Can You Reuse Lard? (Everything You Need To Know)

Lard used to be, a century ago, the most commonly used cooking fat, but it lost favor and is often used in a derogatory description of an overweight person (“she’s a tub of lard”). Wrongly thought of as unhealthy fat, it’s still the best for creating the finest pastry and is the choice of many bakers. One of the many questions we’ll answer about this misunderstood fat is can you reuse lard?


Lard can undoubtedly be reused but degrades each time, so it needs to be treated correctly. Firstly, it should never be heated above 360 degrees Fahrenheit because it becomes toxic. Its reuse also requires filtering and depends on what it was first used for, as it could retain a strong taste.


There’s controversy over whether lard is healthy. Still, the fact of the matter is that it is higher in monounsaturated fats (good for your heart) than olive oil and much lower in saturated fats than butter, so it doesn’t deserve its reputation of being fat to avoid. We’ll examine lard in more detail, check out its uses, and answer all questions regarding its reuse in the kitchen.


What Is Lard, How Is It Used, And Can You Reuse Lard?

There are several grades of lard, and its use and reuse also depend on how it’s been formed, so let’s get some clarity on what we’re dealing with when we talk about lard.


What Is Lard Made From?   

Lard is derived from the fatty tissue of pigs. Unrendered lard is the fat that has been cut from the flesh but not melted.


Rendered lard is what we’re most interested in. It is made by slowly cooking the belly, butt, and shoulder of the pig (those parts containing the most fat) until the fat melts and separates from the meat.


Leaf lard is considered the best type of lard and is made by rendering the fat surrounding the pig’s kidneys and loin. It’s particularly suited for pastry-making and baking, being soft in texture and very mild-tasting.


Processed lard is made by clarifying the melted fat by bleaching and hydrogenating. This effectively removes any pork flavor the lard might still have after rendering. The disadvantage of processed lard is that it has an increased amount of unhealthy trans fats, which are responsible for increased “bad” cholesterol and lowered “good “cholesterol levels.


How Is Lard Used?

Lard can be used in the same way as any cooking oil for frying, grilling, baking, and sauteing. It has a very high smoking point of around 380 degrees Fahrenheit.

  • Substitute lard for butter to achieve a beautifully flaky pastry or biscuits.
  • Use lard to deep fry chicken or French fries in a cast iron skillet.
  • Brush lard on grilled chicken to get that crispy skin at the finish.
  • Lard can be used as a spread instead of margarine or butter.


How Many Times Can You Reuse Lard?

Reusing lard is quite possible, but for that to be safe and for the food prepared with reused lard to be truly tasty, there are several points to consider.

  1. What was the lard used for?If the lard was used for baking, preparing a pastry, or deep-frying French fries, reusing it should be simple. If used in the preparation of fried fish, for example, it may have too strong a taste to be reused for any other form of cooking.
  2. The temperature of the lard must have remained below 360 degrees Fahrenheit for it to be reused. At any higher temperature, the lard degrades and may become toxic.
  3. If you use the lard for deep-frying vegetables, it canbe reused eight to ten times, according to the experts, as long as it’s cooled and filtered each time and stored correctly. But with all other forms of frying, particularly of meat, limit reuse to once or twice only.


The Best Way To Treat Lard To Be Able To Reuse It


If you want to reuse lard, it must be carefully treated to maintain its healthy condition.

  • While it’s still in liquid form, you need to filter the used lardto remove any food particles that will deteriorate and cause the lard to become unusable. This is done by straining the lard, firstly through a fine gauze to remove the larger particles and then through cheesecloth to get rid of the fine grains of food that remain.
  • Allow the lard to cool completelybefore storing it in an airtight container. It will last three to four months if stored out of direct sunlight in a cool place but doesn’t need to be refrigerated. If you keep it in your fridge, lard can remain perfectly useable for as long as a year. It’s also fine to freeze lard; if you do, it can last up to three years or even longer.
  • Keep the lard at a constant temperaturerather than moving it from the refrigerator to the pantry and back to the refrigerator after using it.
  • Always use a clean utensilto handle the lard and ensure that the container you’re putting it in is also thoroughly cleaned.


Before reusing lard, check that it’s retained its color and smell. It should remain white, or very close to it, and have very little odor. If it becomes rancid through age or contamination, it will have a sour smell and may be slightly discolored – in that case, don’t take a chance and discard it.



Can you reuse lard after frying?

You can reuse the lard several times after deep-frying but only once or twice after shallow frying. It’s unwise to reuse lard after frying fish because it will impart a fishy taste to your next dish, and lard should never be used after frying if the temperature exceeds 360 degrees Fahrenheit.


Is there no problem with reused lard?

Provided you follow the steps we discussed above, there should be no problem at all with reused lard. It’s up to you to decide whether it’s worth the trouble, but it probably is if you’re using large quantities to deep-fry.


How do you store leftover lard?

The crucial point is that the container you store your lard in is clean and airtight. Lard can be stored for as long after you’ve opened the container as if you kept it sealed. You can keep it in a cool, dark place, in the fridge, or in your freezer.


How long does lard last?

Lard kept on the shelf will last three to four months, in the fridge for a year, and for many years in the freezer. However, it is recommended that it is used within a year as it will start to lose its flavor and consistency after this time.


How to store lard for a long time

Three elements will shorten the life of stored fat; air, heat, and sunshine. So, the best way to avoid all three is to freeze the lard in an airtight container. The refrigerator is also a good storage spot, but there will be changes in temperature that will shorten the life of the lard.


Uses of expired lard

If store-bought lard has an expiry date, that doesn’t mean it should be thrown out – it may still be in perfect condition. So, check for any sign of deterioration, such as mold or a rancid taste or smell. If it’s still OK, go ahead and use your lard. The expiry date is just an indication and not an accurate assessment of the lard’s condition.   


Lard is used in many aspects of cooking and baking and can impart wonderful taste and texture to many dishes. This is incorrect despite the long-held opinion that it’s an unhealthy fat. It can be an alternative to other oils and fats without adverse effects. It can also be reused at least once or twice, lasts exceptionally well, and is an excellent addition to your pantry.  

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