

Parameters of ComparisonShorteningLard
Product usedVegetable oilsAnimal fat
HealthIt contains trans fat, which is 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 the manufacturing of soaps and cosmetics.
ExistenceCame in my early twenties.Used from ages.


What is Shortening?

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

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Shortening is 100% fat, making it an unhealthy option compared to other forms of butter. Shortening is also called hydrogenated oil.

It contains trans fat, which increases the risk of heart disease.

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

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

It has no specific flavour, but brands have introduced a wide range of flavoured butter.

Shortening is of four types, those are:-

  1. Solid- used in baking pie crusts, pastries, and bread– 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 do not have emulsifiers.

Shortening is also used to make food gluten-free. It acts as a barrier for gluten molecules preventing them 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 bread soft for a little longer after baking and increases the life of the bread or cake. Shortening is available in various brands and readily available in local markets.

Price may vary from brand to brand.


What is Lard?

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

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

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

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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 manufacturing biofuels, soaps, and cosmetics.

Lard is more primitive and was used widely.

One particular form of lard is ‘leaf lard’; it is extracted from fat around the kidneys of pigs 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 like olive oil. It does not have any specific flavour, but it adds richness to the dishes as a whole.

Lard is also used as a preservative 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 cosmetics, soaps, and biofuels.
  3. Shortening has trans fat. On the contrary, lard does not contain trans fat, making it a healthier option.
  4. Shortening is a solid oil form, while lard is a semi-solid form.
  5. As compared to shortening lard, it adds more richness to the dishes.
  6. Shortening is more affordable than lard. Although, the price of the shortening may vary depending on the brand and quality of the product.
Difference Between Shortening and Lard


Last Updated : 16 August, 2023

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23 thoughts on “Shortening vs Lard: Difference and Comparison”

  1. The detailed breakdown of shortening types and their uses is quite insightful. However, a touch of humor or wit would make the content even more engaging.

  2. The post provides an in-depth understanding of cooking oils and fats such as shortening and lard. It’s very informative and well-researched.

  3. The post fails to consider the environmental and ethical aspects of oil and fat production. A thorough analysis should include these elements.

  4. This post is a great resource for anyone looking to understand the nuances of shortening and lard. It’s a comprehensive guide to these cooking fats.

  5. While the comparison between shortening and lard is well-presented, the post neglects to address the taste and flavor differences in cooking applications.

  6. This article explains the history and uses of shortening and lard, offering thorough insights into their properties and applications.

  7. This article provides a comprehensive overview of shortening and lard, but it would benefit from a comparative analysis of their culinary uses and implications.

  8. This post is quite insightful, but I’m not convinced about the health comparison between shortening and lard. Are we sure that lard is a healthier option?

    • I share your skepticism. It’s important to acknowledge that lard has been wrongly demonized for its fat content. It’s all about moderation and understanding different types of fats.

  9. I appreciate the detailed information on different types of shortening and their specific uses. This is a valuable resource for baking enthusiasts.

  10. I found this article to be informative, but it may benefit from including examples of recipes and dishes where shortening and lard are used.

    • Good point. Including practical recipes would make the content more engaging and applicable to cooking enthusiasts.


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